How We Can Fix The NBA Playoffs

When looking at the subject title, let’s be clear.  When we ask ‘how can we fix the NBA Playoffs?’ – we’re not talking about fixing the outcome of games, but the playoff system itself.

First one has to ask themself:  “Does it need fixing?”

The unwanted answer is: Yes and No.


Some people want the NBA to totally redraw the seeding of the playoff teams no matter the conference.  This means, the league would take the playoff teams from the East and the playoff teams from the West and “re-draft” the lines so to speak.  This would put the team with the best record as the one seed, followed in order until the playoff team with the worst season record is the bottom seed.  Think of it as 25% of your March Madness bracket.   This would eliminate a big part of what makes any sport’s championship game, a championship game.  This does away with conference vs conference championship games and instead increases the chances of Hawks vs Grizzlies type of games on the playoff calendar.  If the plan is to “re-draft” the lines, the point of playing for a best record in your conference to get home court advantage means nothing.  Divisions almost mean nothing either – it’s all about the win/loss record and nothing much else.

How about if the NBA didn’t treat a playoff birth as an “almost guarantee.”  More than half of the teams in the league make it into the playoffs.  To make matters worse, the NBA playoffs become “NBA Season 2.0” because games played in the first round all the way to the Finals are  decided in a seven game series.  What happened to the days when the first round of the playoffs were a quick three out of five game series?  The top seeds could wrap up their series quick while the middle seeds slug it out with each other for four or five games.  Of course we know the NBA will NEVER go for that, because they are making pounds of cheese in advertising when a series stretches to six or seven games.


We can talk about playoff-positioning, we can talk about limiting teams, or at least limiting the first round to a best 3 out of 5 series, but there is only one true way to improve, or “fix” the NBA Playoffs. . . get better teams.  Sounds simple, but not in the NBA.  This is a league that has always been viewed as “top heavy.”   The best team, with the collection of best players give you the advantage.  One can make an argument that the Detroit Pistons of 2004 were the only team in recent history, that won the championship with a collection of good players – not elite all stars.   This year, going into the NBA season everyone with half a brain cell said the West will be represented by San Antonio or Golden State and the East will be represented by LeBron James and his Band of “those guys.”   The bottom line is: the entire league is predictable; and being predictable is boring.  (with that being said, nobody predicted the current MCL injury inflicted on Steph Curry, but you know what I mean. . .)


Maybe if the league itself just had more talent.  Less divas, more team ball.  Players that were coach-able.  Less players who think they are fashion icons.  Players that cared less about social media.  Players that stood out of shady strip clubs – then maybe, just maybe – the product on the hardwood would translate better.  The NBA has been gaining popularity, but more because it’s the “cool kids club” not because of the game itself.

Best way to fix the NBA playoffs?  Fix the NBA.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

“Lemonade” Album Review

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.”

Is that the most cliche and generic quote one can start this article with?  Absolutely.  In the case of Beyonce’s  sixth album “Lemonade” there truly is no other statement that immediately comes to mind though. . .  The album’s title “Lemonade” was inspired by a speech made by her husband’s grandmother at a 90 year birthday celebration. . . the album itself finds it’s core inspired by apparent infidelity caused by her husband, Jay-Z.   Beyonce and Jay-Z have been hip-hop’s power couple since rumors of them started back in their “Bonnie and Clyde/Crazy In Love” days.  Now it seems their marriage has gone a bit sour and Beyonce is using her music as therapy.  She councils herself on this journey called “Lemonade” and holds nothing back.


Keep in mind that these lyrics, for all that it’s worth, are directed at Jay-Z, which makes her tone just as important as her words.  And also, it’s just more entertaining to think that every song is her telling Mr. S-Dot Carter off.  On “Hold Up” (produced by Diplo), Beyonce serves her listener with a laid back island-pop feel.  The lyrics make it quite obvious who her muse is : “Lets imagine for a moment that you never made a name for yourself/Or mastered wealth, they had you labeled as a king/Never made it out the cage, still out there movin in them streets/never had the baddest woman in the game up in your sheets.”   She details in this song, how she must be crazy for still loving and not giving up on someone who is playing her out. . .

“Sorry” and “Don’t Hurt Yourself” find Beyonce less-hurt and more angry.  It’s the Beyonce that all women love, to be honest.  Her Sasha-Fierce-Like-Confidence on “Sorry” finds Beyonce being the ring-leader for girls out there who have been done wrong by a man.  She leads the charge with the bridge: “Middle fingers up, put them hands high/ Wave it in his face, tell him, boy bye/Tell him boy, bye-boy bye/ Middle fingers up, I ain’t thinking ’bout you.”  Beyonce even lays down a cryptic: “Let’s have a toast to the good life/Suicide before you see this tear fall down my eyes/Me and my baby, we gon’ be alright/We gon’ live a good life.”  Jack White is featured on, and helped to write “Don’t Hurt Yourself”  which is a rock inspired track  which is felt even more when Beyonce’s voice is slightly muffled in a true grunge-like filter.  On this track, Beyonce plays the role of the one who might be getting cheated on but holds all the cards.  Even lays down a threat to her husband that she’ll “bounce to the next dick.”   Her confidence is on full display when she ends the track with: “You know I give you life/ If you try this sh*t again, you gon’ lose your wife.”


