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http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:02 pm

Meet the Mets
Former darkhorse takes the lead in Santana derby


http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/23/scoop.Jan23/index.html

Johan Santana
Johan Santana's only shutout of 2007 came against the Mets at Shea Stadium, which could be his home ballpark in 2008.



Once written off as an extreme long shot in the long-running Johan Santana drama, the Mets may actually be the favorite now. At the very least, there are indications now that they are engaging in more regular dialogue with the Twins in recent days than either the Red Sox or Yankees. And Mets general manager Omar Minaya, who loves a big deal but hasn't made one since the winter before last, has told some people in the business, "We have a shot.''

Minaya declined to comment when I reached him on Tuesday. But there are some definite signs that the Twins may be warming to the idea of taking a package of projects and prospects with high ceilings while not insisting on much in the way of major-league help. Which, if true, would give the Mets a real shot.

When Minnesota began shopping Santana in early December, I was told the Twins would have to get Jose Reyes back in a Mets deal, a non-starter for the Mets who understandably consider Reyes a cornerstone player and aren't about to deal him for a pitcher -- even a great pitcher -- who's a year away from free agency and would require an extension at $22-to-$25 million. But in recent weeks I was told that there was indeed a Mets deal to be made, even without Reyes or David Wright or someone of that ilk. That the Twins and Mets continue to talk seems to support that assertion.

But for the Mets to actually land Santana it will take at least two significant hurdles being cleared, and that doesn't include having to negotiate a long-term contract with him. First, the Mets have to agree to send over a package of many real prospects, probably five or more, which would considerably deplete their minor-league resources. Second, the Red Sox and Yankees, who are both better stocked at the upper reaches of the minors, have to continue to take a less then enthusiastic approach in the competition to add one of the game's top two pitchers.

Neither the Red Sox, who have seemed consistently lukewarm in this derby, nor the Yankees, who have run hot and cold, has been as aggressive as one might expect considering their longstanding fight over players big and small. At this point, it appears either might simply be happy not to see Santana go to the other.

The Red Sox have stuck for weeks with their offer of two separate deals, one led by young lefthander Jon Lester and the other by young center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury. Boston also appears willing to include three more prospects with each, including decent young players such as infielder Jed Lowrie and pitchers Justin Masterson and Michael Bowden. However, Boston has been consistent in refusing to combine both Lester and Ellsbury in the same package. Red Sox GM Theo Epstein has seemed very comfortable with his offers and has given the impression that he could live without Santana, understandable in that the world champions may already have baseball's best rotation without him.

The Yankees remain the wild card. GM Brian Cashman has made the rejuvenation of the team's farm system his calling card and is said to be against trading even one top-flight young pitcher, such as Phil Hughes. But newly-empowered general partner Hank Steinbrenner is said by insiders to be much more willing to do what it takes in terms of prospects and dollars to land Santana.

However, Steinbrenner's younger son, the less free-wheeling and more buttoned-down Hal, who's said to be in charge of the purse strings, is believed to be siding with Cashman's call to proceed cautiously. Club insiders could see the two sons eventually butting heads over a major expenditure such as this one, but with Cashman strongly siding with the junior Steinbrenner they aren't sure whether Hank will press the issue over Santana. Ultimately, unless Hank is willing to fight his brother and a general manager he's hoping to retain beyond 2008 (Cashman has not yet discussed an extension, preferring instead to see how things play out in the new hierarchy), the Yankees are unlikely to accede to the Twins' requests to go beyond Hughes, outfielder Melky Cabrera, pitching prospect Jeffrey Marquez and a lesser prospect.

With the Red Sox and Yankees less aggressive than one might expect, there still may be an opening for the Mets, who need Santana much more than the other two teams. For them, Santana would be a perfect fit, the No. 1 pitcher to go in front of Pedro Martinez and John Maine and make the fans and players focus on something other than the team's dreadful finish to the 2007 season.

The current prospects on the table appear to be outfielder Carlos Gomez plus pitchers Deolis Guerra, Phil Humber and Kevin Mulvey. None of these players is likely to make the immediate impact of a Lester, an Ellsbury or a Hughes. But some scouts believe the overall talent will be greater in a Mets package, and that they should work it out with the team from Queens.

It appears the Twins may favor Gomez over Fernando Martinez because Gomez can play center field, a need since the defection of fan favorite Torii Hunter to the Angels, and may actually like Humber as much as the Mets' more ballyhooed pitching prospect Mike Pelfrey, whose stock waned last season. In any case the Twins aren't as desperate for immediate pitching help as some might imagine, since they are well-stocked with minor-league arms.

Some Mets officials have an impression that they could probably have Santana if they simply added Martinez to the mix, but one person familiar with the Mets thinking said he'd be surprised if the Mets agreed to do that, which would leave their minor-league system practically barren. Which explains why there still isn't a deal.

In any case, it is understandable that the Twins are taking their time. They know what they can get from the Red Sox, who don't appear to have set a deadline, and probably remain hopeful that Hank Steinbrenner overrules both his brother and Cashman and adds top young pitcher Ian Kennedy to the mix. "Kennedy's as good as Hughes,'' opines one scout, "They shouldn't do that.'' Still, some are surprised at the restraint being showed by the Yankees, considering the threat of Santana going to the rival Red Sox. "If Boston gets Santana, they lock up the division the next three or four years,'' one competing executive says.

Minnesota's first-year general manager Bill Smith is probably one of those surprised that the Yankees and Red Sox are showing a willingness to live without Santana, a two-time Cy Young winner who's healthy and will turn 29 next month. Smith is apparently having a hard time extracting fair value for Santana for a variety of reasons, most notably Santana's status as a player who's only one year from free agency, his ability to veto any trade and his expected price tag, which severely limits the field to all but the biggest markets (he is believed to be seeking a six-year deal for close to $25 million annually).

However, time may start to work against Smith. Other execs could see Santana's agents, Peter and Ed Greenberg of New York, telling the Twins that their client will invoke his no-trade clause once the season starts since he'd be less than a year away from the riches of free agency and would want to concentrate on his craft.

One other hurdle with the Mets could be the length of the contract. While the Red Sox and Yankees may be more amenable to a six-year deal for a superstar such as Santana, one person familiar with the Mets' thinking said he believed the team would stick to its policy of not going beyond five years for any player. Santana's rejection of the Twins' four-year, $80-million contract offer is what led to his being put on the trading block in the first place. However, the Mets apparently believe the right "structure'' (i.e. a deal for close to his asking price) could convince him to come east. If they can agree to compensation with Minnesota, most believe they'll work things out, since the Greenberg brothers also represent Reyes and maintain an excellent relationship with the Mets.

Minnesota's Smith has a lot of heat on him now in the frigid Twin Cities. A consistently affable fellow, Smith was asked on Tuesday for a summary of where things stand. "Santana's still a Twin," he said. Then he politely declined to elaborate.
Around the Majors

• It appears the Astros will have no recourse in their ill-conceived idea to trade for Miguel Tejada one day before the release of the Mitchell Report. On the plus side, if an Astros official ever claims to have been in the dark about the issue of steroids -- unlike with many other top baseball execs -- he should be believed. This trade proved that they actually do know nothing.

• Ryan Howard is a superstar, there's no question of that. But his request for a $10 million salary as a first-year arbitration-eligible player seems like a stretch. I have sympathy for Howard after the Phillies renewed him at $900,000 for 2007. However, Miguel Cabrera received only $7.4 million as a first-time arbitration-eligible player with more experience (he was a three-year player and Howard a two-plus), and Cabrera had to win his case to get that. The Phillies have bid $7 million.

• Another player who went for the downs was Robinson Cano, whose request for $4.55 million was more than power hitters Justin Morneau and Matt Holliday ($4.4 million) got in their first year of eligibility. The Yankees bid $3.2 million.

• Holliday's $23 million, two-year contract with Colorado makes sense for both sides. It gives Holliday a $4 million raise into his walk year (from $9.5 million to $13.5 million) and prevents something even bigger in case he matches his monster 2007 season. In any case Colorado remains a long shot to keep him beyond 2009.

• Octavio Dotel, who barely pitched after being traded to the Braves at the deadline, never seemed worth big money to me. But that definitely appears to be the case now that the White Sox gave him $11 million over two years.

• Jose Canseco's first choice as a co-writer for his new book, Vindicated, former Sports Illustrated editor Don Yaeger, bowed out, supposedly due to a lack of meat. Perhaps Canseco shot his wad in the best-selling Juiced. And are we supposed to feel better about Canseco's "info'' now that he has instead enlisted as his writer the very fellow who penned O.J. Simpson's gross and ill-fated tome If I Did It?

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:09 pm

"…that said, it is amazing to me just how quiet things are on the santana-trade front…"


I woke up this morning thinking the EXACT same thing.

It has been a while since we've seen smoke coming from anyplace involving the Santana trade.

