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Rock M Roundtable!

You thought I forgot!  I almost did!  Damn new job has me more scatter-brained than normal...

1 - Were any of your beginning-of-spring concerns alleviated by the close of your team's spring football practices?

2 - Big 12 offenses are going to remain strong (just look at the ridiculous list of returning QBs), and defenses are starting to gain notoriety.  Is this the year the Big 12 returns to its late-'90s glory as the best conference in college football?

3 - Who's your favorite NFL team?  SUB-question (in my best Jack-Black-from-High-Fidelity voice): does your college team have anybody in the draft that would very well suit the needs of your pro team?  Did that question make any sense at all?

4 - NBA playoffs or NHL playoffs?  Discuss.  (I think I've asked a question similar to this recently...but I don't care.)

Click 'Full Story' for answers.

The Beef: 1 - Not really no...but I don’t think the format is necessarily designed to do so because you go unbalanced (1 vs. 2) in a lot of respects.  I was pleased to see defensive line depth being built through youth (seeing Earnhardt, Resonno, Hamilton and Keck all being mentioned is a good thing).  I was pleased to see the development of Thomas at WR and that he could earn some time there this year.  RB depth looks very solid.  I guess the only concerns are punting and QB down the road (Grooms vs. Gabbert next season).  But for this year, I like where pretty much all the units are at right now.  The only last nagging piece is who is going to play where on the Oline.  I am not too concerned about it, but just would like to see where it all falls.

2 - Probably not, only because the media perception probably wont allow it.  I still think the SEC is the glamour conference (like the ACC and Big East is in basketball no matter how good the other ones are).  What can you say...east coast bias I guess.  Now, in reality, where will we be?  I think we are getting to be about on par with the SEC.  I think our top teams may be better than theirs, though I still think they may have a TOUCH of depth on their side.  I know it ended up being close when we talked about it last year at some point, and we might be even or even 1 up on them right now.  But perception-wise, I think the SEC will still get it over us since....well...really...some of the top teams in the Big XII now (us and kansas perhaps to a lesser extent this season) are not well-known or nationally respected like other SEC teams are.

3 -  My favorite NFL team is the New York Jets.  Is there anyone on Mizzou who the Jets could use?  Absolutely...William Franklin at WR is one, as Coles is starting to get old at #1 WR, Cotchery is a decent but not great #2 and...let’s face it...Brad Smith is your #3.  I think Franklin could get some time if he went there.  Another would be T. Rucker...only because I don’t even know who the hell the Jets TE is right now and Mickey Shuler ain’t walking through that door any time soon....that’s right...a Mickey Shuler reference.

4 - NHL playoffs for me...I don’t get into the NBA stuff until the NHL is done because I actually think the NBA playoffs are more drawn out than NHL right now.  I think the NBA has the potential for an exciting final (Boston vs. LA could do a TON for ratings for the sport), but I like the NHL.  Unfortunately, the only team left that I would like to see win is Pittsburgh, as of the 8 first round series, only one team (Pittsburgh over Ottawa) who I would have liked to have seen win actually won.

The Boy: 1 - My biggest concerns headed into the spring were a) injuries, b) punting, c) wanting to see some redshirt freshmen challenge for positions in the already-pretty-well-established 2-deep.  Injury-wise, I guess the spring could have gone worse (there was no Kurt Propst-level catastrophic injury), but the linebacker attrition certainly wasn't encouraging.  Depth will be a problem in the fall unless one of the true frosh is ready to roll.  Punting-wise...yeah, still a concern to put it lightly.  I don't want to think about this too much.  As for the redshirt freshmen...according to Gary Pinkel, the second-string defensive line is now made up of Michael Keck and Chris Earnhardt at DE and Dominique Hamilton and Terrell Resonno at DT.  All RSFr's.  The O-line is pretty much the same way.  The DL is particularly encouraging, however, because a) three of the current starters are seniors, and b) the RSFr's had to beat out some upper-classmen to get to 2nd-string (on the OL, there really weren't enough scholarship bodies to fill out a 3rd string, so it's not as impressive).  We've talked a lot about taking a step backwards from '08 to '09 (it's inevitable), but a strong D-Line will cushion the fall quite a bit.

