Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Who’s No. 1?

No, I’m not talking about the topsy-turvey world of college basketball, where apparently no team wants to be ranked No.1. I’m not convinced any of them could beat the UConn women. I mean, the Lady Huskies have won 72 (at last count) in a row and show no signs of slowing down. I’m talking about whose going to be the numero uno pick in the NFL draft coming up. Draft pundits say it will be either Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford or Nebraska defensive stalwart Ndamukong Suh.

My personal pick is Bradford, because, well, I’m a die-hard Sooners fan, and … ‘Nuff said. Really, 21 of the media types say it will be Suh. Fourteen give the nod to Bradford. I recently hooked up with one of my old sports writers, Olin Buchanan, through a Facebook connection. I went through 30-something writers while I was a sports editor. Some went on to larger papers, others more or less dropped off the face of the earth. Olin, however, went on to become a big-time writer, now covering college football games for Yahoo sports, which used to be Rivals.com until a purchase by Yahoo a couple years ago. So, with him being my most accomplished, uh, graduate, if that’s what I can call him (it’s like when Karen gave me a T-shirt for Christmas about three or four years ago and on the front of it was the lettering “Inman University.” Olin was fresh out of high school, so, technically, he went to Inman University, although he wouldn’t admit to that.) Well, Olin, who started working for me nearly 30 years ago answering phone calls and taking scores of football, basketball and baseball games, etc., got his foot in the door, so to speak. It’s a thankless job, but one of those somebody has to do. Here’s his by-line now,
Olin Buchanan 
Rivals.com College Football Senior Writer and at the end of every story is Olin Buchanan is the senior college football writer for Rivals.com. He can be reached at olin@rivals.com.
Check him out on rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football. Needless to say, I’m very proud of, and for, him.
With an “insider” I can now turn to, I did just that. I asked the expert. In Olin’s estimation, he has covered around 60 college football games the last four years, taking him to places such as Boston College, Virginia Tech, Florida, Miami, Auburn, Alabama, Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ohio State, Michigan, LSU, Notre Dame, Texas, Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Nebraska, Colorado, Arizona State, UCLA, USC and Cal-Berkeley. He previously worked for the Bryan Eagle and was a beat writer for Texas A&M, as well as the Austin American- Statesman, where he handled the University of Texas beat. Pretty good credentials, I’d say. Rivals.com thought so, too, since they called him at work one day in Austin and offered him the job.

Anyway, I asked Olin to tell me his top 5 picks in this year’s NFL Draft, coming up April 22-24, complete with scouting reports. Here’s the email he sent with his take, complete with explanations:

1. Rams -- Sam Bradford. They've taken DL a lot lately, so do you spend another first rounder on Suh. Maybe. But great QBs prospects are hard to pass up. Bradford's the best I saw.

2. Lions -- Suh. Lions need defense. We saw he can provide it.

3. Bucs -- Gerald McCoy. Everything I see says Eric Berry here and he's tremendous. Maybe the best player I saw. But DTs are harder to find than safeties and McCoy is just as good as Suh.

4. Washington -- Skins need a QB. With Bradford gone they look to Jimmy Clausen, though Berry here would be tempting.

5. Chiefs -- They need OL help. Russell Okung would give Big 12 4 of the top 5 picks. But once again if Berry is there it's hard to image he would fall much farther.

So, there it is, from an expert’s opinion.

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