Rob Rang has the Vikings taking Arkansas quarterback Ryan Mallet with their selection, while Chad Reuter has them taking USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith.
Let me start with Reuter’s pick first. While offensive line is a need for the Vikings, to be sure, I just don’t see them taking a tackle this early in the draft. The two tackles they have, Bryant McKinnie and Phil Loadholt, don’t have skill sets that are conducive to moving either of them inside, and there aren’t any interior linemen worth the No. 12 selection. Unless the team is under the impression that they can move either McKinnie and Loadholt. . .which would be a stretch with a CBA available, and impossible without one. . .there’s no need for the Vikings to take a tackle in the first round.
As far as Rang’s selection of Mallett, I’m not sure on that one, either. Mallett might be my favorite quarterback in this year’s class, but I don’t know if the Vikings are enamored with him or anything like that. Mallett made the headlines in two ways at the scouting combine. . .in a negative way at the podium, and in a positive way during the drills. Quite frankly, I don’t care about his press conference. . .the guy looked as good, smooth, and natural throwing the football as any quarterback at the combine in a long time, and could be just the guy the Vikings need to run their offense going forward.
Some folks would probably label Mallett a “reach” at 12. I say that if the Vikings like Mallett at 12 and don’t think they could get him in Round 2 (or with a trade down in Round 1), then they should jump on it.
Sean Payton and Saints top executives, coaches, player personnel staffers and medical personnel are all in Indianapolis this week for the NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium to evaluate the nation’s top players eligible for the upcoming draft.
The event, which runs Thursday through Tuesday, is a vital step in athletes achieving their dreams. NFL.com and NFL Network will have full coverage. This intense, four-day job interview is an exciting time for the 300 athletes and a vital step in achieving their dreams of playing in the NFL. The Saints need to draft a fast pass rusher or an outside linebacker.
Payton said the Saints, one of the older teams in the NFL, need to add some youth to their team at various positions. After the season, the coaching staff graded all 53 players on the active roster, the players on injured reserve, the players on the practice squad, all of the players in the building, trying to have an honest assessment of where the Saints were as a team.
“We need to get younger in certain positions,” said Payton. “Our defensive front, specifically our down linemen, and the linebacker position. We need to look at adding some youth there. We have to look at it with the idea that our free agents (26) aren’t here.
“So, for example, when you look at our offensive line, you look at Jermon Bushrod and Jonathan Goodwin as being unrestricted players right now. We’ve got depth at the wide receiver position. Adrian Arrington had a good season, although he didn’t play a lot, but he played a lot on the practice squad and was elevated to the 53 at the end. So we’ve got depth there.
“The running back position will be a key spot for us as we look at the players who are in the building and the players who technically are not. Pierre Thomas is an unrestricted free agent.
“We’ve got depth at corner. It’s going to be important at the safety position. Malcolm Jenkins had an outstanding year. Roman Harper (an unrestricted free agent) is a guy who will be a critical piece to what we are trying to accomplish.
“I do feel when that when we ran the ball in the ’09 season, there was a key element that helped us win consistently and we weren’t as good in that area offensively this year.”
What does the future hold for veterans, some of whom may be approaching the downsides of their playing careers? Translation: Jeremy Shockey, Devery Henderson, Dave Thomas, Scott Shanle, Jermon Bushrod, Jonathan Goodwin, Darren Sharper, Anthony Hargrove and Pierre Thomas.
“It would be crazy for me as a head coach to go through who we have a vision for and who we don’t have a vision for before ever discussing any of these things with the players. But we’ve had discussions in house and we know where we want to go.”
The 2011 NFL Draft hype is with us and over the web there are articles trying to predict where players will selected based on team needs and ability.
All of these projections can be a lot of information to handle. Draft gurus from all over have mock drafts with extreme variations from pick to pick.
Mel Kiper and Todd McShay recently released a mock draft for ESPN. Meanwhile, Don Banks did the same for Sports Illustraded, and Nolan Nawrocki for Pro Football Weekly.
Bleacherreport.com takes a look at what these experts predict for the upcoming draft with a final verdict for each pick.
The final verdict on the Saints have them picking outside linebacker Justin Houston of Georgia with their 24th choice. The experts say the Saints need to improve their pass rush if they want to return to their Super Bowl form. Houston is extremely fast for his size and could be an ideal blitz option for defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.
The 2011 Mock Draft‘s final verdicts:
1. Carolina: Nick Fairley, defensive tackle, Auburn. “Fairley seems to be the current clear cut top pick.”
2. Denver: Da’Quan Bowers, defensive end, Clemson. “Bowers is a candidate to going in the top over-all spot.”
3.Buffalo, Ryan Mullet, quarterback, Arkansas. “After missing out on Andrew Luck, Bills go after next best quarterback.”
