Monday Night Raw – March 25, 2002 (First WWF Draft)

This seemed appropriate given what we’re seeing now.  Starting tonight, I’ll be putting up alternating reviews from the original Brand Split with Raw going up on Wednesday and Smackdown/pay per views going up on Saturdays.  There’s no better place to start than on the original Draft so let’s get to it.

Monday Night Raw
Date: March 25, 2002
Location: Bryce Jordan Center, State College, Pennsylvania
Attendance: 15,550
Commentators: Jim Ross, Jerry Lawler

This seemed due for a second look since they’re doing it all again this year. We’re just after Wrestlemania XVIII and things are kind of in a lull. With so many wrestlers and no big evil for the WWF to fight (since the WCW/ECW Invasion just had to be started and wrapped up by Thanksgiving), it was decided to split the rosters in two. This was a really cool idea at the time but it should be interesting to see how it worked when the initial Brand Extension isn’t the most fondly remembered concept. Let’s get to it.

Read moreMonday Night Raw – March 25, 2002 (First WWF Draft)

Smackdown – July 19, 2016

Smackdown
Date: July 19, 2016
Location: DCU Center, Worcester, Massachusetts
Commentators: Mauro Ranallo, Michael Cole, Byron Saxton, Jerry Lawler

Now this is a big one. Tonight we’re not only going live but also splitting the shows into two rosters again for the first time in a few years. There’s only been one other draft like this in company history and it wasn’t the greatest show in the world. The interesting things here tonight are the potential returns of former stars as well as the guaranteed NXT callups. Oh and a rematch from last night’s World Title match as a bonus. Let’s get to it.

Read moreSmackdown – July 19, 2016

NBA Draft Thread

Figured I’d toss this up; the draft order locks in less than a couple hours, after which teams can only trade the rights to players they drafted, not the picks themselves.

Dunno if Bayless ever posted his full mock he said he was going to do or if he was too busy receiving empty legal threats from old creeps, but I’ll do my lottery mock (assuming no trades, because I’m too lazy to go down that rabbit hole) and offer a few thoughts after the jump. I hate making predictions, so consider this partly what I think will happen, and partly what makes sense.

Also, please do check out Andrew Riche’s excellent, much more in-depth draft preview over at Place To Be Nation.

http://placetobenation.com/2014-nba-draft-preview/

1. Cleveland- Jabari Parker, F, Duke

Are the Cavs going to select a fat, 6’8″ forward who’s a supposed offensive machine that couldn’t even guard anyone in college for a second straight year No. 1 overall?  Even though the owner and management again can’t agree on the pick? Even though Parker showed up to his workout and tanked it, and weight 255 pounds? Looks that way.

Fun!

Could still very will be Wiggins here, and if they trade out of the spot to a team that isn’t concerned with winning in ’14-15, I still wouldn’t be shocked to see Embiid go No. 1. Injuries aside, he’s clearly the best prospect.

Since Jabari is considered the “sure thing” with the lower ceiling, I’d like to talk about that for a moment. Why are we so sure of what he is and less sure of what Wiggins might be? Why are we sure Jabari won’t be a fat, lazy dickhead? Because that’s the vibe I’m starting to get.

2. Milwaukee– Andrew Wiggins, G/F, Kansas

I’m definitely a pro-Wiggins guy. The analytics don’t love him, but I think there’s a lot of random, static noise in using analytics to project a guy from college to the NBA. I think the Paul George comparisons are right on. I don’t buy the “he has no killer instinct!” argument, because that’s bromide-laced bullshit from people who can’t think of anything real to make their point. I think producing as much as he did in Bill Self’s rigid set offense, while having shitty point guards not getting him the ball, was pretty fucking impressive, personally.

3. Philly-  Joel Embiid, C, Kansas

Embiid’s injury hurts Philly the most, as they’re forced to choose between a perceived non-elite prospect or take another injured big who might basically have to redshirt. Sweet tank job, Philly! Still, it might not be what they wanted but if Noel/Embiid stay relatively healthy it might be years before anyone makes a layup against the 76ers.

