Monthly Archives: June 2011

Top 15 (Current) NFL Wide Receivers:

Written By: Andy Flint

The NFL season is just around the corner (we hope!), and what better way to kick it off than to evaluate the current talent pool at the wide receiver position. With the constant changes to the way the game of football is played, and the emerging use of the passing game, versus the rushing game. Teams are starting to utilize their wide receivers as never before. Passing the football on a more consistent basis is the way much of the league is heading. Wide receivers are needed more now than ever. I’ve got 15 here that are the best of the best. I wanted to name 15 receivers that are, not only great in the now, but will also still be relevant in two or three seasons. Here is my “Top 15″.

To me it was never about what I accomplished on the football field, it was about the way I played the game.
-Jerry Rice

#15: Hakeem Nicks:

College: University of North Carolina

Age: 23

Seasons in the NFL: 2

Build: 6-0, 215 lbs

2010 Stats: 79 receptions, 1,052 receiving yards, 13.3 yards per catch, 11 touchdowns (13 games).

Nicks burst onto the scene during his 2010 campaign, by catching nearly 80 balls and breaking double-digit touchdowns, with 11. Nicks broke out as Eli Manning’s new go-to-guy after the departure of Plaxico Burress. Nicks has a HUGE ceiling and should continue to improve as he sees more passes coming his way. The biggest downside could be that defenses will likely try to double-team him next season.

#14: Anquan Boldin:

College: Florida State:

Age: 30

Seasons in the NFL: 8

Build: 6-1, 217 lbs:

2010 Stats: 64 receptions, 837 receiving  yards, 13.1 yards per catch, 7 touchdowns (16 games).

Boldin fled the desert, and the very large shadow cast by Larry Fitzgerald to become “the man” in Baltimore. He may have cashed in his chips at the right time too. The Ravens made the playoffs and the Cards stumbled without a reliable arm behind center. Boldin was supposed to bring great promise to an offense that often times faltered in the passing game, and pose as a viable target for the young Joe Flacco. Boldin had great moments, but overall failed to be an elite force in the receiving game. Parts of his failure can be attributed to the Ravens system and the lack of chemistry with his new QB. Overall, I believe Boldin can still shine and will hopefully recover and have a brilliant 2011 campaign.

#13: Brandon Marshall:

College: Central Florida:

Age: 27

Seasons in the NFL: 5

Build: 6-4, 230 lbs

2010 Stats: 86 receptions, 1,014 receiving yards, 11.8 yards per catch, 3 touchdowns (14 games).

Brandon Marshall is a true go-to receiver. He has some of the best hands in the league and a massive body to ward off defenders. The average height of defensive backs in the NFL is 5’9. Marshall stands a whopping 6’4 and has more hops than your average NBA player. Marshall missed a couple of games last season and still managed to scoop up 86 passes. Miami couldn’t really get their QB situation together and Marshall suffered because of it. 3 touchdowns is not great by any measure. I believe that with the correct quarterback connection, B-Marsh could find himself breaking into the top 5 in no time.

#12: Marques Colston:

College: Hofstra

Age: 28

Seasons in the NFL: 5

Build: 6-4, 225 lbs

2010 Stats: 84 receptions, 1,023 receiving yards, 12.2 yards per reception, 7 touchdowns (15 games).

Colston played 15 games, but only started in 11 of them. Colston has been a large target for Drew Brees and should continue to thrive in the Saints passing game. The 6-4 Colston can catch virtually any pass tossed within a 5 yard radius, and has the ability to work in the open field. I believe Marques will improve on his 2010 numbers and have a phenomenal 2011 season.

#11: Dwayne Bowe:

College: LSU

Age: 26

Seasons in the NFL: 4

Build: 6-2, 221 lbs

2010 Stats: 72 receptions, 1,162 receiving yards, 16.1 yards per catch, 15 touchdowns (16 games).

Dwayne Bowe has arrived! Possibly the most underrated wide receiver in the entire league. Bowe has managed to create an excellent chemistry with Matt Cassel in just a short period of time. This guy catches the deep ball with the best of them. He’s a TD threat every single down and has really made a case for himself as one of the NFL’s elite. Bowe is the real deal, despite his many critics, and he’ll look to silence the haters with another outstanding season!

#10: Miles Austin:

College: Monmouth (N.J.)

