Barry moved to Phoenix in 1979 and has never left. After graduating from Chaparral High School, Barry went on to ASU where he received both undergraduate and law degrees.
Barry is a partner in the Phoenix law firm Thomas, Thomas and Markson, where his practice focuses on civil and commercial litigation. In addition to his legal and radio work, Barry also serves on the board of directors for both charitable and legal organizations.
Barry is married and has two young sons. He enjoys spending time with his family, coaching his kids' baseball teams and playing and watching sports.
Chris Lewis has been the co-host of the Fantasy Forum for 19 years. He likes to say he started when he was 12, but we know better.
Originally born in NY (Long Island), Chris has been in the Phoenix metro area for 22 years and is an Arizona State Sun Devil alum. While he still roots for his hometown teams, the local squads have gained his loyalty over the years, and he has been a D-Backs season ticket holder since day 1 (and has remained so despite having to see Bauer every game).
GO SEE THE SUN DEVILS. TONIGHT. 9PM. WELLS FARGO ARENA
OK, there are a few things you should know about me before you read this blog entry.
1. I am not an un-biased reporter. I understand the need for objectivity in sports writing, and if something is bad and I don't like it, I will tell you so. But I am going to root for my teams...publicly, openly, in writing and on the radio. So you don't need to remind me that I'm a "homer." I know.
2. I would like to tell you that I will blog more often. But as you probably know, this is a part time job for me. I'm on the radio two hours a week. No one pays me to blog. So...when I actually DO write in this space, it is most likely something I am passionate about, and feel that getting my thoughts out in 140 character sound bytes on Twitter (@chrislewisxtra) isn't enough. Sometimes stuff gets in my head and stays there. This is a Forum for me to get it out.
3. I am an Arizona State alum. An Arizona State fan. It's all I can do to NOT scream out in the press box when they make a great play. And there is a possibility that when Jahii Carson went coast to coast for his dunk on Wednesday night, I may have let out an abbreviated shout of joy. Sorry. It happens. If you can't stand the Devils, I'm probably not your first follow on Twitter (@chrislewisxtra).
4. And since we are in full disclosure mode: I went to college at Carnegie Mellon University (though I finished my degree at ASU), and I was there at the same time as Herb Sendek. I was roommates with the other shooting guard on the basketball team, John Taormina (JT actually started ahead of Herb). I did not know Herb in college, and I didn't start calling games on the student radio station until after he had left. But I am a fan of the Coach, and the CMU ties probably help that along a bit.
OK. That's the preliminary thoughts before sharing my actual thoughts today. And here they are.
GO SEE THE SUN DEVILS. TONIGHT. 9PM.
Here's the deal. I understand the economy and that some folks are struggling. If you are one of those struggling, I do not want to tell you what to do with your money. I hope things look up for you soon, and I hope you can watch the game on ESPNU tonight.
But for the rest of you that can afford it, GET TO THE GAME. I understand the main argument for staying home...this from the recent past:
"The Devils are boring. They play so slowly, it's hard to watch."
OK, fine, clearly you haven't watched this year's team. Jahii Carson does nothing slowly. This Devils team scored NINETY TWO points against Washington (who they play tonight), which is hard to do in a 40 minute game. They run every chance they get, and they play pretty good defense, so they get to run a lot.
But there are so many reasons to GO SEE THIS TEAM.
Those are all great reasons to go to the game tonight (9PM WELLS FARGO ARENA). But here is the most important one:
Tonight is senior night, and the Sun Devils will honor Ruslan Pateev, Chris Colvin and Mr. Felix. Let me give you a little background here.
Carrick Felix averaged 10 points and 4 rebounds a game last year. This year, he is averaging 14 and 8. If he doesn't win most improved player in the conference, there should be an investigation. He's been player-of-the-week 3 times, and with another double-double tonight a 4th win might be in order. And he should also win defensive player of the year, guarding everyone from shooting guards to centers and shutting them down.
All that is great. But that is still not why you should come and honor him tonight.
Remember last off-season? ASU had won 10 games. Prized recruit Keala King had been removed from the team. Kyle Cain left. Undisputed team leader and best player Trent Lockett was leaving the program to be closer to his ailing mom at Marquette. Even the assistant coaches were bailing...one for Washington, one for Penn. We were losing coaches to the IVY LEAGUE.
This team was picked to finish 11th.
Lockett was gone, leaving a HUGE leadership void. The best player on the team would be a freshman, but could he also be the leader? Well, he wouldn't have to.
The best thing that happened in the offseason? Carrick Felix grew up. His first child was born. He figured out that this was now his team. And he stepped into the leadership void and surpassed the success of Lockett in that role.
He texts teammates reminders of their goals. He makes sure that the team doesn't splinter into the mess of the last two seasons. He leads in effort on the court and in passion off the court. When the team has had tough losses, he has led them to bounce back wins. He followed his worst game of the season (Arizona) with three straight double-doubles, 3 wins and a player of the week award.