The calm before the storm, perhaps?

It could well be.

I know this: Were I a reporter being paid to cover one of these teams I'd be wroking overtime to get a hold of somebody working in the office of Santana's agent and find out if he has been given permission to talk contract with anybody.

As far as any talk involving the Mets goes, anytime somebody starts painting the scenario in which Santana ends up in Queens, it almost always comes across as wishing and hoping more than anything else.

Unless they change their minds on Reyes, the Mets do not have the players.

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:09 pm

Best deal offered for Santana was.....?


Yanks were said to be offering Hughes, Melky and a couple of prospects for Santana. Redsox were offering Lester, Coco Crisp and a couple of prospects for Santana. I would say, and must G.M.s would agree (?), that Hughes has more upside than Lester. One of the questions and criticisms of Melky Cabrera was just how good he is, and how good will he be. Here's a report by Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus on Melky. ===============================

Melky Cabrera: "Cabrera went backward in '07, but not by enough for concern. Remember that he's just 23 years old and has more than 1,100 plate appearances in the majors, with average to average-plus defense (good physical tools but very raw, takes bad routes) and a very good 129/96 K/BB. He's a mature player offensively, patient at the plate and fair on the bases (25 for 35 stealing in his career). One interesting quirk is his G/F ratio, which is 1.63 for his career and was a whopping 1.81 last season. Cabrera is listed at 5'11" and 200 pounds.When you look at Cabrera's body, his established control of the strike zone and his ability to hold his own at a young age, you recognize that all it's going to take is for him to start elevating the ball. Cabrera may not get there in 2008, but he's going to pop 80 extra-base hits and slug .500 in a season very soon."






Which was best means nothing, both deals with NY and Boston were solid considering the money needed to extend Johan and that's where the Twins messed up, if they moved him before last deadline they would have gotten the world, but now they'll be settling because even the Mets package beats draft picks, at which point both the Yankees and Boston can step in and say well if that's what you'll take here's a package that beats it- without our top prospects- take it or leave it.

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:13 pm

i say we take the ellsbury package. He is already a stud center fielder and is only going to get better. Our pitching may be patchy without Cytana, but NEWSFLASH...we aren't going to win games if we don't score any runs. I'll be the first to admit how much i love santana, but i love the TWINS more, and i want whats best for them. We need to get some bats into our lineup...quick.

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

This was from another post I made regarding Melky. *******
Here's a report by Joe Sheehan of Baseball Prospectus on Melky. Melky Cabrera: "Cabrera went backward in '07, but not by enough for concern. Remember that he's just 23 years old and has more than 1,100 plate appearances in the majors, with average to average-plus defense (good physical tools but very raw, takes bad routes) and a very good 129/96 K/BB. He's a mature player offensively, patient at the plate and fair on the bases (25 for 35 stealing in his career). One interesting quirk is his G/F ratio, which is 1.63 for his career and was a whopping 1.81 last season. Cabrera is listed at 5'11" and 200 pounds.When you look at Cabrera's body, his established control of the strike zone and his ability to hold his own at a young age, you recognize that all it's going to take is for him to start elevating the ball. Cabrera may not get there in 2008, but he's going to pop 80 extra-base hits and slug .500 in a season very soon." **************** Hughes and Melky may very well be the best tandem of players which were being offered for Santana. key words - "were being offered"

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:16 pm

Carlin Blog: Odd Similarities

Chris Carlin

We have 11 days to the Super Bowl, so undoubtedly, some boredom will set in. Tom Brady walking around NYC in a boot, Justin Tuck saying we want Brady at full strength, plus the storylines you're going be tired of. So I started to look for something different, and just like that, it fell into my lap.

So, courtesy of the great Joel Feld at NESN and his production assistant Justin White up in Boston, here's a list of similarities between the 2007 Giants and the 2001 Patriots.

The Giants just beat the Packers in OT by 3 points in a crazy back-and-forth game that will be remembered for the weather as much as the outcome. Sounds awfully like the Snow Bowl/Tuck Rule game where the Pats beat the Raiders in OT by 3 points. Plus, the Snow Bowl/Tuck Rule Game was played on the night of Saturday, Jan. 19, ending just minutes before Sunday, Jan. 20 - the same date the Giants-Packers game was played this weekend. Crazier still, the Patriots time of possession vs Oakland: 40:05, the Giants on Sunday: 40:01.

In the playoffs (although in different rounds), the Giants defeated the Cowboys in Dallas, allowing just 17 points to a team that finished the regular season 13-3. The 2001, Patriots beat the Steelers in Pittsburgh, allowing just 17 points to a team that finished the regular season 13-3.

The Giants, like the Patriots, are 13-14 point underdogs in the Super Bowl and will somehow have to stop a record-setting offense that features 2 players who had the best season for their position in recent history - Tom Brady and Randy Moss. The Pats had to stop Marshall Faulk and Kurt Warner, who were coming off similar seasons.

Both the 2001 Pats and 2007 Giants started the season 0-2. And both teams defeated the Miami Dolphins in the week before their bye weeks.

The Giants vs Patriots in Week 17 was the first time that eventual Super Bowl opponents would play each other in the regular season since the Pats played the Rams in Week 10 of the 2001 season.

The 2001 Patriots scored 371 points in the regular season, the 2007 Giants scored 373.

Oh, and the Super Bowl is being played on February 3rd, just like it was when the Pats beat the Rams 6 years ago.

If an omen was what you were looking for, maybe you can use this stuff.

A reminder: we're going to have you covered from Glendale next week. Anything you need, WFAN and WFAN.com will be the place to be. Blogs, audio, chats, all kinds of coverage. Get ready for the SB with us.

Plus, I need more questions to answer. Send them in to giants@wfan.com and I will answer them throughout the course of the week.

Sit tight. I know it's a long time away, but I promise, you'll blink, and it'll be 6:30 next Sunday.

CC

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:18 pm

01/23/2008 11:29 AM ET


http://www.yesnetwork.com/news/article.jsp?ymd=20080123&content_id=1436331&oid=36019&vkey=4

Farm report: The future is bright
A breakdown of the top 10 prospects in the Yankees farm system
By Joe Auriemma / Special to YESNetwork.com

Young right-hander Ian Kennedy is considered a keeper. (AP)
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* What to watch for in Tampa
* Yankees Hot Stove Watch
* Yankees Offseason Report Watch
* Yankees Magazine Watch

When the Yankees and Brian Cashman decided to move the team in a different direction by hanging onto their touted prospects instead of trading them away, no one could have ever imagined the Yankees' farm system would have been re-built so quickly.

Baseball America is the authority on ranking each team's top prospects before each new season. According to BaseballAmerica.com, "Baseball America's Top 10 Prospects lists are based on projections of a player's long-term worth after discussions with scouting and player-development personnel. All players who haven't exceeded the Major League rookie standards of 130 at-bats or 50 innings pitched (without regard to service time) are eligible."

Here is the list that was put out for 2008's Top 10 Prospects in the Yankees system:

1. Joba Chamberlain, RHP — Obviously the Yankees are putting a lot of faith in this young, talented arm. Last year, he showed signs of brilliance when he came out of the bullpen and seemed unhittable at times. Radar guns were lighting up to the tune of 100 MPH. He gave the Yankees a one-two punch at the back end of the bullpen with Mariano Rivera that was very hard to contend with. The argument is that maybe he should be in the bullpen because that is where he was very effective last season, but the Yankees believe that he can't reach his full potential unless he is a starter. They fully expect him to be a frontline ace in the very near future.

On top of having the nastiest fastball in the Yankees' farm system, Baseball America also concludes that Chamberlain has the Best Curveball and the Best Slider. To have that many quality pitches, which weren't even on display coming out of the bullpen, is a very scary thought for the rest of the league.

2. Austin Jackson, OF — The Yankees are so impressed with his skills that they were reluctant to include him in any potential package for Johan Santana. Baseball America ranks Jackson as the Best Athlete and the Best Defensive Outfielder in the Yankees' farm system.

Last season, Jackson played 60 games with the Charleston RiverDogs, the Class-A Yankees affiliate in the South Atlantic League. He batted .260 with three home runs, 25 RBIs, 33 runs scored and 19 stolen bases.

The 20 year old, 6'1, 185 pound right-handed outfielder also played in the Class-A Advanced Florida State League with the Tampa Yankees. He really excelled in 67 games there. A-Jax hit .345 with 10 home runs, 34 RBIs, 13 stolen bases and 53 runs scored. This season he is projected to start with the Double-A Trenton Thunder.

3. Jose Tabata, OF — Many Yankee fans have heard about Tabata's promise. He is considered the Best Hitter for Average in the Yankees' farm system.

