Friday’s Den: Running diary of first two hours of NFL Draft

8:16: Cleveland Browns take Oklahoma QB Baker Mayfield with the #1 pick in the draft; time will tell on all these picks, but my quick analysis is this— when we last watched actual college football games, no one had Mayfield in the top 10 picks. No one. 

Now all of a sudden, he is the #1 pick. The team that took Johnny Manziel took a guy who has a lot of similarities to Manziel. 

Cleveland is 2-41 in its last 43 games; they traded for Buffalo’s QB Tyrod Taylor this winter. How long before Mayfield gets to play for the Browns? 

8:21: Giants take Sequon Barkley and my godson, a huge Giants fan, isn’t happy— he wanted Big Blue to take Sam Darnold or trade out of the pick. 

Have to think the Giants could’ve gotten a boatload of picks from Buffalo to move out of this spot, but they didn’t. 

Is it possible that Eli Manning is the real GM of the Giants? They fired Ben McAdoo LY when he benched Eli for a game, after Eli had gotten Tom Coughlin fired the year before. Manning is a 37-year old QB who needs a better offensive line than he currently has. 

8:29: Jets and Giants didn’t use up much time; Jets grab QB Sam Darnold from USC. 

NFL Network has Deion Sanders doing player interviews; I can’t stand him, so it is off to ESPN, where they just had a package about how Darnold’s parents, grandfather and sister all played college sports. I’m sure the Jets drafted Darnold because his sister played volleyball at Rhode Island. 

Cleveland has had 28 different starting QB’s since 1999; that not good. 

8:36: With the second pick of the night, Cleveland takes Denzel Ward, a DB from Ohio State which means that QB’s Allen/Rosen are now sliding down the draft board, since Denver and the Colts don’t need a quarterback, and they have the next two picks. 

8:43: Broncos have to be happier than hell to get Bradley Chubb, the DE from NC State. No way did they think he would be available with the 5th pick. 

8:47: Colts take offensive lineman Quentin Nelson from Notre Dame; Andrew Luck will be a happy guy, but not often a guard is the #6 player in the draft. 

8:53: Finally, the Bills make a trade- they move up to the #7 pick. They take Josh Allen; he might be only kid in country where playing for Buffalo is a weather upgrade. 

Tampa Bay got two second round picks to drop down to #12; good haul for them. 

NFL Network’s Mike Mayock thinks Allen is a project; right now, AJ McCarron is the Buffalo QB, so the project will hit the field sooner than later. 

Allen and Carson Wentz had the same college coach; Craig Bohl, who won multiple I-AA national titles at North Dakota State. That had to help Allen here. 

9:01: Chicago Bears take Roquan Smith, a LB from Georgia; Bears’ defensive coordinator Vic Fangio got a hole-in-one playing golf Thursday, so that plus drafting Smith makes it a big day for Fangio.

49ers, Raiders are next on the clock and don’t need a QB; Josh Rosen can’t be having fun right now. 

9:04: 49ers take Notre Dame OT Mike McGlinchey; Fighting Irish had two offensive linemen taken in top nine picks- their OL coach has bolted and now works for the Bears, who didn’t take an offensive lineman. 

9:09: Arizona trades with Oakland to move up to #10; Carson Palmer retired and Sam Bradford is always hurt, so this has to be a quarterback, doesn’t it? 

Josh Rosen is an Arizona Cardinal, taken 10th; he is the 4th QB taken in the draft. Last time five QB’s were taken in the first round was 1999. It is good to play QB in a dome; eight home games indoors, plus at least two road games in California every year. 

Of course, the term “chip on his shoulder” got tossed around, since Rosen slipped out of the top five. 

9:18: Dolphins take S Minkah Fitzpatrick, as Nick Saban contributes a player to the team he used to coach. 

This is the 10th year in a row Alabama had a player taken in the first round of the draft. 

9:24: Tampa Bay takes Vita Vea, a defensive tackle from Washington. Bucs traded for Jason Pierre-Paul and drafted this guy, so they’re intent on improving their defense. 

Couple of guys on TV said Via has to work to control his weight so he’ll be more durable and have better stamina. 

9:31: Washington Redskins aren’t popular in Dallas, but they took Da’Ron Payne, a DT from Alabama. Having two of the top 13 players selected has to help your recruiting, right? 

Imagine how different college football would’ve been for the last decade if Nick Saban had won while coaching the Dolphins and stayed there? 

9:40: Saints traded next year’s #1 pick to move up from #27 to #14; they took DE Marcus Davenport from UTSA, after guys from NFL Network went on for five minutes about how great Lamar Jackson would be playing for the Saints. Whoops. 

