In todays installment of “This day in sports”, you will be able to see photos from Jets, Yankees,Rangers, and Mets. Dialy stories will be a part of upcoming articles!
By Lenn Robbins
The NFL Remote Draft is in the books and the next live sporting event we can look forward to is…?
Commissioner Roger Goodell looked stiff and uncomfortable throughout the first round. Bill Belichick’s dog, Nike, would be considering a holdout after his outstanding draft poise but he knows his owner would unceremoniously trade him.
The Giants and Jets fared fairly well. Both teams fulfilled Mission A – bolster the offensive line. And both upgraded their secondary with potentially fantastic safeties.
Two of the league’s better GMs – Belichick and 49ers John Lynch – didn’t fare as well as usual. Ravens GM Eric DeCosta hit it – again while the Panthers and Jaguars, often mistaken for each other, bolstered their defenses.
The Cowboys, with CeeDee Lamb will have to outscore teams. The Raiders (Henry Ruggs III) will have to outrun teams.
Aaron Rodgers is not a happy camper. Kirk Cousins is. Go figure.
Speaking of figures, here are our draft grades, from best to worst:
Jaguars – Best pick: Laviska Shenault, Jr., WR, Colorado – Our second favorite playmaker in the draft. Fave pick: Shaquille Quarterman, LB, Miami – one of the more under-appreciated players in the draft. Skinny: No misses and a revitalized defense. Grade: A+
Panthers – Best pick: Jeremy Chinn, S, Southern Illinois – Eric Weddle redux. Fave pick: Runs like a deer, hits like a rhino. Fave pick: Tony Pride Jr., CB, Notre Dame. Smart and speedy. Skinny: They got three starters on defense and Pride might make four. A+
Ravens – Best pick: Malik Harrison, LB, Ohio State – Gets to the ball carrier quick and hard. Fave pick: James Proche, WR, SMU – Won’t win any races but will catch any pass. Skinny: The Ravens are about defense which they got with LB Patrick Queen, DT Justin Madubuike and Harrison. Grade: A+.
Bengals – Best pick: Joe Burrow, QB, LSU – No reason to believe he won’t develop into an elite QB. Fave pick: Akeem Davis-Gather, OLB, Appalachian State – He can run and hunts like a Power Five backer. Skinny: A franchise QB who can throw it up to Tee Higgins and A.J. Green have. Grade A.
Browns – Best pick: Grant Delpit, S, LSU – The next great LSU DB. Fave pick: Nick Harris, C, Washington – We’ve sworn off using steal but getting this brawler in the 5th round? Larceny! Skinny: And they got the second-best OT with the 10th pick. Grade: A.
Bucs – Best pick: Tristian Wirfs, OT, Iowa – Getting the best tackle with the 13th pick – wow! Fave pick: Antoine Winfield, Jr., S, Minnesota – If every football player played with his tenacity – ouch! Skinny: And fifth-round pick, WR Tyler Johnson, is going to be a Brady favorite: Grade: A.
Cowboys – Best pick: Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama – Take Byron Jones’ locker. Fave pick: Our No.1 WR, CeeDee Lamb at No. 17? Touchdown! Skinny – Boys filled defensive needs and gave Dak Prescott as dangerous a WR corps as there is. Grade: A.
Cardinals – Best pick: Josh Jones, OT, Houston – A starting tackle in the 3rd round? Wow! Fave pick: Evan Weaver, ILB, Cal. – Not an elite athlete but the 6th-rounder is tackling App who just might stick. Skinny: A tackle for Khyler Murray and the best $LB in Isaiah Simmons. Grade: A-.
Broncos – Best pick: Lloyd Cushenberry III, C, LSU – A third-round pick he can be the Day 1 starter. Fave pick: K.J. Hamler, WR, Penn State – slotted between first-round pick WR Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton. Skinny: Drew Lock’s April Christmas. Grade: A-
Vikings – Best pick: Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU – Perfect opposite Adam Thielen. Fave pick: Ezra Cleveland, OT, Boise State – Pencil in this second-rounder as a 10-year starter. Skinny – If seventh-rounder Kenny Willekes, DE, Michigan State, sticks, GM Rick Spielman nails another draft. Grade: A-.
