Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Christmas Part II




If you know me and have been following this blog, you know I love drafts- Fantasy drafts, dumb email drafts, draft in each of the big three sports. It should be no surprise to you that the NFL Draft is my personal Christmas, Part Two (College Football Signing Day is my Part One). I love the draft. I love the feel of a chance to better your team. Your organizations savior or missing link may be in this draft. I love the strategy that teams use in the draft, the way they assess their talent and evaluate college talent.

Being a 49er fan, the past eight years, sadly, the draft has been the highlight of our seasons yet also some of the greatest disapointments as we've missed with our draftees time and time again. Last year was the first time in ages that I was excited by our draft, having taken Michael Crabtree- whom I've coveted for years in college. Also, as a huge USC and college football fan, I follow the college game and recruiting very closely so come NFL draft time I like to view myself as somewhat of an expert on these kids.

Now that the first three rounds are over, let's take a look at some of the draft winners and losers thus far.

Losers:

Jacksonville Jaguars: This is a team that had a lot of needs. In a draft with tremendous depth and the number of teams trying to move up and down in the draft, the Jags were in great position to address numerous needs. They didn't. With the 10th pick they took DT Tyson Alualu from Cal. No one aside from Jacksonville had Alualu higher than a mid-second rounder. Incredible reach. They could have traded down to the end of the first if they felt that strongly and picked up some extra picks since they only had 2 in the first four rounds. The rest of their picks were nothing impressive either.

San Diego Chargers: The Chargers were predicted to take Fresno State RB Ryan Matthews in most mock drafts... except that was supposed to happen with their original pick at the end of the 1st round, not with the 12th pick! The Chargers gave up way more than they should have for a solid but not great running back. Their rest of the draft was medicre at best with ILB Donald Butler from Washington in the third and Tennessee QB Jonathan Crompton in the fifth.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins did a decent job in the draft but passed on higher ceiling talent at the positions taken with the first two picks and even the third can be argued. Many felt ucla's DT Brian Price was a better player than Odrick from Penn State, whom Miami took. With their next selection, they played it safe once again taking OLB Koa Misi from Utah over Texas-talent Sergio Kindle who has a top-10 ceiling but dropped over recent injury concerns.

Winners:
Baltimore Ravens: Th Ravens recognize what they want and recognize value better than most teams. Ozzie Newsome is a fantastic GM and evaluator of talent. This year was no different. Baltimore moved around the draft and took the previously mentioned Kindle with their first pick in the draft in the second round. Kindle will be a BEAST in the defense and join the ranks of great Ravens linebackers. With their next pick they took Terrance 'Mount' Cody who teamed up with Haloti Ngata will make for one of the top defensive lines in football. Baltimore also found quality depth in tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta and defensive tackle Arthur Jones.

Seattle Seahawks: I was closing tracking what Seattle did. One of the people I most appreciate and admire is now in The Emerald City- Pete Carroll. Pete nailed this draft. He improved the Seahawks drastically in those three days. From OT Russ Okung and S Earl Thomas (much to the displeasure of Taylor Mays) in the first round to second round steal with WR Golden Tate to a great tight end value and familiar-to-Carroll pick in Trojan Anthony McCoy. Also, Pete found a way to trade for LenDale White and Leon Washington to improve their running game for next to nothing in exchange.

San Francisco 49ers: You have to admit it, Mie Singletary knows what he wants. And he wants smash-mouth football. His two picks in the first round proved it. He took the lineman with the most potential in Rutgers' OT Anthony Davis (who will need a steady foot in his ass to keep him motivated) and one of the best guards to come out in recent years in Mike Iupati from Idaho. San Francisco also landed one of the best values in the draft when they drafted athletic freak S Taylor Mays.


This was a phenomenal draft and it'll be interesting to see how this class pans out.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Video of the Day

Amazing video. I love that the coaches allowed them to have fun with it while they waited on the rain. Might be the best thing I've seen all year.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Monday Night Thoughts




-Jeff Samardjiza of the Cubs (former Notre Dame WR) is awful. I've always thought and will always think that he should have stayed in football. He would have made a very good #2 possession receiver. Every time I see him take the mound, he gives up a few runs and gets hit hard. He seems to have a lack of deception in his delivery.

