The NHL had it’s first of two Game 7’s last night as the Tampa Bay Lighting beat the New York Rangers 2-0 to advance to the Stanley Cup finals. It was a 0-0 game until the 3rd period when Alex Killorn scored a couple minutes into the period to give the Lighting the lead. Ondrej Palat scored the 2nd goal for Tampa Bay about 11 minutes into the 3rd period to ice the game. Ben Bishop made 22 saves for Tampa Bay in the shutout and is 7-1 with a 1.25 goals-against average, a .951 save percentage and two shutouts following a loss in the 2015 Stanley Cup Playoffs. It was his second shutout of the series and third of the postseason. Henrik Lundqvist made 23 saves for the Rangers, who entered 7-0 in Game 7 at home but were denied a return trip to the Cup Final. Lundqvist had won six consecutive Game 7’s, an NHL record. The Stanley Cup finals start on Wednesday and Tampa bay will find out tonight if they will be facing the Anaheim Ducks or the Chicago Blackhawks. Anaheim is the home team tonight; the game is scheduled for a 7:30 p.m. (Central Time) start time. If form holds in this series the team that scores first will win. No matter how they have gotten there if you’re the first team to out the puck in the net you win. Barry Melrose mentioned in his preview of the game that there could be quite a bit offense tonight. So will we get a 5-4 game or a 2-1 game?

So the NHL gets 3 days off before they start the Stanley Cup Finals on the other hand the NBA has 8 days off between the end of the conference finals and the start of the NBA finals. By the time the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers take the court to start the finals I won’t even care who wins it. The days off may be a blessing for the Warriors as Klay Thompson got a concussion in the series clinching victory over the Houston Rockets and can use these days to rest and get ready. Depending on the what grade of concussion Thompson received will be the final decision on if he’ll be ready for Game 1. Thompson will not return to practice until he is symptom free and is being listed as out indefinitely. The longer break should also help the Cavaliers as well. Guard Kyrie Irving has been slowed by knee tendinitis and a sore foot, and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James has been banged up as well. If you’ve listened to a LeBron James interview you wouldn’t believe it. but neither of those injuries seems as serious as the one the Warriors are facing now. The NBA’s concussion policy requires players to pass a series of steps without experiencing symptoms before they can return. That starts with riding a stationary bike and progresses to jogging, agility work and non-contact team drills, according to the league. Players must start over if they experience any symptoms. The protocol also requires the team physician to discuss the process with Dr. Jeffrey Kutcher, the director of the NBA’s concussion program, before a player can return. If Thompson is out for any length of time will the Warriors be able to replace him?

Stephen Strasburg exited his start last night against the Cincinnati Reds after pitching 1 inning. Strasburg showed signs of an injury in the 1st inning, but came out for the 2nd inning before Washington Nationals manager Matt Williams and a trainer came out and removed him from the game. There is no official announcement on Strasburg’s condition or if he’ll miss a start, but in his post game interview he mentioned how he felt he couldn’t get his throwing shoulder loose. This is the second early departure from a start in a row for Strasburg. He pitched just 3 2/3rds innings against the Philadelphia Phillies on May 23rd. Strasburg has made 10 starts this season and is 3-5 with an E/R/A. of 6.55. Strasburg was the #1 overall pick by the Nationals in 2009. When the pick was made there were scouts and baseball experts talking about how Strasburg might win multiple Cy Young awards during his career and he still might. Strasburg did pick up a small share of votes for the Cy Young award last season (2014) and did lead the National League in strikeouts with 242 and games started with 34. In 6 seasons Strasburg has made 119 career starts, but only twice gas he started 30 or more games in a season; remember though he did miss most of the 2011 season. He made just 5 starts in 2011 because of an arm injury that required Tommy John surgery. Strasburg has one more year of arbitration with the Nationals before hitting the free agent market in 2017. There’s a very good chance that Strasburg will go out onto the open market since he is represented by Scott Boras. If this arm issue os something that will cause Strasburg to miss time you have to think it will affect his value a couple of seasons down the road. Then instead of what might he get on the free agent market will we be talking about the fact that he was a bust as a #1 overall draft pick.

Josh Hamilton made his return to the Texas Rangers this week. I’m not sure how I feel about this as I’m in the camp that thinks he should’ve been suspended. He’s appeared in 5 games for the Rangers and has 5 hits in the last 3 games. Hamilton actually hit 2 home runs against the Red Sox last night. Texas is 3-2 with Hamilton on the line up including a 7-4 last night in the game he homered twice in. The Rangers are 24-25, 6 games out of 1st place in the American League West. I don;t think anyone was expecting Hamilton to lead the Rangers to a division title or a World Series win, but this does have a chance to be a good story. Hamilton has a chance to be an example to a lot of people who have the sane issues as he does. The question will be; can he stay clean?

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The Cleveland Cavaliers easily won Game 4 of the Eastern conference finals to sweep the Atlanta Hawks out of the NBA playoffs. While I wasn’t surprised to see the Cavaliers win this series as I like a lot of people had them going to the NBA finals, but I was a little surprised they swept this series. Atlanta was the best team in the Eastern conference during the regular season and I thought they would find a way to win a game or two in this series. Game 4 ended up being the biggest blowout of the series a 30 Cleveland win 118-88. The Cavaliers took a 12 point lead at the end of the 1st quarter 32-20 and that was pretty much the end of the Hawks. Cleveland added 5 points to their lead going into the half at 59-42. The Cavaliers just kept pulling away as they added 8 points to their lead by the end of the 3rd quarter 85-60 and even in the 4th quarter when the game was pretty much decided the Cavaliers still added another 5 points to their lead to get to that 118-88 final score. LeBron James led the Cavaliers in scoring with 23 points, but 5 other Cleveland players scored in double figures. J.R, Smith scored 18 points, Kyrie Irving and Tristan Thompson scored 16 points, Timofey Mozgov had 14 points and Matthew Dellavedova added 10 points for Cleveland. Thompson pulled down 11 rebounds to lead the Cavaliers and Smith also grabbed 10 rebounds in the Game 4. James lead the Cavaliers with 7 assists. Irving was returning from injury and played just under 22 minutes and it was good for Cleveland to get him into a game before the finals. There was a lot of talk of if he should play or if the Cavaliers should just hold him out until the finals started. As long as Irving came out of Game 4 healthy it was the best thing for him to get a game and some minutes under his belt before the NBA finals start. Jeff Teague led Atlanta in scoring with 17 points in Game 4. Paul Millsap had 16 points and 10 rebounds 8 assists while Kent Bazemore had 12 points and 8 assists, Shelvin Mack and John Jenkins both added 10 points for Atlanta. With Kyle Korver missing Game 4 with an injury Atlanta shot 15.6 % from behind the 3 point line going 5 for 32. The only Atlanta player to make more than one 3 pointer was Jenkins and he had 2. It was a rough end for a team like Atlanta that played so well during the regular season and this will just add to the playoff failures the Hawks have had over the years.

