Archive for April, 2015

7 reasons why “The C of Red” is just heating up

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
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The Calgary Flames played the Anaheim Ducks in Game 1 of their Round 2 series. The Ducks came on strong and overpowered the Flames. However, the C of Red was still on fire, even if the Flames weren't.

Thursday Sports In Brief (The Associated Press)

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
And the Beats go on. Marcus Mariota, just hours after flaunting his Beats by Dre in one of the company's YouTube videos, donned the trendy headphones when picked second by Tennessee in the NFL draft Thursday night. The No. 1 pick, Jameis Winston, clutched a red pair of Beats when chosen by Tampa Bay. The in-your-face issue: competitor Bose is the official headphone of the NFL.

Ducks show Flames no mercy, Caps win in stunning fashion

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
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The Round 2 matchup between the Ducks and Flames wasn't even close, while the Capitals stole one from the Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Here are four stories from Thursday night's NHL playoffs.

NFL draft Winners and Losers: Get ready for more superstar rookie WRs (Shutdown Corner)

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
When you have Andrew Luck, you buy him all the toys he wants. The Indianapolis Colts are going to keep Luck happy. He now has what is likely the deepest receiving corps in the NFL after the Colts took electric receiver Phillip Dorsett from Miami in the first round. The Colts have other needs. The defensive line needs work. Their safety position is thin. Running back still isn’t all that good. Dorsett, who is a very explosive receiver, was a luxury pick. But giving Luck the best set of targets in the league isn’t a bad idea. The Carolina Panthers, who have severely underserved Cam Newton through his career, could take a hint. Dorsett landing in Indianapolis was the last first-round piece of what looks like another great class of receivers. It’ll be hard to top last year’s group, but many of this year’s first-round receivers landed in great spots for instant success. Dorsett got with the NFL’s best young quarterback. Breshad Perriman, who has sub-4.3 40 speed, was picked by the Baltimore Ravens and will catch strong-armed Joe Flacco’s deep throws (what a fun fit that is).  Nelson Agholor should play a lot from day one in the Philadelphia Eagles’ up-tempo offense. DeVante Parker gets to play with the Miami Dolphins. The steady development of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill, given all the quarterback problems in the NFL, has been severely ignored. That’s a great landing spot for the 14th pick. And of course, fourth pick Amari Cooper will be Derek Carr’s No. 1 target for years to come with the Oakland Raiders and lightning-fast Kevin White matches up with one thing Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler does well, which is throw deep. All six receivers drafted in the first round landed in pretty advantageous spots. Any of them have a chance to gain 1,000 yards as a rookie, unless someone like Dorsett gets overshadowed fighting T.Y. Hilton, Andre Johnson and Donte Moncrief for targets. And there are other talented receivers like Ohio State’s Devin Smith and former Missouri standout Dorial Green-Beckham who could be great second-round values on Friday. It looks like another great year for rookie receivers is coming. And Luck is a very, very happy man. Here are the other winners and some losers from the first round of the NFL draft: WINNERS Jay Cutler Cutler keeps getting chances. Good ones, too. ESPN had a report before the draft that the Bears were trying to get the second pick from Tennessee, presumably to draft quarterback Marcus Mariota. The report said the Titans didn’t want Cutler. There was no trade. So not only did Cutler stick with the Bears, but he got a huge upgrade to his receiving corps when the Bears took White with the seventh pick. The Bears could have gone in many directions with that pick, especially with new defensive-minded coach John Fox. But instead of going in that direction, the Bears again made a move to get Cutler over a hump that he’s been unable to get over for his first nine NFL seasons. If Cutler continues to be mediocre with the Bears, he can’t say it’s because they didn’t do enough to help him. Dallas Cowboys and their restraint Last year the flashy first-round pick for the Cowboys would have been Johnny Manziel. They took guard Zack Martin. That boring pick became an All-Pro as a rookie. The headline-grabbing pick this year would have been a running back. Any running back, Someone to replace DeMarco Murray. There’s really nobody on the roster now who is all too enticing for that role. But the Cowboys didn’t reach. They took cornerback Byron Jones of Connecticut, a very athletic player who fills another big need that’s tougher to fill. The Cowboys get made fun of for making impulse buys. But that didn’t happen on Thursday. They’ll get a running back at some point. They just didn’t reach for one in the first round. Minnesota Vikings They could move to the losers category tomorrow, especially if they trade Adrian Peterson on the cheap after the first round has passed. But the Vikings never seemed to want to trade Peterson and didn’t give in to pressure to do so. They’re a better team in 2015 because of it – and they might be pretty good. The Vikings have to worry about Peterson being happy, but it’s not like the star running back has any leverage. He’s not sitting out another year and passing up more than $12 million in salary. He’ll play. The Vikings are better off for it. That’s a win for them. Bud Dupree and the Pittsburgh Steelers Of all 32 picks made on Thursday night, I thought that the Steelers might have made the best one when value and need is factored in. The Steelers needed an outside linebacker to replace the retired Jason Worilds. And Dupree fell in their laps. “We didn’t expect Bud Dupree to be there,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said, according to the team's website . “That was a very easy selection. As we say all of the time we are never going to lock ourselves into any position. We want good football players and Bud Dupree certainly fits that category.  “This is a gift for us to be able to get this guy at 22.” Every coach and GM says some version of that after the first round, but I believe Colbert is being sincere. Not many players like Dupree, who ran a 4.56-second 40-yard dash and had a vertical leap of 42 inches at 269 pounds, last until the 22nd pick. Dupree isn’t just a workout warrior; he was a player who did everything Kentucky asked, and they asked him to do a lot. The Steelers have many options with him. And Dupree gets to start his career with a great organization that knows a few things about defensive football. He’ll be part of an outstanding linebacking corps. The Steelers were a very good team by the end of last year. They somehow added an instant impact player with the 22nd pick. LOSERS Tennessee Titans If Marcus Mariota is a Pro Bowl-level quarterback for the Titans, then that’s all that matters. That’s the most important position and it’s not easy to find. The Titans will ultimately be winners. But the Titans passed up a lot to take Mariota. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that the Eagles offered two first-round picks, a third-round pick, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, linebacker Mychal Kendricks, cornerback Brandon Boykin and “more” to the Titans. That is a lot. Like … an insane amount. Cox, Kendricks and Boykin are all young defenders who would either start right away or contribute plenty. And the Titans did have a young quarterback in Zach Mettenberger, who showed some good things as a rookie last year. Tennessee could have justified taking the mega-offer and rolling with Mettenberger for one more year.  Again, if Mariota turns out to be an elite quarterback, then it doesn’t matter. The Titans won’t have any regrets. But it’ll be hard for the Titans to forget what they passed up if he doesn’t. Zac Stacy Stacy rushed for 973 yards as a Rams rookie in 2013, a pretty promising start to his career. Then the Rams drafted Tre Mason, who took his starting spot. And then after the Rams drafted Todd Gurley, Stacy sent out the sad panda tweet of the night, sending out a simple "Yikes" right after Gurley was drafted. He deleted the tweet shortly after sending it. Stacy is like many players around the league. Mike Glennon's shot at ever starting for Tampa Bay is over now that the Buccaneers officially drafted Jameis Winston. The same goes for Mettenberger. Branden Oliver had a nice rookie season at running back for the Chargers but now Melvin Gordon is in town. Many others effectively lost their jobs on Thursday. That's the flip side to all the excitement from the NFL's newest first-round picks. Cleveland Browns I should be excited about the Browns, who made two first-round picks. And they probably ended up with two good players, as they should. But it still feels a bit underwhelming. They reportedly were after the No. 2 pick and quarterback Marcus Mariota, and that didn’t happen. They were reportedly going for quarterback Sam Bradford, and that didn’t happen (truthfully though, that might be for the best). Nose tackle Danny Shelton was a fine value pick, and should help stop the run. Picking Florida State center Cameron Erving pick wasn’t too splashy, to say the least. The Browns are apparently prepared to lose center Alex Mack, who has been one of their best players. He’s coming off a broken leg, but a year ago the Browns thought it wise to match the Jacksonville Jaguars’ five-year, $42 million offer sheet to Mack. He can opt out of that after this season. It’s hard to be too excited when you used the 19th pick to essentially replace one of your best players because you think he’s going to leave. A much-needed young receiver would have been pretty nice instead, for example. Erving might be a fine player. But he will just replace Mack in a year, it appears. It’s hard to get too excited about that scenario. Shane Ray jokes Oh, Twitter sure had jokes when Shane Ray was drafted by the Denver Broncos. You see, Ray was cited for marijuana possession earlier this week. Marijuana is legal in Colorado. You see where this is going. Guffaw, guffaw. Marijuana use is not legal in the NFL, so it’s not like it really matters to Ray where he went. But it is a curious pick by the Broncos. Ray has a toe injury that he described as being a variation of turf toe "on the serious side." That could hinder him as a rookie. The Broncos are in extreme must-win mode with the clock ticking on Peyton Manning. Ray was a good value at No. 23 (the Broncos traded up to get him) but he also doesn’t appear to be a player who will make a huge impact in 2015, especially with Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware at outside linebacker. The player is good but the fit seems a bit odd. La’el Collins and NFL teams who had to guess on him LSU offensive tackle La’el Collins hasn’t been named a suspect in the shooting death of his ex-girlfriend , Brittany Mills, who was pregnant when she was killed. Authorities in Louisiana are questioning him. None of us know if he’s innocent or guilty. If he has nothing to do with that tragic incident, then he just lost a lot of money and had what should have been a highlight day in his life ruined. Collins asked to be put into the supplemental draft so he could have time to clear his name, which seemed like an easy solution for everyone involved, but that was denied. After that, it wasn’t a surprise at all he fell out of the first round. There’s too much uncertainty. Who knows when he might get drafted.  With every team that took a tackle in the middle of the first round, you had to wonder if Collins would have been the pick if not for this issue. There were seven offensive linemen taken the first round. Would he have been the Bengals pick at No. 21? The Cardinals at No. 24? Would he have been picked by a team that went in another direction because Collins was untouchable? Perhaps. If Collins is found guilty of being involved in the slightest in the tragic shooting, then clearly nobody should or will feel sorry for his draft stock falling. That’s obvious. But what if he wasn’t? - - - - - - - Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at shutdowncorner@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @YahooSchwab

Clippers edge Spurs to force Game 7

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
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Blake Griffin had 26 points and 12 rebounds and Chris Paul had 19 points and 15 assists as the Los Angeles Clippers held on for a 102-96 victory over the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night, forcing a Game 7 in their first-round series.

