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Detroit Red Wings Only Have Themselves to Blame for Losing to Nashville

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on April 20, 2012

For 20 years now the Detroit Red Wings have established a record of excellence unmatched in sports history. Their 20 straight playoff appearances, multiple Stanley Cups, and consistent level of play has been a modern marvel. They survived through the institution of a salary cap and were able to maintain the same level of excellence.

This year, the Wings seemed poised for another run. They set a new record for consecutive home wins during the regular season and seemed like a team that had what it took to win playoff series and possibly get back to the finals. They faded as the season came to a close, however, and ended up with a No. 5 seed.

Fans were confident that they could beat Nashville, although many predicted it to go 7 games. In the end though, the Wings proved to be no match for a stronger, quicker, and more advantageous Predators team. The Preds and Wings played were different styles. The Wings typical puck possession style of play dominated for large portions of several of the games and they managed to generate a large number of shots. Looking at the shot totals alone was very deceiving. Quality shots were few and far between for the Wings.

The Wings seemed to adjust to their style to throw shots at the net with as much screening as possible. Often focusing on rebound opportunities on Rinne’s blocker side. This had a little success but not nearly enough. Rinne was able to stop most shots without a rebound or the shots were quickly swept away by a collapsing Predators defense. The Predators simply stayed in tight, even allowing the Wings to move the puck on the outside perimeter of their zone at times.

Mike Babcock took offense to the notion that they were mostly getting shots from the outside and not getting quality opportunities before game 5. Any review of the film though seemed to support that idea. The Wings throw and go style wasn’t effective enough at crowding the net. The physical Nashville defense was able to fight the Wings off the net, neutralizing their rebound chances.

In a stark contrast, the Wings defense was neither tougher, physical, or smart. They were good at blocking shots and stealing pucks but struggled mightily with positioning. The first goal of game 5 was just another in an ugly string of defensive lapses by Detroit. Detroit continued to chase the puck and leave the front of the net open. Attempting to get numbers in the fore check battle, the Wings left voids in the middle of their zone which Nashville took advantage of. They regularly slipped guys in with little effort, getting point blank opportunities.

It is not what Red Wings fans are accustomed to seeing from their team that has always been known for being sly, smart, and controlled. The sloppy lapses in the defense weren’t the only issue for the Wings. The sloppiness in their own zone when handling the puck lead to multiple scoring opportunities and several goals. The Wings looked almost lazy. The talk locally was that the Wings had several injured players. Injuries are no excuse for lack of effort, which is what I saw from them.

It is hockey though and I sincerely hope that we find out that most of the main guys were playing hurt. That would at least explain some of the slow play, loss of concentration, and mental lapses. Playing through pain can have a real effect. it is worth noting that Lidstrom looked awful in a lot of the series and seems to be really suffering from the injury he sustained back in the regular season. He still wore extra padding and was taken off the power kill units. Sure signs he was playing hurt.

There are two things that concern me most with this team moving forward. First, they seemed to lack enough quality depth to make up for players lost to injuries. They played several younger players but no one really stepped up and showed they were ready to take over a real role on the team yet. Second, the Wings didn’t seem to play with the same will power as in years past. Even just last year, when they came back against San Jose, the Wings showed a grit and determination that made you believe that maybe they could pull it out. In this Nashville series the Wings lacked effort and intensity throughout the series. They had moments were the energy level rose, such as after the Huddler goal in game 5. They showed they could raise their level of play but they didn’t play with any consistent effort. They really disappointed their fans. I would blame injuries but I think leadership may be more likely to blame. Something unheard of in Hockeytown.

I hoep the Wings are able to revamp their roster a little and get some speed and hungrier players. Or maybe even just look in the mirror and decide they want greatness again. Either way, I would hate to see them lose becauee of sloppy play and lack of effort. It’s not what the Red Wings should ever be known for. In the end, it may goo down as exactly what they were known for in 2012.

David McClure

@detsportsmore

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2012 Draft Prospects: All Underrated Team

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on April 10, 2012

There are so many mock drafts out there, I didn’t think another one was needed. I did think it would be both fun and challenging to sift through the hundreds of NFL hopefuls and build a team of players that are generally undervalued by most mock drafters. My goal is to fill out a starting roster of guys choosing the most undervalued and underrated prospects that I think deserve to be more highly thought of.

