Monthly Archives: April, 2015

Top five picks in the NFL Draft: What positions are most popular?

DraftChicago

The NFL Draft will be held tonight in Chicago. There are a multitude of questions surrounding this draft, including who will be picked number one and what will each team do to fill their immediate on-field needs.

Let’s take a look at the first five picks of the draft over the past 15 years. Were more offensive players selected? What specific position has been selected most in the top five since 2000? Which position has not had a player picked in the top five in the last 15 years? Here’s a snapshot answer to some of those questions. These stats reflect the first five players chosen in each of the last 15 years of the draft, a total of 75 players.

* Of the 75 players chosen 1-5 from 2000-2014, 49 were offensive players, 26 were defensive players.

* Of the 49 offensive players, the by-position breakdown: quarterbacks, 17; offensive linemen, 15, wide receivers, 9, running backs, 8, tight ends, 0.

* Of the 26 defensive players, the by-position breakdown: defensive ends, 10; defensive tackles, 6, linebackers, 5, defensive backs, 5.

Here’s another interesting stat to ponder with the NFL Draft taking place tonight. Did you know that of the 80 NFL players who have started 200 or more games in the league that only 13 of them were selected as one of the first five picks in the first round? The 13 are: Bruce Smith, Peyton manning, Junior Seau, Charles Woodson, John Elway, Reggie White, Justin Smith, Vinny Testaverde, Chris Doleman, Irving Fryar, Cornelius Bennett, Too Tall Jones and Julius Peppers.

Of those 80, there are six players who were never drafted: Casey Wiegmann, Jeff Saturday, Warren Moon, Eugene Robinson, London Fletchher and Mick Tingelhoff.

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Same position, drafted 1-2, in the NFL Draft

NFLDraft

The NFL Draft begins tomorrow. Even after several months of speculation, we are no closer to figuring out which players will be selected by each team and with what pick.

One of the most interesting questions is will two quarterbacks by the first two picks in the draft? Will Jameis Winston (Florida State) and Marcus Mariota (Oregon) be the first two selections? A recent mock draft posted by Bleacher Report has Winston going number to Tampa Bay and the Titans picking Mariota with the second selection.

The last time two QBs went 1-2 in the draft was in 2012 when Indianapolis chose Andrew Luck and the Redskins followed by taking Robert Griffin III.

It’s interesting to note that just two years ago a pair of players who played the same position were selected as the first two picks in the draft; they were not, however, quarterbacks. In ’13, offensive tackles Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel went 1-2 in the draft.

Here’s a look at the eight times since 1970 (the AFL-NFL merger) that two players that played the same position were chosen number one and number two in the NFL Draft.

Year, position, players

1971, QB: Jim Plunkett, Archie Manning, Dan Pastorini (selected 1-2-3)

1972, Defensive End: Walt Patulski, Sherman White

1977, Running Back: Ricky Bell, Tony Dorsett

1993, Quarterback: Drew Bledsoe, Rick Mirer

1998, Quarterback: Peyton Manning, Ryan Leaf

1999, Quarterback: Tim Couch, Donovan McNabb, Akili Smith

2012, Quarterback: Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III

2013, Offensive Tackle: Eric Fisher, Luke Joeckel

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Milwaukee Bucks finally get a playoff victory

bucks-bulls

The Milwaukee Bucks 92-90 win over the Chicago Bulls in Game 4 of their playoff series was the Bucks first playoff win since April 28, 2010, a more than five-year drought.

Prior to the start of this year’s playoffs, the Bucks were one of eight NBA teams that had not won a playoff year since 2012 and before. Two of those eight teams played in the post-season this year, Milwaukee and New Orleans. The Bucks got a win Game Four, but the Pelicans were swept in four games in their first-round series versus the Golden State Warriors and have now not won a playoff game since April 24, 2011.

The Charlotte Hornets franchise, which made the playoffs last season and in 2009-10, have not won a playoff game since May 9, 2002, the longest current playoff win drought in the league. The Hornets were swept in each of the first-round playoff series they played in 2009-10 and 2013-14.

Here’s a look at the NBA franchises that have the longest playoff win droughts in the league.

NBA franchise, Last playoff win

Charlotte Hornets, May 9, 2002

Minnesota Timberwolves, May 29, 2004

Sacramento Kings, April 30, 2006

Detroit Pistons, May 26, 2008

Utah Jazz, April 30, 2010

Phoenix Suns, May 25, 2010

New Orleans Pelicans, April 24, 2011

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MLB’s best pitchers in April

Pedro Martinez: Is he baseball's all-time best pitcher in April?

Pedro Martinez: Is he baseball’s all-time best pitcher in April?

Getting off to a good start is important for MLB teams (Brewers?). It is equally important for players.

Five pitchers are already 3-0 this season: Two New York Mets pitchers (Bartolo Colon and Matt Harvey), two Detroit hurlers (Alfredo Simon and Shane Greene) and San Diego’s Joaquin Benoit. Since 1914 there have been six pitchers who have won six games by the end of April. The six: Vida Blue (1971), Dave Stewart (1988), Randy Johnson (2000), Randy Johnson (2002), Brandon Webb (2008) and Jered Weaver (2011). All of the six except Vida Blue were 6-0 at the end of April; Blue was 6-1.

One of the interesting things about Stewart is that not only is he one of six pitchers to win six games in April, but he is also one of only four pitchers to lose six games in April. Stewart was 0-6 in 1984. The other pitchers with six losses at the end of April were Mike Maroth (2003), Barry Zito (2008) and Philip Humber (2013).

Roger Clemens leads all MLB pitchers with the most March/April wins with 57. He is followed by Greg Maddux (56), Tom Glavine(51) and Nolan Ryan (51). Phil Niekro has the most March/April losses with 39.

If we look at the pitchers with a minimum of 20 March/April wins in their careers, Pedro Martinez has the best winning percentage. Martinez was 35-8 in his career by the end of April, a .814 winning percentage. Here are the pitchers with the best March/April winning percentages since 1914:

Pedro Martinez 35-8 .814
Wes Ferrell 26-7 .788
Geoff Zahn 26-7 .788
Dave McNally 30-9 .769
Bob Lemon 23-7 .767

Eight different Brewers pitchers have won 10 or more games in April. Chris Bosio ranks as the Brewers’ best early-season pitcher as he was 18-5 (a .783 winning percentage) in his Milwaukee career in the March/April. His 18 wins tops the list. Here are the Brewers pitchers with 10 or more wins in the first month of the season:

Chris Bosio 18-5
Jim Slaton 17-14
Mike Caldwell 16-9
Ben Sheets 14-17
Yovani Gallardo 13-7
Teddy Higuera 12-4
Bill Wegman 11-13
Chris Capuano 10-6

Sheets’ 17 losses top the Brewers list of most March/April losses.

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The impact of rookies in the NBA playoffs

Nikola Mirotic

Nikola Mirotic

The NBA playoffs begin this weekend. While most teams will depend on veteran players to lead them through the post-season, there are a few rookies who may have an impact on this year’s playoffs.

Of the 1o rookies who scored the most points in 2014-15, four will likely see action in the NBA playoffs: Nikola Mirotic (Chicago), Bojan Bogdanovic (Brooklyn), Marcus Smart (Boston) and K.J. McDaniels (Houston). Mirotic scored 833 points in his first year in the league, second most among rookies (Minnesota’s Andrew Wiggins led NBA rookies with 1,387 points). Bogdanovic scored 700, good enough for seventh most among rookies; Smart had 523 points, ninth among rookies, and McDaniels, who was traded mid-season to Houston, tallied 487 points, finishing 10th among first-year players.

An interesting side note is that Milwaukee’s prize rookie, Jabari Parker, injured after playing only 25 games in his rookie season, will not be in the Milwaukee line-up as they face the Bulls in the first round of the playoffs. He scored 308 points in 25 games and probably would have reached the 1,000-point mark in his rookie season had he not been injured.

Over the past NBA seasons, there have been a few rookies who have made a significant impact in the playoffs. The most notable is probably Magic Johnson who helped lead the L.A. Lakers to the title in 1979-80 in his first year in the league. Here is a look at the NBA rookies who have scored the most points in the playoffs in their first season.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (352, Milwaukee, 1969-70)
Alvan Adams (341, Phoenix, 1975-76)
Elgin Baylor (331, Minneapolis Lakers, 1958-59)
George Mikan (303, Minneapolis Lakers, 1948-49)
Jack Sikma (301, Seattle, 1977-78)

Wilt Chamberlain (299, Philadelphia Warriors, 1959-60)
Magic Johnson (293, L.A. Lakers, 1979-80)
Jerry West (275, L.A. Lakers, 1960-61)
Jamaal Wilkes (255, Golden State Warriors, 1974-75)
Richard Dumas (251, Phoenix, 1992-93)

The following players scored between 200-249 points in the playoffs in their rookie season: Ricky Sobers  David Robinson, Tom Meschery, Dwyane Wade, Dick Garrett, Tom Heinsohn, Manu Ginobili, Joe Fulks, Andrew Toney, Marques Johnson, Alonzo Mourning, Anthony Roberts, Sam Cassell, Lou Hudson.

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