Chad Johnson Will Race A Horse

Chad is crazy and Chad is fast and Chad likes attention.

“I’m looking forward to it,” Johnson said Friday, after the first day of minicamp. “It’s going to be fun. Some of the things I’m going to be doing this year are crazy, and racing a horse is one of them.”

A 4-year-old colt named Restore the Road will race Johnson on the turf at Cincinnati’s River Downs on June 9. The horse will run ⅛th of a mile, while Johnson covers half that distance. – USA Today

Wasn’t that shit supposed to be degrading when Jesse Owens did it? I know it’s for charity, but Chad is gonna look bad doing this. It won’t even be entertaining. There has to be some other way to raise the money. And which organization is actually paying to see him get outrun by a horse? If this gets televised, there will be a lot of people, thoughts in unison, calling him a coon. Oh, it’s true.

If you recall, a few years ago Snoop Dogg competed in a charity football game against the LAPD (legal brutality). That’s something the Bengals should consider. If they want to race for charity, match Chris Henry’s 4.51 speed against a squad car for two blocks in downtown Cincinnati.

Breaking News: Michael Vick Is Dumb

I figure I’m obligated to write about the Vick dog-fighting scandal, but there isn’t an angle I can find that hasn’t already been beaten to death (like his pitbulls). So I’ll give you this:

My, has his public-eye stock plummetted. He came into the league as an overhyped, underdeveloped prospect and thrived because of his immense talent. He possessed one of the top 5 strongest arms in the league, and more athleticism than any quarterback in NFL history. Even if you didn’t care about the Falcons, you cared about the Falcons highlights because Vick was always one blown gap assignment or missed tackle away from doing something you’d never seen before. He had the pristine image to boot. Charismatic, fairly good-looking and articulate-enough, so he was a gift to the league in terms of marketing. And man, did the fans hop the bandwagon after his first full season – 3,713 total yards and 24 touchdowns with just 8 interceptions – and the whooping of the Packers @ Lambeau in the playoffs. He even got the Madden 2004 cover. And the football world cried when he broke his leg in preseason. And shook its head a little when the “Ron Mexico” story broke; it was the first blemish to Vick’s perfect persona. But after mulling it over, the football world laughed at the “Ron Mexico” story and hopped back on his herpes-infected dick and voted him into Pro Bowls, even though he regressed as a passer.

In 2006, he reached career-highs in passing touchdowns (20) and rushing yards (1,039, a quarterback record), but Atlanta lost its last three games and finished 7-9 (no, that wasn’t good enough to make the playoffs, even in the NFC). And his image took a couple blows when he flipped off his own fans after a game – they were pissed because he stunk – and whined in the press conferences every other week about how people don’t appreciate him.

Then he went and just fucked himself up in the off-season. Got caught at the airport with his 007 Aquafina bottle that contained a substance that appeared to be marijuana. They didn’t nail him on that – there probably wasn’t enough of it in there, but I’m guessing it was the remnants of some Piff – but then he came out and said that he uses the bottle to hide his jewelry when he stays at hotels. Nobody believed that. He gave himself a nice T.J. Combo uppercut with that one.

And now, he’s been accused of being a major player in a prominent dog-fighting circuit. He denies any knowledge of such, although the shit went down in his Virginia home. And according to a reputable informant, Vick has been involved since 2000, back when he was at Virginia Tech.

When asked if his image has been tarnished, Vick, who has since shaved the braids and sold the house for $400,000 less than he paid for it, said, “Everywhere I go, all around the world, people still support Mike Vick. Regardless of what I go through, people gon’ love me.”

Billy Donovan to the Magic: Keep your money!

After turning down the University of Kentucky job, Florida coach Billy Donovan jumped at the chance to coach in the NBA and bank $27.5 million over five years. After back-to-back national titles he had little left to prove at the NCAA level, and he didn’t do his team dirty like Nick “Paper Chase” Saban, so nobody north (or south) of Gainesville faulted him. But apparently, Donovan’s conscience was kicking his ass.