Starting Offense:

  • QuarterbackRyan Lindley, SDSU – Lindley has an NFL arm and experience in a pro-style offence. He needs to work on accuracy and dealing with pressure. He can make the throws but he has been inconsistent at times. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him much higher than the late round projections he mainly receives.
  • Running BackLaMichael James, Oregon – James was such an electric college player but his short stature really drags his stock down. He has burst, wiggle, and a low center of gravity. Although not a prototypical feature back, James may surprise many with his ability to make people miss and pick up extra yards. In an NFL weight program, he needs to add lower body mass and power to help break more tackles.  With added power, think Ray Rice, without it, Darren Sproles. Either way, I’ll take it and work with it.
  • Full BackTerrance Ganaway, Baylor – Ganaway was considered a running back prospect at one time but I think he is a better fit at full back. At over 240 pounds and with 4.6 speed, he could turn into a valuable lead blocker and has the skill to catch the occasional pass or get carries in short yardage situations.
  • CenterBen Jones, Georgia – Jones is usually predicted in the middle rounds. I think that he is slightly undervalued, not majorly undervalued. That fits the bill though. Worthy of a second round pick, Jones is a good technician that plays smart and seems to have a good grasp on the game. He doesn’t jump off the screen but he knows how to play the position and has the size and strength to transition to the NFL. He very well may end up being a starter in the future.
  • Left GuardKevin Zeitler, Wisconsin – Zeitler should be a first round pick in my opinion. He consistently beat NFL level defensive tackles with his combination of size, strength, and smarts. He plays blocking angles well and already has NFL level power. If it wasn’t for the DeCastro love-fest, Zeitler would be talked about as a first round guard.
  • Right GuardBrandon Brooks, Miami of Ohio – Brooks was a combine snub. It’s a shame because his physical size is his most impressive asset at first glance. The 6-5, 345 pound Brooks is a mauler in the making. He has good feet for his size and I think he will settle in on a team that likes some beef in their lineup.
  • Right TackleKelechi Osemele, Iowa State – Osemele is so big that many think he must be a Guard at the next level. Not so. He compares in stature to players like Phil Loadholt, who struggles mightily with speed rushers. Osemele is much lighter on his feet, however, and has great length. I think he will start at right tackle for many, many years in the NFL.
  • Left TackleBobbie Massey, Ole Miss – Let me say, left tackles are usually overrated so finding an underrated one is quite difficult. Massey is my pick because I think he can stay at left tackle and probably deserves a first round grade. He simply beat defenders in the run game, and is a superb run blocker. He is surprisingly athletic and has the potential to stay on the left side. I don’t see him as a pro-bowl candidate but I do think he could settle in as a serviceable to good left tackle or a very good to pro-bowl caliber right tackle.
  • Wide Receiver (1)Tommie Streeter, Miami – Streeter has the size and speed you need from your top wideout. He needs some development but is mostly an afterthought in the draft. He has the things you can’t coach and needs the things that can be taught. I think he is worth a shot in the third round although I usually see him in round 5 and on.
  • Wide Receiver (2)Greg Childs, Arkansas – A bit of a gamble, Childs had injury issues that slowed production but appears to be getting healthier again. He has good measurables and when healthy he was highly productive. I don’t think he is going to be an elite NFL player but he could be a good number 2 wide out.
  • Tight EndOrsen Charles, Georgia – He has character concerns, no question, but he has great potential. He is a very impressive tight end prospect that will make plays, not just block. He can really stress a defense and make plays. Hopefully he keeps his nose clean, works hard, and realizes his potential.

Starting Defense:

