April 25, 2017
The Philadelphia Eagles are not only hosting the 2017 NFL Draft, but they could also become the biggest story of the event if they turn out to be the team that takes the chance on Oklahoma running back Joe Mixon.
Mixon is lurking in the background as the dark story of this draft due to his past history of battery against a woman – which was magnified by an ugly video.
The Eagles have a history of taking risks that players with shady pasts can change their ways – especially Michal Vick.
But there are also others.
All of this is a bigger issue than any team could face because the draft is right here in Philadelphia, so there will be a live, large and loud audience to give an immediate reaction to the pick.
That reaction would be loud and ugly.
The whole scenario could be put in place if RB Christian McCaffrey is gone by the time they Eagles pick at No. 14, in which case the Eagles will likely take a cornerback or try to fill some other defensive need. That could make Mixon available in the second round and on a football level, the pick would make perfect sense.
Depending on which draft analysis you want to believe, Mixon is either off the board altogether, or he would be a solid choice in the second round. This should be a no-brainer for the Eagles – no matter how good a player, it is impossible to erase that video from your mind and there are plenty of other football players in the world.
Do the fans a huge favor, and don’t make them once again have to check their conscience at the gates when they enter the stadium to root for their football team.
The San Francisco Giants are going to have to deal with life without star pitcher (and hitter) Madison Bumgarner for the next six-to-eight weeks due to an injured shoulder, the result of a dirt bike accident during the club’s off day in Colorado.
You have to wonder what would make an athlete risk injury and violate a contract by risky recreational activities. Bumgarner violated his contract, and he appeared truly contrite when addressing the situation.
At least during the season, it does not seem too much to ask that athletes refrain from skiing, water skiing, mountain climbing, motorcycles, dirt bikes and such. It might be fun, but there is a reason contracts prohibit such activities.
The Giants also made some news when they called up 21-year-old infielder Christian Arroyo. The top prospect was hitting .446 in 16 games with Triple-A Sacramento.
Arroyo was the Giants first-round pick in the 2013 MLB draft, taken nine picks after the Phils took shortstop prospect JP Crawford. It’s just another example of a young player skipping a couple of lessons along the way and makes you wonder why so many teams – including the Phillies and Flyers, continue to take the one-step-at-a-time approach for their prospects.
In the meantime, in Northern California, the San Jose Sharks were recently eliminated from the playoffs and when their season was over, they announced that veteran forward Joe Thornton would have surgery on his left knee. Thornton, 37, and a pending free agent, played four games in the series with a torn ACL and MCL.
It was basically a floating knee – and just the latest example of what NHL players will endure in order to compete in the playoffs.
It also makes you wonder if the NHL could even have enough players to put a single team together if the Sixers sports science team was in charge of deciding if the players were healthy enough to compete.
The real drama of the Stanley Cup Playoffs begins Thursday night in the nation’s capital when the Pittsburgh Penguins face off against the Washington Capitals. The Capitals survived a first-round heart-stopping, overtime six-game series over the young and brash Toronto Maple Leafs but the Penguins are a different story.
The Caps presumably went into this season with a Stanley-Cup-or-bust mentality, but at this point, it is a Penguins-or-bust mentality. Alex Ovechkin has faced Sidney Crosby and the Penguins three times in the postseason and lost all three.
There is little to suggest that whichever team wins this series won’t cruise through either Ottawa or the New York Rangers in the next round. So, this series basically sets up an entrance to the Stanley Cup finals – and that would certainly paint a picture of success for Ovechkin and the Capitals.
For Flyers fans there isn’t a much worse scenario than the Caps, Rangers and especially the Penguins, battling in the playoffs. Well, it could get even worse because – despite their great regular season, and despite being the Vegas favorites, it says here that the Penguins will somehow get past the Caps.
The basis of this is pretty simple – Sidney Crosby.
Crosby has again raised the level of his game to best in the world. He was sensational in the series win over the Blue Jackets, and he has that look of a star that simply will not let his team lose. You add that to the double-edged goaltending of the Penguins, Malkin, and a defense that is so good it can make up for the loss of Kris Letang.
The Penguins have been a machine under Coach Mike Sullivan, and they will be the ultimate test for the Caps. Pity the Flyers fan that can’t win in this one, and is likely left rooting for the Ottawa Senators.
The Phillies have surprised some people with their .500 start deep into the first month of the season, and manager Pete Mackanin has to get some credit for dealing with the problems of a team that can play some dumb baseball – especially on the base paths and continues to have a daily drama with its closers.
Overall, the Phils have been a better-than-expected show, with the biggest payoff likely to come later this summer when they maneuver their roster with trades to land a star or two in the upcoming free-agent market. Everybody knows the big names on the market and the better the Phils kids and pitchers perform, the better chance to make such moves.
It can be difficult to keep one eye on what is happening in front of you, and one eye on the future is difficult. It is even more difficult because the local fan is already cross-eyed after the Sixers and Flyers have asked for the same short-term, long-term vision.
The big difference is that the Phillies' payoff should come before the start of next season.