The first chance for Cleveland to learn who it’s finals opponent might be is Friday. Game 5 between the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets tips off at 8:00 p.m. Central time on ESPN with the Warriors leading the series 3 games to 1 and looking to close it out. I’m sure every Golden State fan was relieved to see Stephan Curry come back on the court and play some minutes after the horrible fall he took earlier in Game 4. This was another situation where there was talk of if Curry should’ve returned to the game. I don;t see it being any issues as long as he was medically cleared to return to the game by  a doctor. You’d have to think if Curry isn’t have any lingering issues from the fall you have to think they’ll be able to close out the Rockets tonight, but Houston did come back from being down 3-1 to the Los Angeles Clippers in their last series. Not that my predictions ever work out; so sorry Warriors fans, but I’m taking them to win on Friday.

NASCAR had it’s longest race of the season last Sunday. It was the Coca-Cola 600 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Carl Edwards used a fuel mileage strategy to get a win and propel himself and his Joe Gibbs Racing #19 into The Chase. Greg Biffle also running a fuel mileage strategy had his best finish of the season finishing 2nd. Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 3rd, Matt Kenseth finished 4th and Martin Truex Jr. led the most laps (131) during the race, but came in 5th. Now I’m a fan of NASCAR, but I have to say that I don’t enjoy the races that are won with fuel mileage. I understand that strategy is all part of NASCAR and wins are of the up most importance with The Chase set up, but I didn’t enjoy it. NASCAR has had 9 different winners so far this season; so those 9 drivers look good for The Chase. Now the Sprint Cup series goes to Dover International Speedway this Sunday for the Fed-Ex 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks. Will there be a repeat winner? or will NASCAR get it’s 10th different winner this season?

There were a couple of other races on Sunday. Juan Pablo Montoya won the Indianapolis 500 trading the lead with Will Power a few times late in the race before he pulled away for the win. Power had to settle for 2nd place. The F1 series had the Monaco Grand Prix on Sunday and for the 3rd consecutive year  Nico Rosberg won. It appeared that Lewis Hamilton was on his way to victory in Monaco, but some poor strategy cost him and he ended up in 3rd place. Besides Rosberg, Sebastian Vettel was the other driver to take advantage of Hamilton’s issues and finished 2nd. I saw very little of the Monaco Grand Prix, but I did get to see quite a bit of the Indianapolis 500. Did you watch ither race? or are you a fan of either of these racing series?

The New York Rangers evened their series with the Tampa Bay Lighting last night with a 7-3 victory. The win by the Rangers forces a Game 7 for this series Friday night at 7:00 p.m. Central time. New York had a 2-1 lead going into the 3rd period and then out scored the Lighting 5 to 2 in that 3rd period to pull away for the win.  Derick Brassard had a hat trick for the Rangers scoring the 1st, 5th and final goals. Nikita Kucherov had both of the Tampa Bay goals in the 3rd period. We’ll see if the Chicago Blackhawks can extend their series against the Anaheim Ducks tonight. Anaheim leads the series 3 games to 2 with Game 6 being played tonight in Chicago. The Game is on the NBC Sports Network starting at 7:00 p.m. Central time. Will we get two Game 7’s in the NHL conference finals?

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Listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast at http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com

It’s Memorial Day weekend and that means the Indianapolis 500 will be run. NASCAR has pretty much taken over any type of racing news, but the Indianapolis 500 is the one still mainstream open wheel race that gets covered. When I was younger I would watch the race, but not so much anymore. While I’ll still try to catch the end to see who wins the race there’s not a connection you might feel for your favorite NASCAR driver with this series for me. While I still recognize some of the names like polesitter Scott Dixon after looking at the starting grid there where only 4 other drivers starting in the Top 10 who’s names I recognized. I’m sure if I followed this racing series a little closer I would know the other drivers in the Top 10, but I don’t even know if their other races are shown on television. While I would never want to see the Indianapolis 500 not be televised this weekend or moved to another network I would like to be able to find the other races in this series easier. 

The Los Angeles Dodgers are in 1st place in the NL West by 1 1/2 games over the San Francisco Giants. The Dodgers and Giants just finished a mid-week 3 game series that saw the Giants sweep all 3 game from the Dodgers in that series. Not only did the Giants get a sweep in that series the Dodgers were shutout in all 3 games. San Francisco seems to be getting healthy while Los Angeles is going through some injuries. Even though the Dodgers did win their game last night they still only put up 2 runs. I don;t think anyone thought that offense would be an issues for the Dodgers and when Yasiel Puig returns from his hamstring injury the offense should return to were it was at the start of the season. What I’m wondering is if there’s going to be a move made for a starting pitcher. Los Angeles still has the best 1,2 top of the rotation in baseball with Clayton Kershaw and Zach Greinke in those roles, but there are some questions after that. Brett Anderson has been solid at 2-2 with an ERA of 3.61 in his 8 starts. The 8 starts Anderson has made this season match his total from all of last season and he hasn’t made more than 30 starts in his career. Anderson made 30 starts as a rookie in 2009; so will he hold up over a season in the Dodgers rotation. Brandon McCarthy has been lost for the season and it was announced yesterday that Hyun-jin Ryu will have season ending shoulder surgery. Ryu didn’t make any starts for the Dodgers this season. Carlos Frias has made 6 appearances with 4 of those being starts and is 3-1 with a 2.55 ERA. Mike Bolsinger has made 3 starts for the Dodgers as well and is 2-0 with an ERA of 1.04. Will the Dodgers stick with Frias and Bolsinger at the back of the rotation or will they go out on the trade market and try to find pitching. I’d be surprised to see Cole Hamels in a Dodgers uniform unless the Philadelphia Phillies come way down on what they want in return for Hamels. Now there is another Phillies pitcher that has gotten some attention early in the trade market. Could the veteran Aaron Harang be someone the Dodgers might be interested in. Harang is 4-3 in 9 starts for the Phillies with an ERA of 1.82. I’d be surprised to see Harang still with the Phillies at the end of the season, but which contender or contenders might be interested .

I was a little surprised to see the Cleveland Cavaliers more or less coast to a 12 point win 94-82 in Game 2 of the Eastern conference finals against the Atlanta Hawks. The Cavaliers took a 5 point lead after the 1st quarter 26-21. Cleveland kept the lead at 5 going into halftime 54-49, but pulled away in the 3rd quarter out scoring Atlanta 30-17 and taking a 84-66 lead. The Hawks did out score the Cavaliers in the 4th quarter 16 to 10, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough to get Atlanta back into the game or close to a win. LeBron James led Cleveland and all scorers with 30 points. James also had 11 assists and 9 rebounds missing a triple double by just that 1 rebound. Iman Shumpert (16) Matthew Dellavedova (11) and Timofey Mozgov (10) were the other Cavaliers scoring in double figures while Tristan Thompson grab a game high 16 rebounds for Cleveland. Dennis Schroder led Atlanta with 13 points, but Jeff Teague, Kyle Korver and Al Horford all scored 12 points for the Hawks. Cleveland has a 2 games to 0 lead in the series and they are headed back to Cleveland for Game 3 on Sunday night. Can Atlanta win a game in Cleveland and keep the series alive and return home or are the Cavaliers looking at a sweep. 

