2007 NFL Draft 1st Round Review

The 1st Day has come and gone, and all the way from the busy ass streets of Rome, I found enough time to put some Euro into an Internet room and right up a little analysis of Round 1. The rest of day 1 and a quick review on day 2 may take a little more time, but I figured now was as good a time as any to get this out for all you draft nuts out there. Let the possibility and speculation begin!

  1. Oakland – Russell, JaMarcus, QB, Louisiana State
    Crazy, the Raiders picked arguably the player with the most upside in the entire draft. JaMarcus Russell has monstrous size combined with a rocket arm, and leadership intangibles that make him all Al Davis and the Raiders could ask for with the first pick of the draft. This was a good pick, this was the right pick, and this was the only pick the Raiders were ever going to make.
  2. Detroit – Johnson, Calvin, WR, Georgia Tech
    Finally, Matt Millen did something right. Calvin Johnson was the best prospect in the draft, and a perfect compliment to Roy Williams and Mike Furrey. I don’t think the Lions needed a receiver, and I do think they needed a lot of other things, but the bottom line is, Calvin Johnson was this year’s Reggie Bush, and if you can get that guy with the 2nd pick of the draft, you do it. The Lions did it, congratulations Detroit. It looks like they’ll keep him.
  3. Cleveland – Thomas, Joe, OT, Wisconsin
    The Browns passed on Adrian Peterson and Brady Quinn (for now) to go with a guy that should pave roadways for whomever has the ball in Cleveland. Seeing as Jamal Lewis still has some run in him, and the fact that solid running backs come out often, I think Cleveland made the right move, as cornerstone left tackles don’t come around all that often. Plus, if anything, the most recent free agency period showed us that running backs can be had at a much more reasonable price than years’ past.
  4. Tampa Bay – Adams, Gaines. DE, Clemson
    Tampa Bay didn’t get their hands on Calvin Johnson (unless they trade with Detroit, possibility) just as I had suspected. So, they took the best defensive player on the board, which I think will turn out to be a blessing in disguise. Sure, Johnson is a great prospect, but the Bucs needed help on defense desperately. With Adams, they’ll get help everywhere on D, as his elite pass rush will help solve problems in the secondary as well. And at the 4th pick, in a league where defense wins championships, the Bucs took the best defensive player college had to offer.
  5. Arizona – Brown, Levi, OT, Penn State
    Arizona may have reached for Levi Brown here, but they know what they need, and that is definitely offensive line help. You add that to the fact that they couldn’t have traded down and still picked the big offensive tackle, plus the truth that they rated Levi higher than super offensive tackle, Joe Thomas, and this pick starts to look like a great move. They have a franchise quarterback, great receivers, and a possible hall-of-famer at running back; surely they needed a great offensive line prospect to help them all. Good pick.
  6. Washington – Landry, LaRon, FS, Louisiana State
    Oh, the Redskins might have something in line with this pick, but honestly, for a team that needs lots of help on defense, why not take the most instant impact defensive player in the draft. Everyone loves Landry, and if the Redskins pull their heads out and decide to keep him, maybe they’ll realize why using a top draft pick on a top young talent is such a good move. But I doubt it.
  7. Minnesota – Peterson, Adrian, RB, Oklahoma
    Adrian fell a little farther than he had imagined, but I think he’s a nice fit in Minnesota. After one season, the Vikings brass realized Chester Taylor wasn’t the starting powerful rusher they had hoped for, so they took Peterson, one of the top 3 offensive difference makers in the draft. I wouldn’t be surprised if Peterson, given the carries, makes a solid run at rookie of the year, especially behind a very good left side in Minnesota, and a young passing game. But now what to make of Chester?
  8. Atlanta (from Houston) – Anderson, Jamaal, DE, Arkansas
    I’m not sure the Falcons made the most of their move up to 8, but things didn’t work out they way they had planned, Landry was gone, their big back, Peterson, was gone as well, and thus Jamaal Anderson will make the absence of Patrick Kerney be less of a hit. Anderson has all the skills, and many had him rated above Gaines Adams, so the price was decent at 8.
  9. Miami – Ginn Jr., Ted, WR, Ohio State
    I love Ginn’s talent and ability, but I don’t like this pick by the Dolphins. With Chris Chambers as a number one, and a few solid contributors in the passing game already, I’m very surprised to see Ginn go here, especially with so much needed in Miami. It will be interesting to see how Ginn works out with the Dolphins; maybe Cam Cameron has big plans for the young speedster.
  10. Houston (from Atlanta) – Okoye, Amobi, DT, Louisville
    Houston made the perfect pick. Okoye will be solid next year and great in the future, giving them two elite prospects to build their defense around, solid guys on the line nonetheless. I couldn’t think of a more perfect fit in Houston than Okoye… Great pick here!
