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Submitted by Jim Hurley’s Network on Monday, April 27, 2015 at 12:00 AM

Jim Sez for Monday, April 27 …

THE NFL DRAFT REPORT:
IT’S TIME TO CHECK OUT
THE TOP QUARTERBACKS …
NBA DRAFT UPDATE:
THE CLIPPERS STEAL THE
WEEKEND HEADLINES
(BUT CAN THEY “HOLD SERVE” in GAME 5
IN L.A. ON TUESDAY NIGHT?)
PLUS MORE PLAYOFF GOODIES …
MLB NEWS & NOTES:
PUIG, WAINWRIGHT ARE DL-BOUND

Drum roll, please.
Our NFL Draft position-by-position analyses have filled these Jim Sez pages in recent weeks but we’ve come to the final installment … The Quarterbacks.
Heck, there have been more words printed (and verbalized over the airwaves) regarding both Florida State QB Jameis Winston and Oregon QB Marcus Mariota to fill a thick bound book and so excuse us for adding to the chatter here as we check out what could well be the top two players taken in Thursday’s NFL Draft plus we’ll clue you in on a few other draft-worthy slingers.

THE NFL DRAFT REPORT
Our extensive Jim Sez NFL Draft coverage rolls on with a look at the top incoming Quarterbacks:

JAMEIS WINSTON, Florida State – The $64,000 question remains whether or not this 6-foot-4, 232-pounder is mature enough to handle what’s involved in being a franchise quarterback at this “next level” but be sure his strong arm, gritty nature (he’s a great comeback player) and overall competitive fire are major pluses on any football level but did you also realize the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner and national champion threw a grand total of 65 touchdown passes the past two years? Folks, we have very little doubt that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will select Winston with the numero uno pick in this 2015 NFL Draft.

MARCUS MARIOTA, Oregon – How about a three-year college career that featured 105 TD passes and only 15 INTs? Wow! The Honolulu native – who stands at 6foot-4, 223 pounds -- also rushed for 2,237 yards and 29 scores in the high-energy and high-octane Ducks attack although there remains questions regarding the fact Mariota never “huddled up” in college. Mariota also has faced questions regarding his “passive demeanor” but yet some NFL folks believe his even-keel nature is just right to lead an NFL team (did someone say Joe Montana?). Fully expecting Mariota to get picked right behind Winston at #2 with Tennessee hanging onto the choice unless there’s an 11th-hour bombshell deal.

BRETT HUNDLEY, UCLA – The pro scouts believe this versatile Bruins’ quarterback is the third-best player at the position in this draft, thanks in large part to his strong and usually accurate arm and his ability to wriggle out of trouble when the pocket collapses. Hundley – who is listed at 6-foot-3, 226 pounds – has been favorably compared to Randall Cunningham but we believe he’s been overrated by the “experts” and don’t think he’s worth a second-round pick. We’ll say he lasts into Round III with Arizona among the interested teams.

BRYCE PETTY, Baylor – There’s a chance that this 6-foot-3, 230-pounder could leapfrog Hundley for the right to be the third quarterback nabbed in this year’s NFL Draft but only if a team believes he can overcome his penchant for “locking in” on his primary target and becoming more flexible. Petty’s reputation for getting into a real rhythm makes him a “plus” QB in two-minute drills and no-huddle drives. Expect him to get gobbled up in Round III and somewhere in the top 75-to-80 picks.

GARRETT GRAYSON, Colorado State – The last of the “premier” quarterbacks in this man’s draft, this 6-foot-2, 215-pound slinger impressed in his workout and Combine session and shows good downfield awareness but among the negatives here is the fact Grayson often waits a second or two too late before firing towards his target. Would consider him a decent fourth-round pick for anyone that can afford grooming him (the New York Giants and Pittsburgh Steelers come to mind).