4. Cincinnati, A,J. Green, wide receiver, Georgia. “The Bengals are in need at wide receiver following the departure of Terrell Owens.”
5. Arizona, Von Miller, outside linebacker, Texas A&M. “Miller might be on eof the fastest rising draft stocks out there right now.”
6. Cleveland, Marcell Darens, defensive tackle, Alabama. “Clearly everybody agrees that the Browns need to address the holes along the defensive line.
7. San Francisco, Patrick Peterson, cornerback, LSU. “Clearly the 49ers need to address their secondary in this draft, and if Peterson is still available then he is the pick.”
8. Tennessee, J.J. Watt, defensive end, Wisconsin. “The Titans could look at quarterback here after the end of the Vince Young era in Tennessee.”
9. Dallas, Prince Amukamara, cornerback, Wisconsin. “The Cowboys need to address the secondary issues and the top of this year’s draft is a great place to do just that.”
10. Washington, Blaine Gabbert, Missouri, “Clearly the Redskins are going to look for a quarterback of the future with this upcoming pick.”
PRIOR to the start of NBA All-Star activities on Saturday, Commissioner David Stern was available to the media for his annual midterm state of the union. The Hornets were the first topic of interest. “Are you still confident about the team’s future in New Orleans?” Stern answered yes and when if asked he would like to expand, he said, “no.” Stern went on to say the difference between New Orleans and that of the Seattle Sonics” “The arena was not adequate in Seattle. And in New Orleans, the arena was recently built and is adequate. And so this was a city — and New Orleans has a special, I’d say place, given the devastation of Katrina and the difficulties there.” Hornets GM Dell Dermps said the Hornets would like to trade for a backup center and a small forward. The Hornets are $5 million under the luxury tax and will go over that only if they acquire a “home run hitter”. Translate: Carmelo Anthony. Trade rumors continue about Chris Paul, but it’s unlikely the All-Star will be traded while the NBA is running the team…
CHRIS Paul played 28 minutes scored 10 points with seven assists and three turnovers in Sunday’s NBA All-Star game in Los Angeles.Paul’s ball handling was dazzling at times and he orchestrated many of the West’s 53 fast break points. He tied for a team high with seven assists, but his shots weren’t falling much. CP3 frequently wowed the crowd with his penetration and dishing…Former Grambling and NFL quarterback Doug Wiliiams was honored along with 10 other players and coaches from historically black colleges in a gala ceremony in Atlanta over the weekend. The former Grambling coach was joined by Mel Blount (Southern), Lem Barney (Jackson State), Bob Hayes (Florida A&M) and Art Shell (Maryland Eastern Shore) .A year ago, former Grambling coach Eddie Robinson was voted into the Black College Football Hall of Fame….
A stellar one-hit effort from freshman Kurt McCune and a pair of three-run homers by Mike Mahtook fueled the No. 15 LSU baseball team past Wake Forest 9-1 to complete the series sweep past Wake Forest on Sunday at Baton Rouge. The Tigers will take on UNO on Tuesday at home with the first pitch slated for 6:30 p.m. Junior righthander Tyler Jones will start for the Tigers. ‘”Over-all, I was very pleased with the way we played this weekend,” said LSU coach Paul Mainieri. “It was a good way to start the season. Kurt McCune was exceptional today. The pitching throughout the weekend was very effective and it appears this start has a lot of depth that we hope to utilize as the season progresses.”
The Jets’ pass rush is one area where the team makes its mark on opposing offenses, and it never seems like a bad idea to add talent to the unit. This offseason, though, they may be faced with the potential departure of veteran rusher Shaun Ellis, who is a free agent.
Ellis could be looking for a bigger payday than the Jets would want to afford a 34 year old veteran, but either way, depth along their defensive line seems like the direction they’ll go on draft day.
Illinois’ Corey Liuget fits the bill for a Rex Ryan player, as he’s versatile enough to line up at nose tackle or, more likely, at either defensive end spot. He had 12 and a half tackles for a loss during the 2010 season, so he’s got an affinity for breaking up plays in the back field, something that the Jets covet.
New parents Jenn Brown and Wes Chatham welcomed their first child, son Nash, in November 2014. Although their baby boy was due end of December, “Nash had other plans,” the America Ninja Warrior host, 34, tells Celebrity Baby Scoop.
The new mom and her Hunger Games star husband, 36, open up to Celebrity Baby Scoop about the their thriving baby boy, who is “always smiling and laughing.” Jenn goes on to share her must-have baby items, and Wes talks about missing his son’s birth, which he admits was “probably the most helpless I’ve ever felt in my life.”