  11. San Francisco – Willis, Patrick, ILB, Mississippi
    I think the Niners reached a little for Willis, but as he was the best linebacker in the draft, I like the selection. As everyone has seen, the Niners were destroyed because of their defensive struggles, and while Willis won’t eliminate that problem, he is a step in the right direction, especially in a conference that has so many playmakers offensively. Nice move in San Fran.
  12. Buffalo – Lynch, Marshawn, RB, California
    Trading Willis McGahee basically forced this pick to be made. The Bills left themselves with Shawn Bryson as their number one, and while JP Losman and Lee Evans have built a nice tandem, giving them another option on the ground will help the team continue that growth. Lynch is very complete, both as a runner and a receiving threat, but I think this pick was definitely need driven, and a bit of a reach.
  13. St. Louis – Carriker, Adam, DE, Nebraska
    While I’m a bit surprised by this pick, it doesn’t surprise me that the Rams went defense here, and it seems as though Carriker was the most complete defensive lineman around. He’s got the size to dominate in any front, move around, and cause problems with his motor, speed, and size. Just like the Niners, the Rams realized that defense was where the problems were in St. Louis. Carriker is a nice firm step in fixing the trouble.
  14. N.Y. Jets (from Carolina) – Revis, Darrelle, CB, Pittsburgh
    The Jets saw an opportunity to move up and take their top rated corner back in the draft, and they did just that. Revis is a top talent, and shut down type guy. His speed and more importantly his attitude and awareness should help the Jets get to where they need to be to compete with the Patriots in the AFC East.
  15. Pittsburgh – Timmons, Lawrence, OLB, Florida State
    (Be prepared for sarcasm) Wow, this pick is a real stunner. The Steelers and coach Mike Tomlin went defense with this pick, a perfect outside linebacker for Tomlin’s 4-3 system, and a nice replacement for the 3-4 oriented Joey Porter. Timmons is a perfect player to get the Tomlin era up and started in the Steel City.
  16. Green Bay – Harrell, Justin, DT, Tennessee
    Reach? Maybe the Packers have something here, in fact, as my readers well know, I like Harrell, but surely 16 is pretty high for this young talent. While Justin battled injuries in TN, his skill level while on the field of play would definitely put him in the top 16, but I just don’t know if he quite belongs here. Once again the Packers left Favre out to dry in the 1st round, but if Harrell can stay healthy, this young Packer defense will definitely continue to impress.
  17. Denver (from Jacksonville) – Moss, Jarvis, DE, Florida
    I think Moss is a perfect player for the Broncos who are constantly looking for ways to attack the passer. With elite corners, and some solid linebackers, the Broncos felt strongly enough about Moss’ game to move up to get him, and very rarely do the Broncos fumble when they move up to snag someone. Good pick by Mike and his goons.
  18. Cincinnati – Hall, Leon, CB, Michigan
    I had Leon Hall ranked right at the top of my list of Corners, so snagging him with the 18th pick is one of the first round steals thus far. Hall has the makings of a shut down guy, something the Bengals could definitely use, as their defense had a knack for giving up the big play. Hall comes up and hits, and draws praise from competition. Even USC stayed well enough away from Hall in their bowl-bashing of Michigan. Hall seems to be a solid character guy as well, as far as corners are concerned, so good all around by the Bengals.
  19. Tennessee – Griffin, Michael, FS, Texas
    I’m not sure what to make of this pick. See, I like the pick, as Griffin has proven to be a playmaker in every sense all throughout is college days, but I think he’s a bit of a reach here as well. I’m not real big on downgrading teams because they picked a guy early, especially a guy with all the intangibles like Griffin. So, with Pacman on the shelf, I’ll say the Titans selection of Griffin was solid.
  20. N.Y. Giants – Ross, Aaron, CB, Texas
    The Giants continued their stout drafting methods by taking Aaron Ross before the rest of the best got their hands on him. Ross is a playmaker, has been throughout his entire career, and will be in a Giants uniform as well. New York has struggled on defense of late; so adding a cover corner like Ross, one whom also likes to make a tackle here and there, will turn out to be a good move.
  21. Jacksonville (from Denver) – Nelson, Reggie, FS, Florida
    The Jaguars made some solid moves today. Their first was trading down to acquire more picks, and still getting their man, Reggie Nelson. Seeing as the likelihood of the next few teams taking Reg was slim, Jacksonville played their cards perfectly, moved down 4 spots, only to pay the guy they finally picked less than they would have paid him in the first place. Plus they added a 3rd and 6th round pick, knowing damn well that you build through the draft. Brilliant work by Jax on Day 1.