When you meet him, and get to talk to him for even a minute, you want to spend more time around him. His leadership has been inclusive, not "it's my team, give me the ball." He wants success for his whole squad. When talking about senior night, he spoke of Pateev and Colvin, but also included Joey Hormes, a senior who has played exactly one minute this season.
Carrick Felix is exactly the kind of guy you want to root for. And this is his senior night. The last home game of his career (hopefully they will not be hosting an NIT game this year).
SO SHOW UP. TONIGHT. 9PM. WELLS FARGO.
Honor Carrick Felix. Have fun watching Jahii Carson. Cheer this team as they try and stay on the bracket for the NCAA tourney. Be LOUD (unlike the students the other night with their "silent until 13 points" plan. Dumbest ploy EVER).
What, 9pm is too late? Please. It's Saturday night. I have a 6:30 am meeting for Church tomorrow. You'll get more sleep than I will, so get over it. It's the last game of the season, you can sleep in April.
Thanks for reading. And for listening. We're broadcasting live from Grand Canyon University on Tuesday night; hope you can tune in. Follow me on Twitter @chrislewisxtra. You can follow my partner too, @barrymarkson1. And you can hear our show, the Forum, Tuesday nights from 6-8 on XTRA910 and xtra910.com
Those of you that follow me on Twitter (@chrislewisxtra) clearly felt yesterday my initial reaction to the Justin Upton trade. I was angry. I believe I used the word stupid. After a day to think about it, I wanted to post something longer than 140 characters to explain my thoughts a little better. And then I remembered I have a BLOG! So here you go...(and for those of you who just want to hear my happy thoughts on this year's team...scroll down a while. Hopefully you'll just read the whole thing.)
I am still not a fan of the trade. Has Justin Upton been inconsistent? Yes. Do I enjoy his tirades when he strikes out, or his slow, steaming walks to RF when he is angry? No. But when he was good, he was REALLY good. And in the back of my mind, I can't help but think about the story of Matt Kemp.
In his age 24 season, Kemp hit 26 HR, knocked in 101 and stole 34 bases, with a .297/.352/.490 slash line (BA, OBP, Slug). He finished 10th in the MVP voting, won the Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger. His team won the division.
In Upton's age 23 season, he had 31 HR, 88 RBI, 21 SB with a .289/.369/.529 slash line. He finished 4th in the MVP voting, won the Silver Slugger award and the Fielding Bible named him the best RF in the NL (hey, it's called a Bible, it must be right). His team won the division.
In Kemp's age 25 season, his numbers sank to 28/89/19 with a .249/.310/.450 slash line. He was criticized for lackluster effort, Manager Joe Torre benched him, and GM Ned Coletti called him out publicly for poor performance on defense. Even his love life was called into question, as he had dated pop star Rihanna. His team finished 4th.
In Upton's age 24 season, his numbers sank to 17/67/18 with a .280/.355/.430 slash line. He was criticized for a lack of power and being inconsistent. Manager Kirk Gibson benched him, and Owner Ken Kendrick called him out on public radio, using the word "enigma." Of course, on this same day, Kendrick ripped Stephen Drew for not playing hurt, which was exactly what Upton, who had an injured thumb, was doing all year. The DBacks finished 3rd.
In his age 26 year, Matt Kemp EXPLODED. 39/126/40 with a crazy .324/.399/.586 stat line. Led the league with 115 runs scored. 2nd in the MVP, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger.
In his age 25 year, Justin Upton...well, we don't know. It hasn't happened yet. But Upton is one of just 9 players in the past 40 years to have a slugging percentage of .520 or higher twice by his age 23 season. Here are the 9 (and thanks to MLB-TV's Clubhouse Confidential for this): Cedeno, Griffey Jr., Juan Gonzalez, A-Rod, Pujols, Cabrera, Wright, Longoria and Upton. Cedeno might not have lived up to his enormous potential But the rest of that list? Ridiculous. A-Rod was a free agent and switched teams before his age 25 year. Cabrera was salary dumped by the Marlins of course. No one else on that list moved until they were 30.
So trading Upton isn't just a risk. It's a HUGE risk. Do I know for sure that he will become a superstar? Nope. No one does. But considering the DBacks are not saving payroll in this trade, it is an unprecedented move to move a player this young and this good...especially while you have him under contract for three more years at a reasonable (for MLB standards) rate.
Kevin Towers says great things about Upton's work ethic. Kirk Gibson says he has never had a problem with Justin and understands the pressures he was under as the face of the franchise. And yet the team spent the better part of 2 years taking offers for him. So clearly there is SOMETHING the team isn't saying, which is expected, because you wouldn't throw the guy under the bus on his way out the door. But wth everything I just mentioned, if he was great in the clubhouse and had a great rapport with the organization...if those things were true, the answer would have always been "no.'
