27 April 2005

Shopping For Some Steals

After dinner last night, KO and I headed over to one of our fine department stores for a little window shopping.

In the process, I suspect I was suffering for withdrawal. What began as a stroll around the store ended up with over $50.00 in new goodies to take home.

Among the haul we find the following:

- bought 3 albums:
Ben Folds - Songs for Silverman $11.98
Hot Hot Heat - Elevator $13.99
Kaiser Chiefs - Employment $7.99

Early reviews
- Ben Folds is ehhhh, OK.
- Kaiser Chiefs...amazing...check it out.
- Hot Hot Heat...I'll check it out tomorrow....got a feeling that I'll like it.
- Had to pass on the new "Queens" album, though...hey, I'm not made of dinero.

Other items:
- New STL Cards blue unstructured cap....already had the Sunday "bird on bat" fitted BP model...felt the old standby road adjustable was needed.
- $1 "Girls Night Out" Jenga game...first off, it's a gift. Second, Kirsten wanted it. It isn't for me. Really.

Bear in mind...I was planning on just looking around. So a big surprise was in store for me when I returned home after work.

While I was digging out my wallet and key from mi pantelones when I got home a few hours later, I found something that apparently didn't make it to the register. Oops. As you can imagine, I was genuinely shocked. I've only done that one other time.
As a little guy, I walked out of a Pamida with my mom and grandma with a Snoopy book in my hand that belonged to the store. Never returned the item...now, the same scene is playing out over 20 years later.

What else can I say? I'm driving the Winnebago to hell. Call me if you need a ride.

24 April 2005

A Insider Look | Chiefs 2005 Draft

Here's the Insider breakdown of the Chiefs' first 2 draft picks (Day 1) in 2005:

Derrick Johnson LB Texas
OLB (6'3", 242, 4.54) TEXAS
Scouts Grade: 96
Round 1 - Pick 15 (15)

Strengths: Was one of the most active and productive linebackers in college football the last three seasons. Plays with a terrific motor and has outstanding athletic ability. Is fluid and fast. Can cover loads of territory if protected and given room to roam. He does a nice job of reading his keys, locating the ball carrier and taking the shortest path to the ball. Is on the taller side and he has a lean frame, but was able to add some bulk without losing mobility as a senior. Is a very reliable tackler. Tackles low, breaks down in space and also does a nice job of breaking down and wrapping up in the open field. Has outstanding potential in the passing game in the NFL. Has terrific speed and closing burst as an edge rusher. Is tall, has a wide wingspan and is extremely fluid in coverage. Has excellent range in zone coverage and can matchup one-on-one with most backs out of the backfield. Has terrific instincts in coverage. Also is a playmaker with excellent ball skills.

Weaknesses: Bulked up as a senior but doesn't play like a 242-pound LB. Much better fit at WLB than ILB. Has most trouble when teams run at him. He is cut a little bit high and tends to let blockers get into his body too much. Has improved technique but still can get better in terms of using his hands to get through traffic. Also needs to be more consistent with leverage at the POA. Will get engulfed too easily when bigger blockers reach him and must improve his ability to take on blocker in the phone booth. Not an explosive tackler. Got bigger as a senior but still lacks explosive upper body power.
Overall: Johnson played every game as a true freshman in 2001 and started two at outside linebacker. He was a fulltime starting outside linebacker for the Longhorns from his sophomore season in 2002 through his senior season in 2004. As a junior in 2003, Johnson led the Longhorns with 129 total tackles, including 29 TFL, two sacks and four INT's. He finished his senior season in 2004 with 130 tackles, 19 TFL, two sacks and one INT. Johnson has experience playing inside and outside linebacker but is an outside linebacker prospect that will best fit on the "weakside" in the NFL. He is a tall, somewhat lean, active, aggressive, athletic and fast linebacker with tremendous NFL potential. Johnson made an unexpected but wise decision to return for his senior season in 2004 and he became an even more complete player over the course of the last year, particularly in terms of his size, technique and consistency. Johnson still needs to improve his strength at the point of attack and his ability to take on blockers. However, Johnson is the best linebacker prospect in the 2005 draft class and he might be the best overall defensive player, which is why he projects as a sure-fire top-10 selection.
Dustin Colquitt
PT (6'2", 211, 4.9) TENNESSEE
Scouts Grade: 67
Round 3 - Pick 35 (99)
Overall: Colquitt redshirted in 2000 and has been the Vols fulltime starting punter since 2001. He was a Ray Guy Award finalist in 2002 and 2003 and he finished sixth in the nation with a 45.3 yard per punt average in 2003. Colquitt averaged 40.8 yards per punt and he placed 17 of his 26 punts inside the opponent's 20-yardline in 2004. He was also a semi-finalist for the Ray Guy Award.
Colquitt is hands down the best all-around punter in this class. He has good size, excellent leg strength, an impressive understanding of angles and placement, and he has very good control of his punts. He gets great hang-time and he's as good as we've seen at the college level when it comes to placing punts inside the opponents' 20-yard line. Colquitt should be the first punter taken and he could come off the board as high as the third round.