This 19-year-old Venezuelan stud is projected to be the team's future right fielder. Right now, he is raw, young talent that is 5'11, 160 pounds. Tabata played his full 2007 season with the Class-A Advanced Tampa Yankees of the Florida State League. He hit .307 with five home runs, 54 RBIs, 15 stolen bases and 56 runs scored in 103 games. On Aug. 27, 2007, Tabata played in the Florida State League Post-season All-Star game.

There is a lot of potential for this youngster in the years to come. However, he is probably a couple of good Minor League seasons away from Major League action.

4. Ian Kennedy, RHP — Kennedy is another young stud that Yankee fans got to see first-hand in 2007. He is expected to compete for a spot alongside Chamberlain and Phil Hughes in the 2008 Yankees rotation.

Baseball America gave Kennedy the award for Best Control in the Yankees farm system. In his three starts on the Major League level last season, Kennedy went 1-0 with a 1.89 ERA, 15 strikeouts, nine walks, only one home run allowed and opponents hit just .191 against him.

The Yankees' 2006 top draft pick out of USC had a heck of a year down in the Minor League system in 2007. The 23-year old played on four different levels including the Majors during the season. He started with Class-A Advanced Tampa, was promoted to Double-A Trenton and his final Minor League stop was Triple-A Scranton. All-in-all, Kennedy went 12-3 with a miniscule 1.91 ERA in 25 combined starts and 26 games. He struck out 163 batters in just 146.1 innings pitched and only walked 50 batters. The kicker is that he only allowed six home runs last season, seven if you include the one he gave up to B.J. Upton on the Major League level.

5. Alan Horne, RHP — One thing you might notice about the Yankees is the lack of left-handed promising youth in the minors. However, there is certainly not a lack of talent just because these guys throw right-handed.

One award that wasn't given out to prospects was Yankees Comeback Player of the Yankees Minor league system and in 2007, Horne would have won that award.

Last season, Horne played his whole season in Double-A Trenton, where he sported a 12-4 record with a 3.11 ERA in 27 starts. He struck out 165 batters in 153.1 innings pitched, while allowing opposing hitters just a .256 batting average. This is a major improvement from his 2006 Minor League season when he pitched for Class-A Advanced Tampa, where he went 6-9 with a 4.84 ERA in 26 starts and 28 games.

At age 25, the 6'4, 195 pound right-hander, is a little older than some of the other more familiar names, but he is another player the Yankees were having a hard time parting with in the Santana sweepstakes. The University of Florida alumnus really turned it around last season and could come up to the Major League level as early as this season.

6. Jesus Montero, C — Montero is regarded as the best power hitting prospect in the Yankees' farm system. Right now he is listed as a catcher, but this very young prospect is considered more of the Yankees' first baseman of the future.

On July 2, 2006, the Yankees signed this 16-year old catcher and took a risk giving him a seven-figure signing bonus. However, he was believed by many teams to be a prized catch. Many scouts deemed him very mature for his age and considered his raw power was off the charts. One National League scouting director told Baseball America, "He was hitting home runs to center field in Valencia, which is pretty tough to do. The question is where does he play? The body is pretty maxed out. He looks like Travis Hafner at age 16."

Now Montero is 18 and the Venezuelan is a robust 6'4, 225 pounds. In his first season in the Yankees Minor League System in 2007, he played in the Rookie Gulf Coast League and in 33 games hit .280 with three home runs with 19 RBIs with a slugging percentage of .421.

7. Jeff Marquez, RHP — Marquez is another righty with a lot of potential. The Yankees are chock full of young talented arms and Marquez is in this group.

This California native is 23 years old and is 6'2, 175 pounds. Last season, he played the full season down at Double-A Trenton. In 27 starts, he went 15-9 with a 3.65 ERA. He had 94 strikeouts and 44 walks in 155.1 innings pitched.

He has a nice mix of pitches and was part of that daunting starting staff down in Trenton last season. The staff of Chamberlain, Kennedy, Brett Smith, Horne and Marquez had a great rapport with each other. They all gave each other tutorials on how each throws their best pitches. If anything, the 2007 season made Marquez a better all around pitcher.

8. Brett Gardner, OF — This is another outfielder the Yankees hold in very high regard. Along with Jackson and Tabata, the Yankees can see Gardner maybe joining those two players as the outfield of the future.

Gardner has the best strike-zone discipline and is the fastest baserunner in the Yankees farm system. This 24-year old, 5'10, 180-pound, left handed outfielder is once again expected to be on the Scranton Wilkes-Barre roster where he finished up last season. He played a total of 99 minor league games. In 54 games at Double-A Trenton, he hit .300, with 19 extra base hits, 43 runs scored and 18 stolen bases. In 45 games in Triple-A Scranton, he hit .260 with eight extra base hits, 37 runs scored and 21 stolen bases. He certainly has the speed on the bases to be a future lead-off hitter.

9. Ross Ohlendorf, RHP — Ohlendorf is probably the best prospect the Yankees received when they traded Randy Johnson back to Arizona last offseason. He did pitch in six major league games in the 2007 season with no record and a 2.84 ERA. Ohlendorf had nine strikeouts in 6.1 major league innings. However, he did have one rough inning in the postseason, coming in relief of Chien-Ming Wang in the Game 1, 12-3 Indians blowout. In that one inning of work he gave up a home run to Travis Hafner and allowed three earned runs and four hits, while walking one.

The Yankees liked what they saw out of Ohlendorf though. He has a very good chance of being a part of the bullpen in 2008, maybe facilitating the role that Chamberlain held in 2007 as the eighth-inning bridge to Rivera. Last season in the Minors, Ohlendorf split time as a starter and reliever. He was much more effective coming out of the bullpen, where his fastball went from the low '90s as a starter to the mid-to-upper '90s as a reliever. He has very good control of his pitches and this 25-year old Princeton University graduate has Mike Mussina-like intelligence.

Last year, his Minor League totals, in 13 starts and 25 games, were 4-4 with a 4.81 ERA. He allowed nine home runs and a .298 batting average against. In 82.1 innings he struck out 65 and walked 25 batters. The numbers may sound inflated, but the Yankees did see a lot of positives from this 6'4, 235 pounder, especially coming out of the bullpen.

10. Andrew Brackman, RHP — Just when you thought the Yankees might have enough talented starting pitchers, they went out and drafted Brackman with their first-round pick in 2007. When you talk about big pitchers, you think of Randy Johnson. Well, Brackman is in that category. He is a giant 6'10, 230 pounds.

He has yet to pitch in the Yankees minor league system, so fans should anticipate a big coming out party in the Minors this season. As a student at North Carolina State University for two years, Brackman played two sports while attending the University. He was part of the basketball team that got knocked out of the Sweet 16 in 2006 by the Wisconsin Badgers, but after this game he decided to put his attention squarely on baseball.

He has a fastball in the 92-97 range throwing both a two and four-seam fastball. He throws a knuckle curve at about 78-81 MPH, which he has trouble locating in the strike zone at times and a changeup in the 82-84 MPH range. His strength certainly is his fastball and command of his two-seamer.
Joe Auriemma is a contributor to YESNetwork.com.

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:23 pm

http://slidingintohome.blogspot.com/
Matsui Still Hasn't Recovered From Knee Injury

From the Let's Go Yankees Blog, via River Ave. Blues, who was tipped off by My Baseball Bias. (I think that's everyone)

This one is from official Japanese MLB website updated on Jan 17th about Matsui. I asked my Japanese housemate to translate for me.

Matsui is going to go to USA 10 days earlier in order to check his right knee condition with the doctor in New York who help him operate his right knee surgery. He will then go to Tampa to check his right knee condition with Yankee Trainers again. This is not a normal action which go to USA earlier for Matsui. He usually trains with his formal Japanese team and then reports in spring training.

Right now, Matsui doesn't feel pain about his right knee, but he can't run . He is not sure he can run or not when he reports to Tampa. He understands he has to fight with Johnny Damon for left outfielder job and wants to do his best. That's why he decides to go to USA earlier.

Can you say full-time DH?

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:27 pm



Kandice (Ian's sister), Teri (Ian's mom), and Ian on the pier after dinner

Ian Kennedy sister is hot.