Age: 26

Seasons in the NFL: 5

Build: 6-2, 215 lbs

2010 Stats: 69 receptions, 1,041 receiving yards, 15.1 yards per catch, 7 touchdowns (16 games).

Austin exploded onto the scene during the 2009 season, amassing 1,320 receiving yards and hauling in 11 touchdowns. For all intents and purposes, Miles had a down season in 2010, but it was still more than enough to be considered a quality season. With Roy Williams future in Dallas being up in the air and the struggles on young buck, Dez Bryant, the future of the Cowboys seems to be in the hands of Austin, for now.

#9: Mike Wallace:

College: Mississippi

Age: 24

Seasons in the NFL: 2

Build: 6-0, 199 lbs

2010 Stats: 60 receptions, 1,257 receiving yards, 21.0 yards per catch, 10 touchdowns (16 games).

After Santonio Holmes split to NY, Mike Wallace barged into the conversation by burning everybody on the field. 21.0 yards per catch is just ridiculous. Santonio who? At least that’s what they’re saying in Pittsburgh. Mike Wallace has a 40 yard dash time that varies between 4.28 and 4.33 seconds. Even at 4.33, Wallace is out-running most professional athletes. The guy can catch the ball too. Wallace is quickly becoming “Big Ben’s” go-to option, with the gradual decline of the sure-handed Hines Ward unfolding before our eyes. I expect to see even more Mike Wallace in the passing game this season, and I expect opposing teams to know that they’re going to.

#8: Santonio Holmes:

College: Ohio State

Age: 27

Seasons in the NFL: 5

Build: 5-11, 192 lbs

2010 Stats: 52 receptions, 746 receiving yards, 14.3 yards per catch, 7 touchdowns (12 games).

Santonio Holmes had a late start to the season in 2010, do to some off the field issues. Holmes was suspended for the first 4 games and only ended up starting 10 games. Holmes put up some HUGE numbers for only starting in 10 contests. He really helps when he’s on the field, just ask Mark Sanchez and Ben Roethlisberger. Holmes has emerged as an elite WR over the past couple of seasons and should continue to be a big producer, as long as he can keep his act together off the field. Regardless of where Santonio decides to play next season, his explosive athletic ability and speed should make him a top WR prospect during the 2011 campaign.

#7: DeSeaN Jackson:

College: California

Age: 24

Seasons in the NFL: 3

Build: 5-10, 175 lbs

2010 Stats: 47 receptions, 1,056 receiving yards, 22.5 yards per catch, 6 touchdowns (14 games).

DeSean is pure lightning. He has great arm length for a player that stands just 5-10. Jackson has been compared to Steve Smith (Carolina Panthers), but in a larger frame. Jackson is probably the best sprinting wide receiver in the game today. His official combine speed was 4.35, 40 yard dash. I would love to see DeSean and Mike Wallace in a foot-race. DeSean had some pretty exceptional receiving numbers, despite missing 2 games to injury. Paired with Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy, Philly fans should be in for a huge offensive treat during the 2011 season.

#6: Reggie Wayne:

College: Miami

Age: 32

Seasons in the NFL: 10

Build: 6-0, 198 lbs

2010 Stats: 111 receptions, 1,355 receiving yards, 12.2 yards per catch, 6 touchdowns (16).

Reggie Wayne spent much of his career putting up incredible numbers and still only being considered the 2nd flute to Marvin Harrison. Reggie Wayne has stepped into the spotlight for the Colts and is reaping the benefits. Wayne was 2nd to only Roddy White (115 receptions) in catches during the 2010 season. He’s Mannings go-to receiver and has the hands to catch basically any ball thrown. Wayne is a great route runner and has “big game” experience on his side. He is the oldest player on this list, but I couldn’t deny him based on age. His results far out-weigh his years, and that is why Reggie Wayne is an absolute killer on the field.

