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Detroit Lions

Detroit LionsPoor Lions! Another tough decision to make.

The Detroit Lions didn't get to 0-16 by drafting wisely — think Charles Rogers, Joey Harrington, Mike Williams and the like.

Now they face a dilemma. Even if they make what's considered the "right" pick with the first selection in Saturday's draft, they could prolong their decade-long agony.

That's because having the No. 1 overall spot commits the Lions to guaranteeing more than $30 million to an unproven player. If it's potential franchise quarterback Matthew Stafford of Georgia, it's hardly a guarantee.

Stafford has all the tangibles: big, strong-armed, reasonably mobile. He worked out wonderfully at his pro day, the orchestrated party his university threw for scouts. Then he worked out wonderfully when the Lions had him in.

But his career at Georgia was a mild disappointment — he was so-so in some of his biggest games, making bad reads, throwing key interceptions and demonstrating that what you see in shorts isn't necessarily what you get when the game is played for real.

The Lions could play it safe by taking Baylor offensive tackle Jason Smith or Wake Forest linebacker Aaron Curry, and use Daunte Culpepper at QB. Smith could be this year's Jake Long, a solid left tackle with a dozen good years ahead of him. And Curry is likely to be a starting linebacker for 10-12 years even though he's not spectacular; he's never been used as a pass rusher, for example.

So Stafford is the likely choice: pass rushers, left tackles and, of course, QBs tend to be the most coveted players.

Yet the failure rate for first-round quarterbacks is still pretty high.

Basically, there are good years and bad years, 2004 being a good year with Eli Manning, Philip Rivers and Ben Roethlisberger, 2006 being not so good with Vince Young and Matt Leinart sitting on benches in Tennessee and Arizona. Even Jay Cutler, the third QB taken that year and by far the most successful on the field, has issues. Cutler got himself traded to Chicago after owner Pat Bowlen got tired of his non-responsiveness to messages.

Smith and Curry are safe picks. But Detroit gambles on ...


Just for fun, this first round includes seven players from a state that normally doesn't produce NFL players the way Florida, Texas and California do. (Answer at the bottom). For those who keep score and mock everybody's mocks, please note that these are for guessing purposes only. One trade or one unexpected pick and everything is thrown off.

2. ST. LOUIS: Orlando Pace was released. JASON SMITH, T, Baylor, is drafted. Easy transition. Or so the Rams hope.

3. KANSAS CITY: This should be simple. AARON CURRY, LB, Wake Forest, is the obvious choice. But he was an outside LB in college, so where does he fit in the 3-4 defense that Scott Pioli and Todd Haley, the new GM and coach, plan to install? Probably inside between newly obtained veterans Mike Vrabel and Zach Thomas. He could drop if the Chiefs go for someone like offensive tackle Eugene Monroe.

4. SEATTLE: Matt Hasselbeck has a bad back. MATT SANCHEZ, QB, Southern Cal, might not be ready yet, but he fits Seattle's West Coast offense and may have a higher upside than Stafford.

5. CLEVELAND: The Browns are trying to trade Braylon Edwards. MICHAEL CRABTREE, WR, Texas Tech, is insurance, although he's recovering from a stress fracture in his foot.

6. CINCINNATI: The Bengals used to be able to score. Even with Carson Palmer back, they need help up front. EUGENE MONROE, OT, Virginia.

7. OAKLAND: The draft is now a three-month process, which is why ANDRE SMITH, OT, Alabama, can fall from a top five pick to the bottom of the round, then rise again.

8. JACKSONVILLE: What the Jags need are wide receivers. Even if they sign Torry Holt, they take JEREMY MACLIN, WR, Missouri.

9. GREEN BAY: The Packers dropped last year because of defensive failures. Switching to the 3-4, they take a 330-plus pound nose tackle, B.J. RAJI, DT, Boston College.

10. SAN FRANCISCO: The 49ers' defense isn't bad. But Manny Lawson, a No. 1 three years ago, hasn't quite fit, so they clone him with BRIAN ORAKPO, DE/LB Texas.

11. BUFFALO: How do you complement T.O? By beefing up the defense. ROBERT AYERS, DE, Tennessee.


12. DENVER: Suddenly the Broncos are a team that needs a young QB, although Josh McDaniels may like Kyle Orton enough to consider this less than a major need. AARON MAYBIN, DE/LB, Penn State, for a defense that STILL needs all the help it can find.

13. WASHINGTON: The Redskins are old on the OL and slow on the DL, even with Albert Haynesworth. EVERETTE BROWN, DE/LB, Florida State, for some outside speed.