4. Orlando- Dante Exum, G, Australia

Victor Oladipo isn’t a true PG. Exum might not be, either, but these two should make an ideal pairing. I have little else to say here, because like everyone else, what I actually am sure of about Exum is…lacking. Am I sure he isn’t an Evan Turner clone? No, I’m not.

5. Utah- Noah Vonleh, F, Indiana

Personally, I’d group him with Wiggins/Exum/Parker/Embiid as one of the truly elite prospects in this draft. He fits with Favors and Kanter (or makes at least one of them expendable) as a potential stretch 4, but one who can also rebound and defend the rim at an elite level. If he’d switched spots with Parker or Randle last year no one would question his production. Vonleh played with guards who couldn’t get him the ball and played for a dipshit coach that has no clue of how to get his best players the ball. After Oladipo and Zeller last year, Vonleh would make Tom Crean’s third top five pick in two years that averaged less than 10 FGA a game. Tom Crean is just terrible. I love it. I hope he stays at Indiana forever.

6. Boston– Marcus Smart, G, Oklahoma State

Either an ideal replacement for Rondo as a similarly-styled, though much larger, player. Or a fit next to him, as he can guard bigger wings.

7. LA Lakers– Julius Randle, F, Kentucky

Randle would be a much better prospect in a previous era, one in which power forwards were asked to do more traditional low block-type stuff. Now, the ideal is a guy who can stretch the floor offensively and play outside-in, but also be long enough to defend the rim at the other end. That’s why I think Vonleh is a significantly better prospect. But Randle has a relentless motor and is one of the three or four best rebounders in the draft (along with Embiid, Vonleh and Jarnell Stokes). I think he’s a really good role player, not the Zach Randolph clone some have incorrectly labeled him as.

8. Sacramento– Aaron Gordon, F, Arizona

Could go as high as No. 5 to Utah. Gordon’s gotten a lot of Shawn Marion comparisons, but Marion averaged 20+ points a game in his prime. Can’t see Gordon scoring like that, but the defensive versatility and everything else? Yeah, I see it. His versatility and ability to play away from the basket on both ends is a really good fit with a true, low-post center in Demarcus Cousins.

9. Charlotte– Doug McDermott, F, Creighton

A lot of chatter about the Bulls packaging the Nos. 16 and 19 picks to move up somewhere and take him. I like Dougie McBuckets and think his ability to score translates to the NBA, but I hope they don’t trade two top 20 picks for him. Anyway, McDermott is a perfect fit here and I think the noise about Charlotte looking elsewhere (after a lot of strong talk about this pairing for some time) is just that: noise. Charlotte needs shooting, and Michael Jordan has talked a lot of big talk about upgrading their roster to truly compete next year, which isn’t far-fetched for a team in the East that did win 43 games last year. A rookie who totally fills a specific need and can contribute right away should be the pick here, though Nik Stauskas or Gary Harris would also make sense. I’d even consider Rodney Hood this high.

10. Philly– Gary Harris, G Michigan State

A positional need and, in my opinion, the best available player. A two-guard on the smallish side is less of a concern next to a 6’6″ PG like MCW who’s a dynamic defender. Played through nagging injuries and never showed his full potential at Michigan State, but he’s a complete guard with All-Star potential.

11. Denver– Nik Stauskas, G Michigan

Harris and Stauskas have been attached at the hip so far in their careers; same position, same HS class, one at UM and one at MSU, 1-2 for ’14 Big Ten POY, and both mentioned in the same potential spots in the same draft. They might as well go back-to-back here.

12. Orlando- Adrian Payne, F, Michigan State

I’ve heard nothing tying him to this spot, or even that he’ll go quite this high. So this is kind of a wild-card pick. But Orlando’s needed a big who can shoot from outside ever since Ryan Anderson left. Payne’s not that ridiculous of a shooter, but he’s pretty good and is a well-rounded power forward and not just a “stretch 4” specialist.