  22. Cleveland (from Dallas) – Quinn, Brady, QB, Notre Dame
    The Browns couldn’t help but feel that they let one slip through their fingers by letting Brady go in Round 1. So, instead of sulk their tears away, they traded next years’ 1st and this years’ 2nd to grab the guy they almost picked 3rd. I like Brady Quinn and think he has more upside than any quarterback coming out next year, which makes his selection here a risk worth taking. But was a 2nd and a high 1st (assuming they don’t kick butt next year) worth a 22nd overall this season? We shall find out.
  23. Kansas City – Bowe, Dwayne, WR, Louisiana State
    The Chiefs made good on my prediction and took Dwayne Bowe as the 3rd wide receiver overall. Bowe’s playmaking ability, his strong body, and willingness to lay it on the line to get the job done will make him a perfect target for a chiefs offense that relies too much on Tony Gonzales in their air attack. I think Bowe could make an instant impact in KC.
  24. New England (from Seattle), Meriweather, Brandon, FS, Miami
    It has to be nice to realize, that with the right coaching, any player and their problems can be molded into a perfect citizen. The Patriots can take any player, as shady as his past may be, and make it work in New England. Meriweather isn’t the problem child everyone thinks he is, but the Patriots took advantage of their own coaching ability, and took a guy everyone else was shying away from.
  25. Carolina (from N.Y. Jets) – Beason, Jon, OLB, Miami (Fla.)
    The Panthers got the goods from the Jets for their 14th overall slot, (a 1st a 2nd and a 5th) and they got a hard-nosed, undersized linebacker with the explosive hips and difference making ability that should give the Panthers defense the kick in the butt they needed to get back on track, and make a play at the super bowl next season. Honestly, they’re just a player or two away.
  26. Dallas (from Philadelphia) – Spencer, Anthony, DE, Purdue
    Dallas had some fantastic wheeling and dealing going down on Day 1, adding a 1st round pick in 2008 from the Browns (sure to be a top 10 pick) and all they did was move down 4 spots and lose a 3rd round pick. Anthony Spencer will be another tool off the edge for the front 7 loaded Cowboys. No wonder Wade Phillips took this job; he gets all the weapons he wants.
  27. New Orleans – Meachem, Robert, WR, Tennessee
    Despite quarterback troubles in Tennessee, and a team that was a little inconsistent, Robert Meachem had one hell of a year, popping him all the way into the 1st round, and to a team that loves to spread the ball around. I’m not sure the Saints used this pick too wisely, as their were many defensive needs that could have been answered, but Meachem will ease the loss of Joe Horn, and give Brees yet another weapon to toss for 4,000+.
  28. San Francisco (from N.E.) – Staley, Joe, OT, Central Michigan
    Do I think Joe Staley has tons of upside and will help the 49ers greatly in the future? You bet! Do I think they gave up way too much for the 28th pick in this years’ draft? You better believe it. Next years’ 1st round pick… And a 4th rounder this season? That’s way too much. Next year’s 1st rounder, despite a miracle, will surely be in the bottom 25 and probably around 20. They may have thought the world of Joe’s upside, and thus given a lot to get the big tackle, but his trade could definitely backfire.
  29. Baltimore – Grubbs, Ben, G, Auburn
    The Ravens picked up the best guard in the draft with the 29th pick. In the past, this may have been looked down upon, but what a great move in a league that has free agent guards going for 50 million dollars, and being plucked out of free agency as early as possible. Grubbs has all the tools to help pave the way for new running back Willis McGahee. Nice pick in Baltimore.
  30. San Diego – Davis, Craig , WR, Louisiana State
    I’m not so sure Craig Davis was the best receiver available here, but it’s hard to argue with the Brass running Charger ball. Canning Marty was the wrong move, but it’s rare to find trouble with San Diego’s draft tactics. However, it will be interesting to see if Davis has a more productive career that Gonzalez, Steve Smith, Dwayne Jarrett, and Sydney Rice, all of whom the Chargers passed on to take Davis.
  31. Chicago – Olsen, Greg, TE, Miami (Fla.)
    The Bears managed to take the very best tight-end prospect in the draft, and they desperately needed a boost in speed at the position. Once again, the Bears have found a playmaker that is sure to step in and add to a team good enough to get to the Super Bowl. Olsen’s speed and grabbers should help Rexxy improve in his second year as a starter.
  32. Indianapolis – Gonzalez, Anthony, WR, Ohio State
    The Colts made a great move, taking Anthony Gonzalez with the last pick in the 1st round. Gonzo has all the tools to do all the dirty work the Colts love to do from the slot, taking the spot left vacant by Brandon Stokely’s departure. In fact, Gonzalez, in my opinion, is an upgrade at the spot, possibly transforming into Marvin Harrison’s successor, something Stokely would never become.

