Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ten 2010 NFL Draft Steals

Every draft in the NFL has steals. Guys passed over countless times by every team before finally being selected.

Some steals happen in the sixth round, like future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. Some steals become solid players for years.

Some steals happen because the players have character issues, while others happen because teams are looking to fill needs in other areas first.

The first picture is of Ndamukong Suh, who might be the biggest steal this year. He has Hall of Fame written all over him, and the Detroit Lions should be sending the Saint Louis Rams a "Thank You" card for passing on him.

Let's look at this year's other potential steals:

Mardy Gilyard

In the fourth round, after 98 other players were chosen, the Saint Louis Rams grabbed Gilyard.

This wide receiver knows what hard work is, having lived out his car while working to pay his college tuition.

The Rams just got themselves an expert return specialist who could easily become a huge part of their passing attack one day.

Bruce Campbell

Many thought the Raiders would draft the most athletic offensive lineman in the draft with their first round selection, but Oakland waited until the fourth round, almost 100 picks later, to get him.

The kid is raw, but huge. Raiders head coach Tom Cable's expertise is the offensive line, so he will have fun coaching this talent up to possibly being the teams starting left tackle for the next decade.

Navorro Bowman

A fringe first round pick fell to the third round before the San Francisco 49ers grabbed him.

Niners head coach Mike Singletary is a no-nonsense Hall of Fame linebacker unconcerned by Bowman's off-field issues.

The kid comes from Linebacker U. under JoePa, so he really lucked into a good situation here. His selection just helps a team that already had an excellent draft.

Ricky Sapp

The Philadelphia Eagles got the chance for a huge steal here. Sapp is projected to be an outside linebacker, a huge need. He is also excellent at getting to the quarterback.

Even if he plays defensive end, the fifth round pick has a very good chance to contribute right away.

Brody Eldridge

It seems every year the Indianapolis Colts draft a tight end. All have been pass-catching types until they snagged Eldridge in the fifth round this year.

His specialty is blocking, and he was the highest-rated player at his position in that area for the entire draft.

Now the Colts can look to run the ball a bit more in the upcoming season.

Colt McCoy

When ESPN was talking to Browns president Mike Holmgren in the first round, Jon Gruden and Steve Young went out their way to ask if McCoy was a prospect. Holmgren told his coaching disciple and former quarterback they knew him too well.

Cleveland then proceeded to gamble deep into the third round that he would be there before pouncing.

McCoy, the winningest quarterback in college football history, fits the system Cleveland runs and is now considered the future.

Amari Spievey

Spievey is a tough guy who loves to hit. Detroit selects him in the third round, and he bolsters a secondary in need of help.

With him and second-year safety Louis Delmas, the Lions look to make opponents pay for catching the ball on them.

Everson Griffen

Another first-round prospect who fell to the fourth round because of character concerns.

If he gets his head straightened out under the tutelage of the Williams', the Minnesota Vikings got a guy who will push for playing time immediately.

Jonathan Dwyer

It seems that every year since 1969 the Pittsburgh Steelers grab a great player or two.

After getting their next pass rush demon in Jason Worlids, they get a talented back in the sixth round with Dwyer.

Though he has fullback experience, the kid runs well between the tackles.

He could add solid depth that is needed.

Cam Thomas

The San Diego Chargers desperately needed a nose tackle, and they waited until the fifth round to address this need.

Getting Thomas is a huge steal for the Bolts. He is huge and strong. Occupying multiple blockers is his specialty.

He looks to start right away.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

JaMarcus Russell No Longer A Raider?

When the Oakland Raiders drafted JaMarcus Russell with the first overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, they envisioned this huge young man to be taking snaps for them for at least the next decade.

He may have taken his last snap with them in 2009.

The Raiders just acquired veteran starter Jason Campbell from the Washington Redskins in a trade, and Campbell has a very good chance at being named the starter for the 2010 season. He is coming off his best season as a pro, despite playing behind a horrible offensive line. The Raiders also have a below average offensive line, so Campbell should adjust nicely.

Russell will make over $9 million if the Raiders decide to keep him, and this is not a fiscally sound move. Oakland is expected to ask Russell to take a pay cut, and many think that he will decline the request. If he does, Oakland will be almost forced to release him.

He hasn't helped himself any in the weeks leading up to the draft. Russell showed up late to scheduled workout sessions, and weighed near 300 lbs upon arrival. Not a good sign from a guy expected to lead the offense. He also has caught the ire of many teammates, who see him as lazy, selfish, and immature.

Campbell now enters his his sixth different offensive system in the last eight years he has played football, an unheard of journey. He has shown an innate ability to learn quickly, so Oakland can almost rely on him to understand their scheme when training camp starts. He also works hard, something the team needs from their quarterbacks.

With journeyman Bruce Gradkowski having endeared himself to Raiders Nation in 2009 with his grit, Russell may have suddenly found himself a third string player on the depth chart. Most NFL teams these days carry just two quarterbacks through an entire season.