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:30 pm



Nicole Gregg (Jeff Marquez's girlfriend)

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:46 pm

Thanks to everyone for submitting so many great questions. Wish I could get to all of em.


http://philhughes.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/chat-answers/#comments

zellyanks91 asked: Phil…What goes on in the Yankees clubhouse before and after games..of course the media is there asking questions..but what do you guys do?
It’s pretty laid back for the most part. You can usually find most guys eating and watching TV in the lounge. There’s always a few in the clubhouse chatting with the media, in the training room getting treatment, or working out in the weight room.

bxbomber44 asked: Are you and all the young guns excited to have Eiland back as your pitching coach this year, nothing against Gator
This will be my 3rd season working with Dave. When it comes to my mechanics and pitching mentality I don’t think there is anyone that knows me better. Everyone is very excited to have him this season.

deltaforce82 asked: Scouts say that you throw a tradition 12-6 curve, but I’ve seen pictures and it looks like your actually throwing a knuckle curve, which one do you throw?
There are a few different ways to throw a curveball. The most traditional way is to keep your middle and index finger down on the baseball. The way I throw it is to “spike” my index finger on the ball by digging my nail into the seam. This is known as a spike curveball, or knuckle curve. I’ll bet there are quite a few guys that throw it this way, Mike Mussina and Ian Kennedy being 2 I know for sure.

chocolateaddict706 asked: Word on the street is you’re a fan of The Office. Assuming this is true, who’s your favorite character (and why)?
It’s true, I’m a huge fan of The Office. I think all the characters bring their own unique quality to the show that makes it so good as a whole. If I had to pick one favorite it would have to be Dwight. Don’t think I need much explanation here, he’s hilarious!

seannryann asked: I am plan on ordering your jersey, are you going to continue to wear 65, or do you have plans to use another?
I have no plans right now to change my number.

metalboy15 asked: Your mechanics/delivery seemed to get a lot closer to where it was before the hamstring injury (first 2 starts) upon the arrival of Dave Eiland back in September of last years, do you credit your late season success to this
After coming back from my injury last season my mechanics were a little out of whack. This led to a little loss of velocity and command. When Dave arrived in September we were able to work out some things and I think that had a lot to do with the success I had at the end of the season. It was nice to finish off the year on a good note so I have something to work toward to get back to my normal self in 2008.

Again thanks to everyone for all the great questions. I’ll try to do some more of these down the line as well as get some other players to answer some questions.

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:48 pm

Saturday, January 19, 2008
LeBron Loves The Yankees

VIA Darren Rovell at CNBC.com:

You might recall the whole ordeal that ensued when Cleveland Cavaliers guard LeBron James showed up at the first game of the ALDS between the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees in a Yankees hat.

The game was in Cleveland and many felt that James--despite his being a fan of the Yankees-- shouldn't have worn the hat given that he, more than any other athlete, represents Cleveland. Fans objected, as did noted Cleveland Indians great Bob Feller.

Well, we're not sure how fans in Cleveland are going to react now.

spokesman Kejuan Wilkins has confirmed to CNBC that the company is releasing an Air Zoom V LeBron shoe in March and it's inspired by James' affinity for the Bronx Bombers. The shoe, Wilkins says, continues the theme of having a New York style shoe. Last year, a limited edition Nike shoe meant to honor the state had graffiti on it. The shoe will only be available in New York, though the exact release date and the places where it will be available are unclear.

News of the shoe was being kept under wraps until the great shoe blog Kixandthecity posted pictures of the shoe earlier this week.
As you can see, it has pinstripes, James' number of 23--which will also be nice for Yankees fans since it's the same number as Yankees legend Don Mattingly--and, the best part, a crowd cheer behind the tongue of the shoe ("Le-Bron Jam-es, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap, Clap").

Also, thanks to Mike at New York Yankees Update for the initial information on this.

Posted by Mark McCray at 8:07 PM

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:51 pm

Wednesday Wangdoodles


http://riveraveblues.com/2008/01/23/lebron-creates-shoe-in-mattinglys-homage-2035/#comments

posted: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 | Feedback | Print Entry
filed under: MLB

• ShysterBall exposes elements of the New York City Council for the dishonest panderers that they are. (Yeah, I know: Stop the presses!)

• Tim Marchman adds to the list of writers who recently have observed that baseball is, for the most part, recession-proof.

• Another fine effort from Rich Lederer, whilst discussing Messrs. Jim Rice and Bert Blyleven. Lederer observes that when it comes to Hall of Fame candidates, we just need to keep asking questions. Assuming of course that we're still interested in the answers.

• The Red Sox are going to wear ugly corporate logos when they open their season in March. I'm sure the Athletics will be wearing ugly patches, too. This is nothing new: the Mets wore them in 2000 and both the Devil Rays and Yankees wore them -- plus huge helmet logos -- in 2004. Frankly, back in 2000 I figured that within a few years we would see the same stuff on uniforms throughout the season. But even as advertisements have covered practically every square inch of the ballparks, to this point they've been kept off the uniforms and the actual field of play. For which I will happily thank Bud Selig and anyone else who's stood firm.

• Bay City Ball uses PITCHf/x data to analyze Barry Zito's 2007. Takeaway: It's not easy to retire major league hitters when you're throwing 86 with limited command of the strike zone. At this point it's only Zito's outstanding curveball that allows him to post a league-average ERA. No problem, though: The Giants only owe him another $116 million.

• MetsGeek's Dan Scotto writes about Billy Beane and baseball's new economics (?). What does that have to do with the Mets? Lately it seems there aren't as many great free agents available to the super-rich teams.

• Derek Jacques watches Bartolo Colon pitch Monday so you don't have to, and he's not impressed.

• Happy 46th to Benny Distefano, MLB's last lefty-throwing catcher!

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:52 pm

The New Baseball Economics?



http://www.metsgeek.com/articles/2008/01/22/the-new-baseball-economics/


Scribbled by: Dan Scotto @ 12:36 am | Filed under: Articles

“I don’t have the patience to build for the future. The future is the present, and the six months ahead of you.. . . A five-year plan is archaic, and is a cop-out.” - Billy Beane, 7/25/01

When evaluating a team’s offseason and strategy, there are two different approaches that can be employed:

- We should evaluate everyone on a level playing field and evaluate transactions solely based on the needs of teams and the players involved, not on the basis of the personalities and reputations of the front offices.

- We should incorporate the reputations and histories of the front offices in evaluating trades, in addition to the needs of teams and the players involved.

I firmly believe in the second approach. A general manager who has a history of innovative approaches and successful trades should be given the benefit of the doubt in analysis. Part of the equation is assuming that GM’s with track records of intelligent trades will continue to make intelligent trades. I might get burned sometimes with this approach, but more often than not, you can tease out interesting things about those GMs.

The analytical community praises Billy Beane, perhaps to a fault. I still respect the Oakland general manager’s acumen a lot, and I would rank him as the best in the business at this point. When he does things that go against the grain, I tend to try to see his point.

This offseason, Beane has employed a new approach. Let’s take a look at the body of work coming from Oakland this winter:

12/14/07: Traded RHPs Dan Haren and Connor Robertson to the Arizona Diamondbacks in exchange for LHPs Brett Anderson, Dana Eveland and Greg Smith, INF Chris Carter and OFs Aaron Cunningham and Carlos Gonzalez.

1/3/08: Traded OF Nick Swisher to the Chicago White Sox for LHP Gio Gonzalez, RHP Fautino De Los Santos and OF Ryan Sweeney.

1/14/08: Traded OF Mark Kotsay to the Braves for RHP Joey Devine, nonroster RHP Jamie Richmond and cash.

The A’s, a team short on veterans to begin with, dealt their two best players, both cost-controlled and in their primes, for a bucket of prospects to replenish a depleted and disappointing farm system.

Undoubtedly, the A’s are rebuilding. While Beane has always said that it’s better to rebuild a year too soon than a year too late, but this is somewhat over-the-top. Especially once you consider Beane launched a “rebuilding” project as recently as the 2004-2005 offseason, when he moved rotation stalwarts Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson. That rebuilding project looked like a Beane-type program all the way around. He had pieces in place to replace the guys that were leaving, and he got some major-league talent to temporarily fill in the holes. It led to their ‘06 playoff run.

This, however, looks like a total tear-down. It’s a concession, almost, in the face of a team that can outspend them to great excess (Los Angeles) and the AL East’s two-headed juggernaut that has put a stranglehold on the wild card.

Part of this plan, I’m sure, is based on the fact that they can’t keep up financially, and the teams with a lot of cash have used some of the methods that Beane once used to keep things level. But I think part of it runs a little deeper.

We often hear that Major League Baseball is “awash with cash.” It’s true. MLB Advanced Media has been a major cash cow, giving teams tons of additional money. The game has never been more popular, and most teams draw exceptionally well.

This leads to teams being able to sign their premier players past their cost-controlled years. The result? The free agent market has been bereft of talent for a few years. I wanted to prove this point with more than my own assertions, so I went to the archives:

2005: “Damon, a marquee name in a weak free-agent class, has said he would prefer to stay with Boston.” - Jack Curry, New York Times, 11/22/05

2006: “[Soriano]’s due to become a free agent after that, and given the mammoth season he’s having and a weak free-agent class, he easily will command a deal in the neighborhood of five years and upward of $65 million.” - Mark Zuckerman, Washington Times, 8/1/06

2007: “In this weak free-agent class, Rivera ranks as the best closer.” - Jim Baumbach and Ken Davidoff, Newsday (NY), 11/13/07

When was the last time the free-agent class wasn’t described as weak? It’s a damn good question. You’d have to go back to 2004 (I only found one hit for “weak free agent,” and it was a letter-to-the-editor in Toronto). The trend has been towards weak, thin free agent markets.