Mr. Roger's Neighborhood

Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood

Pick of the Day – Roger Federer @ Rafael Nadal

Federer (+140)

Sunday, April 22nd – EARLY!!! PM ET

Roger Federer & Rafael Nadal go at it again; this time for the championship in Monte Carlo. While Nadal easily leads the head to head between the two, Roger has done what Roger does and taken the last two from the clay court specialist. Should be a good one on the Cote D’Azur

Bottom Line:As this even takes place, I must tell you, I’m just outside of Monte Carlo, and certainly their is a nice French buzz about tomorrow’s event. I’ve never been a stickler for taking big favorites, something I thought I’d see before looking at the odds for this match. Well, I thought I’d see the best tennis player of all time entrenched as a -200 underdog, but as it seems, the odds have bounced away from Rog. But don’t get ahead of yourselves and bet against this super athlete. He may not be playing the best tennis of his life, and certainly, Nadal is a nice clay match-up for him, but Roger is a winner, even in the most adverse situations, and tomorrow (today for me), he will win. All I needed to see was Nadal fine tuning his game after yesterday’s match. That’s great. And while many think practice makes perfect, I’d have to say, extra time the day before the match will only lose Nadal confidence points.

Lucky’s Overall Record: 19-8-1

European Tour of Duty: As I had planned to do, I found right in front of my eyes, my first European sporting event to pick. Its nice how a little trip to the Azure Coast will crash straight into a Nadal/Federer showdown. You’ve gotta love it!

Once again Lucky Lester, me, is off to travel Europe for 7 Weeks, so if I don’t get around to making picks and throw out articles on a daily basis, you all know why. I’ll be chiming in from time to time. Enjoy the NFL Draft, and “Do Work!”