-I love that the NFL is penalizing all touchdown celebration, yet they let Verizon do a whole ad campaign featuring touchdown celebrations. Way to bring the hammer and be role models there NFl. No double-standard whatsoever.

-Shaq's NBA page says he weighs 325 lbs. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! I say he's 390-400.

-I love Alyssa Milano. She's delightful (minus the whole being a dodger fan thing) but her new show 'Romantically Challenged' is not good. Not good. The dialogue doesn't flow well. There's awkwardness abound. I like the concept but it needs a lot of tuning.

-Seriously, another 'Sex In the City' movie? Hang 'em up ladies. Bea Arthur, Betty White and Rue McCalahan (Golden Girls) think this is getting ridiculous.

-I love these Tough Love shows on VH1. The host, Steve Ward, is brutally honest and very smart. People many times don't want to hear the truth but they need to hear it. Steve brings it. I love it. I just wonder how his dating life goes. Is every girl deathly afraid of dating him, knowing that what he does for a living is judge dating.

-A note from Sunday- thank you Andrew Bynum for finally showing up. I loved the way you played. Now please, for the love of God, play this way for forever. I don't want to demand that they trade you so play this way always and I won't need to.

-Why do elite college basketball players stay until their senior year? It's great for the college game but very rare is it when a guys' stock continues to rise after his four years. Yes, I'm talking about you Kyle Singler.

-Just a quick pat on the back for predicting that Delmon Young, Luke Hochevar and Jeff Francouer were going to break out this season. Okay, so far it looks like I missed on Garrett Jones

-I still haven't seen the show 'Basketball Wives' but I want to so bad.

-Reebok just did a commercial for their Reebok Tone show. The whole commercial was of a camera focused on several girls' asses. Interesting.

-I will go to Giussepe's in Phoenix and try the bolognese very soon. I must.

-I just moved into a new place last week and made a great and important discovery- there's a vietnamese restaurant by my place. Yes! I'll be having Pho twice a week.

-My next cooking expeditions: chicken-white fish-chorizo paella, chinese bbq pork, NY Strip Steak w/ chipotle butter and gazpacho. I'm dying to get a smoker to smoke/cure meats of my own.


Have a good night kids.

Monday, April 12, 2010

2010 MLB Season Predictions


We're a week into the season so I think I still have time to give you my predictions on the division, award and playoff winners for this Major League Baseball season.

AL West-Angels
Why: I think the Mariners come in a bit overhyped. Their catching situation is unsettled, especially when dealing with a solid pitching staff. The catchers may actually devalue the pitchers a bit. Plus, the offense isn't that impressive in the "Emerald City". Anaheim may have taken a small hit offensively and they lost their 'ace in John Lackey but it's still a deep staff filled w/ solid #2 pitchers. Brandon Wood will be vital to their success. It's 'sink or swim' time for him. Never bet against Scoscia.
AL Central-Twins
This will be a hottly-contested division race but you have to love the Minnesota offense led by local-boy-made-perrenial-mvp-candidate Joe Mauer and his teammates Morneau, Cuddyer, Kubel and Span.No one talks about the Twins staff. Baker, Lirian (love him this year), Blackburn, Pavano, Slowey make for a good and steady staff. Gardenhire always has his players playing at their best.
AL East- Red Sox
This 3-headed monster of a division should be the most fun to follow. The Yankees are the Yankees and the Rays will make a strong push for the top spot but in the end I think the Red Sox staff will be just too good. Lester, Beckett, Lackey, Bucholz, Dice-K give you a legit chance to win everyday. The X-factor this season will be Adrian Beltre at the hot corner. Also, don't fall asleep on their acquisition of Jeremy Hermida.
NL West-Giants
Pitching will be king out west and the Giants have the horses to ride it out. Lincecum, Cain, Zito, Sanchez, Wellenmeyer form one of the top 4 staffs in baseball, if not better. Combining with the starting staff is an excellnt yet unspoken of bullpen. Runs will be hard to comeby vs the Gigantes. The Panda is a hitting savant but looks for Edgar Renteria to bounce back in a big way now that he's healthy. DeRosa adds stability to the lineup. The X-factor will be the bats of Bowker and Huff.
NL Central-Cardinals
If the Cards don't run away with this division, something is terrible wrong. St. Louis has 2 of the top 3 NL Cy Young candidates in it's staff and the offense to coast through the division. It'll be interesting to see who emerges at third base- David Freese gets first crack at it.
NL East-Braves
Yes, everyone has the Phillies picked to win it but the return of Tim Hudson gives the Braves a much needed boost in the arm. The offense is very underrated if not deep. Chipper and McCann lead the way with wonderkid Heyward looking to nail down a Rookie of the Year award. Bobby Cox will not go quietly (does he ever?). Expect them to fight the Phils tooth and nail this year and come out on top.