“While Central Florida, the Orlando Magic and Billy were energized with the announcement of his contract signing on Friday, we know there was a different feeling in Gainesville and people have been tugging at him since that time,” a statement from the Magic read. “Billy is conflicted with those emotions and the opportunity he has ahead in Orlando and in the NBA.”

This is a devastating blow to the Magic’s public relations score of hiring Donovan. His was a popular hire in Central Florida, even if it didn’t frighten teams around the league. Orlando general manager Otis Smith likely will turn to former Miami Heat coach Stan Van Gundy to coach the Magic.  – Yahoo! Sports

Billy, you’re a stronger and much stupider man than I. Granted, you’re already rich. 

Random Football Thought: Route Time

At the NFL Combine, they should test receivers for “route time” in addition to 40-yard, cone drills and shuttle times. Because how often have we seen prospects not play up to their 40-time? You’ll have a guy run a 4.35/40 but then struggle to get separation or just flat-out not look as fast with the pads on. I think that could be a result of two things: (1) the player doesn’t consistently give full effort during games or (2) while the 40 is straight-line running that allows him to run as fast as he can, most routes require the receiver to stop and turn at an angle, which many of them are incapable of doing while running at top speed. So except for breakaway runs (YAC) or the streak route, 40-times aren’t a great indication of a receiver’s “game speed.” A guy can run 40 yards straight in 4.3 seconds, but it doesn’t do him or his quarterback much good if it takes him as long to get where he’s supposed to be on a 20-yard corner route. So why not time the players running slants, posts, corners, drags, curls, deep ins, etc.?

This came to me when I was thinking about Calvin Johnson’s timed speed in contrast to his game speed. Though I expect him to be very good in the NFL, I think he’s somewhat overrated because of his 4.35 time. He never played that fast at Georgia Tech and fans expecting to see a 6-foot-5, 240-pound Steve Smith will be disappointed.

Stray-Rod Could Do Better

By now I’m sure you’ve heard/read/watched/been told about Alex Rodriguez’s ostensible infidelity and his affinity for “jiggle joints.” He was spotted in Toronto last week after a game with a blonde woman not named Cynthia, and the New York Post aired him out…again. You know all that. And you probably already know that the supposed jumpoff, Joslyn Morse, is a 30-year-old stripper who appeared in Playboy’s Casting Calls in 2001. But you probably haven’t seen her nude pictures. And that’s what makes this post worth reading.

Pictures: 1, 2, 3 and 4 (provided by a poster, CMNYY, at The Yankee Zone)

* Be warned, they’re not safe for work. Teenage boys, be sure your mother isn’t in or near the room before clicking the links.

I’m sure you’ll agree that a man who makes $26 million/year and accurately described himself as “good-looking” (bright and bi-racial, too) could do better than that. Her boobs are fake and she’s kinda tough in the face. Not ugly, but I’ll call her handsome. And my guess is that she probably can’t make her booty clap while doing a handstand like Pacman’s strippers.

Morse might’ve been the skeezer that broke the camel’s back, too. After the picture was plastered on the front page of the fifth most popular newspaper in America, his wife packed a suitcase and booked a flight to Boston to be with her man. Who knows, she might start following the team and bringing the baby to games, Joumana Kidd style. So A-Rod’s groupie trysting has been 86’d, or at least put on hold. And she probably wasn’t worth it.

Cleveland Rocks! (not really)

The Cavaliers, in a somewhat stunning upset, flipped the Pistons 98-82 and have reached the NBA Finals. Everyone knew Cleveland was a team on the rise, but few expected them to get this far this soon, especially since LeBron James regressed a little from 2005-06. But they took advantage of Detroit’s sub-par play, and really, could’ve swept them. The Cavs went down 79-76 in each of the first two games, due in large part to James totaling just 29 points. They would’ve probably won both if he’d made an impact offensively. The Pistons turned the ball over 74 times in the series and Chauncey Billups wasn’t able to get on track offensively. All of his shooting percentages were down and he averaged just 3.5 assists. And Tayshaun Prince shot just .242 percent – that’s not even a decent batting average – and got bullied like he was back in Compton.

