published Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

5-at-10: Draft contest, Tiger's truthful, Braves' woes continue, Rushmore of worst draft picks

Gang, remember the deadline for the draft contest is Thursday before the first pick is announced.

From the "Talks too much" studios, want to know what our favorite part of that one quarter at Auburn when we were an architect major? Drafting class. Giddy up.

Draft

We love the draft. You know this.

The draft is this week and the analysis has reached a fevered pitch.

Here are some actual phrases and buzz words you do not want to hear from the talking heads when your team steps to the podium Thursday:

• I think the flaws in his mechanics are fixable.

Most likely to be said about: Blake Bortles. If you are a quarterback picked in the first round, shouldn't you already have fixed mechanics. Get Chico and the Man on the blower. Or Cooter. We need some mechanics, stat.

  • photo
    In this Dec. 8, 2012, file photo, Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel gestures as he talks to reporters after winning the Heisman Trophy in New York.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

• Are they confident he'll be a professional off the field too.

Most likely said about: Johnny Manziel. The more Manziel falls in the eyes of the 'scouts' the more we think he'll be gone in the top five.

• I don't love the fit, but there's value in this pick.

Most likely said about: A slew of guys. This the polite way of saying, "Do what, who made this pick, Matt Millen?" If you have three good wide receivers, then do not draft another wide out. That's part of the fun of the draft, planning fits and moving pieces and watching the dominos fall.

Side note: We also have grown weary of the extra words announcers use like, "Manziel is a true athlete at the quarterback position." Why dod we need position there? Is he going to a true athlete in the quarterback meeting room?

Side note, II: Remember the Drafting the Draft contest. We need who you think will go No. 1, who the Falcons will pick with their first pick, who the Titans will pick with their first pick, how many SEC players go in round 1 and what number selection is Aaron Murray.

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Tiger Woods

Tiger Woods took to the interweb to update his fans.

The verdict looks like it's slow going for the game's biggest star.

"My recovery is coming along, but it's a very slow process," Woods said on his website. "I'm still sore. Not from the procedure itself but the incision. I just need to get back to my day-to-day activities, and that's it.

"As for my return to golf, I really don't know," he continued. "I'm doing everything I can and listening to my doctors and working on a strength program, and then we just have to see how my back is. Some people heal up in three months, some people take four months, some people take longer. I just don't know."

Without Tiger the game has stalled. Masters rankings were the lost in almost two decades. Without Tiger, the grand old game feels less grand and more old.

He says he didn't miss playing the Masters that much, and if that's true, that's less than good for the sport.

Golf needs Tiger way more than Tiger needs golf at this point, and if he has cooled on his pursuit of excellence and history, then golf's biggest nightmare is closer than any one may have feared.

The sport certainly hoped to have Tiger around for several more years and be able to kick around the "can he catch Jack" storyline at each major championship.

But if Tiger's back getting back to normal is slower than expected and he's not really missing the Masters, well, the challenge of replacing the game's single most dominant player in the modern era is now on the front burner.

———

Braves recap

This is starting to get serious, right? Seven losses in a row for a team built and designed to avoid extended slumps with a vast collection of good-but-not-great starting pitchers hardly inspires confidence.

So it goes for a bunch that had an offensive explosion — for them — on Monday night with nine hits and three runs. Yes, those numbers seem minute, but by comparison, it was a full three days worth of work in the runs department for a Braves team that was swept by the Giants over the weekend.

In fact, when things turn, they turn in all directions. Take Monday's 4-3 loss to the Cardinals. Yes, the bats were slightly better, but the game hinged on two unearned St. Louis runs that were trigged by an error on shortstop Andrelton Simmons.

  • photo
    St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Allen Craig (21) scores on a Peter Bourjos (8) base hit as Atlanta Braves catcher Evan Gattis (24) handles the late throw in the sixth inning of a baseball game on Monday, May 5, 2014, in Atlanta.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Yes, that Andrelton Simmons who is the best defensive shortstop in the majors and makes a river of plays seem routine on a nightly basis.

But the season is fickle and funny marathon that must be trusted and frequently can prove to be untrustworthy.

How quickly a team can right the ship can be just as important as long they can surf the good waves of winning streaks. So the Braves are faced with that parameter. Win or lose Tuesday night against the Cardinals, Atlanta needs to find something that creates energy and enjoyment.

Right now, a trip through this order is a day at the beach for opposing pitchers and a day in an insurance seminar for Braves fans. It's painfree for foes and painful for supporters.

Maybe the jumpstart was at the end of the order Monday night? Meet Ramiro Pena, Braves utility guy and all-around scrapper who has used three starts in the team's last four games to go 3-for-10 with a homer.

Yes, that's a tiny sample for the long grind of a big-league season, but it took Pena, who started Monday night at second base, three games to bang out three hits. He replaced the mighty Dan Uggla — aka Danny Struggla — in the lineup. By comparison, Uggla has three hits — all singles — in his last nine games (3-for-31 over that stretch).

So maybe it's time to finally make Danny Struggla baseball's most expensive back-up second baseman.

Uggla is due more than $13 million this year, and considering he's on pace for 99 hits and a .190 average with more than 150 strikeouts, well, making more than $100,000 per base hit would be a nice exchange rate, no?

———

This and that

— The NBA playoffs have sprinted into the next round, and if you needed any more proof that the league is a guard-driven enterprise, well, Chris Paul and John Wall — two of the best point guards around — delivered emphatic exclamation points on that claim. Paul hit eight 3s as the Clippers — America's team of destiny at this point — thumped the Thunder 122-105 in OKC. Wall, who has developed into arguably the quicklest player on the planet with the ball in his hands, had 13 points and nine assists with only one turnover. He drove the Wizards offense in a 102-96 road win at Indiana and was +19 during his time on the floor.