* All Player biographies are provided by Scouts Inc.
Originally posted 11:15 pm April 23, 2005

Day 2 | KC Chiefs Selections

Below are the Chiefs Day 2 selections (Analysis provided by ESPN Insider)

Craphonso Thorpe
WR (6'0", 188, 4.45) FLORIDA STATE
Scouts Grade: 66
Round: 4
Pick (Overall): 15(116)
Strengths: Is tall, has decent bulk and the frame to get bigger. Is at his best vs. man-coverage. He shows good burst out of his breaks and the ability to consistently separate from man-coverage in the intermediate area. Has very good concentration and hand-eye coordination. Does an excellent job of adjusting to the poorly thrown ball and of tracking down the deep ball in the air. Has long arms, good leaping ability and is a weapon on the fade route. Gives a decent effort and shows some toughness as a blocker.
Weaknesses: Was once considered a consistent threat to get over the top of DB's one-on-one. However, he suffered a broken right leg on 11/19/03 and was not been as confident or aggressive following the injury as a senior. Still flashes deep speed but didn't make as many plays vertically as a senior. Is improving as a route runner but still has work to do. Needs to do a better job of recognizing zone coverage and finding soft spots in it. Did not show the same burst and second gear in 2004 that he showed prior to 2003 injury. Has a good frame and top-end speed but lacks strength and explosive initial burst. Didn't get challenged much on film in press coverage but the few times he did he seemed to get frustrated. He needs to improve his upper body strength and develop more reliable moves in terms of his release. Also can improve as a blocker if he gets stronger and fills out his frame.
Overall: Thorpe, who also has led FSU to two outdoor (2002 and 2003) and one indoor (2003) ACC Track and Field championships, has been a contributor at wide receiver and in the return game since his true freshman season in 2001. As a junior in 2003, Thorpe led the Seminoles with 51 receptions for 994 yards and 11 touchdowns despite missing the final two games because of injury. Thorpe was expected to have a huge bounce-back season in 2004 but failed to meet expectations. He was suspended for one game and wound up with just 40 receptions for 496 yards in 11 games played as a senior. Thorpe is a tall receiver who possesses adequate bulk and very good speed. He still has room to improve as a route runner and he has some durability/character concerns following broken leg in20'03 and one-game suspension (failing to attend class) in 2004. He also seemed more hesitant and less explosive coming off the injury as a senior than he was prior to it in 2003. Thorpe does, however, have the speed and home run hitting potential that is difficult to find, which is why despite failing to live up to expectations as a senior he could still wind up getting selected late on the first day or early on the second day of the 2005 draft.
James "Boomer" Grigsby
ILB (5'11", 249, 4.67) ILLINOIS STATE
Scouts Grade: 51
Round: 5
Pick (Overall): 2(138)
Strengths: Is an intriguing small-school prospect that has flat-out dominated his level of competition. Has good size and strength. Also has good top end speed. Moves well laterally and forward. Is a search-and-flow linebacker with good instincts. Makes quick reads, does a good job of avoiding blocks and takes solid angles to the ball carrier. He has excellent closing burst and very good overall range versus the run. Is a powerful tackler with good pop at the POA. Also is a sound tackler in space. Is much better as a blitzer than he is when forced to turn and run in coverage. Has good instincts and closing burst as a pass rusher.
Weaknesses: Has not played against top competition. Has a strong upper body and makes some big hits but lacks ideal base and needs to improve his lower body strength to anchor in the phone booth. Is still a little bit raw in terms of his technique. Runs around too many blocks. Does not show the consistent ability to take on and shed blocks in the phone booth. Must improve his hand usage and consistency in terms of his leverage. He gets away with running around blocks at his level but won't in the NFL. Moves well laterally and has very good straight-line speed, but his hips are a little bit stiff when forced to turn and run. He does not have great overall cover skills. Seems to lack a feel in zone coverage and does not do a great job of finding the ball in the air. His hands and overall ball skills must improve.