They must really love Davenport, to trade a #1 pick to the Packers to move up. Saints DL coach Ryan Nielsen and UTSA coach Frank Wilson worked together at Ole Miss, so he must know. 

Green Bay now has two #1 picks next season. 

9:45: Oakland takes T Colton Miller, then Bills traded up to #16 to take Tremaine Edmunds a LB from Virginia Tech. 

9:56: Chargers get a steal with S Derwin James from Florida State; he was hurt a couple years ago when Showtime did their reality show on FSU football. Good kid; he’ll help them. 

Thursday’s List of 13: Doing some thinking out loud……

13) Here are record of major league teams with best/worst records in games where winning run scores after the 6th inning: 

Best: Mets 8-2, Phillies 7-2, Blue Jays 6-2, Rockies 4-0
Worst: Bronx 0-5, Indians 1-5, Nationals 1-5, Padres 1-5

12) Mentioned yesterday how 181 college players declared early for an NBA Draft where only 60 players will be taken. Last year, 137 players declared early.

11) Thing is, if he didn’t hire an agent, the player who declares can go thru workouts, get an evaluation, then drop out of the draft if he isn’t  going to be drafted as high as he would like and go back to college— its a no-lose situation for the player, which is why lot of guys do it. 

10) In last five NFL Drafts, only three teams haven’t drafted a player who has made at least one Pro Bowl; Bills, Broncos, Colts. 

9) Braves called up prize prospect Ronald Acuna Tuesday night; he was 11 for his last 33 in AAA ball. 

8) When Marlins’ OF Cameron Maybin was a kid in Asheville, NC, he had an excellent summer job one year. He was batboy for the Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League, the same team Crash Davis wound up playing for at the end of the classic movie, Bull Durham.

7) Baltimore Orioles are off to an awful 6-17 start; their starting pitching is suspect, and it could be a long year at Camden Yards. Without starting pitching, you have no chance to compete. 

From 2013-16, Baltimore hurler Chris Tillman was 56-30 with a 3.62 ERA, a good pitcher. Things have changed. 

Since May 24, 2017, in 19 starts, Tillman is 0-11, 9.35. Is he hurt? Is he tipping his pitches? Something is amiss. 

6) Richmond Spiders had a QB named Kyle Lauletta, who may or may not be drafted tonight; watching some clips of him, one thing is very obvious; Richmond’s football team has great helmets- that spider logo looks tremendous on a helmet, either dark blue or white. 

5) Former Vikings’ coach Brad Childress will be head coach, Michael Vick offensive coordinator of the Atlanta team in the new AAF, a spring football league that starts next year. 

4) According to Ian O’Connor of, Josh Rosen went to the Manning Passing Academy in Louisiana in 2016 and did not make a favorable impression while there. 

Manning Passing Academy bills itself as “…..the premier offensive football skills camp in the nation for QBs, RBs, WRs, and TEs.”

Friend of mine’s son went there 15 or so years ago; former LSU/Patriots’ QB Tom Hodson was his camp counselor.

3) I have two friends who know more about football than any of my other friends; one says Josh Rosen is the best QB in the draft, the other says Baker Mayfield, so go figure. 

2) Clemson QB Deshaun Watson was the 12th pick in last year’s NFL Draft; I will predict right here that none of the QB’s in this year’s draft will be as good as Watson. Teams messed up last year when they dismissed Watson. 

1) President Macron of France is 39 years old; his wife just turned 65. 

When Macron was 15, he was a student and Brigitte Trogneux was a 40-year old teacher at La Providence, a private school in Amiens, northern France. At the time, she was married with three kids. 

In this country, the scandalous affair that followed would have been serious trouble for Ms Trogneaux, who is now Mrs Macron. Not so in France. 

In today’s world, it is just another day, another weird day.

Friday’s List of 13: Quick thoughts on the 2018 NFL schedule

Thoughts/comments on the NFL schedule release:
13) Week 1 Monday night doubleheader: Jets @ Lions, then Rams @ Raiders. 

Super Bowl champion Eagles open on Thursday Sept 6 at home against Atlanta. 

12) NFL went traditional rival-heavy for its Thanksgiving Day slate: Chicago-Detroit; Washington-Dallas; Atlanta-New Orleans. Good set of games. 

This is third year in row the Redskins play on Thanksgiving Day.

11) Only four divisional games in Week 1, which is a good idea. Every game in Week 17 is a divisional game. 

10) There is a Week 16 Monday night game on Christmas Eve; Broncos @ Raiders. 