Ducks cruise to lopsided victory over Flames

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
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Corey Perry had two goals and two assists and Ryan Getzlaf scored once and set up three more as the Anaheim Ducks downed the Calgary Flames 6-1 on Thursday to take Game 1 of their second-round playoff series.

Jameis Winston's draft day dinner: A tray of crab legs (The Associated Press)

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
Jameis Winston often smiled amid off-the-field problems at Florida State. Now that he's in the NFL, he's clearly still smiling and willing to make fun of himself. The Heisman Trophy winner and new No. 1 overall NFL pick joked about one of his problems just after he was selected by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Thursday night. Winston, who was cited for stealing crab legs from a grocery store in April 2014, posted an Instagram photo of him celebrating on draft night with a tray of crab legs.

Lions’ Laken Tomlinson is one of draft night’s best stories (Shutdown Corner)

Thursday, April 30th, 2015

Not long ago, Bears first-rounder Kevin White wasn’t a wanted man (Shutdown Corner)

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
CHICAGO — For Kevin White, he kept coming back in his mind to the Chicago Bears. Was it pure coincidence that White shared an agent with Bears receiver Alshon Jeffery, who kept telling the West Virginia wideout his team was trying to draft him? Was there some cosmic weirdness in the air when former Bears receiver Brandon Marshall, who was shipped out of town this offseason to the New York Jets for nickels on the dollar, befriended White last season? Whatever was in the air, it all came together in his new professional city when the Bears selected White No. 7 overall. White said he felt all along that was the place he'd end up being taken. "I'm glad my intuition was right on that," he said. Coming out of high school, White was unwanted by Division-I schools. After a stint at Lackawanna Junior College, he had to beg colleges to take a look at him, sending more than 250 emails to schools, even if they hadn't shown any interest in White. The schools showing the most interest then: Hawaii, Bowling Green, Texas Tech and WVU. The Mountaineers were the choice, as much for geography as anything, and he struggled through a 4-8 season in 2013 in which White showed potential with a few big plays but largely was unknown on the college football circuit. Then 2014 happened. He exploded out of the gates with eight straight 100-yard games and attracted the attention of Larry Fitzgerald on Twitter and Marshall, who somehow got White's cell number ("I have no idea how," he said Thursday) and said, "It's your boy, B-Marsh." They became fast friends. So, any awkwardness for White considering he's essentially replacing Marshall opposite Jeffery in the Bears' new offense? "Well, it might be a little weird," White said. "But I am sure he's happy for me. I am just happy to be here and [I'm] not trying to replace anyone. I am just trying to be myself." Bears fans who filled the stands of the Auditorim Theatre for Thursday's first round flooded White with love after the pick was made, mobbing him for congratulations and begging him for autographs. He was having a hard time getting anywhere in the packed building or communicating with his crew of 50 or more family and friends.  But White made sure to point out that the fame that comes with being the seventh pick in the draft will not make the humble, charismatic and affable White, who said he took pride in having to work extra hard for everything he's earned as a football player, any different of a person. "I don't care how many girls will want me now," White said, "I am going to be the same guy." And if the same guy we saw on the field comes to Chicago, the Bears will have a great passing attack with Jeffery and White, plus Eddie Royal in the slot, Matt Forte out of the backfield and Marquess Wilson as the No. 4 wideout. “I want to prove a lot of people wrong,” White said. “High school coaches, people that didn’t give me a fair shot. I love this. It’s a dream come true.” Even Marshall couldn't hide his excitement on Twitter. Man look how things work out baby bro. #Chicago you have a MONSTER. Follow my baby boy.. . Great… https://t.co/Fb5sLSLlyZ — Machine Marshall (@BMarshall) May 1, 2015 Strange symmetry for a player in White whose football career to date has been anything but linear. - - - - - - - Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter! Follow @Eric_Edholm

Panthers select Washington LB Thompson with 1st round pick (The Associated Press)

Thursday, April 30th, 2015
Ron Rivera said the Carolina Panthers wanted to get more creative on defense. The fifth-year coach believes Shaq Thompson gives them that ability. The Panthers selected the versatile outside linebacker from Washington with the No. 25 overall pick in the NFL draft, bolstering a defense that has finished in the top 10 in the league in each of the last three seasons under coordinator Sean McDermott. General manager Dave Gettleman called Thompson a ''top shelf kid'' with all of the qualities the Panthers were looking for heading into the draft including speed and playmaking ability.