Smart play by James in Game 6, realizing that he’d be the Pistons’ focus after the 48-point outburst and not trying to force up shots. Instead, he setup teammates (8 assists) and let them take advantage of the extra attention he was getting. He went 3-of-11 for the game, but some of the shots he took were in garbage time and it looked as if he was just trying to crack 20 points.

Remember the “LeBrons” commercial that aired before the season? Well, looks like Old was wrong about the benefits of training in a pool.

Rasheed Wallace is an asshole. He hauled James to the floor and got whistled for his sixth foul midway through the 4th quarter. It was a stupid foul considering the play (James was surrounded by defenders) and the juncture (his team already floundering), but Wallace couldn’t leave it there. He had to play up his bravado and bark at the referee for making an obvious call. He was still pissed about his fifth foul – a charge on Anderson “Mr. Floppy” Varejao in the post – but he acted as if he shouldn’t have been penalized for pulling James down. And notice how he got more clamorous when Antonio McDyess and Lindsay Hunter were holding him back. All he succeeded in doing was hurting his team, tacking on another technical – it’s funny when a guy gets a tech after he’s out of the game – and making a fool of himself. Not that he minds doing any of that. He got booted from the game with 11 points (on 5-14 from the field) and 2 rebounds. And for a talented 6-foot-11 power forward with star status, career averages of 15.4 points and 6.9 rebounds kinda suggest he’s overrated.

LeBron better invest in a jock strap and bicycle helmet for this series. San Antonio will be “playing him physical” – which means cheap shots. The Spurs are that sore-losing sumbitch in the pickup game who yells, “Do that shit again! Do it again and I’ll fuck you up!” when an opponent makes him look bad on a crossover. Tangent: You can’t convince me that Robert Horry checking Steve Nash NHL-style wasn’t in the playbook. Doesn’t it make sense to have one of your most worthless players attack the other team’s star and start a skirmish (it’s never a fight in the NBA, just a skirmish)? When a 6’10” guy sends your little Canadian flying into the scorer’s table, the league’s stupid rule be damned, it’s natural reaction to rush to his aid. So why not sacrifice Horry (and his 4.8 points) to suspension if it results in them not having Amare Stoudemire for Game 5? Bill Bellichick couldn’t draw up a better defensive scheme. The Spurs deserved to win the Conference Finals, but the dirty plays tainted it.

Prediction: If you’re one of those people who root against the Spurs and hate their style of play, the good news is that the Finals won’t last long. James will get all the attention going into the series and will be looked at as basketball’s leviathan, but the Spurs are a much better team than the Cavs. While nobody on the San Antonio’s roster matches up well with James (Manu Ginobili and Bruce Bowen aren’t big or strong enough, and Mike Finley wouldn’t be quick enough – if he played defense to begin with), the Cavs don’t have anyone who can slow down Tim Duncan or Tony Parker. Zydrunas Ilgauskas plays solid defense in the post, at times, but he isn’t nimble enough to match Duncan’s quick moves and footwork inside. Drew Gooden isn’t big enough. And Parker’s quickness will be too much for Larry Hughes, Eric Snow and Boobie Gibson. In fact, Ginobili should be able to get his against LeBron, who isn’t a good perimeter defender. Spurs in 5.

Roger Clemens Back In Pinstripes

You’ve probably watched it on SportsCenter already. Roger Clemens has un-retired again and signed with the Yankees for a prorated one-year, $28 million deal. Wow, he’s overpaid. Anyway… He received his first standing ovation from the Bronx crowd since 2003, when he first “retired” and collected a Hummer as his going-away gift, and naturally, Yankees fans are excited. Because the rotation has sucked. 