If you’re a Houston Rockets fan are you going to end up looking back at this Western conference finals series against the Golden State Warriors and wonder what if. The Rockets lost Game 1 by 4 points 110-106 and had their chances to take that game. Thursday night though might be the heartbreaker for Rockets fans. The Rockets were down 1 point with under 10 seconds to play and they had the basketball. James Harden was doubled teamed and unable to get a game winning shot off as the Rockets lost 99-98 in Game 2. Golden State has a 2-0 lead in this series, but it could just as easily be the other way around and if you’re Houston you have to think those missed chances will cost you this series. The series heads back to Houston for Game 3 tonight and the Rockets are kind of in the same boat the hawks find themselves in. Can they win a game at home to keep the series alive or will they be swept out of the conference finals.

On the podcast we always notice how the NFL finds ways to keep themselves in the news all year long, but lately all I’ve heard is the negative “Deflate Gate” news. I doubt this is the kind of news the NFL wants to generate in the off season and I have to tell you; I’m over this already. While I do think that a 4 game suspension was too much for Tom Brady I have no real interest in this situation. I side with Dan the Man on this when he has said over and over on the Sports Time Radio podcast that this is really the NFL’s fault. With all of the money the NFL makes they couldn’t have someone in charge of the game footballs. That’s enough of that garbage. When does mini-camp start?

Let’s go ahead and start off with the Sports Time Radio fantasy players of the week for Week 6. We went with two Cleveland Indians this week 2nd baseman Jason Kipnis and Corey Kluber. I know it’s early in the season, but it’s the first time we’ve had winners from the same team.

Here’s how we stand right now with our teams of hitting pitchers:

Dan the Man’s team is 10/66 .152 0 HR’s 4 RBI’s and 29 K’s

Mr. Fantasy’s team is 17/85 .200 0 HR’s 2 RBI’s and 26 K’s

My team is 12/82 .146 1 HR 6 RBI’s and 34 K’s

The NHL is in it’s conference finals and both series are tied 1-1 with Game 3 of the New York Rangers vs. the Tampa Bay Lighting is tonight. The series has moved to Tampa Bay and if they can hold home ice they’ll move on to the Stanley Cup finals. The Rangers won Game 1 of the series 2-1, but Tampa Bay took Game 2 by putting up 6 goals in a 6-2 win. The Western conference series is moving to Chicago for Game 3 on Thursday night. The Anaheim Ducks took Game 1 by scoring 2 goals in the 3rd period and pulling away to a 4-1 win. Last night the Chicago Blackhawks evened the series with a 3-2 win in 3 overtimes. At 16:12 of the third overtime Marcus Krueger scored the game winner for the Blackhawks. and ended what was the longest game in Blackhawks history. Corey Crawford made 62 saves for Chicago and  Frederik Andersen made 56 saves for Anaheim. It will be interesting to see how these two teams bounce back with just one day off before Game 3.

The NBA has also just started it’s conference finals, but only the Western conference has gotten under way with the Golden State Warriors taking Game 1  110-106 over the Houston Rockets. Stephan Curry lead all scorers with 34 points making 6 – 11 from behind the 3-point line. Shaun Livingston (18), Klay Thompson (15), Harrison Barnes (14) and Draymond Green (13) all scored double figures for Golden State. Green also grabbed 12 rebounds and was just 2 assists shy of a triple double as he had 8 assists. The Rockets were led by James Harden with 28 points, Trevor Ariza had 20 points and Josh Smith had 17 points. Even though he injured a knee and played just a little over 26 minutes Dwight Howard led the Rockets with 13 rebounds. Harden added 11 rebounds and missed his triple double by just 1 assists as he led the Rockets with 9 assists in the game. The Rockets had the lead after one quarter at 31-24, but Golden State bounced back to take a 58-55 lead at halftime. Golden State added 2 points to their lead after 3 quarters 84-79. The Rockets did out score the Warriors in the final period 27 to 26, but it wasn’t enough to get a win. With the next game on Thursday you have to wonder if Howard will be ready to play. If you’re a Rockets fan are you trying to figure out if Howard doesn’t get injured would you of stolen Game 1. Game 1 of the Eastern conference finals starts tonight in Atlanta as the Atlanta Hawks host the Cleveland Cavaliers. Game 2 is Friday May 22nd in Atlanta as well. The series seems to be being billed as Atlanta’s team concept against LeBron James or I saw someone call it “Hero Ball”. 

The NBA had it’s draft lottery last night and it was the Los Angeles Lakers who moved up at the expense of the New York Knicks. Los Angeles moved up from #4 to the #2 pick while it was New York that fell from #2 to #4. New York had the 2nd best odds going into the lottery last night, but fell to the 4th pick in the draft. Everything else for the NBA lottery held true to form. The Minnesota Timberwovles got the #1 pick, the Lakers are #2, the Philadelphia 76ers are #3, the Knicks are #4, the Orlando Magic are #5, the Sacramento Kings are #6, the Denver Nuggets are #7, the Detroit Pistons are #8, the Charlotte Hornets are #9, the Miami Heat are #10, the Indiana Pacers are #11. the Utah Jazz are #12, the Phoenix Suns are #13 and the Oklahoma City Thunder got the last spot in the draft lottery at #14. The Lakers appear to be the big winner coming out of last night as they along with the Timberwolves will get either Jahlil Okafor or Karl-Anthony Towns at the top of the draft. The Knicks where one of the teams that lost out last night, but in a way so did the 76ers. While Philadelphia did land the 3rd pick most experts have said that there is a drop off between the 2nd and 3rd best players in this draft. Not only that, but Philadelphia had a chance to leave the lottery with 3 lottery picks. If the Lakers pick would’ve landed outside of the Top 5 it would’ve went to the 76ers as part of an earlier trade. Of course we know now that the Lakers are picking 2nd; so they get to keep that draft pick. The 76ers also had a deal with the Heat and if the Miami draft pick would’ve fallen out of the Top 10 Philadelphia would’ve gotten that pick as well. Miami landed right at #10 in the draft and they get to keep their draft pick as well.

The most interesting player in the upcoming NBA draft may be Emmanuel Mudiay who played last season in China.  Mudiay was born in the Republic of Congo, was living in Texas and planned to attend SMU, then signed a pro contract in China amid claims (that his family denied) the move was to escape NCAA heat on academic issues. While an ankle injury cost him most of the season in Guangdong, a healthy Mudiay will pop at the select few individual workouts he performs.

Schaumburg Stu went with the favorite American Pharoah to win the Preakness and he cam through for him winning the 2nd leg of the Triple Crown. I went with Divining Rod who finished 3rd. Mr. Fantasy’s horse Mr. Z ended up in 5th place and Dan the Man’s pick Firing Line finished in 7th place out of 8 horses.  American Pharoah became the 14th horse since 1978 to take the Kentucky Derby-Preakness Stakes and now the question is; can he win the Belmont Stakes?