2 - This time last year, I was predicting a huge offensive season in the Big 12 because basically no team returned any semblance of an experienced pass rush.  And I didn't even know about Michael Crabtree!  This season plenty of big-name QBs return--Daniel, Harrell, Bradford, Reesing, McCoy, Robinson, but it's the defenses that have me curious.  Mizzou's November defense was about 500% better than its September defense.  OU's defense saw the emergence of DEs Auston English and Jeremy Beal and should still be pretty scary despite the losses of Lofton and Reggie Smith.  UT's defense can't help but get better under a good defensive coordinator.  And that's to say nothing of the mediocre defenses who return basically everybody from last year.  Some D's (ahem, colorado) will take a step backward, but there's a lot more balance in the conference this year, and I'd match us up against anybody else, SEC included (especially an SEC that will likely see LSU take a couple steps backwards).  But Beefy's right in that it would take 10 years of SEC suckage before anybody actually acknowledged that it might not be the #1 conference.

3 - The Dolphins were my favorite team growing up, but that was pretty much because of Dan Marino.  When he retired, the urge to root for them disappeared.  I guess my favorite team now is the Bucs, though that was also shot somewhat by the continuing presence of Chrissy Simms (who I personally don't like or dislike but really, REALLY enjoyed rooting against at Texas).  The Bucs need a shot of youth for their aging defense, but more than that they need playmakers on offense.  Being that they already basically have Tony Temple in the backfield (Ernest Graham), and being that Alex Smith is a decent enough tight end (ruling out T Rucker), I too will go with Will Franklin to shore up a significantly aging receiving corps.  Something tells me they won't be able to rely on Joey Galloway and Ike Hilliard for too much longer.  If Michael Clayton pulls his head out of his ass, that could be a pretty good WR tandem.

4 - OT games in the NHL playoffs take precedent over almost everything in sports, but the only way I follow the NHL during the regular season is via fantasy hockey, and while I thoroughly crushed the rest of my league this year, I honestly would have trouble telling you which teams any of my guys played for.  So from a purely knowledge-of-the-teams perspective, give me the NBA playoffs.  Especially THESE NBA playoffs, where we could have a ton of stout second-round matchups.  Right now it's looking like Lakers-Jazz, Spurs-Hornets, Celtics-BronBrons, Pistons-Magic.  The star power in those matchups is unbelievable.  Kobe vs Deron "I might be the best PG in the league, and nobody notices" Williams.  Duncan/Parker/Ginobli vs Chris "I really am the best PG in the league, and my playoff career has started with a bang" Paul.  Three Amigos vs a possessed Lebron.  Aging Pistons vs D-Howard.  That's crazy.

ZouDave: 1 - Not really.  I was concerned about how injuries would affect the team, and we picked up a couple of new injuries but overall the most key elements of our team appear to be on track for a healthy fall camp.  We have no punting game at all, and that was not alleviated.  I can say, as safely as is possible in April, that Missouri is the hands-down favorite to win the North and should be expected to compete well for the Conference Championship and if all goes well we could be competing for a National Championship.  I think anything less than 10 wins prior to December will be a huge and utter disappointment.

2 - Still a ways to go before we get the recognition instead of the Big Ten or the SEC.  I still think the SEC can continue to claim the best college football, but I think the Big XII is right behind them now.  The Big Ten couldn't be more overrated unless Notre Dame was actually in that conference.  The Pac-10 is good but not as strong top-to-bottom.  The ACC is not that good and the Big East is not the ACC.  But Oklahoma and Missouri should be in or right outside of the Top 5 going into the season, Texas is going to be not far behind, kansas will start out probably in the 15-20 range if I had to guess.  Then teams like Tech and Colorado should be getting some mention in the Top 25 early on in the year.  Really the only truly bad teams in the conference are going to be Baylor and maybe Iowa State.  Nebraska probably won't be all that good this year, either.  Still, there's probably 7 bowl teams in the Big XII this year and maybe 8 if teams don't beat up on each other.

3 - The Chiefs are, unfortunately, my favorite NFL team.  As far as Mizzou players in the draft that could immediately help the Chiefs?  If they don't take a WR before the 4th round then I think Will Franklin would be a nice fit.  I'm personally of the firm belief that now is the time to draft Tony Gonzalez's replacement because he's only got a couple of years left in him and we could get Martin Rucker with one of our three 3rd round picks.  It's possible that Temple is a late pick as well to give us depth at RB.  But the Chiefs' biggest needs are offensive tackle, defensive tackle, cornerback and WR.  God love Tyler Luellen, he's not going to be starting in the NFL next year.  Lorenzo Williams is a hero, but he's also not starting in the NFL next year.  Darnell Terrell is not what we need at CB.  That basically leaves Will Franklin, and while I wouldn't mind at all having him on the roster I'm not sure he's the receiver we want on the other side of Bowe.  I think they're looking for more of a possession receiver, where Franklin is probably more known as a big play receiver.  But make no mistake, I'd take him.  He's probably better than every receiver we have other than Bowe.

