Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This is what I have on draft

It has always intrigued me, as a college basketball enthusiast, how interested we can become in players' draft statuses once the NCAA champion is crowned. Granted, part of the hysteria has to do with whether or not a team will return its stars, or if they will gallivant off to the NBA leaving their respective coaches delirious and their former teams depleted.

Perhaps the fever has to do with fans and their incessant need for a ranking system. Much like the relatively meaningless AP and coaches polls during the regular season, we take these strangers' opinions as the gospel truth. Much of the same holds true with the NBA draft with but one difference. After the NBA draft is over, no one cares.

Then again, there's always next year, as they say. The departure of the championship class of 2005 is still fresh in the minds of Tar Heel fans. And though the NCAA championship is every team's ultimate goal, there is only so long that they can actually enjoy it before the realization sets in that this ain't last year anymore.

In '05, North Carolina had one of the best classes of all time. Maybe the best - I'm not sure how many teams have sent four lottery picks to the NBA. There to follow in their footsteps was a class that consisted of Bobby Frasor, Marcus Ginyard, Tyler Hansbrough and Danny Green. Not bad. The thing that Tar Heel fans have to remember is that hindsight is 20/20. It's easy, from their prospective, to compare the incoming 2009 class to that one. But in reality, it's not that easy. Think about that class for what it was then, not what it turned out to be. Injuries to Frasor and Ginyard dampen the hype that surrounded them as freshmen. Yes, John Henson will be good. As good as Hansbrough? We'll likely never know, because it is doubtful that he'll be here long enough for use to figure that out.

Looking back, that 2005 class sure doesn't look as sexy as this one does. But it had all the parts. A capable point guard, a great defender, and inside presence and a versatile scorer. More importantly, it had parts that would stay in place for awhile. It isn't often that a coach hits the nail on the head. You don't just plug in a class of basketball players and proceed to march through March. You see Frasor's weaknesses and sign a Ty Lawson. You see that Ginyard isn't going to be the same scorer he was in high school and you sign a Wayne Ellington. And if you're good enough, you see that Duke is trying to sign a monster in the paint, so you intervene and sign a Brandan Wright.

At the moment, it seems that the Tar Heel faithful are more concerned with John Wall than they a hypochondriac Texan is with the swine flu. Yet, I wonder personally how concerned even Roy Williams is with him. The kid seems to be taking every school interested on a carnival ride. And if UNC does land him, then losing three more players to the NBA in 2010 (Ed Davis, Henson and Wall) is a very real possibility. Is Wall the key to hitting that nail on the head?

Recruiting is a different game these days. It's not necessarily about raking in the big guns. Kevin Durant + Greg Oden + O.J. Mayo + Blake Griffin = Lots of money, zero championships. That brings me back to the draft. It's funny how recruiting is just the beginning of the circle. Are we college basketball fans, or NBA fans? Most of us really don't even know. Tyler Hansbrough left the NCAA with a ring, and a reputation as one of the best players in the history of college basketball. And detractors argue that he won't make it in the NBA. But, of course, after the draft no one will care anyway. So why does it matter?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

There's no base like home

To steal that is. So imagine my excitement when Boston Red Sox OF Jacoby Ellsbury (who is on my fantasy baseball team, by the way) dashed toward the plate with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth. By the time Yankees' pitcher Andy Pettite let go of the ball, Ellsbury was three-quarters of the way there and, though he nearly fell flat on his face feet short of home, managed to slide in safely. His antics provided us with the most exciting play in baseball - if not in all of sports. I have conversations with friends on what feels like a daily basis about how boring they think baseball is. And I've come to understand that, though I adamently assure them that baseball is in fact awesome, it takes patience to appreciate it. Patience that 99 percent of people don't have.

We all drive 80 mph down I-40. We get pissed when the speed of our "high-speed internet" is not high enough. We can't stand waiting for that damn lady to stop talking so that we can check our voicemail. And heaven forbid if the fries that complete our No. 4 at whatever drive-thru are going to take a couple extra minutes. Yes, patience is a virtue. And if we all had a little more of it, I think people would be a little more fond of baseball. Because, as in life, if you would just chill out and slow down, you might just stumble across something that will make you glad you did.

Sorry, I'm a purist.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

There is a God!

Well, well, well. Looks like they finally got one right. I was a little hasty to say that they haven't gotten one right since Champ Bailey. There have been a few good ones, Sean Taylor in particular. It just seems that the bad outweigh the good when it comes to the Redskins and the NFL Draft. No such misfortune this year, though, as the perfect pick fell all the way to No. 13, and right into the Redskins' lap. Brian Orakpo (DE - Texas) is exactly what the team needs. After signing free agent Albert Haynesworth to a seven-year, $100 million deal it was evident that the Skins were out to shore up their pass rush. With the addition of Orakpo, we can consider that hole plugged.