CY Young: AL-Sabbathia; NL-Halladay
Rookie of the Year: AL-Brian Matusz; NL-Jason Heyward
MVP: AL-Mauer; NL-Pujols

World Series:
Red Sox over Cardinals

The Prodical Blogging Son...


I oooooonce was loooost, but noooow am fooouuund.....

Ok, I finally think I can get on a regular blogging schedule where I post a few times a week. I may in fact have a post later today. Stay tuned...

Friday, January 22, 2010

NFL-Jersey Shore Draft Evaluations




With the NFL combine coming up and the sad conclusion of America's favorite show 'The Jersey Shore', My buddy Ryan and I thought it'd be a great idea to mix the two events. We decided to break down the Jersey Shore cast as if they were NFL prospects. Just picture us as Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay. Enjoy:

Ronnie

Ryan's Thoughts:

projected position- WLB.

notes: great build. fluid hips. quick feet. flexibility. should be great in coverage. a little stiff up top because of over musculature. great speed. goes from 0-60 very quickly (see latest punch of guy). can get clumsy on feet (see first punch a few weeks ago, he wasnt drunk but was stumbling at full speed). height is a question. plays with a mean streak. could be a liability in run support because of lack of overall bulk. should be solid in coverage.

upside: will weatherspoon
downside: special teams coverage

late 4th- 5th rd

Gabe's Thoughts:

projected position: MLB

I going to disagree on his position. I just don't see the fluidity in his hips. He has stiff hips and lacks lateral agility and like you mentioned he stumbles from clumsy feet at times. I see him at MLB. He has straight fwd speed and carried a shorter, stout frame that will play well against the run. I think he has the bulk to play in the middle.His height plus hip tightness doesn't make him an ideal cover man. Plays composed but can have his moments out undisciplined play. Has good/quick hands to shed blockers.

upside: EJ Henderson
downside: special teams

4th Round- early 5th

Mike 'The Situation'
aka the sitch


Ryan's Thoughts:

possible positions: im thinking QB or WR... dont see the athleticism for WR though. i'm going with QB

strong arm (based solely on physical characteristics of arm, since we never saw any athleticism from any of these people). natural leader. confidence bordering as cocky. may rub people the wrong way, but ultimately is a good teammate. does not fold under pressure. good build and height for QB. possesses athletic physique to stand up against wear and tear or season. wonderful tan. may not have the mental part down, but has flashes of odd brillliance from his mind.

upside: matt schaub
downside: ryan leaf

Gabe's Thoughts:

Potential position: QB

I agree on the potential arm strength since we didn't get a peek at any actual athletic attributes. I see him as a guy who WANTS to be the QB. He WANTS the ball in his hands but I'm concerned about his leadership. He has no problem taking control in the huddle but has a tendency to fade when the going gets tough (see snookie fights). I also see him as a problem where he'll throw teammates under the bus in the media and lose the respect of his teammates. Though he has fantastic vision and keeps his head on a swivel (see his ability to spot chicks around him anywhere) his arrogance will lead him to force too many throws. He has some mobility but doesn't run well, just enough to side-step the rush. I'd be concerned about him lowering his eye-sight with pressure aboud him though he is strong enough to take a hit (see his built plus he took JWoww's punch).