Continue reading our exclusive interview with Jenn Brown and Wes Chatham…
CBS: Congratulations on the arrival of your son John Nash! How is baby Nash doing? What kind of baby is he?
JB: “Thank you. Nash is doing great. He just turned 6 months old! I can’t believe how big he’s gotten. It seems like everyday he’s doing something new. He’s definitely a very happy baby. When we had the 4D ultrasounds when I was pregnant, he was always smiling in the pictures, and that is the case now, too. He’s always smiling and laughing.”
CBS: How has motherhood been so far? What are some of the greatest joys? The biggest challenges?
JB: “I really enjoy being a mom. I never knew you could have so much love for one person until I had Nash. If I have a difficult day or something is bothering me, I can come home and the little guy will just smile at me and it makes me forget about everything. It really puts things into perspective.
I’d say the biggest challenges has been the lack of sleep. I know it’s something that everyone deals with as new parents, but Wes was filming in Canada for the 4 months after Nash was born and I had to tackle the nights by myself for the most part. I’ve had some help from our moms and friends, but nights are tough. It’s still a work in progress when it comes to Nash sleeping through the night, but now that Wes is back, it’s been much easier.”
CBS: Tell us about your must-have baby items so far.
JB: “It’s crazy how many things you think you ‘need’ when it comes to baby items. You should see our house — I feel like we are a baby store. I’ve joked with my friends that I have placed more 2 a.m. Amazon purchases because I was reading some baby blog while I was feeding Nash in the middle of the night.
There are some great items that I really have come to love. Now I’m not sure if this is exactly a baby product, but I love my Belly Bandit. It came recommend to me from a friend and I swear by it.
I have a POSH Mommy necklace that I got with Nash’s name and birthday on it and they also make cute dog tags that I gave Wes for Christmas that he wears everyday.
I have an Orbit Stroller, which I love. The entire system is so great and I love the 360 swivel design.
I have quite the shoes collection and I’m finding that Nash is starting to acquire quite the collection as well. He has the cutest pair of these orange and blue Stride Rite shoes that I can’t wait for Nash to wear on Saturdays for the Gator games.
For the first few months I put Nash in the Halo Bassinest. This was great because I was able to put him right next to the bed and it made getting in and out of the bed super easy. Now he’s moved on into his Newport Cottages Crib because he is rolling up a storm and needed the extra space.”
CBS: We hear Nash arrived 5 and a half weeks premature. How is he doing? Did he spend some time in the NICU? Did this affect your breastfeeding? If so, how is breastfeeding and/or pumping going now?
JB: “Yes, it was a complete surprise when Nash decided to come early. Wes had literally gotten on a plane to go back to Canada after the Mockingay premiere on Saturday and my water broke on Sunday. To say I was not prepared would be an understatement. I hadn’t read any books on birth or really taken any classes. I remember sitting in the hospital googling breathing techniques.
The delivery went well with no problems, but they did decide to keep Nash in the NICU for 3 days to monitor him. He got to come home on Thanksgiving, which, of course, gave us something else to be thankful for. Because Nash was in the NICU, it made breastfeeding a bit of a challenge. He also had trouble latching on because he was a premie so I ended up pumping a ton. He eventually did get strong enough to latch on, but it took several months.
Once I went back to work, it certainly made for some fun stories of places I was pumping. I think the best one so far is in the bathroom of the football practice field for the University of Wisconsin. I was there for Melvin Gordon’s Pro Day reporting for NFL, and I thought everyone had left. I was waiting for my ride to the airport, so I decided to sneak into the bathroom to pump. Then, all of a sudden I hear loud music playing and someone was knocking on the door. Turns out there was a few players getting in an extra workout. They didn’t mind waiting, I have no idea if they knew what I was doing in there — but hey, a kid has to eat [laughs].”
CBS: Why did Nash arrive so early? Did you have some complications during your pregnancy, or was this a total surprise? How much did he weigh? Tell us your birth story. Looking back, was his birth a joyful memory, or was it traumatic to give birth so early?
JB: “I’m not sure why Nash came early, like I said, it caught all of us by surprise. The week before my water broke I had gone to the doctor and they decided they wanted to do some weekly monitoring with stress tests, not for anything serious, but they just wanted to monitor some things that were elevated. I was actually supposed to start those tests on Monday (the day Nash was born).
I was at my house on Sunday night getting ready for bed when my water broke. I had no idea what it was at first, I thought I had peed on myself. I think that movies have made the whole water breaking scene a little misleading because you think that when your water breaks, it’s just one gush and that’s it. Well, for those of you that have never had it happen, your water breaks, and it keeps coming and coming!
