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4-26-11: Bird Droppings - Lockout Ended (Sort Of)!!!

CHARLOTTE, NC:  A general view of the Carolina Panthers Bank of America Stadium as the NFL lockout looms in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC: A general view of the Carolina Panthers Bank of America Stadium as the NFL lockout looms in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
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Time for your daily links, mostly stuff on the NFL Lockout ending yesterday, even though the NFL Owners are butthurt about the ruling and they want to get it overturned. So, in the war of millionaires trying to figure out how to split up nine billion dollars, the battle isn't over yet. Also some draft goodies.

There are a lot of links in here today, just skim through it and click on anything that sounds interesting.

Judge rules for players, ends NFL lockout; owners file appeal, seek stay - ESPN
U.S. District Court Judge Susan Richard Nelson has granted NFL players their motion for a preliminary injunction, therefore lifting the lockout that was imposed by owners on March 11.

Blogger mock: Von Miller to the Cardinals - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Von Miller, Robert Quinn, J.J. Watt and Mark Ingram landed in the NFC West thanks to my shrewd maneuvering in ESPN.com's Blog Network mock draft for 2011. I'm breaking out my selections on a team-by-team basis, with explanations that hopefully will invite your points and counterpoints. Running back Mark Ingram unexpectedly landed with Seattle at No. 25, while I sheepishly sent J.J. Watt to St. Louis at No. 14 and cautiously sent Robert Quinn to San Francisco at No. 7. Let's conclude in reverse order, with the Arizona Cardinals at No. 5.

The Essence Of Scouting
Evaluators like Boyd make best assessments, but success not guaranteed

Arizona Cardinals need edge pass rusher like Von Miller
Outside linebacker Von Miller knows that whatever NFL team drafts him Thursday will ask him to do a variety of things: stop the run, drop into coverage, etc. He also knows that he's expected to be among the top five selections for one reason. "My God-given ability is speed off the edge," he said. "I can drop back into coverage and do all that other stuff, too, but what God has blessed me with is pass rushing off the edge." The Cardinals probably would feel blessed if they were able to take Miller with the fifth pick. Miller had 27 1/2 sacks in his last two years at Texas A&M and is regarded by many scouts to be as close to a sure thing as there is in the draft.

NFL lockout likely to affect draft strategy
For years, the conventional wisdom in the NFL was to fill immediate needs through free agency then draft the best player available. But the lockout has reversed that order this season. This week's draft has replaced free agency as the first opportunity to acquire players, and it will be intriguing to see if that impacts how teams evaluate picks.

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - Warming up some leftover notes
A few random notes as we head into draft week:

Arizona Cardinals' Ray Horton has eye on the edges
When Cardinals defensive coordinator Ray Horton looks for an edge in football, he looks first at the edges of formations. In today's game, where spreading the field with receivers is the trend, the "edge" players on defense had better be able to match up with their offensive counterparts, Horton said. "It's making the game more of a track meet," he said. "And one of my philosophies forever has been: It's the outside of the team that is important. "The cornerback better be able to match up with these wide receivers. Your defensive end better match up with that tackle. The game is getting spread out."

Wait, the Cards almost traded up for a WR last year? - ArizonaSports.com
The recent reports of the Cardinals' perceived interest in Georgia receiver A.J. Green seem a bit mystifying. After all, the Cardinals already have Larry Fitzgerald, Steve Breaston, Early Doucet and Andre Roberts on the roster, and there are plenty of other holes that need to be filled, starting Thursday in New York. However, a report by Sports Illustrated's Peter King sheds a new light on the possibility.

Past says Arizona Cardinals' decision could change everything - ArizonaSports.com
It's not just in people's personal lives that one simple decision can change things completely. It happens in professional sports too. If I read you a list that included names like middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, defensive tackle Richard Seymour, tight end Jeremy Shockey, outside linebacker Terrell Suggs, wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, quarterback Aaron Rodgers, cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and running back Adrian Peterson, you'd probably think I was reading you the latest all-pro roster. In reality, that is part of a lineup the Arizona Cardinals could have run out on the field last season if they had made a few different decisions over.

Cardinal wants coach Whisenhunt to know he's working out - ArizonaSports.com
The NFL lockout has made it where there can be no direct contact made between players and coaches. While they may not admit it, some players might not see that as such a bad thing. Others are missing their coaches and time with the team. At least one player is anyway. Or that's at least what he said on Twitter Monday afternoon.