upside: jay cutler
downside: jay cutler

mid 3rd rd

Pauly D

Ryan's Thoughts:

position: 3rd WR

great/quick reacting hands (from being a DJ). small size but good solid build. is athletic (well he looks smoothly athletic). wes welker in terms of physique. seems quick (really have no idea), but is not a #1 lead receiver (definitely works better off another receiver *always following sitch's lead, not really a big self promoter.) can handle multiple decision assignments at once (balancing mult girls). may be a good fit in system heavy with receiver option routes. does not have elite size or build. will be better in slot to avoid more physical #1/2 corners. finds his spots and works well with what he has. 750-1000yds + 2-8TDs is possible.

upside: brandon stokely (in his prime not now)
downside: keary colbert

Gabe's Thoughts:

Potential position: Nickelback (the position, not the shitty band)

Agreed on the good quick hands for bump coverage (see DJ skills), excellent in zone coverage as he has great awareness for his enviroment (neccessary skill as a DJ), has no problem stepping up and taking on bigger challenges (see him taking the situation's grenades), great clubhouse guy but not a leader, well liked by all. look to have decent speed (can only base it off looks?), picks up schemes well (situation always has schemes going)

upside: shawntae spencer
downside: mike rumph

5th rounder

Vinny

Ryan's Thoughts:

no position

does not commit to GTL. definitely needs to hit the G. chubby. slow. not fit at all. too relaxed not committed to his craft.

undrafted

CFL.


Gabe's Thoughts:

Potential position: K/long snapper

No real definition or build. The fist-pumping did flash enough strength to potentially long-snap but only if he puts on bulk. He's Italian so he probably has leg strength. Good locker room presence.

upside: martin gramatica (for the celebrations)
downside: bill gramatica

free agent signing

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Promise!!


Attention followers and random readers,

My laptop has been in the shop for the past month or so so I promise to post much much more as soon as it gets back. I promise!!!

Things to look forward to soon:

-Thoughts on:
-Pete Carroll to the Seahawks
-Thoughts on the new USC coaching staff
-The 2010 USC Football recruiting class and top college freshman for next year
-USC depth charts for the future
-A look at college football in 2010
-A sneak peak at the 49ers in 2010
-Reviews on several movies and tv shows
-Restaurant reviews
-Debate on greatest and most influential bands in Rock
-Dumb Email Drafts
-Much much more.

Happy New Year! (only 20 days late),

Gabe


PS-Enjoy the random and pointless pick of my favorite Cajun- Ed Orgeron
-The 2010 MLB season

Friday, December 11, 2009

Hot Women Draft




Every guy has his list of the hottest women. I thought I'd consult some friends and come up with not just a list but teams.

As of Friday, 3:30 PM, AZ time, we've completed 6 1/2 rounds of a Hot Women Draft. The draftees included the same familiar participants: Ryan, Brad, Matt, Bart and myself. We'll see if we finish Round 7. These drafts tend to die out after a few hours as we all get bogged down with work.

I must say, I learned a few new names. Some gals got picked too soon (Jennifer Love Hewitt) and others lasted in the Green Room much too long (Vida Guerra). Overall, can't complain with the results. Here's how the draft played out.

Round 1

Ryan- Adriana Lima
Brad- Eva Mendes
Matt- Roselyn Sanchez
Gabe- Marisa Miller
Bart- Sofia Vergara

Round 2

Bart- Joy Bryant
Gabe- Bar Refaeli
Matt-Monica Hansen
Brad- Jessica Alba
Ryan- Erin Andrews

Round 3

Ryan- Megan Fox
Brad- Denise Milani
Matt- Jennifer Love Hewitt
Gabe- Olivia Wilde
Bart- Aishwarya Rai

Round 4

Bart- Alyssa Milano
Gabe- Carmela DeCesare
Matt- Heidi Klum
Brad- Jenny McCarthy
Ryan- Elsa Benitez

Round 5

Ryan- Blake Lively
Brad- Jessica Biel
Matt- Eliza Dushku
Gabe- Leighton Meester
Bart- Mila Kunis

Round 6

Bart- Vida Guerra
Gabe- Kate Bosworth
Matt- Shannon Elizabeth
Brad- Larisa Oleynik
Ryan- Stacy Keibler

Round 7

Ryan- Minka Kelly
Brad- Eva Longoria-Parker
Matt-
Gabe-
Bart-

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The New Jersey Nyets




Yes. We get it. You can stop already. The New Jersey Nets are not playing very well right now. It's obvious. Yes, they're 0-18. Yes, they just fired their coach. Yes, Kiki Vandeweghe is now captain of this here ship... which can't be good- HC/GM combo never do well anywhere, just as the Clippers right now. Everybody is crapping on them right now. They're the top story everywhere after that Tiger fellow.