When former DBack GM Josh Byrnes was asked about trading his best player (Chase Headley) this off-season, he said "we're not trading him (paraphrasing)." When Mr. Towers was asked about Upton, he said "I always listen on everybody." Which is a fine stance to take as GM of a franchise. But the correct answer is "no." And then listen to offers anyway. Don't tell the entire world that you are taking offers on your best player. For two straight years. To the point that everyone knows you have to trade him, so the package won't be nearly as good.
AND I'm not enamored with the prospects they received. Look, I'm not a scout. I'm a sales rep for a major record company and a part time radio talk show host. I've never seen these guys play (other than Delgado). So I have to go to the people I read all the time to gather their opinions on these guys. Jim Callis of Baseball America, who follows the minor leagues like few others, says "wow, I really like the Braves deal for Upton. I think you win with stars and the DBacks will regret trading Upton and Bauer (don't get me started on Bauer)." Keith Law of ESPN calls Delgado a "5th starter" and says the others are "two fringy prospects and one non-prospect." Another writer (who's name escapes me, my apologies) graded the prospects from B- to C.
Are these guys always right? NO. Did they like Paul Goldschmidt as a prospect? No. Josh Collmenter? Please. Do they know more than DBacks scouts? I have no idea. I couldn't name a DBacks scout.
But I know this: if you have elite talent, you should try and keep it. If there is a problem with internal relationships? FIX THE RELATIONSHIPS, don't jettison the player. Was Manny Ramirez well liked? No. Did the Red Sox win 2 World Series because he can RAKE? Yep. I guarantee you no one in the clubhouse liked Reggie Jackson, least of all his manager. But they loved him in October. And I understand that Upton isn't as good as either of those guys. Yet. But he might get there. And if he does...then this is a horrible trade.
OK. Just one more note regarding Upton. I had some people tell me they didn't like him because he didn't hit the cutoff man. Really? Who does? I can tell you Gerardo Parra doesn't even SEE the cutoff man...he wants to show off his arm EVERY time he has the ball.
Now...as far as what the team looks like now...
Martin Prado is a terrific player. Some people in Atlanta hate this trade because they really love Prado and wanted him to be the one to take Chipper's place at third. He doesn't strikeout like many others in the lineup, and I love that he finally increased his walks last year (34-58). He doesn't hit for a ton of power, though Chase Field may help those totals. As KT says, he "keeps the line moving." He was 10th in the league in WAR (wins above replacement) and has been an all-star, and he will play a position of scarce talent (3B) where the DBacks will have an advantage almost every night.
I really like this year's lineup. Mostly because I think Adam Eaton is going to bring energy, excitement, baseball IQ, and some really terrific TALENT to the leadoff spot. I think he'll be the best leadoff hitter in DBacks history. With a top 3 hitters (if I'm making the lineup) of Eaton/Hill/Prado, there should be plenty of opportunities for Kubel/Goldie/Miggy/Ross to drive in runs. I think Eaton and Kubel are the keys. DBacks need first half Kubel for most of the season. I also think if Parra plays a lot it is bad for the offense. I'm not a big fan (great defender in LF, but that is not a premium position for defense and he doesn't hit enough to be a corner OF). Then again, Cody Ross platoon splits are so drastic that Parra should probably play against RH hitters.
Will the team contend this year? I think that is up to Ian Kennedy, Trevor Cahill and Wade Miley. They have to be excellent. Maybe not Matt Cain/Clayton Kershaw/Zack Greinke excellent, but they need to pitch like aces, not like the .500 pitchers IPK and Cahill were last year (Jarrod Parker? Again, don't get me started). The bullpen will be really good. And don't forget that Daniel Hudson will be back sometime to add to the rotation this year.
And if they don't contend? Watch out for the fire sale. Hill, Kubel and Prado (for now) are all in the last year of their contract.
So, to wrap this up (since it is 2am)... I don't like trading HIGH END TALENT (Upton, Bauer, Parker) unless I am getting high end talent back. I don't like trading high end talent to get guys who fit better in the clubhouse. Really, i just don't like trading high end talent for anything. And I don't like giving journeymen like Cody Ross an Eric Byrnes level contract.
But I do like the team this year. I think they can hit, run, pitch, and they should be good defensively. I will, despite my anger yesterday, remain in my seats in section 320, row 2. My seats that I pay for (no press pass for me). I want the team to win the division, and I want to see more banners hanging in the outfield. I think the lineup is better than the Giants, and I think the depth is better than the Dodgers. And I think Derrick Hall is the best Team President in all of MLB. He interacts with the fans, gives us a great experience at the game (though not AS great sitting upstairs where I am), he even answers emails during games! .I won't give up the seats I've had since day one of the franchise. And no, I'm not kissing up to Mr. Hall so he finally starts following me on Twitter
But if Justin Upton has a Matt Kemp like explosion this year and is that player going forward...which history and numbers tell us is a very good possibility...then no matter what the DBacks got in return, this will still be a terrible trade that will taint the legacy of Mr. Towers forever.