THE NBA PLAYOFF UPDATE – THE WEEKEND THAT WAS (AND WHAT’S STRAIGHT AHEAD)
How sweep it was this past weekend for the Golden State Warriors, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Washington Wizards – they all kayoed their respective opponents four games-to-zip -- but it wound up y’all didn’t need the brooms in another pair of NBA Playoff series although we do have to say that you would have to be an eternal optimist (or an utter fool!) to believe that the Milwaukee Bucks and the Dallas Mavericks can win out in their best-of-seven sets just because the Bucks/Mavs staved off elimination time with a Game 4.
So, hats off to the “sweepers” and even to the guys who avoided the sweeps but here’s the real newsmaker from this past Saturday/Sunday … the Los Angeles Clippers.

Hey, we don’t want to suggest that Doc Rivers’ club “quit” in last Friday’s ugly-as-sin 100-73 loss in Game 3 at San Antonio but playing a true “must-win” affair in the Alamo City on Sunday the Clips showed major moxie and – maybe you wish to say “it’s about time” but stars Chris Paul (34 points and 7 assists) and Blake Griffin (20 points and 19 rebounds) stepped up big-time in what may well turn out to be the Clippers’ most important win in franchise history.

The Clippers went from shooting 34 percent from the floor in that Game 3 loss to 54 percent shooting from the field in Game 4 (that’s 45-of-84) and how about the fact the oft-maligned Clips’ bench poured in 33 points – Jamaal Crawford and Doc’s son Austin registered 31 of those points – and suddenly as we peer ahead to Tuesday’s Game 5 at the Staples Center you get the sense that while the opening round of NBA Playoffs has not always been filled to the brim with drama, this Spurs vs. Clippers series is gonna be classic material.

Here’s the first four games of the Spurs-Clippers series (note home teams are in CAPS):

DATEWINNERSPREADLOSERSCORE
4-19CLIPPERS- 1.5 San Antonio107-92
4-22San Antonio+ 2  CLIPPERS(ot) 111-107  
4-24 SAN ANTONIO- 5 Clippers100-73
4-26Clippers+ 6SAN ANTONIO114-105

Finally, take note that as we head into the games of Monday, April 27, NBA Playoff Betting Favorites are 15-14-0 with one pick ‘em affair and only the Washington Wizards – 4-0 ATS (against the spread) -- and the Memphis Grizzlies (3-0 ATS) remain unbeaten versus the vig … so there!

And now hear this …
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers/Bloggers are all geared up for these NBA Playoffs that continue to roll on this weekend – so just go online right here at www.jimhurley.com or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day during these NBA Playoffs and we’ll send you straight into the winner’s circle.

Remember that it’s not too late to sign up now for the entire NBA Playoffs.
Plus, there’s Major-League Baseball on tap three-game weekend set and so the time is just right to cash in big this spring as the NBA Playoffs and Baseball pounds out major profits!

MLB NEWS & NOTES
Here’s some random just-completed weekend notes …
The good news for the New York Mets is that – despite losing two-of-three at Yankee Stadium this past weekend – they remain the best team in Major-League Baseball at 14 wins, 5 losses.

The bad news is the bugaboo that figured to bog down the Mets this year – defense – reared its ugly head in Sunday Night’s 6-4 Yankees win: The Mets committed an ungodly four errors and the middle infielders SS Wilmer Flores and 2B Daniel Murphy were awful. Hey, RHP Matt Harvey (4-0) can’t pitch every day, you know …

You’ve seen where the Los Angeles Dodgers have placed RF Yasiel Puig (hamstring on the Disabled List) and that means more playing time for veteran Andre Ethier (see .435 on-base percentage) but what does it mean now that the St. Louis Cardinals have placed RHP Adam Wainwright on the DL?
Well, if you listened to the ESPN announcers in the Sunday Night game, the suggestion was made that the Cards would likely soon be in the hunt for Philadelphia LHP Cole Hamels who wants out of town in the worst way – but don’t look for the Phils to hand over Hamels to St. Loo anytime soon. The asking price is gonna keep going up with now the pitching-wounded Dodgers considering a swap to bring Hamels to the west coast.

NOTE: We’ll have the NFL Mock Draft in the next edition of Jim Sez.