But let's all take a step back. Let's take a ginormous step back and really look at the Nets' situation.

Current Roster:
NUM PLAYER POS HT WT DOB FROM YRS
1 Rafer Alston G 6-2 175 07/24/1976 Fresno State 10
7 Tony Battie C-F 6-11 240 02/11/1976 Texas Tech 11
2 Josh Boone F-C 6-10 240 11/21/1984 Connecticut 3
55 Keyon Dooling G 6-3 195 05/08/1980 Missouri 9
17 Chris Douglas-Roberts G-F 6-7 210 01/08/1987 Memphis 1
34 Devin Harris G 6-3 190 02/27/1983 Wisconsin 5
44 Trenton Hassell F-G 6-5 227 03/04/1979 Austin Peay 8
22 Jarvis Hayes F 6-8 228 08/09/1981 Georgia 6
6 Courtney Lee G 6-5 200 10/03/1985 WestKentucky 1
11 Brook Lopez C 7-0 265 04/01/1988 Stanford 1
14 Eduardo Najera F 6-8 235 07/11/1976 Oklahoma 9
21 Bobby Simmons F-G 6-6 230 06/02/1980 DePaul 7
51 Sean Williams F-C 6-10 235 09/13/1986 BostCollege 2
8 Terrence Williams G-F 6-6 220 06/28/1987 Louisville R
9 Yi Jianlian F 7-0 250 10/27/1987 China 2

Franchise Pieces: PG Devin Harris & Brook Lopez.
They say it takes three very good basketball players to make a championship foundation (see Bill Simmons' "The Book of Basketball"). Brook and Devin make up two of the necessary three. Brook is a franchise center with a loooong career ahead of him. He possesses great post moves, decent range and is a quality defender. Devin is a very good and speedy point guard not too mention bring arguably the best defensive point guard in the association and will only get better with better talent around him. More on the third below...

Role Players: PG Rafer Alston, SG/SF Chris Douglas-Roberts, G Courtney Lee, PF/C Yi Jianlian
These four combined with the two franchise players give the Nets a solid foundation that is only a few key components away from being a legitimate contender in the East. Alston is a nice option as a backup PG. We all got to see how much he helped the Magic make their playoff run last year. CDR looks like an athletic player who can find the basket. He shouldn't be a top 3 scorer on your team but a very nice compliment. Courtney Lee is a very necessary piece on the roster with his athleticism and effort. Jianlian gives the Nets quality big man depth.

The Future
The Nets have six quality players on the roster and probably need one more franchise-type player, one more quality starter and a quality role player and they will be 9 team in talent which right where you want to be. The great news for New Jersey is that they are expected to have $40 million in cap space for the big free agent class coming up. Plus, they will have a top three pick as well. So let's look at their current projected roster is and let's look at the free agents that are expected to be available:

2010 Top 9:
PG- Harris
SG-
SF-
PF-
C- Brook Lopez
Bench Guard- Rafer Alston
Bench Swing Man- Chris Douglas Roberts
Bench Big Man- Yi Jianlian
Bench Role Player- Courtney Lee

With their cap space, they could potentially land one legit franchise player, another quality starter and land a third player with the mid-level exception plus their draft pick.

Free Agents that make sense:
Max Contracts-
Lebron James (SF)- Uhh, need doesn't matter. They can dream, can't they. Plus it's realistic especially with the situation I'm laying out.
Joe Johnson (SG)- He would be a great fit at the shooting guard spot.
Dwayne Wade (SG)- Appealing situation and fills a need but will be tough to pull off of the beach
Chris Bosh (PF)- Would give the Nets a scary tandem down-low and the best matchup against the Lakers.

