Don't forget Friday's mailbag; we have a couple of open spots. From the "Talks Too Much Studios" here we go.
Draft day is here. We love the draft. You know this.
We're still missing some entries from some of the regulars, but here are the rules for our second-annual We Love the Draft pick contest:
• First SEC player picked (FYI — this does not include Texas A&M and Missouri, thanks for the catch, StuckinKent)
• First Titans pick (No. 20 overall right now)
• First Steelers pick (No. 24 overall right now)
• First Falcons pick (23rd pick of the second round right now)
• What team picks B.J. Coleman?
One point for each with the following tie-breaker: Who is Mr. Irrelevant, the title reserved for the final pick of the draft? (If you get this right, you'll get a special prize, but if there's a tie between entries, the pick closest to last will break the tie.) Remember, if one of the teams above trades down, then it's still the first Titans pick whether it's No. 20 overall or No. 200. Winner will get some Braves tickets, deal? (Last year friend of the show Quake of SportTalk fame won this contest and got some Braves-Phillies tickets if memory serves.)
Here are the early entries:
5-at-10 — Trent Richardson/Dre Kirkpatrick/Donta Hightower/Jeff Allen/Pittsburgh/Drew Butler
McPell — RIchardson/Kirkpatrick/Kendall Wright/Mitchell Schwartz/Denver/Jake Gdowski
LaughingBoy — Richardson/Kirkpatrick/Hightower/Bobbie Massie/Arizona/Randy Bullock
Fred — Morris Claiborne/Kirkpatrick/Hightower/Kelechi Osemele/Denver/Blair Walsh
Deboman — T. Richardson/Cordy Glenn/D. Hightower/K. Zeitler/Packers/Emil Igwenagu
Mrs. 5-at-10 — Richardson/Stephon Gilmore/Hightower/Osemele/Buffalo/Vontaze Burfict
scole023 — Richardson/Courtney Upshaw/Hightower/Massie/Green Bay/Lennon Creer
ThatIDoKnow — Claiborne/Gilmore/Jonathan Martin/Joe Looney/Chicago/Brandon Moseley
OTWatcher — Richardson/Kirkpatrick/Stephen Hill/Schwartz/Tennessee/Kellen Moore
CelticVol — Morris Claiborne/Stephon Gilmore/Fletcher Cox/Harrison Smith/Tampa Bay Bucs/Janzen Jackson
TFP's golf ace David Uchiyama — Claiborne/Dont'a Hightower/Shea McClennin/Devon Still/Buffalo/Blair Walsh
SportTalk's Quake (who demanded that we include is "Defending Champ") — Trent Richardson/Whitney Mercilus/Mike Adams/Vinny Curry/Pittsburgh Steelers (heart pick)/Dale Moss
WarEagle — Richardson/Poe/Hightower/Zeitler/Seattle/Neiko Thorpe
Believer — Richardson/Kirkpatrick/Jonathan Martin/TE from Clemson/St. Louis/Tim Benford
StuckinKent — Richardson/Poe/Hightower/Dwayne Allen/Packers/Bryce Brown
Norman — Claiborne/Kirkpatrick/Mike Adams/Massie/Chicago/Kellen Moore
This draft is filled with knowns and unknowns. There are surefire bets and improbable longshots, each hovering on the horizon and each pegged in the top 10 and throughout tonight's first round.
It's impossible to remember a time when the first two spots were this locked down heading into the draft with quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III written in Sharpie ink atop every draft board everywhere.
From there, it's anyone's guess. As friend of the show Dr. B said on SportTalk on Wednesday, Minnesota really holds the first pick at No. 3. Their decision now is whether to take a franchise left tackle (Matt Kalil), a shutdown corner (Morris Caliborne) or deal. Here's saying they deal. In fact, here's a mock top that could show how crazy this could really get:
1) Indy — Andrew Luck
2) Washington — RGIII
3) New York Jets (from Minnesota) — Trent Richardson
4) Miami (Cleveland's heartbroken that Richardson's not on the board so they call the Dolphins and say if you want Ryan Tannehill, what's your best offer and the Browns get the No. 8 pick and Miami's first-rounder next year) — Ryan Tannehill
5) Tampa Bay — Morris Claiborne
6) St. Louis — Matt Kalil
7) Philadelphia (from Jacksonville) — Fletcher Cox
8) Cleveland — Justin Blackmon (and by the way, this would be an A++++ scenario for the Browns; sure landing Trent Richardson would be great, but getting a No. 1 receiver and the Dolphins' No. 1 next year would be choice)
9) Carolina — Luke Kuechly
10) Buffalo — Michael Floyd
Atlanta Braves' Chipper Jones, left, passes third-base coach Brian Snitker after hitting a home run during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Tuesday, April 24, 2012. (AP Photo/Jason Redmond)
Braves deliver late
Your Atlanta Braves are rewarding their fans who do not need sleep or those who can sleep in so much that the 5-at-10 (five sports things at 10 a.m. is how it got the name) could very well be the 5-at-noon.