You can’t really pick up on inefficiencies in such weak markets, particularly when the whole world knows about on-base percentage and defensive metrics can only take you so far. I think Beane has come to the realization that player development is the only place where he can make his move. Only with a stockpile of young, developing talent can Beane possibly compete with the AL’s big dogs. The Athletics’ young talent, crippled by a few weak drafts, injuries, and some stagnation, needed a jolt. Beane went about it with aggressive, tearing-it-all-down-style moves. It’s a far cry from the “not having the patience to build for the future” of 2001.

So, what does this have to do with the Mets? I watch Billy Beane to see what the trends are. I think that Beane’s wholesale rebuilding is indicative of a sort of malaise that has set in as far as player movement in free agency. The influx of cash means that teams can afford to keep their guys, making trades the only way to make moves work. Even adding talent that way, though, is a tough proposition, requiring huge prospect packages.

The bottom line? This incarnation of baseball economics (the MLBAM windfall, revenue-sharing, no salary cap), coupled with the general conservatism of front offices, is leading to roster stagnation. I think that Beane is trying to burst through it. For Mets fans, though, it’s going to be tougher to get that extra piece or two than we’d hope.

Note: Newspaper sources courtesy of LexisNexis, unless they are explicitly linked.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:55 pm

Jan 23, 2008 4:34 pm - News: Mets sign Rincon to Minor-League Deal



http://www.metsblog.com/

...posted by Matthew Cerrone...

The Mets have signed free-agent LHP Ricardo Rincon to a minor-league deal and invited him to spring training.

In 134 appearances during 2004 and 2005, Rincon was 2–2 with a 3.95 ERA while striking out 67 batters and walking 44 through 82 innings pitched.

However, Rincon had surgery on his shoulder and elbow the following off-season; then signed with the Cardinals, who cut him; he then signed with the Giants – where he made seven appearances – and tore the ACL in his right knee while fielding a ground ball, thus ending his season.

…jeez, talk about a rough 12 months…all i can say is, minor-league contract…good luck, buddy…

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 2:57 pm

Read: Mets No Longer a Darkhorse for Santana

http://www.metsblog.com/2008/01/23/read-mets-no-longer-a-darkhorse-for-santana/#comments


In his latest report for SI.com, Jon Heyman writes that the Mets may ‘actually be the favorite’ to acquire Johan Santana.

Heyman mentions the Yankees and Red Sox ‘restraint,’ and their “willingness to live without Santana,” along with the abundance of high-ceiling prospects the Mets could potentially send to the Twins, as the main reasons the Mets have moved to the front of the pack.

…it’s pretty much what we’ve been hearing and what Cerrone has been saying all along, in that the Mets are a favorite as long as the Yankees and Red Sox are not…

…ideally, the Mets would send their best offer to the Twins and say take it or leave it, in hopes they wouldn’t turn around to the Yankees and Sox and try to coax one final offer from them…realistically, the Mets giving that type of ultimatum would probably hold little weight and the Twins could easily ignore it…so, if the Yankees or Red Sox decide to swoop in at the last minute and trump the mets offer then that’s that…

…of course, none of that matters until the Twins make up their mind to accept one of the offers and then make the last round of phone calls (cue jeopardy music)…

Heyman also discusses how the Mets, as well as the Yankees and Red Sox, may approach Santana’s contract extension.

…added to by Matthew Cerrone…

In a post to his blog for the Star-Tribune, La Velle E. Neal III adds that all three teams have been in contact with the Twins during the last few days.

“For now,” Neal writes, “The Twins have stepped up their efforts to make a deal with one of these teams before camp open

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:01 pm

ZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz….haven’t I heard this one already? Wake me up when they make a decision.

Why do I see this terrible headline in the future…”Yankee’s Trade for Santana and work out a 5 year extension 1 day before pitchers and catchers report”

Sub text “Mets decisde on Bartolo Colon”

This is my nightmare……




It is quite possible that the only viable offer on the table at the moment belongs to the New York Mets, and that Bill Smith is doing everything in his power to suppress that fact. (I think both Ellsbury and Hughes are off-the-table right now. And Lester/Crisp is inferior to the Mets package).

It is quite possible that the Mets have already learned, through Santana’s close friend Luis Castillo, or through agent Peter Greenberg, or through Greenberg’s client Jose Reyes, that Johan intends to go to the Mets.

It is likely that Johan has already refused to be traded mid-season.

It is also likely that he has ruled out a long-term deal with the Twins.

It is also likely that Johan’s patience is running out.

I don’t know if any of the above statements is actually true. But these are the kind of contingencies that will determine the ultimate outcome.

The only information that really matters is information that we don’t have.


Please Email Idiot Phil Rogers at PRogers@tribune.com

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:06 pm

Vincent (Chicago): When Baltimore pulled off an overloand blitz from the left, it was surprising that Brady didn't recognize it pre-snap and audible to a roll-out pass. He took a sack in the middle of the pocket. I assume the Giants will try this and see if he recognizes it. What do you think?

SportsNation Gary Horton: I watched that this week, and Baltimore is great at it. The Giants do that sometimes themselves. They do occasionally send corners from the edge and drop their DEs into coverage, or bring a CB and Lb from the same side. But they really seem to like to attack inside. What I noticed in the blitz package is that because their DEs are so good rushing off the edge, opposing OLs overslide their protection outside, and that makes them vulnerable for a LB to come up from the inside. I think we could see that this week. The Giants' blitz packages are very creative, and though people get conservative when they play the Pats, I don't think the Giants will be like that. They know they need to roll the dice.

Steve (Boston): I think the hidden key is Kaczur, Kyle Brady, Watson and Neal all missed the season finale but will be back. Still, NYG only got one sack in the first game. What do you think?

SportsNation Gary Horton: The Pats have a great pass-protection O line, and because of the multi-receiver sets, they are usually just blocking with the five linemen. This is not a team that gets a lot of max protection with their tight ends. They get Kevin Faulk as an excellent blitz-pickup guy. For the most part, they do a lot of that stuff on their own.

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:08 pm

Scouting Hawaii's Colt Brennan

By Scouts Inc.
(Archive)
Insider

Updated: January 22, 2008, 6:39 PM ET

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft08/insider/news/story?id=3207181

Editor's note: Practice notes are updated daily and a final report will be completed on Friday.

QB Scouting Reports

Colt Brennan is just one of the six QBs Scouts Inc. is watching, grading and writing up daily reports on. Check out how the other five quarterbacks are doing this week. Insider

• Erik Ainge
• John David Booty

• Joe Flacco
• Chad Henne
• Andre' Woodson
The numbers Brennan put up at Hawaii over the course of the last two seasons -- 96 TDs and 9,892 yards -- are staggering. His ability to hit receivers in stride and put enough velocity on the ball to fit into tight spaces made him a perfect fit for Hawaii's spread scheme. In addition, the mobile Brennan throws well on the run and is capable of buying time in the pocket. However, the wide-open scheme he played in simplified his reads and allowed him to get rid of the ball quickly. In addition, he doesn't have prototypical size so he can struggle to find passing windows in the pocket and has a three-quarter release making him vulnerable to getting his passes tipped at the line.

Naturally there are questions about his ability to effectively run a pro-style offense. Finally, it's worth mentioning that Brennan's production dropped considerably his senior year and he had one of the worst, if not the worst, games of his career against Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. It's important he proves that his poor performance in that game was fluke and that he can indeed produce working against a much higher level of competition than he faced while at Hawaii. Absorbing as much information from the coaching staff as possible and showing he can effectively run a pro-style offense during team drills as well as in the game would give his draft stock a boost as well.

COLT BRENNAN
PLAYER AGE SCHOOL NO. POSITION
Colt Brennan 24 Hawaii 15 QB
Senior Bowl 2007 Height 6-2¼ -- Sees the field well enough. Not ideal height, but this is not a major negative for Brennan.
Weight 185 -- Extremely lean. Brennan's lack of bulk is a major concern considering the punishment he will surely take in the NFL. Although he should be able to add weight, this is a concern.
Speed 4.75 -- Lacks top-flight athleticism for the position and isn't the type of quarterback who makes tacklers miss in the open field. But he is athletic enough to throw on the move and buy time in the pocket.
Intelligence There are concerns regarding his ability to quickly pick up a pro-style offense at the next level. Also will need to make strides as a decision-maker.
Toughness Considering his frail frame, Brennan has to be considered a tough player. He battled through an ankle injury for much of his senior season, but still produced at a high level.
Strength/Flex Is not a big, strong quarterback, but does get everything he can out of his frame to create RPMs on his throws.
Durability Plays with pain. Durable, but you have to wonder if that will be the case in the NFL.
Character There are mixed opinions here. Very confident on the field, however, and his teammates have faith in his abilities.
Production Few in the history of college football have produced on a level comparable to Brennan. Of course Hawaii's system had a lot to do with the massive numbers, but Brennan's stats are still fantastic.