13. Minnesota- Elfrid Payton, G, UL-Lafayette

If they’re trading Love, they might as well tear it down and replace Ricky Rubio too. Even if they keep Rubio, both of these two have the length to defend either backcourt spot. Payton’s not a shooter, but he is a scorer/shot-creator and could work next to Rubio.

14. Phoenix– James Young, G/F, Kentucky

One of my favorite players in the draft. A big wing who can shoot fills a glaring need here.

Friday Night Thread and Round 2 NFL Mock Draft.

The draft begins at 7pm and I have written up a Mock for today’s rounds. I figured that I would lump this together with the Friday thread for everyone to discuss the draft, Smackdown, or whatever else here.

ROUND TWO

33. HOU —  OT Cyrus Kouandijo, Alabama

He can step right in and start at RT for the Texans, who have nothing at that position.

34. WAS — OT Joel Bitonio, Nevada

The versatile Bitonio can play all across the O-Line, which is an area of great need for the Redskins.

35. CLE — DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame

Tuitt has a lot of talent and fits the 3-4 defense well. He is very good against the run. The only thing holding him back is a lack of effort.

36. OAK — WR Marqise Lee, USC

The Raiders can pick up an in-state option to fill a need a WR. Schaub needs weapons on offense.

37. ATL — DE Kony Ealy, Missouri

Ealy is one of the best pass rushers left in the draft and his versatility is a plus for Atlanta’s Hybrid Defense.

38. T.B. — OG Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA

He can come in and start at RG immediately.

39. JAX — RB Carlos Hyde, Ohio St. 

A great spot for the top running back in the draft. Jacksonville having a strong running game will take a lot of pressure off Bortles.

40. SEA — WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

They are shallow on the depth chart at receiver and Matthews could be a starter on Day one. Defensive line help should also be considered here.

41. BUF — OT Morgan Moses, Virginia

Moses should be able to step in at RT. Buffalo needs to protect EJ Manuel

42. TEN — OLB Kyle Van Noy, BYU

Van Noy should project well in Tennessee’s Hybrid Defense

43. NYG — C Weston Richburg, Colorado St.

The Giants have to address both lines in the draft. Richburg could even play Guard.

44. STL — WR Jarvis Landry, LSU

A good compliment for Tavon Austin in the passing game.

45. DET — DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State

Crichton is a good pass rusher and that alone can help out the secondary, which can also be addressed with this pick.

46. PIT — NT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame

Nix is a perfect fit for the middle of the Steelers defensive line

47. DAL — DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida St.

After addressing the offensive line in the first round, they need to address the D-Line with this pick.

48. BAL — TE Jace Amaro, Texas A&M

Amaro is a playmaker who can line up in the slot. He is a so-so blocker though.

49. NYJ — CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste, Nebraska

Ryan loves his press corners and Jean-Baptiste does just that. A Receiver is also a consideration with this pick.

50. MIA — WR Cody Latimer, Indiana

A nice target for Tannehill who fits the Dolphins style.

51. CHI — DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota

A strong, athletic lineman that the Bears desperately need.

52. ARZ — OLB Demarcus Lawrence, Boise St.

Lawrence is a fit with the Cardinals Defense and gives them a pass rusher they need. A QB is also a choice with this pick.

53. G.B. — ILB Chris Bortland, Wisconsin

He would be a great fit with the Packers and would be a popular pick among fans.

54. PHI — WR Davante Adams, Fresno St.

A solid receiver and blocker for Chip Kelly’s team.

55. CIN — QB Derek Carr, Fresno St.

They have not yet locked up Dalton long-term and Carr can challege him for the job after a year red-shirting.

56. S.F. — OLB Jeremiah Attaochu, Georgia Tech

Adding another pass rusher with Aldon Smith’s uncertainty is a need for the 49ers.

57. S.D. — C Marcus Martin, USC

He should be able to step in and start immediately for the Chargers.

