Wednesday, April 25, 2018

2018 NFL Mock Draft

Here it is, back by (un)popular demand, the annual TheBostonInsider NFL Mock Draft.

Every year around this time, I think to myself that it is crazy for me to do this because I have no contacts in NFL front offices, I have no scouting background, and I don’t know enough about football to make a realistic mock draft.  But then I remember that the people who supposedly have these things going on their favor will also not accurately predict the draft either so why shouldn’t I give it a shot after reading a few mocks and a few rumors online.

So, here’s my shot at predicting the first round of tomorrow night’s NFL Draft.

1. Cleveland Browns: Sam Darnold, QB, USC
2. New York Giants: Saquon Barkley, RB, Penn State
3. New York Jets: Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma
4. Cleveland Browns: Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State
5. Buffalo Bills (Projected Trade with Denver): Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
6. Miami Dolphins (Projected Trade with Indianapolis): Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
8. Chicago Bears: Roquan Smith, LB, Alabama
9. San Francisco 49ers: Derwin James, S, Florida State
10. Oakland Raiders: Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
11. Indianapolis Colts (Projected Trade with Miami): Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech 
12. Denver Broncos (Projected Trade with Buffalo): Denzel Ward, CB, Ohio State
13. Washington Redskins: Calvin Ridley, WR, Alabama
14. Green Bay Packers: Derrius Guice, RB, LSU
15. Arizona Cardinals: Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
16. Baltimore Ravens: Harold Landry, LB, Boston College
17. Los Angeles Chargers: Vita Vea, DT, Washington
18. Seattle Seahawks: Marcus Davenport, DE, UTSA
19. Dallas Cowboys: DJ Moore, WR, Maryland
20. New England Patriots (Projected Trade with Detroit): Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
21. Cincinnati Bengals: James Daniels, C, Iowa
22. Denver Broncos (Projected Trade with Buffalo): Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
23. Detroit Lions (Projected Trade with New England): Rashaan Evans, LB, Alabama 
24. Carolina Panthers: Da’Ron Payne, DT, Alabama
25. Tennessee Titans: Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
26. Atlanta Falcons: Mike Hughes, CB, Central Florida
27. New England Patriots (Projected Trade with New Orleans): Lamar Jackson, QB, Louisville
28. Pittsburgh Steeers: Jaire Alexander, CB, Louisville
29. Jacksonville Jaguars: Dallas Goedert, TE, South Dakota State
30. Minnesota Vikings: Connor Williams, OT, Texas
31. New Orleans Saints (Projected Trade with New England): Josh Jackson, CB, Iowa
32. Cleveland Browns (Projected Trade with Philadelphia): Brian O’Neill, OT, Pittsburgh

Here are some other players I would like to see the Patriots consider:

Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
Lorenzo Carter, LB, Georgia
Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
DJ Chark, WR, LSU
Christian Kirk, WR, Texas A&M
Hayden Hurst, TE, South Carolina
Anthony Miller, WR, Memphis
Shaquen Griffin, LB, Central Florida
Kyle Lauretta, QB, Richmond
Luke Falk, QB, Washington State
Hercules Mata’afa, DE, Washington State 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

NBA Playoff Predictions

Eastern Conference

First Round

1. Raptors over 8. Wizards
2. Celtics over 7. Bucks
3. 76ers over 6. Heat
4. Cavaliers over 5. Pacers

Second Round

4. Cavaliers over 1. Raptors
3. 76ers over 2. Celtics

Finals

4. Cavaliers over 3. 76ers

Western Conference

First Round

1. Rockets over 8. Timberwolves
2. Warriors over 7. Spurs
6. Pelicans over 3. Trail Blazers
4. Thunder over 5. Jazz

Second Round

1. Rockets over 4. Thunder
2. Warriors over 6. Pelicans

Finals

2. Warriors over 1. Rockets

NBA Finals

Warriors over Cavaliers

NHL Playoffs Predictions

Eastern Conference

First Round

Lightning over Devils
Bruins over Maple Leafs
Capitals over Blue Jackets
Penguins over Flyers

Second Round

Bruins over Lightning
Penguins over Capitals

Finals

Bruins over Penguins

Western Conference

First Round

Predators over Avalanche
Jets over Wild
Golden Knights over Kings
Sharks over Ducks

Second Round

Predators over Jets
Golden Knights over Sharks

Finals

Predators over Golden Knights

Stanley Cup Finals

Bruins over Predators

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Is JBJ Going To Have To Be Traded For Bullpen Help?