You cam listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com

You can also follow me on Twitter @Burketime

So Troy Tulowitzki met with his agent this week to decide if he would ask the Colorado Rockies for a trade. I don’t know when this meeting took place, but I saw a crawler headline on “Yahoo Sports” that Tulowitzki has decided not to ask to be traded. Now if you;re the Rockies; what do you do with Tulowitzki? He’s the biggest name on your team, sorry Carlos Gonzalez and people buy tickets to Rockies games to see him. If you decided that you’re going to try to deal him; what can you get for an injury prone shortstop who when healthy can be on of the best players in major league baseball. Tulowitzki has appeared in every Rockies game this season (32), but has played in just 264 games from 2012 – 2014. Tulowitzki is off to a solid start; he’s hitting .284 with 2 home runs and 11 RBI’s along with 13 doubles. Now if the Rockies make the tough decision and feel it’s in their best interest to trade Tulowitzki what could they get for him and where might he end up. Now every team in baseball could use a healthy Tulowitzki, but I’ve narrowed it down to 4 possible good landing spots.

Let’s start with the New York Mets. There was quite a bit of talk last off season that these two teams were trying to work out a deal for Tulowitzki, but they couldn’t come to terms. Now that the Mets have come back to the pack in the NL East and are currently on a 5 game losing streak I think it’s time to revisit this deal. While Wilmer Flores has shown some power early this season with 5 home runs he is still hitting .240 and  Tulowitzki would be a huge upgrade at shortstop. Part of the snag in the off season deal was the Mets didn’t want to give up pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard. I’m sure the Mets would still like to hang onto Syndergaard, but they have other pitching prospects they could include in a deal for Tulowitzki. If the Mets where to package Steven Matz, Marcos Molina and Flores in a deal would that be enough for Colorado to give them Tulowitzki. Remember Tulowitzki is signed until 2020 with an option for 2021. If the option on his contract was picked up the total value left on Tulowitzki’s deal is $109 million. That would be a lot of money for a team to take on along with dealing multiple prospects. Would 2 Mets pitching prospects and someone to fill in at shortstop be good enough for Colorado.

How about Tulowitzki to the Houston Astros. The Astros are off to a better start than anyone thought and they are currently in 1st place in the AL West. The Astros are 23-13 and have a 4 1/2 game lead in the division. Now Houston did just promote their top prospect Carlos Correra to Triple A and there is a chance he’ll be brought up to the majors in June. If the Astros were to pick up Tulowitzki and Correra was to come up in June there’s no reason Tulowitzki couldn’t move over to 3rd base in place of Luis Valbuena. There could also be some at bats at Designated Hitter for Tulowitzki. The Astros did sign Jed Lowrie in the off season and he is injured right now. Lowrie has been a utility player before and shouldn’t have any problems going back into that role if the Astros acquired  Tulowitzki. I’d be surprised if the Astros would deal Correra or Mark Appel for Tulowitzki, but could pitching prospects Vincent Velasquez, Michael Feliz, Jandel Gustave and someone like Jonathan Vyllar be enough for Colrado to move Tulowitzki to Houston. If the Astros are ready to contend this season adding a player of Tulowitzki talent level might be what puts them over the top.

Even though they are only in the 4th year of their 5 year plan the Chicago Cubs find themselves in 2nd place in the NL Central with a 20-15 record and 4 games behind the 1st place St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals will be tough to unseat at the top of the NL Central because they’re the Cardinals and they always seem to contend, but adding a player like Tulowitzki could make the Cubs a threat if not to win the NL Central then to grab a Wild Card spot. The Cubs would have to include Starling Castro in a deal for Tulowitzki, but Castro has a decent contract to deal. Castro is signed until 2019 with an option for 2020 and if the contract was player out he would make a little under $41 million. I seriously doubt the Rockies would swap Tulowitzki for Castro straight up, but what if the Cubs added minor league prospect Javier Baez to the deal. It’s believed that the Rockies would be looking for young pitching in any deal for Tulowitzki, but I don’t think the Cubs would part with top pitching prospect C.J. Edwards. Would Colorado accept a deal that had Castro and a couple of the Cubs other pitching prospects say Duane Underwood and Pierce Johnson.

Now there are always dark horse teams that pop up when these type of deals take place. I think a team that might be able to be that dark horse team in any Tulowitzki deal could be the team across town from the Cubs; the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox have struggled out of the gate. They are 15-17 right now and 6 games out of 1st place, but a deal for Tulowitzki could change that quickly. The Mets and White Sox talked about a deal involving Alexei Ramirez during spring training and he could go to Colorado in a Tulowitzki deal. Now it’s being reported that the Rockies would like to get young pitching in any type of deal involving Tulowitzki. So would Ramirez and a couple of the White Sox young pitching prospects not named Carlos Rodon be enough to get Tulowitzki. Would top White Sox pitching prospects like Francelis Montas, Spencer Adams or Tyler Danish along with Ramirez be enough to get Colorado to send Tulowitzki to the South side of Chicago. The White Sox have always found ways to make these type of deals; so I wouldn’t count them out of a Tulowitzki trade.

I thought it would be fun for Dan the Man, Mr. Fantasy and I to do a 5 round fantasy draft of pitchers and use their hitting stats. Of course with us this took a lot longer than of should’ve, but we got it done. Here’s how are teams turned out. Dan the Man has Madison Bumgarner and Tim Lincecum of the San Francisco Giants, Travis Wood, Chicago Cubs, Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies and Jorge De La Rosa, Colorado Rockies. Mr. Fantasy drafted Jason Hammel, Chicago Cubs, Josh Collmenter, Arizona Diamondbacks, Andrew Cashner, San Diego Padres, Shelby Miller, Atlanta Braves and Johnny Cueto, Cincinnati Reds. My 5 pitchers are Kyle Kendrick, Colorado Rockies, Zack Greinke, Los Angeles Dodgers, Mike Leake, Cincinnati Reds, Jordan Zimmerman, Washington Nationals and Matt Harvey, New York Mets. We’re going to use Batting Average, Home Runs, RBI’s and Strikeouts. I’ll try to keep you updated as the season moves along and will see who’s team of hitting pitchers does the best at the end of the season. 

The 2nd race of the Triple Crown is today; the Preakness. While none of us picked the winner for the Kentucky derby Dan the Man’s picked did finish in 2nd place. Here’s who we’re going with to win the Preakness. Dan the Man is staying with his Kentucky Derby horse and has Firing Line to win today. Schaumburg Stu Likes the favorite American Pharoah to win. If he does he’ll have won the first 2 races of the Triple Crown. Mr. Fantasy likes the horse with Mr. in his name; that would be Mr. Z and I’m going with Divining Rod to get the Preakness win.

So how was your week?