Overall: Grigsby is a late bloomer and very much a "sleeper" in the 2005 draft class. He was not heavily recruited out of high school, wound up going to Illinois State and took a redshirt year in 2000. However, as a redshirt freshman in 2001 he set the school's freshman record with 93 total tackles. He has been a fulltime starter since and has been an absolutely dominant player at that level. Grigsby was named the DI-AA Defensive Player of the Year as a junior and senior. He finished his junior season in 2003 with 179 total tackles, 12 TFL and three sacks and his senior season in 2004 with 129 tackles, 8.5 TFL and three sacks. There is obviously a concern about his ability to make the transition from DI-AA collegiate level to the NFL. Grigsby also lacks a strong base, runs around too many blocks and has some stiffness in coverage. However, Grigsby does have good size, very good top-end speed for his size and is a tough player that should be able to make the adjustment mentally and physically. Grigsby will have a huge transition to make and he will need to improve his lower body strength and technique in the meantime, but he shows enough upside to warrant mid-round attention in the 2005 draft. If nothing else, Grigsby has the right mentality, size and tackling skills to contribute on special teams and enough versatility to play a reserve role at a couple of LB spots.
Alphonso Hodge
CB (5'10", 203, 4.46) MIAMI (OHIO)
Scouts Grade: 55
Round: 5
Pick (Overall): 11(147)
Strengths: He has decent height, is well built, strong and has good top-end speed. Has upside because of his natural physical tools. Can do a good job smothering receivers at the LOS. Is strong in at the POA in press coverage. Is big and strong enough to matchup on the outside versus taller receivers. Has very good straight-line speed. Shows some acceleration and the ability to make up for some mistakes. He fills hard against the run and has good size and strength in that area. Has developed solid tackling skills and should also be a good fit as a cover-guy on special teams.
Weaknesses: Has improved with experience but still gambles a little bit too much and doesn't show great natural awareness. Instincts and recognition are below average. He often times takes too long to diagnose a play and will be a split-second late getting there. He has never been a big playmaker when the ball is in the air. He seems to struggle to find the football over his shoulder and his overall ball skills are marginal.
Overall: Hodge redshirted in 2000, played as a reserve cornerback as a redshirt freshman in 2001 and then won a starting job for the first seven games of the 2002 season before being demoted for the final five. He regained his starting cornerback job as a junior in 2003, when he started all 14 games and finished with 49 total tackles, nine PBU, but zero INT's. As a senior in 2004, Hodge started all 13 games and finished with 54 total tackles, seven tackles for loss, five sacks, zero INT's and six PBU. There's a lot to like about Hodge's physical skills as an NFL prospect. He is big, strong and fast. Hodge is aggressive in coverage and in run support, and he has developed into an effective blitzer when occasionally turned loose. However, Hodge still has a lot of work to do in terms of his recognition skills as a cover corner and he also has never developed into a big-time playmaker when the ball is in the air. Hodge will get drafted early on Day 2 because of his upside but he'll need time and good coaching in order to contribute on defense in the NFL.
Will Svitek
OT (Also projects as a DE)(6'6", 286, 5.1) STANFORD
Scouts Grade: 30
Round: 6
Pick (Overall): 13(187)
Strengths: Has great size with the frame to continue getting bigger and stronger...Has long arms...Is a very good athlete...Tough and nasty...Smart player with good intangibles...Has a lot of experience.