While Russell may have the strongest arm in the league, he has not shown the same strength in his will and determination. He has shown little interest in learning the system or his teammates. Considering he was guaranteed $31.5 million in a six year contract that could be worth $68 million, this is not what anyone associated with the Raiders expected.

There is a story floating around Alameda, California that may be most telling on his work ethic. After a loss, a Raiders coach handed Russell a DVD that was full of plays to break down and learn from. When Russell showed up at the Raiders headquarters the next day, the coach asked Russell what he thought of the DVD. The answers were the "right answers", in that Russell said he learned a lot. Yet there was a problem.

The DVD was blank. It was a trap set up to expose the work ethic of their boated quarterback, and it worked. At least it did if this story is true.

Many like to say the NFL stands for "Not For Long", and this may be the case of Russell. His journey with the Raiders may have ended in the 2010 draft. If he is released, another team will take a flier on him. It just wont be a $68 million flier.

Teams like the Buffalo Bills, and possibly the New Orleans Saints might look at him if the Raiders waive him in the next week. Russell is a legend at LSU, and the Saints have just the inexperienced Chase Daniel as a backup. A homecoming of sorts could be a good fit.

This day was not a day the Raiders foresaw when they tabbed Russell in 2007, and proceeded to drown him in cash. His care is proof positive why the NFL needs a salary cap on rookies, because Oakland poured millions into a kid who gave little back in return. He still is guaranteed over $3 million this season.

How will Russell respond to the acquisition of Campbell? Will he hit the film room finally? Will it matter how hard he works? Will he accept a pay cut? Even if he does, will the Raiders choose Gradkowski over him? Is his draft selection now labelled the biggest bust of the past decade?

With his NFL future now in flux, it now may be time for Raiders Nation to give JaMarcus Russell a "Commitment to Excellence"salute as he heads out of town.

Friday, April 23, 2010

2010 NFL Drafts Biggest First Round Gambles

The first round of the 2010 NFL Draft has completed and is full of questions and head scratchers. Every year there is a team that takes questionable picks, but this year has perhaps more than any other in recent memory,

Here are some of this years first round draft picks that deserve the most scrutiny.

1. Saint Louis Rams : Sam Bradford

OK, the Rams have never drafted a quarterback in the first round of the NFL common draft, after the American Football League merged with it in 1967. The Rams also showed little interest in their trenches before the draft after giving away defensive tackle Adam Carroker, their 2007 first round pick, for virtually nothing to the Washington Redskins.

Gambling on a guy, with the first overall pick in the draft, who was obviously a system quarterback in college, albeit a brittle one, when he wasn’t even considered a top ten talent in the draft is a move that could haunt them for a decade. The Rams could have gotten a quarterback of equal talents in the second round, while selecting the best player in the draft.

They chose, however, to buckle to the media. To get a quarterback in a league that panders to the position. The Rams better hope Bradford can take a lot of hits behind their questionable offensive line.

4. Washington Redskins : Trent Williams

Lets see, the Redskins just lost Pro Bowl left tackle Chris Samuels to a career ending retirement, and also had perhaps the worst offensive line in the NFL last year. So they get a guy most consider a right tackle with the best left tackle sitting on the board?

They just got Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb, so drafting anyone constitutes an upgrade. However, this is a huge gamble that Williams can play the most important position on the offensive line, a position many rated him the sixth or seventh best prospect there.

8. Oakland Raiders : Rolando McClain

Kirk Morrison, the starting middle linebacker last year, had very similar numbers to Patrick Willis of the San Francisco 49ers. Willis is generally considered the best in the NFC at his position. The Raiders offensive line stinks, the secondary needs help, and the quarterback position is amongst the worst in the league.

Yet Al Davis, Hall of Fame owner of the Raiders, obviously sees something most others don’t. McClain had inflated numbers in college, and many think needs a lot of work. He said weeks ago he wanted to play in a 3-4 defense, but the Raiders run a 4-3 defense.

With so many good blockers still on the board, time will tell if Al made another mistake.

9. Buffalo Bills : C.J. Spiller

The Bills have HUGE questions at quarterback and the offensive line, and running back was considered a strength. Getting Spiller is a “best athlete drated” scenario, but will he work in Buffalo? They say all he needs is an opening to take off, but these openings with will hard to find with opponents crowding the line of scrimmage, not respecting the passing game and putting more pressure on a iffy offensive line.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars : Tyson Alualu

HUH? Alualu was rated maybe the fifth best defensive tackle in the draft. What was the Jaguars thinking? Their financial struggles are well noted, so perhaps they think they can sign this kid to a low contract?

For a team needing a pass rush , running back depth, and a quarterback to mold, this selection made little sense. It could finall cost head coach Jack Del Rio his job.

13. Philadelphia Eagles : Brandon Graham

The Igglez sure love tiny defensive ends. They need major help in the secondary, especially at cornerback. They traded up for Graham, so perhaps a good pass rush is what they figure will help a weak secondary?

20. Houston Texans : Kareem Jackson

Houston needs help at safety and cornerback, so perhaps Jackson is being counted on to fill either slot? Curious pick, considering there were quite a few higher rated defensive backs still on the board at both positions.