This move will probably change a lot of people’s outlook on the American League East. Personally, I thought the Yanks would win the division anyway. The Red Sox have a 6-game lead, but we’ve watched this movie before. Boston usually jumps out to a 5- to 8-game lead early on, then by late July or August, the teams are neck-n-neck going into a couple of (over)hyped series in which every game is dramatic (and if not, the media tells us it is) and the players’ tempers are canicular. And the Yankees usually come out of it with more wins and more bruises; on top, but looking less manly. And by mid-September, New York has a comfortable 3- to 5-game lead. So if you’re like me, the Clemens signing doesn’t change your opinion much.

But it does make them a more formidable playoff team, at least on paper (and if Clemens doesn’t blow his groin). If everyone stays healthy – at least the key players – and the offense performs up to potential, they could win 100 games. And the starting rotation down the stretch would be: Clemens, Chien-Ming Wang, Andy Pettitte, Mike Mussina and Phil Hughes. Kei “Beaver” Igawa can be relegated to the bullpen – or stuffed in the attic will the other ugly, obselete toys. Suddenly, fans are giving a fuck less than the fuck less they initially gave about Carl Pavano missing the remainder of the season with Tommy John surgery (and pretty much the remainder of his 4-year contract). And suddenly, Boston’s big three doesn’t look so scary. Especially with Daisuke “Sake Gut” Matsuzaka sucking now. And things could fall apart for them when Josh Beckett, who has never been able to sustain success, gets his annual mid-season injury (or blister) or starts to struggle.

The empire strikes again. But fear not Yankee haters, they’re still losing in the ALCS.

Race Carders Cry Foul on NBA Refs

An academic study of the National Basketball Association, whose playoffs continue tonight, suggests that a racial bias found in other parts of American society has existed on the basketball court as well.

A coming paper by a University of Pennsylvania professor and a Cornell University graduate student says that, during the 13 seasons from 1991 through 2004, white referees called fouls at a greater rate against black players than against white players.

Justin Wolfers, an assistant professor of business and public policy at the Wharton School, and Joseph Price, a Cornell graduate student in economics, found a corresponding bias in which black officials called fouls more frequently against white players, though that tendency was not as strong. They went on to claim that the different rates at which fouls are called “is large enough that the probability of a team winning is noticeably affected by the racial composition of the refereeing crew assigned to the game.” – NY Times

It all makes sense! You know why the Knicks didn’t make the playoffs? Because David Lee got injured and was replaced in the lineup by a Negro (a nappy-headed one at that). The refs screwed the team out of 15-20 wins. They’d be en route to the Finals right now. The Heat beat the Mavs last year because they had more white guys. Michael Doleac, Jason Williams, Matt Walsh and Jason Kapono offset Dirk Nowitzki, who doesn’t count as much anyway because he’s not American.

They just educated our ignorant asses. When smart folks are talking, close your mouth and open your mind.

I’m gonna assume they considered the fact that the league is 90% black and worked the statistics around that. But I’m wondering if they factored in the minutes played. Most starting lineups are all black and, obviously, the more you’re on the court, the greater chance there is of you committing or being called for a foul. They also should’ve considered the difference in play. Most fouls are committed inside the paint (that’s why big men usually accumulate the most fouls). I can’t back it up with a number, but I’m gonna say that most white guys are perimeter players. You don’t get whistled for fouls too often when spotting up for a jumper. There aren’t a lot of rugged, low post defenders who are white. Hell, a lot of the Europeans don’t play defense at all.

Both Justin Wolfers and Joseph Price are white, by the way.

NFL Draft Winners & Losers

A review of the NFL teams that scored, and the others that fumbled in last weekend’s draft.