Weaknesses: For a defensive lineman he does not have great speed or quickness...If he changes positions he will have a lot of work to do and be extremely raw...Was not super productive and didn't do much in terms of sacking the quarterback.

Notes: Some teams are projecting him to the offensive line at the next level...An interesting player with some potential who could be a project some teams decides to take a chance on late.
- Scott Wright, NFLDraftCountdown.com
Khari Long
DE (6'3", 257, 4.69) BAYLOR
Scouts Grade: 41
Round: 6
Pick (Overall): 25(199)
Strengths: Is a height/weight/speed prospect. Has intriguing upside as a rush-linebacker and special teams player. Has explosive initial quickness and good top-end speed. Can beat most OT's off the snap with his first few steps. Gets to top-speed in a hurry. Has outstanding COD skills and is a fluid athlete. Has explosive leaping ability and can bat down a lot of passes if his awareness improves. He also has outstanding upper body strength. Flashes the ability to use powerful upper body moves as a pass rusher. Can be effective versus the run when he is pursuing in space. Also can be an explosive tackler when he lines it up right.
Weaknesses: Has had durability issues (ankle in high school, right shoulder in 2001, concussion in 2003). Is unpolished and lacks great technique. Is undersized at DE. Lacks experience at OLB and has not dropped in coverage much. He lacks an ideal base and lower body strength. Gets engulfed at the POA too often and is a liability when teams run at him. Runs around blocks too much and can be undisciplined. Never was as productive on the collegiate level as his measurables would indicate. Needs to learn to use his hands better and to play with more leverage. Instincts are questionable. Misses too many open field tackles.
Overall: Long redshirted in 2000 and missed the first three games of the 2001 season with a sprained shoulder but saw action in the fin al seven games as a reserve DE. He started four games and played in 11 games as a sophomore in 2002, contributing both at the DE and DT positions. Long started 8-of-10 games in which he played in 2003, finishing with 31 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. As a senior in 2004, Long started all 11 games and finished with 58 total tackles, eight TFL and two sacks.Long is an intriguing late-round prospect. He is undersized as a traditional DE and he also lacks experience at the LB position. He is somewhat unpolished and had adequate but not great production on the collegiate level. However, he has an exceptional combination of upper body power (27 reps on 225-pound bench press), speed (4.69), leaping ability (38.5 vertical jump) and agility (1.64 10-yard dash, 4.07 short-shuttle, 11.35 long shuttle and 7.22 three-cone). If he can stay healthy, improves with experience and coaching, and gets a legitimate opportunity, Long could emerge as a steal in the late rounds, as he has the physical tools and upside to develop into a great special teams contributor and situational pass rusher as a rush-linebacker type.
James Kilian
QB (6'2", 215, 4.8) TULSA
Scouts Grade: 30
Round: 7
Pick (Overall): 15(229)
Strengths: Is tall, has adequate bulk and the frame to get even bigger. He has adequate arm strength. Shows enough zip on the deep out route but cannot fit the ball into some spots that stronger-armed NFL quarterbacks could. His accuracy and efficiency as a passer continues to improve. He shows the ability to throw on the run with good velocity and accuracy. He will do a terrific job of making things happen after the initial play breaks down. He is quick and elusive. Has a quick set, a good pocket presence and buys himself a lot of extra time with his mobility. He also is a threat to run, has adequate-to-good speed and is an elusive and tough runner in the open field.
Weaknesses: He's raw as a passer. Doesn't show a great feel for reading coverages and making check down reads. Will lock on to his primary receiver too much. Accuracy has improved but it still is not great. Needs to become more mechanically sound and consistent with his release. Can be impatient when his primary isn't open and will take off and run too early at times. He still needs to add bulk and get stronger. He has adequate-to-good arm strength but it's not elite.
Overall: Kilian redshirted in 2000 and started just three games from 2001-'02 before taking over as the Golden Hurricane's fulltime starting quarterback as a junior in 2003. He's a dual threat who completed 56.8-percent of his passing attempts and also rushed for 605 yards in 2003. As a senior in 2004, Kilian completed 54.6-percent of his attempts for 2,247 yards with 13 TD's and 16 INT's. He also rushed for 282 yards and eight TD's. Kilian is an intriguing priority free agent prospect because he has some developmental upside. He has loads of work to do in terms of his mechanics and ability to read defenses as a passer. Also, he still needs to grow into his frame and he hasn't played against top-flight competition much of his college career. However, he has the size, arm strength, athleticism and work ethic to at least be worthy of a shot in training camp.
Jeremy Parquet
Scouts Grade: 71
Round: 7
Pick (Overall): 24(238)
Strengths: Is a mammoth ROT prospect. Has adequate strength but is more of a mauler than anything. Has better lower body strength than upper body strength. He will play with balance and show the ability to mirror and slide as long as he doesn't get over-extended trying to get set against top speed rushers. He is very difficult to disengage from after he has locked on. He plays with good leverage in the running take. Is experienced and technically sound in that area. Takes solid angles and shows good initial pop. Has strong hands and arms. Will lock on, drive his legs and show a consistent ability to finish his blocks. He is clearly a better run blocker than pass protector. He has been a durable and reliable player throughout his career, as well.
Weaknesses: Is not a good athlete. He can hold up in pass protection against power rushers and athletic high-motor rushers, but speed is what kills him. Will struggle to match up against edge rushers with good speed and athleticism, because he tends to over-extend when he is out-classed by speed, which leads to him getting off-balance and becoming vulnerable to the double move. He does not look smooth and fluid as a space blocker in the running game, either. Finally, while he has good overall size and strength, he clearly is stronger in his lower body than he is in his upper body. He needs to become more powerful up top. Lacks explosiveness in his punch.
Overall: Parquet redshirted in 2000. He started in one-of-six games played in 2001 before moving into a fulltime starting role as a redshirt sophomore in 2002 and was a fulltime starter throughout his last three seasons at Southern Miss. Parquet is a prospect with great size who has continued to with each season of experience. He is strictly a right tackle prospect, as he is a mammoth OT that engulfs defenders at the point of attack but lacks the ideal mobility and athleticism of a starting left tackle in the NFL. In our opinion, Parquet has the potential to develop into a starter in the NFL, which is why he grades out as a late-Day 1 or early-Day 2 prospects in the upcoming draft.
* All Player biographies (except Will Svitek) are provided by Scouts Inc. on ESPN Insider
My first impression: Great pickup with DJ and Colquitt with the first 2 picks.
Thorpe is a project, with a massive payoff.
Grisby, Long, and Kilian are most likely longshots and special teams contributers.
But the last pick could have a huge impact: In terms of value, the Parquet pick in round 7 could be one to remember. With the Chiefs' propensity for developing great O Linemen, Parquet's upside and early round projection makes him an absolute steal in the 7th.
Of course, therein lies the beauty of the draft.
Time will tell, but my initial grade for the Chiefs: B+.