22. Denver Broncos : Demaryious Thomas

Head Coach Josh McDaniels traded down, with the story the guys he wanted were still on the board. He ends up picking two guys who had a very good chance on being drafted in the third round.

Thomas is a project, and was rated maybe the six best wide receiver prospect on the board. As soon as he reached on Thomas, the Dallas Cowboys coyly moved up and grabbed the best wide receiver in the draft.

Hopefully McDaniels is right here.

25. Denver Broncos : Tim Tebow

Yeah yeah, he’s a “nice guy” and he “never cusses”. But this guy is not an NFL quarterback, period. Recently acquired Brady Quinn can show Tebow the ropes on what a first round flop is supposed to look like.

Quinn’s ego has to be hurting, because many teams only carry two quarterbacks these days. Will the selection of Tebow find Quinn looking for work in a few weeks? Stay tuned to this mess.

31. Indianapolis Colts : Jerry Hughes

Considering there were much better defensive ends on the board, this pick is questionable.
A ‘tweener who really doesn’t fit the mold of anything more than a pass rushing outside linebacker or an undersized defensive end. Guys like Sergio Kindle, Ricky Sapp, or Carlos Dunlap would have made mnore sense.
What is confusing is how the Colts ignored the offensive line and major need for defensive tackles with this selection.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

The Baltimore Orioles Will Never Win With Peter Angelos

The Oriole Way

Peter Angelos, the Baltimore Orioles owner, has no idea what that means. It is a term every baseball fan in Charm City is well aware of, and a methodology that Angelos has seemed bent on destroying since he bought the ball club in 1993.

The Oriole Way had been very successful before he bought the club. For over three decades, from the 1960's to the 1980's, the Orioles had the highest winning percentage in all of sports, and the winningest team in all of baseball. They won six American League Pennants and three World Series over that time.

The first, and so far only, right move Angelos made to benefit the ball club in a positive manner occurred in 2007 when he hired Andy MacPhail as the teams General Manager and President of Baseball Operations.

MacPhail, a veteran baseball man, had oversaw the Minnesota Twins to two World Series titles when he was the teams General Manager from 1985 to 1994. He was named The Sporting News Major League Baseball Executive of the Year in 1991. He then left to join the Chicago Cubs, staying with them until 2006, but was unable to duplicate his previous successes.

His joining the Orioles is almost like a homecoming for him. His dad is former American League President Lee MacPhail, who is actually the man who started The Oriole Way as General Manager of the team until 1965. The American League Championship Most Valuable Player Award is named after him, and he is the oldest living member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Andy's grandfather is Larry MacPhail, the man who brought Major League Baseball innovations like night baseball, broadcasting regular season games, and teams flying from city to city to play baseball. He was even a racetrack president in Bowie, Maryland. Larry and Lee are the only father and son inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Andy has been following the similar blueprint of his father. The team is chock full of young talent that is very raw and attempting to learn on the fly. Though the team is losing more than it is winning at present time, most baseball experts agree the team has the talent to contend in a few years.

Cal Ripken Jr. is more than Major League Baseball's Iron Man, having played the most consecutive games in the history of all professional sports, he is also a Orioles Hall of Famer who truly knows what The Oriole Way means in every sense.

Not only did he stay with the franchise for over twenty years, his father spent 36 years with the team and his younger brother spent over seven years with them. Cal Ripken Sr. was once a manager of the Orioles, and both of his sons played under him. This is the only time that this has ever occurred in Major League Baseball history.

Since retiring as a player, the Ripken sons have been have served as ambassadors to baseball across the globe and bought a minor league baseball team close to Baltimore that is within the Orioles system. He has kept a keen interest on his beloved Orioles, and is trying to help develop players to bring the organization championships again.

He recently approached Angelos to offer his services to talk to some of the young Orioles stars, hoping to offer a mentorship in hopes to "finish off their development." He did not ask for a specific role, he only wanted to do what he was taught in The Oriole Way. To give back.

Angelos, widely considered the worst owner in Major League Baseball and one of the worst in all of professional sports, flatly refused the generous offer from a legend trying to help a team that has lost ten of the 11 games they have played this season thus far.

His reason was as moronic as his legacy of ownership. He did not want Ripken to receive any credit once the team became successful. What Angelos did yet again was put his ego ahead of his team or the Orioles fans who help keep his team from going under by paying money seeing a product not being afforded every opportunity possible to win.

Orioles fans since the 1990's have been pleading for Angelos to sell the team to someone who actually cares about the team, but the lawyer refuses to listen to his clients. Though he refutes the claim as to the reason why he turned away Ripken Jr., most fans believe the initial reports because the mans ego has caused the team to fall on hard times pretty much upon his arrival as owner.

Former Orioles owners like Jerold Hoffberger and Edward Bennett Williams never would have turned away perhaps the most famous Oriole of them all. They would welcome the wisdom of team legends to keep The Oriole Way strong.

