• Texas WR Marquise Goodwin picked by the Buffalo Bills in the third round of the NFL Draft

    Former Longhorns wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the third round of the NFL Draft on Friday night, the second Texas player to be picked this year after safety Kenny Vaccaro was picked by the New Orleans Saints with the No. 15 pick of the draft Thursday.

    Buffalo, who had used its first-round pick to take Florida State's E.J. Manuel, the first quarterback off the board at No. 16, drafted USC wide receiver Robert Woods in the second round before taking Goodwin in the third. The speedy wideout made just 26 catches for 340 yards and three touchdowns last season but wowed scouts with a 4.27-second 40-yard dash at this year's NFL Combine -- the fastest-ever by a receiver.

    Goodwin was on both the Texas football and track teams, finishing 10th at the 2012 Olympic Games in the long jump. Now he'll focus on football as a member of the Bills, who had the 25th-ranked passing game in the NFL last year.

    "Marquise, in my opinion, has his best football ahead of him," Texas head coach Mack Brown said. "He was such a star in track-winning the World Games in the long jump, being an Olympian, which was a goal of his and we sure didn't want to get in the way. But because of that, he was never in a spring practice, and he was never around in the summer. He has tremendous skills-leaping ability, speed, and hand-eye coordination. He his tough and can be a kick returner as well. We think he has a great up side and someone will be lucky to get him."

    Goodwin will be the third former Longhorn in Buffalo, joining cornerback Aaron Williams, the last Texas player to be drafted by the Bills when they selected him in the second round of the 2011 draft, and offensive guard David Snow, who signed with the team as an undrafted free agent last year. Buffalo's selection of Goodwin marks the sixth time a Longhorns wide receiver has been drafted since Brown was hired as Texas' head coach. Wayne McGarity (4th round, Dallas Cowboys, 1999), Roy Williams (first round, Detroit Lions, 2004), Sloan Thomas (seventh round, Houston Texans, 2004), Limas Sweed (second round, Pittsburgh Steelers, 2008) and Jordan Shipley (third round, Cincinnati Bengals, 2010) were the other five Brown-coached Texas wideouts drafted.

  • Fantasy Football: Two first round draft picks that will become immediate fantasy stars in 2013

    The first round of the 2013 NFL Draft was about as unpredictable as most people expected it to be. There was only one quarterback selected, three wide receivers selected and for the first time in over 50 years there was not a single running back drafted in the first round.  

    Even with a clear lack of top-notch talent at the offensive skill positions I still believe that there are a few first round picks from this year’s draft that will blossom into quality NFL players and great fantasy football prospects as well. Here are two first round picks that I believe will become instant fantasy superstars this fall.

    1. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Houston Texans  

    At 6-foot-1, 214 pounds, Hopkins is a very solid receiver. With the exception of star Andre Johnson the Texans are weak at the wide receiver position, so the addition of Hopkins will help take some of the pressure off of Johnson. Also, the respect and attention that Johnson receives from opposing defenses will play to the advantage of Hopkins because it will open up numerous holes in the secondary that he will definitely be able to capitalize on. While defenses game plan around Johnson look for Hopkins and quarterback Matt Schaub to connect early and often next season. I expect the rookie to put up a solid amount of receiving yards and with his great route running and fearless nature look for him to get numerous targets in the red zone ultimately allowing him to put up big fantasy numbers.

    2.  Tavon Austin, WR, St. Louis Rams

    Austin is by the far the best playmaker in this year’s draft class, and a playmaker is exactly what the Rams need right now. The Rams are not deep at all at the wide receiver position so look for Austin to jump right into the starting lineup. Because of his speed and quickness he is a deep threat at all times and opposing defenses will have to respect that. If defenses play back then he will be able to make plays underneath the coverage, and if they play press coverage he will be able to beat the defense deep down the field. In addition, Austin will be the first big time playmaker that quarterback Sam Bradford will have at wide receiver since he was drafted by the Rams in 2010, so look for Bradford to target him all year long as these two young guns look to connect for some big plays. Lastly, Austin is fast enough that the Rams could use him in a Wildcat style offense or as a kick returner and punt returner allowing him to rack up some extra fantasy points. Just remember, speed kills, and speed is Tavon Austin’s specialty. 

  • My Picks for the 2013 NHL Awards

    Just two games remain in the 2013 NHL regular season, and it’s about time to start thinking about which players will be taking home the goods this year. Here are my picks to be the 2013 award winners.

    Hart Memorial Trophy (MVP):

    Alex Ovechkin (31G, 22A) - The Caps were pretty lethargic to start the season, going 12-16-1 in their first 29 games despite a roster loaded with talented playmakers. Ovechkin and his sizzling stick is the No. 1 reason they turned the tables and have now locked in the third seed in the East. The slow start woke up a sleeping giant and the rest was history – the last month has been one of the best of his career. Watch out for them in the playoffs.

    Art Ross Trophy (NHL points leader):

    Steven Stamkos (29G, 27A) - Wow! What a race between Tampa Bay’s Martin St. Louis (16G, 42A), Stamkos and the Pens’ annual representative for the award, Sydney Crosby (15G, 41A). This will be a photo finish – both teams have two games remaining (although the bolts won’t be in the playoffs). I like Stamkos to take home the Art Ross for the third time in his career. I think he’s been the most balanced player of the three this season – he’s a more capable goal scorer than St. Louis, who might be the game’s best creator, and Crosby has had a down scoring year by his standards thanks to injuries.

    Maurice Richard Trophy (NHL’s top goal scorer):

    Alex Ovechkin (31G) - This was another tough one for me. It’s pretty much down to Stamkos (29G) and Ovechkin. While I am supremely confident that Stamkos can easily score two goals in his Tampa Bay’s last two games, there is a greater of chance of me winning the lottery than Ovechkin not scoring at least one goal in his last two games. His stick is just too hot and his team is playing too inspired for its player not to get the puck enough to make it happen.

    Vezina Award (NHL’s top goalie):

    Sergei Bobrovski (2.06 GAA, .930 SV%) - Another close race here. Several other goaltenders are worthy: Tuuka Rask, Craig Anderson, Antti Niemi, etc. In the end, for me, it came down to which of these goalies was most important to his team, and that’s clearly Bobrovski. He has been a boulder all season for the Jackets and this team has no chance in the West playoff race without his stellar play over the last two and a half months.

    James Norris Award (NHL’s best defenseman):

    P.K. Subban (11G, 25A) - This pick might surprise some people, as the Pens’ blue line force Kris Letang is considered the favorite. I’m going with Montreal’s Subban because I like his scoring and ability to pitch in on offensive ice a little more than Letang’s. Both guys have masterful defensive stick range and are bulldogs physically, given the fact that they are both only 6-foot, 200-pounders.

    Calder Memorial Trophy (NHL’s best rookie):

    Jonathan Huberdeau (14G, 14A) - This is another shocker to a lot of people. Compared to the other candidates, Florida’s 19-year-old center had the by far the least line talent to work with, and scored more goals in spite of this. I love Brandon Saad, but you definitely have to factor in the advantage he has by playing in the Hawks’ goal factory system.

    Jack Adams Award (NHL’s coach of the year):

    Bruce Boudreau - In his first year as the Ducks’ skipper, he has completely changed the culture in Anaheim, going from a sneaky defensive system to a bruising, direct offensive attitude. In this league, taking your team from last one year to first the next automatically earns you a spot in the race for this award.