I hope I'm wrong. I hope that Didi Gregorius actually becomes Derek Jeter. I hope Randall Delgado blossoms into a healthy Brandon Webb. And I know that you cannot judge a trade on the day it is made, though we all do. Tell me what the prospects (and Upton) have done 5 years from now. Do you think that Gasol trade looked bad for Memphis a few years ago? Think it looks better now? Think anyone would trade Marc Gasol for his brother NOW? No chance. And maybe this will be equal to the haul that Texas got from Atlanta for Mark Teixeira...a trade no one liked at the time that ended up getting the Rangers Elvis Andrus, Neftali Feliz, Matt Harrison and more. That would be great. Nothing I have read from the "experts" tells me that will be the case.
After a day of perspective, I still don't like the trade. I hope I am wrong in September. I hope I am even more wrong 5 years from now.
Listen to the Forum Tuesday nights from 6-8 EVERY WEEK...we're still on after football is over! And follow us on Twitter @chrislewisxtra and @barrymarkson1
Hi folks- hope you are enjoying the new move to Tuesdays. We’re excited about it, mostly because we still like being on the station after all these years. But since we are on so early in the week, I’ll try and send some updated thoughts in blog form here on the Fantasy Forum page on Fridays during the season. Today you are getting it on Saturday, mostly because of technical difficulties and expired passwords. But we’ll clean it up for next week.
And if Tuesdays are too early in the week for you, feel free to Tweet us @chrislewisxtra and @barrymarkson1.
OK- some fantasy updates.
Arian Foster is a game time decision with a knee injury, though CBS Sports’ Jason LaCanfora reports Foster is on track to play. Obviously, you play him if he is active. Having said that, I love Ben Tate regardless, as this game will be a blowout and Tate will have plenty of touches against the Dolphins.
Adrian Peterson will be a gametime decision as well (questionable). I don’t think you can play him this week unless you absolutely have to. And if you absolutely have to play him in week 1, you really screwed up your draft, didn’t you. I’d play Alfred Morris before Peterson. Heck, I’d play Alfred the Butler before AP.
Ronnie Brown is a decent play with Ryan Mathews being ruled out for week 1. But don’t be surprised if Le’Ron McClain vultures a TD against the Raiders. And if you get messed up by Foster or Lynch getting benched at the last moment, McClain isn’t a bad emergency pickup in that late Monday night game.
I like Ryan Williams this week for the Cardinals. Beanie isn’t all that healthy yet, and we saw so little of Ryan in preseason that I think people will be surprised with what they have.
Is Braylon Edwards on a roster in your league? Look, I don’t love the guy, but he is a starter right now and Russell Wilson could surprise a lot of people…I’d rather have Edwards than some of the #4 or #5 rookie WR’s that some fantasy squads are stretching for. Reuben Randle, AJ Jenkins, possibly even Michael Floyd have shown nothing so far.
Any other questions? I’ll be on Twitter tonight (tweeting live from ASU/Illinois) so send a message and I’ll shoot back an answer tonight.
2012 NFL Predictions:
NFC West: 49ers will win the division, because no one else has improved enough to challenge them. Seattle will be better, and Russell Wilson may end the year as the best QB in the division, but they will lose too many early in the season while they put it together (including Sunday against the Cardinals). Ryan Williams will be a nice surprise for the Cardinals and will carry the offense along with Fitz, but they won’t be able to overcome their really brutal QB play. And you will all find out: John Skelton is not a good NFL QB. Jeff Fisher will turn around the Rams. But not this year.
NFC North: I’m picking the Packers, but I think the Bears will give them a run and also make the playoffs. Aaron Rodgers is too good, and has great depth in the weapons he gets to throw to. The Bears made a great pickup in Brandon Marshall, and as long as he stays on the field he is the most explosive weapon they’ve had in quite a while. As far as the Lions…well…too many off the field issues, too much of a lack of discipline on the field. They still win 9-10 games, but no playoffs. Remember, 5 teams usually miss the playoffs that made it the previous year. It’s hard to do it again. I hear the Vikings are in this division as well…they’ll have another chance at a top 3 pick next year.
NFC South: Division is loaded. The Falcons will win the division. More on them later. Saints are still explosive, but I think losing their coach is just too big a deal, and they will miss the playoffs. Panthers get closer- Cam Newton has a monster 2nd year, team wins 9, still not good enough to make the playoffs. And the Bucs will be much better, but too tough to win in this division.