  • Defensive Tackle/Nose tackleJosh Chapman, Alabama – Chapman played hurt most of the year but strikes me as a blue-collar defensive tackle. he’s not going to make a lot of splash plays but I think he could be a consistent run stuffer that is capable of anchoring against double teams.
  • Defensive Tackle /Under TackleMike Martin, Michigan – Martin was constantly double teamed and still managed to make an impact on games. he had a great post season and has the potential to be a solid starter as an under tackle in a 4-3 defense. I don’t think he has the size to play on the nose in the NFL.
  • Defensive End (Left)Jake Bequette, Arkansas – Bequette is not a double digit sack guy in the NFL but he could play defensive end on a 4-3 or 3-4 team. He is a capable run stopper that has the strength and speed to get to the quarterback and force him to step up into the pocket. He is another solid player that isn’t as flashy but will make plays consistently with his motor, strength, and deceptive speed.
  • Defensive End (Right)Vinny Curry, Marshall – Curry is typically a second round pick but I think he is a late first round talent. He’s still underrated and could be one of the big draft surprises next year.
  • Outside Linebacker (Strong/Rush) – Bruce Irvin, West Virginia – I’m sure this will raise some eyebrows but the kid knows how to rush the quarterback and is highly gifted athletically speaking. He is raw and slightly undersized but I think a year or two of development and he could be a pro-bowl caliber player, he’s that talented. He projects well to rush linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. I really think this kid is going to be a mid round steal if he keeps his head on straight.
  • Middle Linebacker (Inside)Mychal Kendricks, Cal – Kendricks has slowly moved up draft boards but this kid should challenge Luke Kuechely for the top middle backer in the draft. He was underrated going into the combine and turned heads wth his outstanding athleticism and speed. He is powerful, has great vision, good instincts, and I think he will be a starting middle line backer next season.
  • Outside Linebacker (Weakside)Lavonte David, Nebraska – First round talent all the way. The kid can play, he’s all over the field, reading defenses, tackling anything with a ball. I think he’s a perfect 4-3 WLB in the pass happy NFL. He has elite speed for a linebacker and is as multi-dimensional as it gets. He’s not undersized like some reports say. I feel very strongly that Lavonte David will be turning heads in the NFL next year.
  • Corner (1)Jayron Hosley, VaTech – Hosley was once considered a first round prospect but he has just sort of slid down draft boards with no real reasoning. He is a good athlete, he has the speed and instincts to be a solid corner at the next level. I think Hosley should be drafted in the top 45 picks although he will probably fall further than that.
  • Corner (2)Brandon Boykin, Georgia – Boykin is one of the best athletes in the entire draft. He would do well to add some size and strength but he is the same size as many NFL corners. Boykin is an explosive return man and with his exceptional athletic ability he has the potential to be a true number 1 corner in a few years.
  • Strong SafetyAntonio Allen, South Carolina – Allen is a solid athlete who has teh versatility you need at teh safety position. He has real starting potential and belongs in the second round.
  • Free SafetyBlake Gideon, Texas – Gideon has been a solid playmaker for Texas. He is an afterthought on many draft boards but he reminds me of the typical solid, but unspectacular prospect. He will play consistent, make occasional plays, tackle well, and be a solid addition to any team looking for quality depth with starting potential.

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Thoughts About the Detroit Lions Off Season and Adding Safety Erik Coleman via Free Agency

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on February 19, 2011

I know he’s not Atogwe or Asomugha or Sanders but I think the addition of Erik Coleman is a smart and savvy move for our Lions. Coleman isn’t a throw away guy. He was a starter and a decent one at that until he hurt his knee. Once he recovered he had been replaced by a second round pick that was playing well enough to make his contract expendable. I think all Falcons fans seemed pleased to have him as a quality back up at safety and even when he was a back up he managed to be the captain of the special teams unit. To me that shows character. He could have taken it easy or got an attitude about not getting his starting spot back but instead he went out and performed at a high level.

This has been a trend in Detroit, bad character guys have been removed and replaced with guys that are willing to work hard and give their best. Maurice Morris, Stephan Logan, Kyle Van Den Bosch, Ndamukong Suh, and even some lesser known guys like John Wendling have all been sought out because they are professionals and bring character to the team.

Coleman also gives me even more insight into the Lions plan in the secondary. I have a strong feeling that Chris Houston will be back next year with a multi-year deal.Coleman and Houston played together in Atlanta and should be able to play together quite quickly. An upgrade could still be had at the other side but if the season started today with the combination of Nathan Vasher, Alphonso Smith, Prince Miller, Brandon McDonald, and Tye Hill as you rotational corners I think the team’s pass defense would be in better shape than most people give them credit for.

The Lions finished last year as the 16th ranked pass defense in the league. That’s a major improvement over the past years. Especially when you consider the amount of injuries and rotations they made. Remember Jonathan Wade? The starter? Ya, I don’t really either. Both Vasher and Smith played better than I think anyone anticipated. So much is made of continuity and chemistry. This unit should have a chance to gel this off-season. I still think a rookie defensive back is a real possibility in the draft but if they only get another mid round developmental guy like Devon House, Jalil Brown, or Johnny Patrick then I think they will still be in good shape.

I hope they focus more on bringing in two solid line backers. One in the draft, one in free agency, and another late round developmental guy with speed that can be a special teamer. Obviously Von Miller in the first round if he falls. I think he will but not sure if he falls that far. One of my favorites that has gone under the radar somewhat is Chris Carter from Fresno State. He’s played at defensive end but is a true athlete and can make the transition to backer. He’s around 230 pounds which isn’t bad but you’d like to see him around 240-245 in a year or two. If he can keep his speed and athleticism and gain some size in a developmental year then I think he’s a guy that could take over a starting spot inside in a 3-4 defense or outside in a 4-3 will be where he is best suited.

Dontay Moch in the second round along with Mason Foster are guys to watch. I like Adrian Molten from Maryland as a developmental third day prospect so watch for them. All in all the run defense was much more of an issue last season than the pass defense, ranking only 24th. That’s actually an improvement over recent seasons but nowhere near good enough to contend for a playoff spot. With the talent and skill that is on the defensive line the Lions should be a top 15 defense in both the run and pass game.