Solid Starters for Cheaper-
Michael Redd (SG)- Great shooter who won't be expected to carry the load for them and with another star added to the mix, will end up with a lot of open looks.
Carlos Boozer (PF)- Would give the Nets a great 3rd scoring option and help the Nets put together a very strong post presence.
Travis Outlaw (SF/PF)- Very interesting piece especially since his best days are ahead of him. Has the potential to become a legit 3rd scorer.
Brendan haywood (C)- Would be a great backup to Lopez and plays great defense.
Udonis Haslem (PF)- Nice compliment down-low as long as they land a premier scorer.
Raja Bell (SF)- Would be a nice piece for his defense and toughness. Wouldnt be looked upon to score. Great role player.

Top Draft Prospects that make sense:
-John Wall (SG)
-Derrick Favors (PF)
-Wesley Johnson (SF)
-Evan Turner (SG)
-Xavier Henry (SG)
-Greg Monroe (PF)

Wall seems to be the 'can't miss' kid in this class and I feel the Nets would be best served dealing the top pick to Minnesota in exchange for their top 5 pick and their other probable top 20 pick which could net them both Johnson or Turner and Monroe.


As you can see, the Nets have some unbelievable flexibility and some very attractive options for their 2010 season and beyond. I predict they'll make the playoffs in 2010 and if they play it right, be a top contender for years to come.




(Yes, this ending is rushed cause I gotta go.)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving




2009 has been an interesting year for me. I moved to Scottsdale, Arizona for my dream career (in it's early stages but this step was a tremendous one and put me on the legitimacy ladder). I got a second job bartending. I got the chance to do a lot of growing, maturing and learning. It's had its struggles but in the end, they're well worth it.

This Thanksgiving/Christmas season I want to look back and give thanks for all the great things in my life. This may come off as a bit "listy" and all but bear with me if you will- I think it's important.

- I'm thankful to God. I'm not always a good person yet he continues to bless my life... and trust me- it's a great life- with amazing opportunities and even better people in it.

-I'm thankful for my parents. They made me the person I am today and allowed me to pursue my dreams and supported me the whole way through. They shower me with love constantly.

-I'm thankful for my siblings. We've always had each others' back through thick and thin. They love me completely and I, them. They keep me grounded and make me smile.

-I'm thankful for my friends. Even though I've moved, my friendships continues to grow. I've always been able to lean on my friends when in need and will never be able to say thank you enough to those who have been there for me. I carry the laughs and memories with me always.

-I'm thankful for the friendships I've made out here in Arizona. It's never easy moving and trying to get acclimated to a new area with new people but my friends out here in Arizona have allowed me to get comfortable and have a support system out here. They're why Arizona has a home-like feel to it.

-I'm thankful to my employer/boss/boss' boss for giving me this dream opportunity. I've always wanted to work in the department and they've allowed me to do so. To have the chance to live out your dreams is something unique and special. This is what I have dedicated my life to and it's rewarding to see a payoff.

-I'm thankful to Barrio Cantina- the restaurant/bar where I bartend. Having that job allows me to make sacrifices to make dreams come true. I've made a lot of friends at the bar and it's given me a sense of community. Also, the management has been nothing short of fantastic with me and I thank them for that.

-I'm thankful for awareness and humility.

-I'm thankful for confidence and a touch of arrogance.

-I'm thankful for all the people who have gotten me to where I am today- Coaches Kevin Lavalle, Joe Hoggatt, Mike Najera, Louis Francisco, Randall Lindenberg, Jim Dunleavy, Bob Ausmus; Tim Tessalone and staff, Sam Felsenfeld, the front offices of the two affiliates I worked at; Maria Jacinto & Nancy Mazmanian. All these people opened doors for me, guided or supported me somewhere along my journey.

-I'm thankful for my daily essential blessings of food, shelter, transportation and all the little things we forget about.

There's a lot to be thankful for. I look forward to what's to come.

Enjoy your Thanksgiving, the great food but more importantly the company and the opportunity to say thank you.

God bless.