PRACTICE NOTES
Monday (1/21/08): Let's just say January 21, 2008 will not go down as one of Brennan's finer days. The trouble began at the morning weigh-in session, where the 6-foot-2 quarterback tipped the scale at a measly 185 pounds. Brennan's slight frame, which was expected to be 15-to-20 pounds heavier, only adds to the existing concerns regarding his durability. The struggles carried over to the practice field, where Brennan was unusually erratic during the afternoon session. Brennan does have a quick release, despite his three-quarter side-slinging type of delivery. He also displays soft touch as a passer, using excellent timing and anticipation to overcome his lack of elite arm strength. However, while he gets as lot of RPMs on the ball he is unable to get adequate zip on longer throws that require velocity, such as the deep out. Simply put, Brennan's showing on Monday left scouts with more questions than answers.
Tuesday (1/22/08): Brennan is not as athletic or nearly as polished as Jeff Garcia, but like Garcia he is very slightly-built and has to really load up to throw the deep ball. Also like Garcia, Brennan is light on his feet and is very accurate. He throws a very catchable pass with good touch and a tight spiral. It is clear that Brennan isn't for every system at the next level and his ability to cut the ball through heavy winds or bad weather should be a concern, especially for teams like Baltimore and Chicago. Brennan has a nice relationship developing with Florida WR Andre Caldwell, though, as the two hooked up twice on deep passes in the one-on-one segment today.

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:14 pm

Scouting Delaware's Joe Flacco

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft08/insider/news/story?id=3207180



By Scouts Inc.
(Archive)
Insider

Updated: January 22, 2008, 5:26 PM ET

Editor's note: Practice notes are updated daily and a final report will be completed on Friday.

QB Scouting Reports

Joe Flacco is just one of the six QBs Scouts Inc. is watching, grading and writing up daily reports on. Check out how the other five quarterbacks are doing this week. Insider

• Erik Ainge
• John David Booty
• Colt Brennan
• Chad Henne
• Andre' Woodson
Although he started his collegiate career at Pittsburgh, the bulk of Flacco's production came at Delaware against a lower level of competition. So there are questions about his ability to adjust to the speed and complexities of NFL defenses. However, there's no question he has the natural ability -- he has prototypical arm strength and size for a pocket passer. In addition, he has shown steady progress over the course of the past two seasons and should only continue to get better with added experience.

This year's premier small-school prospect, Flacco is a late add to the Senior Bowl roster thanks to Boston College's Matt Ryan backing out. In order to maximize his projected draft value as a possible second-rounder, Flacco must prove capable of competing with the "big boys" in Mobile this week.

JOE FLACCO
PLAYER AGE SCHOOL NO. POSITION
Joe Flacco 23 Delaware 5 QB
Senior Bowl 2007 Height 6-6¼ -- One of the tallest QBs in this year's class. Massive frame and great for seeing entire field, but bordering on too tall.
Weight 232 -- Ideal bulk for his height. Is sturdy, but not too bulky.
Speed 4.90 -- While he lacks burst to run away from defenders, Flacco is deceptively mobile. He moves around well for such a massive QB and also throws well on the run.
Intelligence Adequate in this regard. Picks up new schemes quickly but decision-making still needs work.
Toughness Extremely tough quarterback. Will play through pain and isn't afraid to hang in the pocket and take the big hit.
Strength/Flex Very strong. Can break tackles as a runner and is able to throw with defenders hanging on his legs. Is adequately flexible, especially considering his enormous frame.
Durability Has not missed playing time due to injury. Played sparingly at Pittsburgh before transferring to Delaware, where he was a full-time starter the past two seasons.
Character No glaring issues here. Very competitive, but is he a natural leader? Scouts will look for answers to why he left Pitt instead of sticking around and competing for playing time at the highest level.
Production Outstanding production the past two seasons. Earned All-America honors as a senior in 2007 and led the Blue Hens to the FCS national title game. Level of competition must be taken into consideration, though.

PRACTICE NOTES
Monday (1/21/08): Flacco had a terribly disappointing first day on the practice field. This isn't to say that the tall, strong-armed quarterback with sneaky athleticism will not rebound as the week progresses, but there is no denying he was extremely out of sorts today. Flacco botched snaps, bumped into his running back on a handoff and made his receivers work far too hard for simple receptions against air. He looked nervous and deliberate in all of his movements.

Tuesday (1/22/08): Flacco made some strides in Tuesday's practice, but still doesn't seem to be completely comfortable. The good news: Flacco handled the center exchange without any hiccups today and showed a much better feel for the playbook. He also was able to show off his rifle arm on a few strikes during seven-on-seven drills. The bad news: Flacco is still struggling with the timing of his throws. He doesn't seem to know the speed of his receivers yet and is late on a lot of the timing routes. As a result, he really looks tentative at times and his accuracy is suffering as a result. It's fair to say Flacco's overall showing thus far has been a disappointment. He can still salvage his draft stock by finishing strong in the final two practices and the game, but time is running out.

<!--
SUMMARY
Final Grade: APalmer stands out on the practice field with his great height and frame, but overall, he did not help his cause much this week. He is a mechanical athlete with heavy feet, and he doesn't offer much as a runner or ability to escape the rush. His accuracy and timing were erratic, which are bigger concerns. He made his receivers adjust to poorly thrown balls, even against air in individual drills. Overall, Palmer has the talent to be groomed into a decent NFL backup, but this was not a very favorable showing in Mobile.

For more information on the 2007 Senior Bowl, go to the official site.

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Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:15 pm

Scouting USC's John David Booty


http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft08/insider/news/story?id=3207178


By Scouts Inc.
(Archive)
Insider

Updated: January 22, 2008, 5:25 PM ET

* Comment
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Editor's note: Practice notes are updated daily and a final report will be completed on Friday.

QB Scouting Reports

John David Booty is just one of the six QBs Scouts Inc. is watching, grading and writing up daily reports on. Check out how the other five quarterbacks are doing this week. Insider

• Erik Ainge
• Colt Brennan
• Joe Flacco
• Chad Henne
• Andre' Woodson
Booty, a two-year starter for the Trojans, played some of his best football down the stretch and comes into this week riding a wave of momentum. However, there are questions about his arm strength and size. In fact, scouts will be eager to see if he's capable of making all of the throws and whether or not he can scan the field from within the pocket.

While impressing scouts with a live arm would give his draft stock a substantial boost, it's highly unlikely Booty's arm has gotten that much stronger since he last took the field. As a result, it's essential that he continue to pound the strike zone when throwing to receivers running short to intermediate routes and that he takes what the defenses gives him. If he can do that and show adequate arm strength, he should improve his draft value this week.

JOHN DAVID BOOTY
PLAYER AGE SCHOOL NO. POSITION
John David Booty 23 USC 10 QB
Senior Bowl 2007 Height 6-2 3/8 -- Lacks ideal height and that, combined with a lower delivery, can equate to too many passes being batted down at the next level.
Weight 213 -- Less than ideal weight. Will need to add muscle to frame without losing quickness.
Speed 4.90 -- Below average, but functional. Is not a threat to run but does display quick feet in the pocket with the ability to slide and buy time. Is also effective throwing on the run.
Intelligence Has a great understanding of the West Coast offense. Acts as another coach on the field.
Toughness Good overall toughness although with the supporting cast he had at USC, he did not take as many hits as the rest of this year's QB class. Played the Stanford game with a broken finger on his throwing hand.
Strength/Flex Undersized and not overly strong. Will need to work extremely hard to get stronger and more flexible to avoid injuries at the next level.
Durability Long list of injuries throughout career -- suffered a broken wrist in '03, a bruised elbow in '04, a herniated disc that needed surgery in '06 and a broken finger in '07 -- is a big cause for concern.
Character Excellent. Booty comes from a sports-oriented family. Also showed great patience waiting for his turn to start behind Matt Leinart.
Production Hard to argue with his 20-3 record as a starter. His 6,125 passing yards ranks him fifth in school history and he threw 55 touchdowns to just 21 interceptions in his career. Was very clutch in big games, going 9-0 against ranked AP opponents and throwing 23 TDs to just four INTs.

PRACTICE NOTES
Monday (1/21/08): While Joe Flacco was terrible and Chad Henne had a strong performance, Booty was somewhere in the middle. For the most part, Booty did not stand out from a good or bad perspective, unlike his North QB teammates. For a quarterback thrust into a situation like this with all new teammates, that is a good sign. He did have a pass batted back at him during the team period and his release point is somewhat worrisome. But for the most part, Booty was solid for a Monday in Mobile.