Chargers – Best pick: Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon – All this pre-draft talk about being an introvert is bollocks. Fave pick: Kenneth Murray, LB, Oklahoma – plays like he’s pissed off. Skinny: If Herbert wins the starting job at any point this season, the Chargers will be thrilled. Grade: B+
Giants – Best pick: Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama – The best safety in the draft – Round 2! Fave pick: Cam Brown, LB, Penn State – even if he never becomes more than a special teams star, high character addition. Skinny: Just can’t help wondering why they made Andrew Thomas the first OT off the board. Grade: B+.
Dolphins – Best pick: Curtis Weaver, DE, Boise St. – He’s not the second coming of DeMarcus Lawrence but he’ll get after it. Fave pick: Malcolm Perry, WR, Navy – Former Navy QB is a player. Skinny: Feels like this was a draft for two years out. Grade: B – could be an A or an F.
Jets – Best pick: Ashtyn Davis, S, Cal – One of the best athletes in this draft. Fave pick: Bryce Hall, CB, Virginia – Jets defensive backfield has quality depth. Skinny: If 1st-round pick Mekhi Becton keeps his weight down, the Jets finally have a solid GM in Joe Douglas. Grade: B
Lions – Best pick: Julian Okwara, OLB, Notre Dame – Third-round pick with a first-round first step. Fave pick: D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia – RBs aren’t highly valued but Georgia is RB U. Skinny: Lot of pressure to win now. Does this draft really accomplish that? Grade: B.
Redskins – Best pick: Chase Young, DE, Ohio State – Memo to NFC QB’s: The Redskins have as good a DL as you’ll find. Fave pick: Saahdiq Charles, C, LSU – they got a second-round talent in the 4th round. Skinny: Make D.C.’s team great again? Not so fast. Grade B.
Saints – Best pick: Zach Baun, DE/OLB, Wisconsin – A first-round talent in the third round. Fave pick: Adam Trautman, TE, Dayton – Another weapon for Drew Brees. Skinny: Saints only had four picks and nailed at least three of them, especially if Trautman is a quick contributor. Grade: B.
Seahawks – Best pick: Colby Parkinson, TE, Stanford – Can see Seattle using a lot of two tight-end alignments. Fave pick: Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech – The hits just keep on coming. Skinny: If second-round pick DE Darrell Taylor can be a force, Seahawks defense trends up. Grade: B.
Titans – Best pick: Isaiah Thomas, OT, Georgia – The offense is about winning the line so they add a 6-foot-7, 350-pound lineman. Fave pick: Darrynton Evans, RB, Appalachian State – Even Derrick Henry needs a break. Skinny: Matt Vrabel stuck to the team’s personality. Grade: B-.
Chiefs – Best pick: Willie Gay, Jr. ILB, Mississippi State – Terrific size and speed for a sideline-to-sideline backer. Fave pick: LaJarius Sneed, S, Louisiana Tech – With his speed, a special teams player at worst. Skinny: Clyde Edwards-Helaire in the first round? Nope. Grade: B-.
Steelers – Best pick: Chase Claypool, WR, Notre Dame – Big Ben needs more than JuJu Smith-Schuster. Fave pick: Last season’s trade for S Minkah Fitzpatrick. Skinny: The Ben Roethlisberger era is closer to twilight than sunrise. Not sure this draft did enough to help him win now. Grade: C+.
49ers – Best pick: Brandon Aiyuk, WR, ASU – It has to be because San Fran needs another outside playmaker. Fave pick: Charlie Woerner, TE, Georgia – Might give the 49ers a goal line jumbo package. Skinny: GM John Lynch’s golden touch tarnished. Grade: C.
Patriots – Best pick: Josh Uche, OL, Michigan – Maybe not Isaiah Simmons light but in that mold. Fave pick: Josh Uche – See above. Skinny: S Kyle Duggar dominated at Lenoir-Rhyne but it was, well, Division II Lenoir-Rhyme. Skinny: Bill Belichick is as proven as it gets but this was an off year. Grade: C.
