Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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27 Apr 2008

Audibles at the NFL Draft

compiled by Vince Verhei

Each weekend of the regular season, the FO staff sends around e-mails to each other, both during and after the games. It lets us share ideas for columns and comments, and get an idea of how teams that we can't watch are playing. This weekend, we're doing the same during the draft. Be aware that the material in this roundtable might seem a bit disjointed and un-edited. It also might still show up later in the week in other columns, or in comments in PFP 2008.

Before the Draft

The night before the draft, Dallas trades linebacker Akin Ayodele and tight end Anthony Fasano to the Miami Dolphins for a fourth-round draft pick.

Aaron Schatz: Can someone explain the point of this from Dallas's point of view? Particularly the Fasano part?

Sean McCormick: That's a great move by Miami. My only explanation would be that the Cowboys already have Jason Witten as their starter at tight end and that they are looking to add receivers and go to more of a spread look for Tony Romo, in which case they don't need an additional pass-catching tight end. It's still a fleecing.

Bill Barnwell: Like I said in my Xtra Point, it's gotta be to open up a spot at linebacker for Zach Thomas or Bobby Carpenter. Ayodele was very much just a guy on a great defense. Fasano's no great shakes, but he's worth more than this.

Michael Tanier: With Ireland and Sporano in Miami, the only guy in Dallas who understands Fasano's value is Garrett, who may either want to go 3-WR more often or just got overruled. Ayodele is nothing special. I guess "Fasano for fourth-rounder" isn't crazy, but he's better than any TE/H-back you are going to get in the fourth round.

Bill Barnwell: I just watched the Giants-Cowboys game and Fasano had a miserable game. Absolutely awful. It might be bad feelings related to that.

Before the draft begins, the Miami Dolphins announce that Jake Long will be the first overall choice.

Sean McCormick: We might as well start with the pick we know, and that's Miami taking Jake Long. I was expecting Parcells to go defense, but I think he made the proper pick. The two top defensive options were Chris Long and Vernon Gholston, and both have to be projected into their positions in an NFL 3-4. Gholston is perhaps the easier projection of the two, but he's also the lesser prospect and I wouldn't touch him with the first overall selection. The most important thing, particularly in a draft that is rather flat at the top, is not to blow the pick, and Jake Long is probably the safest pick in the draft. He has the measurables that suggest he can play left tackle, but even if he struggles there, he should be a terrific right tackle, and you can always fall back and put him at guard if he proves to be another Robert Gallery, so there's a built-in safety net. But in addition to being a safe pick, Long also represents a rarer commodity than the other players at the top of the draft. It's easier to find pass-rushing prospects than it is to find elite left tackles. The Giants have four top pass rushers on their roster and they didn't take any of them before the end of the first round.

Michael Tanier: The Dolphins O-line could get good quickly with Long and Samson Satele. Really, it was one of the team's better units last year. Turn your decent unit into a strength first, then you know that your skill position guys won't be wasting their time.

Ben Riley: I've got a question about Brandon Albert, who has rocketed up the draft board on the assumption he can play left tackle. I understand the argument that he moved to guard because of D'Brickshaw Ferguson, but why didn't he play right tackle? Is there some reason Virginia needed him to stay on the left side of the line?

Sean McCormick: Maybe they simply wanted to take advantage of his ability to pull and block on the move. He's fantastic when he gets out in space.

Michael Tanier: Who was at left tackle for the Cavs last year? If they groomed a guy, and Albert was all-conference at guard, maybe they just resisted change.

Stuart Fraser: About the only thing you can really seriously question about Miami's pick is why the five-year contract; though if taking a year off was the only way to get the guy signed before the draft, fair enough.

Round 1

The Rams select Chris Long.

Ben Riley: I'm looking forward to watching Walter Jones pancake Chris Long for eight quarters in 2008. SEAHAWKS!

(Sorry, I was channeling my inner Jets-fan-at-the-draft persona.)

(And I may have started drinking.)

Sean McCormick: I thought Chris Long would actually be a better player in a 3-4 or in a 4-3 across from an edge rusher. Supposedly the Rams are looking to give different looks and Long should be an excellent at moving around. He's my favorite player in the draft, but I think the Carriker/Dorsey combination would have been more effective than a Long/Carriker combination, especially if the Rams had found an edge rusher later in the draft. Safe pick, but I'm not sure it's the best match of team and talent.

The Falcons select Matt Ryan.

Sean McCormick: In a draft where there are three quality second-round quarterback prospects and Atlanta has three second-round picks to work with, this is a really dubious selection.

Ben Riley: I go the other way on that. They have a boatload of picks, and they need a quarterback, so take the best quarterback and build the line up in the second round.

Suzy Kolber to Matt Ryan: "When I say Atlanta, what's the first thing that comes to mind?"

I find it troubling that my internal response was "dog rape."

Sean McCormick: If Matt Ryan had Chad Henne's statistical profile, I might agree with you. But he doesn't. His starts are low, his completion percentage is a little low, and his skill-set is marginal. That doesn't mean he won't work out, but I think his ceiling is fairly low. I'd have taken the best player in Dorsey and looked at Henne or Joe Flacco at the back of the first round.

Ben Riley: Anyone watching NFL Network covering the Raiders draft table? Apparently Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens works for Al Davis.

Stuart Fraser: Aaaand Matt Ryan goes to Atlanta. Well, I wouldn't have picked him there. The identity of the best quarterback in this draft is far from clear cut, and it may be that none of them are really good starters. Certainly far too much of a risk with the No. 3 pick.

Michael Tanier: Sounds like I like Ryan better than some of you guys.

Ned Macey: I agree with Tanier if only because I hate the strategy of the early second-round quarterback. They work out rarely, while early second-rounders are your best value pick. If you get a mediocre linebacker, you can still play him and he's cost-effective at that spot. If you have a mediocre QB, your team is sunk.

Sean McCormick: I can understand that, but normally there is a difference between the physical ability of the guys at the top of the first and the guys at the top of the second. But Joe Flacco has No. 1 overall skills, while Matt Ryan has marginal physical skills. It's not a normal situation where you're passing up the 6-foot-5 rocket-armed guy for a 6-1 project.

Sean McCormick: I go back and forth on Matt Ryan, but there's no question that his Lewin Forecast suggests he's a major risk as a top-three pick. He looks like a Peyton Manning or a Philip Rivers, but his starts/completion percentage numbers are those of a late first/early second guy like Rex Grossman or Patrick Ramsey or Kellen Clemens. He has a high floor due to his work ethic, but Ryan isn't close to the third best player in the draft.

The Raiders select Darren McFadden.

Sean McCormick: The Jets are really close to getting squeezed. If Kansas City takes Glenn Dorsey (which they should), then the Jets will take Vernon Gholston and go on about their business. But if the Chiefs take Gholston or trade out, the Jets are stuck with the best player in the draft, only they can't take him. Ugh.

Ben Riley: Well, so much for my plans to order a Justin Fargas Fathead.

Al Davis is that one random guy in your fantasy football league who refuses to abide by conventional wisdom and takes, like, three quarterbacks in the first three rounds. Only, instead of being a fantasy team, Davis runs one of the NFL's most storied franchises.

Stuart Fraser: Oh, Oakland. We all knew you'd do that, but it doesn't make watching you do it any easier.

Lane Kiffin said publically (also correctly), pretty much, that he thought Oakland was set at running back and McFadden would be surplus to requirements. Al Davis drafts him anyway. I am left wondering if he did it just to wind Kiffin up.

What is it about the AFC West that makes coaches and GMs/owners not get on. Is Kansas City next?

On a wider issue, I'm wondering how often a running back is worth a first-round pick, especially a high one. Adrian Peterson was, or at least, if he keeps up current production, clearly will be. After him, who? None of the highly-touted first-rounders from 2005 looks that special now; the best of them is Joseph Addai, and the Colts offense barely missed a beat when Kenton Keith replaced him due to injury. It seems the only running backs who are really worth it in round one are the truly rare talents who only come along maybe once a decade (so the one before Peterson was probably Barry Sanders).

But they come along once a decade, and if there was one last year, it makes me skeptical that McFadden is really everything he's advertised to be. Especially since the year before Peterson we were told how special Reggie Bush was, and I'm sure the year before that there was a running back who was a one-in-a-generation talent as well.

Sean McCormick: I would have taken Dorsey, but you can make an argument that McFadden was the best player on the board. I think as a rule you would prefer to avoid the position in the top five, but you don't necessarily pass over a guy for a lower rated prospect. The positive is that a running back is likely to contribute immediately and to play out all of his rookie deal, so as long as you're willing to take that production and then be careful about a second contract, you can make an argument for taking someone like McFadden.

Ned Macey:I think LdT worked out alright between Sanders and Peterson. And Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James, and Fred Taylor aren't exactly chopped liver. Still, I agree, a stupid pick for the Raiders based on what they have.

Michael Tanier: I think Davis' brother, who really belongs at that table in Godfather 1 where Don Vito and the five families discuss the drug trade, is undead.

Sean McCormick: The Raiders are going to seriously regret passing on both Glenn Dorsey and Sedrick Ellis when their run defense is caving in every week. They had a chance to match BPA with their biggest weakness with Dorsey, but they optedfor McFadden, who is worthy of the pick, but not nearly as good a fit with their needs.

The Chiefs select Glenn Dorsey.

Will Carroll: My issue with Dorsey isn't his play or the injury, but that everyone I spoke to said "Booger McFarland" in reference to him. OK, big DT, speedy, from LSU ... I get it, but if that's what you think he is, THAT'S worth a top-five pick? Would any sane human being, knowing what his career looks like, draft Booger McFarland in the first round? Is there anything like a similarity score for football players?

Bill Barnwell: SEC defensive tackles are pretty much sure things, guys-addicted-to-cheeseburgers aside.

Sean McCormick: Kansas City got a great player, but I'm not sure I could have passed up the package that New Orleans was supposedly dangling. I'd rather have two ones and an extra two than any player in this draft.

Ned Macey: I'm pretty sure Booger McFarland would still be a first-round pick. Guy was great for a number of years once Warren Sapp started declining.

The Jets select Vernon Gholston.

Sean McCormick: Gholston is a concern. I just watched the OSU-Illinois game with my eye on Gholston every snap and was stunned by just how little effort he gave. He provides no backside pursuit, he jogs after the ball carrier on his own side of the field, and for the most part he stepped into the blocker and just stayed there. Off that performance, I couldn't believe that he was a first-round pick, much less a top-six guy. That said, he looked much more dangerous when standing up, he dropped fluidly, and I can buy the argument that OSU's read-and-react scheme was significantly hindering his play. There really was nowhere else for the Jets to go with the pick, but I would be very, very concerned about Gholston's ability to consistently impact a game.

The Jaguars trade up for the Ravens' spot at No. 8.

Sean McCormick: Well, the Ravens will be taking Chad Henne, but who are the Jaguars coming up for?

William Carroll: I've been trying to figure out the "catch" with Flacco. Is it just that he's a QB? A guy with all the physical skills, no off-field issues, and the intangibles would normally be someone flying up the board. But he's not. He's a second-rounder and he's not budging off that while Chad Henne is going in the top ten. Is it just the small college?

Bill Barnwell: Does he really have the intangibles? Is he really that accurate? I mean, the book from what I've seen is that he's a guy with a big arm.

William Carroll: I heard one guy say he's got great makeup, so I'd assume they'd have mentioned the intangibles otherwise. NFL scouts are much quicker to tell you why they don't like the guy than why they like them, I've found. The why they like them seems very "me too." That and the disturbing physical references...

Ben Riley: Yeah, Bill is right. Beware the small school, big armed quarterback.

Sean McCormick: I think the idea is that Flacco is a project due to the combination of the small school and the fact that his footwork isn't NFL-ready. You can't take Flacco and play him this year, which basically nixes him for most teams in the first round. I think he'll go to either Miami or maybe to the Jets and have a chance to develop behind John Beck or the Pennington/Clemens monster. Flacco's upside is ridiculous. If you put on tape of him and Ryan side-by-side and didn't know anything about either player, it would never occur to you that Matt Ryan would be the top-three pick.

William Carroll: I always worry about transfers. I mean, why didn't he beat out some college guy? (Yes, I understand, Tom Brady...)

The Jaguars select Derrick Harvey.

Bill Barnwell: Well, this is the first real reach of the draft. They couldn't have grabbed Harvey at 12 or 14?

William Carroll: Does Harvey have local ties? Someone told me that with the JAX to LA rumors that they'd have a bias towards local players to try to stave that off.

Stuart Fraser: Well, it's possible that the Bengals might have taken Harvey, but I was going to call that a reach if they did. I am generally expecting the Bengals to reach as the guy they obviously wanted (Sedrick Ellis) is gone.

Cincinnati is really in their nightmare scenario where all the best players available are cornerbacks and offensive tackles, and the team that wanted to trade up just did.

Ben Riley: In my ESPN Magazine piece I wrote that, after Green Bay, Jacksonville was one of the teams most likely to trade down to stockpile midround picks, and praised them for the wisdom of this approach. So much for that. That move makes absolutely no sense to me.

The Bengals select Keith Rivers.

Stuart Fraser: I think Rivers is a bit of a reach, but there are some people who had him graded that high. I'd also like to note I called that one.

The Patriots select Jerod Mayo.

Stuart Fraser: OK, that wasn't who I expected New England to pick (I was expecting Leodis McKelvin). I get the impression they wanted Rivers, except that if I can figure Cincinnati will pick Rivers in that situation, I'm sure Pioli can...

Ben Riley: Right now, Doug Farrar is starting to salivate in a Seattle bar at the prospect of one of the elite tackles falling to the Hawks.

Doug Farrar: Heh. I'm in my home office, juggling a few things. Did a Washington Post webcast spot in which I talked about how the Redskins perhaps wouldn't have to trade up as much as they thought for a Clady or Albert. I knew about Long, Long and Ryan at the time, assumed McFadden and guessed Gholston. As I write this, the Pats just took Jerod Mayo at 10, and I'm starting to wonder if Walter Jones' successor might not actually be there at 25.

The Broncos select Ryan Clady.

Doug Farrar: I love Ryan Clady to Denver. He might be the most versatile of all the linemen this year -- the best able to run- and pass-block.

The Panthers select Jonathan Stewart.

Ben Riley: Great pick by Carolina. Get ready for the next fantasy football stud in Stewart.

Doug Farrar: Jonathan Stewart goes to the Panthers, leaving the Pacific Northwest
in a state of mourning. Weird pick. I thought they'd be better taking a lineman here and getting Kevin Smith or Matt Forte later on. Think he'll be a wonderful player, but I don't see this as need OR BPA.

Stuart Fraser: OK, Carolina, you draft DeAngelo Williams in the first round, let him have 265 carries over two seasons, see him average 4.6 yards per carry ... and then draft his replacement in the first round two years later.

Um, why?

Still, not complaining. Every pick that goes by without an offensive lineman being selected makes it more likely that Branden Albert makes it to 23...

Branden Albert does not make it to 23; he is picked by the Chiefs.

Stuart Fraser: Booooooooooo. Hissssssssss.

Yeah, this is a smart pick by the Chiefs. The line seriously needs rebuilding, and starting with a mobile guard might not be a bad idea given this is Herm "forward pass, what's that?" Edwards' team.

Boooooo.

Bill Barnwell: Chris Long said Albert was the best player in the draft. Granted, he played against the guy, but he said Albert was better than any offensive lineman he went up against and it wasn't even close.

Albert and Dorsey? That's a hell of a start to your rebuilding plan.

Aaron Schatz: Build from the lines out, baby. Build from the lines out. I like Kansas City's draft.

Ben Riley: Wow, Bill Belichick is rocking the Regis Philbin electric pink monotone tie-and-shirt suit look. Truly amazing.

Brian Billick: "Bill, people talk about the emotional letdown coming off a Super Bowl loss..."

Belichick: "You didn't hear me bringing it up Brian."

The Lions trade up for the Chiefs' spot at 17, originally acquired by Kansas City in the Jared Allen trade.

Sean McCormick: Assuming Detroit takes Rashard Mendenhall here, this is going to be yet another draft where Matt Millen superficially seems to be doing a good job of maneuvering and getting the best player on the board.

And we all know that this spells doom for Rashard Mendenhall.

The Lions select Gosder Cherilus.

Sean McCormick: !!!!!

Ben Riley: The ESPN "Fan Grade" for the Cherilus pick: F. Every single other fan grade I've seen has been an A. Riots in the Motor City.

Stuart Fraser: OK, so what does the NFL have against Jeff Otah? I don't think anybody had Cherilus ahead of him. Of course, this is Matt Millen we're talking about.

Doug Farrar: The Lions just drafted a right tackle halfway through the first round. This, of course, makes complete sense.

Michael Tanier: Haven't been reading these. Just wanna interject: Lions ... duhhhhhhh.

The Ravens select Joe Flacco.

Sean McCormick: Baltimore just made out like bandits. As someone noted, if you reprogrammed the Terminator to play football, he'd throw the ball like Joe Flacco. And the Ravens got to pick up a bunch of picks in the process.

Bill Barnwell: How far can Joe Flacco throw the ball on his knees?

... and, literally as I type that, they show the shot of Flacco throwing the ball for distance. God.

Here's the list of Division I-AA quarterbacks drafted in the early rounds:

  • Phil Simms
  • Neil Lomax
  • Bubby Brister
  • Steve McNair
  • Jonathan Quinn
  • Giovanni Carmazzi
  • Josh McCown
  • Tavaris Jackson

Not as bad as I might have though. Of course, I still think Flacco is more Brister and less McNair, but we'll see.

Sean McCormick: Flacco's tools are better than any of those guys. It's not even close.

Ben Riley: I'm sure that playing against colleges called "Towson" and "Monmouth" is a good way to show off one's "tools."

Sean McCormick: Tell it to Jerry Rice.

