Why the eventual best QB from this draft probably won’t even be the best with the team that drafted him.

Ryan Mallett has the big arm and the accuracy. He’s got feet, at least inside the pocket. He can read a defense well enough to have SEC defenses fear him. He’s also got off-the-field problems. Your Quarterback should be the leader of your team, and should set an example for everyone on your team to follow. He should set the mentality of the team, and let everyone know how things should be ran in the locker room. Basically, a coach on the field.

I mean, look at all the best quarterbacks in the league. Manning, Brady, Rodgers, Brees. All resemble their coach. All are leaders in the locker room. Then look at the major bust in the NFL. JaMarcus Russel and Ryan Leaf had no control in their locker room, and were really issues off the field.  Ryan Mallett has all the talent a Manning or Brady has, but these off the field issues put him to the 3rd round, where the Patriots drafted him. The Patriots are the best situation for Mallett to step into. Possibly the greatest ever at quarterback in front of him, a coach that will handle and crush all off the field issues, and a system that develops quarterbacks like no body’s business. Mallet probably won’t get to start for several years for the Patriots. So by the time he does get his chance, whether it be a few good pre-seasons, or waiting for Brady to leave, he will learn everything he needs to, and his off the field issues will be gone. Ryan Mallett’s talent + no concerns off the field = elite quarterback.

Rays, Upton Walk Off In Longoria Return

Today was a great day in sports for Tampa. The Lightning beat the Capitals to take a 3-0 series lead, and then the Rays won on a BJ Upton walkoff home run.

The Rays trailed in most of the game, including the first inning when Adam Lind delivered a RBI single. Kelly Shoppach tied it in the 2nd with a fly ball single, scoring Sean Rodriguez.

In the 4th, Edwin Encarnacion hit a RBI double, and the scored stayed that way, 2-1, all the way until the 9th inning.

After Ben Zobrist led off the inning with a single, BJ Upton hit a home run to left field, to win the game for the Rays.

After the game, Evan Longoria, who made his first start today since April 2, creamed BJ in the face with chocolate whipped cream, instead of the regular shaving cream. Clubhouse manager Chris Westmoreland decided to use whipped cream instead of shaving cream, because the shaving cream stings they players eyes, and he wanted to switch things up.

Rookie Brandon Gomes made his first career relieve appearance, going 2 strong innings only allowing a walk. Wade Davis had a solid start, only allowing 2 runs, but he didn’t have much offense.

Liriano Throws Seasons First No Hitter

CHICAGO — Francisco Liriano was running low on energy in the ninth inning. A no-hitter within reach but his pitch count climbing, he relied on teammates to help him complete the best game of his career.

When shortstop Matt Tolbert grabbed Adam Dunn’s liner for the final out, completing the Minnesota Twins’ 1-0 win over the Chicago White Sox, Liriano was mobbed on the mound.

“To be honest I was running out of gas,” he said. “I just thank my teammates that they made some great plays behind me tonight.”Liriano (2-4) walked six and struck out two in his first complete game in 95 major league starts. The 27-year-old left-hander, who reached the big leagues in 2005, matched his career high with 123 pitches.”I can’t explain it. I feel so nervous and so happy right now,” Liriano said. “I can’t explain my feeling right now.”He survived a rocky ninth inning that began when Brent Morel grounded to shortstop and Matt Tolbert made a one-hop throw that first baseman Justin Morneau scooped. Juan Pierre walked and Alexei Ramirez popped to shortstop.Liriano fell behind Adam Dunn 3-0 in the count, then got a pair of strikes. After a foul ball, Dunn lined out to Tolbert.”I thought it was a base hit,” Liriano said. “When I saw him catch it I was so excited.”

Dunn dropped to 0 for 16 against left-handers this season.”As soon as I hit it, I saw him, and it was right to him,” Dunn said. “That’s pretty much the story of the day. There were some balls that, again, they made some great defensive plays.”Liriano, the reigning AL comeback player of the year, was backed by Jason Kubel’s fourth-inning homer. He threw just 66 pitches for strikes but kept Chicago off-balance in a game that took just 2 hours, 9 minutes.In his previous start, he lasted just three innings in an 8-2 loss to Tampa Bay. The shutout lowered his ERA for the season from 9.13 to 6.61.Liriano, 3-0 against the White Sox last season, walked Pierre leading off the first and Carlos Quentin with one out in the second, but both were erased on double plays. Chicago put two on in the fourth, and center fielder Denard Span raced into left-center to grab Quentin’s long drive.With two outs in the seventh, third baseman Danny Valencia went behind the bag and into foul territory to grab Quentin’s hard hopper and then made a strong throw to first.

Minnesota turned its third double play in the eighth, when Morneau took an offline throw from second baseman Alexi Casilla and umpire Paul Emmel called Gordon Beckham out — replays appeared to show Morneau missed the tag.Ramirez hit two of the hardest balls off Liriano. He lined out to third in the first and sent a hard liner foul past third in the sixth.Edwin Jackson (2-4) lost his fourth straight start despite allowing six hits in eight innings. Then with Arizona, Jackson no-hit Tampa Bay last June 26 despite walking eight.It was the seventh no-hitter for the Twins-Washington Senators franchise and the first since Eric Milton’s against the Angels on Sept. 11, 1999. It was the first no-hitter in the major leagues since Philadelphia’s Roy Halladay’s against Cincinnati in last year’s NL division series.The White Sox were no-hit for the 13th time, the first since they were beaten by Kansas City’s Bret Saberhagen on Aug. 26, 1991.Liriano was acquired in 2003 in the famously lopsided trade that also brought Joe Nathan to Minnesota in exchange for A.J. Pierzynski

He burst onto the scene in 2006, going 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA and dominating overmatched hitters with an untouchable slider. But the violent delivery caused him to develop arm problems toward the end of that season and had elbow-ligament replacement surgery that November.His road back has been a long and difficult one. He missed all of 2007, then struggled to regain his form over the next two years, leading some to wonder if he ever would make it all the way back after going 5-13 with a 5.80 ERA in 2009.Game notes
The Twins moved Casilla, who had four errors in 21 games at shortstop, to second base. … Twins DH Jim Thome was a late scratch. Seven players with batting averages under .200 started the game — four for the Twins and three for the White Sox.

Derrick Rose Wins MVP, Youngest Ever

LINCOLNSHIRE, Ill. (AP) — Right from the start, Derrick Rose wondered why he couldn’t be the MVP. It turns out, nothing could stop him.

Rose officially became the NBA’s youngest MVP on Tuesday and joined Michael Jordan as the only Bulls player to win the award, which was no surprise given his spectacular season and Chicago’s leap to a league-leading 62 wins.

He has a ways to go before he catches Jordan, who won five MVPs and led the way to two championship three-peats, but he sure is off to a good start.

“I’m not even touching that man right there,” Rose said. “I’m far away from him. If anything, it would be great to be close to him. This is a different team, a different era.”

In his third year, the dynamic point guard led the Bulls to their best season since the championship era.

The 22-year-old Rose got 1,182 points and 113 first-place votes from a panel of media voters, supplanting Wes Unseld as the youngest to win the award with a runaway win. Orlando’s Dwight Howard (643 points) finished second, Miami’s LeBron James was third, the Lakers’ Kobe Bryant was fourth and Oklahoma City star Kevin Durant finished fifth.

A product of Chicago’s South Side, Rose established himself as one of the top players in the league after going from Rookie of the Year to All-Star in his first two seasons. He took another step this year with one of the best all-around performances by a point guard.

He averaged 25 points and 7.7 assists while leading Chicago into contention for its first championship since the Jordan-Scottie Pippen era. For all the groaning over the Bulls missing out on James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in free agency, they did quite well for themselves anyway.

Rose showed up to training camp openly wondering why he couldn’t be MVP. Then, he backed it up.

“It really just came out,” Rose said. “That’s the way I thought at the time. I put a lot of hard work into my game, especially during the summer. … I dedicated my whole summer to basketball. Even though it was tough, I did it.”

Rose was a picture of humility during the news conference. He thanked everyone from the fans to his teammates, coaches and management, and he choked up when he mentioned his mom, Brenda Rose, and older brothers seated in the front row.