Now, to expand that out to the other local KC area teams...the Chiefs could easily be looking at Jordy Nelson early in the 3rd.  And he'd be the possession receiver they're looking for.  And I would be fine with Jordy Nelson.  He's a good player and a good guy and is a local hero to some so it would be a popular pick.  But what I'm absolutely TERRIFIED is going to happen is that the Chiefs are going to use their 17th overall pick to take Aqib Talib.  That guy is going to be an absolute waste in the NFL and I'm praying he's gone before the Chiefs can make the mistake.  Because honestly, that's exactly where I think we're heading.

4 - Neither.  UEFA Champions League.

Doug: 1 - I think the big question facing KU is the offensive line.  Anthony Collins was such a talent at left tackle, and it sounds like they're having trouble finding a full-time left tackle and it could become a platoon situation.  Also, there's a question of what will happen with the running back position, seemingly there should be three pretty good running backs in Jake Sharp, Angus Quigley and now Jacques Crawford, but there's a difference between rotating between two running backs and three.

2 - Probably competition-wise, I think the Big 12 will be one, if not the top, conference in the country.  However, too many pundits base the quality of the conference on the number of NFL prospects playing there, which is why the SEC gets so much love, and why USC bolsters the Pac 10 every year.

3 - Um, do I really have to answer that?  The sad thing is... Johnson County Community College could probably help fill some of the holes on the Chiefs' roster... and it doesn't even have a football team.  Actually, here's the list of the most glaring needs for Kansas City: corner back: Aqib Talib; offensive line: Anthony Collins; wide receiver: Marcus Henry; defensive line: James McClinton; tight end (cause Tony Gonzalez isn't playing forever): Derek Fine.  And, if not for the signing of a couple free agent full backs, you could toss Brandon McAnderson in there as a decent late-round pick-up for the Chiefs.  And, maybe I should put Kyle Tucker on the list because there's a fair chance Dustin Colquitt's leg could fall off during the pre-season.

4 - I guess I'll go with the NBA play-offs.  I'm still kind of jonesing for basketball (surprise, right?) and despite how boring the NBA can be during the regular season, the play-offs can actually produce some excitement.  Now, I do wish the opening round series were only best of 5 or even best of 3, that way you up the possibilities for upsets, I'll take what I can get at this point.  Plus, I think all of the NBA games are in HD, so "yes, please" to that.

By the way, new job?  What workplace are you terrorizing now?

The Boy: That would be the Univ. of Missouri.  So look out...RMN might start taking on a pro-MU bias!

Also, I believe Mid-America Nazarene has some talent that can help the Chiefs as well.  Go Man-U!

rptgwb: 1 - Punting remains a huge concern, and to a lesser extent, so does the offensive line. I saw nothing to completely calm my fears in either regard. However, depth at other positions came as a huge surprise. The depth at running back is ridiculous, and the defensive line and cornerback positions look outstanding.

2 - Doubtful. It's trite and cliche but I'm sticking with the SEC as the best conference until proven otherwise. That's not to say that the Big 12 isn't right up there with them, but I'd need to see some depth out of the Kansas State's, Oklahoma State's and Texas A&M's of the conference to buy into the argument. I will agree, though, that no conference in the country is even remotely close to touching the Big 12 in regard to quarterback play.

3 - As a Dallas native, I stick with the Cowboys and there has actually been quite a bit of talk of picking up Will Franklin in the third or fourth round. It was reported that Franklin was in Valley Ranch for an interview, and would fit nicely if the Cowboys go with a running back and a cornerback as expected with picks 22 and 28 in the first round (there's a lot of talk of Talib at 28 - ugh...). I'd love me some Rucker, but that wouldn't make a whole lot of sense behind Witten and Fasano.