Tuesday (1/22/08): Booty turned a workmanlike showing on Tuesday. He continued to show smooth footwork and quick feet in the pocket. He also gets the ball out of his hands quickly and efficiently. Most impressive was his subtle ability to slide in the pocket in order to create throwing lanes. Booty showed great balance when delivering the ball, which equated to solid accuracy the entire practice. This accuracy was most evident when he connected with Purdue WR Dorien Bryant on a deep ball during one-on-one drills. Bryant was blanketed with solid coverage, forcing Booty to put the ball on a line at Bryant's back shoulder, but Booty put solid velocity on the throw and was able to place the ball where only Bryant could make the reception. Booty continues to throw the ball effectively on the run as well. Rolling to his left during the team period, Booty was able to square his hips to his target and deliver a 20-yard comeback route with a defender in his face. There is, however, still some concern regarding Booty's overall arm strength At times the ball will hang in the air too long, especially on deep out routes. Still fighting an uphill battle with size, arm strength and durability issues, Booty was able to calm at least a few critics with his overall performance today.

<!--
SUMMARY
Final Grade: APalmer stands out on the practice field with his great height and frame, but overall, he did not help his cause much this week. He is a mechanical athlete with heavy feet, and he doesn't offer much as a runner or ability to escape the rush. His accuracy and timing were erratic, which are bigger concerns. He made his receivers adjust to poorly thrown balls, even against air in individual drills. Overall, Palmer has the talent to be groomed into a decent NFL backup, but this was not a very favorable showing in Mobile.

For more information on the 2007 Senior Bowl, go to the official site.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:17 pm

Scouting Michigan's Chad Henne

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft08/insider/news/story?id=3207177


By Scouts Inc.
(Archive)
Insider

Updated: January 22, 2008, 5:36 PM ET

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Editor's note: Practice notes are updated daily and a final report will be completed on Friday.

QB Scouting Reports

Chad Henne is just one of the six QBs Scouts Inc. is watching, grading and writing up daily reports on. Check out how the other five quarterbacks are doing this week. Insider

• Erik Ainge
• John David Booty
• Colt Brennan
• Joe Flacco
• Andre' Woodson
Though he had a disappointing senior season that was marred by a shoulder injury, Henne is still one of the most intriguing prospects here. After all, he was a four-year starter at Michigan, he's accurate enough to lead receivers when he sets his feet and he puts great zip on his downfield passes. It doesn't hurt that he was instrumental in the Wolverines' dramatic victory against Florida in the Capital One Bowl, either.

However, Henne lacks the mobility to consistently buy time in the pocket and struggles when forced to get rid of the ball quickly. The defenses aren't allowed to blitz in the Senior Bowl, but the South's defensive line will fly upfield every time it reads pass this week. It is important that Henne stays poised and makes sound decisions when the pocket starts to collapse around him. Henne can also help himself by improving his footwork and his ability to make crisp throws on the run.

CHAD HENNE
PLAYER AGE SCHOOL NO. POSITION
Chad Henne 22 Michigan 7 QB
Senior Bowl 2007 Height 6-2 7/8 -- Not marginal, but not ideal. Should be all right, but might have problems at times seeing the entire field over offensive line at the next level.
Weight 228 -- Relatively solid for his frame. Has the ability to add bulk if necessary.
Speed 4.80 -- Adequate, but not great. Lack of mobility is one of his biggest weaknesses. Needs to improve and show he can throw efficiently on the run.
Intelligence One of the most intelligent prospects in his class. Very hard worker and a film rat. Understands defenses and has made sound decisions throughout his career.
Toughness Displayed great toughness in his senior year. Has a warrior's mentality; played through a popped-out shoulder on multiple occasions during his senior season.
Strength/Flex Shows adequate strength. Will need to work on flexibility to withstand and avoid injuries from the punishment he will take at the next level.
Durability Came into senior season as one of the most durable QBs in his class, but an injury-riddled senior season, which included a knee injury and a dislocated shoulder, brings up some concerns.
Character Outstanding leader. Brings maturity along with all the intangibles a coach could ask for.
Production Henne's 36-14 record as a starter. Reached the 3,000-, 4,000-, 5,000-, 6,000-, 7,000-, 8,000- and 9,000-yard mark faster than any other quarterback in school history. Set school records for touchdowns (87) and total passing yards (9,715).

PRACTICE NOTES
Monday (1/21/08): Henne was the best quarterback on the North's squad today and this atmosphere suits the competitive, experienced and intelligent signal-caller extremely well. Henne completed deep passes to Eddie Royal during one-on-one drills, as well as with Jordy Nelson on seven-on-seven. He threw with very good touch and was consistently accurate with his deep throws. He also got the ball out quickly and sold his play-action fakes. Henne caught the eye of scouts today.

Tuesday (1/22/08): It's hard not to notice the tremendous power and velocity Henne possesses when throwing the ball. Add that to the great accuracy he shows when he's able to set his feet, and Henne made some impressive throws in today's practice. Henne excels in throwing the ball in the intermediate crossing routes and shows great anticipation and drives the ball into tight windows. This was evident during the seven-on-seven period, when he hit Kansas State's Jordy Nelson down the middle. Putting good zip along with the proper projection, Henne was able to place the ball just over the outstretched arms of Southern Cal OLB Keith Rivers. One thing that may go unnoticed is Henne's tremendous feet with his drops. He does a nice job of getting a quick and long first step off of the line, enabling him to get to the proper depth with his drops. This depth gives Henne good ability to read down the field and neutralizes the average height he possesses at 6-foot-2. There is concern about Henne's overall mobility to slide and create in the pocket. This was clear during team drills today, when pressure made Henne look uncomfortable at times and caused him to make a few errant throw

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:19 pm

Ya, I read that column earlier today...

The key phrase to me in that whole thing is "and submission by the Red Sox and Yankees"

In other words, the Mets have taken the lead IF the Yankees and Red Sox back off...

The Red Sox are not a problem. As I have been saying for nearly two months now, they were never in this to win it - something reporters around the nation are FINALLY starting to realize.

But the Yankees are, which is why Santana will be in the Bronx before the start of spring training.

From the very start of this thing, there has only been ONE TEAM with the desire, the players, and the money to get this thing done, and that has not changed.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:22 pm

Bad argument. Everyone saw that Red Sox offer coming in at 30 million or so. Mets went mid-30s expecting to win. Theo lost his mind, though.


I don't believe that for a minute. Everyone KNEW the Sox would win. They did. Simple as that.

It was a sealed bidding process. How did EVERYONE KNOW the Sox would win?

That simply is fiction.



Lets not let facts get in the way...

Take, for instance, Buster Onely's article about the situation:
http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/stor...&id=2654021

Plus, Dice-K is a nice pitcher. But considering his cost and actual production, he is extremely over valued. He was an unproven commodity that plays a position extremely risky to predict and has a multiple outlining factors such as injury, different ball sizes, different days rest (japan compared to usa) and the list goes on.

By simply stating the Mets missed out because they were cheap, as you are implying, the facts of the situation

realize that there is a competitive factor involved when trying to retain players.

Possible Cubs Matsuzaka Bid Amount
The buzz around Chicago today is that the Cubs plan on submitting a bid of $21 million for the rights to negotiate with Daisuke Matsuzaka. If other teams believe this leak to be accurate, it may cause them to up the ante if they have not yet submitted bids.

The Yankees, Mets, Rangers, and Red Sox are said to be the other four teams in the game.

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:29 pm

This is from 2006:

% or Revenue spent on Payroll
79% Washington Nationals
79% Chicago White Sox
74% New York Yankees
70% Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
67% Toronto Blue Jays
66% Detroit Tigers
62% Minnesota Twins
60% Houston Astros
60% Boston Red Sox
59% Los Angeles Dodgers
59% St Louis Cardinals
57% San Francisco Giants
56% New York Mets
56% Atlanta Braves
55% Chicago Cubs
53% Oakland Athletics
53% Philadelphia Phillies
52% Milwaukee Brewers
51% Seattle Mariners
49% Baltimore Orioles
48% Cincinnati Reds
48% Texas Rangers
47% San Diego Padres
45% Kansas City Royals
44% Arizona Diamondbacks
43% Pittsburgh Pirates
40% Cleveland Indians
32% Tampa Bay Devil Rays
31% Colorado Rockies
15% Florida Marlins

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Re: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2008/writers/jon_heyman/01/

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 23, 2008 3:33 pm

Todd McShay- Latest mock draft littered with juniors, linemen
McShay
[quote]
By Todd McShay

Updated: January 23, 2008, 1:45 PM ET

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft08/insider/columns/story?columnist=mcshay_todd&id=3197734

The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the NFL draft has come and gone. Now that we know who's staying and who's going, it's time for Scouts Inc.'s second mock draft. My first-round projection features 13 juniors, including No. 1 overall prospect Darren McFadden, who is not the No. 1 overall pick despite being far and away the best pro prospect available this year.