58. N.O. — CB LaMarcus Joyner, Florida State

The Saints have to address the secondary through the draft and Joyner can play the slot could even make the switch to safety.

59. IND — G Cyril Richardson, Baylor

He gives the Colts a starter at guard and is a beast in the running game.

60. CAR — DE Trent Murphy, Stanford

Excellent pass rusher who led the nation in sacks this year.

61. S.F. — WR Bruce Ellington, South Carolina

Ellington brings some much needed speed to the 49ers.

62. N.E. — RB Bishop Sankey, Washington

Sankey is an excellent receiver out of the backfield and a good runner and blocker that will fit in with the rest of the Patriots backfield.

63. DEN — TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington

A nice target for Manning and hopefully playing for a Super Bowl Contender can keep him from slacking off.

64. SEA — DT Will Sutton, Arizona St.

A three-technique lineman that can benefit from playing in Seattle’s rotation.

37.

NFL Draft Live Thread

I thought I would post this tonight as there are a lot of football fans on the blog and to prevent other threads from being filled wit NFL draft talk. I actually compiled a mock draft earlier that was very detailed but that got erased so I decided to create another, less-detailed version for this thread. Give it a read and tell me how wrong or right I am and see how poorly I fare. I also did not include trade scenarios in the picks themselves.

And now, I present my mock draft


1. HOU — DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina 

Adam Schefter is reporting that the Texans have already made up their minds and will not be trading their pick. Clowney is probably their guy unless they have OLB Khalil Mack rated higher. Mack could be the more productive pro and will be most likely be better off the bat but Clowney has all the tools to be a star. Despite needing a QB, their is no one in this draft worthy of the #1 overall pick.

2. STL — OT Greg Robinson, Auburn

I would like to think that the Falcons are itching to trade up in order to select either Clowney or Mack but if the Rams stay put, I believe that Robinson is their guy. Todd McShay called Robinson the “most dominate player at the point of attack” that he has ever evaluated. With Jeff Fisher’s ties to Jake Matthews, he might be under consideration for this pick too.

3. JAX — OLB Khalil Mack, Buffalo

Mack might be the rookie that makes the biggest impact this season. Jacksonville has needs at QB and WR but Mack came come in and be the star of the defense for years to come. I doubt they go with Johnny Manziel this high and I think drafting Sammy Watkins with a shaky QB situation will not pay immediate dividends. Mack is probably the best player left on the board.

4. CLE — WR Sammy Watkins, Clemson

Watkins, by most accounts, is the top WR in the draft. The only thing that Cleveland has at WR is Josh Gordon, who is fantastic, but in case he gets hurt or has anymore off-field issues, Watkins can step in as the top guy. He might even be a legitimate #1 wideout in the NFL after a few years. He will also give either Brian Hoyer or maybe a rooie QB a dependable target. Another person to watch for with this pick is OT Jake Matthews, who along with Joe Thomas can serve as a valuable pair of tackles along the O-Line. Matthews could step in at right tackle, a position he played at the first three years at Texas A & M. I don’t think they would consider QB Johnny Manziel this high, even with Kyle Shanahan running the offense.

5. OAK — OT Jake Matthews, Texas A&M 

The Raiders desperately need to protect their quarterback and Matthews is one of the best players on the board. He has played both tackle spots in college and should be starting right away. If Sammy Watkins is still on the board, I see the Raiders taking him but if not, Matthews is their guy. The Raiders could also trade down as they only have 4 of the top 200 picks in this draft and a lot of holes to fill.

6. ATL — OT Taylor Lewan, Michigan

If the Falcons cannot trade up to select a pass rusher, then I think they would want to see if they can trade down. Lewan, who despite character concerns, has been buzzing atop draft boards lately and does fit a need. My gut tells me that the Falcons are trading this pick regardless.

