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Monday, 11-Apr-2011 02:46 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Versatile Wilkerson a prototype NFL defensive lineman

Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson is a versatile and talented prospect who appears to be capable of playing both defensive tackle and defensive end at the next level.
The 6-4, 315-pounder bypassed his senior season to enter the NFL Draft after establishing career highs with 70 tackles, 13 tackles-for-loss and 9½ sacks last year as a junior.

“He can play the 5-technique, and he can get kicked inside,” wrote NFL Network’s Mike Mayock. “He reminds of [New York Jets defensive lineman] Trevor Pryce.”

According to his profile on NFL.com, Wilkerson possesses “ideal size, excellent shedding ability and the athleticism to pursue from the backside and rush the passer.” He “jolts offensive linemen at the point of attack, can beat the double team, finds the football and makes plays against the run.”

The summary also states that Wilkerson “does not have rare first-step quickness but can take a direct line through blockers to pressure the quarterback and has range against the run. Despite size, is a three-down guy who plays with a high effort level for four quarters.”

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. predicts that Wilkerson will be selected by the San Diego Chargers with the 18th overall pick in the first round of the draft.“I really thought Wilkerson could be a top-10 pick if he stuck around Temple for another year, but he was dominant enough in 2010 that he may have felt there was little left to prove,” Kiper writes. “He can anchor, but Wilkerson is a guy who loves to pursue, and can cause problems for quarterbacks as a penetrator.”

Saturday, 26-Mar-2011 01:36 Email | Share | | Bookmark
2011 NFL Mock Draft: Will Kevin Kolb End Up on an NFC West Team?

Several teams in the NFL need quarterbacks. Philadelphia has two. With Michael Vick showing that he is as good as he ever was if not better, the Eagles don't have a need for Kevin Kolb. Kolb is regarded as an NFL starter-caliber quarterback with promise.

Reportedly, the Eagles have received an offer for Kolb that includes a first-round draft pick, although team president Joe Banner won't confirm that.

Reported Don Banks of Sports Illustrated, Seattle coach Pete Carroll told reporters at the NFL's annual meeting:

"There's no conversations going on,'' said Carroll, perhaps notably dropping into present tense. "Not what you want. I talk to [Eagles head coach] Andy [Reid] a lot. I like Andy a lot.''

I hear Carroll not ruling out future conversations.Matt Hasselbeck is an aging free agent.

Arizona's Ken Whisenhunt is refusing to comment on his team's plan to fix its quarterback quandary. But there is no doubt they are in a quandary.

Then there is San Francisco. Jim Harbaugh is sticking to his guns that he'll plan to use the best quarterback currently on the roster with an eye on how the 49ers can upgrade. Will that be in a trade for Kolb?

Getting Blaine Gabbert seems impossible. Cam Newton doesn't look like a great fit for the West Coast offense. Maybe a trade for Kolb is the best remedy to a near empty quarterback cupboard. San Francisco could score by picking Patrick Peterson or Da'Quan Bowers, but those players don't fill needs as great as that of quarterback.

Friday, 18-Mar-2011 01:30 Email | Share | | Bookmark
Steve Nash returns, Suns fall to Hornets

Chris Paul had 26 points and nine assists, and the New Orleans Hornets extended the Phoenix Suns' losing streak to four games, 100-95 on Wednesday night.

Emeka Okafor had 16 points and 11 rebounds for New Orleans. David West added 16 points, including an 18-foot jumper to give the Hornets a 95-88 lead with 29.5 seconds to go.

The Hornets led by as much as 19 in the third quarter but had to hold on against a Suns squad that made 14 three-pointers.

Phoenix was as close as 93-88 when Grant Hill rolled in a 14-footer with three minutes left, but New Orleans did not allow another basket until 21 seconds remained, when Jared Dudley, who had 25 points, hit his fifth three.

Paul and West then each made clutch free throws to seal it.

Phoenix (33-33) fell three games behind Memphis for the eighth and final Western Conference playoff spot despite the return of Victoria's Steve Nash, who had missed the Suns' two previous games with a pelvic injury.