NFC East: Still picking the Giants to win the division. I just think their organization…the lack of drama with Coughlin, Jerry Reese and ownership, gives them the edge. Great QB, enough weapons and a ridiculous front 7. Dallas and Philly are talented, but their QB’s have not proven they can get it done at big moments, and with Jerry Jones in Dallas and Andy Reid on the hot seat… I still pick the Giants. And the Cowboys will make the playoffs when Michael Vick gets hurt again and Nick Foles finds out that the regular season is, well, different. RG3 will be fun to watch…but they still need more playmakers.
Division winners: SF, Green Bay, Atlanta, Giants. Wild cards: Chicago, Dallas.
AFC West: I’m picking one of my least favorite teams, the Raiders, to win the division. Carson Palmer will turn out to be the better “resurrected” QB, and their defense and running game will get them to 10 wins. Denver and San Diego will be close. I think Philip Rivers has a bounceback year, but I don’t like their defense in key moments. Denver will be a great story, I think they win 9 games, but next year they will be more of a threat. And I actually like the Chiefs…wouldn’t surprise me if they contend as well. I think all 4 teams will be in the race after 12 games…who will step up at the end?
AFC North: Ravens are the champs here. I was having trouble deciding between them and the Steelers…Ray Rice is the deciding factor for me. I like the new hurry-up offense, I think the Joe Flacco will have a good year, and that the defense still has enough to stand up to a tough division. Steelers will be a wild card…worried that key players such as Troy Polamalu are getting old, and they start the year banged up in the backfield and at linebacker. But Big Ben will still get them to the playoffs. Sophomore slump for Andy Dalton? I don’t think so…I just think the other two teams are too good. Trent Richardson will test the theory that a rookie of the year can come from a last place team. He’s a beast, Browns will be better but still not good enough.
AFC South: TEXANS. If they stay healthy, they could be hoisting a trophy off the field in early February. Loaded. But Andre Johnson and Matt Schaub have to stay in the lineup. The young QB’s for the other teams will bring hope to those cities, but not many wins. Only one playoff team here. Remember, Peyton Manning went 3-13 his rookie year. Andrew Luck will be GREAT.
AFC East: Can’t go against the Patriots. Too good. Too well coached. And they have Brady. Buffalo will finish 2nd and win a wild card spot. Welcome back to the playoffs. Love what they have done with their defense, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is smart and talented. I actually want to pick the Jets for last place (remember, I am a huge Jets fan), but I can’t because the Dolphins will be the worst team in football. Jets- too much drama, NO explosive weapons on offense until Stephen Hill learns to catch a football, offensive line overrated. 6 wins? Wide receivers can’t get open, Holmes is a diva, no running backs…bad. Just bad. I think Sanchez would be really good if he had receivers.
Division winners: Raiders, Ravens, Texans and Pats. Wild cards: Pittsburgh, Buffalo.
Super Bowl: Houston over Atlanta, 31-27. Houston is deep, talented and well coached. New blood!
Don’t like them? Tell me your picks at @chrislewisxtra.
And tune in Tuesday night for the Fantasy Forum, 6-8 pm. XTRA910, xtra910.com and I Heart Radio!
Jerry Zgoda @JerryZgoda
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune Jerry Zgoda joins the guys to break down the Suns latest free agent pickup Michael Beasley. Jerry says that Beasley is a great scorer and can provde a lot the Suns offensive attack. Michael does have some character issues but Jerry says that some players mature later in their careers. Jerry says that if Micahel can grow up he can be a great addition for the Suns.
Adam Lucas @TarHeelMonthly
Adam runs the most excellent Tar Heels Monthly magazine and joins the guys to talk about the Suns newest addition PG Kendall Marshall. Adam says that Phoenix fans will fall in love in Kendalls passing ability and his leadership helping show players what to do on and off the court. Adam says that Kendall's shooting ability may not be the cleanest but he will put the ball in and get the job done. Adam also says that Kendall was the best recruiter UNC had while he was there.
Hi folks- we've been lucky enough the last few years to be able to talk to some of the most "inside" people around the country to put together a MOCK DRAFT on the Fantasy Forum. These are the beat writers, bloggers and columnists from around the country...the folks that really know their teams and their tendencies.
Unfortunately, thanks to the great success of our local hockey team (tune in tomorrow night to ALL the Coyotes ROUND 2 coverage right here in XTRA Sports 910!), we haven't had a show the last few weeks, so we couldn't have a mock draft show. So I tried to get in touch with everyone around the country to put on Twitter (@chrislewisxtra) and here on our blog. I was able to get the first 26 picks from experts around the country.
Rules? No trades allowed here. Otherwise, the folks were asked to select who they thought the team would take.
So here you go: the WRITER MOCK DRAFT 2012, with comments from the writers, and my thoughts on the last few picks of the first round at the bottom.
#1: Colts select QB Andrew Luck- Phillip B. Wilson (@pwilson24) of the Indianapolis Star (blogs.indystar.com/philb) says "It's never been much of a secret. Colts were sold on him from day one."