#5: Larry Fitzgerald:

College: Pittsburgh

Age: 27

Seasons in the NFL: 7

Build: 6-3, 218 lbs

2010 Stats: 90 receptions, 1,137 receiving yards, 12.6 yards per catch, 6 touchdowns (16 games).

Larry Fitzgerald is highly regarded among the NFL elite. He’s fearless and catches almost anything thrown his way. His biggest issue going forward is the fact that he doesn’t really have anyone to throw him the ball, and that hurt his stats. I know people think he just had an off season (even as good as it was, it was off by his standards), but even Calvin Johnson managed double the touchdowns with a 2nd and 3rd string QB in for the entire stretch. As good as Fitz is, I doubt he manages much more than a 1,000 yard season with 7 or 8 TD’s. But, with the right quarterback, the sky is the limit for Fitz. Let’s hope the Cards front office smartens up and gets this guy some help!

#4: Calvin Johnson:

College: Georgia Tech

Age: 25

Seasons in the NFL: 4

Build: 6-5, 236 lbs

2010 Stats: 77 receptions, 1,120 receiving yards, 14.5 yards per catch, 12 touchdowns (15 games).

Megatron has, perhaps, the best combination of size, speed and athletic ability in the entire league. He’s 6-5 and pushing 240 lbs. Match that with a 4.35, 40 yard dash and unmatched catching ability, and you have a tough guy to contain. While Johnson still has work to do before he can be revered as the leagues’ best wide receiver, the talent is certainly there. We might get a real taste of what CJ is truly capable of when and if Matthew Stafford can play for an entire season. Shawn Hill and Drew Stanton will probably never be the type of guys to unleash a WR’s full ability.

#3: Greg Jennings:

College: Western Michigan

Age: 27

Seasons in the NFL: 5

Build: 5-11, 198 lbs

2010 Stats: 76 receptions, 1,265 receiving yards, 16.6 yards per catch, 12 touchdowns (16 games).

Jennings is a super consistent, go-to option for any quarterback to drill a hole in an opposing defense with. Difference is, Jennings has the help of Aaron Rodgers. The two of them should continue to carve up opposing defensive schemes for many seasons to come. Jennings is an exceptional route runner and athlete. Blazing speed and great football instincts have helped Jennings beat coverage time and time again.

#2: Roddy White:

College: Alabama-Birmingham

Age: 29

Seasons in the NFL: 6

Build: 6-0, 212 lbs

2010 Stats: 115 receptions, 1,389 receiving yards, 12.1 yards per catch, 10 touchdowns (16 games).

Roddy White has become an offensive animal. He (White) collected 115 catches during the 2010 NFL season and powered the Atlanta Falcons to a 13-3 record and the #1 seed in the NFC. Roddy White has become an amazing wide receiver and really shows up to play on all stages. He’s amassed four straight seasons of 1,200+ yards and has to be considered a top talent at the WR position. Amazing hands, great instincts and the will to be the best of the best.

#1: Andre Johnson:

College: Miami

Age: 29

Seasons in the NFL: 8

Build: 6-3, 225 lbs

2010 Stats: 86 receptions, 1,216 receiving yards, 14.1 yards per catch, 8 touchdowns (13 games).

For me, it’s all about Andre Johnson. He has great hands, unparalleled route running ability and incredible size. Johnson had back-to-back 1,500+ yard seasons in 2008 and 2009. His 2010 season was hampered by injuries, but he still managed to throw together 1,200+ yards and close to 90 receptions. AJ should have a bounce-back season in 2011 and show the league why he’s the best when it comes to wide receivers!

 

 

Michael Jordan vs. Kobe Bryant.

Michael Jordan, through his career accomplishments with the Chicago Bulls, has more than set the bar for greatness in the NBA. Every couple of years, every decade, some new flashy guy enters the league, puts up some eye-popping numbers, and starts drawing comparisons to His Airness. In my opinion, the only guy that can realistically be talked about being on  MJ’s level is the great Kobe Bryant of the Lakers. All across the board in numbers, achievements, and titles, Bryant is the only one who can be put into a discussion going up against number 23/45. Kobe Bryant recently completed his 15th season in the league, the same numbers of seasons Jordan played overall in the NBA. I figured what better time than now to compare these players on a variety of criteria, and come up with the logical conclusion: after all the hype, opinions, biases, and flashing lights, which guy is actually better based on the facts? I decided to throw out the supporting casts each guy had, as they both were surrounded by supportive teammates and each had legit wingmen for a good part of their careers. This is an individual matchup, so without further ado, let’s find out peeps!