Beyonce ventures into the country music world with “Daddy Lessons.”  This is a great look into her relationship with her father and how it relates to her current marriage.  Beyonce’s father, Matthew Knowles, cheated in his marriage as well.  Knowing that and also knowing Matthew Knowles wasn’t too supportive of the union of Jay-Z and Beyonce, it’s no surprise that he would tell his daughter: “My daddy warned me about men like you/He said baby girl he’s playing you/ he’s playing you.”  The song itself is a smart move for Beyonce, because she has the chops to cross over into any genre of music and this should find her spins on stations across the U.S. that she never previously graced.

“Sandcastles” is the true ballad on the album.  The pain in her voice is evident.  There is nothing fake about Beyonce on this album – every lyric and emotion comes off as genuine (and if this is just a huge media ploy constructed by Bey and Jay – nah, lets not even think that!).  “Sandcastles” finds Beyonce alone with a piano bearing her pain and only asking in return from her lover an equated feeling of regret and pain. . .


Beyonce takes a break from her lover’s angst anthems with the track “Freedom.”  Much like her previously released single “Formation” – which is featured at the end of the LP – she takes a social stand.   The message she brings to the African-American community is that although they are “free” they are still shackled by the racism in the world.  “Freedom” features Kendrick Lamar but also features production by Just Blaze, who hits this song with an aggressive drum sequence, supplied by organs and a choir backing the chorus. It’s a refreshing tangent for the album to go off on and it doesn’t hinder the overall flow at all.

The idea behind “6 Inch” is a bit weird as Beyonce uses the six-inch-heel as a symbol of a hard working woman.  It’s a more in-your-face-approach version of Ne-Yo’s “Miss Independent.”  The use of the Issac Hayes “Walk On By” sample and the addition of the Weeknd are enough for people to forget about the stretch of a concept drawn up here. . .

INGLEWOOD, CA - AUGUST 24: Beyonce performs onstage during the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards at The Forum on August 24, 2014 in Inglewood, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/MTV1415/WireImage)

Lately, many music lovers have been critical, at times even overly-critical of Beyonce.   She raised the bar for herself and hasn’t been able to attain that again, it would seem.  She has been trying new sounds and new ways to approach music while keeping her image fresh and it seems she hit her stride with “Lemonade.”  What also works in her favor, is that Beyonce is seen the  diva of all divas, a superstar – but her vulnerabilities and pain on this record are real and for the first time in a long time, she has become relatable with her fans.  The production is a win and Beyonce, plays the role of being “hurt” and “vengeful” very well throughout the album.  The only question now is:  “Will Jay-Z  come out with a diss record aimed at Beyonce?”  — Doubtful.  But that would be insane. . .

Rating 8.5 out of 10

G.W. Gras

Twitter @GeeSteelio

Heartthrob’s Mock Draft 2.0

Yeah, this mock draft stuff is frustrating. . . As soon as I was done with my mock  the first two picks in the draft were traded.  I couldn’t sit idly by and do nothing about, so here is a quick rundown/update of the 2016 NFL Draft as I see it.  Let’s see what I have your team doing in the first two rounds.  The 2.0 won’t be as in-depth as the first time around, just the teams and the players I expect them to take in this fictional world of mine. . .

*players names in “(       )” indicate who teams took in first mock draft

Round 1:

  1. Rams (from Titans) – After this trade they go and snatch up Jared Goff, QB from Cal.  They should’ve taken Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State but whatever – both of these QB’s will disappoint.
  2. Eagles (from Browns) – They’ll take the  other over-hyped QB, Carson Wentz out of North Dakota State.  The Eagles are going to be terrible for the next four-five years.
  3. Chargers – Jalen Ramsey, CB/Saftey out of Florida State.(De’Forest Buckner)
  4. Cowboys – Ezekiel Elliot, RB, Ohio State
  5. Jaguars – Leremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss (Myles Jack)
  6. Ravens – De’Forest Buckner, DE, Oregon (Ronnie Staley)
  7. 49ers – Paxton Lynch, QB, Memphis (Shaq Lawson)
  8. Browns – Ronnie Staley, OT, Notre Dame
  9. Bucs – Vernon Hargreaves, CB, Florida (Kevin Dodd)
  10. Lions (get this pick after mock trade with Giants) – Joey Bosa,  DE, Ohio State (A’Shawn Robinson)
  11. Bears – Leonard Floyd, LB, Georgia (Jalen Ramsey)
  12. Saints – Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson (Leonard Floyd)
  13. Dolphins – William Jackson III, CB, Houston (same)
  14. Raiders –  A’Shawn Robinson,DT, Alabama (Robert N’kemdiche)
  15. Titans – Taylor Decker, OT, Ohio State
  16. Giants (get this pick after mock trade with Lions) – Myles Jack, UCLA, LB (Joey Bosa)
  17. Falcons – Robert N’kemdice, DE, Ole Miss (Eli Apple)
  18. Colts – Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss (same)
  19. Bills – Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State (same)
  20. Panthers (get this pick after mock trade with Jets) – Josh Doctson, WR, TCU
  21. Redskins – Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama (Jalon Smith)
  22. Chiefs – Corey Coleman, WR, Baylor (Will Fuller)
  23. Vikings – Will Fuller, WR, Notre Dame (Michael Thomas)
  24. Bengals – Michael Thomas, WR, Ohio State (Josh Doctson)
  25. Steelers – Joshua Garnett, G, Stanford (Mackensie Alexander, CB, Clemson)
  26. Seahawks – Braxton Miller, WR, Ohio State (Reggie Ragland)
  27. Packers – Jarran Reed, DT, Alabama (same)
  28. Vikings – Kevin Dodd, DE, Clemson (Corey Coleman)
  29. Cardinals – Sheldin Rankins, DT, Louisville (Emmanuel Ogbah)
  30. Jets (get this pick after mock trade with Panthers) – Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State
  31. Broncos – Connor Cook, QB, Michigan State (Dak Prescott)

Second Round

32. Browns – Tyler Boyd, WR, Pitt (same) — huge bust potential

33. Titans –  Jack Conklin, OT, Michigan State (Jason Spriggs)

34. Cowboys – Yannick Ngakue, DE, Maryland (same)

35. Chargers – Germain Ifedi, OT, Texas A&M (Braxton Miller)

36. Ravens – Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama (same)

37. 49ers – Jason Spriggs, OT, Indiana (Joshua Garnett)

38. Jaguars – Cody Whitehair, OG, Washington State (same)

39. Bucs – Kamalei Correa, DE, Boise (same)

40. Giants – Emmanuel Ogbah, DE, Oklahoma State (Devonte Booker)

41. Bears – Karl Joseph, S, West Virginia

42.  Dolphins – Keanu Neal, S, Florida (same)

43. Titans – Xamien Howard, CB, Baylor

44. Raiders – Su’a Cravens, LB/S, USC (same)

45. Titans – Deion Jones, LB, LSU

46. Lions – Sterling Shepard, WR, Oklahoma (Shilique Calhoun)

47. Saints – Noah Spence, DE, Eastern Kentucky (Sheldon Day)

48. Colts – Ryan Kelly, C, Alabama (same)

49. Bills – Justin Simmons, S, Boston College (same)’

50. Falcons – Sheldon Day, DE, Notre Dame (Noah Spence)

51. Jets – Hunter Henry, TE, Arkansas

52. Texans – Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State (same)

53. Redskins – Jonathan Bullard, DE, Florida (Kendall Fuller)

54. Vikings – Scooby Wright, LB, Arizona

55. Bengals – Kenny Clark, DT, UCLA (same)

56. Seahawks – Kyler Frackell (same)

57. Packers – Nick Vigil (same)

58. Steelers – Shilique Calhoun, DE, Michigan State (Darian Thompson)

59. Chiefs – Zack Sanchez, CB, Oklahoma (Scooby Wright)

60. Patriots -Kendall Fuller, CB, Virgina Tech(Zack Sanchez)

61. Patriots – Alex McCallister, LB, Florida (same)

62. Panthers – Tajae Sharpe, WR, Umass (same)

63. Broncos – Beniquez Brown, LB, Miss State (Kenneth Dixon)


No matter what happens from here till draft day – this will definitely be the last mock draft you’ll see from your boy the Heartthrob, until 2017.  Enjoy the draft and good luck to your favorite team!


G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio



Josh Gordon’s Problem Isn’t the NFL’s Problem

The great Jay-Z once said: “What you eat, don’t make me shit,” and he said that to say – whatever you do to yourself, doesn’t affect me.  The NFL has a different way of looking at things.  The NFL feels, if you’re an employee of the league, you represent them, all of them – and they can punish you for things that you are doing to yourself if it affects the “collective image” of the league.

It’s kind of funny that the NFL wants to set a standard for this “collective image” when the players feel such a disconnect from their owners and the league’s overall hierarchy.  If they felt comfortable in that relative dynamic, there  would not be a need for a players-union.