The guy is a freak of nature. His speed and athleticism are overshadowed only by his strength - Orakpo bench pressed 515 pounds. I've heard whispers that he's not good enough to play DE right away in the NFL. I think that's nonsense, but I have to keep in mind that I do the majority of my scouting from the couch. I do know that he has been deemed versitile enough to play linebacker. Regardless of where he lines up, he has the ability to get in the pocket and raise hell. I personally think they go ahead and put him on the line. Haynesworth should draw plenty of attention, and the pair should thrive off teams that might have an answer to one or the other, but not both.

I'm thoroughly please, as a fan, with the outlook of the team's new defense, but understand that their offense is still God-awful. Hopefully last years crop of receivers has matured enough to at least see the field this season. They went into the draft last year in need of wide receivers. Again, they made an attempt to address that need. They made a good move to move out of the first round and into the second and were still able to land one of the best receivers available in Devin Thomas. They followed by picking up a solid tight end in Fred Davis, but overlooked DeSean Jackson in favor of another touted WR in Malcom Kelly whom they selected No. 51 - two spots after Jackson was nabbed by Philadelphia. That Redskins' trio really shook things up, combining to amass 21 catches for a jaw-dropping 165 yards. All Jackson did was catch 62 balls for 912 yards and two touchdowns. To be fair, it's not like any of the three got much of a shot, which I'm hoping would suggest that increasing their roles this season will be a focal point in training camp.

Regardless, the Redskins were headed into 2009 with two questions - pass protection and pass rush. You can scratch the rush. If these guys can't get to the quarterback now, then there is no hope.

With the rest of their picks, it is imperative that the Redskins shop for offensive line help. Not only is their line suspect, it's old. So for now I'll just try to keep in mind that they can't fix everything at one time. And it's been a long time since the first round of the draft left me just plain feeling good. So I'll take it.

T-minus four hours to disappointment

So I'm sitting here contemplating whether or not to start beating my head against a wall. This draft time of 4 p.m. EST is rough because it means ESPN has a few extra hours to regurgitate the same information that it has had since the BCS Championship. The only things I care about are what the Redskins do, first and foremost, and where North Carolina players like Hakeem Nicks, Richard Quinn and Brandon Tate land. The only thing more absurd than this extensive coverage is the fact that the Lions paid Matthew Stafford $41 million guaranteed. If I were one of the six Lions fans in America, I would be terrified. The last 10 quarterbacks to be selected No. 1 overall are as follows:

2007 - JaMarcus Russell
2005 - Alex Smith
2004 - Eli Manning
2003 - Carson Palmer
2002 - David Carr
2001 - Michael Vick
1999 - Tim Couch
1998 - Peyton Manning
1993 - Drew Bledsoe
1990 - Jeff George

Take the Mannings out of that list and you've got a grand total of nine Pro Bowls (Bledsoe, 4; Vick, 3; Palmer, 2) which amounts to a hill of beans, three busts, one incarceration and zero Super Bowls.

I'm pretty sure that only five quarterbacks that were drafted No. 1 overall have ever won the Super Bowl (Manning, Manning, Aikman, Elway and Bradshaw). As a Redskins fan, I think I have a pretty good understanding of why. It's looking like the Skins are pretty hot after Mark Sanchez (QB - USC). The have a perfectly compitent QB in Jason Campbell, a capable backup in Todd Collins and a 2008 pick invested in Colt Brennan. What they don't have is anyone to protect them, aside from Chris "If you can't block 'em, hold 'em" Samuels. It doesn't really matter who you are if you don't have any time to throw the football. Maybe they'll draft Sanchez and trade Campbell for some OL help. But they'll probably just keep all of them. Why? Because that would be the one thing that doesn't make any sense - and that's what the Redskins are famous for.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Ellington, Lawson Bid Farwell

It came as no surprise that North Carolina guards Ty Lawson and Wayne Ellington announced Thursday that they will make the jump to the NBA. Well, no surprise to most of us. Ellington's commitment obviously quelled the whisper of that eternal Tar Heel optimist that we all know - all the guys out there that said he might come back because he can't play defense. Nonsense. There are few, if any, in the NCAA who have seen their stock rise more than Wayne Ellington in 2009. Needless to say, both made the right decision. In watching the press conference it was easy to see that Roy Williams was at peace with their decision. That's important when you think back to a year ago, when it became pretty public that there was some dissension in the air regarding the Tar Heels' inner circle and NBA draft statuses.