14. NEW ORLEANS: Reggie Bush will never be an every down back. BEANIE WELLS, RB, Ohio State, is from the Deuce McAllister mold.

15. HOUSTON: No premium pass rushers left to supplement Mario Williams. So take a cover man in VONTAE DAVIS, CB, Illinois.

16. SAN DIEGO: Lost Igor Olshansky to Dallas, replace him with TYSON JACKSON, DE, LSU.

17. NEW YORK JETS: The Jets need a quarterback and this is probably where Stafford deserves to go. But if you can't take a pitcher, get a catcher, PERCY HARVIN, WR, Florida.

18. DENVER: Josh McDaniels likes Orton, the QB he got from Chicago for Cutler. But JOSH FREEMAN, QB, Kansas State, has an upside that, in a couple years might make him this draft's best quarterback.

19. TAMPA BAY: BRIAN CUSHING, OLB, Southern California, is bigger, stronger and a bit slower than Derrick Brooks. He fits a rebuilding Bucs defense.

20. DETROIT: The Lions no longer have Shaun Rogers. PERIA JERRY, DT, Mississippi, may be as good. He certainly has a better attitude.

21. PHILADELPHIA: The Eagles need someone who can push the pile and take the load off Brian Westbrook. KNOWSHON Moreno, RB, Georgia, is a steal this low.

22. MINNESOTA: Even with Antonio Winfield, the secondary needs help. MALCOLM JENKINS, CB, Ohio State.

23. NEW ENGLAND: Bill Belichick likes his players versatile. CONNOR BARWIN, DE-LB-TE, Cincinnati, has been rising quickly and is the perfect replacement for Mike Vrabel, who played all three of those positions. Barwin also might last to No. 34, the pick the Patriots got for Matt Cassel.

24. ATLANTA: Keith Brooking and Michael Boley are gone, which provides a slot for CLAY MATTHEWS, LB, Southern California.

25. MIAMI: Relatively simple, assuming DARIUS HEYWARD-BEY, WR, Maryland, is still around.

26. BALTIMORE: Bart Scott went to the Jets with Rex Ryan. REY MAUALUGA, LB, Southern California, replaces him.

27. INDIANAPOLIS: BRANDON PETTIGREW, TE, Oklahoma State, is an old-fashioned type who can block and catch and allows Dallas Clark to do what he's been doing anyway — function as a wide receiver.

28. BUFFALO: Traded Jason Peters. His long-term replacement is MICHAEL OHER, T, Mississippi.

29. NEW YORK GIANTS: The Giants have a lot of extra picks for an Edwards trade. If this choice doesn't go to Cleveland, LARRY ENGLISH, OLB, Northern Illinois, to solidify a position where they need a playmaker. Not enamored of local kid Kenny Britt, a WR from Rutgers, although Hakeem Nicks, WR, North Carolina could fit here.

30. TENNESSEE: Did a lot last season with no deep threat. BRITT may take a year or two, but he has size and speed.

31. ARIZONA: DONALD BROWN, RB, Connecticut. Plenty of first-rounders from UConn in the NBA and WNBA but never before in the NFL. He's also the seventh first-rounder from the trivia state.

32. PITTSBURGH. ALEX MACK, C, Cal, is the quintessential Steelers pick.

Raji, Monroe, Cushing, Moreno, Jenkins, Britt and Brown all grew up in New Jersey.

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Stephen Hawking Very Ill

Stephen Hawking Very IllReports: Stephen Hawking 'Very Ill," Hospitalized.

Noted physicist Stephen Hawking has been described as "very ill" and has been hospitalized, according to reports.

The report was confirmed to the BBC by Cambridge University, which employs Hawking as its Lucasian Professor of Mathematics.

Hawking, 67, has amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, often fatal after a few years. Hawking has survived for more than 40 years with the disease, CNN reported.

A Cambridge University spokesman said that Hawking had "been unwell for a couple of weeks," according to the BBC.

An iconic scientist both for his intellect and his ability to coexist with a debilitating disease, Hawking entered the popular consciousness with his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time.

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Scoot Coupe

Scoot CoupeIf Market Motors is successful, brightly colored three-wheeled vehicles soon will be tooling around the Mid-Ohio Valley this summer.

Market Motors is set to unveil Scoot coupes to potential customers in Ohio and West Virginia.

Bill Waldeck, owner of Market Motors, described the vehicles as a cross between a motorcycle and a Volkswagen.

"There is really nothing else like them." he said.