— At the reverse end of that spectrum is the enigma that is Roy Hibbert. Dude played 18 minutes Monday night and had bagel points and bagel rebounds. Bagel. He's 7-foot-2 and was an All-Star in February. Bagel. This forced Tracy McGrady to tweet "Me and Roy Hibbert had the same amount of points and rebounds tonight." McGrady of course is retired and trying to make it as a minor league baseball player.

— Among the many tidbits to trickle out of the NFL combine late in the process are those guys that may not have studied hard enough for their drug tests. Despite extra work with tutors here are some of the names reported by Fox Sports of guys that did not do as well on the drug exams as they would have liked: LSU defensive tackle Anthony Johnson and quarterback Zach Mettenberger as well as FSU defensive stars Timmy Jernigan, Telvin Smith and Christian Jones. The latest round of explanations has players and their agents saying their tests were diluted because the players were drinking more than a gallon of water a day to fight dehydration.

— Want a quick way to become Mr. Popular? Try the Wes Welker, a move perfected and now named for the Denver wide out who hit a monster bet at the Kentucky Derby and then started handing out $100 bills to strangers. Good times.

———

Today's question

We are covering a lot of draft topics this week.

Today's Rushmore is simple: Worst NFL draft picks in the modern era (let's say the last 20 years).

about Jay Greeson...

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 ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
MocTastic said...

Upton took another called strike three on a ball in the strike zone with two outs to end the game with tieing and winning runners on base. He did that this past weekend also. That is unacceptable. Period. JG could stand up there and take called third strikes and not get paid millions. YOU MUST PROTECT THE PLATE in that situation. OUT.

May 6, 2014 at 10:04 a.m.
Stewwie said...

It is indeed amazing how fast Wall is with the ball. Not sure what Hibbert's deal is. Dude needs to snap out of his funk like yesterday.

I'm sure that Adam Silver is secretly hoping for a Clippers/Heat Finals at this point. The Sterling fallout has boosted ratings for Clippers games by up to 50% in some cases. It helps too that the franchise plays in a large market. Big market team with lots of attention against LeBron going for title #3 (out of 8)? Sounds like a big winner to me.

Rumor has it that the Rams are interested in Johnny Hollywood. I can't imagine that they'd take him at #2, but I could maybe see them going for him if he falls to #13. They would then sit him for a year while Bradford plays out the final year of his contract. If it were me though, I'd let someone else take the chance on that guy.

May 6, 2014 at 10:32 a.m.
jomo11 said...

Ryan Leaf, Jamarcus Russell, Tony Mandarich are some pretty big "draft busts", where would you rank, your boy Andre Bruce ?

May 6, 2014 at 11:34 a.m.
jgreeson said...

Jomo —

The three you mentioned are pretty loft candidates.

While Bruce underachieved, he still managed a 10-year NFL career, which is not terrible.

Russell is far left. We'd put Charles Rogers and Ryan Leaf right there next. Probably go Tim Couch next since he went No. 1 overall and Donovan McNabb went three picks later.

That's the tie-breaking kicker about busts — who could you have had rather than who you got, you know?

Stewwie —

Watching the elevation in point guard play around the league has been fun. Here's hoping the similar rule changes the NBA made a few years ago to open flow will translate to a better brand of hoops in the college game in coming years. We'll see.

After that Game 1 puzzle from the Pacers, you have to make the Wiz the favorite.

If Johnny Football falls by the Vikings at No. 8 there will be a slew of folks looking to move up and get him. Not surprisingly, he is Thursday's biggest wildcard.

MT —

No doubt. Heck, a bad swing is better than no swing. That simply means he's a complete guess hitter and if he guesses wrong he has no chance.

The days of 'choke and poke' are as dead as the Edsel.

May 6, 2014 at 12:46 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

MT, could not agree with you more. My biggest pet peeve is watching a guy take a called third strike with a runner on third, especially when you're behind or tied. Unless you are absolutely fooled, like the pitcher just threw a three-card monte curveball that broke like a putt on the 9th green at Augusta National, swing ... the ... bat....

Draft busts ... it's hard to top Ryan Leaf and Jamarcus Russell. But you could go all Dan McGwire and Lawrence Phillips, too. I'll go Jamaal Anderson, Falcons defensive end. Andy Katzenmoyer from the Patriots. Laurence Maroney, too. Former Florida DE Derrick Harvey, WR R Jay Soward, Arksansas TE/QB Matt Jones, WR Justin Blackmon and Washington WR Reggie Williams, all courtesy of the Jags.

Do we even want to get into the Detroit Lions picks in the Millen reign of error?

And what of Lil Danny Struggla's numbers as a Brave, aside from that long hitting streak he had? Take that out of the equation and it begs the question - he's still a major leaguer because...?

May 6, 2014 at 1:09 p.m.
MocTastic said...

because teams invest millions and when you make multi-million dollar mistakes in players it can get GMs fired. So, they go to every length to try to justify their contracts/salaries.

May 6, 2014 at 1:18 p.m.
Stewwie said...

Too bad for Charles Rogers that he broke his collarbone two seasons in a row and missed significant time due to that. But after that, he had a chance to make a comeback, and he simply didn't make it. The failed drug tests didn't help either. For that reason, it's fair to say that he's a bust.

Rushmore of bad draft picks in last 20 years:

Leaf, Russell, Joey Harrington, Lawrence Phillips

Honorable mention to Couch, Shuler, Carr, Charles Rogers, Akili Smith, and Peter Warrick.

May 6, 2014 at 1:43 p.m.
fechancellor said...

10 Ring, "feels good to be back home again."

Jamarcus Russell, Ricky Williams, Todd Marinovich, Andre Ware.

May 6, 2014 at 5:15 p.m.
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