4 - Hands down, no argument, untouched, unequivocally the NHL playoffs. There is no more compelling postseason than the Stanley Cup playoffs. There are so many highs and lows, storylines, rivalries, hatred and matchup difficulties in one 4-7 game series alone. Multiply that by four, and you can see why they call the Stanley Cup the hardest trophy to win in all of sports. A lot can be said of which sport names the best team as champion - college football because the people sort of decide, baseball because so few teams get in, college basketball because so many teams actually get a shot., etc. I'm not sure if the Stanley Cup Playoffs name the best team in hockey that year, but they certainly find the most deserving team that postseason. Plus, if you were to compare the NBA regular season to the NBA playoffs, the difference in play would not be significantly different. Watching regular season and playoff hockey is like watching two completely different games. (Programming note: Realize I did not mention the Mavericks here at all. I'm too busy laughing at Cuban for mortgaging the future while my favorite pro franchise gears up for round 2 of the NHL playoffs against San Jose,)

ZouDave: Man U can suck it.  God damn Riise and his freaking own goal in the final seconds against Chelsea.  Liverpool is hurting now.

A Liverpool vs Man U final in Moscow next month would have been absolutley amazing.  Gonna take a small miracle for the Reds to get there now.

And if the Chiefs draft looked anything like what Doug has suggested, I'll be finding a new favorite team.

The Beef: A Man-U reference...that should bring a smile to at least one of our reader’s faces...

rptgwb: Champions League reference? Touche, ZouDave. Bring in that European audience.

ZouDave: And just in case anybody cares, here's my mock draft with myself for Kansas City.  Yes, I'm a major Big XII homer.  And I also think you can't go wrong drafting USC players.  They're used to playing for money already.

1 (5) - Glenn Dorsey, DT, LSU or Sedrick Ellis, DT, USC
1 (17) - Leodis McKelvin, CB, Troy
2 (35) - Gosder Cherilus, LT, Boston College
3 (66) - Jordy Nelson, WR, Kansas State
3 (73) - John David Booty, QB, USC
3 (82) - Martin Rucker, TE, Missouri
4 (105) - Roy Schuening, RG, Oregon State
5 (136) - Kirk Barton, RT, Ohio State
5 (140) - Peyton Hillis, FB, Arkansas
6 (170) - James McClinton, DT, kansas
6 (182) - Kenny Iwebema, DE, Iowa
7 (210) - Thomas Williams, OLB, USC
7 (239) - Antwaun Molden, CB, Eastern Kentucky

The Beef: Word out of here in STL is that while the front office wants Chris Long, Linehan wants Dorsey so it seems that is what they will get...that should drop Long to you since ATL will go Ryan (even though they really want Dorsey) and then Oakland will end up taking McFadden because of the acrimony with Howie Long...KC takes Long and the Jets go Gholston...even though there are reports the Jets want to move up to get McFadden...which as a Jet fan...ugh...I had just made my peace that we may end up with him depending on how things fell...but to move UP to get him...not sure I like that.

I don't see Cherilus still there at 35...that would be a steal for you if he is.

I will have a 1st round mock draft I will post on Saturday in preparation for the 2nd Annual NFL Mock/Beer Draft...

ZouDave: Cherilus would definitely be a steal at 35, but I think there's a chance he might be there.  No clue.  I've done this for the past 3 years with KC's picks and I think in that time I've actually gotten 2 picks right.  One was Dustin Colquitt, the other was Boomer Grigsby.  Both in the 2005 draft.  I thought I was a genius.  I was wrong.

But c'mon, you gotta give me love for picking Rucker at #82.  Rucker, #82, it just seems to work.

And I definitely think if Chris Long is there at #5 we would take him over Ellis.  Otherwise, it's going to be a free agent starting at DE for us this year opposite of Hali.

The Beef: Well..there is talk you could move know Cincy, New Orleans, possibly New York, possibly Baltimore if Ryan is still in the mix all would want to move up for either Ellis, evidently McFadden or the aforementioned Ryan.

Do you know I used the word "aforementioned" in every single paper I wrote in college?  Clearly didn't do much for me, but I thought it was a nice achievement.

I have never tried picking a 1st just hoping to do better than Todd McShay...

ZouDave: That chicken that poops on logos to pick football games will do better than Todd McShay.

The Boy: McShay's recent surge in visibility has just gone to prove that the belief that you know what you're talking about severely trumps whether you actually know what you're talking about.  Then again, I guess we had already learned that lesson...

