Buckle up. It's draft time.
From the "Talks too much" studios, remember the mailbag and pass the biscuits. Amen.
Hooray the draft is here. Merry Draftmas. What did you get us?
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. Enter your picks in the comments below or hit me on Twitter at @jgreesontfp.
Here's what we have:
No. 1 — Khalil Mack, Buffalo
Falcons' first — Jake Matthews, Texas A&M
Titans' first — Eric Ebron, UNC
SEC players in round 1 — 9 (Clowney, Robinson, Mathews, Manziel, Mike Evans, Odell Beckham, Ha-Ha Clinton Dix, CJ Mosley, Kony Ealy)
Murray goes 112 in round 4 to Tennessee Titans
The biggest question of the night is where does Johnny Football fall. The second biggest question is whether the Houston Texans take Jadeveon Clowney No. 1 overall or not. By all reports the Texans are desperate to make a trade because they love Khalil Mack and believe they could add an extra pick or three and still get Mack with Clowney as the carrot. Will the Falcons jump since Atlanta is the team highest on Clowney? Hard to see it since the Falcons have so many needs — tackle, a pass rusher or three, replacement for Tony Gonzalez, et al. — but we know Thomas Dimitroff is not shy about making draft-day deals.
We love the draft. You know this.
Here are five predictions:
— The Texans will look like crazy to move down. Clowney does not fit their 3-4, even though he is the best prospect on the board.
— Johnny Football will be the first QB taken at No. 7 by Tampa Bay. And Jacksonville will rue this day. Does any team need a lift more than Jacksonville? Johnny Football brings lift by the truck load.
— Cleveland could be a big winner tonight with an elite prospect at No. 4 — either Sammy Watkins, Mack or Clowney — and a QB like Carr or Bridgewater at No. 26 (pick they got from Indy for Trent Richardson).
— If Dallas takes Johnny Football it will be lambasted more by the pundits than any pick ever. EVER.
— We'll watch a large chunk of this puppy with a Co-Cola and may even do some Twittering. Who knows?
The Braves are no longer in first place. Wednesday's 7-1 loss to St. Louis — the Braves eighth defeat in their last nine games — dropped Atlanta a half-game behind Miami and Washington.
Not good. The bats are to blame, we know this.
And like most folks we have been talking that a potential trade of one of the valued starting pitchers potentially could bring offensive reinforcements.
Last night was a painful reminder of arguably the worst trade in the modern Braves era.
Cards ace Adam Wainwright is a legit No. 1, a dominant right-handed ace atop any rotation this side of L.A. or Detroit. He's money.
He also was a Brave — dealt a decade ago for the stiff better know as J.D. Drew. Egad.
The good: Not much. Mike Minor got shelled — six earned in 4.1 innings. David Hale was again effective, pitching 2.2 scoreless innings. Other than that, well, the Co-Colas were cold and the weather was nice. So there's that.
The bad: The bats. Again. The Braves are 29th in runs — ahead of only San Diego in the majors — and have scored 1 run or fewer in six of their last 10 games.
The Uggla: Danny Struggla took Wednesday off — you can make argument that he's taken the month of May off, whether he plays or not but that's a different matter. Back-up Ramiro Pena went 0-for-3 and is hitting .229. Uggla is at .184. Fredi's options at second base appear to be bad or worse, huh?
Changes coming quickly
One of the major and accurate accusations that could be leveled at the NCAA through the years was the glacier-like pace with which it moved. Be it investigations or punishments or decisions, getting the NCAA to act was like turning the Titantic — and we all know how that ended. (We're the king of the world.)
News from the Pac-12 spring meetings, though, make it sound like the new options for more autonomy for the power five conferences will happen very quickly by comparison.
Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said the goal is to meet this August, work through the details on the proposals and put the changes — which almost assuredly will mean a cost of attendance adjustment for scholarship athletes — for the 2015-16 school year.
So here we are, seven months from a college football playoff starting and 15 months for scholarship athletes at major conferences getting some sort of stipend or whatever you want to call the financial add-on to their scholarships.
Buckle up gang. Here comes the train.
This and that
— Is this the picket fence of soccer plays? And boys, don't get caught watching the paint dry.
— Richard Sherman got paid. Good for that dude. Man, that Stanford degree is really paying off, huh. He got a four-year extension with $40 million guaranteed and incentives that could be worth as much as $17 million more.
— Hey we had a Roy Hibbert sighting. Dude scored 28 and the Pacers bounced back on the Wiz. And KD and Westbrook were splendid as the Thunder pulled even with the Clippers.
— Mekhi Phifer declared bankruptcy. That's no good. Dude was on ER. And 8 Mile. Call Rabbit, he can float you a loan.
— Georgia State wants to move into Turner Field for football rather than play at the Georgia Dome. OK. Let's see Turner seats roughly 40,000 and the Dome about 72K. So if the Panthers move it will mean playing in from of 35,000 empty seats rather than 67,000 empty seats. OK.
Any and all draft questions are applicable.
What do you want your team to do?
Who will take Johnny Football?
It's all open and out there.
As for a Rushmore, well, ESPN's crew that covers the draft are aces. Well other than Berman who is a blowhard. The rest — Kiper, McShay, Gruden, et al. — are among the best out there.
What's your Rushmore of ESPN experts? Go.
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 ...