With that being said, the Cleveland Browns have become the hot-bed for substance abuse related suspensions in the NFL.   Most notably because of weed smoking Josh Gordon and heavy drinker, hard-party-goer and generally assumed drug addict, former quarterback, Johnny Manziel.  Gordon has just failed another drug test so his fate is pending and Manziel is currently unemployed with teams scared to touch him.

While realizing that alcohol and drug addictions are serious vices to one’s life.  Just how serious should it be in terms of “playing football.”   Alcohol is legal.  Marijuana is legal in some states, with over-zealous modern day hippies pushing for it to be legal in all fifty states.  So what’s exactly “wrong” in dabbing in legal and semi-legal vices?

Well for starters – the word “vices” lends itself to being “no bueno” and they’re not.   Who are we to judge though?  Sure we’ve seen town-drunks, heard stories about the drugged out or drunkard parents, but these are  adults, in their chosen career paths – doing what they want on their spare time.   The NFL though, has made it their duty to punish players for being victims of their vices – even when not on “company-time.”


The NFL should leave it up to the team to dish out a punishment.  Why the team and not the NFL?  Because it’s the team, in this case the Browns, who hired the likes of Manziel and Gordon.  It should be up to the Browns organization to decide if their actions deem a punishment.  The Browns made their decision loud and clear in the case of Manziel by releasing him.  Manziel’s off-field nonsense included, partying, lying and even a domestic abuse case – it was easy to cut ties with the young quarterback, who for all things considered, would’ve been “marginal” at best in the NFL.  Josh Gordon on the other hand, he’s a beast.  One of the best wide-receivers in the league.  Do you really think a sorry-ass, lowly-ass, lower-tier-team like the Browns would want to lose their best player – over smoking some “kush?”

No.  Of course not.  But the NFL somehow has gotten the “right” to punish a player – quite harshly at that – for being addicted to marijuana.  Of course, if the rule is in place, the player should know about it and have the right state of mind to NOT do it – but we’re talking about an obvious addict here.  Sure, a lack of intellect or judgement can be thrown in the direction of Josh Gordon but is his “wrong doing” as equal as let’s say beating a woman, or relentlessly punishing a young child?  Or even in some cases, vehicular manslaughter?

No.  Of course not.


If the NFL wants to seriously consider punishing players for marijuana use, they need to get the penalties right.  Josh Gordon shouldn’t feel like a woman/child beater for smoking weed.  He should just be embarrassed at the fact that his addiction is public knowledge and it should be up to the Cleveland Browns, to decide what to do with him.  It’s like being a big business owner and having one kick ass employee who helps you generate millions of dollars every year.  The only issue with this employee is that he sleeps with every new young intern your company hires and it causes some headaches.  Would you put up with the headaches and daily drama for the sake of millions?  Yes, of course you would (okay, you on your high horse who said “No, I wouldn’t” – go plant yourself in a room with your self-righteous bullshit).

For the record, I’m not an advocate of “legalizing marijuana.”  I’m just a guy who believes in the old saying “let the punishment, fit the crime.”  For Josh Gordon, being a member of the Cleveland Browns organization is punishment enough.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio


The Heartthrob’s 2016 NFL Mockery Draft

Here is my disclaimer:

I am not a draft guru.  I don’t pretend to be.  Eh, I kind of pretend to be at least. . .  Regardless, if you want REAL breakdowns of NFL draft prospects – check out the following guys: Josh Zimmer (@JZimmer_NFL), Montel Hardy (@MontelNFL), Joe Wedra (@JoeWedra) and Justin Higdon (@afc2nfc).  Well, now that that’s out of the way, let’s proceed with the ridiculous! (Only doing the first two rounds)

Round 1:

  1. Titans – The obvious, no brainer pick.  The Titan’s think they have a franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota, so it makes perfect sense to select Ole Miss, left tackle Laremy Tunsil.  Laremy+Tunsil+NFL+Combine+Day+3+ddhVEdGdq63l
  2. Browns – Does it really matter who they pick?  No, it doesn’t.  They just signed RG3, but is that really signing a starting quarterback? Who knows. They’ll still take Carson Wentz, quarterback out of North Dakota State.  Keep in mind, every single division one college could’ve had this guy. . . or at least that’s what I tell myself.  He played for North Dakota State. . . And killed it, at North Dakota State. We know nothing about the state of North Dakota except that there is a south to it apparently.
  3. Chargers – An interesting team.  Do we root for them purely for their powder blue jerseys?  Probably.  Why not, those jerseys are probably the flyest things you can purchase on  I have a powder blue Rivers jersey, it’s beautiful.  Usually I rock it with grey sweats, grey sneakers and a powder blue hat.  The pick? Does it matter, really?  They’ll over-shoot the value of Oregon defensive end, DeForest Buckner who’ll end up being a bust.
  4. Cowboys – They need defense. Sure.  But they also know that with a good running back behind this offensive line, they can go back to being the offense they were before last season.  In a surprise move they take Ohio State running back Ezekiel Elliot. Ezekiel+Elliott+BattleFrog+Fiesta+Bowl+Ohio+txBvI6Keximl
  5. Jaguars – The Jags can score, they just need to stop other teams from doing it to them.  They go after UCLA’s linebacker, Myles Jack.  A great athlete who can make up for some of the holes in this defense
  6. Ravens – They keep giving money to Joe Flacco, because they love living in a world of mediocrity. Protect that mediocre investment with Notre Dame tackle Ronnie Staley.
  7. 49ers – Kapernick realizes there are worse things in the world like playing for a this team and being coached by Chip Kelly – like chewing tin foil. So he sticks it around, mostly because nobody else will pay him what he’s owed.  They take Shaq Lawson out of Clemson, which is funny because they should’ve taken the better defender out of Clemson Kevin Dodd.
  8. Eagles – Funny, they pick right after Chip Kelly does. They lock up Florida corner back Vernon Hargreaves. III+Vernon+Hargreaves+Florida+State+v+Florida+VYIGliSqY87l
  9. Bucs – Call the 49ers real quick to thank them.  They select Clemson’s Kevin Dodd.
  10. Lions – Giants general manager Jerry Reese is on the hot seat.  Spent a lot of money on defense in the off-season and was really hoping for Ezekiel Elliot to drop to number 10.  Calls Detroit for a swap of picks – Detroit wants to fill that defensive tackle spot so they take Alabama’s A’Shawn Robinson.
  11. Bears – Everyone the Bears wanted, Hargreaves, Robinson and Staley are gone.  They remember they have a corner in Kyle Fuller who is awful, so they select Florida State’s Jalen Ramsey in hopes of something better.
  12. Saints – Nobody knows why Sean Payton and Drew Brees are still here.  They go after Leornard Floyd, linebacker out of Georgia – who will end up being a good building block for them, when they realize they stink and should be rebuilding. Leonard+Floyd+Georgia+Southern+v+Georgia+dvAMtXsRZG1l
  13. Dolphins – They are tempted to take a receiver here but they have two young ones in DeVante Parker and Jarvis Landry who should be okay moving forward.  Only issue is that this poor team still thinks Ryan Tannehill is a true franchise quarterback.  In a surprisingly smart move, they take Houston corner William Jackson III. 
  14. Raiders – Ignore the red flags and take Robert Nkemdiche, out of Ole Miss.  The gamble will pay off in the long run for the boys in silver and black.
  15. Rams – They think they got lucky with Cal quarterback Jared Goff, dropping to them but much to their dismay he turns out to be horrible at playing quarterback.  In a surprising twist he can hold a clipboard and root his teammates on from the sidelines really well, so there’s that. . .Jared+Goff+Arizona+State+v+California+pTp-DWGfgNdl
  16. Giants – Much like the Rams, the Giants think they’ve gotten lucky that Ohio State linebacker Joey Bosa has fallen to them.  But they realize by week three Bosa can get shoved around a lot and doesn’t play as “big” as he did for Ohio State.  Jerry Reese goes on twitter and starts to write childish memes about Joey Bosa before being fired by the Giants half  way through the season.
  17. Falcons – The Falcons continue the love for Ohio State in the first round and select corner Eli Apple.
  18. Colts – Realizing that their overall talent and depth chart are extremely underwhelming – they decide to put this entire season on the shoulders of a healthy Andrew Luck.  They help him out by drafting Ole Miss wide out Laquon Treadwell.
  19. Bills – Rex Ryan don’ care.  Takes a sure bust in Ohio State linebacker Darron Lee.
  20. Jets – Funny how the Jets draft after Ryan, huh?  The Jets traded for Ryan Clady because of the retirement of left tackle D’Brickshaw Ferguson.  Clady is a veteran and the Jets are a little paranoid.  So they go after Ohio State’s (yes, another Buckeye) Taylor Decker, who  is more of a right tackle, than left – there is enough value in the potential of him moving forward for the Jets to feel this is the best move now.
  21. Redskins – Don’t look now, but the Redskins actually have a pretty decent squad. This allows the Redskins to take a gamble on injured Notre Dame linebacker Jaylon Smith. Jaylon+Smith+BattleFrog+Fiesta+Bowl+Ohio+State+gLEhp-h8F7zl
  22. Chiefs – After swapping picks with the Texans, the Chiefs decide to draft wide receiver Will Fuller out of Notre Dame.
  23. Vikings – The Vikings draft wide receiver Michael Thomas out of Ohio State.  No cute story here or anything, they just need wide receivers.
  24. Bengals – They need wide receiver’s too, to help opposite of AJ Green, they go after TCU’s Josh Doctson.
  25. Steelers – Tempted to go wide receiver here as well, they decide instead to help out a secondary that was destroyed last year and draft Clemson corner back, Mackensie Alexander.
  26. Seahawks – The rich get richer, the Seahawks add an inside linebacker to their rotation in Alabama’s Reggie Ragland.
  27. Packers – The Packers need someone in that defensive tackle spot, they knew Alabama’s Jarran Reed would be here, so it’s a no brainer.  Deep down, they were hoping Robert Nkemdiche would’ve dropped to them.  Tough luck, Wisconsin.
  28. Vikings – Minnesota wants back in, so they trade their second and third round picks to the Texans.  Vikings go wide receiver again, to help out their quarterback Teddy Bridgewater.  They select Baylor’s Corey Coleman.
  29. Cardinals – They have the coolest coach in the league in Bruce Arians.  Emmanuel Ogbah, defensive end from O.K. State is still there.  Arians now turns from the draft, lights up a cigar and turns on the radio.  Straight chillin’.
  30. Panthers – Carolina is pissed off.  They thought they’d get one of the receivers they wanted so they could pair him up with a healthy Kelvin Benjamin.  Instead they get Sterling Shepard out of Oklahoma.  He’s not the biggest of guys, but he’s got what it takes to be a slot receiver in this league for a long time.
  31. Broncos – They still don’t have a quarterback.  In a surprise move John Elway and the Broncos lock in on Mississippi State’s quarterback Dak Prescott.  His DUI is scaring some team’s off, but Elway sees a natural leader who can make minimal mistakes with the football. Dak+Prescott+Mississippi+State+v+Texas+n4im673x0QKl

