Charlie Pallilo: On the Rockets, NFL draft, bad people and no-hitters

Baker Mayfield went No. 1. Good luck with that. Brett Deering/Getty Images

Rockets-Utah Jazz makes for an interesting second round matchup. That is unless the Jazz doesn’t recover from gagging on its 25 point lead Wednesday night and failing to close out Oklahoma City. In which case Rockets-Thunder makes for an interesting second round matchup. Either way, the Rockets should play their way into the Western Conference Final.

The Rockets 4-1 series win over Minnesota was pretty easy, the Timberwolves are a lousy defensive team. When center Rudy Gobert is on the court the Jazz is the best defensive team in the NBA. Things can go askew in a playoff series, but Utah lacks the offense to keep up with the Rockets over seven games. If it turned out to be OKC, while not inconceivable that Russell Westbrook and Paul George could combine to outplay Chris Paul and James Harden, and despite beating the Rockets two out of three regular season meetings, the Thunder lacks the bench and consistency to pick over the Rockets.

So much for that

So the brash, sometimes punk, often fantastic Baker Mayfield goes No. 1 in the NFL Draft to the Cleveland Browns. I’ll bet the under on the Browns’ hope that they finally nailed it at quarterback. Mayfield carries character questions, is slight of build, is slow for running round and freelancing, and worst of all….the Browns took him.

How delightfully pathetic that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s tried to squelch booing of his Draft opening remarks by using Dallas Cowboy greats Troy Aikman, Jason Witten, and Roger Staubach as props alongside him at AT&T Stadium in Arlington? It didn’t work. There was one cool thing about it. The three players each threw a ball into the crowd. Roger the Dodger fired a spiral maybe 30-40 yards. Staubach is 76 years old. I might take him today over Brandon Weeden as Deshaun Watson’s backup.

Not feeling the draft

Speaking of the Texans, they as we know did nothing in round one. A bummer for them considering they could have reeeeeeeeally used  guard Quenton Nelson or cornerback Denzel Ward, both of whom were on the board at pick number four. But if Watson’s ACLs (and other body parts) stay healthy, there is no doubt you would move up in the first round one year and give up the fourth overall pick the next year to secure a quarterback of Watson’s talents.

The Texans having no second rounder should cause agita. They had to give that away to unload Brock Osweiler, costing them the ability to draft a significant prospect with the third selection in the second round. The deal saved Bob McNair 16 million dollars. To this point that is 16 million dollars in additional profits for McNair. In fairness, unused salary cap space rolls over from year to year so that money can functionally be spent in the future, but they haven’t used it this offseason. With three third rounders new Texans General manager Brian Gaine has to take at least one offensive lineman.

As will be the case every year from now until the end of time, congratulations to all the NFL “insiders” and experts for getting at least 75 percent of their 1st round draft pick calls wrong. Brad Ausmus hit for a better average.

Friends in low places

If you haven’t seen the latest Sports Illustrated story about why Carolina Panthers owner Jerry Richardson is basically being forced to sell his franchise, it pretty much confirms Richardson behaved as a despicable human being. It also makes Bob McNair look like less than a class act or sharp tack.

Hit charade

Astros and A’s play this weekend in what could be the last weekend of open roof baseball this season at Minute Maid Park. I hope not, but we know that five months of blast furnace conditions are bearing down on us. A presumably non-dramatic element of the series opener has the Astros taking their swings against Oakland pitcher Sean Manaea, who pitched a no-hitter last Saturday against Boston.

80 years ago Cincinnati pitcher Johnny Vander Meer became the first guy ever to throw back-to-back no-hitters. Since then 189 pitchers have made a start following a no-hitter, nobody has matched Vander Meer’s feat. The closest bid came in 1947 when Ewell Blackwell followed a no-hitter by taking one into the ninth inning of his next start.  Nolan Ryan had seven cracks at making a start after throwing a no-hitter. Closest Nolan came was the eighth inning, when career .228 hitter Mark Belanger broke it up. I doubt Johnny V is spinning with worry in his grave over Manaea’s chances. Nowadays a team might consider building a statue for a pitcher who throws back-to-back complete games.

Buzzer Beaters

1. UTSA had a player drafted in the first round.  2. UT and A&M did not. 3. Best shellfish: Bronze-oysters  Silver-lobster Gold-crab


Most Popular

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome

Listen Live

ESPN Houston 97.5 FM

The Houston Texans approach to the offseason has caused quite a bit of controversy among Texans fans and media. Some really like what the team is doing in free agency, while others are underwhelmed.

But the argument that keeps getting thrown around is whether the Texans are ready to win this season, or if the team will have to suffer through another disappointing season. Most would agree the Texans roster has a number of holes, but how will that roster look after the NFL Draft and hopefully a new franchise QB is taking snaps for the team?

The great thing about the NFL is how fast teams can turn things around and start winning. When we looked at the teams coming off a bad season and drafting around the Texans in 2021, many of them showed a huge improvement the following season.

The Lions were 3-13-1 in 2021, last year? 9-8. The Jaguars went 3-14 in 2021. Last year they won the AFC South and notched a playoff win over the Chargers. Look at the New York Giants, they went 4-13 in 2021. They improved to 9-7-1 and also won a playoff game just one year later. And don't get us started on the Jets. They went 4-13 in 2021, improved to 7-10 with bad QB play, and now Aaron Rodgers wants to play there.

The point being, most of these teams hired new coaches in the last couple of years, added some talent through the draft and free agency and started winning. Why are Texans fans and media so convinced they're in for another season of losing? Why can't the Texans be the team that turns things around and competes for a division title? Especially if they land a franchise QB as expected.

The AFC South isn't a very tough division. In fact, the Texans beat the Jags, Colts, and Titans just this year. Shouldn't we expect them to take a step forward with better players and DeMeco Ryans leading the way?

Be sure to check out the video above as we break it all down!

If you enjoy the videos, subscribe on YouTube for our latest content!

Listen to The Bench with John and Lance weekdays from 7-10AM on ESPN 97.5 and 92.5.

SportsMap Emails
Are Awesome