 

1. Rookie Season:

Jordan runs away with this one, averaging 28 points a game in 1985 in his rookie campaign. He won every rookie accolade posssible (R.O.T.Y. and NBA All-Rookie first team). He also averaged over 6 boards and 5 assists in his first season. Kobe didn’t see the court much in his 1996 inaugural season on the hardwood, starting only six games and appearing in 71, during which he averaged 7.6 PPG , less than 2 rebounds, and less than 2 assists. Jordan, 1-0.

 

2. All-Star Selections and All-Star MVP Awards:

This one is very, very close. Jordan had 14 overall selections to the star-studded weekend, while Bryant boasts 13. However, Bryant has hoisted the MVP trophy four times to Jordan’s three. In one of the closest matchups in the comparison, I have to give the slight edge here to Kobe, being selected one less time but being named MVP one more time than MJ. Jordan 1, Kobe 1.

 

3. Defense:

This category is virtually a tie, with different stat areas favoring each player as it evens out to be almost equal. I turned to how many times each guy made the All-Defensive team, and surprise, each guy has been selected nine times. Therefore, I’d have to call it a virtual tie for argument’s sake, but leave the intricacies up to you guys. The score remains 1-1.

 

4. Career scoring average, regular season:

Here we go. This is where we throw out all the rhetorical crap and get down to the nitty gritty. In his heyday, nobody could do with a ball what MJ could do. He literally defied gravity at will, could break ankles with his smooth handle, and pull up from anywhere on the court to swoosh the J, he even made contested shots look like gravy (just ask Craig Ehlo or Bryan Russell). Kobe is no slouch here either, as he took the torch into the new millenium and has been the Jordan of the 2000′s. He has exceptional and unmatched skills when it comes to getting to the rack, hitting from anywhere, and being able to drain shots even double-teamed. So, who has more points-per-game after 15 seasons? It’s extremely close, but Jordan’s 30.1 career average trumps Bryant’s 25.3. Some will say a 5 point margin is much too small to give the edge to one or the other, but I must say averaging 30 points a game for a career is quite amazing, not like it’s 28 to 23. The 30 mark clearly gives Michael the edge here although Kobe puts up an admirable fight. Jordan 2, Kobe 1.

 

5. Post-season scoring averages:

Neither man is a stranger to the playoffs. Kobe has played in 208 post-season games to Jordan’s 179. The playoffs are where legacies are made, where the greats pull away from the pack on the biggest stage. That immediately takes Lebron James out of the discussion until proven otherwise. Back to business, Jordan was a playoff assassin. The dude could be counted on at any time, through injury or sickness, to deliver when his team needed him most. The same is true for Bryant. Both players cemented themselves as Hall-of-Famers with their playoff performances. But who has the better numbers? Jordan averaged an astounding 33.4 PPG in the playoffs, a record. Right in stride with his regular season average, Bryant once again puts up a noble fight at 25.3 playoff points per game, but falls short again as Jordan takes this category. Jordan 3, Bryant 1.

 

6. NBA Scoring Titles:

Surprisingly, Jordan wins this one with much more ease than I initially would have thought. He won the scoring title 10 times in comparison to Kobe’s 2. That about wraps this up without further explanation, sadly. Jordan 4, Kobe 1.

 

7. NBA Most Valuable Player Awards:

In another surprising landslide, Jordan again wins this category. Based off my previous assumptions, I would have thought this comparison to be much closer. However, Jordan lifted the award high above his razor-fresh head 5 times, to Kobe’s 1 in 2008. Advantage: #23. Jordan 5, Kobe 1.

 

8. NBA Championships Won:

This accolade may be the best way to separate the greats from one another. As seen, most of the previous categories were very close and subject to argument based on different circumstances. It is very close with these two legends, with Jordan leading the Bulls to 2 three-peats from ’91 to ’93, then again from ’96 to ’98, tallying six rings. Not to be out-done, Bryant led the Lake show to one three-peat (2000-2002), and then back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010, chalking up five rings. The advantage here goes to Michael again, but this category is the only reason Bryant is the one closest to Michael’s level. However, in the comparison, this gives MJ another edge and a 6-1 victory over the Black Mamba.

