"The Stack" 5-1-17
The Stack is back on this Monday and the 2017 NFL Draft is in the books. We have reaction including the early winners and losers or so it would seem plus NBA and NHL playoff talk so let’s get right to it and see what is in “the stack” for today, Monday, May 1st:
NFL Draft winners and losers
The 2017 NFL Draft is over. The three days in Philadelphia were absolutely phenomenal. The city did a wonderful job hosting the event. The crowds were huge on Thursday and Friday and there were plenty of people on Saturday too. The atmosphere was tremendous. Future cities that want to host the draft now have some lofty standards to live up to.
We reacted to the first round on Friday and ultimately the trades that Chicago, Kansas City and Houston all made to take a quarterback were the dominant story of the draft. The Bears’ scouting department either is going to look like geniuses in a few years and other teams are going to start doing what they did for this draft or they will all be looking for work. That’s because the Bears took a tight end from Ashland in the second round and a player from Kutztown in Pennsylvania. What the hell are they thinking? Again, maybe they know something the rest of the league doesn’t, but right now the Bears to me had the most questionable draft.
The Cincinnati Bengals also surprised me to a degree. John Ross is a speedster and I have to think the Bengals would have loved to trade down a few spots if some team really wanted to trade with them and they would still take him, but taking Ross at number nine will invite plenty of scrutiny if Ross can’t stay on the field. He is incredibly fast and the Bengals are trying to provide a nice weapon to compliment A.J. Green on the other side, but Ross has had a history of injuries. Won’t have to worry about him dropping too many balls either like Troy Williamson did when the Minnesota Vikings drafted him to replace Randy Moss back in what 2007? Vikings fans probably don’t want to be reminded of that. The decision to draft Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon also invites plenty of scrutiny, but if there was one logical landing spot for Mixon it was Cincinnati. Marvin Lewis and the owner Mike Brown have a history of taking guys with a troubled past. Just look at Chris Henry, Adam (Pacman) Jones and Vontaze Burfict. Mixon seems remorseful, but now he must show it both on and off the field.
Kansas City also gave up a lot for a quarterback who isn't going to see the field this year and maybe not even next year. They have a team that is built to win now and could have added some pieces to help out, but did not with their first pick. I'm a little surprised by that.
Apart from that I didn’t think there were any other teams that stood out in terms of having bad drafts or a lot of questionable picks. Certainly the Green Bay Packers got better by adding Washington cornerback Kevin King in addition to North Carolina State safety Josh Jones as well as other key defensive players. I was surprised they didn’t add a running back until the later rounds, especially with guys like Dalvin Cook available in the second round or Samaje Perine from Oklahoma in the fourth round. The Dallas Cowboys made some solid draft moves adding Michigan defensive end Taco Charlton and Colorado cornerback Chibode Amuzie. They’ll have some young defensive players but their defense will improve as the season goes on.
John Ross certainly should be happy that he went number nine. How about Pat Mahomes not only being drafted number ten overall, but also going to Kansas City where he can be mentored by head coach Andy Reid? Dalvin Cook could be considered a loser for not being drafted in the first round, but getting drafted at number 41 by the Minnesota Vikings is a great spot for him. He can be the top dog in that Vikings backfield. Michigan tight end Jake Butt fell to the fifth round before being drafted by the Denver Broncos. He did have an insurance policy, but lost out on potentially millions by getting injured in the bowl game. Overall, the draft was once again very interesting this year highlighted by the orangutan at the Indianapolis Zoo. The draft is always interesting and surprising and this year was no exception.
Second round of NBA Playoffs finally here
There was not a whole lot of playoff basketball this weekend. The Boston Celtics completed their comeback against the Chicago Bulls on Friday to advance to the second round against the Washington Wizards who also took care of business Friday against the Atlanta Hawks. Only the Los Angeles Clippers-Utah Jazz would go to a seventh game out of all of the first round series matchups. The Clippers held off the Jazz for a 98-93 win on Friday. Sunday in L.A., the Clippers once again failed, losing 104-91 thanks in large part to Gordon Hayward’s 26 points. The Jazz outscored the Clippers by 16 points in the second and third quarters to help distance themselves from the Clippers. Rudy Gobert was not a factor in game seven with just one point. If the Jazz want any chance of beating the Golden State Warriors, Gobert must play better and be a defensive force. The Warriors though should win the series in five games.
The Wizards and Celtics began their second round series and this series seems like it is a series where plenty of points will be scored. Isaiah Thomas led the Celtics with 33 points. The Wizards can beat the Celtics, but they need John Wall and Bradley Beal to have big games and each of them did not have a good shooting night against the Celtics. Wall was 9-for-20 and Beal was 9-for-19. That won’t cut it against the Celtics. We’ll see if they can rebound in game two.
This Rockets-Spurs series should be good and here’s hoping also that the Cavaliers-Raptors series, which also gets underway tonight ends up being competitive though in all likelihood the Cavs will win the series pretty easily. After the Spurs struggled with the Memphis Grizzlies, I am not penciling them in as certain winners to face Golden State. Houston is a very good team.
Stanley Cup Playoff update
The Washington Capitals are in serious trouble. They lost each of the first two games against the Pittsburgh Penguins on home ice meaning they will have to win four of the next five games and at least two of those wins will have to come on the road in Pittsburgh. The Penguins won 6-2 on Saturday and the Capitals once again look befuddled. This is not a good look for them. Alex Ovechkin and company will disappoint once again. Elsewhere in the eastern conference, the New York Rangers gave up two goals in the final three minutes and change against the Ottawa Senators before losing in double overtime 6-5 to give the Senators a 2-0 series lead. It’s not a good sign for the Rangers. Jean-Gabriel Pageau had four goals in the game for the Senators. He scored the first and would score the final three, the two to tie the game and the one in double overtime to win it. Crushing loss for the Rangers.
In the western conference the road team has won every game so far in the Edmonton Oilers-Anahem Ducks series. The Ducks avenged their game one and two losses on home ice by beating Edmonton 6-3. The Ducks scored 25 seconds into the game thanks to a nice long outlet pass that Rickard Rakell took and buried home to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead. They would be up 3-0 midway through the first period before the Oilers scored with 40 seconds remaining in the period. The Oilers would eventually tie the game in the second period only to see the Ducks score the go-ahead goal a minute after they tied the game. The Ducks would tally a couple more to win by that 6-3 score. The St. Louis Blues-Nashville Predators series looks like it is going to be the Predators’ series to lose. Nashville has played better the majority of the series and that was once again on display Sunday afternoon as the beat the Blues 3-1 in Nashville to take a 2-1 series lead. Roman Josi’s goal in the third period thanks to a nice screen on Blues goalie Jake Allen helped seal the deal. Allen has looked far worse and shakier in this series than he did against the Minnesota Wild. Shocking that a Minnesota team fails in the postseason as bad as the Wild did given the expectations, but I digress.
Monday’s playoff schedule
Toronto Raptors @ Cleveland Cavaliers 7 PM ET TNT (Game 1)
Houston Rockets @ San Antonio Spurs 9:30 PM ET TNT (Game 1)
Washington Capitals @ Pittsburgh Penguins 7:30 PM ET NBCSN (Penguins lead series 2-0)
Coming up Tuesday: NBA and NHL Playoff reaction plus other top headlines from the sports world