Eagles Draft Wrap-Up: The Lockout Is On Again

Eagles Draft Wrap-Up: The Lockout Is On Again

Just when teams began allowing the players to use their facilities again, and amid whispers the league year could start as early as Monday, the court of appeals granted the NFL a stay on the Judge Nelson ruling that supposedly reopened the league for business. For the time being, everything will immediately return to square one: lockout. No player trades or free agent signings are coming any time soon. Boo.

The draft continued as planned on Saturday, with rounds four through seven concluding the third and final day of the reading of names. Despite the lottery nature of the back end of the selection process, the Eagles actually made some waves this afternoon, adding the brother of Packers' star Clay Matthews, LeSean McCoy's successor in the backfieldat Pitt, and a kicker who potentially could be David Akers' replacement.

The Birds made two picks in the fourth round, first grabbing linebacker Casey Matthews of the famous Matthews bloodline. The Oregon product doesn't have the same size (6-1, 231) or athletic ability as his All Pro sibling, but if his family's success is any indication, he could enjoy a long, successful career in the NFL.

Four picks later, the Eagles made one of the more surprising selections in the draft, taking kicker/punter Alex Henery (6-2, 177) out of Nebraska. David Akers did not sign his transition tag tender before the league entered a work stoppage, and he was not thrilled with the designation in the first place. This will lead many to jump to the conclusion Akers' career in Philadelphia is finished, but it's worth noting Sav Rocca's time could also be up.

In the fifth, the pick was running back Dion Lewis. Lewis was a redshirt freshman during Shady's final year with the Panthers, and the heir was every bit as productive. Lewis ran for over 2800 yards and 30 touchdowns in two seasons of college ball, though he was not as prolific a receiver. He's short, but stout at 5'7", 197, and should be a nice complement in the Birds' backfield, likely spelling the end of Jerome Harrison.

The Eagles added offensive linemen with picks in the fifth and sixth rounds, grabbing Iowa's Julian Vandervelde (6-2, 301) and Cincinnati's Jason Kelce (6-3, 280). Both are expected to add depth to interior. They nabbed another linebacker with their second pick in the sixth, Brian Rolle (5-10, 229) from Ohio St. As of this writing, they have two compensation picks remaining in the seventh round.

On a side note, the Eagles and Patriots once again made a draft day trade. ESPN's Adam Schefter pointed out the two franchises have swapped picks every year going all the way back to 2000. As ammusing as that may sound, this time the Eagles traded up from 194 all the way to... 193. The deal was presumably for a catered lunch from Panera Bread.

We'll have more draft analysis in the days to come. Any early thoughts on their performance?

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”

Best of NHL: Bryan Rust notches hat trick as Pens score 8 in win

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Best of NHL: Bryan Rust notches hat trick as Pens score 8 in win

PITTSBURGH -- Bryan Rust had his first career hat trick, Sidney Crosby added his NHL-leading 17th goal and the Pittsburgh Penguins raced by the Ottawa Senators 8-5 on Monday night.

Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel each had a goal and two assists for Pittsburgh, and Matt Cullen and Justin Schultz also scored. The Penguins poured in six goals over the final 32 minutes after spotting the Senators a 4-2 lead. Matt Murray made 17 saves after coming in for an ineffective Marc-Andre Fleury in the second period.

Pittsburgh has won three straight overall and improved to 7-0-2 in its last nine against the Senators.

Matt Stone had a goal and two assists for Ottawa. Erik Karlsson, Mike Hoffman, Mark Stone and Dion Phaneuf also scored for Ottawa, which lost in regulation for just the second time in its last eight games (see full recap).

Capitals rally late for OT win over Sabres
WASHINGTON -- Marcus Johansson scored the tying goal late in the third period and got the winner midway through overtime to lift the Washington Capitals to a 3-2 victory over the Buffalo Sabres on Monday night.

The goals were Johansson's third and fourth in his last five games. He has 11 for the season.

Jay Beagle added the Capitals' first even-strength goal in three games, as Washington snapped a three-game losing skid. Braden Holtby made 31 saves in the victory, the Capitals second over the Sabres in an 11-day stretch.

Kyle Okposo scored his team-leading eighth goal of the season to give the Sabres the lead in the second period. Zemgus Girgensons also scored early for Buffalo, and Robin Lehner made 30 stops for the visitors (see full recap).

Blue Jackets sweep series from Coyotes
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Sam Gagner had two goals and two assists to help the Columbus Blue Jackets beat the Arizona Coyotes for the second time in three days, 4-1 on Monday night.

Nick Foligno and Zach Werensky also scored for the Blue Jackets, who won for the fourth straight time and ninth of their last 12. Columbus picked up its 500th win in franchise history in sweeping the two-game season series with the Coyotes.

Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 17 shots for Columbus.

Arizona backup goaltender Louis Domingue had 30 saves, two days after the Blue Jackets hammered starter Mike Smith with a franchise-record 60 shots in a 3-2 shootout victory in Phoenix.

Arizona struck first 9:28 into the game when Alex Goligoski fed a pass on a power play to Tobias Reider, who slammed it past Bobrovsky's glove side from between the circles (see full recap).