9) A sign the NFL doesn’t think you’re good: Miami Dolphins have a Week 8 Thursday night game in Houston- their other 15 games appear to be 1:00 Sunday games. If you NEVER play a 4:25 Sunday game, the league office isn’t too optimistic about your chances. 

8) Rams-Chiefs in Mexico City on Monday night, November 19. Bye week the next week for both teams, which is weird but good for the team, having a bye week over Thanksgiving. 

7) Chargers visit Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Denver in December, three potential cold weather games. Rams go to Chicago December 9, which will probably be a cruddy weather day. 

6) Three teams have the unenviable “3 road games in 3 weeks” scenario:
— Ravens go to Pittsburgh-Cleveland-Tennessee in weeks 4-6
— Rams go to Seattle-Denver-San Francisco in weeks 5-7
— Saints go to Dallas-Tampa Bay-Carolina in weeks 13-15, but the Week 13 game is a Thursday game so they’ll have extra rest in there before the Bucs’ game.

11 teams have three home games in a row. 

5) For first time since 2009, Bears open the season at Lambeau Field against the Packers, in the Week 1 Sunday night game. 

4) Giants play four road games in domes, which at first glance is most in the league. 

3) Speaking of domes, Lions/Saints both play three road games in domes, giving them only five outdoor games apiece this season. 

2) In next few days, Las Vegas oddsmakers will have spreads for every game thru Week 16. Season over/under win totals don’t come out until after next week’s draft.

1) Here are the Week 1 NFL spreads from the Westgate SuperBook:

Falcons @ Philadelphia (-3.5, 47.5)
Steelers (-7, 48) @ Cleveland
49ers @ Minnesota (-4.5, 47.5)
Bengals @ Indianapolis (-1, 47.5)
Bills @ Ravens (-3.5, 42)
Jaguars (-4, 44.5) @ Giants
Buccaneers @ New Orleans (-7.5, 52.5)
Texans @ New England (-7, 51)
Titans (-2.5, 47) @ Miami
Chiefs @ LA Chargers (-3, 48.5)
Seahawks @ Denver (-2.5, 42)
Cowboys @ Carolina (-2.5, 45)
Redskins @ Arizona (-1, 45)
Bears @ Green Bay (-9, 48.5)
Jets @ Detroit (-6, 44)
Rams (even, 49.5) @ Oakland 

Thursday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but…….

13) One of the basic truths of life: Baseball players get hurt a lot. Season started with 113 players on the disabled list, little less than four players per team. 

12) There were 925 sacrifice bunts in the major leagues LY, fewest of any season since 1900. 

11) When Ichiro Suzuki gets inducted into the Hall of Fame someday, it’ll a proud day for retired P Ryan Vogelsong. Ichiro was 0-15 in his career against Vogelsong. 

10) New England now has four of the first 63 picks in the NFL Draft in three weeks. This is the first time since 1998 the Patriots have two 1st-round picks and two 2nd-round picks in a draft.

9) 80-year old Jim Harrick, who won a national title at UCLA in 1995, will be on Mark Gottfried’s staff at Cal-Northridge next winter. Gottfried was an assistant on that UCLA staff in ’95, with Lorenzo Romar and Steve Lavin. 

8) Most NCAA tournament wins since 2000:
Kansas 49, North Carolina 48, Duke 46, Mich State/Kentucky 42

7) Dodgers pitchers allowed 8 bases-loaded walks all of last season; they issued three in the 7th inning alone Tuesday night in Arizona. 

6) They had the par-3 tournament at Augusta National Wednesday; guys can have whoever they want caddy for them, and Jack Nicklaus had one of his grandsons caddy for him. They let the caddies hit a few shots, and the 15-year old grandson gets a hole-in-one, his first ever. Wow. 

5) Pro golfer Tony Finau also got a hole-in-one Wednesday, but he dislocated his ankle while he was celebrating the ace. He put the ankle back in place and finished his round. Was odd to see; he just reached down and put the ankle back in place. 

4) Thursday, Baltimore Ravens’ GM/coach Ozzie Newsome and John Harbaugh will be questioned under oath as part of the Colin Kaepernick collusion grievance. 

Wednesday, the Ravens gave QB Robert Griffin III a one-year, $1M contract for 2018. 

Maybe I watch too many movies, but I’m thinking this isn’t a coincidence. 

3) College basketball coaching carousel:
— St Peter’s coach John Donne stays in the MAAC, but moves to Marist.
— Rhode Island promoted assistant David Cox to head coach.
— East Carolina signed Florida Gulf Coast coach Joe Dooley as its new coach.
— South Dakota hired Grand Canyon assistant Todd Lee as its new coach.  