Anyway, the interesting thing is where Baltimore had to go to make the pick. My guess is that they thought Tampa Bay would take Flacco at 20.

Stuart Fraser: Quarterbacks are more than an arm. Flacco is not tremendously mobile -- yeah,
I know, Ben Roethlisberger ran a horribly slow 50 too, but Roethlisberger is such an exceptional (in the literal sense) talent that he's probably best not used as a comparator for anyone. Flacco's pocket presence will be severely examined whilst he's trying to wait for one of Baltimore's recievers to come open.

Sean McCormick: Flacco's footwork isn't ideal, but he has quick feet. I would normally be concerned about a guy who was 6-6 because they have trouble getting back and setting up before the rush gets to them, but Flacco has the foot speed to get back quickly. If you watch him on tape, he's actually pretty mobile. I mean, Delaware ran the option with him from time to time.

Mike Tanier: I had a little pucker session over at Deadspin when Flacco got drafted. But I stand by every word about how thrilled I am for him. I'm not going to pretend to offer unbiased scouting on him, but I think he can grow into a heck of a QB.

Doug Farrar: The Seahawks took time with Henne, Flacco and Brohm. Not a real big surprise. If the Seahawks trade down in the first to go up in the second (as has been rumored), I thought it might be to get a quarterback in the second round.

Ben Riley: The Seahawks might draft a quarterback, just not Flacco. Ruskell doesn't do small-school guys in the early rounds. Like, ever.

The Panthers trade up to acquire the Eagles' pick, then select Jeff Otah.

Ben Riley: That scream you just hear was Doug Farrar watching the best left tackle still on the board going to Carolina. Panthers are singlehandedly ruining Seattle's draft.

Doug Farrar: Nah. I don't like Otah for Seattle at all. They already have too many hybrid tackle/guard guys. Better not to try and make him into the agile tackle he most certainly isn't.

Bill Barnwell: Oh yeah. A 1, a 2, and a 4 for the Eagles' 1 is nice.

Ben Riley: Mayock on the NFL Network said that they were worried about St. Louis or Seattle. Which is absurd, of course.

Doug Farrar: The Otah pick is interesting. The Panthers now have a great right tackle who can't really play on the left side (Jordan Gross), a left tackle that the team wants to move inside to left guard (Travelle Wharton) and a rookie left tackle with serious issues against speed rushers. That's one big, powerful
logjam. How effective it will be, well, we'll see.

The Buccaneers select Aqib Talib.

Sean McCormick: It's a good thing you can't get any weed in Tampa. Wait a minute...

Russell Levine: Well, Gruden has never been a big character guy, so I'm not shocked by the pick of Talib. I don't like it, but truth be told this is about the spot -- 20 -- where the risk factor of taking a dubious character starts to make it reasonable. I do know that Talib is hugely talented and fits a need.

The Cowboys select Felix Jones.

Stuart Fraser: Ooh, all the "Jerry Jones hasn't picked a Razorback since 1970" people will have to find a new tag now.

I have a horrible premonition that the Steelers are going to pick Rashard Mendenhall. Please, Mike Tomlin, Kevin Colbert, don't. Yes, there are no sensible offensive linemen left to pick. Still, you are thin at outside linebacker. You are thin at cornerback and one of your starters is 32. You could do with another wide receiver because Nate Washington really isn't the right guy to replace Hines Ward. You have five running backs on the roster currently and between them they must be capable of doing as well as might plausibly be expected given how bad your offensive line is.

The Steelers select Rashard Mendenhall.

Sean McCormick: Mendenhall was the best player on the board. It's tough to argue with the pick considering the value of the player, even if it doesn't help them right away.

Ben Riley: Unbelievable value pick for the Steelers.

Seahawks nation warily turns its eyes toward Kentwan Balmer...

The Titans select Chris Johnson.

Sean McCormick: Dangerous player, and there was rumbling that several teams gave Johnson a first-round grade. He's arguably more of an impact player than any of the receivers who were options at this point. Interesting pick. Looks like receivers a-plenty in the second round.

The Cowboys select Mike Jenkins. The Texans follow by selecting Duane Brown.

Sean McCormick: Well, it's safe to say that this draft didn't work out for Houston at all.

Stuart Fraser: Um, that may be just a teensy bit premature.

I am still moping about Pittsburgh taking a running back. Still, I guess Houston's first-round experience was probably worse.

It seems that nobody at all wants a wide reciever in the first round. Is it really that horrible a draft for them?

Sean McCormick: Pretty much.

Actually, I would expect about five guys to go in the next ten picks.

Ben Riley: Actually, Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News thinks this is one of the deepest WR classes in recent years. It's just that no one is a Calvin Johnson/Larry Fitzgerald-like standout.

Background music for Seahawks picks: Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" and Pearl Jam's "Evenflow." In Seattle, it's always 1992.

Stuart Fraser: My favorite ever bit of background music was when the NFL Fieldpass radio feed faded back from a commercial just prior to the Jets' pick in 2006 with the Kaiser Chiefs' "I Predict A Riot." I always wondered who they thought the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS were going to pick.

The Seahawks select Lawrence Jackson.

Ben Riley: Ruskell is nothing if not consistent. In the first round, he's taking a defensive player from a major program. It's just that simple.

The 49ers select Kentwan Balmer.

Bill Barnwell: Hey! Another guy with a somewhat questionable work ethic. Fortunately, the 49ers locker room is so strong as to pull Balmer in line ... oh. Oh well.

The Jets trade up for the Packers' pick and select Kentwan Balmer.

Sean McCormick: Aside from being a harsh condemnation of the wide receivers, it's a pick that makes a lot of sense for teams with the Jets quarterbacks. With a smaller quarterback like Clemens, or a weak-armed guy like Pennington, you absolutely need a quality target at tight end who can open up the middle of the field. The Jets have been absolutely hamstrung by their lack of a third target in the passing game after Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery. There were a number of ways to go about addressing the issue, but this one works best with their quarterbacks.

Mike Tanier: Chris Baker and Bubba Franks and now Keller? I guess there's a role for all three. I guess drafting Keller makes more sense than signing Franks, but it's still a reach in my book.

Sean McCormick: Franks is there to block, and he's hardly at a point in his career where he's a reason to avoid drafting someone. Baker is a good player but is threatening to hold out if he doesn't get a new deal. Now he's not getting a new deal. Expect to see him shipped out -- maybe even Sunday.

Mike Tanier: Overall, I give the new 10-minute format five trillion thumbs up, though those of us who try to do pick-by-pick stuff on the Internet may have to rethink how it is done.

Round 2

The Rams select Donnie Avery.

Bill Barnwell: Donnie Avery?

Sean McCormick: Donnie Avery.

Stuart Fraser: Given that most of the people who were evaluating wide receivers thought one or more of them would be picked in the first round, I'm not terribly worried by the fact that the first one who went isn't one of the ones that was supposed to be the best.

Or, "if in doubt, assume the NFL teams know more than we do,"

Sean McCormick: Atlanta's decision to take Ryan looks even worse based on how the board shook out. Brohm and Henne are both still on the board, and the board doesn't match up especially well with their needs. Don't like it at all.

The Saints select Tracy Porter.

Doug Farrar: Tracy Porter is an absolutely perfect pick for the Saints. He's ridiculously quick in man coverage, and that will have New Orleans ignoring the fact that he's not a great tackler. Good news is that he can out-cover Hole in Zone, who has been told that he'll be playing nickel from now on. Disgruntled, HiZ has demanded a trade to the Bengals.

The Bills select James Hardy.

Will Carroll: I talked yesterday in Buffalo about Hardy vs. Devin Thomas in the first. Now they get Hardy in the second? I realize I'm the least expert guy here, but this seems like such a steal.

Sean McCormick: Well, the Bills certainly got a big receiver. I'm not sure he's a huge steal, though. Clearly the receivers were badly overvalued. Hardy is a nice red-zone threat, but he doesn't run very crisp routes and he doesn't really pull away when he gets the ball on short passes. I also worry about these really big receivers in the NFL, as they usually take a while to learn how to beat press coverage. Often they're better once they've moved on to their second teams.

Ned Macey: As an Indy native living in Ann Arbor, awfully strange to see two IU guys go before the second Michigan guy. Baltimore definitely smoke-screened Peter King on Henne, but if they did like him (just not as much as Flacco), I wonder if they're upset they didn't just sit and take him with their second-rounder.

When are the Eagles going to pick? Next week sometime?

The Minnesota Vikings are on the clock.

Sean McCormick: Is our long national nightmare of Tavaris Jackson coming to an end?

The Vikings select Tyrell Johnson.

Sean McCormick: I guess the answer would be no. We'll have to settle for our long national nightmare of Rex Grossman coming to an end.

The Bears select Matt Forte.

Sean McCormick: No! The NFC North quarterback blight rages unabated.

Ned Macey: I agree with Steve Young on this one. Do the Bears really think Grossman is better than Benson? When the O-line played well in 2006, Benson was fine. I guess with two sort-of-equal players (Brohm and Henne), it is sort of hard to pull the trigger on the first one. Nobody I guess is likely to take one before Tampa Bay, so maybe one of these teams can trade back in after the first one goes.

The Bengals select Jerome Simpson.

Stuart Fraser: Good to see Cincinnati drafting a receiver. The Bengals obviously still have problems along the defensive line, but in many ways I think WR was the biggest problem. Something I'm going to talk about a bit in PFP 2008 is how the Bengals ought to be asking themselves "What Would Polian Do?" given that they seem to be trying to build a team somewhat similar to his sort of roster.

One of his hallmarks is to address any problem with your area of strength (i.e., offense in general and passing offense in particular) before trying to improve your weakness. So the crucial thing for Cincy to do was pick a wide receiver as soon as reasonably practicable -- and not even Matt Millen wanted any part of this lot in the first round, so R2 it is.

Looking at the list of teams remaining to pick, is it possible that neither Henne nor Brohm will even go on the first day? Is this a new record for the player named in the 0-4 wins category in PFP?

The Redskins select Malcolm Kelly, then the Jaguars select Quentin Groves.

Sean McCormick: Interesting to see teams loading up at certain positions. Washington is flooding their receiving corp and now the Jaguars have taken two consecutive edge rushers, and in both cases the teams got terrific value with their second selections.

The Packers select Brian Brohm.

Sean McCormick: And the NFC North quarterback blight is over! (And to think it was the team with arguably the best quarterback in the division that had to take Brohm.)

The Steelers select Limas Sweed.

Stuart Fraser: I hope 6-foot-4 is tall enough for you, Ben. So, Pittsburgh upgraded a position where the starter was below average (also a Pro Bowler, but um, no, he's really not that good) and a position where the starter was above average but into an age-related decline. I should probably be happier with this than I actually am.

It does seem rather unfair to Najeh Davenport, who outclassed Parker in terms of production last year and is now probably going to get cut, given that there are probably only three roster spots for running backs and the franchise more or less has to give two of them to Mendenhall and Moore (or else look *really* stupid). I can't see Parker being cut, even though... well, I think we need a table here:

Player DPAR Rank DVOA Rank Runs Yards TD Suc% Rank
Najeh Davenport 17.5 18 20.4% 8 107 500 5 52% 9
Willie Parker 4.1 38 -11.3% 44 321 1317 2 42% 42

Maybe they will keep all four backs, which doesn't say anything encouraging for the Steelers run/pass ratio in '08.

Maybe the offensive line is better than we all think and it's just Willie Parker is a terrible back. Najeh Davenport's statistics kind of suggest that. On the other hand...

The EIC Returns

Aaron Schatz: Hmm. I guess I should not have expected to come home from a barbecue at 8 p.m. and hop right into Audibles... but hey, Jason the cartoonist was in town from Denver and I don't get to see him often. We watched some of the draft and got to make fun of Leodis McKelvin's name together. We also noted that Tampa Bay now leads the league in players whose first and last names both end in "ib."

Ned doesn't like the "early second-round quarterback" strategy? I wasn't aware that was a specific strategy. Drew Brees worked out, but what other early second-round quarterbacks can people remember prior to last year? None, for a good reason. From 1998-2006, the only quarterbacks chosen between picks 30 and 50 were Brees and Patrick Ramsey (technically the last pick of the first round).

Ned Macey: Aaron raises a good point about the strategy I don't like, so I'll rename it the second-tier quarterback strategy. Between picks 18-60 (to cover Flacco-Henne) in the same 98-06 time period, we get (in rough order of quality) Brees, Pennington, Campbell, Grossman, Shaun King, Boller, Batch, Losman, Quincy Carter, Ramsey, Tuiasosopo, with an incomplete for Clemens and Rodgers.

My theory is that quarterbacks necessarily get pushed too high, so the second-tier guys are players with very real flaws. They seem like either marginal starters or good back-ups.

Now, obviously, some disastrous busts are in the top 17, but there have also been about eight or nine very good to great quarterbacks taken in this same period. I believe top-17 picks in this period make six of this year's top 14 in DPAR, compared with one of the other group (two with Favre if we expand the time period). I realize that a bust hurts more with a high pick and understand why you would stay away from Ryan, but I don't think the strategy for finding a guy is to take from the second tier.

Will Carroll: How much of this was that they fell and fell, but when they went, it was in a grouping of about four or five teams that might have taken them if they passed? Might the teams have perceived this as "we have to take him now" rather than as the actual value of the pick?

Sean McCormick: But I think that ignores recent history, as teams are increasingly wary of investing high first-round picks in quarterbacks and are looking to go the other way. It's not a coincidence that in the last three drafts you've gotten Tavaris Jackson, Kellen Clemens, John Beck, Kevin Kolb, Drew Stanton, Brian Brohm and Chad Henne after years of there being very few second-round selections (and I would count Trent Edwards and Brodie Croyle, who both went high-third, as part of the trend). You're also seeing the second first-round quarterback drop past where he was expected to go -- huge drops in the case of Rodgers and Quinn, a smaller but still significant drop for Leinart. Whatever the drafting trends were in 1999 that created that
bloated quarterback class, they're very much going the other way now.

Aaron Schatz: I'm sure Jonathan Stewart is a good running back, but is John Fox allergic to DeAngelo Williams or something? That team had a number of other holes. They needed a running back in the first round, instead of letting Williams start? Now we get into one of the huge problems with doing the projections in PFP, trying to read Fox's mind as to how he'll split the carries between two backs.

Both Baltimore and New England made out like bandits. There's nothing like trading down and getting extra picks so you can take the player you wanted anyway and pay him a lower salary.

I think we're stuck with Cincinnati not solving the Chad Johnson issue before we have to write the Bengals chapter and send the book to press. We're going to be stuck with a chapter that talks about "what if Johnson isn't back," the way the BP guys had to go to press waiting for Minnesota to finally pull the trigger on a Johan Santana trade.

Tennessee: The Detroit of running backs.

Brohm to Green Bay and Henne to Miami is pretty funny. Talk about your quarterback controversies. It's one thing to argue about the young prospect versus the veteran, but now you have two fanbases who get to debate the virtues of one young prospect versus another slightly older prospect.

Stuart Fraser: Aaron Rodgers has, I think, a better chance than John Beck, who to me clearly looks like "some guy the old coach/GM drafted and is clearly just a placeholder until the new management's passer gets up to speed."

Rodgers probably has the more formidable competitor; that said, Holmgren has been quoted as saying it takes quarterbacks three years to understand his version of the WCO, meaning that Rodgers has a substantial head start. In Miami, the offense is new to everyone. Heck, in Miami having an offense will be new to everyone.

Mike Tanier: I am not listening to any Eagles talk radio this weekend. But I do agree with the angry fans: it's not like there was no place on this team for, say, Kenny Philips.

Sean McCormick: Several teams had what look to be very strong drafts. As I indicated, I thought Miami made the proper choice at the top of the draft, and they did a good job by eschewing Henne at the top of the second for Merling, as they correctly determined that there was no one else really in the market and that they could afford to wait. I also liked their predraft trade with Dallas, so you're talking about a very productive 48 hours.

Kansas City had a tremendous first three picks. Everyone had the Chiefs pegged as a team likely to reach badly for an offensive lineman, but instead they turned the fifth pick into the top player in the draft, added arguably the second-best line prospect in Branden Albert, and then took a corner in Brandon Flowers who most people agreed was the best-looking secondary player in the draft when you turn on the film. Flowers didn't run well and that hurt his stock, but in Herm Edwards' defense, he won't be asked to play a lot of man coverage, and his ability to support the run and to deliver punishment will be maximized. Really nice drafting.

Washington and Jacksonville took different routes but had the same rough idea; the Redskins traded down and flooded their receiving corp with fresh blood, while the Jaguars traded up twice to flood their defense with edge rushers.

I very much liked the two players the Ravens took in Joe Flacco and Ray Rice, and I liked the spots in the draft where they took them even better. I'm sure some people will question the decision to trade back up to 18 to land Flacco, but supposedly the Jets were trying to package picks with Flacco as the target, so the Ravens didn't want to miss out. If you consider Flacco and Henne to be equivalent prospects, then it doesn't look so good. But if you consider Flacco and Matt Ryan to be equivalent prospects -- and I do -- then Baltimore's maneuvering looks great.

Bill Barnwell: I'm not upset with the Eagles. They didn't have a position of obvious need and got blown away with an offer (basically, trade this year's 1 for a likely similar 1 and pick up a 2 and a 4 in the process). That's almost always a good trade to take.

Mike Tanier: The Eagles need some developmental offensive linemen. They need a safety. Could use a linebacker with some real blitz ability. Depth at CB assuming Lito moves. They need receivers, though they did get one, and really there was no great option in this draft.

I just wanted them to follow up the Samuel signing with some other bold move. "Hey. we got Philips, check out our secondary!" "Hey, we got Mendenhall or Felix, watch us run teams over." Nope. Meh.

Bill Barnwell: I'm very interested in why the Patriots think Mayo works as opposed to any other linebackers who have come out the past few years.

