In this week’s edition of Around the Dorm, the “Ref,” George Tatoris, asks our panel of experts three questions as they play for a championship spot in our Wednesday, May 4, issue: Is the NFL Draft order going to be affected by the Eagles trading up? Can the Washington Capitals keep up their playoff momentum and how should World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) Superstar Chyna be remembered?
1. Now that the Eagles have the No. 2 overall pick in the NFL Draft, do you believe the top draft prospects may be altered?
Otto: The only reason any team ever trades up for the No. 1 overall pick is to get a quarterback (QB), and the same can be said for the second overall pick. Keeping that in mind, I do have to adjust my mock draft predictions because I am absolutely sure that QBs Jared Goff and Carson Wentz will be the first players chosen, but not in that order. My prediction is that Goff goes first, as he has had a lot more college experience than Wentz and is more NFL-ready for a team that desperately needs a QB. Wentz will be chosen by the Eagles and be placed in a backup role for his team in hopes that he will mature and learn by watching QB Sam Bradford play ahead of him. At No. 3, the Chargers have to go with tackle Laremy Tunsil. He’s too good of a prospect to miss and they desperately need to protect QB Philip Rivers.
Kevin: After the Rams traded up to No. 1, I figured QBs would be the top two picks in the draft. It was just a matter of time before someone traded up to two to take that second QB. Therefore, I have the two QBs going off the board at one and two — probably Goff at one and Wentz at two. Then I think San Diego will try to trade out of three, but if they can’t, they’ll take Tunsil to anchor their line. Dallas will round out the top four by taking who will potentially be the impact player in this draft: cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Sean: While the two top draft picks being traded could certainly be considered rare — an occurrence that would normally affect the draft dramatically — I do not believe these trades have altered the top draft prospects this year. Previously, I had Tunsil go first overall, but now, I predict he will be selected only two picks later by the San Diego Chargers, unless they decide to stay defensive with defensive end Joey Bosa. I also predicted with the second pick that the Cleveland Browns would select Goff or Wentz, the top two QB prospects. Now, following the traded picks, I would not be surprised to see both of these QBs selected first and second overall, however, who will be picked before the other I do not know. My gut is telling me it’ll be Goff before Wentz. Furthermore, anything could happen and these trades may lead to much more excitement, but I doubt it.
Sean gets 3 points for mentioning someone other than Goff and Wentz. Otto gets 2 for saying Rivers needs protection and Kevin gets 1 for Ramsey.
2. Given their spotty record in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, can the No. 1-seeded Capitals maintain their momentum going forward?
Otto: I don’t think the Capitals can maintain their momentum in the playoffs, mainly because of the opponents they will be facing. Assuming they get past the Philadelphia Flyers, they will face either the Penguins or the Rangers in the next round, both opponents they struggled with during the year, going 2-3 against Pittsburgh and 3-2 against New York. More importantly, Capitals star Alex Ovechkin did not score against the Penguins, finishing with a plus/minus of -1. Ovechkin was able to score five goals in five games against the Rangers but still finished with an even rating. It’s also important to note that he did not record an assist in the 10 games against those teams, meaning he did not have a big impact. If Ovechkin continues to be shut down by the opposing defenses, it’s going to be a long series for the Capitals.
Kevin: I think the Capitals can have a strong postseason run this year, despite past failures, because they just seem like such a well-rounded team this year. They were second in the NHL in both goals scored and in fewest goals allowed. Their defense is anchored by Vezina Trophy front-runner Braden Holtby, and their offense is led by three 70-point scorers in Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Evgeny Kuznetsov. I think this is the Capitals team that can make some noise this postseason.
Sean: The Capitals were my pick to win the Stanley Cup at the start of the playoffs, and I stand by that decision. Yes, the team has been spotty, but the Flyers were a much better team than they were credited, and the Capitals played very well during the entire series. There may have been moments of poor play, but at the end of the series, on Sunday, April 24, the Capitals kept their composure for one final, well-fought victory. The Penguins will make for quite the matchup next round, but the Capitals will maintain momentum. Ovechkin will continue to lead by example, and the team will gain even more momentum that will lead them to their first Stanley Cup win.
Sean gets 3 points for giving the Flyers some credit. Otto gets 2 for New York and Pittsburgh and Kevin gets 1 for listing leading Capitals players.
3. How should the tragic life of WWE Superstar Chyna be remembered in the organization’s history after her recent death?
Otto: Chyna was the best female wrestler of all time. It is important for the WWE to recognize that and pay some sort of respect to her in the upcoming weeks. I understand all the bad stuff — or at least the stuff that the WWE doesn’t want to associate itself with: the porn films and the tumultuous relationships. But the impact that Chyna had on thousands of young women cannot be overstated. She did things that no woman had ever done before and hasn’t done since, and that means a lot. She paved the way for all women in wrestling and showed all her young fans that they are just as strong as men. She made tall, muscular women feel proud of the way they look, and her impact rivaled her actual wrestling rivals. It’s easy to remember the recent issues that we might not want to think about, but Chyna, in her prime, was a national superstar who needs to be acknowledged for her contribution to a lot of people in my generation.
Kevin: Chyna will be remembered for being a major pioneer in the world of women’s wrestling. After all, she was the first real female wrestler. You can see the profound impact she had on the sport by some of the supportive tweets being sent by past and present female wrestlers. She brought an attitude, a dominance and a new flavor to the sport. The ninth wonder of the world will be sorely missed.
Sean: The new year has not been kind to celebrities. From Alan Rickman to David Bowie to Prince, many talented individuals left us way too soon. Before each passed away, though, they made lasting impressions on the lives of many, as well as their respective industries. Unfortunately, Chyna recently reached the same fate, though she will be remembered in the history of the organization similar to these other celebrities I have mentioned. Known as “The Ninth Wonder of the World,” Chyna was certainly a wonder for many to watch. Although many criticize the WWE for being fake, as a form of entertainment and also as a sport, WWE is a lifestyle for fans. Starting at a very young age, WWE fans never forget their passion for the game, nor will they ever forget Chyna, for she will go down in history.
Otto gets 3 points for putting things in perspective. Kevin gets 2 points for Chyna’s nickname and Sean gets 2 points the most important thing about any sport: the fans.
Sean wins Around the Dorm 8-7-4.