European Tour of Duty

European Tour of Duty

Pick of the Day – Hornets @ Kings

New Orleans Hornets @ Sacramento Kings

Hornets (+4.5)

Monday, April 16th – 1:05 PM ET

Chris Paul & David West might not have gotten their team of youngsters into the post season, but does that mean they’re ready to bend over and take it from the Sac-Town Queens? Not a chance. Ron Artest & Mike Bibby may have had solid games lately, but that just means they’re ready to fold up their lawn chairs and head out to the beach as soon as this seasons’ over. The young Hornets are winners of the future, so expect them to give it their all right meow.

Bottom Line:The Hornets are much better than the Kings, so expect them to win. Weird.

Lucky’s Overall Record: 18-8-1

European Tour of Duty: Okay, so I’m off to Europe because a beautiful woman tricked me into buying a plane ticket to come see her. What can I do? On the road, I’ll do my best to get some inside looks at some overseas events, so stay tuned!

Once again Lucky Lester, me, is off to travel Europe for 7 Weeks, so if I don’t get around to making picks and throw out articles on a daily basis, you all know why. I’ll be chiming in from time to time. Enjoy the NFL Draft, and “Do Work!”

Hall of Drew Bledsoe

Hall of Drew Bledsoe

Pick of the Day – Marlins @ Braves

Florida Marlins @ Atlanta Braves

Marlins (+185)

Sunday, April 15th – 1:05 PM ET

Annibal Sanchez VS Tim Hudson; both these pitchers have a lot to offer. Sanchez and his young Marlins try to make a name for themselves, as Hudson and his Braves look to get back on track after a down year. Andrew Jones & Miquel Cabrerra will have a lot to do with who wins this contest.

Bottom Line: This baseball game is all about numbers, right? Right. You talk to any manager, hardcore fan, or player, and they will tell you, the highs and lows don’t often exist, where the averages tell the story. That’s why there’s 162 games a year, and getting a hit one time in every 3 atbats gets you to the All Star Game. Well, the young Sanchez is much better than his 5.4 ERA, and Hudson’s .64 ERA isn’t about to last. Expect both of those numbers to even out as the Marlins take down the Braves in a big money winner, +185. I always try to go for big money winners to break my slump (0-2 in last 2 bets), and this is a good a chance as any.

Lucky’s Overall Record: 18-8-1

Hall of Drew Bledsoe?: Was he good, bad, or great? Sometimes bad, sometimes good, but never, never Great. Okay, in college Drew could toss that pigskin around, but in the NFL, Mr. Bledsoe has always come up short of great… Every single year. I’m not even going to argue with numbers, as surely, this inordinarily slow, tall, unathletic stumbler ranks in the Top 10 in more than a couple categories. But this isn’t baseball, where 500 long balls used to get you in, or the NBA, where leading the league in scoring a handful of times makes you a prime H.O.F. canidate. This is the NFL where great players find themselves in the Hall of Fame, and good players try to figure out what they could have done to be great. Drew Bledsoe had a few good years, only a few. He played solid in New England for a couple years, and had a nice season for a .500 Buffalo Bill team, but never, not even when he found himself in the Super Bowl, was he a great quarterback. Don’t be confused for even a minute, 7th all time in anything doesn’t make you great. Being great, not measure by numbers or titles or touchdowns or girth, just being geat, that’s it. It’s not that difficult to assess. Its right there in front of your eyes. Watch the great ones now and enjoy the show. As for what I will do without Drew to pinch and poke week after week, Eli Manning’s going to be around for awhile, he should do just fine.

In other news: Lucky Lester, me, is off to travel Europe for 7 Weeks, so if I don’t get around to making picks and throw out articles on a daily basis, you all know why. I’ll be chiming in from time to time. Enjoy the NFL Draft, and “Do Work!”

Oden or Durrant?

Oden or Durrant?

Pick of the Day – Pacers @ Heat

Indiana Pacers @ Miami Heat

Heat (-5)

Friday, April 13th – 8:00 PM ET

Shaquille O’Neal & Dwayne Wade, should both be in the lineup when the Heat face the Pacers on Friday night, as the Heat try to make a push for the 3 spot while the Pacers try to dance into the playoffs. Check it out to see if Jermaine O’Neal can will his team past last year’s NBA Champs.