The most interesting thing for me about this draft is how the wide receivers went. There was a perception as to how that whole group of players would break down and it went almost entirely differently than how anyone predicted, with teams reaching for players lower on most mock draft boards than the well-known group of players at the top of the list (Kelly, Thomas, Jackson, etc.). Any ideas as to why that is? Has there been a shift in how receivers are perceived, or is it just that there can be significant amounts of variance in a relatively middling crop of players?

Some thoughts on second-round picks:

  • Terrence Wheatley is pretty much your ideal Patriots defensive back -- talented, able to play on special teams, and oft-injured. He basically plays and feels like Randall Gay redux, which is something that's useful.
  • Martellus Bennett (DAL) seems like a poor replacement for Anthony Fasano. The Cowboys don't need a tight end who can get downfield, they need one who can block well on the interior and take over Fasano's role. Essentially, they went for best athlete available, and I just don't see Bennett having the right kind of impact on this team.
  • Mike Pollak (IND) is one of those players where, after you look at his selection and the team that chose him, simply makes perfect sense. Pollak's undersized, but he's smart and swift. There's also something I've been looking at in offensive line selections where the first center chosen is almost always a starter two or three years into his career for a good chunk of time. Pollak would be that guy in this year's draft.
  • I don't get Miami picking Henne. In the first round, you're passing on Ryan with the idea that not having players around him will prevent him from being a star. In the second round, drafting Henne means that you're putting him into a marginally better situation -- as good as I think Jake Long is, he's not going to change things overnight. You're also basically locking yourself into having Henne or Beck as your starter for the next four years; otherwise, you're going to have to make a significant free agent outlay on a quarterback or spend a first-round pick on one, which is just repeating the same mistakes you've made before, spending pick after pick to try and improve a position but never going out and really comitting to bringing in an elite player.
  • I'm very conflicted. I've said such nice things about the Ravens' drafting abilities before, but I hated their draft today. I apologize to Mike, but Flacco seems like Kyle Boller redux to me, and Rice is the one running back amongst the top guys that the adjusted 40 time score hated. Essentially, to succeed on the pro level, he's going to need to be an elite-level receiver out of the backfield and superb blocker, because he's simply not going to have the running ability to make it worth anyone's while.
  • It's interesting to see the Jaguars basically employ the Broncos drafting plan from last year in 2008, considering how relatively ineffective it was.
  • In the FO Mock Draft, I picked Malcolm Kelly for the Redskins in the first round. Kelly ended up going to them in the second round. I can't emphasize how highly I think of this move. Kelly's the perfect fit for what that offense needed, a possession receiver who runs smart routes and has reliable hands. He's a great foil for Moss and allows Randle El to return to the slot. This will probably come back to haunt me, but I think Kelly ends up being a Rookie of the Year candidate. It's just such a good fit. I don't know if I can say the same about Devin Thomas, since Thomas' route-running isn't up to Kelly's caliber. Either way, Jason Campbell should have plenty of options this year.
  • On the other hand, Eddie Royal has a 5-catch, 27-yard season to look forward to as the Broncos' fifth wideout.

One more first-round comment: Felix Jones was the other running back who the adjusted 40-time score saw as below-average (103.98). With all the talk that he's such an explosive big-play back, that simply didn't come out in the combine numbers.

Sean McCormick: I think the receivers came off the way they did for a pretty simple reason: The guys who were thought of as the top group weren't fast enough. The two guys who came off the board first -- Keller (who was drafted for his receiving chops) and Avery -- placed 1-2 in the short shuttle at the combine. I think the fear is that the bigger receivers didn't have the necessary quickness to get in and out of their breaks or to get cleanly off the line.

Mike Tanier: Without one or two guaranteed guys, it makes sense that the wide receivers would be hard to predict. Take the top 2 or 3 prospects away from any position and there's a lot of guesswork. It all came down to system and specific need when each team picked. The Bills needed size. The Eagles needed quickness/return ability. The Redskins needed bodies. While I usually hate their draft strategy (let's take Saturday off), I like the idea of getting two pretty good prospects from this class and letting them compete.

Russell Levine: As a Michigan/Bucs fan I'd just like to express my gratitude to Gruden for drafting Dexter Jackson of Appalachian State. The guy ruined my entire fall and now I get to watch him become Jacquez Green 2.0 in Tampa.

Stuart Fraser:It is interesting to compare how the Bengals look now and how they might look had they accepted Washington's offer for Chad Johnson. The Bengals took Keith Rivers and Jerome Simpson, the latter of which I would regard as a reach if I had any confidence that draftnik groupthink had evaluated this year's wide receiver class halfway competently. This leaves them with a big hole along the defensive line and a smaller one at safety (and still some questions in their multiple-receiver packages). If they'd accepted the Redskins' approach for Chad Johnson, who I'm becoming more and more convinced will not return at anything like his previous form if he returns at all, they could have grabbed someone like Kentwan Balmer or Phillip Merling with that pick (they could have traded down again and still grabbed one of them, actually).

Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make proud. And embroil them in a ridiculous dispute with a praise-motivated wide receiver represented by Drew Rosenhaus.

Doug Farrar: I never understood why the Redskins were so hot on making the Johnson deal in the first place. But yeah, the Bengals get the booby prize. If you're offered up to two first-round picks for a 30-year-old disgruntled wide receiver that is spending his entire off-season bemoaning his presence on your team, the only potential drawback is that you might injure yourself getting to the phone quickly enough to agree to the deal. So the Redskins kept their picks and had a very solid first day. Jim Zorn's offense doesn't require a Hall of Fame receiver; it needs three receivers who are consistently good. Zorn sees Randle El as his new Bobby Engram and Santana Moss as his Deion Branch. He needed a big receiver who would require a defense's focus, and he got two of them in Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly. The Chiefs and Dolphins were Saturday's big winners, but the Redskins were the ultimate beneficiaries of the fact that sometimes, the draft doesn't go the way you want it to, and you wind up thanking random deities that it didn't.

As far as the Seattle picks, I was doing these mock drafts for Seahawks.NET, and I kept circling around USC's Lawrence Jackson thinking how obvious it would be if they went with him. Then I would think, "Well, you want the mocks to be interesting, so bring up a player like Tyrell Johnson who people maybe haven't heard of." But Tim Ruskell doesn't like "interesting." He doesn't like projects, and he doesn't like surprises. He wants his day one draft picks to be as NFL-ready as possible, and that's what he got in Jackson and John Carlson. Jackson started 51 games for NFL U, and though he was kind of the forgotten man among first-round defensive ends, he may be the most versatile. He's played all over the line, rushed the passer from inside and out (Justin Tuck?) and has even had some success in coverage. Carlson's that same type of versatile but unspectacular player. He can do everything required of the more traditional tight end position, and he can do it now, at a level that will allow him to compete for serious starting time right away.

Aaron Schatz: And unlike last year's tight end, he is not yet old enough to run for President.

Doug Farrar: My big "HUH???" of the day had to be Detroit. Gosder Cherilus strikes me as a guy who just stands there and mauls people -- not a lot of technique or facility at the left tackle position. The Lions apparently see him as a right tackle out of the box, which is fine, but why do you go with him that early? I've read that they desperately wanted Derrick Harvey (good move, Jacksonville) or Jerod Mayo, but I don't get Cherilus being third on the board of any team with a mid-first round pick. Oh, and by trading down two picks, they effectively passed on Branden Albert. Ouch.

Mike Tanier: I'm the kind of guy who says "Geez, we shouldn't pile on the Lions cuz it gets old". But my God, everything they do is just awful.

Finally, a Few Thoughts on Day Two

Stuart Fraser: I'd just like to point out that pick 71 is listed as Ravens (from Ravens through Bills and Jaguars). Is everybody managing to follow all these trades?

Bill Barnwell: I'd like to place a bet on "Bryan Smith appearing in the bottom half of the FO Top 25 Prospects in 2009".

The Patriots chose a quarterback in the third round? That must mean he's twice as good as Tom Brady!

Stuart Fraser: I wonder what odds you could get on Pittsburgh going the first three rounds without drafting a lineman on either side of the ball (Bruce Davis is an outside linebacker in Pittsburgh's 3-4). I'm left wondering if they think that either Chris Keomeatu or Sean Mahan is a plausible starter at left guard, on the grounds that fourth-round picks aren't normally considered likely opening day starters.

Doug Farrar: I'm really enjoying Charley Casserly's analysis on the NFL Network, especially his takes on Demetrius Rodgers-Cromartie and Mario Manningway. Turns out the NFL Network won't miss Bryant Gumbel after all.

Bill Barnwell: I love Baltimore grabbing Oniel Cousins at the end of the third round. He's a project, but he's in the right place to be developed into a starter.

Stuart Fraser: According to the NFL.com draft tracker, Tennessee fourth-round pick William Hayes is 0'0" tall, which might make him a bit undersized to succeed at this level.

Doug Farrar: Undersized, yes, but many intangibles. He came in under everybody's radar, for sure.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 27 Apr 2008

216 comments, Last at 04 May 2008, 9:41pm by Alex

Comments

1
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 1:24pm

First!

I don't get the Broncos' pick of Royal...sure they needed a return guy, but they just picked up Colbert, Parker, and Jackson...WR wasn't a need, and the Broncos have so many--like ILB.

2
by Jon (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 1:25pm

A couple points:

1. re: Albert, Virginia has Eugene Monroe at LT, who'll be a first round pick next year.

2. It's a little ironic that all the talk recently was about Shockey moving, but Chris Baker is the TE who won't be long for New York. Echoes of Kendall/Strahan last year.

3. In defense of Rice, he really runs with a head full of steam, playing like a much larger player. Baltimore didn't really have a good backup in place.

3
by FullMoonOverTulsa (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 1:35pm

Does Bill Barnwell really think Bobby Carpenter is ahead of Kevin Burnett on the depth chart?

4
by Adam H (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 1:42pm

I would be mad at the Eagles if I found out they didn't take that offer to trade out of the first. I like moving down as far as they did to get Jackson too.

5
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:05pm

Does anyone really think that Matt Ryan is so much more likely to be a good NFL QB than Chad Henne that is justifies the very large gap in where these two were drafted?

It is interesting to look at what the Jags gave up to get a de who has never played in the league, versus what the Vikings gave up for a 26 year old guy who has performed at an elite level in the league. I think the drinking issues are a worthwhile risk. Now, of course, we'll see Allen pull a Koren Robinson.

6
by Joe Skolnik (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:11pm

Matt Ryan is GOING to be an average starting QB at worst (Think Jake Delhomme) and a good WB(not great) at best (think Matt Hasselback)

Chad Henne has the same ceiling as matt ryan, but he could also be a terrible pro

7
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:15pm

I like the Vikings choice of Booty in the fith round, as much as one care about such things. He's used to a pro style offense, and was held back by a broken finger last year. It seems to be a decent pick.

8
by langsty (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:16pm

I had no problem with the Ryan pick. OK, that's not exactly true - I wanted Dorsey. I REAAAAALLY wanted Dorsey. But I think Ryan's the best QB prospect in the draft by a *significant* margin, and they needed to make that step to commit to a young QB at some point anyway. Thomas Dimitroff, an incredibly bright football man, said his April 5th meeting with Ryan was the most impressive whiteboard display he's ever seen. Ryan has Peyton and Brady-type study skills and football smarts, not to mention his excellent mechanics (best in this year's class) and his ferocious work ethic. I'm ready to buy into him, to hell with the Lewin projection.

9
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:29pm

Does Albert remind anyone else of Jim Parker?

10
by Joe Skolnik (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:36pm

And Ryan had BY FAR the worst supporting cast arround him this year compared to Brohm or Henne so i dont think that the lewin projection system took that into account. Ok Joe Flacco had worse, but he was facing worse competition. I dont think Ryan was the #3 prospect, but the gap between him and Flacco and Hene and Brohm was certainly warranted

11
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:39pm

The 49ers select Kentwan Balmer.

Bill Barnwell: Hey! Another guy with a somewhat questionable work ethic. Fortunately, the 49ers locker room is so strong as to pull Balmer in line … oh. Oh well.

The Jets trade up for the Packers’ pick and select Kentwan Balmer.

There is something wrong there. Keller perhaps?

12
by Chris UK (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:39pm

Jets didnt move up to sign kentwan balmer, otherwise a good read

13
by Sociojoe (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:44pm

No Bears commentary, but hardly suprising considering how bland their draft has been so far. If you look closely though you'll notice they're picking a lot of SEC guys, not that I know what that means however.

As for the picks themselves, I don't think anyone can really argue with taking Williams. As far as value and need goes, my unsolicited opinion is that it was the right pick, and altough he wasn't a big riser, one report I read says he allowed two sacks in 1558 offensive snaps...IN THE SEC.

As for forte, taking a RB who can put up yards like that will never get old, but unles I'm mistaken they probably could have traded down for him and received a late third or an early fourth for their troubles. Considering how many WRs and CBs there were sitting there I can only assume some team must have been willing to trade up, like Ten. for Sweed or something.

As a final note, losing out on Brohm hurts more than any team save possibly Baltimore can imagine, and the sting of seeing him in "turf and mustard" for the forseeable future leaves a foul taste in my mouth.

At least we didn't take Boller's clone, LOL Jesus with practically the same pick too.

pps: if angelo doesn't take a flyer on woodson with one of those 7's I'm going to be one sad bears fan....err....panda.

14
by Sociojoe (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:51pm

re: 6

There was never much doubt among the wirters that ryan was "probably" a better prospect than brohm and henne. That's what we have scouts for. The argument was he was going to get Brady/Peyton money without playing a snap and without being a "much' better than Henne/Brohm, especially according to the Lewin forecast.

I also have doubts his floor is Jake Delhomme. I think his floor is a guy Atlanta already has on it's roster. Joey Harrington.

15
by The Original Sam (formerly sam!) (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:56pm

The picks the Jags gave up were "worth" about the 12th or 14th pick (on either chart, I think) and they got to keep their 2nd-round pick. Points-wise, they absolutely did not give up too much to move to #8. And to get to 12 or 14 requires a team who wants to trade with Jacksonville at 12 or 14 -- and like you said, if Cincy picks him, then the Jags' pick of him is defensible (assuming he is the player they think he is, of course).

They got an every-downs defensive end who is NOT a turd and who they are pretty sure is a future star. If he slips up, he's not suspended for a year or longer. And they don't have to pay him Dwight Freeney money.

16
by Sociojoe (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:56pm

re:7

I agree, his strengths match what the Vikings offense is trying to do, and it's not like they invested a significant pick in him. I think I read somewhere Ron Wolf used to draft Qbs like that a lot and ended up with Hassleback, Warner, Brunell, etc.. Worked for a few teams as i recall....New England took that route if i remember correctly.

17
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:59pm

Re: QBs

Comment 9 is dead on about the quality of players around each QB. Boston College had a shit running game (3.2 and 3.4 ypc the past two seasons) and has no WRs of any quality. Matt Ryan is the BC offense. I agree with the FO writer who wrote that he doesn't think Ryan is the 3rd best player in the draft, but I think he's clearly the best QB prospect.

I don't get the Henne hype (unless you believe he was never coached at Michigan). Was he substantially better from his freshman to senior years? He still tends to miss wide open guys despite having great talent around him. He's got the long stride and average release. Other than having a real NFL arm (he can throw that deep out extremely well), what else does he bring to the table?

Does anybody watch FCS (I-AA) football? Flacco was actually on TV for the national title game versus Appalachian State. He looked pretty average to me, but then again Appalachian State might be one of the top 50 teams regardless of division in the nation.

18
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 2:59pm

Yeah, I'm not saying Henne is a better prospect, or even tied with Ryan. I'm just doubtful that there is a 54-pick difference between the two. When you have a bad footbal team, it doesn't seem sensible to use such a high pick on a qb unless you have reason to think he is of Peyton Manning or Troy Aikman quality, or something along those lines. I just don't think Ryan comes close to that standard as a qb prospect. Better for the Falcons to go with some muscle types who can knock people on their ass.

19
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 3:04pm

Sam, until a guy does it, you just don't know what a guy will be. I'll take the guy who has done it, drinking and all.

20
by Dave (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 3:25pm

I wonder if the Packers took Brohm largely to keep the Vikes, Bears, and Lions from doing so when they remembered that they don't actually have quarterbacks.

21
by James, London (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 3:34pm

Fun read. I'm utterly ignorant of college football, so I don't have too much to say about Miami's picks thus far. What I will say is that the still have a void where most NFL teams have a secondary, (Will Allen excepted), and that Tom Brady and Randy Moss might put up a mile-and-a-half of passing yards against them next season.

I'm also a little suprised that Jason Taylor is still a Dolphin.

22
by langsty (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 3:40pm

"When you have a bad footbal team, it doesn’t seem sensible to use such a high pick on a qb unless you have reason to think he is of Peyton Manning or Troy Aikman quality, or something along those lines. I just don’t think Ryan comes close to that standard as a qb prospect."

Yeah, but I think Tom Dimitroff does believe he's a prospect along those lines.

The thing is, this is just kind of the price you pay when you have such a gaping hole at QB - you miss out on blue chippers like Dorsey, who I thought was the best player in the draft, because you're spending your top pick on a QB who might not even be one of the ten best players in the draft. I'll still take this over what Ned was calling the 'second-tier QB' strategy, where you target almost-as-good second rounders with an eye on making value-appropriate picks. I feel like you're kinda cheating yourself in that case, because you're not committing to the best possible prospect at the most important position, you're just hedging your bets. You HAVE to invest more resources in QBs than you do in other positions, and that includes 'reaching' for a top prospect, even if he is only marginally better than some of his peers (tho i think the gap between ryan and the rest of em is bigger than ppl are saying)

23
by bubqr (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 3:43pm

Harvey is far from a reach IMO. The guy is half the reason J.Moss was drafted that high last year(Other half is Jevon Kearse), and still got production while losing Thomas and Moss.

Chris Johnson a great pick ? Chris Henry anyone ? Who is VY going to throw to..

