Welcome to the Friday edition of The Cooler, where this is only the beginning. Let’s get to it:
*NFL first-round draft grades tend to be viewed through only the most optimistic lens. I think of them the same way I think of the 10-day forecast on a weather app: I only agree with it if I like the forecast, and I immediately disregard the bad news with the notion that “nobody really knows what the weather will be like until about 24-48 hours out” just like we won’t really know how drafted players fare until a ways down the road.
With that in mind, the 10-day forecast in Minneapolis is pretty much trash and I’m ignoring it. But the first-round draft grades for the Vikings’ No. 18 overall pick Garrett Bradbury: They’re good! Very good! So they must be right. Let’s take a look at a few:
CBS Sports. Grade: B+. Comment: “I like this pick. The Vikings couldn’t move anybody off the line of scrimmage last year. Bradbury is very athletic, not a very big kid, but he can move. ”
NFL.com. Grade: A. Comment: “Bradbury is athletic and tough, considered one of the best center prospects to be picked in some time. Minnesota’s offensive line was in dire need of improvement so this selection will make quarterback Kirk Cousins and running back Dalvin Cook extremely happy.”
SI.com: Grade. A+. Comment: However it shakes out, this is case of player and need meeting together perfectly.
Of note contextually: CBS Sports (Pete Prisco) is a tougher grader than a lot of others, so his B+ is meaningful. And the A+ from SI.com’s Andy Benoit was the only one doled out to any team in the first round.
It’s like Ralphie’s dream came true for Rick Spielman.
*For what it’s worth, ESPN’s Mel Kiper included the Packers in his list of biggest head-scratching moves in Round 1 — mostly because he was baffled by Green Bay going with two defensive players instead of grabbing offensive help for Aaron Rodgers.
And also for what it’s worth: Rick Spielman is getting closer to shedding the label of not doing enough to improve the offensive line, at least via the draft. The Vikings have spent a pick in the top three rounds on the line each of the last three years — third-rounder Pat Elflein in 2017 (a year when the Vikings didn’t have a first-round pick), a second-rounder on Brian O’Neill in 2018 and now Bradbury. I’d still like the Vikings to grab another O-lineman today — maybe a tackle in the second or third round, and a defensive tackle with their other second day pick.
*Charlie Coyle scored the overtime winner for Boston in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Thursday against Columbus.
Coyle’s Bruins could be on a collision course with Nino Niederreiter’s Hurricanes. If both teams advance to the Eastern Conference finals, Wild GM Paul Fenton will be assured of helping at least one team to the Stanley Cup finals this season — just not the Wild.
*The NBA playoffs are getting interesting. San Antonio forced a Game 7 against Denver with a win Thursday. The Clippers could shockingly do the same with a home victory over Golden State on Friday night.
The Warriors will go down in meme history if they blow another 3-1 series lead — especially since it would include a Clippers victory in which L.A. trailed by 31 points.