Second Round – This one will be quick

32. Browns – The Browns need a receiver but totally force the issue and overshoot the value of Pitts’ Tyler Boyd.

33. Titans – Jason Spriggs, guard out of Indiana to help continue the protection of this supposed “franchise” quarterback, Marcus Mariota.

34.Cowboys – Many don’t know about Maryland’s defensive end  Yannick Ngakoue, but they will.  Bonus: Cowboys snag another running back in the fourth round, Alabama’s Kenyan Drake.  The Boys are going to move the chains a lot this year. . . Kenyan+Drake+Goodyear+Cotton+Bowl+Alabama+Ox7bWOp6wcql

35. Chargers – They love the versatility of Ohio State’s Braxton Miller and role the dice on someone who could potentially have the play maker ability of a healthy Percy Harvin.

36.Ravens  – Derrick Henry, Alabama running back, helps this team get back to just running the ball.

37. 49ers – Joshua Garnett, guard out of Stamford.  Has potential to become a ten year starter.  That’s unless the 49ers kill this kid’s passion to play football and he retires early. . .

38. Jaguars – Follow suit and take a guard, this time it’s Washington State’s Cody Whitehair.

39. Bucs – Boise State has a guy named Kamalei Correa.  . . sure, why not?

40. Giants – Reese just can’t catch a break.  Wanted Elliot in the first round, then wanted Henry in the second.  Couldn’t get either and settles for Utah running back Devonte Booker.


41. Jets  – Jets trade Mo Wilkerson to the Bears for a second round pick.  After the Jets select Louisville defensive tackle Sheldin Rankins , the Bears realize they could’ve done the same thing and saved money.  .  .Bonus: the Bears have the steal in the draft when in the fifth round they select tight end Tyler Higbee out of Western Kentucky. . . BearDown!

42. Dolphins – Keanu Neal, safety out of Florida.  Miami keeps the in-state talent.

43. Rams – Xamien Howard, corner out of Baylor will easily fill the void left by Janoris Jenkins.

44. Raiders – Raiders like the versatility of USC safety Su’a Cravens.

45. Rams  – Take Texas A&M tackle, Germain Ifedi.

46. LIons – Go after a defensive end, Shilique Calhoun out of Michigan State.  There are about three better options at this position, but y’know, it’s Detroit.

47. Saints – Go after defensive end, Sheldon Day, out of Notre Dame.  There are two better options at this position, but y’know, it’s Detro— er, New Orleans.

48. Colts – Makes sense for the Colts to draft Alabama center, Ryan Kelly here – let him grow with Luck for years to come.

49. Bills – Look at Boston College safety, Justin Simmons.

50. Falcons – Need some youth at pass rusher – they select Noah Spence out of Eastern Kentucky.

51. Jets – Jets roll the dice with quarterback Paxton Lynch out of Memphis.  Although Ryan Fitzpatrick has been signed back to the Jets (in this fantasy world) the organization knows Fitzy is not the “future,” and neither are Bryce Petty or Geno Smith.