And I don't want to be a homer, but EAgles Day 1 was just fantastic. The 2 guys they got could havebeen picked with their round 1 and 2 picks without anyone really complaining, not only they did that, but they also added a 1st next year(!) and a 4th. Amazing first day.

24
by Tom D (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 4:10pm

The Bears said that Earl Bennett, who they drafted in the 3rd round was the #1 receiver on their board. So someone was terribly wrong on their evaluation of this years receivers.

25
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 4:19pm

Not only did Booger Mcfarland have a good career in Tampa, he was just recently traded away for a 2nd round pick with his age/tread on his tires.

Let me go down by saying that the Raiders made a HUGE mistake by taking Darren Mcfadden. The comparisons to AD are laughable, just like the Reggie Bush/ Gale Sayers comparisons were.

I was very pleased with the Giants thus far parlaying that wonderful draft from last year.

Phillips
Thomas
Manningham

Phillips addresses an Obvious need, Thomas and Manningham improve CB and WR. The Giants are already set at the ever important QB, DE positions and just move on down to address the other super important positions even with Steve Smith, Sinorice Moss, Aaron Ross fresh off the draft press in the past years.

How much do you guys love Mel Kiper and Mike Mayock ?

26
by MRH (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 4:20pm

I think the difference between what the Vikings did and the Jaguars did is the Vikings paid about $13M for the proven performance of Jared Allen ($31M guaranteed minus $15 guaranteed for #8 pick last year - also a DE - plus some inflation). The cap space is a resource just like the picks; if the Jags were even interested in Allen they may not have been willing or able to devote the cap to him that they were to Harvey. The Vikings had the cap room and were willing to take on the risk of tying it up on a proven player with a history of drinking. The Jags went with less money on an unproven player with no trouble that I know of in his past.

27
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 4:27pm

Chad Hennes release is too damn slow. I see flashes of Drew Bledsoe - Parcells 2nd to last QB.

I am glad Mike Hart fell way down the draft board and I am glad Mel Kiper was calling him a "backup" despite everybody else speaking of his "heart" and character. Kiper talked about Ray Rice and his 4.5 Running behind Michigans line averaging much more than Hart and his 4.7.

Darren Mcfadden = Willie Parker. Decent player but not worth the 4th pick.

Gled Dorsey is the best DT prospect to come out in years. It isn't just about penetration or tackles, this guy has the initial punch and then can control his gap. He won't get pushed around inside and is a key cog to develop a strong run defense ( ala Pat Williams).

I think your Patriots had a good pick with Crable, I also like Avril to be a solid and underrated pro for Detroit.

I am glad the Giants got Manningham at the end of rd 3. At one point in time he was projected as the best receiver in the draft before a slow combine and "drug" off field issues. The slow 40 doesn't bother me because he plays fast, and the drug stuff doesn't bother me either because 25% of the league smokes. ( Just don't get caught).

28
by Tom D (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 4:28pm

Mel Kiper hates Todd McShay, it's so funny/awkward to watch them go at it.

29
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 4:37pm

I don't understand how Andre Woodson gets drafted a round after Josh Johnson. Woodson beat LSU and was a preseason guy to watch while Josh Johnson was basically playing High School football. Sure his stats were great, but there are probably some college intramural teams at big colleges like Ohio State with more talent than some of the teams he played against. Woodson was throwing passes with the Glen Dorseys of the world in his face.

30
by jonnyblazin (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 4:41pm

I'm surprised more people don't compare Flacco to Jamarcus Russell. Both are super toosly, huge but not overly fast, and had a mid-sixties completion %. Each didn't start many games either, giving scouts a limited opportunity to do judge them.

Of course, the level of competition they faced was slightly different (only slightly).

The Boller comps to me don't make sense, Boller never proved he was an accurate passer in college (even though he's become reasonably accurate), and completion % is an important stat when translating college performance into the pros (or so I'm told).

31
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 4:42pm

I look at what the Bengals did this offseasons and then the Saints. Both teams have elite QB's and should have top 10 offenses at worst. The Saints are literally doing everything in their power to bring in a talented Vilma, Sedrick Ellis, draft other defense etc. Then I look at the Bengals. They spend 2 top picks on WRs because of their premadonna Receiver, their Pothead receiver, etc. The Bengals were picking guys up off the street to play LB last year, and that front 7 losses their best player etc. The Bengals did not address their front 7 like they needed to while the Saints did.

32
by Theo, Netherlands (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 4:48pm

The Seahawks drafted a long snapper.
You don't have to be real quite to hear the seahawk fans cry. Again.

33
by NewsToTom (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 4:50pm

Re #7
"[John David Booty is] used to a pro style offense, and was held back by a broken finger last year, a marked tendency to throw the ball to the other team, and questionable ability to throw the ball downfield. It seems to be a decent wasted pick."

Fixed.

34
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 4:54pm

John David Booty won the rose bowl against Chad Henne two years ago because of his much quicker release. The talented Michigan defense couldn't get there quite in time, where as Henne kept getting sacked over and over because of holding onto the ball longer and releaseing it slower. I don't know much about Flacco besides he is tall, has a strong arm, and played at a smaller school, but Booty is not a wasted pick.

35
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 4:56pm

How about the D-III love late in the 6th round--Wheaton and Mount Union. Good to see.

36
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 5:03pm

Brohm I think reeks of Drew Brees. NFLN had the best criticism of him for negatives "Good, not great". So his biggest fault was that he was good at everything.

Yet Matt Ryan's biggest fault was "Throws too many INTs". That seems like a really awful fault for a QB to have. That's like a WR whose fault is "struggles catching the ball".

Also, I think Philly really had to take that trade. They probably wanted Kenny Phillips, but that offer was just too good to pass up.

Either way about the QBs, Brohm outperforms Ryan in every statistical category. Is being the best QB on a top college team really enough for people to think Ryan is better than Brohm?

37
by roeselef (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 5:14pm

A stray thought on Green Bay's drafting of Brian Brohm, graded by some as the most pro-ready of the plethora of QBs available - protection for Aaron Rodgers or protection from Brett's "maybe I will, if they need me."

I can just hear Mike McCarthy now - "We got it covered Brett, really..."

38
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 5:16pm

MRH, the way the Vikings manage the cap, the extra 13 milion in guaranteed cash won't have much impact in future years. It's true, however, that the Jags may not have had the fexibility.

Unless the Vikings pull the trigger on another big trade, requiring more guaranteed money, or Tavaris Jackson has a huge year (yes, I've been drinking) I suspect they'll go into next year thirty or forty milion under the cap again.

39
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 5:21pm

Uh, news to Tom, there is a reason that Booty is a fifth round pick. Show me a qb picked that late that couldn't be described as "wasted" based upon a perceived major weakness. If they didn't have such a major weakness, they would be picked sooner.

40
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 5:28pm

Y'know, a really good long snapper who is also fast enough to run downfield and occasionally make a tackle on a punt just might be worth a 7th round pick. Mike Morris had a 14 year NFL career because of that skill combination.

41
by Dave (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 5:36pm

#32, maybe, but sometimes the reasons are illogical. I mean, Brohm was a 2nd-round pick mostly because Louisville couldn't play defense last year.

42
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 5:42pm

World of difference between dropping to the 2nd round, and dropping to the 5th, dave. Nobody drops to the fifth, especially from a BCS conference, unless major weaknesses are seen on film.

43
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 5:44pm

Brian Brohm will be better than Chad Henne. I would rather have Brohm in round 2 than Henne, and I would rather have Booty in round 5 when at the same time you could have drafted say Dan Connor or Mike Pollack and rebuilt the line or D.

#35, I love how people are still making fun of Brett Favre. Everybody loves to kick guys on their way out but wait until the Aaron Rodgers era opens and this team is 3-8 wins worse depending on Rodgers. Will you still be making fun of Bretty Favre? Most of the anti-Favre crowd dissapeared after last year but you still have to come out and bash the guy.

44
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 5:48pm

I am honestly not that hot on this QB crop in general. I am not that high on Ryan, I liked what I saw out of Brohm, Henne has huge bust potential, Josh Johnson??????? JDB in round 5 from a risk reward perspective doesn't bother me at all. I would MUCH rather have JDB in round 5, than Tavaras Jackson in round 2. Booty actually played college FB too.

45
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 5:51pm

and how the heck do the Ravens draft Flacco. He has a big arm?????? So what, doesn't Kyle Bollier? A big unproven guy with a big arm, they are a dime a dozen in the NFL. Bollier was the youngest starter in the league a couple of years ago, and you might as well see what he can do after benching it for a couple of years. Mcnair wasn't great, and Bollier was similar last year, but they weren't trying to score 42 pts. per game. Just see how KB works out and build the rest of that team up.

46
by langsty (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 5:55pm

re: 29

Ryan's INTs are pretty deceptive, and I think in general you can't use production stats as the base of your evaluation wrt college QBs. it's a piece of the puzzle, but you still have to look at the film and look at the individual plays where the picks happened - were they bad throws, was he playing in a trailing situation, etc. Ryan's understanding of the game appears to be more advanced than that of any other prospect, his mechanics are top-notch, he has good accuracy and strength, good size, an incredible work ethic and a passion for football. He's just a more complete package than Brohm, and I really don't think that scouts are punishing BB for being on a Louisville team that struggled.

47
by David (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 6:07pm

Re 29

Brett Favre threw too many ints, but he had a solid career

48
by John (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 6:12pm

So...just how many teams have spent 1/3rd of their draft picks on centers?

Maybe Polian is establishing himself as Millen's evil twin.

49
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 6:20pm

I agree that Ryan has the release, mechanics, intelligence, and I don't even hold that 19 picks against him with that conference. My point is that being a top notch QB is no joke. I don't see him as a Carson or Peyton but I could certainly be wrong. I'd even agree that he is a better bet than BB, but BB has a better chance than Henne, Flacco etc. I am starting to think that a quarterbacks release is highly underrated, where as most people on this site would agree that Mobility is highly overrated.

45- That is all you have to say for Favre, A solid career? He is still in the top 3rd of QBs in the league with a beard full of grey hair, he has started 10 straight years worth of games and has a freaking ring on his finger.

50
by Rollo (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 6:23pm

I think the major hangup on Jared Allen for Jacksonville was not, "he's a risk to be suspended", as much as, "he would be the highest paid defender and he's gotten DUIs, which is bad for team unity". The Jags have had alot of problems with player arrests, and I think keeping locker room harmony is really a big goal - Stroud reportedly was unhappy and got his wish to be traded. JAX isn't Dallas - the Jags are low on stars, and play in a very conservative area of the country . Allen was not someone you go out on a limb for.

51
by Alex (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 6:46pm

Either way about the QBs, Brohm outperforms Ryan in every statistical category. Is being the best QB on a top college team really enough for people to think Ryan is better than Brohm?

Well, let's see:

Ryan Leaf, Washington State (10-2), 2nd overall pick.

Brian Griese, Michigan (12-0), 91st overall pick.

Matt Hasselbeck, Boston College (4-7), 187th overall pick.

No, I think it's just that Ryan Leaf and Brian Griese are better than Matt Hasselbeck.

52
by Stillio (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 6:51pm

The Jaguars are in no way salary cap restricted, but they are a small market team. They have $13M in salary cap room but they may not have had $13M REAL dollars that they wanted to spend on a guy with major off the field issues. As a fan I would have preferred that the Jags stay put at 26, pick Merling, and still have two 3rds to add depth. I just can't see the real difference between Merling and Groves vs Harvey and Groves.

53
by jimm (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 7:20pm

Regarding the Vikings vs the Jaguars moves to acquire a pass rush DE. The Vikings spent roughly 200 pts more in the current draft chart to land Allen. 200 pts is the value of a mid 3rd round pick I believe.

Allen had 15.5 sacks and 55 tackles in the NFL.

Derrick Harvey had 4.5 sacks and 32 tackles in the NCAA.

I think the Vikings made a far better gamble. College DE's drafted in the first round are a huge risk.

54
by Bobman (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 7:26pm

Barnwell's penultimate comment above wins just about every Audibles thread. Ever. And beyond.

55
by Crushinator (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 7:36pm

37

Yeah, but Brett Favre's strength was "throws too many TDs", so it kind of balances out.

56
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 7:38pm

Jared Allen single handidly took over games last year. Jax took the shotgun approach with two young horses. My instinct is that those guys won't be as good as Allen, but how much longer is allen going to play?

I think a guy like Paul Spicer isn't bad, but you do ideally want a premier pass rusher. Maybe mixing in the two young horses will keep everyone fresher and better with nobody really being elite. I think if the Jags can stay healthy, they aren't from from a dominant defense that can bringing them deep in the playoffs even without an offense.

57
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 7:55pm

I posted some thoughts on the Giants draft as I think Jerry Reese did an excellent job two years in a row stocking this team with young talent at multiple positions. The Giants were picking at the end of every round, but 5 years from now they will have selected better players than half the league.

58
by FullmoonoverTulsa (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 8:12pm

Didn't Seattle have a revolving door at LS? If the guy is good, he could contribute for a while.

59
by 1stPrize2Tickets2ndPrize4Tickets (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 8:17pm

Also re: Sean's "And to think it was the team with arguably the best quarterback in the division that had to take Brohm."

I don't get why anybody thinks Aaron Rodgers is going to be any good (apparently the Packers aren't quite sure of that fact). He had one good half in a game against an okay pass defense playing with a big lead. And based on the current stats, he gets hurt roughly once every 35 attempts.

Yes, T-Jack's raw, Kitna's old, and Rexy/Neckbeard isn't headed to the HOF any time soon. But what has A-Rodg done to deserve any accolades over the above motley lot?

60
by Dave (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 9:00pm

There's at least a possiblity he might not suck, which is a huge upgrade over Rex and Jackson, and he's not old and mediocre, which makes him an upgrade over Kitna if he's just young and mediocre.

61
by Me vs. Millen (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 9:24pm

I may be the only person in the whole wide word of the internet who actually likes the Gosder Cherilus pick for the Detroit Lions. Click my name to link to my blog which puts forth my position more fully. The quick hits: 1) he has a ton of game tape which means that if he is graded as a first round prospect he likely belongs there, 2) his pass protection problems are likely overstated due to the pass happy nature of the Boston College offense, 3) the right tackle situation has been astoundingly mismanaged in the Millen-era, so selecting a player who can solidify that position with a low floor makes sense.

I do not understand the Branden Albert love. You may get a good left tackle out of him, but in all likelihood you just have a guard, which is less valuable than a good right tackle.

Lest I am branded as a Lions-slappy/Millen defender (do they exist?) I would also add that the rest of Matt Millen's draft was godawful.

62
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 9:24pm

Maybe the first team in the NFC North to get a franchise QB gets the division for the next four or five years.

Bears with a QB, look like a pretty good team. Ditto for Vikings and Packers. Then there is the Lions, and I am still waiting to be convinced by Marinelli and will never be convinced by Millen. If they were the only team in the division with a bona fide QB they might look like favourites. He would certainly have WRs to throw to.

63
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 9:41pm

59- Just a guard? Look at all of the man love that Steve Hutchinson and Alan Fanaeca got as free agents. How about the money that Lenoard Davis and Derrick Dockery got. It isn't that Albert is going to be a guard, he should be an elite guard for a team with Larry Johnson who was elite when he had Roaf and All pro Brian Waters. Sure, a guard might not be worth the same as a LT, but if you can snag a dominant guard you do it. Especially when he is athletic enough to pull and run people over.

Look, I am not Jon Kitna fan, but to just dismiss him because he is "old" is foolish. The guy takes more hits than ANY quarterback and a lot of it isn't even close to being his fault. Imagine every down being 3rd and 10 and the opposing team just knows you aren't going to run the ball and B) you don't have the blockers to block for you anyway. I saw Kitna take more punishment like a Man than pretty much any QB last year. Is he going to be there in 5 years? Probably not, that is an eternity in the NFL, but then again, are Tavaras Jackson, Rex Grossman, or Aaron Rodgers going to be in Green Bay? I'd say no to all 3, but maybe 1 of them turns it around and makes it 5 years. People are just too damn impatient with the QB position at all the wrong times. Kitna isn't the reason they were losing.

64
by Chris (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 9:51pm

What I meant was do you think any of those NFC north QBs will be there in 5 years? How about 3 years? There is a strong possibility that only 1 of the 3 ( Rodgers, Grossman, Jackson) is starting for his team after next year.

Kitna was also passing almost every single down last year which put him at a major disadvantage. Look at the difference between the offense he ran and then say Jason Campbell handing it off, throwing these short passes and the play action. Kitna was dropping back and getting tee-ed off on for almost every offensive play ( minus the 212 carries the Lions had). Kitna was put into an impossible situation and wasn't terrible.

65
by jebmak (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 9:55pm

I just want to say that with 3OL and 3DL, this is the first Miami draft that I have been happy about in quite a while.

66
by Pete (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 9:56pm

I really had more respect for J.Moss and a ton more for Javon Kearse than for Harvey. I agree that Harvey was good, but based on his college play I would have predicted he go between 15 and 45. Without J.Moss on the other side he seemed to disappear from most games I saw. Maybe opponents just schemed differently since he was the only real threat for the Gator D-Line last year.

I would have preferred Atlanta to take Dorsey (and QB in second round), but Matt Ryan is a much better choice for QB image than Vick was. Hopefully, the fans will get behind the team. Hopefully, Atlanta will be patient enough to give him the necessary time to learn the NFL ropes (1-2 years on the bench is best, IMO).

I think Miami had a good draft and a great trade with Dallas.

I really like KC's draft (inside-out to rebuild a team). On the other hand, I thought NE could have traded down more for their ILB, but maybe they know something I do not.

I actually like the Redskins draft... who would have known they could draft? The Cowboys could have done better, IMO. The Pacman trade sounds like a high risk, high gain and the other TE situation does not sound like an improvement for "win now".