'There is no more NFL lockout' - ArizonaSports.com
From the moment U.S. Federal Judge Susan R. Nelson ordered an end to the NFL lockout, questions started to emerge. Are players now free agents? Can they all go back to work? What the hell is going on? ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack joined Sports 620 KTAR's Gambo and Ash Monday to shed a little light on the situation.

Arizona Cardinals NFL Draft Watch - ArizonaSports.com
As we get ever closer to the NFL draft speculation is running ramped. Will the Arizona Cardinals find their 'quarterback of the future'? Will they address their need at linebacker or will they completely shock the league and take a wide receiver? While we won't know the answers to those questions until draft day, we decided to give you the next best thing, the Arizona Cardinals Draft Watch. We'll round up all the rumors and let you know who we think is most likely to have his name read when the commissioner steps to the podium to announce the No. 5 pick.

NFL Draft Approaching Fast, Will The Cardinals Take A Quarterback? (Poll) - Desert Dirt - SB Nation Arizona
The biggest question facing the Arizona sports scene in at least that past three weeks focuses on the Arizona Cardinals search to replace All-Universe quarterback / super dad, Kurt Warner. Last season's Derek Anderson and Max Hall debacle made it painfully obvious that the Cardinals need an upgrade under center. No one is disputing that. The question is if the Cardinals are better off drafting a QB with their number five overall first round pick in Thursday's NFL Draft or if they should find a project QB in the later rounds and gamble that they can get a more experienced guy via trade once the lockout is lifted. They already have last year's rookies Max Hall and John Skelton and one of those guys could possibly turn into a serviceable backup if the team is patient.

Reports from NFC West team facilities - NFC West Blog - ESPN
A quick look around NFC West team headquarters from reporters monitoring potential fallout from the court ruling striking down the NFL lockout:

Lockout updates from NFC West facilities - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Among the new developments at NFC West facilities since the earlier item:

azcentral.com blogs - Kent Somers - Five players show up at team facility
The five players who reported to the Cardinals facility on Tuesday could have kept their cars running in the parking lot. They were directed to a conference room and politely told they couldn't work out or visit the locker room. They were given a short letter of explanation and all left immediately afterward. There was minimal contact with anyone from the team, and coaches were not allowed to meet with them.

Word From the Birds Blog - For now, still waiting
I know a lot of people want to know what is going on after yesterday’s court ruling. As of now, everything seems to remain in limbo. There will be a handful of players showing up to team facilities across the league, but it’s not like, for instance, John Lott is going to be putting everyone through the paces suddenly. Every report I have read says players aren’t going to be able to work out, not until more of the legal path is traveled and further sorted.

Kerry Rhodes goes to work, promptly leaves - ArizonaSports.com
The lockout over, Kerry Rhodes returned to work Tuesday. Sort of.

Rex Ryan says Kerry Rhodes was selfish, 'Hollywood' - ArizonaSports.com
Rex Ryan was not a fan of Kerry Rhodes, at least, not while the safety was in a Jets uniform.

The door is unlocked, but is anyone home? - ArizonaSports.com
The NFL lockout is over, but what the heck does that really mean?

Video Gallery - azcardinals.com
All In: Creating the Draft Board

Diamondbacks' Ian Kennedy shuts down Phillies
Much of the 19,586 at Chase Field Monday night stood and cheered, an ovation compelled by a pitching performance those in attendance came to see. After all, the Phillies' Cliff Lee was the 2008 Cy Young Award winner and still one of the better pitchers in all of the majors. But the pitcher who walked off the mound after striking out a batter with a 93 mph fastball to end the eighth inning wasn't Lee, who tied his career-high Monday night with 12 strikeouts. It was Diamondbacks right-handed starter Ian Kennedy, he of the 5.64 ERA, who walked off to the roar of the crowd after that strikeout and then again -- three times louder this time -- after his last pitch of the night for his 10th strikeout to earn his first career complete game shutout.

Owners could have tough time appealing lockout ruling - ArizonaSports.com
ESPN legal analyst Roger Cossack said NFL owners may have a tough time appealing the Monday ruling to end the lockout because the eighth circuit of appeals would have to decide Judge Susan Nelson's ruling was completely wrong. "This is one that's really hard to predict," Cossack said.

