Remember about Friday's mailbag. From the "Talks Too Much Studios" here we go.
LSU running back Kenny Hilliard (27) celebrates his touchdown with wide receiver Rueben Randle (2) and guard Will Blackwell (60) during the second half of the Southeastern Conference championship NCAA college football game against Georgia, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
NFL draft: wideouts
OK, let's go ahead and get this out of the way: We love the draft; you know this.
OK, now that we're done with the formalities, let's get to BID-ness. Last year we let the draft sneak up on us without proper previews.
Not this time. We're going position-by-position heading into next Thursday's first round. Monday we did quarterbacks, Tuesday was running backs and today is about the receivers.
Justin Blackmon is far-and-away the top receiving talent in this year's draft. And it's not that close.
He has 4.39 speed in the 40 and he's 6-foot-1 and right at 210 pounds. Blackmon is a well-rounded blend of the stereotypical descriptions of wide receivers.
Plus, dude runs great routes and competes for the ball in the air as well as any of the elite college receivers in recent years despite being three or four inches shorter than most of them.
He will be off the board no later than No. 6 to the Rams — unless someone trades up to get Ryan Tannehill — or No. 7 to the Jacksonville Jaguars. And if Blackmon's still on the board when receiver-starved Jacksonville picks, here's saying they will run their card to the podium.
Here's the top 10 receivers, and we include tight ends here because with the changing nature of the game and the growing importance of tight ends, there will be almost as many of them picked in the first two rounds as the receivers.
1) Justin Blackmon, Oklahoma State
2) Michael Floyd, Notre Dame
3) Stephen Hill, Georgia Tech
4) Coby Fleener, Stanford
5) Rueben Randle, LSU
6) Kendall Wright, Baylor
7) Brian Quick, Appalachian State
8) Dwayne Allen, Clemson
9) Alshon Jeffery, South Carolina
10) Orson Charles, Georgia
Knoxville News Sentinel Tennessee defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox works with players, from left, Tyler Wills, Charles Karlosky and Grant Jessen during spring practice at Haslam Field. This was Wilcox's first campaign with the Vols after spending the previous four years as defensive coordinator at Boise State.
UT spring update
The Tennessee Vols are speeding toward Saturday's Orange-and-White game that will signify the end of spring practice.
Here's what we know about spring practices everywhere:
Goal No. 1 — No one gets hurt.
Goal No. 2 — Read goal No. 1.
Goals Nos. 3-1,241 — Dozen of variables on "Have a little fun, find a little depth, work some fundamentals."
UT's spring practice this year is different of course since during the offseason the Vols replaced something like 35 assistant coaches. (OK, it was seven, but it feels like more.) So the Vols needed to install a new defensive look, changing bases and trying to find pieces for a 3-4.
And when there is change afoot and players are moving around coaches get the chance to explain that rationale. And that can be enjoyable. Our UT ace Downtown Patrick Brown shares with us here http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2012/apr/18/vols-working-williams-at-linebacker/ that UT is looking at Jordan Williams at linebacker. When UT coach Derek Dooley talked about Williams, a 6-foot-5, 260-pounder who had been an undersized defensive end, here's the description: "He's in that 'tweener zone for D-line [or] Jack, so his size and body type is a little better suited [for linebacker]. He's got good twitch. He's got a very high motor. Physical, high-motor guy, toughness, twitch."
Heck, with the limited numbers at the position, UT may be looking at Downtown Patrick Brown at linebacker. Downtown is definitely a high-motor guy with twitch. (It's official, we're using twitch a bunch for the rest of the week.)
Thanks for the memories
On its way to the national championship, Kentucky started three freshmen and two sophomores. It would look to be the foundation for a dynasty.
Of course in the here today, gone this afternoon world of college hoops, those five Wildcats declared for the draft. (All five are loaded with twitch, for what it's worth.)
And you know what, those five dudes should have declared for the draft. You could make an argument that Marquis Teague or maybe Doron Lamb would have been better served by returning to school, but that's a testament to the depth of this draft more than anything. Each of the UK underclassmen will get drafted.
