Thursday, September 10, 2009 Updated: September 14, 12:47 AM ET
From the locker room: Sox talk NFL
By Louise Cornetta ESPNBoston.com
BOSTON -- While the Red Sox head toward the end of their regular season, the Patriots' is just starting. All the Boston sports teams pull for one another, except when it comes to drafting fantasy football players -- then everyone is fair game. Rocco Baldelli has the first pick in the Red Sox's annual draft. Whom will he select? Who is Big Papi's pick to win the Super Bowl? Which player does Jason Bay think will be playing with a chip on his shoulder? What fictional character does Kevin Youkilis use to describe Tom Brady? All these questions will be answered as we take you inside the locker room.
How will the Patriots do this season?David Ortiz: "It doesn't matter as long as they get to the playoffs, because they're going to win the Super Bowl."
Jason Bay: "They'll be fine. They always are. Brady's back, and with [Bill] Belichick, they're a team that is probably going to make the playoffs, as they always do, or close to it, anyway. They're kind of like the Red Wings in hockey, they're always good."
Rocco Baldelli: "My random guess is they'll go 12-4."
Manny Delcarmen: "It all goes back to Brady now since they got rid of [Matt] Cassel thinking Brady is going to be 100 percent. Hopefully, if he stays healthy, they're going to do what they've been doing. I don't know about an undefeated season, but hopefully it will be pretty close."
Alex Gonzalez: "I think they'll do well. But I think Miami is going to win the Super Bowl, but I hope they do well."
Billy Wagner: "In the regular season I think they'll be 12-4. I think they're just good. They'll have a few hiccups here and there, but I'd say that's normal."
Kevin Youkilis: "I think it might be the Patriots and Giants again in the Super Bowl. I think it will be a good year for the Patriots. They'll run through that division and probably be like 13-3."
How will Tom Brady do this season coming off his knee injury?Ortiz: "He'll be all right. He's the man. He's done it tons of times before. He'll be all right."
With Tom Brady back the Patriots should be one of the teams to beat.
Bay: "You get hit in football quite a bit. Just because he's coming back from an injury, and a lot is made of things like that, but for the most part, I think he's going to be fine. Once the season starts and he gets over trying to prove to everyone he's OK and just gets to being a quarterback again, he'll be just as good as he was before."
Baldelli: "I expect him to do really well. He took a bad hit from [Redskins DT Albert] Haynesworth in that preseason game and that didn't look too fun, but I think he'll be fine. I don't know why I say that. It's not like I really know him or anything, but I'll say he'll do all right."
Delcarmen: "I'm sure Brady is a little sore after that [Haynesworth] hit, but that comes with the game and he's been there before. I think he definitely has a lot of trust in his offensive line. So I think he will be fine."
Gonzalez: "It's hard when you come back from an injury. The team needs him for the season. Hopefully he does very well and he can lead the team to the playoffs and to a Super Bowl against the Dolphins." Unfortunately for Gonzalez, who is new to American football, the Patriots and Dolphins are both in the AFC and couldn't meet up in the Super Bowl.Wagner: "I think he'll be fine. He's a pro's pro. He handles everything in stride. He'll be just fine."
Youkilis: "Oh he'll be fine. He's tough. He calls himself 'Gumby' because he doesn't really lift that much or is that big. So I'll say he'll throw for 300 yards a game and he'll be fine."
Who is your pick to win the Super Bowl?Ortiz: "The Patriots because Brady's back."
Bay: "It's tough to go against the Steelers. They've got the best defense; most of their guys are back. They'd be the easy one to pick, so I'll say the Steelers. My not-so-easy pick: If I'm going to go outside the box, I'm going to go with the Carolina Panthers. They had a good year last year. I know they got thumped by Arizona at the end there, but good offense, great defense. They're just a team that I don't think gets a lot of publicity."
Baldelli: "The New England Patriots because they're my team."
Delcarmen: "I'm a Pats fans, so I've got to say the Pats."