Bears – Best pick: Jaylon Johnson, CB, Utah – Got one of the better corners in the middle of the second round. Fave pick: Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame – Best tight end in the draft, by far. Skinny: Bears now have 10 tight ends on the roster, making for the core of an excellent rugby team. The NFL isn’t rugby. Grade: C-
Eagles – Best pick: Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU – QB Carson Wentz at least has one target. Fave pick: Jack Driscoll, OL, Auburn – An NFC East blue collar blocker. Skinny: We like QB Jalen Hurts but not in the second round and not with other needs. Grade: C-.
Falcons – Best pick: Matt Hennessy, C, Temple – A Jersey brawler. Fave pick: Sterling Hofrichter, P, Syracuse – Watch this kid punt in Mile High. Skinny: They never recovered after reaching for first-round pick, CB. A.J. Terrell. And if the punter is a fave pick, ooh. Grade: D.
Packers – Best pick: None. Fave pick: None. Skinny – Not only did the Pack fail do anything to help Aaron Rodgers, but by trading up for QB Jordan Love, they started the Hall of Fame QBs clock. Grade: F.
Raiders – Best pick: Amik Robertson, CB, La Tech – Fourth-rounder plays with a chip. Fave pick: Lynn Bowden, Jr., WR – A player, plain and simple. Skinny: If the NFL was a 7-on-7 league, Raiders would compete. But it’s not. Vegas fans consider season distancing. Grade: F.
AREA CODES. Everyone now knows the area code for Cincy QB Joe Burrow’s hometown of Athens, Ohio. Burrow wore a shirt with Southeast Ohio’s area code, 704. This is the greatest boost to area codes since Reggie Bush wore 619 on his eye black, San Diego’s area code.
PRICE ALERT: QB Dak Prescott and the Cowboys continue to try to work out a new deal. If they don’t, he plays under the franchise tag next season, when he will have Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup, Zeke Elliott and first-round pick CeeDee Lamb to throw to. Price alert.
SOAP OPERAS – For such a storied franchise, Green Bay has become the soap opera capital of the NFL. Brett Favre didn’t welcome Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers didn’t take to Mike McCarthy.
Enter Jordan Love, who The Pack traded up to get, setting the stage for Season 3 of TittleTown Tantrums (Hulu). Rodgers, 36, is in win-now mode. The Packers didn’t do much to help him. The over/under on how many times TV cameras focus on any interaction between Rodgers and coach Matt LaFleur is 26, where Love was drafted.
GHOSTS – If you were in Jon Gruden’s home for Thursday night’s draft, you were one of a select few who swear they heard the laughter of the late Al Davis seeping up from the basement like a chill.
The Raiders used pick No. 12 on speedy Henry Ruggs III, who we had as the No.3-ranked WR, behind CeeDee Lamb and Jerry Jeudy. Then they used the 19th pick on Ohio State CB Damon Arnette, who almost certainly would have been available in the second round.
Davis was known for always being smitten with speedy wide receivers, some of whom didn’t pan out, and being a contrarian. The Raiders went for the Davis cycle. Listen closely, “Just Win Baby.”
COUCH POTATOES – George Kinlaw, Javon Kinlaw’s dad, was in total couch potato mode, half asleep on the couch, until the 49ers, George’s favorite team, drafted Javon. Pops fell off the coach and proceeded to take a “victory flight” around the room.
By Lenn Robbins
There is no place like the Big Apple. Courtesy of the Giants and Jets, it just got a little bigger – and maybe safer for their quarterbacks.
The Giants opted not to trade down and fulfilled Dave Gettleman’s vow to improve the offensive line. But instead of going with Alabama’s Jedrick Wills, Jr., Iowa’s Tristian Wirfs, or Louisville’s Mekhi Becton with the No.4 pick, Gettleman took Georgia’s Andrew Thomas.
“We spent a lot of time on this and we want to fix this offensive line once and for all,” Gettleman told reporters. “Andrew has a hell of a pedigree. Three-year starter. He’s played big-time ball in front of a lot of people … He’s ready.”
The Jets had their choice of Wirfs or Becton and went with the most massive player in the draft. Consider this, at 6-foot-7, 364 pounds, Becton can dunk a basketball – and not blow out his sneaker.
“He brings an edge for us,” coach Adam Gase told reporters on a conference call. “He brings nasty to our offensive line room.”
The draft, perhaps because of the complications caused by the coronavirus, was lacking in wheeling and dealing early on. But made up for it late with four trades. There were six 1st-round trades last year.
It was the Packers who shocked the NFL world by trading up to take Utah State QB Jordan Love. One problem. The Packers have a QB by the name of Aaron Rodgers (36). He expects to play for another Super Bowl or two.
- Bengals – Joe Burrow, QB, LSU – After turning in perhaps the greatest statistical season in college football history, capped by a national championship, Cincy hopes Burrow is the second coming of John Elway. Or at least not the second coming of JaMarcus Russell.
- Redskins – Chase Young, DE, Ohio State – Ron Rivera starts the Redskins major rebuild with an elite pass rusher. The big questions in D.C. – is Dwayne Haskins the answer at QB or is it “Tank for Trevor?”
- Lions – Jeff Okudah, CB, Ohio State – No drama. No trade. Okudah is the best CB prospect we’ve seen since Patrick Peterson (2011). That’s worked out pretty well.
- Giants – Andrew Thomas, OT, Georgia – Dave Gettleman stays true to his word and drafts a Hog Mollie. But did he get the right one? We had Iowa’s Tristian Wirfs rated hired. Our streak of opening 3-for-3 snapped.
- Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama – If the hip, and the rest of his body hold up, he has everything to be a franchise player. Most accurate QB in the draft and a terrific young man. Aloha nui.
- Chargers – Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon – Let the debate begin: Herbert or Tagovailoa? Another top-shelf young man. Herbert has a stronger arm and no injury worries. Tua more mobile and accurate. We shall see.
- Panthers – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn – Goodbye Gerald McCoy. Hello Brown. A high-character, high-effort, highly unmovable presence in the middle of the line. Brady, Brees beware.
- Cardinals – Isaiah Simmons, LB, Clemson – Ever since the Cardinals made Deone Bucannon a $LB in 2014, teams have been searching for hybrid defenders. Swiss Army never made a knife as versatile as this defender.
- Jaguars – C.J. Henderson, CB, Florida – Jalen who? The only CB in this draft that can be mentioned in the same sentence as Okudah. His 4.39 speed and 6-foot-1, 204-pound frame, he replaces Ramsey, without the baggage.
- Browns – Jedrick Wills, Jr., OT, Alabama – Baker Mayfield just got the protection he needs to emerge as an elite quarterback. Wills blocks like he has a personal vendetta against any defender.
- Jets – Meckhi Becton, OT, Louisville – The Zion Williamson of the NFL. A man 6-foot-7, 364 pounds who runs 5.1 40. Jets will have to keep a tight eye on his weight. He won’t hard to find. Flagged drug test. J-E-T-S.
- Raiders – Henry Ruggs III, WR, Alabama – They can move the franchise to Bora, Bora, the Raiders can’t resist speed. Ruggs is the fastest player in the draft. Is he the next Tim Brown or Darius Heyward-Bey?
- Bucs (from 49ers) – Tristan Wirfs, OT, Iowa – Tom Brady continues to live a charmed life. GOAT career. Model wife. Signs with a team that has a bounty at WR. The best tackle in the draft falls to the Bucs who move up.
14. 49ers – (from Bucs, plus No.117) Javon Kinlaw, DT, South Carolina – Lose DeForest Buckner in a trade, replace him with a 6-foot-5, 324-poud disrupter. GM John Lynch continues to build inside out. Smart.
15. Broncos – Jerry Jeudy, WR, Alabama – Courtland Sutton, a 6-4 target and ball snatcher broke out last season. Team him with Jeudy, last year’s No.1 pick, TE Noah Fant, RB Melvin Gordon, and QB Drew Lock just might take the next step, ending John Elway’s QB curse.
16. Falcons – A.J. Terrell, CB, Clemson – The second truly baffling pick, behind the Giants. Terrell has all the tools to be an elite corner but is he the third best corner in this draft? Atlanta better have gotten this right or it becomes Hotlanta.
17. Cowboys – CeeDee Lamb, WR, Oklahoma – The Cowboys had their choice of S Xavier McKinney or DE K’Lavon Chaisson but when a talent like Lamb, our No.1-rated WR, it’s too good to pass up.
18. Dolphins – Austin Jackson, OT, USC – There are more NFL-ready tackles than the 20-year-old. But this makes a lot of sense if the Fish “redshirt” Tagovailoa, giving Jackson a year to develop.
19. Raiders – Damon Arnette, CB, Ohio State – Okudah got all the publicity but Arnette would have been the Buckeye’s best CB in most seasons. Just not a first-round pick in this draft.
20. Jaguars – K’Lavon Chaisson, OLB, LSU – Not too long ago, this was one of the best young defenses in the NFL. They might be there soon again. With Chaisson off the edge and Henderson at the corner it’s a good night in Jax.
21. Eagles – Jalon Reagor, WR, TCU – New aspect to the Cowboys-Eagles rivalry: Lamb or Reagor? Both are highlights waiting to happen. It would have been negligent not to give QB Carson Wentz a big-time playmaker.
- Vikings – Justin Jefferson, WR, LSU – Lose Stefan Diggs in a trade, add a WR that wins a lot of contested balls.
- Chargers (from Pats) – Kenneth Murray, ILB, Oklahoma – The Chargers are severely lacking at linebacker and Murray is the best pure linebacker in the draft. Was it work giving up a 2nd and 3rd? Hmmm.
- Saints – Cesar Ruiz, C, Michigan – Simple. Before Drew Brees heads to the broadcast booth, the Saints need to do everything to help him get one more ring. Ruiz can play center or guard. Not a need but insurance.
- 49ers (from Vikings) – Brandon Aiyuk, WR, ASU – The Niners needed to address this position in a big way. Aiyuk has a catch radius that would make an NBA forward proud. Jimmy Garoppolo, meet Baker Mayfield.
- Packers (from Dolphins) – Jordan Love, QB, Utah State – Aaron Rodgers eventually replaced Brett Favre. The cleat is on the other foot: Love is the heir apparent. No WR for Rodgers. Another Green Bay soap opera.
- Seahawks – Jordyn Brooks, LB, Texas Tech – A mean, sideline-to-sideline linebacker who is addicted to hitting. The Red Raiders weren’t very good and Seattle has other needs. They thought best player available.
- Ravens – Patrick Queen, ILB, LSU – LSU has replaced Miami as my favorite college for NFL talent. The Tigers play with a speed and tenacity that’s a football purist’s joy to watch. So do the Ravens.
29. Titans – Isaiah Wilson, OT, Georgia – Poly Prep’s latest product. Wilson still needs a little experience but imagine this: The 6-foot-6, 350-pounder blocking for the 6-3, 238-pound Derrick Henry. Pity the cornerback.
30. Dolphins – Noah Igbinoghene, CB, Auburn – There is no better athlete in the draft. In addition to corner he’s a terrific kick returner. But the Dolphins just signed Byron Jones and have Xavien Howard.
31. Vikings (from 49ers) – Jeff Gladney, CB, TCU – Cornerback, WR, OT were the positions that were up for debate. Gladney makes up for his lack of height (5-10) with speed (4.48) and tenacity. Guess they wouldn’t take Trevon Diggs, huh?
32. Chiefs – Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RD, LSU – Just what the NFL wants – another weapon for Patrick Mahomes. E-H is not the best RB in this draft but he’s the best for KC. The 5-7 back is a great receiver. Lot’s of YAC, the Chiefs M.O.
We’ll be back Sunday with our grades. Stay safe. Boo Goodell.
So it goes. Another holiday season is here and from yours truly to yours a Merry Christmas and Happy holidays.
There were the usual highs and lows during the 2019 sports year in New York. From the abysmal Knicks, to the continued regression of the Jets and Giants, the Yankees failure to close the decade without another championship.