52. Texans – Decide to finally draft somebody and to no-one’s surprise, Bill O’Brien snags the kid he coached at Penn State, quarterback Christian Hackenberg.Christian+Hackenberg+Penn+State+v+Wisconsin+btrwQIi2wN_l

53. Redskins – Redskins draft the brother of Bears corner back Kyle Fuller – Kendall Fuller out of Virginia Tech.  The Redskins hope they got the better Fuller.

54. Texans – Previously the Vikings pick, the Texans decide to select the slightly undersized yet speedy defensive end Jonathan Bullard out of Florida.

55. Bengals – UCLA D-tackle Kenny Clark gets selected by Cincy.

56. Seahawks – Utah State has two linebackers of pretty equal quality to take here, Kyler Frackell and Nick Vigil. They flip a coin, heads is Frackell.

57. Packers – The penny pinching Packers pick up the quarter left on the ground by the Seahawks and draft Nick Vigil out of Utah State.

58. Steelers – Select Boise State safety Darian Thompson.

59. Chiefs – Snatch up the instinctive Arizona linebacker Scooby Wright, who ends up being a nice rotational piece on an NFL defense.

60. Patriots – After having to sit out the first round, the Pats get back to back picks. Cornerback out of Oklahoma, Zack Sanchez is the pick here. Zack+Sanchez+Oklahoma+State+v+Oklahoma+FuaSalb_aLCl

61. Patriots – Alex McCallister out of Florida will try to pick up where Chandler Jones left off.

62. Panthers – In a surprise reach, the Panthers nab Umass wide receiver Tajae Sharpe.  Bonus: In the sixth round they snatch up Tennessee wide out Marquez North, who proves to be the best of the three receivers they got this year.

63. Broncos – Kenneth Dixon, running back out of Louisiana Tech.

That does it.  Only two rounds and I’m beat.  You got to give credit to the guys who can do this for all seven rounds.  Anyhow, hope you can tell who I liked and didn’t like and who’s fortunes I hope turn around and who I hope sinks to the bottom.

Most importantly – hope you were at least entertained.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

Our Guy, Kobe

I went from high school to the pros.  I was anointed as “the future.”  I was a winner.  A champion.  I was Kobe Bryant.  .  .  okay, not realistically, but figuratively and for a generation of us – we all felt that Kobe represented us.

We were young when we watched, in awe of Michael Jordan.  To us, he could fly, he coudn’t be stopped and he was everything a super athlete should be – super human.  Then, Kobe came into the scene and we saw someone like us, and where we could only dream to be.


Except he wasn’t like us.

While at family dinners, we were the type trying to scheme younger cousins out of their deserts, while Kobe was trying to find his way into a conversation at the adult’s table.  While we watched basketball on TV, Kobe was outside, practicing jump-shots until the sun went down.  Kobe knew what his destiny would be – it was to be an all-time, NBA great.

5 time champion.  Two-time NBA Finals MVP.  Los Angeles Lakers’ all-time leading scorer. Eighteen time All-Star. And shockingly only one NBA league MVP award.  One.


Sure there have been other great players who only one the award once like Kobe’s old teammate, Shaquille O’Neal, as well as Allen Iverson and Kevin Garnett.  All of whom are great players – but for Kobe that’s like sitting in an honors class and still knowing you’re the smartest one there. . .

That singular award given to the league’s best was only given to Kobe Bryant, one time.  Let that sink in.  Let it sink in because that is proof that the world missed on the “big picture” with  Kobe Bryant.  The “Black Mamba”  is without a doubt the biggest sports MEGA star – that sports fans have taken for granted.

There are reason’s for this though.


He came in right after the Jordan-Era.  That was a tough spot for anyone to be in.  Michael Jordan is considered in most circles (and rightfully so) as the greatest ever.  It wasn’t supposed to be for many, many years that someone could even be mentioned in the same breath as “His Airness.”  Folks didn’t want to believe that Kobe Bryant was the closest thing we’d get in comparison to Michael.  Similar playing styles, intensity, position and they were both polarizing.  Also, an important fact that is ignored in comparing great players – they played in era’s that over-lapped and weren’t too far from each other’s.  Add to the fact that Kobe’s game was influenced by Michael –  we were given the closest thing to Jordan that we could’ve received as fans.  Many just didn’t want to believe it.


Another reason for Kobe being taken for granted was that he became the bridge from Jordan – to LeBron.   LeBron brought a different kind of dominance and athleticism never seen before, in the modern basketball era.  Kobe became an after-thought as comparison’s of LeBron James to Michael Jordan seemingly leap frogged Kobe Bryant on the NBA’s All Time great-timeline.