The back seven really only needs 3 players at this point from what I’m seeing. A quality starting corner, a quality starting line backer, and Chris Houston. With Coleman in the mix the depth is good. With guys like Palmer, Dizon, and Carpenter the line backer depth is solid and one of those guys could start.

If I was in charge, which I’m definitely not, I would go after one of the top line backers available out there that will fit in as an upgrade where Julian Peterson used to be. There will be up to 10 solid possibilities to look at. Find the best scheme fit and bring him in to start. Then I would try to get my hands on whomever the best weak side prospect is in the second round. In the first I’d strictly go best available and build the talent level on the team.

After fixing the line backing core with a guy like Chad Greenway and drafting a weak side prospect like Dontay Moch in the second, I would resign Chris Houston and hope to get a good corner prospect in the first round like Jimmy Smith or Brandon Harris. That would fill every perceived hole on this team. In the third round I would look at another offensive play maker like Randall Cobb or Lester Jean(one of my sleeper prospects). A center prospect has to be high on the list as well. The trouble Dominic Raiola keeps finding himself in as well as his questionable abilities combined with Dylan Gandy being a free agent make the need for a developmental center significant. I haven’t found a solid mid round prospect that I like yet though.

Thanks for reading, leave questions or comments if you’re so inclined. Martin, if you’re listening, I like the move and what I think the plan is.

David

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Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera charged with DUI in Florida – MLB – SI.com

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on February 17, 2011

Tigers’ Miguel Cabrera charged with DUI in Florida – MLB – SI.com.

 

The optimism is just getting started for the Tiger’s this season as players hit Florida for spring training and already the little flame of hope is being doused. It’s an almost empty bottle of scotch that is raining down this time.

Check out the report from SI.com above.

It appears as though Cabrera is back out drinking and this time has been arrested and apparently charged with a  DUI. As talented as Cabrera is, the strikes are starting to add up. The investment from the Tiger’s in Cabrera would mean disaster if he was no able to play in Detroit. We’ll all have to wait to see what the fallout is.

More important than baseball is the fact that Cabrera has a serious drinking problem. One that could end in disaster. From the incident with his wife to driving with a bottle of scotch in one hand. This is a very serious issue. Not just because he’s Miguel Cabrera. Alcoholism destroys not just the people that suffer it but also the loved ones, teammates, and others that are in contact. I hope that in the end, this situation will be a trigger that gets him the help he needs.

Stay posted.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft Second Round

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on February 13, 2011

Welcome to the second round. If you came straight here and missed the first round then click here to see the first round.

33 New England Patriots – Titus Young WR – Deep threat who needs to work on his hands and attitude. New England can straighten things out.

34 Buffalo Bills – Blaine Gabbert QB – Developmental QB that could compete for the job with Fitzpatrick.I’m not convinced he is a franchise player but the hype gets him drafted here.

35 Cincinnati Bengals – Torrey Smith WR – Some outside speed to help replace Terrell.T.Ocho.Cinco. Owen .Johnson. I think you get some instant addition by subtraction there, if Cincy lets at least one of them move on.

36 Denver Broncos – Cameron Heyward DE – Denver needs to build up its defense, especially in the front seven.

37 Cleveland Browns - Kyle Rudolph TE – A real target for Colt. Good value, the top rated TE in the draft will create match up issues and provide a nice relief valve.

38 Arizona Cardinals – Ryan Kerrigan DE – Probably becomes an OLB but is versatile enough that he could add weight and play DE.  AZ gets outstanding  value from a  sliding prospect.

39 Tennessee Titans – Ryan Mallett QB – Tennessee hopes they’ve landed a developmental franchise QB.

40 Dallas Cowboys – Rahim Moore FS – Secondary help is big in big D. More is needed.

41 Washington Redskins – Rodney Hudson OG – Shanahan passes on a QB (and by QB I mean Newton) and builds the trenches in typical Shanahan fashion. Snyder is probably going to be trying to get Newton here.

42 Houston Texans – Marvin Austin DT – More beef for the D Line. Austin’s stock has fallen but is back on the rise. He’s a really nice second round prospect, especially for Texans D featuring former Matt Millen pick Shaun Cody in a starting spot.

43 Minnesota Vikings – Cam Newton QB – Maybe a surprise but the talent in Minnesota allows Newton a chance to turn into a real QB.