 

The nod clearly goes to Jordan overall, but this in no way undermines the greatness of Bryant, who is still playing and has a chance to catch-up even if it means he played more seasons than Air Jordan. Bryant is, and will continue to be, the only NBA star who can even be mentioned alongside Michael. I will not even dignify myself to put Lebron James or Dwyane Wade on this platform until they reach the levels of success that Jordan and Bryant share, and until that day happens, Michael Jordan will still be the greatest to ever touch the pumpkin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

My apology to Nnamdi Asomugha and how to gauge a corner’s greatness.

By Jim Racalto:

I recently posted, and then removed an article that compared the Raiders’ Nnamdi Asomugha to the Steelers’ Ike Taylor. First and foremost, I would like to say that after doing more extensive research including watching film and seeing intricate stats, that Taylor, nor any other corner in the league, is on Asomugha’s level. That includes Darrelle Revis, Asante Samuel, Charles Woodson, and every other top tier corner. Asomugha is in a different dimension, plain and simple.

Let me explain why Asomugha is better than these other guys first. They all play on very talented defenses is the obvious reason. The Jets’ Revis has Antonio Cromartie opposite him, and a stifling run defense that consistently makes his job easy to defend 3rd and longs. Green Bay’s Woodson has Tramon Williams on the other side, a Pro-Bowler at safety in Nick Collins, Nick Barnett and Clay Matthews at linebacker, and BJ Raji on the D-Line. One can only help but wonder the production Nnamdi Asomugha would show if he shared the field with such talent as the other top corners. Opposing offenses make game-plans adjusting to Asomugha, while these other corners have such talented guys with them on defense, it’s impossible for an opponent to game plan for Revis or Woodson when the rest of their defense is equally good at several positions. This puts Asomugha at a disadvantage, and he is still better than them both percentage wise.

After watching film of Asomugha, his ability to blanket a receiver is unparalleled. He got thrown at 31 times last season, allowing a mere 13 receptions. If opposing offenses dared to target him 50 or more times a year like the other guys, no doubt he would garner 7+ interceptions every season. If  he were targeted 80-100 times a year like the aforementioned Taylor, it is not inconceivable that Asomugha could intercept nearly 20 passes. That is just how good he is. With that said, I would like to apologize to my readers and Asomugha for my sloppy, slightly biased journalism in the previous article concerning he and Taylor. Nnamdi Asomugha is the best cornerback in the NFL, hands down.

One point of my previous article I will touch on though, is Ike Taylor being underrated, while several other corners are grossly overrated. One that comes to mind is DeAngelo Hall of the Washington Redkins. Based off name recognition, most casual fans would probably say Hall is the better corner, although he has been in the lower ten of the league the last two seasons in percentage of completions allowed, as well as being targeted more than 80 times both seasons. Bears quarterback Jay Cutler even called him out, saying he would “target him all day long.”

While the top corners in the league separate themselves from the pack year after year, I find it strange that reputation sometimes plays more of a part in some circles than actual statistics. Ike Taylor is better than DeAngelo Hall, but doesn’t come close to Asomugha. Yet I have seen several lists where Hall makes the cut in people’s opinions of top corners over Taylor, although his stats regularly rank in the bottom half while Taylor has been an eight year, consistent starter on highly ranked defenses. In short, I think people are quick to recognize a name over actual performance, and that is not fair to the players. Hall was named to the Pro-Bowl and even won the MVP Award, while Taylor barely received any votes on the AFC side. Take these stats into consideration:

DeAngelo Hall 2010:
Targets: 102 Completions Allowed: 74 Percentage: 72 Yards Allowed: 934 Yards Allowed Per Catch: 9.6 Total Tackles: 95, Solo: 65 Interceptions: 6 Passes Defended: 16.

Ike Taylor 2010:
Targets: 92 Completions Allowed: 52 Percentage: 55 Yards Allowed: 662 Yards Allowed Per Catch: 12.7 Total Tackles: 66, Solo: 52 Interceptions: 2 Passes Defended: 11.

Now, can someone please explain to me how Taylor, on only 10 less targets, let up 22 less completions? How he let up 12.7 yards per catch, but still gave up 272 less yards than Hall, yet Hall is considered Pro-Bowl caliber while Taylor flies under the radar? Perfect example of name and reputation overrating a player in Hall’s case, while the fact that Taylor plays on a talented defense in Pittsburgh makes it easier to underrate how individually good he is.