Kobe realized a fall from grace that no other athlete of his caliber had come across, while still being relevant and in his prime.   A rape charge, that had turned itself into a story of adultery on Bryant’s part.  It didn’t shock folks that Kobe, the world’s biggest basketball star in the world was unfaithful, but his public image took a shot to the ribs.  Sponsors dropped him quicker than one could imagine – who could blame them?  The word “rape” is a hard one to shake off.  Kobe came back from that though.  Winning championships and in turn winning back fans and endorsements.

So why is it Kobe Bryant is taken for granted?   Could it be that in the two season’s prior to this one, his body has not been able to keep up with the physical demands of the sport and has limited him to 41 games?   Could it be that sports-pundits point fingers at him and his contract as the thing holding the Lakers back from rebuilding?  And could it be that questions like those are the ones people have been waiting to throw in Kobe’s direction?

The wanna-be Jordan.  The guy who broke up the Shaq-Kobe Lakers. The adulterer.  The loner. 

The Legend.

You’ll be hard pressed to find another one like him.  The game is changing and personalities like Kobe’s are too “honest” and “upfront” to be taken with the right amount of sarcasm in today’s “over-emotional” and touchy sports-media.


Some of us grew up with Kobe in the NBA.  As the new class of players came in, we rooted for Kobe because it was how we could fight against the inevitable losing battle to father time and the uprising of a new generation.  We saw our dreams come to fruition and our lives become humbled through Kobe Bryant.  Every generation has their guy.  This one was ours.  We were just lucky enough that it was Kobe Bryant – and nobody else.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio



NY Sports Today, Pt. 4: The MLB

New York Mets:


The Metropolitans find themselves in an unfamiliar space.  They – not the Yankees – are the best team in New York, and their are lofty expectations that come with that claim.   Tom Verducci of Sports Illustrated has called the New York Mets’ pitching rotation to be “the best in baseball.”  When your biggest problem is NOT knowing who your “number one” pitcher is – and all of them have “the goods” – your problems are pretty awesome.  Noah Syndergaard, Steven Matz, Matt Harvey and Jacob DeGrom lead the charge with veteran Bartolo Colon and (a-hopefully-ready by mid-season) Zack Wheeler rounding out a possible six man rotation.  The Mets pitching staff is their lifeline and it should be enough to carry them into the playoffs.  David Wright’s spine didn’t agree with him last year and was limited to less than forty games during the regular season, but looked pretty good in the post-season and in spring training this year.  If right can give them consistent production at the third base spot, the Mets will have that corner of the infield in good hands. It showed on one-too-many occasions last year, how much his glove was missed at the “hot corner.”  The Mets re-signed Yoenis Cespedes to a big deal, and they better hope this isn’t a case of a “sucker them in deal.”  Cespedes’ bat was a much needed addition to the Mets’ offense and he helped lead the charge into the playoffs from the Summer and on.  Mets fans are weary of the showboat though (if anybody caught his opening day lackluster drop in left field, that should be enough reason to justify that worry.)  Curtis Granderson is a fan favorite with one of the most vicious swings in baseball.  His stat line is confusing though – he strikes out a lot, but it seems when he’s not striking out, he’s getting on base or driving in a run.  The Mets have a century to go before ever being mentioned in the same breath with the New York Yankees, but this is their moment and it’s now or never for the blue and orange boys out of Queens.


New York Yankees:


Some will say that last year proved one can never count the New York Yankees out, the others will say – they got lucky.  You’re kind of right if you’re on either side of the argument.  The Yankees are the most recognizable sports franchise in America and for good reason.  The legacy alone, strikes fear into competition and if “hate” truly concealed “jealousy” – the Yankees are swimming among weaker human emotions as they hold their numerous banners high in the greatest city in the world – New York. But last year – was pretty lucky if we’re being honest.  The resurgence of a forgotten Mark Texiera and a public relations nightmare in Alex Rodriguez, ended up being the most important pieces to this line up.  Texiera had an on-base-percentage of .357, a slugging percentage of .548 and 100 hits last season.  A-Rod blasted 33 homers with 131 RBI, a year after being suspended for PED use.  The Yankees know they’d be hard pressed depending on their veterans for the same kind of production again so they signed former Chicago Cub, Starlin Castro.  The Yankees will most likely try to find a places for their big young bats  Greg Bird and Aaron Judge.  Both of these kids display some raw power at the plate and if the vets struggle, it won’t take long for these kids to be put into place.  The Yankees starting pitching is a bit nerve racking and inconsistent, which is why the Yankees were thrilled that they had guys for the 7th, 8th and 9th innings to close games in Andrew  Miller, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman – but a domestic incident resulted in a 30 game suspension for Chapman, which resulted in Miller getting the closer spot – and now Miller is pitching through a wrist injury to start the season.  The Yankees had a nice start to the season last year and burned out towards the end.  The same may happen again – and that’s thinking positively.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio