NFL Mock Draft 4-21 Round 3

gator dazzlers

By Paul M. Banks

Check back often as we’ll be filling in the descriptions and updating it a few more times between now and Draft day!

To read our updated team needs go here

For our draft big board rankings go here

For round one go here

For round 2 go here

65. St. Louis Aaron Hernandez TE Florida

This team needs playmakers BADLY, so they’ll rebuild the offensive side of the ball here

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What’s Brewing in ’09: Plate Patience, Pirate Tantrums & Rickie vs. Rourke

By: Melissa S. Wollering

 
Doth my ears hear correctly?  Exsqueeze me?  Bacon powder? On Wednesday, the Brewers broke .500 for the first time this season. After a horrible start to April, that’s like beating the same odds Ben Linus has of becoming Chief of Staff to Jimmy Carter after getting off the island post-
Dharma Initiative.

 
Your Milwaukee Brewers have won seven out of their last eight to achieve that monumental task. Note 15 wins in a row against Pittsburgh and 18 in a row at Miller Park. Playing the Pirates every other series wouldn’t be so terrible, eh?  Strange enough, many of them have been close games and the Brewers always pull it out. Why can we only win close games against the Pirates?


AAAARRRRRRR, matey. The fans of those losing scoundrels are angry that the Brewers untuck their jerseys after a win. If you haven’t heard by now, the tradition is in honor of Mike Cameron’s father who used to untuck his shirt after a tough day’s work. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette blogs are chock full of dissenters. Really? One guy wrote that he wanted the Brewers’ Gatorade cooler tainted with swine flu because he’s so mad. Really?


Meantime, Yovani Gallardo went to bed Tuesday and woke up an ace pitcher 12 hours later. Put this into your TI-84’s and crunch it: 8 innings, 2 hits, 1 BB, 0 runs, 11 K’s. Perfect game through two outs into the 5th inning. Then he got ‘er done at the plate by going yard in the 7th on a 0-2 count for the only run of the game.


Did you know that’s two homers in only 12 at bats so far this season for Gallardo? TI-84 says at that pace, collecting 550 at bats this season could hypothetically produce 92 home runs while Gallardo maintains a .333 average. Yeah, and if frogs could fly they wouldn’t bump their ass when they hopped. Oh, Cassandra…


Baseball Musings says it is the first 1-0 game won by a starting pitcher’s home run since August of 2002, when Odalis Perez homered off Rick Helling a Dodgers win over the Diamondbacks. It is only the seventh time that has happened in the last 50 years, with Early Winn, Milt Pappas, Jim Bunning, Juan Pizarro and Bob Welch also completing the feat.

 
Corey Hart is inducing coronary failure ‘round the world as he forms a good habit – TAKING WALKS, THREE IN ONE GAME. I’m going to have the big one. Call an ambulance. On Tuesday, Hart reached base safely in all five of his plate appearances; 3 BB’s contributed to that.

 
Hart’s three were among a season-high NINE for Crew hitters on Tuesday.  BrewerFan.net has Ryan Braun on pace to take more than 100 walks this season. Jeromy Burnitz holds the Crew’s record for walks in a season with 99, so Braun and even Fielder could break that with this type of start.

Last year at this time, the Brewers had worked a mere 60 walks.  They’ve already marked 87 through 21 games this season. Their patience at the plate is so good that the Dalai Lama is channeling it during deep contemplation sessions, where it may silence tribal wars in Africa and achieve world peace.

Ben Sheets was spotted picking his nose in the dugout more times than any other Brewer in history.  Funny – Todd Coffey must have been passed some sort of torch because he was caught searching for an illegal substance to smuggle with him to the mound here. 

watch?v=_Bj45VNrM5w&feature=player_embedded

Carlos Corporan has been called up from the minors to replace Mike Rivera, who was placed on the DL. Corporan’s defensive skills are better than Angel Salome’s (if you’re wondering why Corporan).  He’s also batting well right now and Angel needs work at .182 or something pitiful like that.

M’boy minor-leaguer Lorenzo Cain almost had me in tears this week. However, the good news is he did not tear his ACL.  4-6 weeks off. Also, Mark Rogers is not injured.  He missed the last few starts.  Turns out he just ran into a wall while shagging fly balls.  Whew!  Although, which brain response is failing to communicate to your lower limbs that they should stop before running into walls?

No, the Brewers are not interested in signing Pedro Martinez.  Poor Doug Melvin. He despises rumors as much as Peter Christian despises Al Davis’ ignorance in drafts. By the way, Peter, Paul and Mary… No, kidding.  Peter Christian, Paul M. Banks and Rikki Greenberg all get shout outs for understanding my Jackson Pollack – Jorge Julio strike zone reference last week.  Outstanding. We have such a diverse palate of writers, all of whom appreciate the fine arts on thesportsbank.net. 


Trevor Hoffman recorded his 1st-ever save as a Brewer this week, complete with Hells Bells.  Apparently, Hoffman wants it not just playing—but blasting.  In a post-game interview, he told a reporter that it wasn’t loud enough and that he had looked into noise ordinances in the city of Milwaukee and was fairly certain the volume could be increased safely.  Trevor wasn’t afraid to express to Attanasio that he should invest in extra speakers and sub-woofers at Miller Park before the closer’s next appearance. Fiesty, feisty.

Ryan Braun extended the Pirates & Brewers history of scuffling by taking a clearly intentional hit from Jeff Karstens. Both benches were warned and nothing ensued the rest of the game. Still, do you remember Prince Fielder and Matt Capps’ Yosemite Sam episode from the ’07 season? Fire in the hole…


“Friendly Fire with the Cubs,” is short and sweet this week.  Milton Bradley is a head case.  His condemnation to a psych ward would not surprise me in the slightest.  Why, why, why does he open his mouth?

 
The Beer Pen knows how to satisfy Rickie-haters who can’t keep their mouth shut either.  Usually I scowl, but this week, they compare Rickie Weeks to Mickey Rourke.  And that IS funny.

Rourke’s acting career of flops, bombs, straight-to-TV-movies and gonorrhea mirrors “Dick Weeks’ ” career of strikeouts, errors, braided hair and gonorrhea. That’s pretty straightforward, actually. Rourke astonished the world with his performance as Marv in Sin City and then of course, The Wrestler. Rickie magically comes out this year and astonishes Brewer fans with his exceptional play.  Coincidence?  I don’t know, but credit is given Beer Pen.


In “Just a Bit Outside,” Bob Uecker shared dialogue during the bottom of the 1st Wednesday that I must share with you.  He told Cory Provus that he follows blogs, email and facebook but he doesn’t Twitter. Here’s why:

 

And finally in “Chart Magnificence,” I’m allowing empirical data and statistical graphs to sit the bench while The Beer Pen illustrates the greatest comic strip of the month. Can we play?

Cubs Off-Season Exchange

By David K. and Paul Schmidt

(DK) The wheel certainly doesn’t need to be re-invented.  But after the embarrassment of a second straight three-and-out in the post-season, some sort of shake-up needed to be made with the Cubs roster.  GM Jim Hendry has kept the core of the club in tact, but has been fairly active in adding other pieces to the puzzle.

Perhaps the biggest transaction for the Cubs this off-season is the one Hendry didn’t make.  During the winter meetings, it seemed like all but a done deal that Padres ace Jake Peavy would end up calling Wrigley Field home.  Instead, Hendry passed stating that San Diego’s asking price was too expensive.  I can’t help but think that Hendry still believes he has a shot at landing Peavy.  By trading Mark DeRosa and Felix Pie for five young pitchers and then dealing one of those young arms and Ronny Cedeno for Aaron Heilman, it seems like Hendry is still trying to load up on enough young ammunition to pull the trigger on a deal for Peavy.  Even ESPN’s Buster Olney believes the door is still open between the two teams.  So let me ask you this, what do you think the chances are that Peavy will be donning a ‘C’ on his hat by the start of Spring Training?