Winners

Browns: Cleveland might’ve mortgaged the future by dealing their 2008 first round pick to the Cowboys, but got what they needed in 2007. They added a potential franchise left tackle and quarterback in the first round with Joe Thomas and Brady Quinn, both projected top five picks. Second rounder Eric Wright is a risk because of his checkered past, but he’s a talented cornerback who could pay dividends if he stays out of trouble.

Jets: Teams that pick late in the draft are often passive, settling for players who fall to them and taking the best one still left at a position of need. The Jets bucked that trend and were proactive, trading picks and sacrificing quantity for what they believe is quality. They needed a cornerback, so they traded up and put themselves in position to draft Darrelle Revis, who they considered the top cornerback. They needed an inside linebacker, so they traded up and got the second highest rated one in David Harris, who will complement Jonathan Vilma.

Falcons: They were able to snag three first round talents in rounds 1-2. After losing Patrick Kerney, Atlanta needed a left defensive end with size and pass-rush skills to go with John Abraham. At No. 8, they got Jamaal Anderson, the second highest rated DE. They needed help on the offensive line, Justin Blalock was the best offensive guard, who also has experience at tackle. They needed a cornerback to pair with DeAngelo Hall, Chris Houston was one of the top talents in the draft. Ohio State center Doug Datish was a great pick in the sixth round.

Dolphins: Ted Ginn Jr. was a major reach at No. 9 – no other team wanted him that badly so if he’s who they’d targeted all along, they could’ve traded down for extra picks and still gotten him – but he adds explosiveness to a plodding offense and gives them a dynamic returner who can replace Wes Welker. Quarterback John Beck (second round) could‘ve been had later, but great picks in center Samson Satele and running back Lorenzo Booker.

49ers: San Francisco landed at least four quality players who will address needs for them. Patrick Willis was the draft’s top-rated linebacker, Joe Staley the second best offensive line prospect, and Jason Hill one of the best wide receivers. Defensive ends Ray McDonald and Jay Moore fit their 3-4 scheme and provide depth on the line. They did focus too much on the defensive line and didn’t give enough attention to the 26th ranked secondary, but they did spend $80 million on Nate Clements, and Tarrell Brown (147th pick) could be a steal for them.

Cowboys: Their actual draft wasn’t that good (selected two offensive tackles despite signing overrated, overweight Leonard Davis for $50 million, and reached on quarterback Isaiah Stanback in the fourth round), but they took advantage of Cleveland’s desperation for Brady Quinn and got what could be a top 10 pick next season. Trading their first rounder (No. 22) didn’t hurt because they shrewdly traded back up to No. 26 and scooped linebacker/defensive end Anthony Spencer, who they’d wanted all along.

Losers

Titans: Michael Griffin was a good pick at No. 19, but they reached on running back Chris Henry in the second round. The selection of Henry, who averaged just 3.3 yards per carry at Arizona, is an indictment of LenDale White, their 2006 second rounder who‘s put on 32 pounds since January. They might’ve pulled a muscle reaching for wide receivers Paul Williams, who caught just 72 passes at Fresno State, and Chris Davis in the middle rounds. Defensive tackle Antonio Johnson had just 2 ½ sacks at Mississippi State, and none last season.

Broncos: They traded up from No. 21 to 17 to take defensive end Jarvis Moss, which wasn’t necessary. None of the teams picking ahead of them (Bengals, Titans and Giants) was likely to take him. After selecting Moss, they took Tim Crowder, another defensive end, despite having drafted Elvis Dumervil last year, who got 8 ½ sacks in a part-time role. They ignored other areas of need such as wide receiver, tight end and safety. Left tackle Ryan Harris has quickness and can pass block, but he’s a weak run blocker. How will he fit that system?

