The Jock

by Tom Weppel

JAGUARS…
The Jaguars will now hold a series of mini-camps in the next few months, beginning this weekend. It will give everyone a chance to become somewhat familiar with the personality and setting of the team, the franchise, and both offensive and defensive schemes, l before they get into training camp in July.
I find it quite interesting to see how the Jaguars chose not one, but TWO offensive tackles with their fist two draft choices. You can look at the Jaguars’ roster and see they signed veteran free agent Tra Thomas about a month ago. Of course, they already have Tony Pashos, who has done a decent job in his time on the line. They also have Maurice ‘Mo’ Williams, whom they drafted a few years ago out of Michigan.
And so, bringing in Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton will certainly make for an interesting array of possibilities…and decision…for Jack Del Rio and his coaching staff.
The other choices General Manager Gene Smith and his personnel made were all done for reasons. It is unfair, and actually quite impossible, to make judgments on what they did, since we all have no idea how all the players will turn out. You can only see that thing are certainly different from years past, when James ‘Shack’ Harris was the man in charge of deciding who came in to play for the Jags.

NATIONAL BASKETBALL ASSOCIATION
The first round of playoffs is finishing up in the NBA. The two top seeds, the Lakers and Cavaliers, both closed out their series in quick order, allowing them both to get some much-needed time to rest and heal, before the second round cranks up.
Cleveland was certainly the team to show us they mean business, as they swept the Detroit Pistons in four games. Lebron James and his mates are firing on all cylinders. They are without question the team to beat in the Eastern Conference. They also showed us that the Pistons are an aged team that has certainly seen their better years. I’ll be curious to see what Detroit does with their roster during the off season, as ‘Rip’ Hamilton and Rasheed Wallace, among a few others, are free agents.
Meanwhile, the Lakers played good ball in taking care of the Utah Jazz. It seems Phil Jackson has his squad prepared for the postseason, with the correct mindset to play solid ball. They certainly look primed to play again in the Finals.

NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE
The NHL will now go into the second round of playoffs, and there will be some interesting match ups, without question. In the Eastern Conference, the Boston Bruins will play the Carolina Panthers, while the Washington Capitals will take on the Pittsburgh Penguins. Boston swept the Montreal Canadiens in the first round, while Carolina had to go seven games to beat the Devils. It figures the Bruins will be well rested and ready to go. The Caps also had to go seven games to beat the Rangers, so we’ll see how they perform against a Penguin team that should be ready, having been in the Finals last year.
In the Western Conference, the Detroit Red Wings will face the upstart Anaheim Ducks. This series, without question, will be intriguing, with two veteran squads going at it. We’ll also se the Chicago Blackhawks face the Vancouver Canucks. This will be the second Canadian team Chicago will face, having beaten the Calgary Flames in the last round.

NATIONAL FOOTBALL LEAGUE
Amazingly, not ONE NFL team has suggested they had a crappy draft and made any bad selections! Of course, we’ll know for sure in a few years who did well and who did awful, simply by seeing which players have performed well in their short, fledgling careers.
And I would also say that, to grade out each teams Draft, which has been done in various media outlets, is almost a joke and a waste, for all intents. Draft grades are only being made based on how the player did in college. If you look at NFL rosters, you’ll see there are plenty of players that came from non-descript schools. Not all players in the NFL come simply from major colleges.
So, to be doing draft grading at this point in time is simply a joke.
The one point I do want to ring out is to note how many major college QB’s did NOT get drafted over the past weekend. Names we are all familiar with, such as Graham Harrell from Texas Tech, Chase Daniel from Missouri, and Brian Hoyer from Michigan State, were not chosen by any teams. All three were later signed as free agents by teams and will go to mini-camp.
Teams will now hold a series of mini-camps over the next few months, all leading up to training camp in July, then the preseason in August. We’ll then see who will come out and show us what they got.

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