With men like Ripken Jr., Jim Palmer, Frank and Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray and others still alive, it would only be a move of intelligent design to ask these Hall of Famers to give back to the team whatever they desire. An intelligence Peter Angelos has never had, and the reason the Orioles will never be anything as long as he is associated with them.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Washington Redskins' 2010 NFL Mock Draft: More Holes Than Draft Picks

The Washington Redskins have fallen on hard times as a franchise. They are now the perennial cellar dwellers, in the NFC East.

The team is so desperate in need of repair that owner Dan Snyder cleaned house by hiring a new general manager and head coach.

Bruce Allen, the general manager, and Mike Shanahan, the head coach, have not gotten off to a roaring start just yet.

They have hired two aging running backs, Willie Parker and Larry Johnson, most pundits considered washed up, along with several other underachievers, Phillip Buchanon and Artis Hicks.

The big noise the team has made this offseason was trading a pair of draft picks to the Philadelphia Eagles for quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Though his contract expires at the end of the season, with a players strikes looming in the shadows, the team is gambling this move does not end up being a one year rental of the five-time Pro Bowler, who may now be at the apex of his peak.

The Redskins will be working with just four draft picks in the 2010 NFL Draft, and they need help on both sides of the line in the trenches, as well as the defensive secondary, and linebacker corps.

They could also stand to take a chance on getting a quarterback to groom in case McNabb bolts at seasons end.

There are more holes than draft picks, and although the Redskins will probably try to trade 2009 starting quarterback Jason Campbell for more selections, it still will not be enough for an aging team trying to rebuild on the fly and crawl out of last place at the same time.


With the fourth overall pick of the draft, the Redskins should use it on Oklahoma State University’s Russell Okung.

With the retirement of left tackle Chris Samuels, a replacements is needed immediately. This especially needs to happen on a team that has spent most years neglecting this unit to the point where it may be the worst in the league.


Unless the Redskins procure a draft choice between here and the first round for Jason Campbell, they will have to wait for 99 other players to be chosen before they pick again.

Javier Arenas of Alabama University may not be on the board by now, but it is possible due his diminutive size.

He is reminiscent of Redskins Hall of Fame cornerback Darrell Green, in that he has excellent speed and is a dangerous return man on special teams. He also wore Green’s No. 28 in college.

With the departure of veteran Fred Smoot, the Redskins need another cornerback. Even if he is a project such as Arenas is.


32 picks later, the Redskins are back to try to fill another of several holes with a lower tier talent.

Here it’s time to stock the defensive line and Torrell Troup of Central Florida should be there.

He is 6′3″, 314 pounds, and is coming off a standout performance at the East-West Shrine game.

He specializes at stopping the run, something the Redskins need, and has good instincts and push. He has work to do, but could be a serviceable big body in the trenches.


This is the time you take a gamble. Sometimes you get a seventh round pick who can turn out like Matt Cassell, Patrick Crayton, Derrick Ward, and Bobby McCray.

Many other times you get a guy who won’t even make the team.

Zac Robinson needs a lot of work and is extremely raw, but is athletic enough to avoid the pass rush, and has a very good arm.

He is also considered a high character player with good mental toughness. He needs to improve his decision making time, and also needs to hit the weight room hard and bulk up. He can improve on all areas of mechanics a lot.

Robinson would be a good candidate to be such a player to develop as he works on his game on the sidelines while the games go on in 2010. He might be three years away from being ready to compete for a starting job, but could be worth the gamble here.

Monday, April 12, 2010

A Call To Keep Jason Campbell

When the Washington Redskins traded with the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire Donovan McNabb for a couple of draft picks, cynics pointed out the deal could basically end up being a one year rental of the former Eagles quarterback.

McNabb, whose contract expires at the end of the season, will most likely not sign any contact extensions until the players and owners resolve their differences on the collective bargaining agreement at seasons end. Most experts think a players strike is inevitable, something NFLPA Executive Director DeMaurice Smith has echoed.

If the players win the strike, things will become like Major League Baseball. Where the highest bidder secures the services of available players. There is no guarantees the Redskins would win a bidding war to retain the services of their newly acquired quarterback.

This leaves Jason Campbell even more in flux. The 2009 starter, coming off his best season, was informed of the McNabb trade through the media instead of the team. He was a restricted free agent, until recently signing a tendered contract offer to stay with the team.

Rumors are abound that the Redskins will trade Campbell before the NFL Draft to get more draft picks, but this may not be a wise move by the club. Campbell has showed definite improvement in each of his three and a half seasons as the starter, despite having one of the worst offensive lines in the league in front of him much of the time.

If Washington elects to part ways with him, they will be stuck with Rex Grossman and Rick Bartell as McNabb's backups. This may be the worst quarterback depth in the league, where only Grossman has much experience. The last time Grossman was a full time starter was 2006, and the erratic quarterback has never posted a quarterback rating over 74.8.

This is not a good scenario for a team who is relying on McNabb to play all 16 games, something he has done only four times in his eleven seasons. When McNabb is actually healthy enough to play, he is special. He is is the least intercepted quarterback per pass attempt in NFL history, and he has the second-best touchdown-to-interception ratio of all time. He also has the third-highest winning percentage among active quarterbacks.