Rex Ryan's late hit on Kerry Rhodes - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Rex Ryan's candor helped make him a finalist this year for the Horrigan Award. Heck, I voted for him (results are pending). The award, given annually by the Professional Football Writers of America, honors the non-player who helped the media best do its job the previous season. Few head coaches in recent memory have offered unvarnished assessments as regularly as the New York Jets' colorful leader has done. That doesn't make everything Ryan says fair, of course, and his broadside shot on Jets-turned-Arizona Cardinals safety Kerry Rhodes looks like a late hit.

Word From the Birds Blog - If you invite, players will come
So last month there was a flash of hype about the high-ranking draftees possibly not attending the draft in New York and not shaking commissioner Roger Goodell’s hand, all because of the labor situation and the whole players-versus-league concept. That seemed to fade, but it was impossible to know how much.

Cardinals could pair A.J. Green with Fitzgerald | ProFootballTalk
Most mock drafts have Georgia wide receiver A.J. Green going to the Bengals at No. 4 or the Browns at No. 6. SI.com’s Peter King writes that the team picking in between those two squads might have something to say about that. King says he sees the Cardinals taking cornerback Patrick Peterson, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, or Green. The Cardinals reportedly strongly considered trading back into the first round last year when Dez Bryant was falling.

Top Five: NFL Draft Misses In Arizona Cardinals History - SB Nation Arizona
Not so surprisingly, the Cardinals have had some brutal draft misses since they moved to Phoenix - here are the worst ones.

Word association with the Cardinals and their potential draft picks - ArizonaSports.com
On Thursday of this week the Arizona Cardinals are going to have an Easter basket of goodies in front of them….in a manner of speaking. But instead of Peeps or pastel M and M's or Cadbury Crème Eggs, they could choose a Peterson. A Quinn. Maybe even a Gabbert. There are dozens of scenario's that could play out for the Cardinals at #5. What does their pick say about them? So, I tried this exercise. I wrote down every name of every player I thought the Caridinals had a shot at selecting in the first round. Then I wrote down the first word that popped into my head. What does it say about the Cardinals if they draft…………

2011 NFL Mock Draft: Complete First Round Projection With Possible Trades - SBNation.com
In the penultimate 2011 NFL Mock Draft of the year, we project five trades in Round 1, and watch six quarterbacks fly off the board.

Blogger mock: Robert Quinn to the 49ers - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Von Miller, Robert Quinn, J.J. Watt and Mark Ingram landed in the NFC West thanks to my shrewd maneuvering in ESPN.com's Blog Network mock draft for 2011. I'm breaking out my selections on a team-by-team basis, with explanations that hopefully will invite your points and counterpoints. Running back Mark Ingram unexpectedly landed with Seattle at No. 25, while I somewhat sheepishly sent J.J. Watt to St. Louis at No. 14. Let's continue in reverse order, with the San Francisco 49ers at No. 7.

Blogger mock: J.J. Watt to the Rams - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Von Miller, Robert Quinn, J.J. Watt and Mark Ingram landed in the NFC West thanks to my shrewd maneuvering in ESPN.com's Blog Network mock draft for 2011. I'm breaking out my selections on a team-by-team basis, with explanations that hopefully will invite your points and counterpoints. Running back Mark Ingram unexpectedly landed with Seattle at No. 25. Let's continue in reverse order, with the St. Louis Rams at No. 14.

Blogger mock: Mark Ingram to Seahawks - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Von Miller, Robert Quinn, J.J. Watt and Mark Ingram landed in the NFC West thanks to my shrewd maneuvering in ESPN.com's Blog Network mock draft for 2011. I'll break out my selections on a team-by-team basis, with explanations that hopefully will invite your points and counterpoints. Let's begin in reverse order, with the Seattle Seahawks at No. 25.

The worst No. 7 pick ever? Choosing biggest busts by draft order - Shutdown Corner - NFL Blog - Yahoo! Sports
There's an annual debate as to which player was the biggest No. 1 draft bust in history. But what about the guys who went No. 7? Should their NFL failures not be celebrated? To remedy this, Shutdown Corner looked back through the past 25 years of draft history and selected the biggest busts at every drafting slot from No. 1 through No. 10. Think of it as an all-time mock draft of ineptitude.

Seeking answers to labor questions - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Life in the NFC West and the NFL in general would change dramatically if a judge's decision to end the lockout results in free agency before the draft. The league says it will seek from the courts a stay keeping the lockout in place pending an appeal. In the meantime, the decision produces more questions than answers:

NFC West players that should report - NFC West Blog - ESPN
The NFL has no plans to open for business immediately following a court ruling against the lockout, but that should not stop players from reporting to work as a matter of strategy.