44 Detroit Lions – Curtis Brown CB – Top CB on the board to bolster Detroit’s secondary.

45 San Fran 49ers – Mason Foster LB – Versatile LB that can play in space.

46 Denver Broncos – Bruce Carter LB – The defensive upgrades continue.

47 St. Louis Rams – Luke Stocker TE – More help for Bradford.

48 Oakland Raiders – Rashad Carmichael CB – The Raiders find themselves needing secondary help.

49 Jacksonville Jaguars – Deunta Williams FS – Good value for a position of need.

50 San Diego Chargers – Stephen Paea DT – Potential DE to bolster an already strong defensive in SD.

51 Tampa Bay Bucs – Ryan Williams RB – Upgrade for FA Cadillac Williams. Great combo with Blount in the backfield.

52 New York Giants – Drake Nevis DT – Giants get solid value here.

53 Indianapolis Colts – Mikel Leshoure RB  – Powerful runner the Colts have lacked.

54 Philadelphia Eagles – Martez Wilson LB – Big ILB to strengthen an average run defense.

55 Kansas City Chiefs – Leonard Hankerson WR – KC has to address the WR position. Hankerson is having a good off season.

56 New Orleans Saints – Ras-I Dowling DB – Not the biggest need but Dowling has good value here.

57 Seattle Seahawks – Brandon Burton CB – Depth and talent for the secondary.

58 Baltimore Ravens – John Moffit OG – Some interior strength to bolster the run game.

59 Atlanta Falcons – Marcus Cannon OT/G – Versatile lineman that can fill in on the right side and bring some size/power.

60 New England Patriots – Brooks Reed OLB – More help for the young Patriots D.

61 San Diego Chargers – Quinton Carter S – Hard hitting safety for the Bolts.

62 Chicago Bears – Randall Cobb WR – Quick slot receiver for Martz’s system.

63 Pittsburgh Steelers – Danny Watkins OG – Interior help for the run game.

64 Green Bay Packers – Johnny Patrick CB – CB depth remains important at Lambeau.

The third round is coming soon.

When you finish viewing this draft check out my friend’s mock drafts over at Walterfootball.com. Walt, Greg, and Matt do a great job putting together mock drafts, prospect information, and more.

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2011 NFL Mock Draft First Round

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on February 13, 2011

Thank you for stopping by to look at my mock. This is round one. I will be posting round 2 and 3 soon. I may have some surprises but I base my mock on what I think will happen at the draft, not today. The hype machines are going crazy but I think the more you look into thing the more you realize that it’s all smoke, no fire, in most cases. Enjoy, let me know what you think, and leave feedback or questions.

1 Carolina Panthers – AJ Green WR – Fairley or Green are options. Bowers would need amazing combine/interview/workouts.

2 Denver Broncos – Patrick Peterson CB – Obvious need combined with top talent on the board.

3 Buffalo Bills – Nick Fairley DT/E – Have to fix run defense and Fairley does that and gets pressure up field on the QB.

4 Cincinnati Bengals – DaQuan Bowers DE – With Green off the board, getting pressure up front becomes next biggest need.

5 Arizona Cardinals – Jake Locker QB – Workouts, combine, and interviews reveal Locker can be a franchise QB.

6 Cleveland Browns – Robert Quinn DE – I expect Dick Jauron to implement a 4-3 defense or transition to one. Quinn could play in either.

7 San Fran 49ers – Marcel Dareus DT – Dareus is a good backside 3-4 DE or UT if they switched to a 4-3. QB is in play.

8 Tennessee Titans – Aldon Smith DE – QB is a need but the D was not good this year. More pressure up front is desperately needed.

9 Dallas Cowboys – Nate Solder OT – I think the Cowboys look like the Raiders last year and surprise with some logical picks. OT is an obvious need.

10 Washington Redskins – Prince Amukamara CB – Too many needs in Washington. Hall and Rogers need contracts and a Safety upgrade could be had. Amukamara could fill whichever hole is left.

11 Houston Texans – Cameron Jordan DE – Have to get pressure in Houston. Jordan adds size and speed across from Williams. DT should be next.

12 Minnesota Vikings – Corey Liuget DT – An aging DL and Edwards hitting FA means DL fits.

13 Detroit Lions – Von Miller LB – Miller is getting hype now but his stock should level off as others impress in workouts. He falls based on positional value.

14 St. Louis Rams – Julio Jones WR – Talent and need meet nicely.

15 Miami Dolphins – Mark Ingram RB – Talent and need meet nicely again.

16 Jacksonville Jaguars – Brandon Harris CB – Corner or end are likely. I say Harris is the best option and gets the nod.

17 New England Patriots – Phil Taylor NT – The NT for the future.

18 San Diego Chargers – Gabe Carimi OT – Improving the run game with a mauluing RT is a good start.

19 New York Giants – Justin Houston OLB – Houston helps maintain the vaunted pass rush of the Giants.

20 Tampa Bay Bucs – JJ Watt DE – Pass rush has to be the top priority in Tampa. Watt is a solid prospect next McCoy or price he should do well.

