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Dude, the NFL Draft is this Weekend ran a mock draft that included beat writers from their respective home towns (note to there's nothing better than watching an ad before a full minute video of Mark Curnutte to find out a pick that takes one single second to read... goooo corporate marketing). It's Phillip Merling for you dial-up folks. Keep it simple, let us read it. I have to question that pick. Why take -- general consensus here -- the third best defensive end in the draft as your #9 pick? That would counter Marvin Lewis' theory that you just pick the best available player -- not certain position -- of the draft. Especially for a position where the team already has two highly paid pass rushers in Robert Geathers and Antwan Odom. ran a piece ranking the top-50 draft busts. Bengals were:

#16 - Peter Warrick - surprise considering he wasn't great, but did perform when he had the talent around him (perhaps that's the point).
#17 - David Klingler (sigh)
#26 - Jack Thompson
#42 - Akili Smith - another surprise. Deserving of having "draft bust awards" named after him, much less #42.

Mel Kiper thought Levi Jones, at the time of the draft, was a reach ranking him as the tenth biggest surprise (Insider req'd).

I bring up Jones because I thought he was a reach with the 10th pick. At the time, Cincinnati needed picks and players, so I thought the Bengals should trade down, get more picks, and pick Jones later if he was still available. I liked Jones, I just thought it was a reach to draft him that high, but he's turned out to be a very good player.

There's a rumor going around that Chris Mortensen reported on ESPN Radio Friday afternoon that the Dallas Cowboys offered up one of their first-round picks for Chad Johnson. Like, officially. Knowing the buzz that it would create if true, we're highly suspect of the rumor and so should you. And we're not sure if the rumor is if Mortensen actually reported it -- which would create buzz in itself (remember NFL Countdown?) -- or if the Cowboys actually offered up the pick. Though Mort could simply be projecting it as a realistic possibility, which we've done time and again. Perhaps the Redskins can take Chad off our hands. (note: Hogs Haven, SB Nation Redskins blog, has made the conversion to the new site... we're scheduled for Wednesday. Make sure you swing by and tell all of your friends).

Lance McAlister -- the area's best sports talk -- has this little nugget on his blog: "There was a beautifully framed and signed jersey of Chad Johnson at Moeller's annual charity auction on Saturday bids."

Bleacher Report's "final Mock Draft" suggests the Bengals pick Keith Rivers. The Football Expert projects the same. New NFL Draft sees Ellis dropping to the Bengals -- who the entire world thinks the Bengals will pick if available -- like Scouts Notebook, Football Draft Analysis, NFL Draft Countdown and that guy that can't write more than eight words about the Bengals -- tied with San Francisco and one more than San Diego for less dribble. Big C also picks Ellis with the note: " Bengal fans, holla at a brutha and tell me what you think about this pick!". Ummm, alright. YAR!

Todd McShay says that character is no longer a concern with Darren McFadden -- then why does everyone keep talking about it then?

We haven't made reference of the NFL Network's progression into the cable medium for a long time. Why? Well, simply put, nothing has changed. Except that the NFL Network is filing suit against Comcast because the cable company moved the network to the sport tier -- the primary point of the swaggering big-dick back-and-forth. Same thing applies. Cable companies want NFL Network on their respective Sports Tier while the network wants to be on basic cable.

"Comcast has taken NFL Network away from millions of fans and placed it on a costly sports tier," NFL Network president and CEO Steve Bornstein said in a statement. "We don't believe that Comcast should charge consumers extra for our Network while making sports channels it owns available to all viewers on a less costly basis. After months of trying to get Comcast to negotiate fair treatment, we have been forced to turn to the FCC."

Sena Fitzmaurice, Comcast's senior director for corporate communications and government affairs, said in a statement, "Comcast makes the NFL Network available to all of our customers on a tier of service that the NFL agreed to by contract. The NFL has immense power in the marketplace, yet it keeps running to the federal and state governments to try to force changes in the deal it freely accepted in negotiations with Comcast. The agreement we have to carry the NFL Network is pro-consumer. It allows us to place this expensive channel on a tier of service for those who wish to pay for it, not on a tier where everyone must pay for it."

Hey, aren't you glad that everyone else gets to make the choice for you? It makes life simple, easy to manage and quick to remember. If Time Warner believes I'm ready for the NFL Network, then I'm grateful. I've earned it. If not, well, then perhaps I'm just not ready yet. At least we're forced not to hear the ramblings of Brian Billick, so that's a Pro. Or the constant ramblings about what the Bengals will do with Chad. Another Pro. And it's perfect timing to debate the fantasies of choice. We're in the political season where we never really have a choice. Vito Stellino's read about the network is good, but brief. It points out how the network keeps making decisions the hurts the network and league -- like the likeliness of losing NFL Films. The Pro Football Talk guys point out that the NFL won't give refunds to cable operators that paid for the network to air eight "exclusive" games, while the eighth game (between the Giants and Patriots that aired on CBS and NBC) wasn't exclusive at all.

A quick note over the weekend.

I had a blast watching the NBA Playoffs this weekend. Even tried my best to convince my NBA pessimist cousin -- who wants more Call of Duty like Christopher Walken wants cowbell (oo-wow). The highlight came -- what many argue as the best series in the playoffs, not just the first round -- when the Spurs' Michael Finley drained a three with over 15 seconds left to tie the game and eventually send the game into overtime. Then, this:


Of course Shaq wasn't pleased. Nor was Pounding the Rock pleased that Shaq wasn't pleased.

Restrictor Plate This, an SB Nation NASCAR blog, took issue against those that say Danica Patrick's first career IRL win was cheap because of fuel strategy -- not fastest car or best overall talent. Most of you -- well, not really, but NASCAR fans -- will remember that the last Cup race was won in the same fashion when Jimmie Johnson crept along the track of Phoenix International Raceway with crew chief Chad Knaus repeating, "slow down". They stayed out on fumes while most of the field pitted with a handful of circuits left -- even though he had enough to make a victory lap and a burnout (Hendrick conspiracy!). A win is a win, stolen or not.. A win is a win (or loss in this case) when Justin Smith is flagged for roughing the quarterback after sacking the quarterback enabling the quarterback to throw a game-winning touchdown later that drive -- even though the Bengals offense only scored 13 points. God I can't get over that game.

Oh, and Tiger Woods didn't golf this weekend. So we don't care about golf.

Who hasn't gotten sick at Chipotle's? When you add three thousand things into a burrito that makes a cement brick seem anorexic, there's bound to be some tumblin' tummies.

Dude, the draft is this weekend!