I think GB taking a QB is a fine choice (especially for value). They could sit him on the bench for 3 years like they did Rodgers or get a little competition or have a decent backup in a year or two.

67
by The Original Sam (formerly sam!) (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 10:30pm

Pete,

The Gators were so thin at Defensive Tackle they had a true freshman Offensive Lineman playing DT along with a walk-on utility-lineman kind of guy in at least one game. I would say that YES, teams were able to scheme Derrick Harvey out of some games - I mean there are 5 OL and 4 DL to start with, and when you only have 2 good players in your front 7, those 2 don't always get noticed.

68
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 10:39pm

You know, in the past, there always seemed to be someone early in a Millen draft that made me drink the Kool-Aid. Might live up to his potential, might turn it around, might be the right guy for the offense, and so on.

This year, there really isn't anyone like that. Certainly, it's extremely difficult to evaluate a draft immediately afterward with anything other than a nod, a shrug, or a shake of the head, but I certainly can't nod at this draft, and you'd like to think that a GM with his job on the line would get you a draft worth more than a shrug.

Oh yeah, that's right, his job's not on the line. Heck, if some of these later picks make the team and bring payroll down, he might get another extension.

At least there are three other playoff-caliber teams in the city. I'm not sure what I'd do if my only team were a storied franchise ruined by an incompetent GM and a clueless owner.

69
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 10:59pm

The Eagles need some developmental offensive linemen. They need a safety. Could use a linebacker with some real blitz ability. Depth at CB assuming Lito moves. They need receivers,

No. Just... no. Please, Mike, don't get caught by the silly hype in the media.

The Eagles offense struggled in the red zone last year, right? Well, clearly, if they're struggling in the red zone, it can't be quarterback, because, well, McNabb, it can't be running back, because Westbrook is awesome and they have a big back now (ignore the fact that they didn't use him, this is the media we're talking about), it can't be the offensive line because the offensive line is one of the best in football, so it's got to be the receivers, right? It's always been the receivers, right?

Wait, what do you mean there's another spot on offense? Tight end? Never heard of it, apparently.

The Eagles starting receivers last year had 1800 yards receiving and 10 TDs. This is not bad. This is actually above average.

The Eagles' receiving corps last year in production was pretty similar to the Seattle Seahawks (in yards, TDs, and DPAR). Are Seattle fans crowing for a wide receiver in the draft?

The Eagles problems in the red zone, and on offense in general, were all about tight end, not receiver. Combined, their tight ends produced about 500 yards receiving, 3 TDs, and 3.4 DPAR. 3.4 DPAR!

The Eagles don't need a receiver. Adding a top receiver to that team won't improve them nearly as much as having a decent tight end. Maybe it's LJ Smith, recovering after injury. Maybe it's Brent Celek, developing. It's certainly not Schobel, which means they could've easily fit another TE in.

70
by Pat (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 11:24pm

Beh, the Seahawks comparison was a bit much - the Seahawks fared a bit amount better in production from WRs - about 10 DPAR, 300 yards, and a handful of TDs - I dropped Hackett from their stats (Then again, given that Hackett's no longer there, maybe that's not so bad).

The point's still the same. Eagles fans have been crowing about a WR for years, but the situation at WR now is "could be better, but not a weakness." This is so violently unlike 2003 that it's not even funny. The situation at TE is much worse unless LJ Smith comes back strong and a late-round pick continues producing - and even in that case, if LJ does come back strong, then they still have to keep him, since he's on a one-year contract.

A decent TE would've made a lot of sense as a decent high draft pick for the offense.

71
by Alex (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 11:34pm

I like the Vikings choice of Booty in the fith round, as much as one care about such things. He’s used to a pro style offense, and was held back by a broken finger last year. It seems to be a decent pick.

Yeah, although they really should've taken a QB in the first two rounds. Still, Booty played well for the most part over the last couple years, had a high completion%, low interception% (Stanford game notwithstanding), faced a fairly high level of competition, etc.

More importantly, he only started 23 games. That's a red flag for a QB in the first two rounds (hence lower projection in Lewin's system), but it's a good thing for a late round QB. After all, if he were really great, and he started lots of games, he would've been taken quickly. The successful QBs that slip to later rounds are almost never 3-4 year starters in college, because lack of game film to analyze is the only way NFL scouts miss them. Brady started 25 games, Hasselbeck 21, Bulger 30, Warner 12, Brunell 16, Trent Green 32. The only one I could find who started more than 35 was Jake Delhomme, who started at least 43 from what I've read (but then, Delhomme isn't that great, and he played for Louisiana-Lafayette, a fairly low-profile team). Anyway, point is, late round QBs with fewer starts are more likely to become good pros.

Also, given that Booty only waited on the bench so long because of Matt Leinart, there's no reason to think his low number of starts is indicative of low talent (like it might be for, say, Joe Flacco).

I think Booty has a good chance at being better than Tavaris Jackson, so taking him should improve the Vikings. Unfortunately, that says more about Jackson and the Vikings than it does about Booty.

Of course, the Vikings did more to address their QB situation than the Bears, who managed to take 12 players (12!) without addressing the single most obvious and glaring need on their team.

72
by Carlos (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 11:37pm

I'm surprised by the FO love of the Redskins strategy in Round 2. Yes, it is great and all that they could trade down and still get their guy (presumably Devin Thomas), but then picking up a pass-catching TE (when they have a good one of those) and then another WR seems like a huge waste on a team that doesn't lack for other holes to fill.

I do think WR was a weakness of theirs, but that's also a result of their lights out WR scouting skills on ARE and especially Brandon Lloyd and David Patten (not to mention Taylor Jacobs, Rd 2, 2003; Cliff Russell, Rd 3 2002; Rod Gardner, Rd 1, 2001... and further not to mention that they thought Chad Johnson is worth potentially two #1s).

The WaPo reports that the decision makers in the war room were Cerrato and the Danny.

73
by mm (not verified) :: Sun, 04/27/2008 - 11:46pm

Heh, if the Eagles could use a TE that much, maybe the Saints should have given the Giants what they wanted for Shockey and then traded him straight to the Eagles for what they gave the Giants + a late round draft choice.

There's no way the Giants would trade him directly to the Eagles, but it would be fun if he found his way there. That would add a bit of interest to that NFC East rivalry.

74
by Paralis (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 12:13am

The best thing I can say about the Redskins' draft is that I like each pick in isolation. The problem is that none of it makes sense when taken together in context of the team.

Snyder and Cerrato are explaining this as pure BPA--trading and picking according to their draft charts, etc. The problem is that, to my mind, BPA only makes sense if a team's very good or very bad, when a team needs so many or so few players that you can gauge some measure of raw value without figuring in the use he'll be to your team.

The Redskins aren't in such a position. You could make the case after last year, like Cerrato did, that the team didn't need a lot of starters. That's what going to the playoffs means. But the team had needs, most glaringly (IMO) somebody who can step in and start in the middle of the OL in August if Rabach, Thomas or Kendall go down (at 30, 32 and 35 this has to be considered a very real possibility). Chad Rinehart's got the mobility they needed in a young guard, but hasn't played center before, meaning they're exactly where they were a week ago, with absolutely no backup at that position. And I just don't get it. This is not, of course, the Skins' only need, just their most inarguable.

Particularly because Zorn had to have watched his Seahawks beat the Redskins in the playoffs. He has to have seen Patrick Kerney setting up camp in the Redskins' backfield. And if the lesson he came away from that experience with was "boy they'd be a dangerous team if they had more receivers", the man's insane, and arguably less fit to coach than any man who would walk into a (modestly) successful franchise to install a notoriously complicated offense that's ill-suited to the personnel on the team.

I don't think anybody ever predicted the Skins would win it all next year. But I think every front office has to have a plan about when that's going to be possible. What year do Snyder, Cerrato and Zorn think the Skins will be a serious contender, and what does this draft do to get them there? Unless they're banking heavily on the uncapped year where elite teams will be handicapped in free agency, this just doesn't make any sense.

75
by Dave (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 12:32am

I do think that the Eagles need a big possession receiver for the red zone (although a TE would be good too). Currently we have exactly no one that McNabb can throw a fade to. And I love Westbrook to death, but he's really not a goal-line back.

76
by Craig in Denver (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 12:52am

Mathematical take on Eagles - Panthers trade. All pick values are from the pick value chart at NFL Draft Countdown.

The 19th pick was worth 875 points, the current year picks (43 and 109) were worth 546. If Carolina wins the Super Bowl next year, their #1 is worth 590. So the Eagles have swapped a net of 329 "points" in this year's draft for 590 in next year's draft. This is an 81% APR. If, as seems more likely, Carolina finishes as a low playoff seed, their pick will be worth 740-800, for APR's from 127% to 145%.

Any way you slice it, the Eagles just had to take the plunge.

On the same note, the pundits seem to think that anybody who makes a lot of draft day trades had a "good" draft, and anybody that stood pat had at best an "average" one. It seems to me that Carolina automatically had a "bad" draft based on the arithmetic above. They effectively traded a #1 next year for pick #57, or Chad Henne.

The teams that had "good" drafts, it seems to me, are teams that let the draft come to them. Teams like Pittsburgh (they refused to panic and draft Duane Brown to fill their O-line need). Instead they make great "value" picks like Mendenhall and Sweed, then pick up a 4th round OT with good athleticism who is coming off an injury (Tony Hills) at a point where he's a "good value."

It seems to me that New England and Baltimore are the two teams that have figured out how to move in and out of the draft while they're on the clock. Even so, who really knows (a) if New England really had their eyes on Mayo at 7 and just saved some money while banking an extra pick, or (b) if there was really anybody trying to move in between 18 and 28 to pick Flacco?

And all that's really wrong with Houston's draft is that they forgot to say, "We had a mid first-round grade for Duane Brown and thought we could get him later, so we had to make the deal." After all, Otah is a right tackle and Sam Baker was a major reach, so what did they really give up to take a shot at Duane Brown as their LT and grab a couple of extra picks? Do that a few times, and pretty soon you're as smart as Scott Pioli!

77
by Tom D (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 1:21am

Re 76:

"It seems to me that Carolina automatically had a “bad” draft based on the arithmetic above."

No, it means next years draft will probably be bad. No matter how many picks from next year's draft they traded, it doesn't affect how this one should be looked at and graded. We're just looking at the players they got and guessing if they will work out, and fill needs.

78
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 1:33am

Chad Henne has the same ceiling as matt ryan, but he could also be a terrible pro

Given that Henne had 47 starts in college and completed about 60% of his passes, I think there's very little chance of him being terrible. Scouts almost never miss on QBs when they have 40+ starts and a decent completion%. Henne's easily the safest bet in the draft to be neither great nor terrible. His floor is mediocre, his ceiling is very good.

I'd say Ryan's ceiling is higher, but his chance of reaching it is slightly lower. I'd take him before Henne, but it's close.

you still have to look at the film and look at the individual plays where the picks happened - were they bad throws, was he playing in a trailing situation, etc.

True, but remember that Brohm was playing in a trailing situation much more often than Ryan (because his defense sucked), and Brohm didn't have tons of interceptions. Maybe some of Ryan's picks were the fault of his receivers, but still, I don't think the talent gap between Brohm's receivers and Ryan's is enough to explain the difference in interceptions. Ryan just isn't as careful with his throws.

And completion% is another big difference. Ryan's is good, but Brohm's is great. And Lewin's projection system shows that NFL scouts don't correctly account for completion% in their evaluations of top QB prospects, so there's good reason to believe they overrated Ryan wrt Brohm.

All that said, I don't doubt that Ryan will be a good QB. He'll almost certainly be an upgrade over what they have now, so it's not like it was a terrible pick. But I seriously doubt he's going to be better than Brohm.

Brett Favre threw too many ints, but he had a solid career

Actually, contrary to popular belief, Favre's interception% was below league average in 10 of his 16 seasons as a starter. He only has the career interception record because he threw more pass attempts than anyone in NFL history. If he'd retired after 10 years, with 5441 pass attempts (9th most in NFL history), he'd have had 172 interceptions, which would have left him at 39th on the all-time career interception list.

I do think that the Eagles need a big possession receiver for the red zone (although a TE would be good too).

You know, 2007 was the first year since 1999 that the Eagles offense has been below average in the red zone. I'm thinking that has more to do with lack of production from TEs and McNabb still recovering from an ACL tear than it does to the WRs. I mean, look at 2006: the offense was stellar, game in, game out, all season. No problems in the red zone. Hell, they were better in the red zone than they were in the rest of the field. What's changed? Well, Stallworth left and Curtis arrived, LJ Smith and McNabb got injured, and...? You think losing Stallworth was such a big deal? Even after picking up Curtis? Otherwise, it's just a matter of LJ Smith getting/staying healthy and McNabb completing his recovery.

79
by Paralis (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 1:46am

76: You can't ignore time value in draft picks, which the simplified trade chart does. If next year's first were worth this year's, teams wouldn't need to add first-day picks to make the trade happen.

I don't think Carolina had a bad draft because of the trade value; I think Carolina had a bad draft because they've ignored the way that NFL offenses have changed over the last 4 years. DJ Hackett was a great signing (a good player at a great price to fill a real need), but based on the draft, John Fox still thinks he can make it back to the Super Bowl with 2WR sets and a power running game. And that's just bizarre.

80
by Tom D (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 2:03am

Re 78:

scouts almost never miss on QBs when they have 40+ starts and a decent completion%.

Except the scouts weren't very high on Henne, and let him go late in the 2nd round.

Actually, contrary to popular belief, Favre’s interception% was below league average in 10 of his 16 seasons as a starter.

But that is because most quarterbacks in the league suck, Favre threw a lot of picks for an above average QB, much less the best QB in the league title that he held for a few years.

81
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 2:38am

Except the scouts weren’t very high on Henne, and let him go late in the 2nd round.

Scouts were perfectly high on Henne. He had a low-first, high-second round grade from most. He ended up going late in the 2nd, but where a player is graded and where he ends up are two totally different things. Where he ends up depends on the order of the teams picking, which has absolutely nothing to do with the quality of the player.

Given that there are seven rounds in the draft, a player who has a late first/high second round draft is thought of very highly by the scouts.

82
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 3:12am

Except the scouts weren’t very high on Henne, and let him go late in the 2nd round.

Sure, they're not that high on him, but if they thought he was going to be bad, they would have let him drop to the second day, or out of the draft entirely. You don't spend a 2nd round pick on a player if you don't think he's going to be at least decent. They obviously don't think he's going to be great, but they also don't think he's going to be terrible. And since they've had 47 games to evaluate him, their evaluation is almost certainly very accurate. The fact that he lasted until the second round just means he's probably not going to be a Pro Bowler.

Look at it this way: if they take him in the second round, and he turns out to be terrible, then would you say they accurately evaluated his abilities? Is a terrible QB a good value in the second round? Of course not. If you think a QB is going to be terrible, you don't draft him at all, and certainly not with a first day pick.

But that is because most quarterbacks in the league suck,

I'm not getting what you mean here. Half of the QBs in the league are average or better (and therefore don't suck), so I don't see how your math is working there.

Favre threw a lot of picks for an above average QB, much less the best QB in the league title that he held for a few years.

No, he threw about as many picks as you'd expect from an above average QB. He threw more interceptions than most elite QBs, sure. But if Favre were as good in every other area as he was with interceptions, he would've been an average/slightly above average QB. So, relative to the rest of his skill set, interceptions were a weakness. But he wasn't bad in that area. He just wasn't particularly good there.

If someone is pointing out a fault of a QB, that should be something that, all else being equal, would make them a below average player. That's not the case with Favre and interceptions.

83
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 3:25am

Chad Hennes release is too damn slow. I see flashes of Drew Bledsoe - Parcells 2nd to last QB.

If Chad Henne has a career like Drew Bledsoe's, he'd be well worth a late second round pick. I think Miami fans would kill to have a QB who's "only" as good as Bledsoe was.

84
by lobolafcadio (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 6:29am

Will Allen, that's exactly the first thing I thought when I saw the trade.
Why would you trade as much for an unproven player vs for Allen ?
The salary I think.
And the fact they can now play some 3-4, the Peytonite as some think.
With Harvey and Groves manning the Pass-rusher Backer role, Spicer, Landry and Hayward as DEs, Henderson and Meier as NT and Smith, Durant, Ingram and Petterson filling the remaining 3 backers roles.
They have some flexibility in their front seven, just as with their secondary.

I'd add :
You're an OL or a DT and went undrafted ?
Jax is the place you want to go to compete for a roster spot !

85
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 6:36am

74- The skins are a modestly successful franchise? That's funny, they have won 1 playoff game in 15 years, spend more money than anyone else, and have had a revolving door at head coach since their owner took over.

86
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 6:41am

83- I was talking 2006 Bledsoe and not 1996 Bledsoe.

I was also one of the few people last year saying that no LJ Smith was devastating for Mcnabb and the Eagles. An athletic TE like that in the wco could have meant winning 2-3 more games ( remember the eagles lost a lot of close ones). Washington 1 comes to mind where the Eagles were faced with a hobbled Mcnabb and man coverage and were terrible in the red zone.

87
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 6:59am

How many years before Matt Ryan is better than Joey Harrington? Glen Dorsey could step in right now and contribute. Ryan might be on the bench and might have growing pains for years. If you are Atlanta, are you committed to picking high in the draft for a few years?

88
by Theo, Netherlands (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 7:55am

:: lobolafcadio — 4/28/2008 @ 5:29 am
.
I heard some team in P'burgh is looking for guys in the trenches too.

89
by Doug (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 9:06am

Did I see that right? A comparison of Adrian Peterson and LdT along with Marshall Faulk, Edgerrin James and Fred Taylor, to BARRY SANDERS?

Show me numbers on that one. How do you make any sort of rational comparison? Barry Sanders wasn't a once-in-a-decade player. He's a legend.