(PS)  It certainly seems as though a deal will get done, although I fear it will be sooner than later.  The latest Jim Hendry trade to go through is a little baffling to me, as I don’t know that I see the logic of ever giving up anyone for a pitcher (Aaron Heilman) with a career ERA as a starter of 5.96.  But hey, we have more Golden Domers, and that’s gotta be good, right?

The Peavy trade though is going to happen.  I think that, in the long run, the Cubs will still be the frontrunners, but I don’t believe a deal is going to happen until much later in the season, most likely around the All Star Break or later. The Pads have to cut salary and Peavy makes up 25 percent of their salary this season (an astronomical figure, really), and that will only get worse in the later years of the contract.

Do the Cubs need Peavy?  I think that’s a resounding yes, with the questions surrounding the fifth starter in the rotation, whether Ryan Dempster can repeat his ’08 effort, and if Rich Harden’s arm is eventually going to detach at the shoulder mid-pitch.  Hopefully, Hendry will see sooner rather than later that right now we have the power in the trade talks.  IF there’s a big injury or underperformance from the rotation, power shifts to the Pads and we’d have to give up more.

I think that I’m curious how much rope Jim Hendry is going to have this season.  He’s made a lot of moves that are very easy to question and second guess, which is interesting given how solid he has been over the last several seasons. With new ownership set to take over, how long of a rope will Hendry have this coming season?

(DK) I do think the Cubs need Peavy to contend for a World Series.  I am not sold on rewarding Dempster with 4 years, $52 million after his first year as a full-time starting pitcher in five seasons.  He is a great clubhouse guy and was as valuable a player for the Cubs in ’08 as anyone on the team, but I fear that he hit his peak last year and in two or three years, that signing will come back to bite Hendry in the butt.  And let’s pray that Harden’s arm doesn’t go Dave Dravecky on us.  I am sure Sweet Lou will be smart again in protecting him and limiting his innings throughout the season.

As for Hendry’s leash, I think he did a good job this off-season of cutting back on the spending.  He jettisoned about $15 million in unloading Jason Marquis and DeRosa, and saved another five or six mil by letting Kerry Wood walk and instead acquiring Kevin Gregg from the Marlins.  So hopefully the new management realizes his smarts with those matters and that the Cubs are a never-ending source of income and lets Hendry pursue a player with the salary of Peavy.

On the other hand, Hendry did give Milton Bradley $30 million over three years.  I know the Cubs were desperate to land a left-handed bat for the middle of the line-up, but now we’e counting on a guy who spent most of last year DH’ing (just 20 games played in the outfield) to come and play 130 games in right field.  I thought the circus days of a right fielder patrolling Wrigley Field was over when Sammy Sosa, Jeromy Burnitz, and Cliff Floyd left.  Plus, there is that whole crazy factor with Bradley.  I would not want to be a Gatorade cooler in the Cubs dug-out with both Bradley and Carlos Zambrano pacing back and forth for 162 games…

(PS) – Let me be the first to say that I love Bradley’s fire.  Most of his outbursts aren’t directed at teammates. Rather, they are directed at people questioning his heart, desire or talent, and I’m ok with that.  He had a really, really tough childhood, and it’s amazing he’s even alive, let alone a Major League Baseball player.  Obviously, your concerns about his health and…”ability” to field are exactly the same as mine.

Whether or not you’re right on Kerry Wood remains to be seen, though he did say he’d come back and play for whatever Hendry thought was fair.  I don’t know why you wouldn’t bring him back for another season, especially since it seemed what he wanted to do.

Kevin Gregg isn’t a good pitcher and no kind of answer to any possible bullpen problem…obviously, I’m not real high on that acquisition. I’m also not sure why giving away Jason Marquis for a below average reliever when Marquis had been nothing below an average starter and could hit the ball and pinch run – an underrated part of his game- was supposed to be a good plan.

I also think that our roster as a whole got a lot less flexible after DeRosa left. I said at the time that sometimes players are more valuable to you than they are to other people – and this was back when they were looking to send him to San Diego for Peavy, so what they actually got for him was disappointing.

Point being, I think that Hendry might be in more jeopardy than people think.