Nash had 10 assists and finished with eight points, but missed a long three in the final two minutes with the Suns trailing by five and needing a basket.

Marcin Gortat had 10 points, but uncharacteristically missed a layup that could have pulled Phoenix within three points with 2:19 to go.

Vince Carter scored 21 for Phoenix, hitting five threes.

Willie Green had 11 points for New Orleans (40-30), which moved a half-game in front of Portland for the sixth seed in the West. While the Hornets were giving up threes, they were dominating the interior, outscoring Phoenix 46-22 in the paint and out-rebounding the Suns 43-36.

New Orleans had its largest lead at 71-52 following an 11-0 run that began when Paul found Marco Belinelli for a transition three. Paul then used a hesitation dribble to set up an easy, crowd-pleasing layup, and he capped the surge with a pull-up jumper.

Phoenix gradually narrowed the gap, with Carter's turnaround on the baseline and Dudley's three pulling the Suns to 77-65 at the end of the third quarter.

The Suns continued to chip away from the perimeter in the fourth quarter on threes by Dudley, Mickael Pietrus, Hill and Carter, the last cutting New Orleans' lead to 91-86, setting up a tense finish that required the Hornets win the game on the foul line.

New Orleans wound up outscoring Phoenix 18-11 from the line and outshot the Suns from the field 47.5 per cent (38 of 80) to 43.2 per cent (35 of 81).

Phoenix held the edge through most of the first quarter, leading 29-24 on Dudley's inside basket. Then the game turned dramatically when Paul finished the period with seven straight points on a jumper, two free throws and a three at the horn that was set up by his steal in the backcourt.

That was the beginning of an 18-3 run, also highlighted by rookie Quincy Pondexter's fade and three-pointer, giving the Hornets a 42-32 lead early in the second quarter.

Dudley's three snapped the surge and the Suns got as close as 48-46 on Carter's three before Paul took over again, hitting a pull-up jumper and a three as the Hornets scored the last eight points of the half to head into the locker room with a 56-46 lead.

Notes: In three games since his return from a mild concussion, Paul has averaged 28.7 points and 11.3 assists. ... The Hornet are 24-10 at home, while Phoenix fell to 15-18 on the road. ... The Suns won the only other meeting so far on Jan. 30 in Phoenix. They play twice more, first in Phoenix on March 25 and then in New Orleans on April 8. ... The Hornets are 2-13 when an opponent makes 10 or more threes. ... Hornets opponents have hit 31 threes in the past two games.

Saturday, 5-Mar-2011 01:44 Email | Share | | Bookmark
2011 NFL Draft Profile: Stephen Paea


Agile and athletic for a defensive tackle. Disruptive on the line of scrimmage. Good first step off the snap and can explode through the line of scrimmage. Powerful upper body, 49 reps of 225, an NFL combine record. Good bull rush and stops the run well. Good tackler and a hard hitter. Tough, hard worker, and plays with a non-stop motor.http://lenardknie.blog.co.uk/

CONS: Weighed in smaller than expected as a projected nose tackle. Average height for a defensive lineman. Not a very good pass rusher. Ideal fit on a 3-4 team, limited in a 4-3 scheme. Suffered an injury and may not be able to fully work out for teams.

Wednesday, 23-Feb-2011 03:34 Email | Share | | Bookmark
NBA caught up in Melo-drama


East vs. West was overshadowed by New York vs. New Jersey during NBA All-Star weekend.

And even though Kobe Bryant won the MVP, Carmelo Anthony made the most headlines.

Anthony took the meetings, gave no answers Cheap NFL Jerseys and ultimately got none, either. The only team that seems to have any is his Denver Nuggets.

"The Nuggets have known everything since Day 1 [about his intentions], so just because we don't tell you guys everything, they know everything," Anthony said Sunday after the All-Star game.

But a resolution to the season-long trade speculation could come at any moment, landing him with the Knicks or the Nets. Or it could go right until Thursday's deadline — if it happens at all — which is what his wife, La La Vazquez, thinks.