Eagles: Kevin Kolb was rising up some draft boards, but how prudent was it for them to spend their first pick on a player who won’t contribute unless Donovan McNabb, A.J. Feeley and Kelly Holcomb all suffer serious injuries? He might be a quality prospect, but he’ll ride the bench behind a Pro Bowl quarterback. Victor Abiamiri gives them help as a pass rusher, but not enough. And that pick reflects poorly on their decision to draft Chris Gocong in the third round last year, and also on the signings of Darren Howard and Jevon Kearse. They lack speed at linebacker and Stewart Bradley (4.80) won’t improve that.

Chiefs: Nothing wrong with wide receiver Dwayne Bowe at No. 23 – which was probably there intention entering the draft – but not when Brady Quinn, a projected top 5 pick, freefalls to No. 22 and the team desperately needs a young quarterback. Kansas City could’ve done more to trade up – the Giants and Jaguars, at No. 20 and 21, respectively, might’ve been willing to swing a deal – and in rounds 2-3, they drafted defensive tackles back-to-back, passing on quarterback Trent Edwards. Their selection of UCLA kicker Justin Medlock was also perplexing considering they’ve got strong-legged Lawrence Tynes who is just four years into his career and has connected on 78 percent of his field goals.

Packers: They didn’t address any of their glaring needs. Their secondary gave up the third most touchdowns and they needed to upgrade the offensive line, but instead used the No. 16 pick on a defensive tackle who played just three games last season and had a late-first to second round grade. Green Bay was overanxious for a running back and wound up with Brandon Jackson in the second round. They’ve got no proven or experienced backs on their roster, and they chose someone who isn’t that big (5-foot-9, 210 pounds), isn’t that fast (4.54), wasn’t productive (1,431 yards in 33 games) and who’s never carried the ball more than 188 times in a year. Wide receiver James Jones was also reach in the second round. Their only good value picks were safety Aaron Rouse in the third round – although he lacks the range they need in the secondary – and top-rated kicker Mason Crosby in the sixth.

Cardinals: Buster Davis might develop into a poor man’s London Fletcher and wide receiver Steve Breaston was one of the top kick returners in the draft. Both were quality mid-rounders. However, Levi Brown with the fifth overall? The offensive line needed help, but Brown isn’t a great pass blocker, nor is he an overpowering run blocker. That pick is an example of a team focusing just on their greatest need while ignoring the better talent available to them. Alan Branch was a projected first rounder who might be a steal for them in the second round, but he only fell that far because teams believe the 324-pound defensive tackle has stress fractures in both legs.

2007 NFL Mock Draft: Round 2

33. Raiders: Ryan Kalil (USC)

The offensive line needs to be improved and the highest-rated lineman available will be Kalil, who is athletic. Jake Grove gave up 8 sacks last season – unheard of for a center. He also committed 6 penalties and Raiders backs averaged just 3.87 yards per carry up middle, which was second worst in NFL.

34. Lions: Anthony Spencer (Purdue)

The pass-rushing DE/LB ‘tweener is a rising prospect and some team could reach on him in the first round, but if he does fall to the second, the Lions wouldn‘t pass. He’s probably better suited to play outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense, but the Lions didn’t get enough pressure from their defensive line and desperately need a playmaker.

If the rumored slot swap with the Buccaneers in the first round does go through and Detroit winds up with Gaines Adams, they’ll need to go with a quarterback in the second round. Drew Stanton would be an option.

35. Buccaneers: Ben Grubbs (Auburn)

The interior of their offensive line is soft and doesn’t do a good enough job of run blocking. Cadillac Williams, despite his burst, has averaged just 3.8 yards per carry in his career. Grubbs, who blocked for speed backs at Auburn, including Cadillac, can pull and get out in space.

36. Browns: Adam Carriker (Nebraska)

A projected first rounder, he could fall into the second because he lacks athleticism and might not be able to be a pass rusher in the NFL. However, he’d help the Browns’ 3-4 scheme at defensive end because he’s got the size and strength to control his gap.

37. Bears: Justin Harrell (Tennessee)

With Tank Johnson facing an NFL suspension once he‘s released from prison, they’ll need a defensive tackle.

38. Cardinals: Brandon Merriweather (Miami)

His stock is soaring, but he could still drop to the second round because he wasn’t a ball hawk in college and his 40-times weren’t special. Also, because of the league’s new stringent conduct policies, teams must now be wary of players with “questionable character.“ However, the Cardinals secondary lacks speed and Robert Griffith will turn 37 during the season.

39. Falcons: Aaron Sears (Tennessee)

They need help at offensive tackle and guard. Sears, who played tackle for the Vols but might shift to guard in the NFL, could help Atlanta at either spot.

40. Dolphins: Tony Ugoh (Arkansas)

Miami needs offensive line help, especially after losing Damion McIntosh. Ugoh would give them an athletic tackle with the speed to pull and the quickness and arm length to possibly play the left. He’s raw, but it’s a weak class of tackles.

41. Vikings: Drew Stanton (Michigan State)

They reached on Tarvaris Jackson in the second round last year, but it’s unclear if they’ve got confidence in him to be their franchise quarterback. Drew Stanton, who also is athletic but has a better throwing arm, could be a long-term solution.

42. 49ers: Eric Wright (UNLV)

The secondary will be better with the addition of Nate Clements, but the group still lacks speed and they ranked 26th in 2006. Many believe that Wright, who has good size and ran a 4.36, has first round talent. Wide receiver is also an option, but the draft is deeper at that position.

43. Bills: David Harris (Michigan)

The linebacker’s stock is riding and the Bills will need someone to replace London Fletcher-Baker.

44. Falcons: Tim Crowder (Texas)

Having lost Patrick Kerney, they’ll need a defensive end with size and some pass-rushing ability to help complement John Abraham – or compensate for when he’s out with injury.

45. Panthers: Eric Weddle (Utah)

They need help at safety, and even if he isn’t able to beat out Shaun Williams for a starting job, he could contribute on special teams and be groomed to replace Mike Minter.

46. Steelers: Tanard Jackson (Syracuse)

Ike Taylor is solid, but they could use some depth and more youth at cornerback.

47. Packers: Quinn Pitcock (Ohio State)

Once considered a first rounder, Pitcock’s stock has plummeted. He doesn’t have ideal size, but his play is often extolled in clichés. He’s a hard-nosed, hard working lunch pale kinda guy, with great intangibles and a constant motor. He could help the Packers defensive tackle rotation.

48. Jaguars: Samson Satele (Hawaii)

Jacksonville’s offensive line needs to be upgraded – certainly, if Byron Leftwich is to be the QB – and Satele’s versatility would help. He’s got experience at guard, center and tackle and is considered a good pass blocker. Also, the Hawaii quarterbacks put up “Madden on rookie mode” stats every season (they combined for 62 touchdowns and 6,178 yards in 2006), so the offensive line must’ve done something right.

49. Bengals: Quentin Moses (Georgia)

All prolific offenses needs a pass-rusher on defense. After a strong junior season, Moses had a disappointing 2006 and wasn‘t impressive at the combine, but he’s got the quickness and moves to be a quality defensive end.

50. Titans: Josh Wilson (Maryland)

Missing Pacman Jones, they’ll need depth at cornerback and a return man with game-breaking speed. Wilson, who ran a 4.35 and has a similar build to Jones, could help in those departments.

51. Giants: Jason Hill (Washington State)

Still unsure about what Amani Toomer and Sinorice Moss will able to contribute next season, the Giants, who traded slot receiver Tim Carter, will need depth at wide receiver. Hill, who has excellent timed speed and is a good route runner, would give them insurance and possibly a long-term solution at split end.

52. Rams: Buster Davis (Florida State)

Davis was very productive in college – more so than several of the linebackers who will be picked ahead of him – but doesn’t have the ideal measurable. However, the 5-foot-9, 240-pound linebacker might remind them of London Fletcher.