90
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 9:17am

I was pleased with the Packers draft. I thought the Nelson pick was inspired because this removes Woodson as return man which is a huge positive. And as shown in the injuries that attacked the D-line last season there is no such thing as "too much depth" at a position.

The Brohm pick has been discussed. Due to Rodgers' uncanny "ability" to get hurt in limited action I suspect BB will be starting six games into the season and will likely keep the job. Folks dismissed his arm strength but somehow he averaged 8.5 YPA last season. He's Drew Brees, The Sequel.

I like the Texas TE pick. I stumbled across Texas games twice last season and thought the guy was a real player. I also was glad to see Ted grabbing some O-linemen. The guards need a good swift kick in the *ss and hopefully this sends them that message.

I appreciate Thompson's inclusion as intelligence as a determining factor in drafting a player. He mentioned it repeatedly in interviews and he clearly means it.

This is a 180 degree difference from Mike Sherman who was fascinated by "physical tools" at the expense of basic thinking skills. Sherman was convinced that football was completely instinctive and that intelligence wasn't that important.

Which is why GB had a series of wasted picks under Sherman primarily due to guys being incapable of learning their assignments. Guys looked great in the uniform. But repeatedly blew their responsibilities.

Anyway, solid draft.

91
by peachy (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 9:27am

Something to note with the Allen/Harvey issue - it's misleading to consider it an either/or choice for Jax. At the time the FO made the decision not to bid on Allen, it wasn't expected that Harvey would fall within Jax's reach. In one of his post-pick pressers Del Rio said the team doubted it had the "ammunition" to move up far enough to take him.

That they were able to was the result of events early in the first - after Ryan was taken by Atlanta, Baltimore abruptly wanted to move well back, and they were willing to trade the 8th for picks equivalent to the 13th... which put Harvey in play as a realistic option for the first time.

Now, obviously Jax wouldn't have - literally couldn't have - taken Harvey if they had traded for Allen. But that's a very different thing from saying Jax made any kind of choice between them; the decision not to pay the price for Allen simply meant that the need for DE was deferred to the draft.

92
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 9:36am

45- That is all you have to say for Favre, A solid career?

I believe his intent was to make an obvious understatement.

and how the heck do the Ravens draft Flacco. He has a big arm?????? So what, doesn’t Kyle Bollier? A big unproven guy with a big arm, they are a dime a dozen in the NFL.

Agreed about Flacco, but I'd like to point out that there's no I in team, and there's also no i in Kyle Boller.

Yes, T-Jack’s raw, Kitna’s old, and Rexy/Neckbeard isn’t headed to the HOF any time soon. But what has A-Rodg done to deserve any accolades over the above motley lot?

Well, he has a decent projection, and so far he hasn't done anything to make us think it's wrong. So, that gives him an advantage over Jackson, who had a bad projection, and has spent his first two years confirming it. And while Grossman had an average projection, he's spent several years showing how much of an outlier he is (in a bad way). We can be pretty sure that Orton sucks by this point. Kitna's played fairly well, but he's getting old enough that his performance is likely to decline soon. That leaves Rodgers, who's likely to improve and was probably about as good as Kitna already.

Maybe Kitna will be the best QB in the division, but it's not obvious at this point. And since it is obvious that Grossman and Orton won't be the best in the division, that leaves Rodgers as Kitna's only real competition for the dubious honor. That doesn't mean Rodgers is the best QB in the NFCN, but there's an argument to be made for it.

93
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 10:04am

I'm glad to see Washington picked up Brennan after coveting Josh Johnson in the later rounds. I think Brennan could really turn out to be a decent #2 QB in a WCO. Not too keen on some other picks, I think 2 WRs (and a TE) in the 2nd round is a waste when they really need DEs and DTs, and then they waited too long to snag a DE (rd 7).

I'm surprised Brohm "fell" as much as he did, but that seemed to be the trend in the entire draft. The Brohm pick makes sense I suppose for GB, but then they took Matt Flynn in the 6th as well? I don't see the point to acquiring two rookie QBs to back up a guy with no starting experience. I'm also surprised that so many running backs went in Rds 1 & 2.

94
by mrh (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 10:24am

Speaking of taking intelligent players late, Chiefs took Barry Richardson, OT out of Clemson. There are some knocks on his "passion" for the game, but a player who was All-ACC two years running and started for almost all four years is probably a decent 6th round choice. Then there's this nugget from NFLDraftScout via nfl.com:
A highly intelligent athlete, he graduated from high school after only three years and then took just a little over three years to earn his degree at Clemson.

95
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 10:25am

I'll repeat my crazy suggestion that the Vikings should be willing to trade draft picks to get Jason Taylor out of Miami, assuming they can handle the 16 million in salary owed. If they are committed to young unproven qbs and Gus Ferrotte, then they should go for broke and get ridiculously strong at the 2nd most important position, especialy since they aren't especially young elsewhere. They are seeking stadium subsides which could easily add 2 billion or more to the owner's net worth, and nothing would do more to pull that off than a championship in the next two years. If Parcells will part with Taylor for next years 2nd rounder and another pick, or even next year's first by itself, they should pull the trigger, and try to go into next season with a tremendously deep and dominant defensive line. Another factor would be which sides Allen and Taylor would play one, and whther that would be compatible to them, but assuming that's not a deal killer, they should do it.

96
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 10:28am

Will:

Personally, I look forward to seeing Brad Childress bringing back the single wing offense to the NFL.

I welcome our new "Direct Snap to AP OverLord".

97
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 10:33am

Regarding Aaron Rogers what were his college stats (pct comp and starts)? His very high sack rate would worry me if I were a GB fan.

I was kind of hoping the Vikings would take Brohm. I don't think Jackson's as bad as the FO staff think but Brohm is a poster child for the Lewin system which certainly has an excellent track record projecting QB success. AS a Viking fan I am very concerned that the guy running GB seems to be very smart. I think he knows Rogers isn't the answer.

But my concerns for the Vikings this year were far more about the defense than the offence so perhaps the safety was the best pick.

98
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 10:41am

Will - Interesting thought re: Taylor. I'm really high on Edwards, who I think will benefit hugely from the addition of Allen.

Edwards is just 23 this year. He had 5.5 sacks in 12 games last year and next to K. Williams he was the guy most teams seemed to worry about in pass protection. This year he will be in one on one's quite often.

99
by Jonathan (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 10:43am

"On a wider issue, I’m wondering how often a running back is worth a first-round pick, especially a high one. Adrian Peterson was, or at least, if he keeps up current production, clearly will be. After him, who?
"It seems the only running backs who are really worth it in round one are the truly rare talents who only come along maybe once a decade (so the one before Peterson was probably Barry Sanders).
"But they come along once a decade, and if there was one last year, it makes me skeptical that McFadden is really everything he’s advertised to be."

Umm, not to nitpick or anything, but....LaDainian Tomlinson anyone? Seems like you forgot a pretty big first round RB, which is surprising, since he's just a tad high-profile (sorry, I get worked up when the Chargers are so blatantly overlooked)

100
by C (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 10:48am

Everyone is being entirely to tough on Joe Flacco. This whole "small school" thing is crap. The University of Delaware has an excellent football program and has sent a number of players to the pros. It is far better then McNeese State, where McNair played. UD would beat half of the D1 schools, head to head. Flacco looked great in a losing effort in the championship game last year (to a team that beat Michigan, mind you) and all through the playoffs. Stop with the big-school bias.

101
by Arkaein (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 10:54am

To answer the question above as to why a lot of people think Rodgers is ready to be the man in GB, it comes down to the same principles as the Lewin projection system, as well as the reasoning that the Chargers were willing to let Drew Brees go in favor of an unproven Philip Rivers.

GB's staff has had 3 years to evaluate Rodgers. If 40+ games worth of film is invaluable for college QB scouting, how much is 3 years time in practice and preseason games worth in a pro system? Aaron Rodgers has also been the #1 QB at GB mini-camps the past couple of seasons, so the coaching staff has a very good idea of what he looks like running the GB offense.

BadgerT1000, I think Brohm will be valuable filling in for when Rodgers inevitably gets hurt at some point, but I don't expect he will take over and keep the job. Maybe in a year or so he could create a full blown QB competition, but for this year I see the Pack sticking with Rodgers in all likelihood. As NFL ready as Brohm may be, very few QBs can just come in and start multiple games successfully as rookies.

102
by Herm? (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 11:06am

overall a very good audibles, my favorite was the Matt Ryan discussion, from the humor through the coherent disagreement on his place in the draft and his future.

And when is ESPN going to wise up and let Conway Twitty go? Or at least hire a second draft guru to audit/challenge him...they should have done it the day the Colts' brass correctly berated him.

103
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 11:14am

Jimm, a rotation of Allen, Taylor, and Edwards and Robison working in during the game now and then would likely ensure a crushing 4th quarter pass rush. Pinning your ears back and going full bore for the qb is exhausting, which is why depth is so crtitical at defensive end.

104
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 11:19am

Arkaein:

I don't think GB will have a choice in the matter because Rodgers will get hurt forcing the issue.

I have a simple thought about injuries. If something HAS happened multiple times it is likely to happen again. Rodgers was in two games and got hurt each time. And it wasn't a "little" hurt. It was "LOT" hurt. Folks can claim coincidence, bad luck and other rationales all they want. I figure some guys just aren't built to handle the rigors of their sport. They can PLAY. But their bodies won't cooperate long-term.

So I am not claiming that Brohm is better or WILL be better.

My point is that given Rodgers history I am fairly certain he will get injured requiring Brohm to take the helm. And that Brohm will play well enough that when the time comes to evaluate the situation the Packer staff will decide to stay the course.

105
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 11:51am

Will - If Taylor was 29 or 30 I'd be more inclined to go that route, but at 34 I think the odds that Taylor's performance plummets this year is very high so not worth the risk.

But it would be fun to watch that rotation of DE's.

106
by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 12:01pm

It's a bad sign when the Jets' best pick may have been their 5th rounder. Gholston is a huge risk. I hope Mangini et al. can coach some intensity into him. Then they trade up from 36 to 30 for a guy that may have been there at 36, and even if he wasn't all the WR's were still on the board. Plus Baker is very good, although only DVOA seems to have noticed, and criminally under used. But I like the Ainge pick.

107
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 12:02pm

jimm, that's why the rotaton becomes so important; if Taylor isn't left on the field too much, he can likely still dominate; it's not like he has gotten heavy.

108
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 12:06pm

A guy who takes a lot of plays off in college isn't likely to change after getting an eight figure check, at least not until he is the last year or two of his rookie deal.

109
by Led (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 12:22pm

Plus, the Jets already had a 265 lb pass rush specialist with amazing measurables but questionable intagibles. They traded him to Atlanta. I suppose if Gholston is as effective as Abraham and can stay reasonably healthy, then it's a solid pick.

110
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 12:33pm

Despite being a fan of the Big 10 I don't think either Long or Gholston was worthy of their high draft status. Folks raved about Gholston's sack total but the guy had four(!) in one game against a banged up and overmatched Wisconsin line.

You want someone who was there all the time how about Maurice Evans from PSU with just as many sacks and more tackles for loss than Gholston. And Gholston didn't even finish in the top 50(!) in the conference in tackles. And don't tell me D-linemen can't do it because guys like Matt Shaughennesy managed.

For a guy who is supposed to be explosive and a difference maker that's a rather odd resume. Looks more like what is described, a guy who will play every now and again and disappears for a stretch.

I am puzzled that anyone wants to pay top dollar for THAT.

111
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 12:47pm

97:

McNair went to Alcorn State which isn't even in the same conference as McNeese State.

Delaware has a very good football program and MIGHT be able to beat 20 FBS schools head-to-head (out of 120). But do you really believe they are a top 60 program regardless of division? Appalachian State--maybe, but other than that, I can't think of any FBS program in the top 100.

I thought Flacco was pretty average in the title game, but he never really had a chance to do anything. Delaware got blown of the building.

112
by Stuart Fraser :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 12:55pm

For a guy who is supposed to be explosive and a difference maker that’s a rather odd resume. Looks more like what is described, a guy who will play every now and again and disappears for a stretch.

Those are the same things people said about Mario Williams, though (and Gholston and Williams also share ridiculous "measurables"), and Williams looks like a legitimate stud DE.

113
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 1:07pm

78: "Maybe some of Ryan’s picks were the fault of his receivers, but still, I don’t think the talent gap between Brohm’s receivers and Ryan’s is enough to explain the difference in interceptions. Ryan just isn’t as careful with his throws."

With all due respect, how much BC have you watched? Ryan's receivers suck. They never get open, they can't get off the jam, they get rerouted too easily, and they aren't athletic.

I don't know if this has been mentioned but Brohm's sack rate is also much higher than Ryan's (4.8% to 3.1%).

114
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 1:08pm

Stuart:

Understood. And it is true that 7.5 of Williams sacks came in two games his senior year.

But how many Mario Williams are there?

And is it a direct comp? Williams is a big DE versus the speed guy in Gholston. Gholston got moved all over the field by OSU to make plays. And the numbers tell us he didn't make a huge number relative to his competition.

115
by parker (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 1:53pm

Why is mario Williams automatically a stud now? How many great games has he had as a pro?

116
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 1:59pm

Delaware has a very good football program and MIGHT be able to beat 20 FBS schools head-to-head (out of 120).

No. No no no. It's D-IAA. Don't go over to the dark side. Please don't.

117
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 2:11pm

#115: Did you miss the 14 sacks he had last year?

Seriously, if he had picked up 7 or 8 or something, sure, but 14 is to the point where you're saying "yeah, stud."

118
by 1stPrize2Tickets2ndPrize4Tickets (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 2:15pm

Arekin (and the esteemed BadgerT1000): Two things I think were revealed by the Packers draft this year:

1. They don't have confidence in Rodgers's skill/durability (two QBs taken in this draft).
2. The current WRs aren't as good as The Gunslinger made them appear to be (and as he also did with Sharpe, Freeman, Brooks, Chmura, Rison, Beebe, etc.).

T-Jack's rating in his first full year as the anointed starter was a Troy Williamson drop away from being higher than Favre's rating for the equivalent year, and way higher than Troy Aikman's first two years in the league (you can look it up). I don't think T-Jack's best season will ever eclipse that of an average one for Favre, or maybe even Aikman. I just don't think his "projection" is any worse than Rodgers at this point.

119
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 2:15pm

Pat:

What is your perspective with respect to Gholston?

120
by Xian (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 2:21pm

Re: #113
I don’t know if this has been mentioned but Brohm’s sack rate is also much higher than Ryan’s (4.8% to 3.1%).

Is that Sack Rate, or Adjusted Sack Rate? I didn't watch either of them (or, really, pay attention to college ball at all), so all I'm going off of is what I've read here and elsewhere. If Brohm was playing from behind more than Ryan, it seems like that might account for some of that difference.

(Yes, I'm a Packers homer, but trying not to be too obvious...)

121
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 2:33pm

Post 118:

I have written my piece on Jackson elsewhere. He's a quarterback because he embodies what Brad Childress believes to be a winning combination of skills for the quarterback position.

Jackson succeeds when the running game is going well, his O-line is stoning the opposition and he gets to pass primarily off play-action. Well sh*t, what quarterback DOESN'T succeed in that situation?

I don't think Brad Childress knows a d*mn thing about successful quarterbacking. I don't think Brad Childress could coach his kids to burp much less help a guy become a better quarterback.

I watched him work at the U of WI and have yet to observe anything during his tenure in MN to dissaude me of my opinion.

122
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 2:51pm

#119: Not a top 10 pick. First round, probably, but not a top 10 pick.

I actually don't really know how he vaulted into the top 10. He never really struck me as dominant during the games at all (other than the Wisconsin game, which was just men toying with boys). Not like guys like Hawk did, or Tamba Hali with Penn State. Hawk and Hali were dominant for multiple years.

123
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 2:53pm

BadgerT1000 - Don't candy coat it - tell us what you really think about Childress.

124
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 2:57pm

Oh, and also:

I'm also really surprised none of Hawaii's WRs got drafted. Both Bess and Grice-Mullen performed pretty well at the Combine (Bess primarily in position drills, he's a bit slow) - and Grice-Mullen was wicked-fast in his Pro Day (sub 4.4: on a fast surface, sure, but whatever, you're still talking about a 4.4 40).

It'll be interesting to see what team picks them up as free agents.

125
by mm (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 3:09pm

Arekin (and the esteemed BadgerT1000): Two things I think were revealed by the Packers draft this year:

1. They don’t have confidence in Rodgers’s skill/durability (two QBs taken in this draft).

ehhh...that wasn't revealed at all. I don't follow the Packers, but I do know they have a long standing policy of always having 2 good QBs. Throughout the Favre era, they always had a good QB backing him up in case he went down. Obviously, he never did, but many of those backup QBs went on to be good starters around the league.

Now with Favre retired, they only have *1* good QB on their roster...of course they add another good one to their roster, especially when he falls in their laps late in the 2nd round. Their policy is to have 2 QBs and now they do.

They were always ready if Favre went down; that doesn't mean they ever expected him to go down. Now they'll be ready if Rodgers goes down; that doesn't mean they expect him to go down either.

Note: It's quite possible they don't have confidence in Rodgers or his health, but to say that you can tell that from the draft is to ignore the recent history of the franchise.

126
by Flounder (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 3:39pm

Re: 125
I agree with you, mm. GB certainly may have durability concerns with Rodgers (I think they'd be a bit foolish if they didn't) but I firmly think they believe he'll step in and be at least average. Drafting two QBs make complete sense. I mean, Rodgers was essentially the only QB on the roster for crying out loud. If they didn't make those pics, they probably wind up bringing in a washed up Daunte Culpepper who doesn't fit the system anyways. I know the option I prefer.

If Rodgers can't handle the pressure of having a relatively highly touted guy drafted to back him up, then clearly he wouldn't be able to cut it as a starter anyways.

