Shanoff's W.U.C.: Lions, Pirates, Corp, Dikembe

Today's Calls: Detroit Lions vs. Matt Stafford, Pirates vs. Marlins, Percy Harvin vs. Chad Johnson, Aaron Corp vs. Mark Sanchez, Dwight Howard vs. Dikembe Mutombo, Mike Vick vs. Roger Goodell, Demetri Martin vs. Paul DePodesta, Cavs vs. Heineken and More. ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: There is one easy way for a terrible NFL team NOT to screw up the NFL Draft. ↵

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↵Sign the pick before the draft starts. ↵

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↵It almost doesn't matter who the player is. The team -- and the draftee -- both send the right message to the fans that they are serious about getting to the business of making the team better, rather than the business of making the draftee richer. ↵

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↵So when the Lions say they will have their draft pick signed before the draft starts, they are making exactly the right move -- not to mention putting not-so-subtle pressure on their draftee of choice to fulfill their end of the bargain and get a deal done before Saturday. ↵

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↵If the mystery pick is Matt Stafford (hardly a "mystery" at this point) and the Lions expect him to start immediately, it is even more important for there to be no holdout issues -- otherwise, Stafford is the next JaMarcus Russell, not the next Joe Flacco or Matt Ryan.) ↵

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↵QBs taken No. 1 overall seem to be particularly difficult to sign. Look: If I had my pick of any player ever to draft No. 1 overall, I would take John Elway ... except that there's a better-than-good chance that Elway would hold out and/or force a trade away from my team. For a guy who might be the best QB ever, he's also the worst draftee ever. ↵

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↵It says exactly the right thing about Stafford -- and the previously hapless Lions -- if they work out a deal in the next 72 hours. ↵

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↵NBA Instant History: Brandon Roy is the new Tony Parker! (Or is that the new Ben Gordon! Or is that the new Chauncey Billups?) Roy matched BG for a playoff-high 42, leading the Blazers back to salvage a home split in Game 2 vs. the Rockets. (The real difference in the game? Yao held to a quiet 11 on 6 shots.) ↵

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↵Meanwhile: Lakers and Cavs both win at home -- even if the Jazz and Pistons put up a little more fight, this is unsurprising. ↵

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↵NBA Tonight: Magic in a must-win at home ... CB vs. CP3 in Denver ... There's no way the Hawks hold the Heat to 60-something points again, right? ↵

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↵MLB Myopia! ↵

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↵-- MLB's Hottest: Pirates over Fish! ↵

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↵-- Yankee Stadium: So much for "wind tunnel" theory. ↵

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↵-- Rematches: Brewers still can't solve Phils ↵

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↵-- Fantasy Stud: Jarrod Washburn (W, 7 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 9 K) ↵

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↵More NFL Draft: Percy Harvin reportedly tests positive for pot, as previously speculated. These rumors are the only thing that have ever slowed Harvin down in his entire career. I still think teams will look past the off-field issues and recognize the home-run ability. ↵

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↵NFL Offseason: Chad Johnson is NOT getting traded. Marvin Lewis would like you (and No. 85) to hear that clearly. ↵

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↵NHL Playoffs: 0.2 (enough said). Meanwhile: Hey, the Sharks aren't entirely rolling over! ↵

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↵CFB Spring: Aaron Corp is the leader of the 3-way scramble to be USC's QB (with everything that goes along with that -- top 5 team around you, Heisman insta-contender, one guaranteed choke per season to an inferior team). My money's still on Matt Barkley -- he is the J.D. McCoy of college football. ↵

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↵Playoff update: MWC makes its pitch, which mostly revolves around ... the MWC joining the BCS cabal. (Don't be fooled; the playoff is a smokescreen.) This playoff idea will never go anywhere. What should be changed immediately, however, are the criteria for picking Harris Poll voters. Those guys are jokers. ↵

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↵NBA Draft: Scottie Reynolds is entering the draft. Although he is a great college scorer -- with the shot of the 2009 NCAA Tournament, to lead Nova over Pitt -- he is undersized for an NBA 2-guard and not quite good enough to play PG. (Mistake? Well, he's exactly the kind of tweener that won't get any more ready for the NBA by staying in college -- he might as well go now.) ↵

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↵NBA Awards Season: Dwight Howard wins Defensive Player of the Year. He led the league in blocks and rebounds (fifth player ever to do that) and anchored an Orlando 'D' that was the reason the Magic were one of the biggest surprises of the season. (Hopefully, Howard will pay appropriate homage to Dikembe, one of the all-time defensive greats in the NBA. See "Last Word" below.) ↵

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↵Vick Watch: How will Roger Goodell judge Michael Vick's fate? Let Goodell himself tell you: "Does he understand the mistakes he made and is he genuine and have remorse for those actions and is he prepared to handle himself differently going forward?" ↵

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↵Pop Culture: Moneyball, cont'd. Who will play you in the movie of your life? In the case of Paul DePodesta -- supporting star of Moneyball -- the answer would be Demetri Martin. (It's kind of inspired casting: Martin is a comedian, but his deadpan style and dorky demeanor shout "I love VORP!" Brad Pitt as Billy Beane is much more of a stretch.) ↵

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↵YouTube of the Day: Cavs/Heineken. You know that Heineken ad where the women scream over their pal's clothes closet, then their boyfriends all scream over their buddy's beer closet? The Cavs have made a parody of that -- and it's kind of awesome. When teams themselves start creating clever parodies, we're all doomed. ↵

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↵Greg Paulus, Cont'd: The dream isn't over! Paulus might not be able to play for the Maize and Blue, but there's no WAY he couldn't contribute to his hometown Syracuse Orange. (And Nebraska is interested, too!) ↵

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↵The Last Word: "For me, basketball is over." It's rare to see a pro athlete get injured and have them immediately tell you they are retiring from the sport. But that's what seems to be the case with Dikembe Mutombo, the ageless shot-blocker whose signature finger-waggle was one of the great taunts in NBA history and whose image of lying on the floor clutching the ball after the eighth-seeded Nuggets upset the No. 1 seed Sonics in 1994 remains one of the most indelible moments in NBA playoffs history. ↵

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↵Dan Shanoff writes The Wake-Up Call every weekday morning for SportingNews.com and blogs daily at DanShanoff.com. Got any comments, questions or feedback? Email Dan at shanofftsn-[at]-gmail-[dot]-com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/danshanoff. ↵

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This post originally appeared on the Sporting Blog. For more, see The Sporting Blog Archives.

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