Here’s what I like to call the “Asomugha Effect”, which is basing the number of interceptions and passes defended someone has based on their targets. Hall had four more interceptions than Taylor, and five more passes defended on only ten more targets. That is the one edge I will give Hall, is that he has better hands than Taylor. But would you rather take a corner in Hall who gives up completions 72 percent of the time and occasionally comes up with interceptions because he’s being targeted more, or a corner like Taylor who doesn’t get as many interceptions, but gives up completions 17 percent less of the time, had only four less interceptions than Hall on less targets, and still had 11 passes defended?

Also I would give the edge to run-stopping, tackling, and blitzing to Taylor. The tackle numbers favor Hall, but Taylor made 52 solo stops of his 66 overall, while Hall made 65 solo tackles on his 95 overall. That equals out to 80% of Taylor’s tackles being solo, compared to only 67% for Hall, which means if Taylor had 95 overall tackles, roughly 76 would be solo. Taylor also has 3 career sacks to Hall’s 1.

This topic can be very subjective based on the comparing players, but I thought Taylor and Hall fitting to display the fact that some players are terribly underrated, while some are ridiculously overrated. Hall is a solid cornerback and a good football player, but not nearly as great as any of the elite corners, and as an overall player isn’t even as good as Ike Taylor. But ask a casual football fan, and you’d get a different response.

I’ll go back to the percentages to show how good Nnamdi Asomugha is. Like I stated, he was targeted a mere 31 times, allowing only 13 receptions, which means he allows completions only 41% of the time, compared to Hall’s 72% and Taylor’s 55%. In comparison to Hall, if Asomugha were targeted 102 times, he would only allow only 41 catches. In comparison to Taylor, if he were targeted 92 times, he would give up 37 catches. The great Darrelle Revis was targeted 66 times in 2010 (including the playoffs), 35 more times than Asomugha, and allowed 28 receptions, which equals allowing a completion roughly 43% of the time. The percentages once again favor Asomugha in that aspect.

The thing I find amazing about Asomugha is the fact that offenses make game plans based on him. They don’t even dare throw the ball to his side of the field. While Revis is surely an elite and excellent corner, the same is not true for him in terms of targets. He can shut down any receiver, but not whole sides of the field like Asomugha. It is this consistency of not being targeted that puts Asomugha above all other corners that enter this discussion. No other corner can boast that the reason he doesn’t have more picks, defended passes, and tackles is because offenses dare not even put the ball anywhere near him.

All this said, I believe the best way to gauge a corner’s greatness is looking at the percentages, and comparing them to others. I showed percentage wise why Taylor is better than Hall, and why Asomugha is better than both of them and Darrelle Revis. It is the only concrete, reliable, undeniable statistic when critiquing the performance of a corner, and is clearly the only way to show who truly are the elite of the elite at the position in the NFL.

 

Bucks/Bobcats/Kings Wheeling and Dealing:

Written By: Andy Flint

It seems as if the Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Bobcats and the Sacramento Kings weren’t wasting any time to get a deal done. Just hours before the 2011 NBA draft kicks off, The three teams agreed to a deal in principal, according to insider, Chad Ford.

The Milwaukee Bucks get Beno Udrih, Stephen Jackson, Shaun Livingston and the #19 pick. The Charlotte Bobcats get the #7 pick and Corey Maggette.The Sacramento Kings get the #10 pick and John Salmons. Although this deal can not be finalized until the draft starts. This deal gives the Bucks a consistent scorer, in Jackson and a couple of point guards to play with.  I’m not sure why they felt the need to acquire both Udrih and Livingston, but Brandon Jennings must be feeling the pressure now.

The Bobcats grab the #7 pick in a draft that many consider to be one of the weakest drafts ever, and down-grade from Jackson to Maggette. Maggette can score and play defense, but I’m sure most coaches would rather have Stephen Jackson leading the way. First The Bobcats send Gerald Wallace to the Trailblazers for a bag of chips (unsalted) and now they deal their best offensive player for a lesser scorer and a draft pick that will likely do little to ease the minds of Charlotte fans. Another blunder by the often mind-blowing Bobcats, that will leave fans asking… “What the heck was that?”