Gonzalez: "I'm from Miami. Can I say the Dolphins? OK, Dolphins."
Wagner: "New England. They've got the better scheme and team and coaching staff."
Youkilis: "That's a tough question. I can't say anybody the Bengals [his favorite and hometown team] play against. I can't say the Steelers. I can't say the Ravens, even though I think they have a good chance of winning. I'm going to go with this is a tough one! I'm going out on a limb -- who's got a great defense? OK, the Giants. I don't know why, but I'll say Giants."
Who is the best fantasy player to draft?Ortiz: "If I had to draft anybody, I'd take running back, my man [Laurence] Maroney because he's the kind of guy who helps a team to win, especially at the position he plays. He's tough man."
Adrian Peterson rushed for 1,760 yards last season.
Bay: "I'd have to say Adrian Peterson just because he's the consensus No. 1 fantasy pick in every magazine. He's probably the best running back in the league. So, I'd probably say him."
Baldelli: "I have the first pick in our fantasy draft. I still haven't decided who I wanted to draft. I can't tell you when Pedey [Dustin Pedroia] is around here." Pedroia, whose locker is next to Baldelli's, asks, "Yeah, so who are you going to take?" Baldelli: "You asked me that two minutes ago, and I didn't tell you then, and I'm not telling you now. You won't even give me a magazine to study up on the players, either." Pedroia walks away. "I really don't know who my first pick in the draft is going to be. I want Pedey to think that I know what it's going to be, but I'm just not telling him. It's going to be either Maurice Jones-Drew or Adrian Peterson. Maurice Jones-Drew is going to be a full-time starter this year. If he can do anything like he's done in the past playing full time, it will be a pretty nice season for him. A.P. [Adrian Peterson] is about as dominant a player that there is." (editor's note: Baldelli did end up selecting Adrian Peterson with the No. 1 pick).Delcarmen: "Fantasy draft? I'm not really into fantasy, but I'm a big Brady fan, and after seeing him step on the field and do what he's done in the preseason so far, really confident in himself, I'd have to say Brady."
Gonzalez: "I would pick [Donovan] McNabb because I have his jersey. The reason I have his jersey was in 2004, when I was with the Marlins we were playing in Philadelphia the last games of the season. For the last road trip of the year, everybody decided to go on the plane wearing a jersey, whether a basketball jersey [or] a football jersey. I sent one of the clubbies to buy a jersey at the store and he came back with a Donovan McNabb one, the white one."
Wagner: "Peterson, running back for Minnesota. He's going to score a lot."
Youkilis: "Adrian Peterson. He has the best chance for getting you the most points each week."
What player are you most looking forward to watching this season?Ortiz: "I want to watch that kid [Mark] Sanchez. There's a lot of expectation for him. He's going to play for the big city [New York Jets] and I think he's going to do well."
Bay: "LaDainian Tomlinson. I think he's got a little to prove, and he's one of the best players in the league. He's done what he wanted to the last couple of years, and I think he's got a little chip on his shoulder. So I think it will be fun to watch him."
Baldelli: "I'm looking forward to watching Tom Brady because I'm from around here [Rhode Island]. I'm not a big sports fan, but I guess I'm somewhat of a Patriots fan. I root for them. We'll see how he comes back from his surgery."
Delcarmen: "After everything that's happened, I'm looking forward to seeing Michael Vick. He's been an exciting player when he played. Just to be able to come back after everything, I think he's going to definitely open a lot of eyes. Like they say, everybody deserves a second chance, and I think he does and I think he's going to do good things."
Gonzalez: "I like to see Michael Vick as he comes back to see how he does after that situation with what happened to him. I like to see him."
Wagner: "Brett Favre. He's old and I've watched him forever."
Youkilis: "Definitely not Brett Favre. On defense, I'd like to see [Bengals safety] Roy Williams come back to form. That's probably the one guy that would be cool to see."