Michael Atchison: I come back to the computer to find 16 new messages in the inbox, mostly from you mooks.  I gotta get some advanced notice.

1 - Honestly, I don’t pay that much attention to the spring.  I went to the game, but I don’t dwell on it much.  I’m just not sure how much you can really tell by reading reports of a few practices of a squad that will have some different pieces come fall.  But unless some stud linebackers suddenly emerged from the mist, no, my concerns about depth at that position weren’t alleviated much.  Let me go on the record and say that having concerns about depth at linebacker is a pretty nice problem to have, historically speaking.

2 - It should be right there at the top.  The list of quarterbacks returning – Daniel/Harrell/Bradford/Reesing/McCoy/etc. – is ridiculous.

3 - I’m a Chiefs fan, and to the extent that Mizzou has any warm bodies available for selection, yeah they could help (I haven’t read the other responses yet, but I’m sure this point has been made by others).  This team could certainly find a spot for Franklin, Spieker, Temple or Lo Williams.

4 - If I were familiar with any of the players, the NHL would win handily because the games are so intense.  But really, I’m not sure I can correctly match more than ten guys with their current teams.

The Beef:

Michael Atchison: I have a hard time imagining that the Chiefs won't take an offensive tackle in the first round.  I think the corner comes later.  And given Herm's intention to turn back the clock 50 years on the game of football, I can't see them taking Rucker in the third round.  He's not a three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust tight end.

The Beef: I agree....I have KC taking Long right now at the 5th spot to replace Allen (and because any other OL beside Jake Long is a reach at 5) and then have them grabbing an OL later from the group of Williams, Otah, Albert, Clady...I think I have them landing with Otah of Pitt

ZouDave: Id rather have albert in that group because he can play LT and is the best guard in the draft.

The Beef: And given the ridiculous hype perpetrated in part by McShay...I don't see him down there either...considering some thought (before the Allen move) that you would reach for him at 5  possibly

Doug: The Chiefs getting Long or Dorsey relies entirely upon Atlanta falling in love with Matt Ryan (which they may very well have) and the Raiders shooting themselves by picking Darren McFadden (a strong possibility).  The reality is, if they can't get Dorsey or Long at 5 (either one would be a tremendous pick at that spot) they need to trade down.  There's depth in the offensive line of this draft, but after Jake Long, no lineman worthy of a top 5 pick.

The Beef: That seems to be the way it is falling...STL front office wants Long, but coach wants don’t know why you give the coach what he wants when you are going to can him after another abysmal season, but whatever.  In ATL, ownership wanted Ryan, but the new GM wants Dorsey....if Dorsey is gone, he will take Ryan.  Oakland I had heard was not going to go McFadden for a time...and I guess could still take Gholston, but either way, Long should fall...what Oakland does will only likely affect the Jets...though they will take whoever Oakland does not take in Gholston/McFadden....unless....ugh...they trade up.

Michael Atchison: Trading down seems great in theory, but I don’t know if there’s a trading partner at that spot, unless there’s someone completely in love with McFadden or Ryan.  And they likely won’t know whether they want to trade that pick until after Oakland makes its choice.  That gives them 15 minutes to get a deal (or at least the parameters of it) done.

The Beef: Actually now it is just 10 minutes...

And supposedly Chicago is making overtures about moving up for that could be interesting...consider the depth of the draft, stock piling might be the way to go

Michael Atchison: If Chris Long is what people say he is, and if he’s there at five, I think the Chiefs should take him (same goes for Dorsey, but are there any lingering concerns about injuries for him? He seemed prone to getting nicked up last year).  But if those guys are gone, a deal with Chicago would make sense.  They have number 14 overall, and number 13 in round two (44 overall) and numbers 7 (70) and 27 (90) in round three.  I’d take 14 and 44 for five.

Doug: I'm the sure the teams are bitching about only having 10 minutes... but dear God, did that first round drag out to the point of foolishness last year.  ESPN ran a mock draft with scouts a couple days ago and they had Dorsey and Long coming off the board before the Chiefs could pick, so, in their world, the Saints traded up to 5, Kansas City down to 10, with, I believe, a 4th round this year and next year's 1st round from New Orleans.  That would be a good move down, because then picking up Albert is not a reach at 10 like it would be at 5.

The Boy: Boy...I disappear and a real conversation breaks out...

Michael Atchison: You were gone?