7. TB — WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M

Evans is very difficult to match up against and would make a dangerous receiving duo alongside Vincent Jackson. Tampa could also use a quarterback and could consider either Manziel or Blake Bortles with this selection as one of their current QB’s, Mike Glennon, figures to be traded either tomorrow or Saturday.

8. MIN — DT Aaron Donald, Pitt

The Vikings defense was pitiful and plugging Donald alongside last year’s pick Sharrif Floyd can help out their situation greatly. Minnesota can also look to add a QB or even a CB like Justin Gilbert with this pick.

9. BUF — TE Eric Ebron, North Carolina

The Bills have a penchant for overdrafting players and Ebron at #9 seems a bit too high but he does give them a weapon. Buffalo has been one of the teams rumored to be trading up, my guess for either a WR or OT, and could even consider OT Zack Martin here. Ebron’s downside is that he is a terrible blocker but then again, so are most people that play for the Bills.

10. DET — CB Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma St.

The only cornerback on the Lions roster last season to record an interception was Chris Houston and he only had one. Gilbert is a playmaker in the secondary and the Lions have no one on the roster like him. They could also consider OLB Anthony Barr as a pass rusher or a target for Stafford. If Ebron is still on the board, he could be considered.

11. TEN — QB Blake Bortles, Central Florida

Jake Locker is terrible and taking Bortles here seems like a smart move. They also need a cornerback and Darqueze Dennard could be an option but with his injury history, Bortles is the better pick.

12. NYG — OT Zack Martin, Notre Dame

Eli played behind a porous line last year and the versatile Martin can step in at right tackle or guard. The Giants also need some weapons in the passing game and if Ebron is available, he might be their guy instead.

13. STL — S Calvin Pryor, Louisville

The Rams desperately need a safety and reports have stated the Rams like him better than the other top safety prospect, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, so I think he is the choice based on what is left in my mock. Pryor has been compared to Bob Sanders with the way he flies around the field. The Rams have a need at WR but the draft is deep in that position and they can find value in the later rounds.

14. CHI — CB Darqueze Dennard, Michigan St.

Chicago needs to load up on defensive players early in the draft. Dennard is a good fit for them, as he can cover and solid in run support too. They also need a safety in the worst way and if Calvin Pryor is somehow left, I can see the Bears snatching him up. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix is another choice. Trading up to land DT Aaron Donald is another possibility.

15. PIT — CB Kyle Fuller, Virginia Tech

Fuller is vesatile and can press cover and is aggressive in run support. He can really lineup anywhere. Pittsburgh also needs help at WR, with Odell Beckham and Marqise Lee as possible picks.

16. DAL — QB Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M

I really hope this pick happens so I can watch everyone meltdown on social media. Its been rumored that owner Jerry Jones loves Manziel and with Tony Romo 34 years old and coming off of back surgery, this team needs a QB for the future. Plus, I don’t think this team has the talent to contend anytime soon so its not like they are wasting a pick here by thinking about the future. Trading up for DT Aaron Donald is a possibility too, as is a Safety.

17. BAL — FS Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama

The Ravens need a safety to pair up with Matt Elam and Clinton-Dix fits the bill. He has the range and ball skills that Elam lacks. If Ebron falls this far, the Ravens could take him or even ILB CJ Mosley, but that is not the most glaring position of need on this team.

18. NYJ — WR Odell Beckham Jr., LSU 

Beckham is one of the best route-runners in the draft. His explosiveness also compliments the Jets newest WR, Eric Decker. This team lacks playmakers on offense and Beckham should be able to contribute from the start. If not him, they could go with other WR’s like Marqise Lee and Brandin Cooks or even look for help in the secondary.

19. MIA — OT Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama

The Dolphins offensive line is in complete disarray and needs to be addressed in the draft. Kouandjio struggles against smaller, speed guys but is one of the most talented lineman left in the draft at this point and worthy of a selection. If the Dolphins want to address the defense first, they could select a linebacker, with CJ Mosley and Ryan Shazier as possibilities.

