MLB

Ranking the best NFL Draft picks, plus a preview of the Champions League semis

Hey everyone, it’s Shanna again. I hope you had a fabulous Monday and now you’re just one day closer to Friday, how great is that? 

As I told you all in yesterday’s newsletter, I am headed to an arena for the first time in what feels like forever to catch a Cavs vs. Magic game (I’ll take any game I can get). It got me thinking about what games the lovely CBS newsletter readers are most excited to see live again. While I’m over the moon to watch an NBA game in person, for me I’m mostly looking forward to seeing a Patriots game at Gillette again. Find me on Twitter and let me know what sport and team you’re most excited to see live.

Moving on to today’s sports news, we have Champions League predictions, MLB power rankings and more to discuss. Let’s get to it.


📰 What you need to know

1. The best NFL draft picks of all time 🏈

It’s NFL Draft week, so you better bet this newsletter is going to have info for you leading up to the event. Football fans everywhere are excited, not only because this means the season is inching slightly closer, but they are also hoping their favorite team drafts the next big star. 

But stars don’t always have to come from the top pick. Yesterday in this newsletter, we featured the biggest NFL Draft blunders. Now, our CBS Sports NFL experts have rounded up the top five picks at every first-round slot, from No. 32 to No. 1. Some of the best ever include Drew Brees taken at No. 32, Greg Olsen taken at No. 31, Dan Marino at No. 27 and Aaron Rodgers at No. 24.

Here’s a look at the best picks in the top three selections:

  • Top pick at No. 3: Barry Sanders
  • Top pick at No. 2: Lawrence Taylor
  • Top pick at No. 1: Peyton Manning

Will we one day look back at the 2021 NFL Draft and slot one of the picks into a list like this? That remains to be seen, but the top of Thursday night’s draft sure is full of plenty of talent.

2. Bold predictions for Champions League semifinals ⚽


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The semifinals of the Champions League are here, as the action begins today with the first leg of Real Madrid vs. Chelsea (which you can watch on on Paramount+ and CBS Sports Network.) Our bold predictions for the entire round can be found here, but since there’s only one game today, let’s focus on that.

As our soccer expert James Benge explains, Real Madrid vs. Chelsea will be all about defense.

  • Benge“Chelsea make it exceptionally difficult to get into the box, do not make clumsy errors if opponents do and know where to allow opponents to shoot from. An offense led by Karim Benzema will be one of the tougher assignments Tuchel’s side have faced since his appointment but on the evidence of the past three months it will be just as difficult for Real Madrid to break them down.”

Thanks to Tom Fornelli, we are able to let you in on the best bets to make for the semifinal matches. 

Benge also went deep on some other important parts of the semifinals, such as how PSG will rely on Kylian Mbappe to come up big in clutch moments. All of his bold predictions are worth checking out before the action begins this afternoon.

3. Our latest MLB power rankings ⚾


CBS Sports

Sports tend to surprise us, and this MLB season is perfect proof. The Mariners and Giants are (currently) in position to punch a tickers to the playoffs, while the Yankees and Braves are not performing as well as expected. All these surprises keep our experts that put together MLB power rankings on their toes, forcing them to rethink what they (and a lot of us) once thought when the season first began.

Here’s a snapshot of the power rankings from this week.

  • The Blue Jays jump up seven spots: You know how the old saying goes, “How ’bout them Blue Jays?!” The 10-11 team now sits at No. 11 in our power rankings, a very respectable spot. Toronto has won four of their last five games, with victories over the Red Sox and Rays
  • The Reds drop 17 spots: As much as the Blue Jays have shown promise, the Reds have shown their struggles. They fell 17 spots on our charts after losing seven in a row. Losing that many back-to-back is not how you move up on the CBS power rankings, that’s for sure
  • Dodgers remain up top: The Dodgers have been consistently great. Los Angeles is one of most exciting teams to watch in baseball right now, especially when they face the Padres
  • A’s, Brewers leapfrog the Padres: Speaking of the Padres, San Diego moved down two spots, and are now behind the A’s and Brewers. This month, the Brewers beat the Padres three times in a clean sweep. The Padres are no team to slouch at though, and they still have slugger Fernando Tatis Jr., arguably the most exciting player in the game

4. Rockies GM out after trading Nolan Arenado two months ago ⚾


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The Rockies are looking for a new general manager. Jeff Bridich and the team “mutually agreed” that he would step down from the role on Monday. During his six full years with the team, Colorado had two 90-loss seasons and two postseason trips.

The move comes after not only years of mediocrity, but also a big questionable trade. Bridich moved third baseman Nolan Arenado in the offseason and the GM was criticized for how the star’s time with the Rockies turned out. The GM was adamant about including an opt-out clause in the player’s long-term extension, which led to Arenado getting shipped to St. Louis.

But the handling of Arenado was not the only less than ideal move Bridich made for the team, as our MLB expert R.J. Anderson pointed out:

  • Anderson: “The Rockies infamously signed Ian Desmond to a five-year deal worth $70 million, and later invested more than $100 million in three relievers — Wade Davis, Jake McGee, and Bryan Shaw — without receiving much return on their investment. Those four players combined for minus-3.4 Wins Above Replacement during their Rockies careers.”

The Rockies have not yet named an interim GM, but plan to do so and search for a permanent replacement when the postseason is over.


📝 Odds & Ends


📺 What to watch tonight

🏀 Celtics vs. Thunder, 7 p.m. | BOS -600 | TV: NBA League Pass

🏒 Flyers vs. Devils, 7 p.m. | PHI -140 | TV: MSG+

Padres vs. Diamondbacks, 9:40 p.m. | SDP -153 | TV: MLB.TV



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