At one point, he looked at her and paused.

“Just thinking how hard she works,” he said. “Those are hard days. My days shouldn’t be hard because I love what I’m doing. That’s playing basketball. You keep me going every day and I love you.”

Rose ranked seventh in scoring and 10th in assists, making him the only player this season in the top 10 in both categories. The only other Bull to do so was Jordan in 1988-89, when he led the league in scoring (32.5 points) and finished 10th in assists, according to information provided to the team by the Elias Sports Bureau.

Throw in a 4.1 rebounding average, and Rose joins another elite group. He’s the seventh player in league history to average at least 25 points, 7.5 assists and 4.0 rebounds, along with Jordan, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, Larry Bird, Wade and James, according to Elias.

“We all knew how good he could be,” veteran forward Luol Deng said. “It’s a big surprise for all of us how quick he got there. We knew he was going to get there; we said that from the start. He’s just a hard worker, a humble kid. He’s really out there just to win games.”

In the postseason, he’s been just as impressive.

He scored 39 and 36 points in the first two playoff games against Indiana. Then he shook off two sub-par performances and a sprained left ankle to score 25 points in Game 5 as the top-seeded Bulls closed out what had been a tight first-round series with a 116-89 victory.

They stumbled in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals against Atlanta, losing 103-95. Rose scored 24 points, but he hit just 11 of 27 shots and did not attempt a free throw. He also limped off the court after twisting his left ankle, but expects to be ready for Game 2 on Wednesday.

It’s been a rapid, steady climb for a player who came into the league with soaring expectations. He helped Simeon Career Academy become the first Chicago Public League team to win back-to-back state championships, then led Memphis to the NCAA championship game before the Bulls drafted him with the No. 1 pick in 2008 after defying 1.7-percent odds to win the lottery.

“I’ll never forget the morning after we got that pick where we got the entire management staff together to meet,” general manager Gar Forman said.

They knew then who they were picking.

And when they started talking to him, Forman said, “It was obvious to us that not only was Derrick a very special talent, but he possessed the intangibles that you need to become a very special player in this league. Going into that draft, I remember our feeling was this is too good to be true.”


“Our feeling is still this is really too good to be true,” Forman said.

Rose has added new touches to his game every season, expanding the range on his jumper to go with those explosive drives to the basket.

“He’s been everything you could ask for,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “He’s been a leader, a player. He’s only going to get better.”

2011 Could Offer Worst Crop Of Free Agents In Modern-Era System

Vonta Leach might be one of the true anomalies in the NFL right now — a Pro Bowl free-agent-to-be, still yet to turn 30. In this distorted labor situation, that alone will put you in some pretty exclusive company.

Teams and agents, operating under the awkward backdrop of an on-again, off-again, on-again lockout, still do not know when the 2011 league year will begin and what it will look like. Some clarity is expected when the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals makes a decision on whether or not to stay Judge Susan Nelson’s decision to enjoin the lockout. The possibility exists that the NFL will have to impose rules for the 2011 season at some point, and if it does, general managers expect those rules to look an awful lot like those used in the 2010 season. That included players needing six years of accrued seasons to become unrestricted free agents (rather than four, the norm during the past CBA).

“It has been kind of a weird year,” said Leach, 29, a seven-year vet. “By this time you usually already know where you’re going to be at, and you’re establishing a relationship with your new teammates if you’re not going to be with your current teammates. Right now you’re just in limbo about everything, but I’m ready to go ahead and get this over with no matter what the rules are.”

And if the 2010 rules remain in place, then Leach, Houston’s Pro Bowl fullback, will be among a very select handful of prime free agents in what could be the worst crop since this era of free agency began in the mid 1990s. It makes last year’s mundane market seem remarkable by comparison, as this class of roughly 220 players lacks sizzle at key spots like quarterback, offensive tackle, and anyone capable of mustering a consistent pass rush.

The potential lack of name recognition aside, here’s a look at seven other free-agents-to-be who could stand to do well on the open market.