Based on his history, it is highly unlikely McNabb will play a full season. It is more likely he will get injured and miss time, especially behind an offensive line that was as porous as the Redskins were last season. If newly hired head coach Mike Shanahan is more comfortable with Rex Grossman as his backup over Campbell, then it becomes clearer as to why the Denver Broncos fired him.

The work done thus far by Shanahan and new General Manager Bruce Allen can only be termed as dubious. Moves that will have to play out to see if they are going to pan out. The son of legendary Redskins Hall of Fame coach George Allen, Bruce is trying an almost similar approach that his dad initiated by signing veteran players.

The "Over The Hill Gang" was a group of older players that George Allen was familiar with, having coached them when he was with both the Chicago Bears and Los Angeles Rams. His son is now signing older players, though few have any ties to him.

He has signed such an array of veterans that range from unimpressive to washed up. Players like running backs Larry Johnson and Willie Parker, defensive tackles Anthony Bryant and Maake Kemoeatu, offensive lineman Artis Hicks, tight end Sean Ryan, punter Josh Bidwell, and cornerback Phillip Buchanon.

None are exactly considered top tier talent in the league. Only Buchanon, drafted by Allen in the first round of the 2002 draft when he was general manager of the Oakland Raiders, has any past ties with him.

Perhaps the moniker to dub the group Bruce Allen is assembling might be the "Washed Up Gang"?

If McNabb leaves the team after one season, Washington will be left with Grossman and Bartell if they trade Campbell before the draft. Unless the team drafts a quarterback this year, the future looks bleak in that scenario. It will be questionable if left in the hands of an inexperienced player, if they do draft a quarterback to groom this season.

The smart move would be to hang onto the 28 year old Campbell, in case the soon-to-be 34 year old McNabb goes down with his annual injury or bolts at seasons end. If they re-sign McNabb before the 2011 NFL Draft, Campbell will still hold trade value in a league with so very few good quarterbacks. The long line of teams interested in his services this year will be about as long as next season.

Redskins Nation understands the value of having a good backup quarterback. Not just from the Joe Gibbs Era, where Washington won three Super Bowls over ten years with three different quarterbacks, but from the days when another ex-Eagles quarterback took snaps for the Redskins.

Hall of Famer Sonny Jurgensen spent the last five years of his brilliant career sharing snap with Billy Kilmer. The two became fast friends and noted drinking buddies. They learned from each other. If Bruce Allen was not in a coma as a high school student from 1971 to 1974, he noticed this. He also noticed the quarterback duo led the Redskins to his dads only Super Bowl appearance in 1972.

If there was ever a time to steal a page from the old man, this is it. He must keep Jason Campbell a member of the Washington Redskins for the 2010 season. Who knows? Maybe Campbell and McNabb will become fast friends like Sonny and Billy did? The best way to relive the glory days sometimes is to try to emulate them.

The San Francisco Giants Spit On Tradition

The San Francisco Giants president Larry Baer just announced recently retired Rich Aurilia will be honored by retiring his No. 35 jersey and giving him a spot on the Giants' Wall of Fame outside the ballpark.

Every Giants fan must have said, "Huh"?

Aurilia was a good player, but hardly a legendary institution in San Francisco. He was with the team for 12 of his 15 seasons as a player. His best season was in 2001, while with the Giants. He earned his only All-Star selection and won his only Silver Slugger after setting career best marks of 206 hits, 37 home runs, scored 114 runs, five triples, and batter .324.

He got to see Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs that year on drugs, so who is to say Rich didn't pop a few of BALCO Barry's special vitamins in his mouth that year? With extra outfielder Marvin Bernard, a teammate on that team, recently admitting he was on steroids that year, it is more than fair to look at Aurilia's one big season of his career with scrutiny.

That is the legacy Barry Bonds left baseball with.

Though he never came close to those numbers again, Aurilia did set a record by hitting five home runs in the Giants 2002 post season. It helped them get to the World Series, where the Giants lost.

He ended his career with a batting average of .275 with 186 home runs and 756 runs batted in. He had 143 home runs and 574 runs batted with 1,226 hits in 12 years for the Giants.

Solid numbers, but is it a career worthy to have his number immortalized next to Hall of Famers like Christy Mathewson, John McGraw, Bill Terry, Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell, Willie Mays, Juan Marichal, Orlando Cepeda, Gaylord Perry, Willie McCovey, and even Jackie Robinson?


If Aurilia is worthy by the Giants newly lowered standards, it makes one think who else should get this honor since they are perhaps more deserving.

Alvin Dark

You want to see how the Giants treat their greats? Look no further to Alvin Dark. In 1969, he was voted the greatest shortstop in franchise history.

Initially drafted by the football Philadelphia Eagles, of the NFL, in the third round of the 1945 draft, he elected to serve his country in World War Two, then decided to play baseball upon his return.