21 Kansas City Chiefs – Stefen Wisniewski OC/G – OC, NT, and WR are major needs. Pending Casey Wiegmann’s retirement.

22 Indianapolis Colts – Tyron Smith OT – Give Peyton time and they’ll be back in the hunt for the division title.

23 Philadelphia Eagles – Jimmy Smith CB – Philly upgrades the No. 2 corner spot.

24 New Orleans Saints – Akeem Ayers LB – Need and value combine nicely yet again.

25 Seattle Seahawks – Mike Pouncey OC/G – Seattle struggles almost everywhere, opening up run lanes is very important. 89 ypg won’t cut it.

26 Baltimore Ravens – Aaron Williams CB – Upgrade at the biggest weak point on the defense.

27 Atlanta Falcons – Adrian Clayborn DE – Another team that has to find a way to pressure the QB.

28 New England Patriots – Benjamin Ijalana OG/T – OL depth and potential starter with excellent upside.

29 Chicago Bears – Anthony Castonzo OT – Best OL available is what the Bears need.

30 NY Jets – Jonathan Baldwin WR – It’s nto bad, but the passing game is the weak link in NY and 3 major players are hitting FA.

31 Pittsburgh Steelers – Derek Sherrod OT – The OT spot is still a concern in Pittsburgh. Relatively speaking.

32 Green Bay Packers – Muhammad Wilkerson DT/E – Good fit for the 3-4 provides needed depth. He could be a starter.

Click here to view the second round.

When you finish viewing this draft check out my friend’s mock drafts over at Walterfootball.com. Walt, Greg, and Matt do a great job putting together mock drafts, prospect information, and more.

I’ll be adding links to the next rounds in the next few days. I have round 3 complete and will be moving into round 4 as well.

Dave

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2011 NFL Draft – Detroit Lions Prospects Round One

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on February 8, 2011

Obviously the Lions can go with any position at any point on draft day. We’ve watched some surprise picks over the years, Pettigrew, Delmas, Levy, Spievey, and Best are all solid examples. When you consider that list comprises 5 out of the 8 picks the Lions have had in the first three rounds under Martin Mayhew, I think it’s fair to make that assumption. I think the other fair assumption is that talent has been valued over perceived need.

Currently by my last count the Lions have picks in every round but the 6th. The 7th round it isn’t sure whether it’s an original pick or the Jet’s pick. That’s pretty much a non-factor though.

Let’s look at some of the players that may be available and options in each round. Guys to be mindful of for draft followers. I think it’s safe to say a QB is highly unlikely so I won’t be looking at any QB prospects. Every other position is fair game.

First Round:

The first round all depends on what happens before your pick. The Lions will take the best player they can get within reason.

Von Miller and Akeem Ayers are the most likely linebacker prospects at this point but Ayers is high risk and may fall. Miller may not be around when the Lions pick.

Nate Solder is a real possibility to take over as a future franchise left tackle. He has bust concerns but is physically impressive. His draft position is somewhat unpredictable. I say he ends up in the top 10 because of the position he plays. I just expect a team to fall for him, so to speak. It is almost Valentine’s Day.

The corner class is impressive this year and there are 5 first round candidates in my opinion. Patrick Peterson and Prince Amukamara headline the class but Aaron Williams, Jimmy Smith, and Brandon Harris are all first round prospects. One or two of them could fall into the second round thanks to the need for Quarterbacks and the strength of the defensive line prospects.  If any one of those 5 guys were available in the second round I would consider them to be the best available for the Lions most likely. The thing about corners is that they are highly unpredictable and without looking up the numbers, I would guess the bust rate to be high. The draft stock of a corner is greatly influenced by raw combine numbers so many of  these guys could rise or fall and a few other  second round guys could fly up the board like a Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

I don’t see a center or interior lineman worthy of a top 15 pick. Yes, that includes guys like Pouncey. He is a second round prospect that is being buoyed somewhat by his big brother. He may be a really good guard or center but has a way to go, most likely. I don’t see defensive lineman being a consideration unless an elite talent like Bowers is still there for some crazy reason. I would hope to trade down if that was the case.

There are 2 high level wide receivers and 1 high level running back in Mark Ingram. I see several other wide outs and backs being mocked in the first but I think many of them are overrated including the Virginia Tech running backs, Torrey Smith from Maryland, and Mikel Leshoure from Illinois. Good players but second to fourth round guys in my opinion.

Ingram is a possibility. He is underrated in my opinion. Ingram is a great running back prospect who could be a real, every down running back. I think he will be in the hunt for rookie of the year if he gets on the right team.