And don't be all up in arms about Kentucky embracing the "One-and-done" lifestyle. Those are the rules, and John Calipari has found a way to land the best recruits in the country within the rules of that system. And unless the NCAA changes the rules, Kentucky is simply smarter or more crafty than everyone else in regard to working inside that system. In the words of Hyman Roth, the great gangster in "Godfather II" and the old-school representative of twitch, "This is the business we have chosen."
Do the rules need to be changed? Probably, if for no other reason than helping to protect the college game. All this turnover makes it difficult for casual fans to feel any continuity with any of the teams.
But until they do, don't begrudge Kentucky for being the best under the current system in place.
Twitch and that
— Your Nashville Predators went to Detroit and dropped some twitch on the Red Wings. Nashville and goalie-extraordinaire Pekka Rinne, who had 40 saves, survived an inspired Red Wings effort and return to Nashville with a 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series. How great was Rinne? Dude faced 41 shots — including 17 in the second period — and was unfazed. "Usually, the game gets easier when you face more pucks," Rinne said. That's Twitch-tastic friends.
— We all need editors with twitch — the 5-at-10 especially — and this can't be debated. But did you see the "Welcome to the SEC" T-shirts put out by some company in Texas called Aggieland Outfitters? It's a Texas A&M maroon, has an SEC logo and the the words "We may be new to the conference but we aren't new to the game." The designers are new to geography, though. The outline of the SEC region on the shirt includes North Carolina, which has as many SEC schools as Canada, and fails to include MIssouri and... (wait for it) Texas. Ouch-standing.
— Jessica Dorrell resigned from her job with the Arkansas football program and was paid $14,000 to handle "all matters between the parties." Part of the settlement included Dorrell, a 25-year-old former Arkansas volleyball player who was involved in an affair with former Arkansas football coach Bobby Petrino, agreeing not to sell or profit from her association with Arkansas athletics. Sweet twitch in time saves a dime, Arkansas bought her silence for 14K? Arkansas AD Jeff Long is a wizard. Here story would have brought at least 10 times that for a made-for-Lifetime TV movie.
— That'll give you an eye twitch. After missing a year with a neck injury that required at least four surgeries, Peyton Manning will return to action against the blitz-happy Pittsburgh Steelers next year. Wow.
— Want some college football recruiting twitch? Ridgeland safety Von Bell is ranked as the No. 60 prospect in the country in the ESPN 150. Bell has more than 25 scholarship offers. Dude can play.
Our ace columnist Mark Wiedmer has an enjoyable column on Jamie Moyer in today's TFP. Moyer became the oldest pitcher in major league history to earn a win Tuesday night, pitching seven scoreless innings at the tender age of 49 in a 5-3 victory over San Diego. Granted San Diego is not exactly a line-up of sluggers loaded with twitch, but still.
Dude is 49. Dude is so unassuming, when you google "jamie " he's seventh on the list of Jamies, ranking between Jamie Bell and Jamie Chung.
When Moyer made his debut in 1986 with the Chicago Cubs, gas was 89 cents a gallon and a Tandy 600 Portable Computer was $1,599.
Want to talk about society changes during Moyer's professional career? The U.S. sold arms to Iran in 1986 and IBM launches the first laptop. What about sports changes? When Moyer recored the first of his 268 wins in '86, Mike Tyson was about to be the youngest heavyweight champ of all-time. (Moyer and Tyson have had different career arcs, don't you think?)
Moyer has 268 career wins, and the way he looked Tuesday, he's got more than a few more on the horizon. So our questions for you today are two-fold:
Is Jamie Moyer a Hall-of-Famer? Let's say he wins 10 more games this year and maybe a few more next year, and he finishes with 280 or so and wins a big-league game at the age of 50, is that enough to get into the Hall?
Second, where on the cool/quirky list of records does "Oldest guy to win a big-league game" rank?
Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...