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

Listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast at http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com

We’ve been picking a fantasy players of the week this season for baseball. 1 hitter and 1 pitcher win the award every week.  I keep forgetting to post them; so I’m going to catch you up and cover who we’ve picked through 5 weeks of the season. Week 1 Adrian Gonzalez, Los Angeles Dodgers and  Aroldis Chapman Cincinnati Reds. Week 2 Adam Jones, Baltimore Orioles and Hector Santiego Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Week 3 Mark Teixeira New York Yankees and Gerrit Cole Pittsburgh Pirates. Week 4 Jose Altuve Houston Astros and David Price Detroit Tigers. Week 5 Bryce Harper Washington Nationals and Shelby Miller Atlanta Braves. You’re all caught up and now you can go back and look at the stats and see if you agree with us. Will pick our Fantasy players of the week on the Sunday podcast 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.

What is going on with the scheduling for the NHL conference finals. The Chicago Blackhawks and the Anaheim Ducks don’t have a date for Game 1 of their series in Anaheim even though both teams wrapped up their series last week. There is a Game 7 tonight between the New York Rangers and the Washington Capitals, but that’s an Eastern conference game and shouldn’t have any affect on when the Blackhawks/Ducks series should start. The Tampa bay Lighting eliminated the Montreal Canadiens last night (Tuesday) 4-1 to win the series 4 games to 2. Tampa Bay gets the winner of the Rangers/Capitals game in the Eastern conference finals. I’m not saying that the Ducks/Blackhawks series should’ve started, but they could’ve played 1 game by now. I guess the NHL is waiting for all of the series to finish to announce the schedule for the conference finals. Tyler Johnson of Tampa Bay has scored the most goals in the playoffs with 8. Corey Perry of Anaheim has the most points with 15. While Lighting goalie Ben Bishop has won the most playoffs games with 8. Anaheim has had the best power play so far in the playoffs scoring 31% of the time they have a man advantage. At 3.89 goals a game Anaheim is averaging the most goals in a game as well. The Rangers have the best goals against average at 1.73. Of course the Rangers goals against will go up or down depending on how their game goes tonight.

Kyle Busch is having a good week. First it was announced that Busch would be returning for this Saturday’s All-Star race.  Busch received medical clearance from his doctors and NASCAR on Monday, but he has yet to make a start this season after suffering a compound fracture in his right leg and a broken left foot in the Feb. 21 season-opening XFINITY Series race at Daytona International Speedway. The shorter All-Star race and its segment-and-break format should help Busch in his return. There was more good news for Busch because on Wednesday, NASCAR granted a waiver to the Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) driver who will return to racing in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race. Despite missing the season’s first 11 races, NASCAR has waived the Chase requirement for Busch. Should he win one of the remaining 15 regular-season points races and make the top 30 in points or earn a spot based on his position in the points standings, he would be one of the 16 drivers in this year’s Chase field. Similar situations have come up before — three other drivers have been granted waivers since NASCAR re-tooled the Chase format before the start of the 2014 season. Tony Stewart, out for three races last summer after his involvement in an on-track fatality in a non-NASCAR sanctioned event, was given the all clear to pursue a Chase spot upon his return. Unlike Hamlin, Stewart was unable to qualify for the 10-race program. Before the start of the 2015 season, NASCAR announced driver Brian Vickers would be eligible for a Chase spot after missing this season’s first two races due to health issues. Kurt Busch was suspended for the first three races of the season as a result of domestic violence allegations made by former girlfriend Patricia Driscoll. A Kent County (Delaware) family judge granted Driscoll a protective order, however the State Attorney General declined to file charges against the driver. Busch was reinstated and granted a Chase waiver. Last month, he won at Richmond and is currently in the provisional playoff field with the victory and a 14th-place points position. Last year, Denny Hamlin missed one race (at Auto Club Speedway), won one race (at Talladega Superspeedway) and was awarded one of the 16 Chase starting positions, and this year, Kyle Larson missed a race in March at Martinsville Speedway, but both drivers took part in Coors Light Pole Qualifying to remain Chase-eligible. I thought it was only fair on NASCAR’s part to give Busch the waiver and a shot at making the Chase. Now it’s up to Busch and his JGR racing team to win a race and get into the Chase.

I saw an odd quote from Chicago Cubs general manager Jed Hoyer and I’m disappointed that I was unable to find it for this blog. Hoyer mentioned something to the affect that the Cubs and the New York Mets have some matching pieces, bu they hadn’t come to any kind of deal yet. I did see a report that the Mets inquired about Addison Russell, but I’d be surprised if the Cubs would deal him. It does appear that the Mets may be looking for a shortstop. Does that mean Starling Castro is headed to New York. I actually thought he’d be the guy to take Derek Jeter’s spot for the other New York team, but I was wrong. Castro has a very friendly contract, but if the Cubs move him what do they get in return. The Mets do have some quality pitching prospects in their minor league system, but aren’t the Cubs suppose to be on the verge of winning according to the Theo Epstein plan. If Castro is traded Russell would have no issues moving over to shortstop, but then who takes Russell place at 2nd base. Did  Arismendy Alcantara show you enough in the games he played with the Cubs to handle the everyday job at 2nd base. Alcantara was on the opening day roster and has since been demoted to Triple A Iowa. There’s also Javier Baez. Just imagine the strikeout total Baez could put up playing everyday. Looking at a deal like this I’m not sure what Hoyer meant by match up.

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Derrick Rose banked in a 3-pointer to give the Chicago Bulls a 99-96 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 3 of their 2nd round playoff series. On the radio there was just as much talk after the game about a couple of other plays as there was Rose’s game winner. Late in the 3rd quarter LeBron James drove to the basket and was clearly tied up by Jimmy Butler for what should’ve been a jump ball. The referees saw it differently and called Butler for a foul. Then on the play right before Rose hit the game winning shot James ran at Rose banged into him and luckily for the Bulls the basketball ended up going out of bounds. I get it; there where 3 seconds left and no referee in the NBA is going to call a foul on the best player in the league in that situation. Fans rooting against the Cavaliers forget how much pull James seems to have. Remember 2 seasons ago he complained that the All-Star break wasn’t long enough and this season they magically had a couple of extra days added to All-Star weekend. Any referee who likes his job and wants to keep it is going to swallow his whistle when it comes to a play like that and James is involved. Was the first play a jump ball; yes. Was the second play a foul; yes. Was either play called correctly; no and they won’t be. I was a little surprised by the Bulls fans being as upset as they were with these two blatantly missed calls. I guess they forgot how the Bulls used to benefit from this same situation when Michael Jordan was wearing a Chicago uniform.

Rose led all scorers with 30 points and finally got to the free throw line in the series making 9 of 10 free throws. Rose was 10 of 26 from the field and 1 of 3 from behind the 3-point line. That means the only 3-pointer Rose hit was the last second bank shot to win the game. Butler had 20 points, Mike Dunleavy scored 16 points and Nikola Mirotic added 12 points off the bench. Pau Gasol was injured and played just a little under 22 minutes in Game 3. James led the Cavaliers with 27 points. James was 8 of 25 from the field and made just 1 of his 7 3-points attempts on the night. Kyrie Irving went 3 of 4 from behind the 3-point line, but those where the only 3 shots he made from the field going 3 for 13 while scoring 11 points. Tristan Thompson was the other Cavaliers starter to score double digit points with 10 while J.R. Smith scored 14 point off the bench included the late 3-pointer that tied the game at 96, .Matthew Dellavedova also came off the cavaliers bench to score 10 points. Game 3 is Sunday afternoon in Chicago with the Bulls holding a 2-1 series lead.