A.J. Green would be a steal outside of the top ten and is one of the top 5 prospects in the entire draft. Julio Jones is a solid talent, I don’t know that I would spend a top 15 pick on him in Detroit but they could do worse.

All in all this year has some perceived strengths and weaknesses but as evaluations occur the true first round guys will emerge. I think there are several players that are still somewhat unknown and will move significantly. Nate Solder and Cameron Jordan have already begun the process. Jimmy Smith, Robert Quinn, Ryan Mallett, and Adrian Clayborne are all on my watch list to move around a lot.

I’ll look into some of the guys I see in the second round next. Thank you for reading and for your feedback.

Dave

Posted in 2011 NFL Draft, Detroit, Detroit Lions, Michigan, Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Should We Slaughter Wild Animals to Protect Captive Animals?

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on February 8, 2011

You can read the article that got me wondering this here.

The article talks about the potential slaughter of a large number of Bison that have migrated out of Yellowstone National Park and are moving out into areas where cattle and ranchers exist. There is a supposed concern about a disease known as brucellosis. You can read up on brucellosis here.

The summary is that brucellosis isn’t a very significant disease and is not likely to be transferred to cattle. It can be transferred to cattle, humans, and many other species. Transmission seems to follow an almost AIDS-like pattern. Meaning that you must have a wound make contact, have intercourse, or eat or drink something from an infected animal. Unlike AIDS, brucellosis is not an overly serious disease to humans and appears to be treatable. As with any bacterial infection serious complications can occur but the likelihood doesn’t seem to be greater than a normal cold or flu for example.

I’m not a doctor but from what I have read, I don’t see why the major uproar. This isn’t CWD.

The only problems I see are that Bison take up grazing areas and can be a risk to humans because of the sheer size of the animals. Again, the risk of being hurt is very small. The risk to crops and grazing areas could be significant to ranchers in the immediate vicinity.

It’s a tougher decision than it appears to be on the surface. What should be valued more, the protection of wildlife or the businesses of humans? Generally speaking any rational person would value a human life over that of any wildlife. But there is no immediate threat or danger here. Brucellosis is being spun into a threat but it’s a relative non-issue. So the impact becomes financial.

So now it’s whether or not we value someone’s financial well-being over the well-being of local wildlife. The government goes to great lengths to protect waterways and salamanders or turtles. They regulate and spend like crazy to protect migratory birds and endangered species. Where does the Bison slaughter fit in with this agenda?

Should we be spending all this money and time on any species or environment? We are all entitled to our opinions I suppose.

My take on it is pretty simple. Migration and the search for food is natural. I don’t see why there is a true need to eliminate these animals. I think it makes more sense to attempt to improve habitat within the park to minimize the migrations out of the park. If you provide what the animals need than they will likely stay. That is easier said than done but if you insist on keeping them within boundaries then I view them as pets, not wild animals. Feed them, supplement in the winter, do what it takes to take care of your pets. If they are wild then let them be wild. If the issue is population control than regulate hunting seasons and use the funds to enhance habitat and supplement in the winter.

These are just suggestions and I haven’t looked into the extensive management plan that is in place and I’m not saying that people are doing a terrible job or are idiots or anything like that. I think it’s very obvious that what they are doing isn’t working and it’s not working because the management of the Bison herd does not have a stated purpose that is being followed. That is poor planning.

So I am curious, what is the management goal? Is it to maintain a herd within Yellowstone National Park of a certain size or that can live off the natural resources of the park? Is it to re-establish a wild free ranging herd? Is it simply to make park visitors happy in a glorified petting zoo? What’s the goal?

I would hope the goal is to re-establish a free ranging herd of an American icon that can travel the landscapes and offer hunting opportunities and viewing opportunities across all suitable habitat.

I would hope that there would be honesty from officials and ranchers alike. If you simply want a herd to view in the park, try an ounce of prevention instead of a pound of the cure. Senseless slaughter of animals that don’t represent a real threat to anyone is not a very good solution. Just the easy way out.

That’s my two cents. What’s yours?

Posted in Hunting, Outdoor Sports | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Identifying Cougar Tracks in Michigan

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 31, 2011

The stories have been around for longer than I’ve been around about Michigan’s cougar population. It seems like a myth until you find some concrete evidence. Tracks in the mud and snow are the most common sign that people find. Unfortunately, they are also the least reliable forms of identification. Well outside of sounds they are the least reliable.

The DNR posted a link to this chart on their Facebook page showing the differences between dogs, bobcats, coyotes, and cougars.

The chart is very useful if you think you’ve found something. Look at the differences, they should be obvious if you have a good track sample.That way, if you think you may have something, try setting up a trail cam if the tracks are common to an area or trail.

