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By Joe Kazmar
For the Record 

Kaz's Korner


Last updated 4/26/2022 at 5:36pm

Tomorrow will feature the most important National Football League event between February's Super Bowl and September's Opening Day of the 2022 regular season when the first round of the 2022 NFL draft begins.

There has been much speculation from both the sports media and the 32 NFL teams themselves about what positions need to be filled for each team.

There have been mock drafts galore from every sports publication, radio and television sports talk shows, podcasts and even Facebook and Twitter about the players who will be drafted in tomorrow's first round.

Another aspect of the draft will focus on which teams plan to trade up in an effort to fill their biggest needs. This week's edition of USA Today Sports Weekly has an article giving their opinions of some of the top players who may be involved in these prospective trade scenarios.

Several teams were able to grab a player to fulfill their greatest needs through the free agent marketplace, but the biggest trade involved former Houston Texans' quarterback Deshaun Watson, who signed the most lucrative contract in NFL quarterback history with the Cleveland Browns despite his 22 lawsuits still pending, while the Texans reaped three first-round draft picks from Cleveland, including No. 13 tomorrow.

Another huge quarterback trade involved Russell Wilson, who was dealt by the Seattle Seahawks to the Denver Broncos for several starting players and some draft picks.

But the biggest surprises involved a pair of All-Pro wide receivers-Kansas City's Tyreek Hill and Green Bay's Davante Adams-who both were the favorite targets of Chiefs' quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Packers' Aaron Rodgers, respectively.

Adams opted to join his old college quarterback Derek Carr at the Las Vegas Raiders while Hill signed with the Miami Dolphins.

A handful of college stars who may cause a team to trade up tomorrow include quarterbacks Malik Willis of Liberty, Kenny Pickett of Pittsburgh, Cincinnati's Desmond Ritter, Ole Miss' Matt Corral and North Carolina's Sam Howell.

Among other players who could command an upward trade are wide receivers Jameson Williams of Alabama and Ohio State's Chris Olave, Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal, Florida State's linebacker/defensive end Jermaine Johnson II, LSU cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr. and Notre Dame safety Kyle Hamilton.

As far as the two Texas franchises are concerned, the rebuilding Houston Texans need plenty of help everywhere, but especially on the defensive line where Jermaine Johnson II could be a valuable asset along with pass-rushing defensive end stalwart Aiden Hutchinson of Michigan.

But the Houston Chronicle's Mock draft that appeared in Sunday's edition had the Texans using their No. 3 first-round pick on North Carolina State's offensive tackle Ikem Ekwonu and No. 13 on Alabama wide receiver Jameson Williams.

Other first-round pick possibilities include Alabama offensive lineman Evan Neal, Oregon's defensive end Kaylon Thibodeaux and Cincinnati cornerback Ahmed Gardner.

The Dallas Cowboys have only their No. 24 pick in the first round and the Chronicle predicts it will be Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum. Other first-round possibilities could be Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks and guards Zion Johnson from Boston College and Texas Aggie Kenyon Green. Last year Idiot Owner Jerry Jones concentrated on drafting only defensive players.

Local New Orleans Saints fans will be interested to know their team has two picks in the first round-No. 15 from Indianapolis and their own No. 19. The Chronicle predicted Ohio State wide receiver Olave will be No. 15 and Utah linebacker Devin Lloyd will be No. 19.

Other first-round possibilities could be quarterbacks Pickett of Pittsburgh and Corral from Ole Miss, Arkansas wide receiver Burks and Northern Iowa offensive tackle Trevor Penning.

KWICKIES...Ryder Cup and President's Cup partners Patrick Cantley and Xander Schauffele scored a wire-to-wire victory in last weekend's Zurich Classic, a two-man team tournament held in New Orleans. The team won by two strokes over Sam Burns and Billy Horschel with their 29-under-par 259 at TPC Louisiana, breaking the old record of 27-under.

Slugger Ivan Melendez smashed two homers Sunday as the No. 20 Texas Longhorns routed Baylor 13-4 and swept the weekend series. Melendez hit four homers in the series and drove in 10 runs, upping the Longhorns record to 30-13 and 9-6 in Big 12 competition.

The major league's highest paid shortstop Carlos Correa has been a bust at the plate so far with the Minnesota Twins, hitting an anemic .192 while his Houston Astros replacement Jeremy Pena won Sunday's game for Houston over Toronto 8-7. I believe Correa would rather be facing the pitching staffs of the Angels, Mariners, Rangers and the A's from the AL West Division than those in the AL Central.

Former Oakland Raiders quarterback Daryle Lamonica died last week at age 80 from natural causes. Nicknamed the "Mad Bomber", Lamonica threw for 34 touchdowns and 3,302 yards in 1969. The 34 TDs still stand as the franchise's single-season record more than a half-century later.

Weatherford College pitcher Owen Woodward found out last week how easy it was to end a college career. Woodward, a sophomore, surrendered a go-ahead home run to North Central Texas College's Josh Phillips, who was knocked to the ground when he was tackled by Woodward as he rounded third base. Woodward was dropped from the Weatherford team and also received a four-game suspension from the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference. He had recently signed a letter-of-intent to play for the University of Houston for the 2022-23 academic year. I wonder if the Cougars still want him!!!

JUST BETWEEN US...Sunday both the Houston Astros and their Class AAA affiliate the Sugar Land Space Cowboy closed out their weekend series with extra-inning wins. The Astros topped visiting Toronto 8-7 on a walk-off 10th-inning home run by rookie shortstop Jeremy Pena while the Space Cowboys subdued the Tacoma Rainiers 3-2 in 10 innings. That's where the similarities end because the Astros halted a horrid four-game losing streak while Sugar Land won their fourth game in a row. After throwing a scoreless eighth inning, Astros newcomer reliever Rafael Montero remained unscored upon in seven relief appearances this season, with 13 strikeouts and an 0.71 WHIP in seven innings.


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