Bottom Line: Dwayne seems to be getting his first step back, and thus the Pacers will pay. Shaq is back after an absence for a funeral, and thus the Pacers will pay. Miami is looking to make a move up to the 3rd spot in the Eastern Conference playoff picture, and thus the Pacers will lose. Sure, Indy is attempting to get into the playoffs, but for what? To get swept in Round 1? They don’t have the gusto to do work, even in the East. Look for the Pacers playoff chances to go up in flames Friday Night.

Lucky’s Overall Record: 18-7-1

Oden or Durrant?: Two kids look to be a lock at the top of next year’s NBA Draft, those two young superstars are Greg Oden & Kevin Durrant. The question between NBA Fans has been answered, and for the most part, the fantasy sports mindset has demanded most of the votes, as Kevin is getting the nod over Greg, but if everyone could just pull their heads out of statlines, fantasy playoffs, and All Star game highlights, they’d begin to realize Greg Oden is the only decision. Now this is assuming Oden will join Durrant and come out early. Durrant plays the 3, and while I’m sure he has all the skills to develop into one of the league’s elite players, the bottom line is, 3’s are all around. Just next season, players like Rashard Lewis will be availiable in free agency, and while I like Durrants upside more than Lewis’, name a good center on the market next season. C’mon, what? You can’t find one? Hell, name a handfull of good centers in the league… Exactly. In a league that has lost the numbers of quality good centers, Oden has flashed a Bill Russell type ability to dominate defensively, with a nice offensive touch for a 7 footer still filling out his frame. I love KD, but the possibility of stealing a Center who should be a top 5 guy at his position the day he steps on the NBA floor, that’s too much to pass up. If teams could pass on Mike to get Hakeem and Sam Bowie, than surely Oden is the answer at #1. Because Oden has all the ability and force than any Center since Shaq, and while Durrant has tons of talent, he’s not Mike. You can’t go wrong with either player, as both will be All Stars in the NBA, but I’ll take Championships over MVP’s, and thus I’ll roll with Greg Oden.

In other news: Drew Bledsoe, has retired. Yes, my week to week bashing of Drew Bledsoe, the fat 7th grader, will surely come to an end… But! Not before I get out what I need to get out. Stay tuned to the site, as my next Top Shelf article will discuss one Cougar Donkey’s career.

Pacman Suspension Valid?

Pacman Suspension Valid?

Pick of the Day – Heat @ Bobcats

Miami Heat @ Charlotte Bobcats

Heat (+1)

Tuesday, April 10th – 8:00 PM ET

Shaquille O’Neal & Dwayne Wade, not to mention the rest of the Miami Heat, travel to Charlotte to revenge their most recent loss to the Bobcats. Wade is coming off his first game back, as Shaq looks to assert some dominance against the yong Bobcat front line. It will be interesting to see if the Heat play with some emotion in this one, trying to improve their playoff seed.

Bottom Line: Its hard for me to believe that the Charlotte Bobcats going to slay the Heat two games in a row. Inf fact, its down right foolish for anyone to think something like that. Wade’s first game back the Heat went to overtime before falling to a superb performance by Gerald Wallace, but don’t expect as much from the Bobcats this time around. Sure, the Cats play well against solid competition, but only because they go into most games beleiving they don’t have a chance. Its when they start to think they belong, thats when trouble strikes. Expect a 20-10 yester year perfromance from the Genie, and a better game out of Miami’s biggest star, Mr. Wade.