The Giants grabbed the 1948 Rookie of the Year from the Boston Braves at the end of the 1949 season, a year after leading them to an improbable World Series appearance. He stayed with the Giants as a player until 1956. He was a key component of their 1954 Word Series winning team, finishing fifth in the leagues MVP voting that year, and was a three time All-Star in 1951, '52, and '54. He also won the first Lou Gehrig Memorial Award in 1955, given to the player who best exemplified Gehrig's character and integrity both on and off the field.

He returned to the Giants in 1961 as a manager, piloting them to the 1962 World Series. After losing in seven games to the New York Yankees, he was misquoted by a reporter with a disparaging comment against black and Latino players. Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson quickly came to Dark's rescue, refuting the reporters story. He was still fired after that season.

Dark resurfaced across the San Francisco Bay in 1974 as the skipper of the Oakland Athletics. The A's would go on to win the World Series that year.

In seven years as a Giants player, he hit 98 home runs and drove in 429 runs on 1,101 hits. Very comparable numbers to Aurilia, minus the fact he played five less seasons and got a World Series title. After all of this, the Giants haven't even put Dark on their Wall of Fame, let alone retired his jersey.

When you see the Giants current Wall of Fame, which is full of mediocre players like Aurilia, it is bewildering that Dark is missing from it. Disgraceful, really.

Jo-Jo Moore

Yet another Giants great not even on the teams Wall of Fame, despite being ninth on the franchise hit list with 1,615.

He spent his entire 12 years as a player with the Giants, finishing with a .298 career batting average. He also helped them win the 1933 World Series, as well as appear in two others. He hit over .300 five times, and never struck out more than 37 times in a season. He was an All-Star six times.

If Rich Aurilia had a career worthy of having the Giants retire his number, then what about the vastly superior career of Jo-Jo Moore?

Larry Doyle

The greatest second baseman in Giants history is also not on the teams Wall of Fame. In 13 years with the club, he smacked 1,751 hits. It is the eight most in team history.

He helped the Giants win three pennants, and was named the MVP of the 1912 season. He is also the first man to ever hit a ball out of the Polo Grounds.

Doyle led the majors in hits twice, doubles, triples and batting average once. His 25 triples in 1911 is the seventh most for a season in MLB history.

Travis Jackson

Another Giants legend not on the Wall of Fame. 15 seasons and 1,768 hits. "Stonewall" is in Cooperstown as a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, but this apparently is not good enough to be recognized by the team.

Jack Clark

"Jack the Ripper" spent ten years in the Giants uniform, getting 1,034 hits, 163 homers, and 595 RBI's and two All-Star games with them. Good enough to get the first ever recipient of the Willie Mac Award on the teams Wall of Fame, yet apparently his career with them apparently doesn't equal Aurilia's as far as getting his jersey retired.

Will Clark

The "Thrill" spent eight years with the Giants, collecting 1,278 hits, 176 dingers, and 709 ribbies. He also was a five time All Star, won a Gold Glove, two Silver Sluggers, a Golden Spikes, and was the 1989 NLCS MVP for them. Good enough for the Giants Wall of Fame, but apparently he falls short of getting his number retired by them.

Robby Thompson

Robby spent 11 years in a Giants jersey. He got 1,187 hits, 119 homers, and 458 RBI's. He also won a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger once, and went to the All-Star game twice. He also won the teams Willie Mac Award in 1991, honoring spirit and leadership. Good enough for the Giants Wall of Fame, yet deemed not as good a career as Aurilia to get his number retired.

How about Johnny LeMaster? He was with the Giants from 1975 to 1985. He retired after the 1987 season with a 222 batting average, 22 home runs and 229 runs batted in. One of his homers came off an inside the park job in his first career at bat, which is a MLB record. He was often booed by Giants fans, so he once wore a jersey replacing his last name on the back of the jersey with "BOO".

Some say Aurilia's organizational ties are the real reason he is getting this honor from the Giants. He has become a broadcaster. Well, if this is all it takes to get this honor, then the Giants may as well as retire the numbers of two other former players who now broadcast games for them.

Duane Kuiper batted .255 over four years for the Giants. He is the only MLB player to hit two bases-loaded triples in a game, and he once went 3,379 at bats before he hit the only home run of his career.

He broadcasts games with ex-Giants pitcher Mike Krukow. Krukow went 20-9 in 1986, finishing third in the Cy Young Award. In the 1987 NLCS, he went nine innings, giving up just two runs in the win. It was his only post season experience. He also hit three of his five career home runs for the Giants.

He won 66 games over seven years for the Giants, and is on the teams Wall of Fame.

Certainly the Giants should consider retiring his jersey if they are going to retire the jersey of Rich Aurilia.

There can be a longer list of former Giants who had careers comparable, yet will not get any honor or recognition by the franchise. The ownership group led by Sue Burns and Bill Neukom need to step in and stop Baer. They cannot allow this farce to take place.

The Giants need to better embrace their entire history, one that is full of much better baseball players than Rich Aurilia.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

2010 NFL Mock Draft - Another Version

1. Saint Louis Rams : Sam Bradford, Quarterback

Though the Rams should grab Ndamukong Suh immediately, we are about to witness a draft blunder by a franchise in chaos at the top levels.