53. Cowboys: LaMarr Woodley (Michigan)

The 6-foot-2, 266-pounder doesn’t have great size, but he could be moved from defensive end to linebacker in Dallas’ 3-4. He accrued 12 sacks and 16 ½ tackles for loss last season, so he could become the pass rusher the Cowboys would like opposite DeMarcus Ware.

54. Chiefs: Trent Edwards (Stanford)

They’ve been shopping Trent Green and they need a long-term quarterback. Damon Huard played well last year, but he’s a 34-year-old career backup. They drafted Brodie Croyle in 2006, but he doesn’t have much talent. Edwards, who wasn’t very productive in college, has prototypical quarterback size and all the physical tools.

55. Seahawks: Victor Abiamiri (Notre Dame)

Grant Wistrom, after three seasons of disappointment, was released and the Seahawks, despite acquiring Patrick Kerney, are in need of a pass rusher on the defensive line. Abiamiri could play a role in their d-line rotation, and along with Kerney and Julian Peterson, cause a lot of trouble for quarterbacks.

55. Broncos: Craig Davis (LSU)

Rod Smith is 37 and whether or not he has a bounce-back season, they’ll need to start grooming a successor and surrounding Jay Cutler with weapons. Javon Walker, who should be more explosive this year, will be the No. 1 receiver, and Rod Smith might still be the No. 2, but Davis could emerge as the slot receiver they’ve been searching for.

56. Eagles: Brian Leonard (Rutgers)

He would give them a power back to pair with Brian Westbrook – since Correll Buckhalter can‘t be relied on. Leonard caught 207 passes for the Scarlet Knights, which makes him a good fit for Andy Reid’s offense. With their versatility, he and Westbrook in the backfield together could create matchup problems for defenses.

57. Saints: Steve Smith (USC)

With Joe Horn gone, all they’ve got is Marques Colston and Devery Henderson at wide receiver. Smith, who put up good numbers despite having to share the ball in that vaunted Trojan offense, is an excellent route runner whose surprising 4.44 time could propel him up draft boards.

58. Jets: Daymeion Hughes (California)

The Jets need more depth in the secondary and it’s been reported that they have interest in Hughes. He didn’t time well at the combine (4.65), but he was very productive in college (13 interceptions and 24 deflections since 2005) and Eric Mangini will like his physical style.

59. Dolphins: Troy Smith (Ohio State)

He isn’t projected to go this high, but Miami would be reaching to fill another position of need here. Smith helps because they need a backup quarterback and someone to groom behind Daunte Culpepper, whose health is still questionable. Smith, despite being 2-3 inches shorter than scouts would prefer, is mobile and has a strong, accurate arm. He totaled 53 touchdowns to just 13 interceptions and completed close to 63% of his throws in a competitive Big Ten conference.

60. Ravens: Antonio Pittman (Ohio State)

They’ll need a backup for Willis McGahee, and Mike Anderson won’t be there for too long. Pittman is a speedy, elusive runner.

61. Chargers: Aaron Rouse (Virginia Tech)

Having released Terrence Kiel, San Diego needs a safety and they could also use a linebacker since Donnie Edwards is gone. Because of his size (6-foot-4, 226 pounds), Rouse could eventually be moved to linebacker like Panthers did with Thomas Davis.

* Thomas will likely be the first VT player selected, so we should expect to see a morose “It really puts everything in perspective” tribute from ESPN when his name is announced. Then Chris Berman will make the seamless- or at least immediate – transition and get back to being Fred Flintstone.

62. Jets: Ray McDonald (Florida)

Kimo von Oelhoffen is 36 and wasn’t very productive last year. McDonald has the size to play end in a 3-4.

63. Buccaneers : Anthony Gonzalez

Whether or not he vies for a starting job or beats out Michael Clayton, Gonzalez’s speed and underneath route running would be an addition and he’d help spark that offense. The transition from OSU’s to Jon Gruden’s West Coast Offense wouldn’t be too difficult for him, either.