The top two picks in this version of the mock draft are defensive linemen and an offensive lineman comes in at No. 5 overall. Furthermore, those three are among a group of 12 linemen from both sides of the ball who project as first-rounders. Much will change between now and the draft in April, but here is how I see things shaking down at this early juncture:

Note: * denotes underclassman; ** denotes teams that will decide draft order by coin flip; *** denotes teams that could change position depending on playoff results

1. Miami Dolphins
Record: 1-15
Biggest needs: MLB, OT, G, DT, CB, QB
Projected pick: Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU
Dorsey's dominant performance against Ohio State in the BCS title game was a not-so-subtle reminder of his rare abilities. The 6-foot-1, 310-pounder was back to his disruptive ways thanks to a nearly five-week layoff that allowed him to rest a nagging knee injury originally suffered on a cheap shot in the Auburn game. That said, Bill Parcells, the Dolphins new VP of football operations, will make decisions on coaches, schemes and veteran personnel between now and the draft that could steer the team in a different direction. Dorsey is strong enough to adjust to a 3-4 defensive scheme, but it wouldn't play to his strengths as a penetrating interior force. It wouldn't be cost effective for Miami to spend No. 1 money on an interior lineman in that defensive scheme, either, so OT Jake Long and DE Chris Long are also options. Stay tuned.

2. St. Louis Rams
Record: 3-13
Biggest needs: CB, DE, G, OT, OLB
Projected pick: Chris Long, DE, Virginia
The season-ending injury to perennial Pro Bowl OT Orlando Pace and the Rams' overall poor play along the offensive line this season make OT Jake Long a possibility with this pick. But assuming Pace returns to form in 2008, the Rams have a much bigger need along the interior of their offensive line, which can be addressed in free agency or in later rounds. Don't be surprised if St. Louis goes with the other Long here; Chris is not a prototypical edge rusher but is still a dominant playmaker with rare versatility and a motor that never quits. The Rams could solidify their defensive line for years to come by following 2007 first-round DT Adam Carriker with Long this season.

3. Atlanta Falcons**
Record: 4-12
Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: QB, OT, DT, RB, S
Projected pick: Matt Ryan, QB, Boston College
This match is a no-brainer as far as I'm concerned. Ryan is the clear-cut No. 1 quarterback prospect in the 2008 class. In addition to solidifying the future of the all-important position for the Falcons, Ryan has the intangibles and character to help the franchise rebuild its tarnished image.

4. Oakland Raiders**
Record: 4-12
Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OT, DT, WR, DE, RB
Projected pick: Darren McFadden*, RB, Arkansas
Running back isn't quite a pressing need, but McFadden is a rare talent and an unbelievable value if he slips to the Raiders here. If the team isn't high on McFadden, though, Oakland could use this pick to fill a hole along the offensive or defensive lines. It should also be noted that the Raiders are financially strapped and will not want to dish out top-five money one year after selecting QB JaMarcus Russell with the top overall pick. So, if McFadden is still on the board, don't count out the possibility of a blockbuster trade by owner Al Davis. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, an Arkansas alum, would certainly listen to offers.

5. Kansas City Chiefs**
Record: 4-12
Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: OT, DE, C, WR, CB
Projected pick: Jake Long, OT, Michigan
Quarterback is still a question mark, but the Chiefs' No. 1 priority this offseason should be solidifying their offensive front. Long is unquestionably the most dominant offensive lineman in the 2008 class and could help Kansas City achieve that goal in a hurry. He has the versatility to play either right or left tackle, and his combination of size, technique, athletic ability and a mean streak would improve the Chiefs' line almost immediately.

6. New York Jets
Record: 4-12
Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: WR, NT, ILB, G, OLB
Projected pick: Vernon Gholston*, DE, Ohio State
This seems a bit high right now for Gholston, who flashes top-10 talent in many games (see: three sacks against Michigan) but disappears in too many others. Don't be surprised, however, if he works his way into the top-10 mix by the time April rolls around. Gholston is the best edge-rushing prospect in the class and we all know the premium NFL teams place on those players. He would be an excellent addition at rush linebacker for a Jets defense that is in need of some perimeter heat out of its 3-4 front.

7. New England Patriots (from 5-11 San Francisco)
Record: 16-0
Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: ILB, CB, OLB, OL depth
Projected pick: Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida
The Patriots would like to inject some youth at inside linebacker, but there isn't a player at that position worth selecting this high now that James Laurinaitis (Ohio State) and Rey Maualuga (USC) are both returning to school next fall. The next priority is to find a replacement for CB Asante Samuel, a free agent who can't be franchised for a second consecutive year, and Jenkins is currently the top-rated cornerback in a weak 2008 crop. His combination of size, speed and athleticism is outstanding and his recognition skills improved each season. Jenkins also brings versatility to the table; he can play some safety and also chip in on returns.

8. Baltimore Ravens
Record: 5-11
Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: CB, QB, OLB, DE, OT
Projected pick: Brian Brohm, QB, Louisville
Baltimore hopes this pick puts an end to its seemingly endless search for a franchise quarterback. There's no such thing as a "can't-miss" prospect in the NFL draft, especially at quarterback, and although Brohm is hardly an exception to the rule, he does possess the size, accuracy, pocket presence, intelligence and work ethic to thrive at the next level.

9. Cincinnati Bengals
Record: 7-9
Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: DT, LB, OT, DE, TE
Projected pick: Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
The Bengals have a big need for help along the interior of the defense and Ellis is a quick, tough and relentless defensive tackle. He has the potential to disrupt plays in the backfield with his explosive first step and can occupy blockers, which would make the Bengals' entire front seven better.

10. New Orleans Saints
Record: 7-9
Scouts Inc.'s three biggest needs: CB, DT, MLB, TE, OLB
Projected pick: Kentwan Balmer, DT, North Carolina
This is admittedly a bit of a reach, but unfortunately for the Saints this appears to be the area where the elite talent pool runs dry. Laurinaitis and CB Malcolm Jenkins returning to Ohio State could end up affecting the Saints more than any other team in the draft. Cornerback and defensive tackle are New Orleans' biggest need areas and Balmer is the best available prospect at either position. Although Balmer flashes top-10 potential at times, he also could turn out to be another bust in the mold of Jonathan Sullivan, who New Orleans selected sixth overall in 2003 but traded away in 2006 after he failed to live up to his potential.

11. Buffalo Bills
Record: 7-9
Biggest needs: TE, CB, WR, LB, DT
Projected pick: DeSean Jackson*, WR, California
Jackson could join forces with former Cal teammate and current Bills RB Marshawn Lynch to give Buffalo one of the most exciting young offensive skill groups in the NFL. Jackson still has room to improve as a route-runner and he must get stronger in order to endure a 16-game NFL schedule. Much like Ted Ginn Jr. (No. 9 overall to Miami last season), however, Jackson's home run ability after the catch, on vertical routes and returning punts will be too tempting for a team with a top-15 draft pick to pass on.

12. Denver Broncos
Record: 7-9
Biggest needs: OT, DT, S, MLB, G
Projected pick: Ryan Clady*, OT, Boise State
Clady is still improving his strength but he possesses impressive feet to go along with his enormous wingspan and huge frame. He would be an ideal fit in Denver's zone-blocking scheme.

13. Carolina Panthers
Record: 7-9
Biggest needs: QB, WR, DE, OLB, OT
Projected pick: Calais Campbell*, DE, Miami
It would be tough to pass on a potential future franchise quarterback in Andre' Woodson, but I get the sense that coach John Fox is more worried about the immediate future. Instead of drafting a young signal-caller who will need time to develop, look for the Panthers to bring in veteran competition for Matt Moore, who showed some signs of potential late in the season. Drafting an end like Campbell, who could make an immediate contribution, seems more prudent for Fox; Mike Rucker is expected to retire and Julius Peppers disappeared in 2007.

14. Chicago Bears
Record: 7-9
Biggest needs: QB, OT, DT, G, RB
Projected pick: Andre' Woodson, QB, Kentucky
Teams will be concerned about Woodson's occasional lapses in decision-making and lack of mobility, but he possesses the size, arm strength and accuracy as a passer to develop into a good starter in the NFL. The Bears will likely consider themselves fortunate if Woodson falls to them at pick No. 14 overall, given the quarterback issues that have plagued the team in recent seasons.

15. Detroit Lions
Record: 7-9
Biggest needs: OT, G, CB, S, DE
Projected pick: Aqib Talib*, CB, Kansas
The Lions will be selecting outside of the top 10 for the first time since 2001 and the trick is to find quality players this far down the line. The Lions' secondary is undermanned and would welcome the services of Talib; he is a versatile, fluid athlete with excellent size and ball skills. His elite athleticism was on display when returned an interception 100 yards for a touchdown this season, and Talib also saw some snaps on offense.

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