The Kings also have me scratching my head. Why would they want to get older, less competitive and higher in the draft? Surly I can’t answer that question. John Salmons (31 years old), who is essentially allergic to defense will play side-by-side with Tyreke Evans, and the two of them will continually fight for shots. The Kings retained the #9 pick and paired it with the #10, ultimately believing that having the #9 and #10 was somehow better than having the #7 and #9 picks. It looks as if the Kings have their minds made of on either Kemba Walker or Jimmer Fredette.

I’m waiting for more GM’s to hit the panic button and start firing off trades. This is usually the way things work so close to the draft. It’s similar to a manager in a fantasy football draft pulling the trigger on the first defense. Everyone else falls in suit, afterall, nobody wants to be left standing without a defense, or in this case, a big-time trade.

Steve Nash to be Traded?

Numerous reports have indicated the Suns are interested in dealing two-time MVP Steve Nash. The latest rumor has Nash going to the Minnesota Timberwolves, which makes absolutely no sense. In this proposed deal the Wolves would be giving up the second overall pick in the draft for a 37 year-old point guard who, though aging very gracefully, can leave after the 2011-2012 season.

There are more nuances to the deal but ultimately the Suns brass has publicly reported they will not trade Steve Nash. So my question to the brain trust, savvy geniuses over in phoenix would be; what exactly is the plan? Nash is going to be 38 years old next February, and has one season left on his contract. He has expressed his concern about trying to get back to the playoffs and making one last push at a title. Don’t the good fans of Phoenix deserve to watch their hero get an opportunity at one last gasp at a title?

No longer can the Suns play the “we’re not trading him card.” He can now leave after this season and you get nothing for his departure. Here is what the Suns should have done:

First, traded him last year while you still had him for two seasons therefore increasing his value. The perfect team would have been the Atlanta Hawks who needed a point guard and who better to distribute the ball to the athletes like Joe Johnson, Josh Smith, and Al Horford than Steve Nash? They could have received back the 10 million dollar expiring Jamal Crawford contract along with Jordan Crawford and a future first-round pick possibly this years, but I would rather have 2012 first-round pick seeing that there will be a higher chance at the Hawks being a lottery team at that point.

Since that is not happening, the next logical idea would be to trade him now. The Suns are said to be intrigued with Derrick Williams. Trade the 13th overall pick and one of the many big men the Suns possess including Marcin Gortat the talented 7 footer, or even Robin Lopez who is still on his rookie salary. Both young centers are in a league that the center position is now coveted more than ever.

Chances are the Suns will continue to hold on to their franchise point guard, seeing that he is their only calling card for fans to want to watch their mediocre Phoenix Suns. But why not let him go out with a chance to win? If there ever was an ideal situation, do the classy Steve Nash a much-needed favor and trade him to the Knicks. This can be done, as the Knicks could send back Chauncey Billups expiring 14 million dollar deal and throw in Toney Douglas or Landry Fields. Nash was born to run an offensive juggernaut that would be the New York Knicks. Being reunited with his old coach and having two absolute stud scorers in Carmelo Anthony and old running mate Amar’e Stoudemire would be entertaining for any NBA fan.
 
Unlike many stars, Nash has not asked to be traded, nor forced anyone’s hand. Whether traded or not, he should always be well received by the Suns fans. And, if he ever starts aging, will soon be a first ballot hall of famer.

Randy Moss VS. Jerry Rice:

Written By: Andy Flint
A few nights ago, a co-worker asked me who I believed was the most talented wide-receiver to ever play the game. This is a tricky question. I think most people rely on Jerry Rice as a crutch in terms of “the best”, and I won’t argue that. Jerry Rice is the absolute best wide-receiver to ever lace them up. The difference in this debate is, who had the most talent as a player? It’s a pretty hard conclusion to come to. The one example that he kept using was, “What if you put Jerry Rice’s brain in Randy Moss’s body?” The cool, calm demeanor and great instincts of Jerry Rice, shoved into the lanky, 6’4 frame of Randy Moss. What if Moss were a smarter player, as Rice was? Then wouldn’t his talent level ensure that he eclipses Rice as the best? Like I said, it’s very tough to call.