Lucky’s Overall Record: 18-6-1

Pacman Suspension Valid?: Honestly, I think Adam “Pacman” Jones deserves everything the NFL or any other league, division of the law, video game maker, judge has in store for the troubled youngster, but I still don’t think what the league did was legally right. This is somewhat similar to the whole “Steroids in Baseball” fiasco. Like in baseball, the rules were different when Pacman did his business, and now he’s getting punished as if the recent rules were in place all along. Jones is a moron, that’s the only way you could explain him throwing 80 large around a strip club in the first place, let alone to pose as a distraction so one of his “friends” could come in and Scarface the Las Vegas scene up. What a joke. But, the matter of fact is, the law assumes innocence until proven guilty, and the league is suspending Jones for a year based on what the media has written about the corner’s latest run-in with the law. I’m sure Jones and his attourney’s are writing their appeal as I speak, or quite possibly even sueing the NFL right meow. And while I think that crap is ridiculous, this country thrives off the rights that the NFL is taking away from Frogger Jones. We’ll see how this turns out, but I don’t think it will roll smoothly. As for Chris Henry’s suspension, I think that was a little more reasonable. Here’s a cat that strikes out three times a week, in or out of season, and he’s been charged, and found guilty on numerous occasions. Even then, I’m interested to see what the new agreement says about these cases. Its pretty childish to make new rules half way through the game, and penalize people for what they did prior to the new hard to see writing at the bottom. Comprende?

A Big Play Away

One Minute Quickie

Pick of the Day – Raptors @ Timberwolves

Toronto Raptors @ Minnesota Timberwolves

Raptors (-2)

Monday, April 9th – 8:00 PM ET

In a out of conference match-up, the Timberwolves of Minnesota host the Toronto Raptors in a showdown that will show two contrasting styles. The Wolves do best when they run their half-court offense through one of the league’s best, Kevin Garnett while the Raptors run the show when they are sprinting from end to end. Chris Boshand company will try to stay hot in Minnesota.

Bottom Line:I think the Raptors play too uptempo for the Timberwolves. Toronto has been hot of late, winning 8 of 10, and don’t have to travel far for this road match-up. Chris Bosh has been unreal, and this is the type of game that can show his growth, as he matches up with Kevin Garnett. I don’t think te Wolves can run with Toronto, even when the Raptors are playing their second of a back to back.

Lucky’s Overall Record: 17-6-1

A Big Play Away: It may be easy to say guys like Brett Favre, Peyton Manning, Bears Defense, Donovan McNabb, Terrell Owens, Tom Brady and other stars get you to a Super Bowl and ultimately win game for your team. You could even argue that defense wins championships. However, many fools take a pass on Special Teams when they start instigating discussion on why winners win, and who gets to Super Bowls, who wins playoff games, or gets to the post season instead of picking in the Top 5 year in and year out. Well, look no further than guys like Desmond Howard, Devin Hester, Deion Branch, Antwaan Randel El and other game breakers that give their team another gear. These guys are really the reason their squads finished with titles. Without their gamebreaking talent, and some huge plays in the biggest situations, their squads wouldn’t be fresh in our memories, even if they’re not. This is why a guy like Ted Ginn Jr., even if his route running is raw, his hands not perfect, and his body size not ideal, would make a great draft selection at any point in Round 1. I don’t care what people say about his raw technique, or non-chalant style, the bottom line is, his speed and break-away skills make him a must have guy. Look what Devin Hester has done for the Bears; well, TGjr is better offensively than Hester, and can actually play a position on a football field other than returner. What I’m saying is, people need to ignore his lack of size, or his raw skill set, and start seeing TGjr for what he is, the most illusive 0-100mph guy in the draft. His ability can win a couple games for you all by itself. And big plays, they make the differece, whether we’d like to believe it or not. Most “solid” teams in the league, those that didn’t make the playoffs, are just one big play away from seeing themselves in the post season. One play. Ted Ginn Jr. will be a guy who makes that play.

One Minute Quickie

One Minute Quickie

Pick of the Day – Red Sox @ Royals

Boston Red Sox @ Kansas City Royals

Under (9.5)

Thursday, April 5th – 7:10 PM ET

It’s a pitching match-up to watch in Kansas City Thursday afternoon. The Red Sox, and Daisuke Matsuzaka play their 3rd against the Royals and super-talented starter Zach Greinke. Its easy to get caught up in the Daisuke lure, but don’t ignore the preseason Greinke had, the kid was once a top flight prospect.

Bottom Line: I would love to take the Royals in this one, as the payout is pretty big, just to win, in their home stadium. With all the Matsuzaka hoopla, it wouldn’t surprise me one bit if the Red Sox just didn’t hit for their Japanese Ace, and the Royals pull a quick one on good Old Boston. But its too hard for me to bet against David Ortiz, Manny Rameirez, Coco Crisp, JD Drew, Willy Mo Pena and company, to lose their first series of the season, 1-2, to the Kansas City Royals of all clubs. So, to be safe, I’m going with the under. Matsuzaka has been unhittable, and Greinke has all the talent to slow down the potent Red Sox free swingers.

Lucky’s Overall Record: 16-6-1

Baseball Season Sleepers

Baseball Season Sleepers

Pick of the Day – Raptors @ Heat

Toronto Raptors @ Miami Heat

Raptors (+5)

Tuesday, April 2nd – 7:30 PM ET

The Miami Heat host the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday, trying to improve their playoff seed and stay ahead of Toronto in the East. Surely Shaq O’Neal will be at his best against a Toronto front line that doesn’t even have 1 guy that can pretend to muscle Shaq around. However, it will be interesting to see if the Heat can play the uptempo style against the Raptors.

Bottom Line: Honestly, I think this is a terrible match-up for the Heat. Toronto is full of young athletic kids always looking to make a name for themselves, something that’s tough up North in Canada. Against the Heat Chris Bosh, TJ Ford and company will be looking to drop the Heat and get the National Cred they deserve. Look for Bosh to use his superb all around game to beat a Heat team that is just waiting for Dwayne Wade to return. It’s always tough waiting on your star, you’re not sure about your minutes, where the ball will go, what you have to do now to continue getting the playing time you want when he returns. In a state of confusion, I wouldn’t be stunned if the Raptors make the Heat look silly in Miami.

Lucky’s Overall Record: 15-6-1

Baseball Season Sleepers: This is just going to be real quick, but I thought I’d document my crazy predictions so I can either refer to them at the end of this long baseball season, or just forget about them if they don’t work out. I prefer the first option, but we shall see. There are always obvious favorites to do the dirty and win the whole thing (Yankees, Cardinals, Tigers, Red Sox, etc.) but I’m looking through my skewed crystal ball to find my favorites of the not-so-favorite. Here they are; NL MVP You’ve got Albert Pujols, Ryan Howard, and Jose Reyes among others, but I’m looking to a guy some people are forgetting about because of his injury filled 2006. One Derek Lee. If you can remeber, this young smasher flurted with .400 and pounded homeruns out by the bushels a couple years back. If the Cubbies get to the playoffs, he’ll be the reason why, and that will win him the NL MVP. AL MVP We have the favorites; Alex Rodriguez, David Ortiz, Justin Morneau, and even Grady Sizemore, but I have another name I want to throw out there, remember Vladamir Guerrero? Many people aren’t even listing him as a possibility for the MVP, and I think he’s the favorite. Not quite a sleeper, but just wait and see if the L.A. Angels go deep, he’ll be the leading vote getter. If you want a sleeper, look no farther than Travis Haffner. The young crusher has all the makeup of an MVP sleeper. He’s got a great young team surrounding him, and he might be the next guy to flurt with 60 HR’s, he’s got that kind of crush in his swing. As far as the NL Champion is concerned, don’t give me the Mets, Cardinals, Cubs, as favorites, try the Florida Marlins on as a sleeper. Despite their huge comeback last season, in which they nearly snuck into the playoffs after competing for the League’s Worst Team Award, they should only be better in 2007. What a great team of young pitchers and hitters who can run those bases. All the littel things could get them in. And last but not least, of course the Yankees, Bo Sox, White Sox, Tigers, and A’s, my AL Champion sleeper is the Seattle Mariners. Sure, laugh it up, get your pokes in now before I make you look silly. Felix Hernandez is the most talented pitcher in baseball (aside from maybe Johan Santana) and instead of going out and getting a bunch of guys who were One-Year Wonders last season, they picked up a handful of guys that struggled in ’06 for a great price. In a picher’s park, I think the M’s can be scary. Just wait and see.