And the Mets, of course, awaiting the check book of billionaire Steve Cohen as they try to contend and deliver. Hockey is healthy as the Rangers and Islanders are at a pace to be contenders for playoff position.
With all of this, and more, here is that annual Christmas list for the New York sports fan. A little of everything and not being naughty but nice.
Yankees: The Gerit Cole signing to a record nine-year $324 million contract is the missing piece, so says the Yankees hierarchy. Though, as mentioned on these pages,a pitcher with that long term deal is expected to deliver.
The Yankees, as that holiday gift for their fans, got them Cole. It means the supposed best pitcher in baseball is expected to deliver, and at a risk in this long range plan to end their decade drought without a World Series championship.
Though, the appropriate gift of cheer for the Yankees is to get the timely hits in the postseason, which was more of the contributing factor of their failures to go deep in another postseason series loss to the Astros.
METS: The gift has been Michael Wacha and Rick Procello, two pitchers at low cost that add to their depth. If anything, rookie manager Carlos Beltran has been granted some flexibility.
Seth Lugo, the Mets most reliable reliever, can stay in the bullpen as does Robert Gsellman. The need was to revamp a bullpen that was second worst in baseball to the Red Sox in 2019.
The gift this holiday season for the Mets, another bat in the lineup before Opening Day and possibly a healthy Yoenis Cespedes in his final year of a revamped contract.
Most of all, the best gift here? A turn-around 2020 out of the pen for Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz. Late inning outs and saves cost the Mets in 2019. Familia and Diaz could be a difference maker, along with Justin Wilson in the mix.
Giants: Yours truly will be the first to admit this is not an area of expertise. However, it is easy to comprehend that stability on the coaching end is important, why it is important to give another year to Pat Shurmur.
There are signs of progress. No more Eli Manning. Daniel Jones is improving, five touchdown passes Sunday against the Redskins. The gift is acquiring a top draft choice, improve the defense. We haven’t seen Saquon Barkley at his best and healthy.
Jets: Same situation with the Giants and that’s coaching stability. Adam Gase? He needs another year. Disagree, of course Jets fans would. You see the continued development of a quarterback, Sam Darnold, and how he can control the ball out of the pocket.
Again, a gift here for the Jets is patience. They are close. And the draft picks will be significant as the long and championship reign of the Patriots is on a decline, which makes the Jets a team to be enthused about in the AFC East.
Knicks: Sell the team. This is not a coaching situation. The answer is get rid of Dolan. A gift of joy for every Knicks’ fan is becoming that franchise champion again that takes the court in the “Mecca” of Madison Square Garden, and having the appropriate basketball personnel to run the show.
NETS: Did you say, can’t wait for Kevin Durant? That 26.0 points per game is a void and a difference maker.
Rangers: Sunday, Henrik Lundqvist made his first start in a week and stopped 19 of 20 shots that prevented the Rangers from losing their fourth straight. And that is the difference, because the veteran in goal can lead this team in his final years.
You want to see a good old NY rivalry on ice with the Rangers and Islanders. It can get there again, of course it begins with the consistent play in goal from the veteran.
Islanders: All good in Nassau County and Brooklyn. The Islanders are leaving a gift this season and striving to become another dynasty before moving to their new digs in a few years over at Belmont Park.
NYRA: Can we get another Triple Crown winner at Belmont Park?
NYCFC: Two years of semifinal and final conference elimination for an MLS CUP. The gift is go another step. The added gift is securing a stadium they can call home as the Yankees kick them out of the ballpark to avoid disrupting their sacred field during playoff time.
Boxing: The sports deserves more championship fights in New York. Barclays Center in Brooklyn is in survival mode as a host for major fights and Madison Square Garden, well the “Mecca” always finds a place for the big fight. Then again, the sport is healthy but no longer in that category of mainstream.and deserves a gift of returning to the heyday of Ali, Frazier, Holmes, Hagler, Hearns, and Leonard.
There you have it. Just some thoughts. From all of us at TheNYExtra.com a healthy and happy holiday season with the gift of joy and a championship.
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