2) Cardinals led off Tuesday’s game with back/back homers off of Chase Anderson; last time the Redbirds started a game that way was when Curt Flood and Gene Freese led off with home runs off a guy named Sandy Koufax, on August 17, 1958. 

1— Colorado Rockies gave Charlie Blackmon a 6-year, $108M contract, so he is staying in the friendly confines of Coors Field and will never, ever get traded in our fantasy league.

Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…….

13) Rams traded 1st and 6th-round draft picks to New England Tuesday for WR Brandin Cooks and a 4th-round pick. Two things about this:

a) I no longer have to worry about the Rams trading for Odell Beckham
b) Rams still have eight draft picks, but only one of their original picks- four of those eight picks are in the 6th round. Their first pick right now will be the 87th selection. 

12) This means all those geniuses who do a mock draft every 36 hours get to do more of them, since the #23 pick moves to the Patriots. Still 22 days until the draft. 

11) Louisville QB Lamar Jackson is being advised by his mother instead of by an agent. No one knows what this means exactly, since the mom is a private person and hasn’t said much. Will be curious to see if an agent is hired once a team drafts him, and negotiations for a contract begin. 

One thing, for sure; Lamar Jackson is going to play QB, and only QB. 

10) This was the 4th time in last five years the college basketball national champ went 6-0 vs spread in its NCAA tournament games.

9) This is a little hard to believe, but they said on TV Monday night that Padres’ reliever Adam Cimber is first the major leaguer ever to wear number 90. 

8) Arizona 8, Dodgers 7 (15)— This game ended at 3:26am Tuesday morning; had the game gone to the 16th inning, both teams would’ve used position players to pitch.

7) Two pitchers have already been removed from games this season with a no-hitter going: Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson Saturday in Baltimore, Pirates’ Trevor Williams Sunday in Detroit. 

6) A’s drew only 7,416 fans for their home game with Texas Monday night, their smallest home crowd since 2003. Oy. 

A’s drew 9,157 fans last night on Free Parking Tuesday, which doesn’t seem like a big promotion until you realize they charge $30 to park a car in Oakland. 

5) There were 144 hitters last year who got enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting title; 89 of them hit 20+ home runs, which means 61.8% of hitters who qualified for the batting title hit 20+ homers. In 2014, that number was 32%.

4) Number of times a pitcher went thru the opponent’s whole lineup three times in a game:
2017    1,196 (39.9 per team, out of 162 games)
2016    1,405
2015    1,670
2014    1,906

Unless the guy is an ace or really rolling that night, starting pitchers aren’t allowed to go thru the lineup three times anymore. 

3) Rhode Island Rams were apparently going to hire Rick Pitino as their new basketball coach, until the school president put the kibosh on that. Now what? 

2) San Diego 3B Christian Villanueva was 0-4 for the season before Tuesday; he hit three homers for the Padres last night in their win over Colorado.

1— Brewers 5, Cardinals 4— Christian Yelich tied game with a dramatic two-out HR in the 9th, then Ryan Braun won it with a walk-off tater. 

This was the first game in MLB history where the first two batters of the game homered, and also the last two.

Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but………

13) I wrote this here last month but it bears repeating; former UCLA coach Jim Mora coached QB Josh Rosen for three years, and he said on NFL Network that if he was the Browns, he’d take Sam Darnold with the first pick, not Rosen. 

Now Mora just got fired, so there is an interesting story or three there, but still. Can you ever, in the history of the world, remember a coach throwing his former player under the bus like this? 

12) “He needs to be challenged intellectually so he doesn’t get bored.” Mora talking about Rosen. 

I’ve heard this about Rosen before, that he quit playing youth tennis because he got bored with winning so much. You think Tom Brady gets bored with winning?? Nah, me neither. 

11) Mora also said no GM has called him to talk about Rosen, which seems strange. NFL teams do a ridiculous amount of research on prospects— you don’t talk to his college coach? 

10) Philip Rivers better not get hurt; Chargers signed Geno Smith as his backup- he’ll join Cardale Jones on the Chargers’ bench. Like I said, Rivers better not get hurt.

9) Since Bartolo Colon made his big league debut, 17 of the 30 major league teams have gotten new home ballparks. 

8) Houston’s Marwin Gonzalez and Milwaukee’s Hernan Perez were only two players LY with 10+ starts at five different positions. 

7) Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban was in a scene in Showtime’s Billions Sunday night; not a very tough role— he played himself, but have to give him credit— he nailed it. 