Atlanta scored three times in the top of the ninth to edge the Dodgers 4-2 late on the left coast Wednesday night/Thursday morning. RBI singles by Dan Uggla, Chipper Jones and Jason Heyward clinched the series for the Braves.
Here's what we gleaned from the situation:
The Braves have two pretty snazzy young pitchers in Brandon Beachy, who pitched well enough to get the win Wednesday, and Mike Minor. That's good times.
We have been a little tough at times on Fredi Gonzalez and how he mismanaged the bullpen last summer. Well, he used the shutdown firm of O'Flaherty, Venters and Kimbrel on Wednesday and the results were nothing short of eye-popping. The trio faced seven batters, retired them all and struck out six of them. Remember Fredi G, using that shiny nuclear weapon that is your full bullpen should be viewed like raising your voice. If you raise your voice all the time, then you're just a yeller. If you raise your voice rarely but with purpose and at times of importance, then it carries an even greater weight.
Matt Kemp is a right-handed, young Ken Griffey Jr. Dude is hitting .449 and hit his 10th homer of the month last night. And sweet buckets of things in orbit, Kemp's blast was measured at 454 feet, and if you hit a ball that far at Dodger Stadium — a place renowned for not being a hitter's park — it would have gone 636 at Coors Field. Seriously, it's science and stuff.
Braves are off today and are 12-7 overall, 2.5 games behind Washington in the NL East. And all of this is after an 0-4 start and without ace right-hander Tim Hudson, who will make his debut Sunday against the Pirates. All of this feels like pretty good news Johnny Braves Fans. What say you Choptalker?
This and that
— The BCS folks have convened and we can all agree that a playoff will be part of the vernacular in 2014. As Uncle Buck would say, "It's in the books." But now they are talking about a playoff selection committee. OK, we're good with that as long as they are so transparent they allow cameras in the selection process and the list of teams are trimmed to the top 10 or top 6 or top whatever by some mathematical equation. Of course, the NCAA and the BCS are so known for their transparency. (That's sarcasm right there, Jefe. SAR-casm.)
— The Atlanta Falcons dealt a seventh-round pick to Philadelphia for Asante Samuel, who promptly reworked his contract with Atlanta. Granted, Samuel was the third cornerback in Philly behind Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and opens cap space for the Eagles to rework Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy. That said, it's tough seeing how any other team is going to get more for a seventh-round pick this weekend than the Falcons did on Wednesday.
— With all the stuff going on, we have completely dropped the ball on the futility that is happening with the Charlotte Bobcats. The Bobcats have dropped 22 in a row. Yes, 22, after a 102-95 loss to an Orlando Magic team that has been decimated by injuries. In fact, the AP story even has phrases like "hung tough" and "strong effort" and when the AP is writing stuff about an NBA team normally reserved for middle school sports teams, you know it's bad. If the Bobcats lose their season finale tonight against New York, they would have the worst single-season winning percentage in NBA history. For the foreseeable future, any act of stink-ness will be dubbed "pulling a Bobcat." Like when the Dolphins reach tonight and draft Ryan Tannehill, who has made all of 19 college starts at quarterback, it will be the draft's most obvious "pulling a Bobcat."
In honor of draft guru Mel Kiper Jr., who is the sports world's Mount Rushmore of practicing Juniors? (People who still have the Jr. attached to their name.)
We'll take Ken Griffey Jr., Cal Ripken Jr., Mel Kiper Jr. and Dale Jr.
Would their intro music be from Sammy Davis Jr., Harry Connick Jr. or Ray Parker Jr.?
We could have Martin Luther King Jr. deliver the pregame speech, too.
Discuss. (You still have time to submit your entry and a mailbag question if you'd like. And yes, we're a little bit giddy with the draft this close.)
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...