The NFL draft is just 15 days away. Remember it starts on Thursday now and runs through Sunday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the #1 pick and they should take a quarterback. It still appears that they’re leaning towards Jameis Winston the former Florida State quarterback. There has been a couple of reports that Tampa Bay may go with the Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota over Winston, but I think they’ll take Winston #1. While there is no question at all that Tampa Bay is keeping and using there pick the same can’t be said about the #2 pick in the draft. That #2 pick belongs to the Tennessee Titans and the rumors are beginning to fly on who wants that pick and what they might give up to get it. Let’s just work our way down the draft order and try to cover who might move up to #2. The New York Jets have the #6 pick and I heard a report that the Jets would deal that pick along with a 2nd rounder and a couple of their defensive players to move up to the 2nd pick. The Chicago Bears have the #7 pick and there have been reports that the Bears would trade that pick along with quarterback Jay Cutler and a 3rd round draft pick to move up to the 2nd pick. The St. Louis Rams have been mentioned, but I haven’t seen any reports on what the Rams might have to give up to move up to #2 in the draft. The Rams own the #10 pick in the 1st round, but did acquire Nick Foles from the Philadelphia Eagles this off season; so I don’t know why they’d be interested in moving up to #2. The Cleveland Browns have two 1st round picks; the 12th and the 19th pick. I heard a report that the Browns might be willing to deal those two 1st round picks plus a 2nd round pick in 2016 too move up to #2. The San Diego Chargers have the 17th pick in the 1st round and I heard yesterday that Phillip Rivers may be on the trading block. You’d guess the Chargers would have to send Rivers, the 17th pick and maybe another draft pick to Tennessee if they wanted to move up to #2. Then we get to the Eagles who have the 20th pick in the 1st round, but I heard a report that Chip Kelly may be willing to give up 3 1st round draft picks to move up to #2. That’s quite a few rumors and if Tennessee is interested in trading the #2 pick it doesn’t look like they’ll have any trouble finding a trade partner. I guess the question would then become are Winston or Mariota worth that price tag and would they turn into the franchise quarterback that a team would be moving up to get. There is good reason not to be sold on either of these guys; so I’m not at all sure why a team would give up that abundance of picks to move up to get one of these guys. Instead of dealing away a boat load of draft picks to move up teams might be better off sitting tight and see if a quarterback like Brett Hundley from UCLA, Bryce Petty from Baylor, or Garrett Grayson from Colorado State is your draft board come the 2nd or 3rd round. I’ve even heard some draft experts say that Sean Mannion out of Oregon State may turn into a good pro quarterback and he should be on the most teams draft boards in the 4th or 5th round. I guess if your advanced scouting has Winston and Mariota as franchise type quarterbacks then it would make sense to give up the draft picks you’d have to give up to move up in the draft and get your guy. I actually think the team that doesn’t make that deal might be just as well off drafting a quarterback in one of the later rounds. Whatever happens come April 30th the big winner here is Tennessee.
There are 14 games on the NBA schedule tonight and it’s also the last day of the regular season. Now 14 of the 16 playoff spots are locked up, but there are 4 teams in contention for those last 2 playoff spots. In the Eastern conference the Indiana Pacers are 38-43 and hold a 1 game lead over the Brooklyn Nets who are 37-44. Indiana won 99-95 over the Washington Wizards last night in double overtime and now they have to turn around and play Memphis Grizzlies. The Nets have an earlier game against the Orlando Magic; so the Pacers will know that outcome before they take the court tonight. Of course the team that ends up with the 8th seed draws the Atlanta hawks in the 1st round of the playoffs. Over in the Western conference it’s the New Orleans Pelicans who are holding onto the 8th spot right now. New Orleans and the Oklahoma City Thunder have the same record of 44-37, but New Orleans owns the tiebreaker and would take the 8th seed if both teams end the season with the same record. Oklahoma City is playing the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight. The Timberwolves have the worst record in the NBA at 16-66; so it’s a game Oklahoma City should win. New Orleans on the other hand is matched up against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs tonight. San Antonio is currently in the 3rd spot in the Western conference and you have to wonder if it is important to them to even move up to the 2nd spot. There is a chance that San Antonio will rest it’s starters and just get ready for the playoffs. The Oklahoma City and New Orleans games tip off at the same time; so neither team will know the outcome of the others game until they’re done. Should make for an interesting night of basketball for some NBA teams.
The NHL playoffs get started tonight (Wednesday) with 4 games on the ice. Here’s the match ups for tonight it’s the Montreal Canadiens vs. the Ottawa Senators. The New York Islanders vs. the Washington Capitals. The Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Nashville Predators and the Calgary Flames vs. the Vancouver Canucks. The rest of the series get started tomorrow (Thursday with the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the New York Rangers. The Detroit Red Wings vs. the Tampa Bay Lighting. The Winnipeg Jets vs. the Anaheim Ducks and the Minnesota Wild vs. the St. Louis Blues. The NHL always seems to have some upsets in the 1st round; so which top seeds may fall? While my predictions haven’t been all that great as of late I’m going to give it another shot here. I’ll take the Tampa Bay Lighting in the Eastern conference and even though it’s a huge homer pick I’ll take the Chicago Blackhawks out of the Western conference. Who’s going to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup at the end of the playoffs well I have to go with the Blackhawks to bring the cup bacl to Chicago.
I’m the Big Jack and you can follow me on Twitter @burketime