Nnamdi Asomugha, corner

By far the top prize of this free-agent class and the only one of these 200-odd players who could rightly make a claim to being the very best in the world at his position. He’s without a doubt in the top two or three, if you want to put Darrelle Revis first. Asomugha is creeping up on 30, but is still in line for a massive payday that will exceed $15 million per season. Houston and Dallas are not shy about spending money, and both could use a corner. The Jets were a rumored suitor, but in this scenario still have Antonio Cromartie as a restricted free agent. Given his age, Asomugha makes the most sense for teams that are already playoff ready or just on the cusp.

Thomas Davis, linebacker

The Panthers love this linebacker, who has essentially missed two straight seasons because of injuries now. A 2005 first-round pick, Davis was emerging as a leader and a key figure in their defense. However, consecutive ACL tears have cast his future in doubt. He’s still just 28 — and that’s with two lost seasons. He fought as hard as he could to make it back last season and Carolina kept a roster spot open for him for a good part of the year hoping he would do so — a testament to how much general manager Marty Hurney thinks of his importance to the team. I would suspect he will garner a fair amount of interest and would be seen by many as the top linebacker available.

Darren Sproles, running back

A potential special teams game-changer and someone who, after being franchised in the past, might be a luxury the Chargers can no longer afford with Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert in the backfield, too. Might have been an intriguing possibility for the Falcons — who hit big on former Chargers running back Michael Turner in free agency a few years back — but their selection of Jacquizz Rodgers in the draft negates that. Too much talent for an innovative coordinator not to tap into as Norv Turner has for years in San Diego. Sproles was in line for a nice deal a year ago prior to being designated a restricted free agent under the uncapped year in 2010.

Marc Bulger, quarterback

You will find plenty of scouts who believe he is done. They feel years of heavy hits and concussions have rendered him less of a quarterback and decision-maker. They don’t see him getting through a season as a starter. But there are plenty in the Ravens organization — where he was a backup last year — that believe Bulger could end up being a free-agent steal for someone. He clearly fits Arizona’s system, as he and Kurt Warner have the same passing roots. Arizona chose to be too frugal with him a year ago, but I doubt that’s the case now. While some in Washington’s organization are high on Bulger, I doubt the Redskins would put together the kind of financial package the Cardinals would. Could Bulger re-establish himself in Arizona as Warner did a few years back?

Anthony Hargrove, defensive lineman

Personal demons behind him and tapped back into his athletic prowess, Hargrove could shine outside in a 4-3 scheme. New Orleans lacked depth at tackle, and so he played primarily on the interior, but other teams see him as a potential disrupter off the edge. He’d love to get the opportunity. Still just 27 years old, he’s an absolutely baby by the standards of this free-agent class.

Aubrayo Franklin, defensive tackle

If you are desperate for a true nose tackle — Washington, for instance, is — then this is your best (only?) real option. Age is not ideal, as he is 30, but he has played at a Pro Bowl level in the past and was franchised in 2009. Was a spare part early in his career, so a bit younger health-wise than some veterans of the trenches. He can be a difficult force to handle anchoring the defensive line.

Terrell Owens, receiver

Based on production alone, Owens was a steal for the Bengals in 2010. Even though it was a miserable season for them, Owens was very solid. He still drops too many balls and still puts his foot in his mouth (calling out Bengals owner Mike Brown after the season was silly and shortsighted). It could be another long wait for him this offseason, but I have to wonder if Seattle, which dabbled with the idea of signing him a year ago, might be his best option this time around. No matter where he goes, or when he lands, there will be no lack of intrigue surrounding it.

Overall, the defensive line, though without marquee names, is a strength here. The players mentioned above, plus ends Cullen Jenkins and Andre Carter (though I like him much more as a 4-3 outside linebacker), could help someone’s front seven without a doubt. Jenkins is a versatile player whose stock will be high coming off his superb effort in the playoffs helping the Packers to a Super Bowl title.

Oh, and this shallow market will be likely made even less fertile by, say, Mark Clayton — who was emerging as a deep threat for the Rams in 2010 before injury — possibly staying put. And I don’t think too many people envision Olin Kreutz anywhere but Chicago. The Panthers will certainly make a concerted effort to retain Davis, with management huge fans of his will, effort and desire, to say nothing of performance.