20. ARZ — OLB Anthony Barr, UCLA

Barr has a lot of potential but also a lot to learn as he spent two seasons at fullback before making the switch to defense. His skill set fits the 3-4 defense the Cardinals run and the team can be patient with him to start, as they do not have any glaring needs on the roster. A QB can be considered here too and if someone like Bortles drops down to them, he might be too tough to pass up on.

21. GB — ILB CJ Mosley, Alabama

Mosley has a lot of red flags but a top-ten talent based on potential alone and the Packers need a lot of help at linebacker. Ryan Shazier might be a possibility and Mel Kiper of ESPN mocked Marqise Lee to the Packers after hearing from people that there is no way he will fall past this selection so do not be surprised if that happens.

22. PHI — WR Brandin Cooks, Oregon State

With DeSean Jackson leaving, Cooks can fill the role of deep threat and more. He is known for always working hard, which is a trait that Jackson lacked, and could really be dangerous in Chip Kelly’s scheme. I think they are definitely going with a receiver here and ohter options could be Marqise Lee and Jordan Matthews.

23. KC — WR Marqise Lee, USC

Lee can help replace what Dexter McCluster brought to the Chiefs last year. He is also a better receiver. If one of the top safeties falls down, the Cheiefs could take one of them or consider one of the top guards, like Joel Bitonio or Xavier Su’a-Filo

24. CIN — CB Jason Verrett, TCU

The Bengals are old at cornerback and Verrett, while small, plays big and willing to help in run support. Bradley Roby is another corner that they could target, despite his character concerns and on-field discipline problems, as the Bengals do not shy away from that. There is also talk that the team could trade up, maybe to address the LT spot.

25. SD — OLB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State

Although small, Shazier is a playmaker on defense. The Chargers need a lot of help in the secondary too but Shazier might be the best defender left on the board. He should step in right away and contribute.

26. CLE — QB Teddy Bridgewater, Louisville

I dont see Bridgewater slipping past the first round, no matter how mediocre he looked at his pro day. He has a lot of instincts and by sitting on the bench for a year, the team can be patient while he soaks in the playbook. Cleveland also needs help along the offensive line and could address that with this pick.

27. N.O. — CB Bradley Roby, Ohio St.

The Saints need a younger cornerback to challenge Champ Bailey, who looked pathetic in the Super Bowl last year. Roby, despite his concerns, still offers good value at this point in the draft. The Saints could also consider a WR, with Jordan Matthews being an intriguing option or even a linebacker to fit the 3-4 scheme. Dee Ford could be an option there too.

28. CAR — WR Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt

Matthews should help Newton right away as a big target. He can run and has the size (6’3 210 lbs). Carolina is desperate for help at receiver. They also could use a left tackle and help at cornerback but Matthews should step in and make a difference right away.

29. NE — DT Ra’Shede Hageman, Minnesota

To the shock of no one, ESPN is reporting that the Pats are looking to trade down and the real shock would occur if they stood pat. Hageman fills a position of need with Vince Wilfork and Tommy Kelly coming off of injury. They also need to address the interior offensive line, with a versatile OL like Joel Bitonio a possible pick. Adding another weapon on offense for Tom Brady should be considered early in the draft too.

30. S.F. — OLB Dee Ford, Auburn

The most likely scenario is that the 49ers trade up in order to draft a receiver or cornerback. In the event they stay here, a pass rusher like Ford would be a nice addition, especially with the uncertainty around Aldon Smith. They have a lot of pieces to trade up and I expect that they will.

31. DEN — OG Xavier Su’a Filo, UCLA

Protecting Manning is a priority and Filo is the top rated guard in the draft. The pick fills a hole left by the departing Zane Beadles. Denver also needs a starter at corner opposite Aqib Talib and can find a deep-threat at receiver on the second day.

32. SEA — DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame

Seattle lost a lot along their defensive line and their scheme requires them to have a lot at that position so he makes a lot of sense. If Pete Carroll gets him to play, he could be a steal. Seattle also needs help at wide receiver and cornerback.