Lester Munson: Dream scenario for NFLPA - NFC West Blog - ESPN
Comments from ESPN legal analyst Lester Munson to Trey Wingo on NFL Live following Judge Susan Nelson's ruling striking down the lockout:

Breaking down Jake Locker | National Football Post
Taking a look at the game of the former Washington quarterback.

Scout takes pride in 'rogue' label - NFL - Yahoo! Sports
The Rogue Scout sits in a small office near the front door of his suburban Sacramento home, remote control in hand. He’s staring at a TV set that’s at least a decade old, examining game tape of one of the 2011 NFL draft’s top prospects, a quarterback who’ll likely be snatched up with one of the first five selections. The scout has seen this movie before, and he doesn’t like it.

League will allows players into facilities, but possibly not weight rooms | ProFootballTalk
With players throughout the league planning to report for duty on Tuesday, the NFL plans to allow the players to enter the facilities — assuming a stay of the order lifting the lockout is not previously granted.

Source: Coaches told not to speak to players | ProFootballTalk
As the NFL tries to figure out exactly what happens now after Monday’s legal setback, the league is telling its coaches not to go back to business as usual.

Judge Nelson sticks up for the fans | ProFootballTalk
At a time when the NFL and the players have said that they care about the fans when in reality they don’t (more accurately, they don’t care enough about the fans to set aside greed and work out the labor dispute), Judge Susan Nelson has acknowledged the impact of the work stoppage on the fans in ending it.

NFL.com news: Draft could make history with amount of QB talent on board
NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock believes this year's quarterback class will surpass even the storied bunch from 1983, which featured the likes of John Elway, Dan Marino, Jim Kelly and Ken O'Brien. "In the history of the NFL draft, there have never been eight quarterbacks taken in the first three rounds," Mayock said on "NFL Total Access" on Monday. "Even 1983, with Elway and that whole group, six went in the first round -- the seventh didn't go until the fifth round. So, we're going to have, in my opinion, a historic draft. "We're going to have eight quarterbacks in the first three rounds. We might even have eight in the first two rounds."

NFL.com news: Few have necessary traits to draft, coach quarterbacks
Since 2000, 28 quarterbacks have been drafted in the first round. Of that total, only 14 were starting-caliber players with the potential to carry their team to the playoffs. A major portion of that 14 has come in the last three years, with six first-round picks since 2008 now starting for their respective teams. So why is their only a 50 percent success rate with quarterbacks taken in the first round? Let's examine a few areas of importance when evaluating a quarterback.

NFL Videos: No huddle: College QB vs. NFL QB
What does it take for a QB to be successful going from college to the NFL? Steve Mariucci, Charley Casserly, Kurt Warner, and Corey Chavous debate.

Ten things to know, right now, about the lockout ruling | ProFootballTalk
With Judge Susan Nelson lifting the lockout via court order on Monday, plenty of you have plenty of questions. We’ve tried to anticipate 10 of them. And then we tried to answer them.

Roger Goodell And The NFL Are Labor Movement's Best Friends - SB Nation Arizona
Collective bargaining is cool again, kids!

DeMaurice Smith: NFL hurting fans by allowing 'chaos' - ESPN
DeMaurice Smith said Tuesday he's happy a federal judge lifted the NFL's lockout, but he's upset the league has created a state of turmoil by allowing players to show up at team facilities, but not use their weight rooms.

League takes calculated risk in refusing to start 2011 league year | ProFootballTalk
The ruling from Judge Nelson leaves no room for doubt. "The lockout is enjoined," she writes at the bottom of an 89-page ruling. But the league has opted not to treat the lockout as being truly enjoined (in English, "over") absent further guidance from Judge Nelson. Lawyer David Boies told PFT Live that the NFL has decided to adhere to the status quo (i.e., a lockout) until Judge Nelson issues a more detailed ruling regarding the import of those four critical words — and until she rules on whether the practical consequences of those four words will be delayed while the NFL appeals the decision.

Players show at facilities; NFL appeals ruling - ESPN
The NFL is a long way from playing football again -- even if players are welcomed back to work with no lockout to stop them.

Power Rankings: Top 10 NFL quarterbacks - NFC South Blog - ESPN
ESPN.com’s NFL writers rank the top 10 quarterbacks in the league today.