#2: Redskins select QB Robert Griffin III- Mike Jones (@MikeJonesWaPo) of the Washington Post (www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/football-insider) says "Mike Shanahan and his staff believe the Baylor quarterback will fit perfectly into their system and will give Washington its first franchise quarterback since Joe Theismann."
#3: Vikings select OT Matt Kalil- Dan Wiederer (@StribDW) of the Star-Tribune (www.startribune.com/vikings) comments: "The Vikings need help on their OL, WR and DB. But the draft depth of those latter two positions will allow them to still land WR and DB playmakers in Rounds 2-4. That makes Kalil, a can't miss LT, the safest and smartest pick."
#4: Browns select RB Trent Richardson- Nate Ulrich (@nateulrichABJ) of the Akron Beacon-Journal (www.ohio.com/browns) says "Browns need to select the best offensive player available, and it's Richardson. His powerful running style and ability to make plays as a receiver would give the Browns' offense a much-needed boost right away."
#5: Bucs select CB Morris Claiborne- Luke Easterling (@NFLDraftReport) of theDraftReport.com says "With Richardson off the board, this is obviously an easy call. Especially if the rumor about the Bucs shopping Talib has merit, and if the team indeed moves Barber to safety (he's been trying the position out at mini-camp this week) this pick becomes the perfect balance of need and value"
#6: Rams select WR Justin Blackmon- this pick was taken as a consensus of the mock drafts around STL. Need to get weapons for QB Sam Bradford to continue his development.
#7: Jaguars select DE Melvin Ingram- Tania Ganguli (@taniaganguli) of the Florida Times-Union (www.jacksonville.com/jaguars) says "They're hoping to trade down, but if they can't Ingram fills the need for another pass-rusher at a position that isn't very deep this year. That means the Jaguars probably won't be able to get a quality pass-rusher in later rounds like they might be able to with the very deep defensive tackle class"
#8: Dolphins select QB Ryan Tannehill- David J. Neal (@davidjneal) of the Miami Herald (www.miamiherald.com/sports/football/) says "they haven't picked a QB in the first round since Marino and don't want the protests to turn into riots"
#9: Panthers select DE Quinton Coples- Joseph Person (@josephperson) of the Charlotte Observer (www.charlotteobserver.com/sports/nfl/carolina-panthers/) was kind enough to help up out and make this pick.
#10: Bills select CB Stephon Gilmore- Brian Galliford (@buffalorumblings, buffalorumblings.com) says "I believe that South Carolina CB Stephon Gilmore would narrowly beat out Georgia OT Cordy Glenn to be Buffalo's pick. Buffalo is a hard team to project, but GM Buddy Nix spoke glowingly of Gilmore this past week."
#11: Chiefs select LB Luke Kuechly- Adam Teicher (@adamteicher) of the Kansas City Star (www.kansascity.com/sports/chiefs/) selected the prolific production of this Boston College inside LB for KC. I think the Chiefs will be ecstatic if he drops this far.
#12: Seahawks select LB Courtney Upshaw- Nick Eaton (@njeaton) of the Post-Intelligencer (blog.seattlepi.com/football/) says "With the other pass-rushers already taken, I'd go with Courtney Upshaw for the Hawks. He's got a lot of passion and can make nasty-good hits. Wouldn't be too surprised if Seattle chooses to trade down — they're in fairly good shape after an impressive free-agency."
#13: Cardinals select OT Reilly Reiff- Kent Somers (@kentsomers) of the Arizona Republic (www.azcentral.com/members/Blog/KentSomers/) says "Wow, tough choice there between Reiff and Floyd. I've taken Floyd in mocks last week when this has come up. I'm changing my mind, however, and saying Reiff." Breaking news! Of course, this was two days ago...so we'll give Kent the benefit of the doubt either way!
#14: Cowboys select DT Fletcher Cox- got extra help on this one, but they both agreed: Rainer Sabin (@DMNRainerSabin) of the Dallas Morning News (dallasnews.com) and KD Drummond (@bloggingtheboys and bloggingtheboys.com) both selected Cox. Sabin says "looking for a pass rusher and Cox could provide pressure as an end in Dallas' 3-4 scheme."
#15: Eagles select S Mark Barron- Jason B (@bleedinggreen) of SB Nation Philly (bleedinggreennation.com) says "The Eagles need better safety play then they got last season and while they have recent high picks who could grow into the role, Barron is solid value here and could start day one. Plus, if the draft actually played out like this, he might be very well be the best player left on the board."
#16: Jets select DE Chandler Jones- Jake Steinberg (@steiny31) of TheJetsBlog.com says "Jones has long arms and a good build. He is great off the snap which allows him to get around the offensive tackle. He is an unquestioned leader and shows true grit and passion on the field. He shows some nice power off his bull rush. Jones has a ton of potential thanks to the ability to grow into his frame and use his size."