127
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 4:00pm

118 - 1stPrize - further to what you list as support for Jackson, his numbers decidedly improved in the 2nd half of the year.

In the last seven games Jackson's stats were:

120/184, 65.22% comp, 6.62 yds/ att, 7 TD's, 7 Ints, 41-195 rushing

In his first 7 starts and some mop up in 2006

98/191, 51.31% comp, 5.27 yds/att, 4 TD, 9 ints, 28-142 rushing

That seems to me to be quite a dramatic improvement.

128
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 4:02pm

mm:

That policy originated with Ron Wolf who took the very pragmatic approach that since nobody could really figure out what made for a good qb you just kept drafting guys knowing that a good many of them wouldn't pan out. And if you did get a good one and your starter was solid you had a great trading opportunity.

Pat:

Agreed. And that's my point. If the consensus is that the Big 10 was mediocre (to be kind) in 2007 how can anyone then turn around and use a guy's body of work in said conference as validation of his dominance? When he didn't dominate to begin with?

In my mind what folks are using to question Flacco should be used to question Gholston AND Long?

And the truly hilarious thing is the one time they met last season Gholston beat Long's *ss and it's LONG GETTING THE BIG CONTRACT.

NFL GMs make my head hurt........

129
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 4:12pm

I remember recently reading an article at Cold Hard Football Facts, in which they looked at all first round picks from 1978 to 2000, broken down by position, and by Pro Bowls, and by five-plus years as a starter. If I remember correctly defensive ends had the worst track record, and the gap was pretty good. It wasn't a huge sample size of course, but big enough to give one pause.

130
by parker (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 4:14pm

http://www.nfl.com/players/mariowilliams/gamelogs?id=WIL431243

That is Williams' game log from 07. He did nothing before 11/18. He had a great 6 game run. Fine. But to start calling him dominant for having 6 good games is a little premature. Last year and through 10 games of this season he was a "bust". Now he is dominant?

He's had 5 or more tackles in a game 5 times out of 32. He had 2 or more sacks 3 times out of 32.

I'm not ready to call that dominant. He's had 6 good games.

131
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 4:21pm

130. Parker - I see your point, but I think when a young player has that kind of break out performance it is very likely a sign of things to come.

132
by Jimmy (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 4:22pm

#127, jimm

I have seen you use the fact that AP wasn't as effective in the second half of the season as evidence of the remainder of Minnesota's starting offensive players' effectiveness when he isn't playing well.

Isn't it more likely that after the Bears game and the other game when he broke the league single game rushing record (San Diego?) that every team added the ninth man to the eight already in the box. This opened up the passing game to a degree rarely witnessed in the NFL and T.Jack was still only able to pass for as many touchdowns as picks. A bona fide NFL starter would have torched every secondary he came up against in a similar situation even with mediocre receivers.

The Vikings - like the Bears and maybe the Pack, not enough evidence on Rodgers yet - will continue to be held back by poor quarterback play until they find/develop a proper QB. However, as the Bears proved two years ago if the remainder of your team is good enough you can still give yourself a chance of winning a championship. It is a lot simpler if you can find a QB though.

133
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 4:42pm

#130: Even by his first half of the season pace, Williams was still going at about an 8 sack per year pace. His second-half of season pace was 20 sacks per year, which is clearly ludicrous.

8 sacks per year, though - while that's not 'dominant', that's also not what we were calling him - we were calling him a stud DE. A 10-sack per year DE is a stud.

It's safe to say Williams is probably that.

134
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 4:51pm

Jimmy - regarding 9 men in the box - I think that is a little overstated. I think one of the challenges the Vikings had was that Peterson couldn't pass block so when teams saw him in the game they pretty much knew the Vikings were running. Jackson ended up throwing many passes in 3rd and long and I guarantee their weren't 9 in the box then.

I'm no where near positive that Jackson will be a good QB. But I think there are some signs that he is improving and was pretty decent in the 2nd half of the season.

I also strongly suspect that QB's contribution to the success or failure of a team is exaggerated - even by the writers and analysts at this site.

135
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 5:06pm

Jimmy - what is clear is that when the Vikings won when they won the passing game and they lost when they didn't. But that was on both sides of the ball.

In their 8 wins:

Pass Off - 7.4
Pass Def - 5.4

Rush Off - 5.6
Rush Def - 3.05

In their 8 losses:

Pass Off - 4.7
Pass Def - 7.1

Rush Off - 4.6
Rush Def - 3.15

I'm just as concerned about the Vikings ability to stop the pass as I am about their ability to have a good pass offence. I'm glad they've taken steps to improve both sides of the equation.

I think if the Viking defence can improve to a top 5 level defence than their offence is good enough to make them a challenger for the NFC.

136
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 5:52pm

There's no getting around the fact that if the Vikings are going to get their money's worth out of Adrian Peterson, they've got to be able to punish a defense which doesn't play the pass honestly. They were only able to do so last year rarely, and it's not exactly clear if the qb or the receivers were more responsible for that (please don't try to say it was mostly an offensive line problem), but my inclination is to think it was more on the receivers. I mean, you don't have to have a qb who reads brilliantly to beat nine in the box; you need to have a receiver with the confidence to stick his hand up in the air, Randy Moss-style, and openly say to the world "I can can whip this dog covering me anytime I like". Maybe Berrian, and Rice in his second year, can supply some of that, but it's only two guys. I am uber-envious of the Packers' wr depth.

137
by langsty (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 6:20pm

"A 10-sack per year DE is a stud."

You just pulled that outta your ass, right? I mean, I don't exactly disagree, but it's kind of an arbitrary distinction. From my perspective, he's clearly a very good player, but I don't see him as a difference maker like Julius Peppers. I didn't see a ton of explosiveness whenever I watched the Texans this year.

138
by langsty (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 6:27pm

but if he continues this level of production then, hey, who am i to argue.

139
by FavreFan (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 6:50pm

#127: See: Peterson, Adrian.

140
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 6:58pm

Will - like everything it's likely a combination of all the factors. If the offensive line was excellent there is no way the team would have one of the worst adjusted sack rates in the league. It may well be the strongest component in the mix of QB, Rec, line - but it's clearly not a superior pass blocking line.

141
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 6:58pm

I *really* doubt the Patriots wanted Mayo all along. I really think they wanted Rivers, and maybe it wasn't a surprise for the Bengals to get him, but they took the chance (the trade down was still good value).

Jay Glazier said on Fox radio, after the Bengals picked, that the Pats actually had Keith Rivers already written on their card.

Mayo did seem to be one of those guys who was rated higher on actual NFL teams' boards, than the legion of mock drafts online, like Tatupu, or Flacco (even though I, too, think he's Boller re-dux), but even still, I doubt that the 2nd best LB in the draft was truly so close to equal with Rivers that they could be drafted in succession and it would be considered good value. Rivers' stock really rose into the late top 10 only in the past 2 weeks, when he was probably in the late teens previously.

And, like Bill Barnwell, I wonder what is so special with Mayo that the Patriots think he's worth this kind of pick when so many other LBs weren't. And I wonder if they really think he's near equal to Rivers. but it may just be that the quality of their LB corps was so undeniably in need of improvement, that they knew they had no choice.

142
by jimm (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 7:17pm

139. I don't think it as simple as that. If it was wouldn't Jackson have had his best games when Peterson was effective?

Jackson's stats were horrible in the games that Peterson gained more than 200 yards.

His best game might have been against the Giants when Peterson didn't play. His next best was likely against the 49ers when Peterson played about 1/2 the game and averaged less than a yard a carry.

Of course Peterson is going to make it easier to pass sometimes because so much focus will be put on him running. But the point is the Vikings improved as a passing offence as the season went on and so did Jackson.

The Viking passing offence was 19th in DVOA. Not 32nd. The rushing offence was 4th - not 1st.

This team needed a DE every bit as much if not more than a QB or WR. There was no QB available this year that would make a hill of beans difference to the Vikings chances this year.

143
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 7:18pm

You just pulled that outta your ass, right? I mean, I don’t exactly disagree, but it’s kind of an arbitrary distinction.

I think it's just a definition difference. You're terming a "stud" to be something like "one of the best players in the game."

To me, a "stud" is just a dependable player you don't want to let go - a better than average player, but not necessarily a top player.

I wouldn't reserve the term "difference maker" for just the top few DEs in the league. Guys like Trent Cole, Derrick Burgess, apparently every single DE that the Giants ever draft, etc.

144
by Packer Pete (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 7:23pm

I think the Packers got a steal with Brohm in the late second round. The Packers could have brought in a second-tier veteran content to earn a million a year vacationing on the sidelines and local golf courses. Brohm turns up the pressure a bit on Rodgers, provides realistic competition for the spot.

I like the Pack's first pick of Jordy Nelson. He reminded me of the Greg Jennings pick a couple years ago. Not too high on many draft boards, but tremendous college production. Each caught more than a 100 balls in their final college year. I'll rank a 100 catches above a fast 40-time any time.

145
by Xeynon (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 7:58pm

I don’t think Brad Childress knows a d*mn thing about successful quarterbacking. I don’t think Brad Childress could coach his kids to burp much less help a guy become a better quarterback.

I watched him work at the U of WI and have yet to observe anything during his tenure in MN to dissaude me of my opinion.

Uh, you're ignoring his tenure in Philly, which was only, oh, EIGHT YEARS of his career. Considering that during those eight years he was Donovan McNabb's quarterbacks coach his first two years in the league, then his offensive coordinator for several more, and that he also helped A.J. Feeley play well enough in limited action that the team was able to parlay him into a second round pick, I think it's safe to say there's evidence Childress knows how to coach quarterbacks.

Have you considered the possibilities that 1.)Because Wisconsin was a power running team they had trouble attracting top QB talent, and 2.)Tarvaris Jackson just isn't good enough that he can be effectively "coached up"?

146
by MJK (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 8:01pm

Jacob Stevens,

You make an interesting argument about Rivers and Mayo. The Patriots own writers (from Patriots Football Weekly) were quite high on Rivers, but a number of rumors from local New England sources hinted that the Pats actually liked Mayo more, or at least just as much.

From what I read then, and have read since, I think the Pats slightly perferred Rivers, but not enough to justify taking him at 7, and were willing to trade down because, even though they would have loved him at 10, they were OK with Mayo at 10 as well. You don't trade down and risk losing your guy unless there's another guy that you're happy with there.

What I wonder is what they would have done at 7 if the Jets hadn't taken Gholston. You're hearing a lot now about how Gholston is such a risky pick, and how happy the Pats are with Mayo, but I wonder how much of that is revisionist. I really wonder how high they actually had Gholston, and if they would have traded down if he had still been there (if they didn't really like Gholston, then his still being on the board actually makes a trade down safer because one of the intervening teams will take him, which is one fewer team to risk taking the guy you actually like).

147
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 8:09pm

Jimm, the Vikings offensive line was extremely good in 2004, and they had one of the worst, if not the worst, adjusted sack rate. The statistic is not telling you what you think it is.

148
by 1stPrize2Tickets2ndPrize4Tickets (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 8:21pm

I think BadgerT1000 was, uh, "harmed" in some way by Childress whilst the bald one was in Madison.

(Do you want to use the dolls to show us?)

149
by 1stPrize2Tickets2ndPrize4Tickets (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 8:23pm

I keed! I keed!

Actually, I'm not convinced that Childress is a coaching improvement over Mike Tice (although BC is a little more discrete in both the game plan and getting rid of Super Bowl tickets).

150
by lionsbob (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 8:23pm

Lions draft.....I like it enough, typically Marinelli draft (except no one with the upside of Calvin Johnson)..I don't think there will be any flame outs from the 1st 3 rounds of picks, at the very least some solid players. Kevin Smith should be interesting.

151
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 8:32pm

Oh, I think Tice was dealt an extremely bad hand in Minnesota, with the exception of Randy Moss being on the roster when he was hired. An owner who won't invest in scouting, coaching staff, and often players is not a good owner to work for. I've always maintained that if the McCombs had allowed the Vikings front office to pursue guys like Ogunleye and Bly, who instead went to divisional rivals, and if McCombs had not forced the Moss trade to save a few bucks, Tice never would have been fired, because the Vikings would have made the playoffs a couple more times.

152
by BadgerT1000 (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 9:05pm

Post 145:

I will let Eagles fans correct me but my interpretation is that Andy Reid has a close rein on things in Philly.

I posted last year that what Childress is doing is CHAPTER AND VERSE what he did while at WI. Looking for a quarterback long on physical attributes and short on actual quarterbacking skills. In Donovan McNabb the Eagles were lucky enough for Brad that they had BOTH.

Childress is beyond predictable. Fellow Wisco/Packer fans and I watched both GB/MN games last season and at one point we called 15(!) straight offensive plays by the Vikes. And not just run versus pass. Different types of runs and passes.

At Wisconsin Childress was (in)famous for his 3rd and 1 use of the "stretch draw" which is a running play that takes about 13 seconds to develop. Against the lower tier Big 10 teams this would work and oftentimes go for a big gain. Against a team with good speed on defense like Michigan or OSU the running back would get creamed 3 yards in the backfield. And Childress would speak after the game about sticking to the gameplan, playing to the offenses strengths and the poor execution leading to the plays failure.

That Michigan had nine guys in the box and could run like the wind overwhelming the hulking WI linemen didn't seem to register.

Somehow I suspect that this passage is reading as eerily familiar to my Viking brethren.

But hey, you go Brad! Yah, Brad! He's Da Man! Woo-hoo.

That better?

153
by Xeynon (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 9:20pm

#152, I'm not saying Childress is a good talent evaluator, play-caller or, on the whole, a good head coach. It's true that Reid ran those departments in Philly. But he was the coach who worked most directly and intensively with the Eagles' quarterbacks while he was there, and McNabb has credited him with playing a major role in his development as an NFL passer. There are certainly plenty of legit criticisms you can make of his work with the Vikings (and maybe while he was OC at Wisconsin, you'd know better than I), but I don't think you can say there's no reason to believe he has any ability to develop quarterbacks.

154
by J (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 9:37pm

These are Henne's and Flacco's stats against Appalachian State:

Chad Henne 19/37 233yds, 1td 1int, L 32-34
J. Flacco 23/48 334yds, 1td 0int, L 21-49

The Michigan-App. State game was close the whole game, but Appalachian State blow out Delaware pretty early. So, these stats may not be too helpful in making a Henne-Flacco comparison.

Many media outlets are comparing the Flacco pick to Boller. I refuse to do that b/c Boller was never accurate, as his 47% completions during his Cal career show. I am worried about Flacco's starring down receiving targets. Even his highlight clips show him looking for a while before throwing the ball.

Something that's not being reported enough is that Flacco had the fastest three-cone drill for QBs in the combine the last 3 years, so I think he's feet are plenty fast.

As a Ravens fan, I can't stand another QB flop, especially when the defense is always so good.

155
by Alex (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 9:51pm

With all due respect, how much BC have you watched? Ryan’s receivers suck. They never get open, they can’t get off the jam, they get rerouted too easily, and they aren’t athletic.

Ok, I'll give you that. But still, Brohm's receivers weren't exactly superstars, either. Louisville's top 3 WRs/TEs all graduated/entered the draft this year. Two were drafted, one late in the third round and one in the seventh. So Brohm didn't have a dominant receiving corps, either.

“A 10-sack per year DE is a stud.”

You just pulled that outta your ass, right? I mean, I don’t exactly disagree, but it’s kind of an arbitrary distinction. From my perspective, he’s clearly a very good player, but I don’t see him as a difference maker like Julius Peppers.

Michael Strahan - 9.4 sacks/year

Dwight Freeney - 10 sacks/year

Jason Taylor - 10.6 sacks/year

Julius Peppers - 9.3 sacks/year

I have no problem calling any of them stud DEs, even based solely on their pass rushing abilities. 10 sacks/year, over a reasonably long career, is what gets people into consideration for the HOF. I'd say that however you're going to define "stud DE", if a guy has a HOF career, he counts.

Have you considered the possibilities that 1.)... 2.)Tarvaris Jackson just isn’t good enough that he can be effectively “coached up”?

If that's true, then I think we've identified the real problem with Childress and QBs: he couldn't tell a good QB from a hole in the ground.

Sure, he can coach them well enough. But if he can't recognize QB talent, then that might've kept him from recruiting good QBs in Wisconsin, and it would explain why he seems comfortable betting his head coaching career on the possibility that Tavaris Jackson becomes a good QB.

Nothing against Jackson, but QBs that have a completion% under 55% in college have a really bad record in the NFL. I'm not sure any of them have ever turned out to be above average QBs, and Jackson's done little in the past two years to convince me that he's one of the most dramatic outliers among decades of NFL QBs. His projection is about replacement level, and I've seen nothing that makes me think it's inaccurate.

That said, I think he'd be a good backup. Knows the system, has the necessary physical talent, good work ethic. Inconsistent, and not really a long term answer, but that's fine for a backup QB.

156
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 10:21pm

Is somebody honestly trying to defend Tavaras Jackson? Nobody could have made beans out of the Vikings offense last year because the worst starter in the league didn't make beans out of them?

Tom Brady won a super bowl with Antawain Smith at RB and David Givens at WR and looked GOOD. Tavaras Jackson has a once in a decade RB, a nasty defense and was throwing ground balls to his receivers. Go back and watch the Detroit game where he threw 5 interceptions and literally was tossing up interceptions like he was playing "500".

157
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 10:56pm

Chris, I'm not in the Jackson fan club, but picking out one a new qb's worst performances in his first half-dozen starts is not a useful way to evaluate qb play. If one was going to be similarly silly, one would pick out the 4th quarter in the Broncos game, and say "Look how much he improved by the end of the year!!"

Look, I don't think Jackson has good instincts, and is unlikely to develop them, but David Givens was considerably better than anybody the Vikings had catching the ball last year.

158
by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 04/28/2008 - 11:07pm

So what if Joe Flacco is Derek Anderson ? The Ravens dropped Anderson a year too early in development, only for cleveland to reap his rewards.