Marc Bulger, the starting quarterback for the last few years, has been released. Bradford will be the 2010 starter.

Though they could get Suh to line up next to former first round draft picks Adam Carriker and Chris Long, giving them a very promising unit, they will choose not to wait until the second round to draft a Colt McCoy to be their starter.

This move could haunt them for years.

2. Detroit Lions : Ndamukong Suh, Defensive Tackle

About two seconds after Lions general manager Martin Mayhew sends the Rams a gift basket as a "Thank You", he will grab easily the best player in the entire draft.

Suh will be brought in to stir memories of Roger Brown, Alex Karras, and the original "Fearsome Foursome".

If he stays healthy and plays to his abilities, Suh will one day join Lions legend Lou Creekmur as the only defensive tackles in Canton.

Unless the voters wake up and induct Brown finally.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers : Gerald McCoy, Defensive Tackle

Timing is everything. Tampa would prefer Matt Millen were still in Detroit so they could get their hands on Suh, but McCoy is a solid consolation prize.

He will improve the interior of their defense immediately.

4. Washington Redskins : Russell Okung, Offensive Tackle

This is the pick most of Redskins Nation has been screaming for since the draft countdown began.

Even before they got their hands on future Hall of Fame quarterback Donovan McNabb.

Washington couldn't block in 2009, and they even lost left tackle Chris Samuels to a career ending spinal injury.

This may the only no brainer pick of the draft.

5. Kansas City Chiefs : Bryan Bulaga, Offensive Tackle

IF the Rams wisely draft Suh, it is possible the Lions and Chiefs swap picks so Kansas City gets Okung.

Baluga will be the second offensive lineman drafted most likely in any scenario.

As desperately as they need blocking, this might be the right pick. Yet they can go in several directions because they have several holes to fill.

6. Seattle Seahawks : Jimmy Clausen, Quarterback

Seattle has two first round picks this year, and I think they grab Clausen here because it is conceivable that Buffalo would before their second pick came around.

New head coach Pete Carroll knows Clausen well, and he can allow the kid a year on the bench to learn from veteran Matt Hasselbeck.

This is a move for 2011, unless the oft-injured Hasselbeck goes down again with his bad back.

7. Cleveland Browns : Eric Berry, Safety

Few teams have a tradition as rich as the Browns. Yet, they have never had a safety inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Stunning, considering they have 16 players inducted. It is the fourth most in NFL history.

Not saying Berry is headed for Canton, but he would be a huge upgrade over the current free safeties Mike Adams and Ray Ventrone.

The Browns have a ton of excellent cornerbacks, so Berry will offer them a wrinkle of versatility needed to get their defense back on top and the "Dawg Pound" rowdy again.

8. Oakland Raiders : Bruce Campbell, Offensive Tackle

Oakland needs blockers like a fish needs water.

They need to run the ball to win, and are full of questions at quarterback.

Good blocking solves a lot of problems.

9. Buffalo Bills : Trent Williams, Offensive Tackle

The Bills have hit hard times in the trenches on the offensive side of the ball. Williams is needed, especially in the run game.

He also helps soothe the sudden loss of guard Brad Butler to retirement.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars : Jason Pierre-Paul, Defensive End

If ever there was a pick looking to get traded, this might be it.

Jacksonville needs depth at running back, the secondary, and linebacker.

I have them grabbing Pierre-Paul for a few reasons.

They need pass rushers, and there is no guarantee newly signed Aaron Kampman is 100 percent coming off a major knee injury.

Even if Kampman is ready, head coach Jack Del Rio can't get enough pressure on the ball.

Pierre-Paul is a local kid, so that somewhat helps satisfy the franchises hopes for drawing larger crowds. He is also a incredible athlete whose football skills and knowledge are very raw.

Having Del Rio, a former NFL linebacker, teach him the ropes will be a huge help.

11. Denver Broncos: Dan Williams, Nose Tackle

Even if Denver just signed veteran nose tackle Jamal Williams, this is a smart move.

Jamal Williams has been injury prone lately, and has shown definite signs of slowing down. The Chargers let him go, despite needing help in the trenches.

These Williams' won't remind you of the Minnesota Vikings Williams', but Dan Williams is easily the third best defensive tackle in the draft.. He immediately upgrades the team in a huge area of need.

12. Miami Dolphins : Rolando McClain, Inside Linebacker

This makes the seventh linebacker Bill Parcells has drafted in the first round.

McClain pick allows newly acquired Karlos Dansby to move to the outside to help Cameron Wake rush the passer. He will also help the inconsistent Channing Crowder.

13. San Francisco 49ers : Joe Haden, Cornerback

The Niners need help in the secondary. Their current group of CB's had five interceptions last year, and veteran Nate Clements is entering his ninth season.

Haden was considered a top ten selection before his mediocre showing at the combine, but it is hard to see him dropping too far in the draft.

14. Seattle Seahawks: Dez Bryant, Wide Receiver

Now that all of the top blockers are gone, Seattle could use an infusion at wide receiver after losing Nate Burleson.