23 April 2005

The Next Derrick

Welcome to Arrowhead, DJ
Nice pick, Dick.

Now, I'm not saying that he'll replace the immortal #58, but last year's Butkus winner is gonna look pretty tight in red and gold.

Don't be shy. How did your team do in today's draft?

19 April 2005

"No Mercy" for Johnny

The saga of Billy "Little Frog"

Ever wondered what happened to "Johnny Lawrence", the blonde-haired asshole from Karate Kid?

Patton Oswalt explains.

Lost In Tradition

My ten year reunion is upon me. This much we already know.

Along with this milestone comes another: The tenth anniversary of KHS' lone baseball state championship. A feat that this author helped come to fruition.

The caveat: To the reunion I am going, but the baseball soiree, a no-show.

The main reason for this being that the baseball weekend falls one week prior to my brother's nuptials, and I don't have the vacation time to commit to an entire week in the 'Ville.

I must confess, though; it sounds like a good time is in store for those that do come home.

You see, the current head coach leading the grand tradition that is Kirksville Tiger Baseball is a former teammate and mentor of mine, Mr. Andrew Jackson.
And, in my opinion, a finer representative to the Tiger Baseball Way cannot be found.

It is with this thought that I'm regretting the fact that I'm not attending.
I'll admit, it would be nice to see the old ball field, with all its new and improved amenities. It would be nice to doff my cap to the KHS faithful and be honored on said field as a member of the 1995 State Championship Baseball team before the game; nice to see my brother Casey, and the rest of the boys from that great team; nice to see those teams that came before us, laying the foundation, and the young men that followed in our footsteps, carrying the legacy, even up until this very day, thanks to the man that's making all this possible.

Thanks Andy, for all you do for the Tiger tradition. I'm only sorry I can't be there to share this with you in person.

Just know that the work you're carrying on doesn't go unnoticed.
Thanks for keeping those dreams alive. Thanks for shaping those future members of this prestigious fraternity and rekindling the old fire for the alumni.

As a player, I always looked up to you, for the way you played the game, how you took the young guys under your wing, and your leadership in every sense of the word.

Thanks for carrying the torch for all of us. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Take care.

13 April 2005

Roger. Wilco. Guero.


After about a month or so of forgetting to download it, I finally got around to ripping the Bonus EP from Wilco's A Ghost Is Born.

Here's the tracklist, if you're interested:

1. Panthers
2. At Least That's What You Said (Live)
3. The Late Greats (Live)
4. Handshake Drugs (Live)
5. Kicking Television

Needless to say, having "Panthers" and "Kicking Television" is definitely worth the time and money spent for the enhanced CD.

On another note, I picked up the new Beck yesterday, Guero.

Definitely worth a listen, especially if you liked Odelay.

BTW...is it just me, or is that new single by the Gorillaz (Feel Good Inc.) the song of the year to date?

07 April 2005

The Horsehide is Back

No, that isn't some sick nickname for myself...Baseball, baby, BASEBALL!!!

The Cards are locked in at 1-1, with Chris Carpenter looking dominant in the first game, only to look not so much so in the second.

The Royals are also at .500, while giving us the polar opposite, allowing Dmitri Young to do his Tuffy Rhodes impression with 3 yaks in the first game (lost 11-2), and a stellar performance by the young Royals (Runelys, Teahen, Berroa) in the second game (won 7-2).

Optimism is abound in the O'Donnell/KO homestead, but the best part of baseball season:
The over-the-top voices of your team's resident play-by-play guys.

Classic stuff. Thank you, Bob Uecker.

P.S. Welcome to Springfield, Mr. Ankiel...nice to see that you made it through waivers without a scratch.