As we see currently with ESPN force-feeding us Mel Kiper, pre-draft predictions are fun in small doses. But as we inch closer to June it will get annoying, no doubt about it. That said, we'll go ahead and look ahead before we get to that point. has Ellington going in the lottery - No. 11 to the Nets. Another mock has Lawson in that spot and Ellington at No. 30 to the Cavaliers. To me, it just emphasizes how silly it is to think that we have any clue, but I guess it's fun to guess. I think Detroit could be a good spot for Lawson, although I know that he's not a big fan of the city. I don't know how much that might weigh into his decision to sign with them, but it's a tidbit nonetheless. As for Ellington, Phoenix seems perfect. Ellington is better defensively than people give him credit for. Help-defense is an afterthought in the NBA, and his long arms make him a formidable defense presence in 1-on-1 situations, though height (Ellington is listed at 6-foot-4) could become an issue. Still, a team like the Suns would allow him to make the most of his obvious strength - offense.

Regardless, both have lottery potential. It's no guarantee, and the way the chips are likely to fall, it seems kind of a long shot at this point that both land in the top 14. For now, we'll all have to wait until they at least get a workout in before we all claim to have it figured out.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A few clerical notes

There will be a more substantive post to come later tonight. For now, I thought I'd share with you a few networking pieces that I've added to the puzzle that is my presence on the Web.

Twitter me: thassumbs (Lehman's terms: "That's some B.S." - a play on my initials)

LinkedIn: Just created an account on LinkedIn and was surprised to find how many people are already on. Sent out invites to 30 people. If any readers are members, feel free to add me, Brandon Staton. If you're not on board, you should check out the site. It seems like a good way to connect.

And lastly, on the Twitter note, I'm trying to add Twitter to the blog, so that those of you who would like to follow, can. But everytime I try to "Add Widget" it loads and stays on the same screen, leaving The Offensive Board just as boring as it was before. If any of you are familiar with how to make this magic happen, please comment with your version of "Running Your Own Blog For Dummies."

That's all for now. Be back soon, thanks for checking in.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Greg Paulus? Seriously?

Ok, so this news had me Googling (sp?) to find out who the GM of the Green Bay Packers is faster than the team's fan base must be doing the same to find a replacement for him. I mean seriously - who in the world could possibly think that Greg freakin' Paulus could play quarterback in the NFL. This is like the most unintelligent news I've heard in a very, very long time. And I don't want to hear all this well-coming-out-of-high-school-Greg-Paulus-was-the-No. 1-quarterback-in-the-nation bologna. Who cares? Our boy Cam Sexton was what, No. 6 ... No. 7? And he proceeded to come to college and actually play football, not stand in the lane and wait for various scortums to be deposited into his mouth (pictured). So, Ted Thompson, since you are clearly paying attention to little that might lead you toward intelligent and informed decisions regarding your football team - like ones that might actually land your team in the playoffs - just look at this picture. You see Peyton Manning there? He's the first fan to the left of Kyle Singler's hip, and happens to have a reputation as a pretty good quarterback. See him? Ok. Now. Does his ass look impressed? No. And neither will your fans now that you've allowed this laughable tryout to take place.

In all seriousness, I just don't see how this has happened. I really don't even know what to say. You can read the article and decide for yourself. I, for one, promise to completely delete this blog if Greg Paulus ever throws a pass in a regular-season NFL game.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Michigan Statement

Well, it may not have been easy, but it sure looked that way. North Carolina's 89-72 win against Michigan State in Detroit last night gave the program its fifth National Championship and put an end to questions from critics everywhere. Roy Williams' ability to win the big game, the Tar Heels ability to play defense, depth ... all kinds of nonsense were exposed as just that. The closest game UNC found itself in during the tournament was 12, and that game (a 72-60 win against Oklahoma) wasn't even that close. North Carolina led by double digits for some ungodly number of minutes in the tournament and actually played from behind in less than 11 minutes. Any hopes that UNC fans had of Wayne Ellington sticking around are gone. The tournament's Most Oustanding Player, to me, proved his NBA worth and is likely to be a first round pick. Thankfully for the Tar Heels, freshman Ed Davis has said that he will return to school. Assuming he stands on that comment, North Carolina will begin next year with a front-runner for the national player of the year in the frontcourt. And that's always a nice piece to rebuild around. With the return of Marcus Ginyard, Deon Thompson, Tyler Zeller and Larry Drew III, coupled with the No. 1 recruiting class in the America, you have to think that the Final Four is an attainable goal.

Friday, April 3, 2009


Sorry for not posting in a while. I know that you are all clamoring the site for pertinent information regarding the senselessness that is my life. I, however, have the flu and am too weak to type. Check back this weekend, though, when I will muster the energy to comment on the glory that is Carolina basketball.