I used to question the existence myself until I saw trail cam photos of a cougar. The only reason the camera caught it was because it was slowed by the deer it was dragging off to hide and eat. It was incredible to see real photo evidence. Other reports of deer being spotted in the branches of a tree also make you think twice. Usually the rope gives it away but when they are that high up and the only evidence is claw marks and a bloody neck, my money is on it being a cougar.

The other dead give away is when it’s a young buck that is being picked up. Definite sign of a cougar.

Posted in Hunting, Michigan, Outdoor Sports | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Senior Bowl – Von Miller Looking Like a Potential Draft Pick for the Detroit Lions

Posted by detroitsportsandmore on January 28, 2011

The Senior Bowl has been good for several players. I’ve been doing my best to pay attention to the reports and stock of players in attendance this year.

The Lions like to take the Best Available. That could be the best tackle, or backer, or running back. If they have a need and can get the best player at that position then I consider them to be a real prospect to consider. I don’t think they will go for a corner this year unless they truly feel they are getting an elite talent. That leaves a player like Prince Amukamara in consideration but if they could get the top line backer prospect in the entire draft then history tells me that they will go that direction.

Von Miller is emerging as that guy. Anyone that has seen Von play knows he can rush the quarterback from almost anywhere on the field. At 6’2″ and 237 pounds he is not a realistic defensive end or outside line backer prospect. He just doesn’t possess the size he would need in the NFL.

His college numbers are impressive but it is obvious that he must transition to the line backer spot if he wants to be a starter in the NFL. Transitioning from a rush specialist to a strong side line backer in a 4-3 scheme is a very significant transition for most players. The athletic skill set is very different. There is no doubt Von is an athlete and that he is a real football player but being able to move laterally and have the instincts and quickness to play in space takes different skills.

The Senior Bowl has given Von the chance to give line backer a try. His size is ideal for a 4-3 scheme and his athletic ability and strength appear to be translating. Reports are that Von has made the transition and has far exceeded expectations. He has shown the ability to cover underneath and the instincts to read and respond. He has also proven two other important things. Most importantly, he has the physical skills to play the position. The next most important thing you look for in a player is whether or not they can respond to coaching. I think it’s safe to say Von has shown he is capable in both regards and that makes him a very real prospect for Detroit. He fits a need, has elite skills, has elite intangibles it appears, and will likely be one of the best available players when Detroit is drafting. If he lasts that long.

I’ve talked about Akeem Ayers, mainly because I had two major questions about Miller. Whether he could play line backer and whether he’d be available when they pick. Right now it looks like it’s a matter of whether or not he’ll be on the board. If not, maybe that makes Prince fall to Detroit.

Nate Solder is another guy that I think will be a top 5 pick before it’s all said and done. I know the four letter network wants to call him a mid first round selection but the best left tackle in the draft with impressive physical attributes will turn into a top 8 pick. You can bet on that. If he keeps up his impressive play and does decent at the combine he’ll be a top 8 lock, probably even a top 5 pick.

I’m rooting heavily for Solder, the better he does the more likely a player of greater need will drop. It’s also nice to know that a really good tackle prospect could be there in the mid first round. The positional value would make him an interesting pick if it came to that. I highly doubt it will but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind.

The coverage of Cameron Jordan may help the Lions as well. He is moving up the draft and becoming one of the best 3-4 end prospects in the draft. That may make him a top 10 pick if he continues to show well. I think his strength numbers at the combine will be the deciding factor for many teams. If he has the strength he could sneak up to the top 10.

Two other players to watch in the middle rounds are Demarco Murray and Terrence Tolliver. Murray is underrated  in my opinion. I have him as a sleeper prospect right now. I think he can be a feature back. He has the ability. He has had some injury concerns that are costing him in draft status. I think he could be a nice player in the third or fourth rounds if available. I could see him getting drafted in the second though.

Tolliver is interesting because the opportunities weren’t really there in LSU for him to make a big name for himself so he’s tougher to judge. Character concerns are significant as well. Again, in the middle rounds Tolliver strikes me as one of those receivers that could turn into a real starter or a solid rotational receiver that you have to account for. He has the physical tools and has shown he can turn it on. I would be very interested in him in the third or fourth rounds as a No. 3 receiver in Detroit.

So Von Miller in the first followed by Murray and Tolliver in the third and fourth respectively. Second round, I would hope one of the next level corners are there. Aaron Williams and Jimmy Smith are guys I’m keeping my eye on. Williams is a bit under the radar and Smith is very raw. His coach-ability and workout/combine numbers will have a significant effect on his draft position.

David

Posted in 2011 NFL Draft, Detroit Lions, Sports | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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