Shanoff's W.U.C.: Draft, Stafford, EA, Kiper

Today's Calls: Erin Andrews vs. Mel Kiper, Matt Stafford vs. Mark Sanchez, Jason Smith vs. Eugene Monroe, Aaron Curry vs. Brian Orakpo, Matt Ryan vs. Tony Gonzalez, Kobe Bryant vs. Carlos Boozer, Red Sox vs. Yankees, Stephen Curry vs. Ty Lawson, Aaron Corp vs. Matt Barkley and More. Erin Andrews ↵

↵The Opening Pitch: The biggest star of the NFL Draft will be ... ↵

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↵(a) Matt Stafford, the presumptive No. 1 overall pick by the Lions — the proverbial "franchise" QB. Will the Lions announce the signing early? ↵

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↵(b) Mark Sanchez, the hottest name on the draft board — the presumptive No. 1 overall pick ... of the 2010 draft. Will someone trade up for him? ↵

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↵(c) Mel Kiper, who has owned this event for a quarter-century — how much will newbie Todd McShay (and his magic touch-screen!) steal the spotlight from Mel's draftnik supremacy? ↵

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↵(d) Erin Andrews, who expands her presence from college football (and basketball and MLB and video game) sidelines to the Green Room, her highest profile gig yet in a career that has made her ESPN's most popular and likeable talent. ↵

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↵(e) None of the above. Jason Smith, the top-rated offensive tackle? Aaron Curry, the "can't-miss" defensive prospect? Michael Crabtree, the most talented player in the draft? Twitter, a platform made for instant fan reaction to the Draft? ↵

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↵Inevitably, the biggest star is the player YOUR team picks (or, if you're like me, the best player from your favorite college team — in my case, that's Percy Harvin. Ehh, about that ...) ↵

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↵We're all on the clock. ↵

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↵Falcons trade for Tony Gonzalez: Atlanta joins Chicago (Jay Cutler) and Philly (Jason Peters) and Dallas (Roy Williams) as teams whose "draft day" came early — Gonzo instantly becomes Matt Ryan's top receiving option (no offense, Roddy White) and diversifies the Falcons' offense. ↵

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↵NBA Playoff Instant History: The Lakers are not impervious! It took an exhaustive effort by the Jazz, including home-court advantage and Carlos Boozer's rough-n-ready 20/20 double-double (23 pts/22 reb), but the Jazz showed that the Lakers CAN be beaten. Great: Now do it three more times. ↵

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↵Celtics show Bulls: Whatever momentum the Bulls thought they had after pulling a split with the Celtics in Boston evaporated quickly when they returned to Chicago. The Celtics started fast and never looked back — it was as if Ray Allen's dagger at the end of Game 2 completely sucked the will to compete out of the young Bulls ... for Game 3. Maybe the Bulls learned from last night, but — more likely — they only learned about a defending champ's mental toughness. ↵

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↵Mavs crush Spurs: There was no Dampier-on-Parker violence — there was actually no need. The Spurs couldn't score, and eventually gave up on the first game in Dallas to give the Mavs a 2-1 lead in their series. Were the Spurs intimidated by the Mavs' tough talk? That felt like the worst Spurs’ playoff performance of the Tim Duncan Era. ↵

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↵MLB Talking Points: ↵

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↵— Yankees at Red Sox: Still MLB's best rivalry ↵

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↵— Pitching Gems: Dave Bush | King Felix ↵

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↵— Jays sizzling: Win 5th series of '09 ↵

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↵— Rookie Watch: Matt Palmer gets 1st W ↵

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↵— Fantasy Stud: Albert Pujols (3-for-4, 2 HR, 3 RBI, SB) ↵

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↵NHL Playoffs: Will this weekend be it for Alexander Ovechkin and the Caps? What a marketing debacle for the NHL to have its most exciting player get bounced from the playoffs in the first round. ↵

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↵NBA Draft: Stephen Curry is turning pro. He is going to make a terrific 3rd- or 4th-option for a team. He won't be able to dominate a game by himself, but — like his dad — there is always a place for a great shooter. Prediction: He skyrockets up draft boards and ends up in the debate over the Top 5 — certainly no later than No. 10. ↵

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↵More: UNC's Lawson and Ellington are also in. Ty Lawson improved his NBA draft stock over a year ago, but it's not like he catapulted himself into the Top 10. Among PGs, he will still be ranked behind Ricky Rubio, Brandon Jennings, Jonny Flynn, Steph Curry and Eric Maynor. Wayne Ellington may have put himself into the Lottery with his sweet-shooting performance in the Final Four. ↵

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↵CFB Spring Games: Aaron Corp vs. Matt Barkley is this weekend's headliner. Corp may be USC's starting QB going into the summer — but Barkley might catch him by the time we get to fall. ↵

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↵The Last Word: The annual Shanoff NFL Draft Buzzword Drinking* Game. Take the directed number of sips every time you hear the following buzzwords: ↵

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↵"Upside" (1) ↵
↵"The next..." (1) ↵
↵"Best player available" (1) ↵
↵Your buddy makes an inappropriate comment about Erin Andrews (2) ↵
↵"Intangibles" (1) ↵
↵"Value pick" (-1) ↵
↵"Big Board" (2) ↵
↵Todd McShay fondles a touch-screen (1) ↵
↵"Great hips" (-2) ↵
↵"Character guy" (3) ↵
↵"Physicality" (4) ↵
↵Any trite quips about Mel Kiper's hair (5) ↵
↵"But what do I know?" (10) ↵

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↵* — Age-appropriate beverages only. ↵

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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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