It’s officially the third day of the baseball season and the Red Sox have split the first two games.

Sounds like a good time to talk trades.

The Red Sox lost the opener because the bullpen could not hold the 4-0 lead that Chris Sale and the offense handed them.  One game is not a cause for concern in most cases but the most glaring weakness of this team is the bullpen, specifically the setup crew in front of All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel.

Dave Dombrowski added JD Martinez to bolster the offense and retained Eduardo Nunez for the same reason but he made no significant additions to the pitching staff.  Now, with Sale, David Price, Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Drew Pomeranz returning to the starting rotation it made sense not to tinker there but the bullpen was a different story and it already looks like that area is going to cause rookie manager Alex Cora headaches.

Other than Kimbrel, there’s no sure thing.  Matt Barnes has shown flashes of consistency but doesn’t come through enough to be relied upon to be the bridge to Kimbrel.  Carson Smith (2016) and Tyler Thornburg (2017) were added before each of the last two seasons to be prominent setup men but injuries have prevented that from happening.  Smith came back late last year but still doesn’t look like his former self - and aided in the Game 1 meltdown - and Thornburg has yet to ever pitch for the Red Sox.

It looks like at some point, sooner than later hopefully, Dombrowski will have to make a move to find an 8th inning reliever so the rest of the bullpen can settle into its roles.

The most likely trade chip, in my opinion, is Jackie Bradley Jr.  JBJ is a Gold Glove caliber center fielder who has shown he can hit for power but to gain a pitcher of value, Dombrowski will have to give up a player with value.  JBJ is expendable because Cora could shift JD Martinez to left field and slide Andrew Benintendi to center.  Sam Tarvis, currently at Pawtucket, could then split time between first base and designated hitter with Hanley Ranirez and Mitch Moreland.  Martinez did express a desire to continue to play the field when he signed with the Red Sox last month so moving him off of DH regularly should not be an issue for Cora.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

2018 MLB Predictions

* I don’t know about you but I’m sick of reading about launch angles and the last spot on the bench and who the second lefty out of the bullpen is going to be.  I’m ready for some baseball and I’m very happy that Opening Day is finally here.

* The Red Sox appear to be on a collision course with the Yankees for supremacy in the AL East and with the Indians, Astros, Angels, and Rangers in the American League.  Winning consecutive AL East titles - but losing both years in the ALDS - was not enough for John Farrell to keep his job so now the pressure of leading the Red Sox to a World Series falls on rookie manager Alex Cora.

* The Yankees look primed to hit 500 home runs this season but there are doubts about their pitching right now.  If the offense is as good as advertised, New York has a deep farm system to utilize in trades for pitching.  They’re my pick in the East and the AL.

* The Astros are the defending champions and got stronger this Winter.  It’s hard to go back-to-back but this team has the offense and pitching to do it.

* The Dodgers, Nationals, Cubs, Giants, and Brewers look to be the best in the NL. Arizona and Colorado will drop off after playoff seasons in 2017.

American League

East: Yankees
Central: Indians
West: Astros
Wild Card: Red Sox, Angels

MVP: Mike Trout, Angels
Cy Young: Chris Sale, Red Sox
Manager: Aaron Boone, Yankees

ALCS: Yankees over Astros

National League

East: Nationals
Central: Cubs
West: Dodgers
Wild Card: Giants, Brewers

MVP: Bryce Harper, Nationals
Cy Young: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
Manager: Craig Counsell, Brewers

NLCS: Cubs over Nationals

World Series

Cubs over Yankees