"I do, I do, I really do, because I've been hearing about this for so many months and I was thinking, 'OK, something's going to happen," she said before the All-Star game. "So at this point, I do believe that it probably is going to go down to the wire. If anything, who is to say, it's just not, stay where you are? You know?"

The Melodrama reached perhaps its most bizarre point Sunday. Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov essentially said at least the Nets drove up the Knicks price. And the Knicks hierarchy insisted they were unified in their pursuit of the All-Star forward amid reports someone who no longer works for the team was pulling the strings.

Anthony had said he hoped to resolve his future by the end of the weekend while the entire basketball world gathered in Los Angeles, but 'Melo seemed mellow about missing that soft deadline.

He finally acknowledged meeting with Prokhorov and Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan, saying they were "generic meetings that [the Nuggets] allowed me to take, but nothing specific."

Prokhorov told CNBC on Sunday he had a "fantastic" meeting with Anthony on Saturday night. The Russian billionaire had pulled the Nets out of talks last month, and even after they were recently renewed he said he originally had no plans to meet with Anthony during the All-Star weekend.

"As you know, my instinct was to stay away and I still think that is [the] right decision," Prokhorov said. "But when the meeting was fixed, [Nets general manager] Billy King called me and said, 'We need you.' I was convinced and I still think I'm right to stay away, but we have teamwork so sometimes we need to be all together."

Asked at Staples Center before the All-Star game if he had any news on a deal, Prokhorov said: "I don't care."

The Nets still believe Anthony would agree to sign a contract extension with them that would be a prerequisite to making the deal, despite previous reports that he would only do so if traded to the Knicks.

"I was just listening," Anthony said of his meeting with the Nets. "I didn't give anybody a definitive answer. It was a good meeting to have. I'm not going to talk about the selling points and all that stuff. It was interesting. It's hard for me to sit here and talk about what the Nets can do, because I'm not in a Nets uniform."

Even if they can't get an agreement from Anthony, Prokhorov sees value in the Nets' return to the trade talks.

"I think we made a very good tactical decision to force [the] Knicks to pay as much as they can," Prokhorov said. "So it's very good, it's very interesting, it's very competitive."

And it created reports that the Knicks' negotiations had been taken out of the hands of team president Donnie Walsh by Madison Square Garden chairman James Dolan — with former Knicks president and coach Isiah Thomas advising him. The team attempted to shoot them down with a statement Sunday.

"We want to make it abundantly clear that we have been in constant communication throughout this process and the three of us are in complete agreement with everything that we are currently working on. Together, we will do what is best for the long-term success of the franchise," said the statement, which was attributed to Dolan, Walsh and coach Mike D'Antoni.http://lenardknie.blog.co.uk/

Walsh has been patient in his approach with Anthony, who can become a free agent after the season. The Knicks could just sign him then without having to give up any of their young core in a trade with the Nuggets, but Anthony would prefer a deal during the season so he'd be eligible for the three-year, $65-million US extension he's refused to sign with Denver.

"An extension will come into play, regardless of the situation," Anthony said. "I haven't talked to anybody today from the Denver Nuggets organization, so as of right now, I'm still a Nugget."

The New York Daily News reported Dolan met Thursday with Anthony in Los Angeles, and Yahoo! Sports reported the Knicks had increased their offer to the Nuggets to include three starters, triggering speculation the owner was overruling his basketball people because he wanted a trade done before Thursday's deadline.

Walsh previously had said he didn't understand the fuss about Dolan's involvement, since ownership always is when a trade becomes closer.

But Dolan's presence has sparked further belief, along with some panic and outrage by Knicks fans, that he is relying on Thomas, who led the team for a tumultuous 4½ years.

Though a plan to rehire Thomas as an official consultant fell through last August because his position as coach of Florida International University prevents him from being employed by an NBA team, Dolan said at the time that he would "continue to solicit his views."

But the Knicks say that's not happening on this deal.

"In addition, we want to make it clear that no one from outside our organization has been involved in this process in any way," the statement read.

The Knicks said they would not have any further comment.


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