Bryant is big and strong, with hr ability to jump high.

He is the best player on the board at this time.

15. New York Giants : Derrick Morgan, Defensive End

The Jints get a gift here. Morgan fits nicely into their 4-3 scheme, and will help if they lose both 2009 starters after this season.

Linebacker Sean Witherspoon might get a look, because his game fits G-Men defensive coordinator Perry Fewell's scheme.

16. Tennessee Titans: Everson Griffen, Defensive End

This workout warrior just ran an impressive 4.59 40-yard dash at his Pro Day. He fits the Titans recent run at drafting guys who have great workouts, plus he fills a need. Jeff Fisher's USC ties don't hurt either.\

17. San Francisco 49ers : Anthony Davis, Offensive Tackle

Davis had his stock drop after a poor combine, but is has the measurables highly sought after.

He is only 20 years old, so he can be developed at right tackle for now with an eye on the left side for the future.

18. Pittsburgh Steelers : Mike Iupati, Guard

Iupati fills a big need on a Steelers offensive line that was not very good last year. He can play either guard slot and even right tackle.

He brings a nasty streak that Steelers fans want from their blockers, which will help a rushing attack that is uncertain right now.

19. Atlanta Falcons : Brandon Graham, Defensive End

Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon could go here, but the Falcons had a paltry 28 sacks in 2009. They need to do better.

Graham is smallish, but his motor and pass rush moves make him perhaps too intriguing to pass up here.

20. Houston Texans : Earl Thomas, Safety

The Texans absolutely need a free safety right now, and Thomas fills that void. It also doesn't hurt that he attended college at the University of Texas and has some ability to play cornerback.

Though Houston could look at running back, their issue at free safety is too great to ignore right here.

21. Cincinnati Bengals : Jermaine Gresham, Tight End

Even if the Bengals do sign wide receiver Terrell Owens, they need more receiving options for quarterback Carson Palmer.

Especially at tight end, where they got little production from in 2009.

Though Cincinnati could look at guard or defensive tackle here, Gresham is easily the best tight end in the draft and may be too tempting to pass up.

22. New England Patriots : Ryan Matthews, Running Back

He is a do-it-all type of back who is not afraid of running in between the tackles.

The Pats are full of specialist backs, but lack that bell cow they can lean on.

Matthews could be that guy.

23. Green Bay Packers : Kyle Wilson, Cornerback

Wilson has shot up the boards recently. He is a four year starter who never missed a game, and is extremely smart.

He can also return punts.

Considering Charles Woodson is 33 and entering his 12th season, now may be the time to bolster their cornerbacks unit.

Of course, the Pack could get younger at the offensive tackle. So that is a possibility.

24. Philadelphia Eagles : Devin McCourty, Cornerback

Sheldon Brown is gone, and Asante Samuels probably will be at the end of this season.

The Igglez go local, grabbing a kid who ran a blazing 4.34 forty at the combine. He can spend a year learning to get ready for 2011.

25. Baltimore Ravens : Jared Odrick, Defensive Tackle

The Ravens just lost Dwan Edwards and Justin Bannen, so reinforcements is a must. They could go cornerback, but Odrick has shot up a lot of draft boards recently.

26. Arizona Cardinals : Sean Weatherspoon, Linebacker

The Big Red lost do everything linebacker Karlos Dansby, and they luck out getting a replacement in Weatherspoon.

27. Dallas Cowboys : Maurkice Pouncey, Center

Pouncey is such a nice prospect, it is conceivable Pro Bowler Andre Gurode could get shifted to guard. Some think that is his natural position, plus Gurode has been prone to mental errors the last few years.

28. San Diego Chargers : Jahvid Best, Running Back

Best fits the Chargers scheme of a back who can do a bit of everything. Quarterback Philip Rivers would enjoy having this kid from nearby Vallejo, California, who also attended college at University of California, Berkeley, by his side.

29. New York Jets : Golden Tate, Wide Receiver

Tate could push for a starting job right away by providing a deep threat and opening things up underneath. His ability to stretch the field is something the Jets desperately need on offense.

30. Minnesota Vikings : Brian Price, Defensive Tackle

Pat Williams still has not committed to returning next year. Even if he does, it will most likely be his last.

Price is an intriguing talent that can end up being drafted much higher. He is excellent on the pass rush, and he could help Kevin Williams if Pat Williams decides to retire before training camp.

31. Indianapolis Colts : Charles Brown, Offensive Tackle

Brown is a former tight end specializes in pass blocking, which is something that fits the Colts scheme. Protecting the franchise, named Peyton Manning, is really THE priority that the Colts have.

Brown represents an upgrade over current starter Charlie Johnson at left tackle.

32. New Orleans Saints : Sergio Kindle, Defensive End

Kindle really fills two needs. He can be used much like his former college teammate Brian Orakpo.

The Saints recently dumped oft-injured defensive end Charles Grant, so Kindle can fill in here. He can also rush from the edge in a two point stance at strong side outside linebacker.

Carlos Dunlap surely could go here and provide those same abilities.