#17: Bengals select WR Michael Floyd- Joe Reedy (@joereedy) of the Cincinnati Enquirer (www.cincinnati.com/bengals) points out that "Offense needs a second receiver to help take the load off A.J. Green."
#18: Chargers select DE Whitney Mercilus- Kevin Acee (@UTKevinAcee) of the SD Union-Tribune (www.utsandiego.com/news/sports/chargers/) says "They need pass rush and can afford to just send him after QB & let him learn."
#19: Bears select WR Kendall Wright- XTRA Sports own Mike Jack Bauer (@mikejackbauer), when asked why the Bears would make this pick says "Why? Because they are stupid. I would pick Jonathan Martin or Cordy Glenn. But Lovie loves Wright."
#20: Titans select CB Dre Kirkpatrick- John Glennon (@glennonsports) of the Tennessean (www.tennessean.com/section/SPORTS) says "Titans lost CB Cortland Finnegan to free agency, but Kirkpatrick would combine with Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner to form a strong trio in the defensive backfield. Titans might even consider moving him to safety at some point."
#21: Bengals select DT Michael Brockers- thanks to Joe Reedy for making both of the Bengals picks. Will be interesting to see if they keep both of them tonight.
#22: Browns select WR Stephen Hill- Nate Ulrich of the Beacon-Journal helped us with both Browns picks, and points out that "Browns are desperate for help at receiver, and Hill would satisfy their need for speed at the position."
#23: Lions select OT Cordy Glenn- Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) of the Detroit Free Press (www.freep.com/section/sports01) made this pick for the resurgent Lions. LT Backus is getting up in years...Glenn could play inside until Backus hangs it up.
#24: Steelers select G David Decastro- Lance Williams (@steelradio) of Steel Curtain Radio guided me in the direction of guard on this one, and I think he is right. I had trouble communicating to him who was available, and he had another guard chosen, but Decastro is clearly the top rated guard, the Steelers could use help on the interior, and I think they would jump on the Stanford G. So as the person who writes this blog, I'm going with Decastro! Either way, check out Lance's podcast at http://www.facebook.com/groups/steelcurtainradio/ for all things Steeler.
#25: Broncos select DT Dontari Poe- Sayre Bedinger (@milehighreport and milehighreport.com) says "With the players available, I would look to first trade down, but as of right now I think the Broncos would select Dontari Poe, DT, Memphis. Despite his lack of production statistically, he is a massive DT prospect with excellent athletic ability, and a solid fit for John Fox and Jack Del Rio's defense."
#26: Texans select OT Jonathan Martin- John McClain (@mcclain_on_NFL) of the Houston Chronicle (http://blog.chron.com/ultimatetexans) stepped up last minute and made the pick for the Texans. More protection for the somewhat injury prone Matt Schaub.
So that is it. Although I do want to say the Shalise Manza-Young of the Boston Globe (@shalisemyoung) has been very supportive of the show every other year and if she had more notice I'm sure would have helped!
If I had to guess on the last few picks of the round...I would guess:
#27 Patriots: Shea McClellin of Boise State is moving up fast...have also heard maybe Nick Perry of USC.
#28 Green Bay: Donta' Hightower- the best defender left on the board, and they need defense.
#29 Ravens: Peter Konz- interior lineman for team that has taken hits recently on the O-Line
#30 49ers: Kevin Zeitler- OG. Another big horse of a blocker for the Niners ball control offense
#31 Patriots: Notre Dame S Harrison Smith
#32 Giants: a lot of people have Stanford TE Coby Fleener...but I think if it falls this way they will take RB Doug Martin of Boise State. Jacobs is gone...Bradshaw has been hurt...Martin could be a stud in their offense.
That's it: thanks again to all who helped put this together...follow these people on Twitter and you will know WAY more about the NFL than you do now.
See you tonight out at R.T. O'Sullivan's in Mesa (Stapley and US60) for the NFL Draft Party...I'll be there with Mike Jurecki, Dan Bickley and a cast of thousands.
-Chris Lewis @chrislewisxtra
Hello fans...as you know, the last few years, we have done a "journalist MOCK DRAFT" on the Fantasy Forum. Well, thanks to the success of our Phoenix Coyotes, we've been pre-empted the past few weeks for playoff hockey. But I still wanted to do the Mock Draft, featuring beat writers/columnists/bloggers from folks around the country.
So...for the next day or so...follow us (me) on Twitter at @chrislewisxtra for the picks and comments from the writers around the country. Once we're done, we'll post the results right here, most likely late Tuesday (assuming everyone out there answers me quickly enough).
I'm posting the first pick right now...Monday at 2:07pm...but I'll give you this one here on the blog...I know you'll be shocked:
WITH THE FIRST PICK IN THE XTRA910/FANTASY FORUM JOURNALIST MOCK DRAFT...the Indianapolis Colts (Phillip B. Wilson/Indianapolis Star) select: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford. "It's never been much of a secret. Colts were sold on him from Day One," says Wilson.