6) Solid discovery today in my local supermarket- they sell Dr Brown’s soda, which is usually only sold in delis. Got some black cherry and cream soda— that goes very well with the excellent sandwiches at the Carnegie Deli in the Mirage Casino in Las Vegas, but they’ll have to do for now with whatever I have to eat here at home. 

5) Roof was open at Marlins Park Monday nite, will be open again tonight, weather permitting, making it six nights in a row the roof in Miami will be open. Last year, in 78 h0me games, Miami had the roof open only six times. 

4) Reds 1, Cubs 0— Chicago is 2-3 to start the season; they’ve scored a total of one run in the three losses. Cubs have struck out 58 times in five games, an NL record for any team in their first five games. 

3) Villanova 79, Michigan 62— Wolverines were 3-15 from floor in last 11:00 of first half, when this game was decided. DiVicenzo is Villanova’s 3rd-leading scorer but doesn’t start- he took this game over, scoring 18 in first half, 31 for the game. 

This was first year the Super Bowl champ and NCAA basketball champ came from the same city. 

2) This was the first national title game since the Magic-Bird final in 1979 with only one McDonald’s All-American playing in it. Just goes to show you that high school ratings can be very misleading. 

1— The golf pool on this site starts this week with The Masters— if you’d like to get in, you pick three guys a week, can only use the same guy once a year. 18 tournament, then a 4-week playoff for the eight people who make it. 

Schedule is on the golf page on this site— e-mail me at if you’re interested. 

Monday’s List of 13: Wrapping up a quiet Easter Sunday

13) Toronto 7, New York 4— My biggest problem with the analytics movement is that is goes out of its way to diminish the manager’s role in how a team is run. Can’t do it.

In this game, New York led 4-3 in bottom of 8th; Toronto had men on 2nd/3rd with two out and Josh Donaldson (3-8 with 2 HR’s off Robertson) up. Justin Smoak (0-5 vs Robertson) was on deck; he had homered in his previous AB. What do you do?

Aaron Boone decides to walk Donaldson intentionally. Smoak hits a grand slam. Welcome to the big leagues, Aaron Boone. Being a TV announcer is a lot easier.

12) There are two basketball Hall of Fames; the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, in Kansas City.

There is at least one glaring omission from the College Hall of Fame: Jerry Tarkanian.

Tarkanian went 706-198 in his coaching career, won the 1990 national title at UNLV, made two other Final Fours. For him not be in the Hall of Fame (he is in the Naismith HOF) makes the College HOF look stupid.

11) Some people will cite Tark’s battles with the NCAA as a reason to keep him out, to which I say this: Eddie Sutton, who was inducted into the College Hall of Fame in 2011.

From Sutton’s Wikipedia page: “The NCAA announced at the end of the season that its investigation into the basketball program had found the school guilty of violating numerous NCAA policies.[8] The NCAA deemed the violations so egregious that it seriously considered hitting the Wildcats with the “death penalty”, which would have shut down the entire basketball program (as opposed to simply being banned from postseason play) for up to two years.”

There is no valid reason for Jerry Tarkanian not to be in the College Hall of Fame.

10) One more thing on the College Hall of Fame: Norm Stewart is a 2007 inductee, but he never made a Final Four, went 8-8 in first round tournament games. Seriously?

9) When you see coaches at mid-majors getting fired these days after short coaching tenures, keep in mind that in the mid-90’s, Jay Wright went 31-51 in his first three years as Hofstra’s coach. Things turned out pretty well for him— he went 91-34 his last four years at Hofstra, before moving on to bigger and better things at Villanova.

8) This is first time since 2004 that team spending on baseball players’ salaries will decline from the year before.

7) Average major league payroll this season: $137,610,491.

6) As expected, Xavier promoted assistant Travis Steele to head coach to replace Chris Mack, who jumped ship to Louisville.

5) Of the 31 players who have 3,000 career hits, Ichiro Suzuki was 3+ years older than anyone else on the list when he got his first major league hit.

4) A Sarasota, FL homeowner found a surprise visitor in his swimming pool Friday night – an 11-foot alligator floating in the water. The gator began swimming away as it struggled to avoid capture. A deputy managed to drag the gator out of the pool with the help of a trapper.

3) If you had the White Sox as being the last American League unbeaten this season, you win!!!

2) Last Big 14 team to win the national title in basketball? Michigan State, in 2000.

1— Villanova took 40 3-pointers Saturday, only 25 2-pointers; wouldn’t be surprised if they move the college 3-point line back to where the FIBA line is.