A GRIP ON SPORTS
Are you ready for tonight? Got your beverages and snacks? Don't forget a coaster for your drink and a cushion for your seat. It's the NFL's biggest day of the year, non-game variety. It's the Draft, with a capital "D." And there's one thing I can guarantee. Tonight's first round will have more drama, more entertainment and more intelligent dialogue than that recent cruddy Kevin Costner movie. Sure, the people in the movie were better looking. But no one – no one – could boast better hair than Mel Kiper Jr. Read on.
• The draft is interesting. It's watched by millions, panned or praised by just as many more. A pick is made and dissected over and over again, though nobody knows for sure whether it was good or bad and they won't know for a couple years. Yet the words keep on flowing. And will over the next couple days. The draft used to be an under-the-radar affair. Then it became an all-day thing. Now it's spread over three days, with just the first round on tap for tonight. If you are a fan of the Seahawks, there's a pretty good chance your team won't even make a pick today. The Hawks have the final selection in the first round, the spot reserved for the NFL champion. They also have a penchant for trading one pick for more picks and, with just six choices in the seven rounds, Seattle just might decide it wants quantity in the later rounds over dubious quality at the end of the first. So you could watch hour after hour only to hear NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the first-round emcee, talk about a trade to Cleveland or Minnesota or Tampa Bay. Exciting, huh? Still, I'm guessing many of you will be glued to your chair all evening, laughing at the New York Jets' pick, shaking your head when the Raiders' selection is called and wondering how that guy could have fallen to the Patriots. That's what happens on draft day. Of is it daft day?
• The Hawks actually did something really important yesterday, locking up lock-down cornerback Richard Sherman. The four-year, $57-million contract the team reached with Sherman now means the Hawks' two best defenders will be with the team for the foreseeable future. It also means they better stay healthy if Seattle wants to stay viable. And that Russell Wilson is going to be really expensive. But those are concerns or problems for another day. Yesterday the Hawks celebrated Sherman and his long-term success. Today, tomorrow and the next day they will take more steps toward the future.
• WSU: It seems only yesterday Deone Bucannon signed his letter of intent with Washington State. As I recall, Bucannon wasn't the top safety the Cougars wanted that year. Sure, coach Paul Wulff was high on the three-star safety from Fairfield, Calif., but Wulff was high on a lot of guys in the class. I can't remember the name of the player assistant coach Chris Ball really wanted, but the other sought-after safety from the Bay Area signed somewhere else. Bucannon was something of a consolation prize. A darn nice consolation prize. Still, when Bucannon stepped on campus in the fall of 2010, he wasn't a finished product, that's for sure. Over the next four years he kept getting bigger, stronger and, most importantly, better. Some guys improve in fits and starts in college. Bucannon's improvement curve wasn't a curve at all; it was a straight line. He came to practice every day with the idea of getting better – and he did. Either today or tomorrow, he'll reap the benefits of a lot of hard work. And set an example for others to follow. ... Jacob Thorpe has a nice feature on Bucannon's draft status in today's paper and a blog post on a running back who committed yesterday. ... In other, non-draft news, ESPN.com's Pac-12 blog has a look at each of the North Division's offenses and summarizes the conference's meetings. ... You can check out Oregon's fall schedule in short form. ... Oregon State will have to wait awhile to name a new basketball coach.
• Idaho: It might be a long wait, but Idaho running back James Baker hopes to hear his name called sometime in the next three days. Josh Wright has a story on Baker's draft hopes.
• Chiefs: Just about 48 hours ago, it looked as if the Portland Winterhawks were going to bury Edmonton and win the WHL title. Five periods later, the Oil Kings have tied up the series, 2-2, winning the fourth game last night 2-0.
• Shock: With Erik Meyer sidelined by a broken collarbone, the Shock dipped into the free agent market yesterday and signed two quarterbacks. Jim Meehan has the story on the inexperienced pair.
• Preps: Though the spring playoffs are heating up – Jim Allen has the coverage of the District 8 3A soccer title match – there are some weekly items to attended to. Greg Lee has his track notebook and list of area leaders while, being it's Thursday and Prep Page day, we can pass along a Chris Derrick feature on a local softball pitcher.
• Seahawks: You think a multi-million dollar, four-year contract extension will change Sherman? No, me neither. That's something the Hawks are counting on. He's just been so consistent throughout his career and has an influence even beyond football. ... The Hawks have brought a lot of players into Seattle before the draft but it may not mean a thing.
• Mariners: OK, so the M's lost the second game of yesterday's doubleheader in Oakland when the bats shut down. Still, they will come home with a 7-2 record on the road trip, a game over .500 and all alone in second in the A.L. West. Now let's see if they can continue to play that well. ... Seattle won the opener even though Felix Hernandez wasn't his sharpest and failed to record a strike out for seemingly forever.
• Sounders: Here's the formula. The Sounders are called for a questionable penalty early on and the opponent scores. Then the offense unwinds itself and probes here and there against the opponent's defense, finally breaking through once or twice. In the end, the Sounders win. It's happened four times this season and the Sounders are unbeaten in six consecutive matches. Whatever they are doing, it is working. ... It worked last night in a 2-1 win over Dallas. ... Sigi Schmid would rather save the angst, however, and have his team take an early lead once in a while.
• And that, my friends, is my Thursday morning report. Don't forget, there are just a couple days until Mother's Day. And even though it makes sense to most of us that the women you married isn't your mother, that won't buy you absolution if you don't get her a gift. Just do it. Now. If the kids bail, that's their problem. Save yourself. Until later ...