The three-wheeled, two-passenger coupes are similar to a motorcycle, with a set of handlebars instead of a steering wheel. Helmets must be worn and drivers must have a required motorcycle license.

Unlike scooters and motorcycles, the coupes are more stable and allow passengers to ride beside the driver. The coupe's features include seat belts, a locking trunk and glove box and a roll bar. Models can also be accessorized to accommodate an iPod.

The Scoot coupes can reach a top speed of 55 mph and gets up to 75 miles per gallon. Waldeck said a Scoot coupe will go about 110 miles on a tank of gas.

The vehicles are certainly eye-catching, manufactured in vived blue, green, yellow and red colors.

Market Motors has been stocked with the coupes since January and is ready to open its doors. Waldeck said they are still waiting on approval from the state.

"If we had our license, we would have sold about 36 of these by now," he said. "The hold up with the state getting the license has been a major headache."

Waldeck said Market Motors has been getting calls from all over, Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland, from buyers interested in purchasing the coupes.

"We want them to come to Parkersburg," he said.

In addition to fielding calls from prospective buyers, curious onlookers stop by daily, peering inside their 925 Market St. location.

Waldeck said they clean the glass daily, but nose prints from people seeking a better look at the coupes quickly reappear.

"We get notes shoved inside the door from prospective customers," he said. "Most people that see it just can't believe it."

The Scoot coupe was created in 2004 by Panther Motors, a Florida company. Waldeck became friends with the company's CEO and was interested in carrying the line in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

Waldeck said Market Motors will serve West Virginia and Ohio. He's optimistic the vehicles will eventually be assembled in the Mid-Ohio Valley.

"Maybe a lot of jobs," he said.

The Scoot coupes come with 50cc or 150cc engines and a Fiberglas body. Coupes have a one-year, 12,000 mile warranty. Models, which have a pricetag of about $6,000, are available in four bright colors and a limited edition black, all of which are on display.

Waldeck said the vibrant colors make the coupe standout.

"You can recognize them on the street and see them coming down the road," he said.

One of the drawbacks is the lack of a top, making it less than ideal for rainy days or cold weather.

"It is a late March to October vehicle," Waldeck said.

In addition to selling the vehicles, Market Motors has a parts department, including a mechanic and garage that can work on the vehicles. Market Motors also offers custom accessories, floor mats, covers, chrome package, shirts and hats.

"We are doing all the after market stuff," he said.

Once Market Motors receives its license Waldeck said it will be open Monday through Friday from 9 to 3 and on weekends by appointment. Once the operation begins running the company will add a second salesman and open seven days a week.

Market Motors will also add Micargi bicycles to its product line.

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Boston Marathon

Boston MarathonDeriba Merga, Salina Kosgei win at Boston Marathon.

Ethiopia's Deriba Merga overcame the disappointment of his Olympic fade to win the Boston Marathon on Monday, and Kenya's Salina Kosgei won the closest women's race in the 113-year history of the event while Americans took third in both races for the best U.S. finish since 1985.

Merga, who was passed in the last quarter-mile and finished fourth in Beijing, pulled away before Heartbreak Hill and won in 2 hours, 8 minutes, 42 seconds — almost a full minute ahead of Kenya's Daniel Rono and American Ryan Hall.

Kosgei won a sprint with defending champion Dire Tune, trading the lead several times in the final blocks of Boylston Street before hitting the tape less than a stride ahead of the Ethiopian in 2:32:16. American Kara Goucher led the three as they crossed the MassPike into Kenmore Square with one mile to go, but she was outkicked down the stretch and finished 9 seconds back.

The winners will take home $150,000, but Merga had to wait for his traditional laurel wreath: The women's pace was so slow and the men finished so fast that he crossed the finish line before Kosgei had a chance to climb the champion's podium.

Kosgei said the weather conditions made for a difficult finish.

"The wind was a bit stronger. ... So, it was very hard," Kosgei said. "I decided I must try. So, I tried."

No American has won in Boston since Lisa Larsen-Weidenbach in 1985, when the U.S. women swept the top three and the men came in second and third. The 2009 race was the slowest since then, a pace that had the men's leaders passing the female stragglers and approaching the final mile as the women were hitting the tape.

Goucher burst into tears and was consoled by her husband, and Tune fell to the pavement for several minutes after the final sprint. Race spokesman Jack Fleming said Tune would not be available because she was receiving medical attention; he did not elaborate.

Goucher's voice cracked repeatedly in the postrace news conference.

"I just wanted it for everybody that wanted it for me," she said. "I'm proud of how I did. I just wanted to be the one that won for everybody."

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