Wes was in Canada, so I called my best friend Jami who came over and drove me to Cedars. I was having contractions, but not feeling them, so my doctor said she would come in the morning. I remember her telling me to get some sleep and I was like, ‘Right, that’s going to be easy.’ I was on the phone with Wes — we were trying to find a flight to get him home and he was trying to get ahold of the line producer for his show.
It was, I think, 3 in the morning at this point in Canada. Wes ended up having to shoot a scene in the morning and then jumped on the first plane he could. I remember thinking that, of course, Wes would make it back in time. That this was my first pregnancy and you always hear that it can take hours. Well, Nash had other plans.
As Wes was walking onto the plane is when my doctor finally decided to check to see how dilated I was. They had decided to wait to not risk infection and I remember my doctor saying, ‘Oh-oh,’ after she checked. And I just looked at her. She said, “You are 10 cm. dilated.” And I asked, ‘What does that mean?’ She said, “It means, you are going to have to start pushing now.’
Wes was devastated, to say the least. We actually were going to try skyping him in, but the plane didn’t have Wi-Fi. It took 45 minutes of pushing, and Nash was here. I have to say I never was scared through the whole process. Although he was coming early, the staff at Cedars and my doctor Michelle Hakakha made me feel so comfortable and I never was worried. His birth was beautiful and something I will always remember.
Nash weighed 5 lbs. 3 oz. when he was born and was 19 inches long. I think it’s fair to say that he’s more than caught up. I think he weighs almost 18 lbs. now.”
CBS: We enjoyed your coverage at the Super Bowl! Was it hard to return to work so early? So no maternity leave for you? Or are you on working sporadically at this point? What’s up next for you?
JB: “Yes, getting back to work came quickly. I actually hosted a show for the UFC the 4 days before Nash was born, and I hosted a show for them 3 weeks after he was born. The NFL has been great with my work schedule. I did have a maternity leave but I told them I was ready to come back early. They eased me into it and it was great.
When I flew to cover the Seahawks for the Super Bowl, I brought my mom with and she hung in the hotel with Nash. My mom has been the best grandma/babysitter. She’s been traveling with me to help take care of Nash while I’m working. I just recently finished coverage for the Draft for the NFL and we have OTA’s and Training Camps coming up.
I’m still doing my weekly show, UFC NOW, for the UFC as well as hosting BKB for DirecTV. I also have a very cool new project I producing and hosting with Quest Nutrition called Eat Elite. It will be coming out soon.”
Questions for Wes Chatham:
CBS: Congratulations on the birth of John Nash! How has fatherhood been so far?
WC: “Thanks so much, it really has been amazing. As Jenn mentioned, Nash came early while I was filming and so I had to go back and forth to Toronto and L.A. for the first few months of his life. We spent a lot of time video chatting and Jenn would send me pics and videos every day.
Now I’ve been home since March and the little guy is my best friend. He’s got so much personality and is really starting to come into his own. Jenn and I have this routine where she gets up at night with him and I take him in the morning so she can get extra sleep. I love that special time in the morning where it’s just the two of us. We hang out, read books and go for walks. I love the father-son bonding time we get in.”
CBS: We were sorry to hear that you did not make it for your son’s birth. How did that feel? Tell us about getting the phone call that Jenn was in labor, to jumping on a plane, to hearing about his arrival, to seeing Nash for the first time.
WC: “Gosh, getting that phone call from Jenn in the middle of the night was probably the most helpless I’ve ever felt in my life. Here I am on the other side of the country, it’s 2 a.m. and I couldn’t do anything. I was pacing around my room and I think I called Jenn every 5 minutes to check in on her. I had to shoot a final scene for the episode in the morning which, to be honest, is a blur to me.
They rushed me to the airport and I was feeling pretty good because we thought I was going to make it. I called Jenn when I got on the plane and told her, ‘I’m going to make it!’ That’s when she said, ‘No, you’re not.’ I was pretty devastated. Right after she said that, they told me I had to turn my phone off because we were taking off.
It’s hard to describe the feeling of sitting there for 4-plus hours, knowing your wife is about to have your son early, and you have no way of knowing what’s going on. Luckily everything went well, and when I landed and turned on my phone, I had a text message with a picture of my beautiful son.”
CBS: What’s up next for you?
WC: “I’m leaving in a week for Thailand to film Marc Forester’s new movie All I See is You. I’ll be working with Blake Lively and I know that she and Ryan [Reynolds] just had a baby girl around the same time as us so I’m sure we’ll be sharing parenting stories. The last Hunger Games instalment, Mockingjay II, is coming out in November, so I’m looking forward to that, and The Expanse will start airing in the fall on SYFY.