In this week’s Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” Kevin Lee, challenges Staff Writer Brandon Gould, Correspondent Josh Fidler and Correspondent Kyle Knight to answer questions about what the Yankees would do without C.C. Sabathia, which of the last three No. 1 overall NFL draft picks has the brightest future and how good of a player LeBron could be in the NFL if the NBA lockout isn’t resolved.
1. C.C. Sabathia will most likely be opting out of his contract and possibly signing with another team. If Sabathia was to sign with another team (the Rangers are said to want to offer him a “boatload” of money), what do you do if you are the Yankees?
BG: The New York Yankees barely got by even with C.C. Sabathia. Without him around, the Yankees are in quite a situation. Ivan Nova had a productive rookie season and Phil Hughes will be valuable if he comes back healthy, but the Yankees will need to add some new arms if they want to make it back to the postseason next year. The easy answer here would be to suggest that the Yankees go out and sign C.J. Wilson or go big and splurge for Yu Darvish, but I don’t think that is the right way to go. I think the Yankees’ best course of action would be to call up some homegrown talent and sign a crafty veteran. Adam Warren, Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances are all viable options in the farm system, while Jon Garland could be a nice pickup in free agency. There’s also a chance of the return of Bartolo Colon or Freddy Garcia.
JF: If the Yankees were to lose C.C., which is doubtful because very few teams can pay as much as the Yankees, then there are a few things that the Yankees can and should do. First, they need to sign C.J. Wilson: He’s no C.C., but the Yankees could easily afford him. Next, if the Cardinals decline Adam Wainwright’s option, which is likely because of the Tommy John surgery he had this season, he is a pitcher who they could get — all they need would be an incentive-laden contract. If he is healthy, he is one of the most dominant pitchers in the game, and if not, well, they did not lose a lot of money from him. Finally, I would suggest that the Yankees take Carlos Beltran for right field. Nick Swisher is not very good, but Beltran showed that he can still play, and play at a high level.
KK: The Yankees need to top the offer given by any team. The Yankees are a well-rounded team and can easily make the playoffs next season. The biggest problem is that the Yankees do not have a well-rounded starting pitching roster. If the Yankees want to go deep in the playoffs, they will re-sign C.C. and must sign more pitchers to sit in their bullpen.
KL: Brandon gets 3 for stating the Yankees’ strong pitching prospects that can fill the middle to back of the rotation, for now. Josh gets 2 because there’s actually a really good chance Wainwright resigns with the Cardinals, but if he doesn’t, the Yankees need a certainty with the loss of Sabathia, not a question mark. Kyle gets 1 for not answering the possibility of the Yankees losing Sabathia.
2. It seems as if the past three No. 1 overall picks in the NFL draft (all quarterbacks) don’t appear to be the next Jamarcus Russell in the making. With that said, who would you take to build a franchise around: Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford, or Cam Newton?
BG: All three of those quarterbacks look like they are going to be valuable to their franchises, but if I had to pick one, it would be Cam Newton. Matt Stafford is the real deal right now, but Newton’s ability has me drooling. Last year at Auburn University, Newton had the country in awe, courtesy of his legs. This year in the NFL, Newton has been impressive when he throws as well as when he runs. Now, his stats haven’t translated into wins, but that will come in time. Michael Vick is deemed as valuable because he can stretch out plays and Ben Roethlisberger is special because it takes more than one guy to bring him down. Well, Newton seems to be a blend of both of those guys. Once a stable team is inserted around Newton, the sky is the limit for this guy.
JF: I think this question is a little unfair based on the fact that these quarterbacks have had different wide receivers, running backs and offensive lines. So while Stafford looks like he is amazing, you have to ask, how would Bradford or Newton do throwing to Calvin Johnson? That being said, I would have to go with Bradford. Bradford has a mix of accuracy and arm strength. If Bradford had some receivers, he would be putting up astronomical numbers right now, which we should see with the addition of Brandon Lloyd. Newton is not ready yet — he is not fundamentally sound. There are many bad throws he’ll make off his back foot or in a poor throwing position. I think Stafford is good, but some of his weaknesses are hidden by Calvin Johnson, who is double covered, opens up other receivers but also will catch any ball thrown to him.
KK: I would build a franchise around Cam Newton. The ONLY reason the Panthers are staying in close games with winning teams (including the undefeated Packers) is because of Cam. Newton has put up over 1,800 yards in his first six starts. Sam Bradford isn’t even relevant in this question. Stafford is a close second behind Newton because he does not have the injury possibilities that Newton has and he has the ability to come back in games and win. Newton will be known not only for his arm but for his ability to score in the red zone with his feet. NFL defenses can not stop a strong arm in the pocket and a pair of fast legs outside the pocket.
KL: Brandon gets 3 for stating the tools that Newton has and for measuring which QB will have the best long-term success, rather than who’s been performing the best right now. Josh gets 2 for pointing out that Stafford has a ton of weaknesses, which are masked by Calvin Johnson. Kyle gets 1 because Bradford is pretty relevant in this discussion, since he has the tools to become great. It’s not his fault he’s on a weaker team.
3. The NBA is in the midst of a heated lockout, and LeBron James has voiced his thoughts (albeit jokingly) about playing in the NFL. LeBron was All-State in football in high school, so what team would be the best fit, what position would he play and how+ much success would LeBron have if he were to play in the NFL?
BG: It’s important to know that LeBron James was a legitimate college football prospect and that he’s just not spinning his tires in the mud on this one. James is a physical specimen at 6’8, 250 pounds, and he would be a dominant force in almost any sport. With that said, there have been several players that have given up basketball and ended up on an NFL roster — Tony Gonzalez, Antonio Gates, Jimmy Graham and Julius Peppers to name a few. Looking at those precedents, I would say LeBron would be extremely productive as a tight end. His strength would probably not translate to the defensive side of the ball, but with his soft hands, speed and height, James would be able to beat any linebacker in the league one-on-one. Remember, Graham played only one season of football at the University of Miami before becoming a force in the New Orleans Saints, and he’s not as fast or as tall as James.
JF: LeBron played wide receiver in high school, but at his size, he is probably more of a tight end now. He is a very raw talent, so he would have to go to a team that has a good tight end coach. In my opinion, the best tight end coach is Mike Pope of the New York Giants. This year he has turned Jake Ballard into an emerging star, and he has coached Mark Bavaro, Howard Cross and Kevin Boss. He was also able to turn Jeremy Shockey into a serviceable blocking tight end. LeBron is big but is also fast. Eli Manning has always had a good passing relationship with his tight end. Ballard is big, but he’s not very fast, so LeBron could easily replace him and become a star. Also, to the NBA, please stop being stupid and greedy and end the lockout.
KK: LeBron is not built like a NFL player. He’s built like a running back but is too tall. His best bet may be a linebacker or tight end. As a tight end he would have quickness and hopefully good hands. He would probably be more of a distraction if anything to whatever team he would go to. Although, he probably has more of a chance of getting a ring in the NFL than in the NBA.
KL: Josh gets 3 for talking about how good of a fit LeBron would be for the New York Giants, at least on-field-wise. Brandon gets 2 for stating the success of former basketball players who have made the transition to tight end, and his athletic ability. Kyle gets 1 for not giving enough reasoning.
Brandon wins this week’s AtD, 8-7-3.