In the late game last night (Friday) the Los Angeles Clippers took a 2 games to 1 lead over the Houston Rockets in their Western conference 2nd round series by winning Game 3 124-99. J.J. Reddick went 5 of 6 from behind the 3-point line and 11 of 14 from the field overall for a game high 31 points. Austin Rivers scored 25 points and Blake Griffin added 20 points as the Clippers shot 55.4% from the field and 44.8% from behind the 3-point line in their win. The Rockets were led by James Harden with 25 points, but shot 39.8% from the field and 33.3% from behind the 3-point line in the game. Harden did hand out 11 assists and Dwight Howard had a double-double 14 each points and rebounds. In true Howard fashion he went 4 of 11 from the free throw line and as a team the Rockets where 18 of 31 (58.1%) from the free throw line. Chris Paul did return for the Clippers and played a little over 23 minutes. Game 3 is Sunday for these two teams in Los Angeles.

Have you ever thought that your favorite NFL team might be cursed or jinxed or something along those lines. If you’re a fan of the Jacksonville Jaquars and I know there are some of you out there you have to be wondering about this. Jacksonville had the 3rd pick in the draft last weekend and they decided to go with a pass rusher to help their defense instead of taking the player that most if not all experts thought was the best player in the draft;; Leonard Williams a defensive lineman. Since Jacksonville wanted a true edge rusher they drafted Dante Fowler Jr. a linebacker/defensive end with the 3rd pick. Well on the 1st day of rookie mini camp Fowler torn the ACL ligament in his left knee and will miss the 2015 season. Fowler was already talked about as a Defensive Rookie of the Year candidate. It was report that Fowler’s left knee bent awkwardly during 11 on 11 drills and he had to be carted off of the field. Fowler was set to play Jacksonville’s “Leo” position in their defense. The Jaquars where also hoping a “high motor” player like Fowler would add to their young defense that finished 6th in the NFL last season with 45 sacks. Even though he;s out of college it looks like Fowler will be taking a red shirt year instead of rushing quarterbacks in the NFL.

The NASCAR circuit heads to the Kansas Speedway for The Spomgebob Squarepants 400 tonight. Joey Logano won the pole in qualifying yesterday  with a speed of 192.397 M.P.H. Kasey Kahne, Brad Keselowski, Martin Truex Jr. and Carl Edwards round out the Top 5 qualifiers for the race. Dan the Man’s favorite driver Clint Bowyer starts 21st. This is the first race where Erik Jones will take over the #18 Jo Gibbs Racing (JGR) car from David Ragan who was filling in for an inured Kyle Busch. Ragan is now driving the #55 car for Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) for what looks like the rest of the race season. Brian Vickers started the season in the #55 car, but has been out with blood clots and there hasn’t been a timetable set for his return. Jeff Gordon is the defending champion and could use a win to lock down a spot in The Chase. Chris Olmstead from BeyondtheFlag.com was unable to join us on the podcast Friday to preview the race and give us his picks, but he will be joining us tomorrow to recap the race. We did receive Chris’s picks via e-mail. Here’s what he said ” I think there is going to be another different winner this weekend so I am going to go with Carl Edwards, Jeff Gordon or Kasey Kahne”

So how was your week?

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If your favorite team plays in the NL Central and they’re not the St. Louis Cardinals is the best outcome you can hope for 2nd place already this season. When the Cardinals lost Adam Wainwright for the season with a torn Achilles I actually thought they might fall back to the other teams in the NL Central. Instead St. Louis is looking like the best team in baseball. They have the best record in baseball at 20-6 and are currently on an 8 game winning streak. Last night (Tuesday) St. Louis won a game started by Tyler Lyons. Lyons has 13 career starts; he is 2-8 with an ERA of 4.69 over 94 career innings. Now by no means was Lyons great last night against the Chicago Cubs he did keep the game close enough for the Cardinals to find a way to win the game. Lyons pitched 4 1/3rd innings giving up 6 hits, 4 runs 3 of which were earned. Lyons did strikeout 7 Cubs while walking 2 and did throw a wild pitch. Not the starting pitcher stat line you’d want every game for your team, but it was good enough last night. Of course it helps that the bullpen came through with 4 2/3rd scoreless innings. Mitch Harris picked up the win, Kevin Siegrist and Miguel Socolovich each qualified for a hold and Trevor Rosenthal close the game out to get his 9th save of the season. Down the road the Cardinals will have to find someone to be that 5th starter. Before Lyons, Tim Cooney got a start that didn’t go so well. Cooney lasted just 2 1/3rd innings giving up 7 hits, 3 runs all earned while walking 1 striking out 3 and giving up a home run. Will that 5th spot go to Marco Gonzales who almost won the spot out of spring training or will Jamie Garcia step back into the rotation once he recovers from injury. Garcia threw 70 pitches in an extended Spring Training game on Tuesday and is set to go out on a rehab assignment early next week. Gonzales has made 3 starts for Triple A Memphis this season. In 16 innings his ERA is 4.50 giving up 20 hits and 8 runs while walking 3 and striking out 13. Those are a couple of the options St. Louis might use as a 5th starter. There’s also a chance they’ll go out and make a trade a little later in the season, but St. Louis always seems to be able to fill these spots from within their  organization.

On the other end of the standings from the Cardinals, but in the NL East are the Philadelphia Phillies. Philadelphia is 10-18 through this early part of the season, but they still have the best trade piece on their roster. That begs the question; why is Cole Hamels still in a Phillies uniform? Is Philadelphia;s asking price still to high for Hamels? There have been some rumors that the Los Angeles Dodgers have kicked the tires on a deal involving Hamels. The report is that the Phillies asked for two of the three Dodgers top prospects plus. That would mean the Dodgers would have to move two of these three Joc Pedersen, Corey Seager or Julio Urias plus whatever you might have to toss in to fill out the deal. Is Hamels worth that? Don’t forget Hamels is signed through 2018 with an option for 2019. He’ll make $23.5 million every season and the 2019 option is for $20 million. Their is an option that will make his 2019 salary $24 million if it’s reached and there is also a $6 million buy out if his team doesn’t want to pick up that option. That sounds like a lot to ask for a pitcher who in 6 starts is 1-3 with an ERA of 4.14.