The best argument I can muster to counter the claim that Moss had more pure talent and would have been the best ever if he had a better head on his shoulders is, doesn’t being smart, possessing great instincts, having the ability to control yourself and not be a head-case (as Moss is) a talent in it’s own right? If you’re using great athletic catches, speed and size as “talents”, then why can’t I argue that being smart, running great routes, and knowing how a defense will react are also great “talents”? I think people tend to misunderstand what the term “talent” truly means. The definition of talent is. A special natural ability or aptitude: If being smart or possessing the ability to play the game of football to it’s highest level is something that comes naturally to Rice, then it is, indeed, a talent.

I’m sure Rice put in many, many years of brutal conditioning and countless hours going over plays and reading play-books to enhance his performance on the field, but wouldn’t Moss have done similar things to fine-tune his athletic ability? I’m sure Moss devoted much of his life to playing the game, becoming quicker, faster and more athletic. Many hours in the gym and late-nights running drills. As far as I’m concerned, it’s relatively the same thing. Having a natural ability to do something better than most doesn’t mean you quit working to get better.

Randy Moss:

Best Statistical Season2007: 98 receptions, 1,493 receiving yards, 15.2 yards per reception, (NFL Single Season Record) 23 receiving touchdowns.

Career Numbers: 954 receptions, 14,858 receiving yards, 15.6 yards per reception, 153 receiving touchdowns. Personal Accomplishments: 1998 NFL Offensive ROTY, 7 time NFL Pro Bowler, 4 time First Team All-Pro.

Moss is a freak of nature. The 6’4, 210 lb Moss, has an exceptional wingspan and great ball-hawking abilities. Moss can catch a ball that is thrown five feet too high, or a ball that is under thrown by two or three yards. He has an unusual length that enables him to catch balls that are deemed uncatchable for most other players. Moss missed the NFL combine, but was said to run a 4.25 forty yard dash. Those are what we call wheels, especially for a guy of his stature and length. There is no way to deny that Moss is a physical freak and an absolute beast. I will say that Moss is probably the most physically gifted NFL wide-receiver that we have ever seen. I’m still not sold that he possess the most “talent” of any other wide receiver, but he’s got the most physical talent. I’m also unsure of where to draw the line between physical talent and any other type of talent. I think that often times, people don’t take mental or any other non-physical type of talents into consideration. But they are still talents, are they not?

Jerry Rice:

Best Statistical Season: 1987: 65 receptions, 1,078 receiving yards, 16.6 yards per reception, 22 receiving touchdowns (12 games).

Career Numbers: 1,549 receptions, 22,895 receiving yards, 14.8 yards per reception, 198 receiving touchdowns. Personal Accomplishments: 1987 NFL PFWA MVP,1987 NFL Newspaper Ent. Assoc. MVP, 1987 NFL, Bert Bell Award (Player of the Year)1987 NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year, 1988 NFL Super Bowl MVP, 1993 NFL AP Offensive Player of the Year, 13 time NFL Pro-Bowler, 10 time first team NFL All Pro, 3 time Super Bowl Champion.

Rice reportedly ran a 4.6 forty yard dash at the 1985 NFL combine, by no means a fast fourty time for a wide receiver. Rice was reported as running around a 4.5 later in his career. Rice may be the smartest NFL wide receiver to ever play the game, add in the fact that he could destroy opponents in the open field, and we have a solid picture to paint, up and down. Rice had crazy vision with the ball in his hands. Rice is also probably the best route-runner in the history of the league. I’d also let his jumping abilities go toe-to-toe with that of Randy Moss. Rice drops around two inches to Moss in height, but could leap with the best of them. Steve Young quotes Rice as being faster on the field with full equipment on.

Jerry was a supreme route runner. The way he moved was somehow predictable, and he really made it easy for me to throw the football. He was just so consistent in his motion and movement that I always knew where he was going to be. … And he was a star. He rose to every occasion. The bigger the moment the better he played. … Jerry got faster in uniform. He carried the equipment better than anyone who has ever played. On the street he might not be the fastest, but on the field he was faster than everybody.” -Steve Young.

I honestly believe with all of the stats and film I’ve went over. The many videos I’ve sat here and watched, the countless days of digging, I must give my nod to Jerry Rice as the most “talented” wide receiver to ever play the game. I’d love to hear some feedback and see what others think. This is NOT a landslide victory, in my opinion. It was close, and very interesting to look through and report. Randy Moss and Jerry Rice were both great athletes and great players at the wide receiver position. Jerry Rice just seems to stand out more in this aspect.

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