So...hop on Twitter, follow @chrislewisxtra, and we'll take you through the first round.
And tune in to the Fantasy Forum, Thursday nights from 6-8pm, assuming that Coyotes season ends before the NFL season starts!
So, I was up way too early on a Saturday morning...couldn't sleep, lots to do. So I decided to get out of bed and get some work done. While checking email, I noticed that my good friend and former XTRA910 host John Cannon had written a column regarding the tragic events at Penn State. John is calling for the cancelling of today's game and the rest of the Nittany Lion season, with the possible addition of a "self-imposed" death penalty for next year as well.
If you would like to read John's entire column on the topic, and you should because I have not done it justice here, drop him a tweet @JCannonSports and I'm sure he'll find a way for you to read it.
Those of you who know John and I know that I always wanted to do a show with him, but that show most likely would not have been very exciting because I almost ALWAYS agree with him. But I do not agree in this case. I do not believe the season should be cancelled, and I do not believe a "death penalty" should be imposed. My reasoning is:
So…if it were me (and thankfully it is not), I would:
The football program has basically given itself the death penalty anyway. It will be a long time before even a brilliant new coaching staff (and there aren't many of those)can recruit players...who would want to walk into that situation right now? What bowl game will invite this team to play?
I understand that we have no idea the full scope of this mess. More information can and will be learned that might change the situation (and thus I reserve the right to say I was wrong later). As a good friend said to me yesterday, "do you think this guy really learned this behavior at the age of 60?" We have no concept of how long this has been going on or how many victims there have been.
In the end, football doesn't matter. It isn't going to save the victims, whether they play the games or not. No one will forget this, everyone will take the issue VERY seriously, and hopefully a serious subject that needs to be addressed in this country will be dealt with.
I also believe that there are a lot of very good people in Happy Valley who frankly wouldn't mind a distraction for three hours today.
But hey, that’s just my opinion. If you have your own, or would like to call me names, follow me on twitter @chrislewisforum.
Thanks to everyone for listening over the last 18 years and making the Fantasy Forum this year's Best Local Radio Sports Show in Phoenix Magazine's "Best of the Valley." We started the Fantasy Forum in 1994, talking fantasy baseball and football before the advent of computer fantasy leagues and websites. Now, here we are almost 18 years later with up to the minute scoring and information available to everyone from multiple sources. Throughout it all, we've brought you inside information and insightful analysis mixed with a little fun and humor. It's an honor, after all these years, to be named the best sports talk show in Phoenix. We feel like Susan Lucci. Thanks for listening to the longest running sports radio show in Arizona.
Barry Markson and Chris Lewis
FANTASY NEWS/thoughts for week 3:
RAIDERS: I like Denarius Moore- I drafted him, so I liked him before his breakout game last week. But I don't like him this week against Revis and Cromartie. So pick him up if he's still on waivers, but don't play him this week.
TEXANS: Ben Tate could become the 2nd back ever to get 100 yards in his first three starts. Foster still has the tweaked hamstring; Derrick Ward is out...so Tate is the man. Milk him.
CHARGERS: Antonio Gates and Malcolm Floyd will both miss tomorrow's game. The Chargers will still score a bunch of points against the hapless Chiefs...so Patrick Crayton might be a nice sleeper candidate. FYI- Mike Tolbert is probable, so he is good to go.
COWBOYS: I don't think you can play any of the injured guys. Austin is out, Jones, Romo and Bryant are questionable, and you can't play game-time decisions when their game is on Monday night.
GIANTS: Mario Manningham is out (concussion) and it looks like Victor Cruz will start in his place. TE Travis Beckham will get his first action of the year...I like him going forward (but not this week).
PATRIOTS: Aaron Hernandez is out, and they cut another tight end, so look for more 3-4 wide sets, so maybe Chad 85 is worth a look this week.
CARDINALS: Beanie Wells is a game time decision in a late afternoon game...if he plays, he'll be big...if not, well...Chester Taylor?
RAMS: Steven Jackson and Cadillac Williams are both hurt...Jerious Norwood may get some playing time, but against the Ravens defense I wouldn't care much.
BROWNS: Peyton Hillis has strep throat. I don't think that will keep him out on Sunday against Miami.
CHIEFS: I know they stink. But Dexter McCluster might be a guy to get with Jamaal Charles out for the year.
Good luck on Sunday...I traded for Tom Brady tonight, so I feel better about my season going forward, even though I gave up Mendenhall.
OH...and BIG win for the Sun Devils on Saturday night against USC. Nice to see the OTHER team impode with turnovers and penalties for a change.
Follow us on Twitter @chrislewisforum @barrymarkson1, and listen Thursday night 6-8pm on XTRA910 and xtra910.com.