How much do the Cleveland Cavaliers miss Kevin Love? The Cavaliers dropped Game 1 of their 2nd round series to the Chicago Bulls at home 99-92. Cleveland will try to even up the series tonight. The Bulls where 10 of 18 (55.6%) from behind the 3-point line and 40 for 80 (50%) from the field. Can just a little better defense from Cleveland or a worse shooting night from the Bulls even this series up. The Bulls about rebounded the Cavaliers 42-39. If Love was healthy would he have altered this total. Love averaged 9.7 rebounds a game during the regular season and 7 per game in the 1st round playoff series. Or is all the Cavaliers need is J.R. Smith to return to the lineup. Smith was serving a suspension from the Cavaliers 1st round series and missed Game 1. Maybe if LeBron James just shoots better the Cavaliers will even this series. James was 9 for 22 (40.9%) from the field and didn’t make any of the his 3-point attempts; he took 3 in the game. James did have 15 rebounds and 9 assists in Game 1. Love injury is tough to factor into this series as it seemed like he never truly fit into the system. Is Cleveland having the best player in the NBA enough to get them past the Bulls in Round 2?

The other game tonight has the Los Angeles Clippers vs. the Houston Rockets. The Clippers took Game 1 of this series on the road 117-101. The other two series are tied at 1-1 as the Atlanta Hawks handed the Washington Wizards their first playoff loss 106-90 in Tuesday’s first game. In the nightcap the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Golden State Warriors 97-90 to give the Warriors their first playoff loss. I’ve never liked the way the NBA handles their playoff scheduling and this is one of the reasons why. The Hawks/Wizards series and the Warriors/Grizzlies series are off until Saturday. So all 4 teams played on Tuesday night and then they’re giving a 3 day break while the Bulls/Cavaliers series and the Rockets/Clippers series come back to play on Friday and then on Sunday. It just seems odd to me that two of the four series play every other day and the other two series manage to get a three day break in between  games 3 and 4. Of course this is part of the reason that the NBA playoffs run so long and by the time they actually crown a champion most of the casual fans no longer care who wins.

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The 1st round of the NBA playoffs will wrap up tonight when the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers play Game 7 of their series tonight in Los Angeles. This has been the only interesting series of the first round. Even though the Milwaukee Bucks and the Brooklyn Nets found ways to win a couple games against their higher seeded opponents there was never any real doubt who would win those series. Even though the Washington Wizards where the #5 seed in their series against the Toronto Raptors; Washington was playing better basketball coming into the playoffs and it showed when they swept the series. The majority of these series were boring and uninteresting with the exception of the Spurs/Clippers series. As the NBA playoffs start the 2nd round let’s hope the games get better and more interesting.

Now the NHL has started the 2nd round of their playoffs and 3 out of the 4 games were great to start these series off. The Anaheim Ducks did have an easy time in Game 1 against the Calgary Flames winning 6-2. The Washington Capitals won Game 1 of their series against the New York rangers by scoring a goal in the final seconds of the 3rd period to steal a 2-1 victory. It took double overtime to settle Game 1 of the Montreal Canadiens/Tampa Bay Lighting series.. Nikita Kucherov scored in the 2nd overtime to win the game for Tampa Bay 2-1. The Chicago Blackhawks jumped out to a 3 goal lead in Game 1 of their series against the Minnesota Wild and looked like they would cruise to a victory. Minnesota turned around and scored the next 3 goals to even the game, but the Blackhawks managed to out 1 more puck in the net and take Game 1, 4-3. The 2nd round of the NHL playoffs got off to a great start and hopefully they’ll carry it on through these series.

I’ve always enjoyed watching the NFL draft, but this may be the last season I take the time to do that. I’ve tried watching the coverage on ESPN and the NFL Network and they both stink. They’ve spent way too much time just doing nothing. The picks get backed up 3 or 4 teams and it’s like neither network has never covered a draft before. Now I have no issue when things slow down to salute the military or have someone from a charity the NFL works with come out. It’s nice to see a former player like Jim Kelly or Rick Upchurch get the applause from the crowd for the battles they’re fighting. It’s even funny to see Ickey Woods announce a Cincinnati Bengals draft pick and “Shuffle” for the fans, but the NFL and the networks need to find a way to speed up the announcement of the picks. Rounds 4-7 start in about 4 hours and they are outside today, but luckily they’re going to get some good weather in Chicago for it. They also mentioned that the picks will be announced from the teams war rooms; so I’m interested to see how this works out and if it might speed things up a little.

On the Sports Time Radio podcast yesterday (Friday) we had Zach Alapi from http://www.TheLivingDaylights.co on with us to talk about the Floyd Mayweather/Manny Pacquiao boxing match that takes place tonight. Zach has Mayweather winning this fight by decision, but his staff was split on who would win. 3 of the writers on his website had Mayweather winning, but there where 2 writers who picked Pacquiao to win. On the podcast Dan the Man, Mr. Fantasy and I all have Mayweather winning tonight and just like Zach we see the fight going to distance. On one of the sports networks I get they were actually announcing which celebrities were sitting ringside and all I could fins myself asking was; who cares. This is a fight boxing fans have been waiting for and why does it matter at all who’s sitting ringside. With the price of tickets who else did they think would be in those seats.

The other big event happening today is the Kentucky Derby. It’s the first race in the Triple Crown from Churchhill Downs. I made my pick on Wednesday and I’m sticking with Mubtaahji. Mr. Fantasy likes Danzig Moon and Dan the Man has Firing Line to win. I will caution people not to take our advise on horse racing as we know little to nothing about the sport and I’m pretty sure we all just took a name we liked. I actually do watch the derby, but I’m just interested in the actual race and I can do without all of the pre-race stuff. There are some experts who will tell you that horse racing and boxing are dying sports. Isn’t it interesting that they both ended up having huge events on the same day.

Last night in Fenway Park Alex Rodriguez tied Willie Mays on the all-time home run list with hitting his 660th home run. While this should be a celebrated event for baseball I could care less about it. There’s a pretty good chance that Rodriguez has been using some type of performance enhancing drug his entire baseball career and there were even some reports about him using P.E.D.’s in high school. The high school rumors were never proven, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all. 660 home runs is a great accomplishment for a player who didn’t cheat the game. Is there anyone out there who even cares about this that’s not a New York Yankees fan. It was no real surprise that the Boston Red Sox fans booed Rodriguez when he was announced as a pinch hitter. Mike Shuster is the Red Sox fan who was sitting on top of the Green monster and caught Rodriguez’s 660th home run. Shuster has told the New York Post that he won’t be giving the baseball to Rodriguez. It is being reported to “stay tuned” to this story as Shuster might have a price. A Hall of Fame spokesman said they would accept Rodriquez’s 660th home run ball or “milestone” as the spokesman put it. Maybe they could put a side note on the ball explaining how Rodriguez got to this number, but I doubt they actually would.

