The NFL and its players may be squabbling, the upcoming season is still up in the air. But it's still fun watching the Draft, isn't it?
It's nice to see the emotions from the players and their families when the player's name is called. Carolina picking Cam Newton number one was no surprise, but there were some unexpected moves in Thursday's round one. One was the Atlanta Falcons trading up to the number six spot to pick receiver Julio Jones out of Alabama. Picking Jones wasn't the stunner, it's how much Atlanta gave up to the Cleveland Browns to pick Jones! In addition to giving up their first-round pick at number 27, the Falcons also gave up their second and fourth-round picks in this year's draft.
Plus, Atlanta gives up its first and fourth-round picks in the 2012 Draft. The Falcons are getting a great receiver to complement Roddy White, but is Jones really worth FIVE picks? Falcons management better hope so, if not they'll hear about this move for a long, long time.
Among the other eye-catchers in round one had to be quarterback Jake Locker out of Washington going as high as he did, number 8 to Tennessee. Another qiuarterback picked a lot earlier than most expected was Florida State's Christian Ponder, selected number 12 overall by the Vikings.
That might not be such a terrible pick. When Ponder is healthy, he can pick secondaries apart. The Vikings do need help and backup support at quarterback. I'm really anxious for the second and third-round picks on Friday night.
Virginia Tech's Ryan Williams and UVa's Ras-I Dowling are area guys who should hear their names called. I've heard Miami could have a big interest in Williams.
Some thoughts from VT's spring game last weekend. Brookville's Logan Thomas will be fun to watch at quarterback this season. While his spring game total numbers weren't all that great, he did throw for a couple of scores and took off on a long run that put a charge into the crowd. Now the Hokies have to settle on a competent backup who can step in should Thomas go down. Flanker Danny Coale could be doing double-duty this fall. He had the longest punt, 53 yards, in the spring game and is right in the thick of the battle for the starting punter's job. Coach Frank Beamer did say Coale needs to get down to being a 2-step kicker, that right now he's a little bit of a slow 3-stepper. Coale says he'll work hard over the summer and try to win the punting job in the fall. The placekicking battle is still very much alive and is one of Beamer's concerns coming out of the spring. The Hokies are having to replace two great kickers from last year in punter Brian Saunders out of Nelson County and placekicker Chris Hazley... big, big shoes to fill. I thought the defenses played pretty well, J.R. Collins had some nice stops at defensive end, linebacker Telvion Clark had nine tackles on the day.
VMI's spring game is this Saturday. Keydets head coach Sparky Woods feels VMI will be much improved. The Keydets spring game kicks off Saturday at 1:30 at Foster Stadium. VMI welcomes in Delaware State in its season opener in September, followed by state rival William & Mary coming to Lexington.
Sprint Cup racing comes to Richmond this weekend. Could this be the week Dale Earnhardt, Junior snaps his winless streak? I wouldn't be a bit surprised, he's running great with new crew chief Steve Letarte.
Racing of another sort, the 9th-annual Angels Race Triathlon is this Sunday morning in Lynchburg. They maxed out earlier this month at more than 500 participants. Lynchburg's Tim Groover helped start this event in which men, women and kids swim, bike and run in honor of angels who made a positive impact on their lives. It's a great event that will really touch your heart as a competitor and even a spectator.
And congratulations to Lynchburg's Kevin Keatts. The Hargrave Military post-grad basketball coach for 10 seasons recently accepted a job as assistant coach at Louisville, joining Rick Pitino's staff. The former Heritage High basketball and football standout guided Hargrave to two national prep championships and three runner-up finishes.
There's plenty of area sports going on. Get out and enjoy them!