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#1 Jameis Winston, Quarterback, Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Is Winston a franchise quarterback? and will he be under center for the Buccaneers for the next 10-15 seasons? Off field issues are there as well; a lot of questions with this pick. C-

#2 Marcus Mariota, Quarterback, Tennessee Titans. A bit of a surprise here especially after seeing what they where offered to trade out of this spot. Hasn’t taken a snap from under center in quite a few years. He’ll need some time to adjust to the pro game. C

#3 Dante Fowler Jr. Defensive Line, Jacksonville Jaquars. They needed help rushing the quarterback and Fowler should help in that area. He’s a high motor guy who’ll have to be better against the run at the pro level. B

#4 Amari Cooper, Wide Receiver, Oakland Raiders. Derek Carr needs weapons and Cooper was the best receiver in the draft. He can be the #1 receiver the Raiders don’t currently have on their roster. B+

#5 Brandon Scherff, Offensive Line, Washington Redskins. They needed to protect their quarterback; so they drafted the best offensive lineman. A pick like this might help keep Robert Griffin III healthy and that’s a key for this team. B

#6 Leonard Williams, Defensive Line, New York Jets. I doubt the Jets would’ve believed that the best defensive player would be their for them with this pick. While it wasn’t the biggest need they had’ he was to good to pass up. Maybe they’ll deal one of their veteran defensive lineman. B

#7 Kevin White, Wide Receiver, Chicago Bears. A team with one of the worst defenses in the NFL took a receiver; interesting. White was a big hit at the scouting combine, but that doesn’t always translate to the pro level. D

#8 Vic Beasley, Defensive Line, Atlanta Falcons. Atlanta did just what they needed to do. They looked at their draft board and took the best defensive player they had on it. They’ll have to decide if Beasley will be a linebacker or a pass rush end in the pros. B-

#9 Ereck Flowers, Offensive Line, New York Giants. The Giants have weapons on offense; so it was a good move on their part to try and find a guy to help protect Eli Manning. Some experts had Flowers as the top offensive lineman in this draft. B

#10 Todd Gurley, Running Back, St. Louis Rams. This was the first real surprise for me. I thought Tre Mason had proved himself last season, but the Rams felt different. Gurley was injury prone in college and will have to hope that trend doesn’t follow him into the NFL. C-

#11 Tre Waynes, Defensive Back, Minnesota Vikings. This was the only cornerback compared to Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman. He was left in man to man situations in college against the other teams best receiver. To good of a player to pass up on here. A

#12 Danny Shelton, Defensive Line, Cleveland Browns. Cleveland hung on to their two 1st round picks and used this one to address their defensive line. Shelton is a big, big man and should fit well as a nose tackle in a 3-4 system. B-

#13 Andrus Peat, Offensive Line. New Orleans Saints. Drew Brees is getting older and it’s never a bad pick to get him more protection. Peat could develop into a left tackle for the Saints for many, many years. B

#14 DeVante Parker, Wide Receiver, Miami Dolphins. The Dolphins have revamped their receiving core this off season and Parker is the next piece to that. Parker did miss some time last season with a knee injury, but was a good choice here for Miami. B

#15 Melvin Gordon, Running Back, San Diego Chargers. San Diego gave up the #17 pick along with the #117th pick (4th round) along with a 2016 5th round pick to move up 2 spots to draft Gordon. With Gurley gone San Diego felt the need to move up and get their guy, but they gave up quite a bit to do that. C

#16 Kevin Johnson, Cornerback, Houston Texans. Johnson is a taller defensive back and that’s a trend NFL teams look for. A solid cover guy with good speed and it fit the Texans need with some rumor that they may be looking to deal one of their veteran defensive backs. C+

#17 Arik Armstead, Defensive Line, San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers moved back two spots and still got the defensive lineman they wanted. It was a good deal for the 49ers and this pick should add to their defense that was weakened by retirements. B+

#18 Marcus Peters, Defensive Back, Kansas City Chiefs. Was this pick some insurance if Eric Berry isn;t ready to go at the start of the season. I think everyone had the Chiefs taking a wide receiver here, but instead the shore up the defensive backfield. C

#19 Cameron Erving, Offensive Line, Cleveland Browns. It was the defensive line help with the first #1 now the Browns add to the offensive line here. Erving is the utility man of offensive lineman as he can play any position along the line. B-

#20 Nelson Agholor, Wide Receiver, Philadelphia Eagles. Since the Eagles couldn’t trade up to get Mariota they selected a replacement for the wide receiver they lost in free agency. They could’ve went defense here, but this pick fits a need for them. C

#21 Cedric Ogbuehi, Offensive Line, Cincinnati Bengals. Another team that was thought to be going wide receiver, but instead decided to help protect their quarterback. Ogbuehi had a knee injury last season and as long as he’s over that he has a chance to be  in the NFL a long time. C+

#22 Bud Dupree, Linebacker, Pittsburgh Steelers. Some experts had Dupree as the best pass rushing linebacker in this draft and I bet the Steelers where thrilled when he was there when their pick came up. They need defensive help and they found it. A

#23 Shane Ray, Linebacker, Denver Broncos. Denver traded the 28th pick, the 143rd pick (5th round) in this draft. A 5th round pick in 2016 and veteran offensive lineman Manny Ramirez to move up 5 spots to draft Ray. I’ve heard Ray being compared to Von Miller, but remember he couldn’t get on the field in college as a junior because of Michael Sam. C

#24 D.J. Humphries, Offensive Line, Arizona Cardinals. Arizona’s downward spiral stared when Carson Palmer got hurt. They added a player to help protect him, but there is some question if they took the best offensive lineman on the board. D+

#25 Shaq Thompson, Linebacker, Carolina Panthers. This may have been the first reach in the 1st round. Thompson has shown to be a great athlete, but could Carolina have gotten him in the 2nd round. He does however fit their defensive system. C-

#26 Breshad Perriman, Wide Receiver, Baltimore Ravens. With Torrey Smith gone in free agency this was the pick a lot of experts expected Baltimore to make. Perriman did have some issues with dropped balls last season, but he’ll get to work with Steve Smith as he develops. C

#27 Byron Jones, Defensive Back, Dallas Cowboys. You have to think the Cowboys were hoping that one of the running backs would fall to this pick, but they did a smart thing and filled a need here. The Cowboys defense was better than expected last season and Jones will have to help them continue that this season. C+

#28 Laken Tomlinson, Offensive Line, Detroit Lions. The Lions may have been another team looking for a running back to fall and it was a bit of a surprise they took a offensive lineman after they got one in the deal to move back to this pick. There was a lot of talk they would take a defensive lineman here, but they didn’t. B

#29 Phillip Dorsett, Wide Receiver, Indianapolis Colts. I’m guessing no one had this pick right. Dorsett will factor into the return game right away and if he struggles as a receiver the Colts can give him time to learn. He is a true speed, stretch the field receiver. C-

#30 Damarious Randall, Defensive Back, Green Bay Packers. You could almost call Randall a cover safety. He was left to play quite a bit of man to man in college and that will be a big plus at the pro level. The Packers lost a lot in the defensive backfield this off season; so this was a logical pick. B

#31 Stephone Anthony, Linebacker, New Orleans Saints. This was the first inside linebacker to come off the board. This was also the Saints second 1st round pick. This is the pick they acquired in the Jimmy Graham trade. Anthony is a faster then most players at his position and should help the Saints defense right out of the gate. B

#32 Malcom Brown, Defensive Line, New England Patriots. I’m always surprised when the Patriots keep a 1st round pick; especially when it’s the last one of the round. They have to find a way to replace Vince Wolfork and Brown has the size New England likes to play that spot. B+