Then they go out and draft Flacco, who they hope is just like the guy they dropped. I normally like Ozzie Newsome ( I love the Zibikowski pick), but drafting Flacco is a horrible move IMO from a value point of view, and worse when you consider they dropped anderson so recently. People think Ozzie and the ravens were so intent on grabbing Ryan, that they traded up to grab flacco in a state of rage.

159
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 12:10am

83- I was talking 2006 Bledsoe and not 1996 Bledsoe.

Well, in that case, I think the Dolphins can rest easy. I don't recall seeing Henne stand in the pocket for 8 seconds or more just waiting to get sacked. I'd say his pocket awareness is roughly 50 times better than 2006 Drew Bledsoe's.

Is somebody honestly trying to defend Tavaras Jackson?

No, but I think a few people were trying to defend Tavaris Jackson (not sure why, but I guess hope springs eternal in the Land of 10,000 Lakes). Seriously, though, do you intentionally misspell the names of NFL players, or do you just not notice that you're spelling it any different than everyone else? Is it an accent that you're trying to convey in writing or something like that? I only ask because it's really wierd to see you comment on "Tavaras" Jackson and Kyle "Bollier" all the time. Is it that Tavaris hasn't earned the "i" in his name, so you're giving it to Boller instead?

Go back and watch the Detroit game where he threw 5 interceptions

4 interceptions, not 5. If you're going to criticize Tavaris Jackson's passing ability (or lack thereof), there's really no need to embellish. The truth is already quite bad enough as is.

And honestly, one bad game doesn't prove a whole lot. Lest we forget, Eli Manning threw 4 TDs when he played the Vikings...but 3 of them were to Minnesota defenders. Peyton had 6 interceptions against the Chargers. Romo had 5 interceptions against the Bills. Bottom line, even good QBs have really bad games occasionally. So pointing out Jackson's worst game as if that proves he sucks is a bit much.

160
by Vin (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 12:14am

I like the comparison of Flacco to JaMarcus Russell made way up above. Definitely a roll of the dice. I think Brohm and Henne ran more sophisticated offenses than Ryan, but Ryan is smart enough that it won't hinder him.

What happened to Troy Smith in Baltimore? I thought he might be given a chance to win the job there. I'm curious whom Billick would have selected at QB if he was still there -- I bet he would have stayed away from Flacco after getting burned by the siren song of Kyle Boller.

161
by Dice (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 12:23am

Not thrilled with the Skins' draft. Passed on too many linemen on both sides of the ball! A pass-catching TE? Right after Cooley gets a new contract? The DBs seem like the best choices made; I'm really interested in seeing Tryon, who sounds like Smoot redux. Colt Brennan seemed a good deal; he'll need some years of coaching and always will be a system QB, but if you know that, work your system around him. I was hoping for Tommy Z, but since B-more is right up the road...

162
by Pat (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 2:39am

Uh, you’re ignoring his tenure in Philly, which was only, oh, EIGHT YEARS of his career.

Andy Reid was quarterbacks coach in Green Bay before becoming head coach in Philly. Childress helped, but I guarantee it was Andy who primarily was responsible for McNabb. In several interviews regarding McNabb's earlier years, he confirmed as much.

163
by Joe in Seattle (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 2:55am

really surprised the Bears passed on Brohm, and even more surprised that he ended up in Green Bay.

I was happy with the Seahawks draft, was hoping for a Tackle at some point...I'm a bit worried about their depth at the position, but the team seems to be pretty high on backup Ray Willis.

I know some Hawks fans were worried about the team taking Kentwan Balmer, but there was really nothing to worry about because it wasn't gonna happen. A one year standout with character concerns aren't gonna end up on a Tim Ruskell team (although I'm sure they have at some point). I think Carlson is the most complete TE in the draft, he's basically the anti-Jeremy Stevens on and off the field. His blocking should help the running game a lot (releasing Alexander also helps)

LO-JACK! is the typical Ruskell 1st round pick. I see little chance of him becoming a bust. Jackson could beat out Darryl Tapp for a starting end spot.

Red Bryant might of been the steal of day 2. Doug Farrar had a great write up on him at Seahawks.net.

And finally we have Owen Schmitt, who is just crazy and a lock to be a fan favorite.

164
by Admore (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 3:09am

Ah memory. No one likes the Houston Texans 2008 draft. I'd say wait and see. No one liked their 2006 draft either. I've just found three articles that give the Texans a "D" for 2006.

Leaving Reggie "Most Expensive 3rd Down Back Ever" Bush out of it, the 2006 draft produced:

Mario Williams
DeMeco Ryans
Owen Daniels
Eric Winston
Charles Spencer (very good looking LT - terrible knee injury)

That's two ProBowl level guys, one good TE, one ok lineman and one IR casualty who was very promising. That's your "D".

165
by Fergasun (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 5:45am

I really agree with PFTs take on the draft. To summarize, this whole excercise is some nice mid-off-season hype to get everyone to think about the NFL again, and to sell hope. The best thing about drafting players is that you tangibly increase that talent on your team come July when there are roster competitions going on... which is really the fun and interesting part to watch (yes, there are people who can enjoy August football).

I can't understand the negatives about the Redskins draft... but I suppose it's because every fan goes in thinking they are the player personnel guy or wants to believe they are the GM. OK, so they didn't draft who *you* wanted them to draft, but I believe they increased the talent on their teams across the board.

Let me think of somewhere where the Redskins had real problems last season... hmmm... practically every game their play in this area made me want to break my TV... oh... I think it's... Red Zone offsense!. I have a hard time understanding how so many fans can complain when the team attempted to address one glaring weakness... why did the Red Zone offense stall? a) Everyone knew that Cooley was primary target, b) The WRs were so short that it was difficult for them to be effective. So if I grab one tall WR, and another WR taller than the incumbent WRs, plus a great pass-catching TE... maybe that will improve red zone performance?

166
by Dice (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 7:03am

#165: because they barely even glanced at glaring needs on both lines and linebacker, for starters. Also, Thomas is fine, and even Fred Davis, but I didn't want Kelly at all. Not after his 40 time nonsense, and I'm not leery because of his actual times.

And their red zone offense blew because they lacked any semblance of a power rushing game once Jansen and Thomas went down. The inability to pick up 2 yards on three attempts? That's line play, not the D focusing on Cooley.

167
by C (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 9:05am

#118: Delaware could easily beat 20 BCS teams. Every Ivy League team, every service academy team and easily half of the Mid-American teams.

168
by dmb (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 9:13am

166: Well, they already have two young "developmental" linemen who show some promise (Lorenzo Alexander, who will now be offense-only, and Stephon Heyer); they drafted Chad Rinehart in the third round; and given his track record, it's reasonably likely that Bugel will find something worthwhile in one of the four UDFA linemen that the team picked up (Kerry Brown seems particularly intriguing). So that's at least three, and possibly four, young offensive linemen that the team will have to develop.

Of course, the defensive line is another story ... but it's worth noting that the defense managed to be sixth in DVOA with the current line.

169
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 9:17am

Every Ivy League team

Most Ivy League teams aren't in the BCS, so they don't count.

170
by Joe T. (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 10:02am

#168 - my only complaint is wasting the last 2nd rounder on another pass catcher when DE is a glaring need, and then trying to satisfy that need with a 7th rounder. I haven't looked at their UDFA acquisitions yet, but Bugel knows what he's doing, so I'm not worried about o-line.

I really like the Brennan pick as a development project.

171
by MilkmanDanimal (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 12:00pm

"As a Michigan/Bucs fan I’d just like to express my gratitude to Gruden for drafting Dexter Jackson of Appalachian State. The guy ruined my entire fall and now I get to watch him become Jacquez Green 2.0 in Tampa."

Great. Thanks. I'd tried to forget Jacquez Green existed. Oh, great, now I suddenly remembered Reidel Anthony as well. It's only 11:00 a.m., but I think I need a drink at this point.

172
by Paralis (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 1:03pm

168: I'm sorry, but what track record? I mean, seriously, why does Bugel still have this glowing reputation in DC? The Hogs were 20 years ago, and in the last 4 he's developed exactly nobody, which is why the depth chart across the line is full of your Todd Wades and your Jason Fabinis.

Even if Heyer and Alexander turn out to be great, though, what I still think I need help understanding is: what is the plan at center? There's an argument to be made for poor depth at a position, but at center, the Skins have 0 depth; they have Rinehart as a backup at guard, and a long list of tackles at varying stages of conversion. Nobody with any real experience snapping the ball at the NFL or collegiate levels. And it mystifies me that a) this is possible; and b) I can't seem to find anybody online or off who doesn't think this is an enormous problem.

173
by panthersnbraves (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 1:57pm

76) The Panthers already have a roster chock full of 3rd-5th round talent (including several who were drafted on the first day, but turned out to be second-day material).

I would have rather bundled up rounds 4-7, but we'll see. Like the commercial said - "Everyone is undefeated this time of year."

174
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 2:25pm

167:

I stated FBS, not BCS, teams. I think they could definitely beat 1 BCS team (Duke) and maybe find a way to beat 2 others (Minnesota, Northwestern, Syracuse, etc.). I think they could compete against the bottom half of the Sun Belt, and the dregs of C-USA, MAC, and WAC and a few independents (Army, WKU). Other than those 15-20 teams, what else is there?

Delaware should be able to beat every Ivy team pretty handily.

175
by mm (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 2:55pm

174- you implied the Ivy league were members of the BCS which they are not:

Delaware could easily beat 20 BCS teams. Every Ivy League team, every service academy team and easily half of the Mid-American teams.

They aren't members of the FBS (football bowl subdivision) either.

176
by PaulH (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 4:33pm

Regarding the Gholston v. Mario Williams comparison...

Both had good combine workouts, but generally speaking Williams was much better. He actually posted better numbers in just about every measurement than did Gholston -- including in the 40 -- despite the fact that he is a good three inches taller and 40 pounds heavier.

Gholston had a good workout, but I don't think his athleticism -- once you factor in size -- is near what you find with Mario Williams.

If Gholston can put up Williams-esque production in his second year, I'll be very surprised.

177
by dmb (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 5:07pm

170: I was a little surprised by the absence of any defensive linemen, though there's been plenty of speculation that they were considering Phillip Merling at 21. (I think Zorn or Cerrato may have even said something to that effect.) But to be honest, if they didn't see any linemen that would be a reasonable value at their second round picks, I don't really have a problem with them choosing a second WR; that way they're not all sticking all their eggs in one basket. That said, I am a bit concerned about our d-line next year, although the defense has had recent success ('05, '07) even without the strongest line.

I'm completely agnostic about Brennan.

172: I am somewhat concerned about depth at center. They did sign Kyle DeVan, who was a three-year starter at center for Oregon State, after the draft...but that's obviously not a particularly solid backup plan.

As for Bugel, the team has drafted three linemen in his second tenure with his team; one fifth-rounder, one sixth-rounder, and one seventh-rounder. You're right that he didn't have success with three late-round picks.

But I'd argue that he probably played a major role in Casey Rabach's improvements and in making Derrick Dockery a very good guard. Also remember that he's been without Jon Jansen, arguably their best lineman, for two of those four years ... and the line has still performed reasonably well. (Not to mention countless other injuries...)

And just about any Redskin fan is amazed by how quickly Heyer was able to perform adequately.

178
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 5:15pm

159 - Alex - you are both spelling the name wrong - it's Tarvaris Jackson.

So for everyone

Tar - var - is

I think we need an irrational Tarvaris Jackson thread.

179
by jimm (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 5:22pm

Will - I will buy that the adjusted sack may not be definitive proof that protection by the line is poor but it provides a potential clue. I also watched all of the games and I would say there was decent protection - not great. In particular I found they had a really difficult time giving decent time on obvious passing downs.

It is definitely a very difficult thing to measure and very interconnected.

180
by addaijoe (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 8:18pm

On a wider issue, I’m wondering how often a running back is worth a first-round pick, especially a high one. Adrian Peterson was, or at least, if he keeps up current production, clearly will be. After him, who? None of the highly-touted first-rounders from 2005 looks that special now; the best of them is Joseph Addai, and the Colts offense barely missed a beat when Kenton Keith replaced him due to injury.

The Colts offense succeeded in spite of Kenton Keith's presence. Indy RB's need to be a triple threat to be effective: (1) ability to run the ball, (2) catch the ball, and (3) pass protect. K Keith is good at running the ball, but has hands of stone (58% catch percentage for a RB!) and misses blocks left and right in pass protection. Mike Hart has the ability to do all 3 and be a decent thumper in goal line situations. A good pickup in many offensive systems, but lacks the ability to run the outside zone play.

I wouldn't classify Addai as one of the high first round picks, and I'm sure you wouldn't either. I also wouldn't use a top 15 pick on a rb unless he was a dual threat rb like Marshall Faulk or LdT level player, and I'd still question Minnesota's choice to pick up AD. I've heard he isn't yet skilled in the art of blitz pickup, limiting his flexibility in Brad Childress's offensive system. I would expect the Belichick treatment for him the more people play the Minnesota Vikings: pummel AD before going after the qb.

181
by Mossey Cade (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 8:47pm

Re: 155 from Alex--

I like your use of the term "replacement" for T-Jack--it fits into my notion that although he needs improvement and may never be a Pro Bowler, I look around the league and I see 15 QBs that I would rather have for the next five years--and an equal number that I wouldn't take over him.

Which begets the question--who were/are the Vikes supposed to get instead of T-Jack? Garcia last year? Maybe. But he's not the long-term solution. Sage Rosenfelsandkranz? Maybe. But who knows if he would be any better. Draft Brohm/Henne/Flacco this year? Then they would be back to where they were this time last year with T-Jack.

The kid makes some cuckoo-crackers decisions--that can be taught away or changed (but also may never be learned). What can't be changed is arm strength, speed, and toughness--three things Jackson already has.

He's not the best, but he's not the worst--and he is inexperienced. This year is his and Childish's last chance.

182
by Paralis (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 9:21pm

177: That's a little comforting, I guess. I hadn't seen the list of UFA yet beyond the broad positional breakdown (which listed, I believe, 4 OL). Generally speaking, I think Bugel's approach makes sense, in that he seems to prefer tackles that aren't quite quick enough to play at the pro level, and then moving them inside. It's just that there's no record of success currently with that, the hype on Lorenzo Alexander notwithstanding. Heyer was adequate, let's not forget, on a line that was utterly woeful through most of the season. Certainly it's an achievement for a UFA to be able to be even that capable as a rookie in the NFL, and it wouldn't surprise me to see him turn out to be a capable starter at tackle or guard once the kinks in his technique are worked out, but he hasn't done it yet.

Otherwise, yes, Bugel's gotten good performances out of the OL, but the Redskins have paid heavily for every piece of it. Not all of this is his or Gibbs' fault; the team's been over a barrel wrt Samuels' and Jansen's contracts for years now, and neither similarly had any say in Randy Thomas' hefty free agency deal. But they paid a lot of money to get Rabach, and had to go out and sign a veteran to replace Dockery as well. Getting value out of veterans is better than nothing, but it's not cheap, and it's certainly not cause to cling to this idea that he's going to rebuild the Hogs from spare parts (I don't specifically mean you, but I'm sure you've seen the many Redskins fans who are convinced he'll turn up the next Kris Dielman or Jason Peters). In short, no matter what miracles he did in the first Gibbs tenure, in today's NFL he's a capable OL coach and nothing more, not fit to be listed with the Dante Scarnecchias and Howard Mudds and Alex Gibbses of the world. And the reason I think that's important, then, is that the Skins need to stop acting like he is, and stop expecting him to be able to turn out a capable and deep offensive line with some baling wire and a couple of Ross Tuckers. 2005 should have closed the door on that dream for good--Cory Raymer? Ray Brown? Ugh.

183
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 10:02pm

Jimm, I wouldn't say their protection was great either, but I'd bet finding a line that provided great protection in obvious passing situations, when the defense has nearly zero fear of the receivers, and is facing a very inexperienced qb, is a very hard thing to do. I do remember teams putting eight and even nine in the box on obvious passing downs; the Eagles did for most of the game, which is why I was so shocked that even Cottrell could be dumb enough to fail to simply copy what Jim Johnson had done the week prevously, and thus give Peterson the chance to go off.

When the receivers have almost no chance of beating press coverage, or if they do, a very good chance of dropping the ball, there is little reason to not crowd the box even on obvious passing downs. It makes blocking assignments a lot more difficult, and the qb assumes blitz. The only way to stop the defense from doing this is to make them pay vertically by a receiver gashing a defensive back repeatedly. The Vikings could not do this last year.

Think about Plaxico Burress taunting the Packers at Lambeau in January, screaming at the Packers bench, "He cannot cover me!!!" , referring to Al Harris. Until the Vikings have a receiver who can do something like that once and a while, they won't get their money's worth out of Adrian Peterson.

184
by Dice (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 10:03pm

Paralis: thank you! Its killing me how they continue to ignore the line and expect success...I'll concede Heyer as a backup, and I didn't hear Alexander was switching to O-line full time, but even so. Everyone is 30+, Jansen needs to go after two freak injuries, and the 'Skins should've drafted more linemen. You're dead right about Bugel: but he got that rep off a line that was talented and highly thought of prior to their draft(except Jacoby[UDFA], and I was rarely sold on Bostic.)

185
by Paralis (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 10:32pm

The word on Lorenzo Alexander at the end of last year was that several of the (hundreds of) offensive coaches thought he had the mobility and quickness to be an excellent pulling guard, but that Bugel thought his arms were too short. Remains to be seen who's right, but with that lineup, he figures to see some action in the front five before the season is out.

I don't understand the rush to judgment on Heyer, though. He was an undrafted rookie picked to start between a guy who had never played guard before, and a TE who is at best (IMO) an adequate blocker. By all rights, he should have looked terrible, and he didn't (always). The thing to keep in mind is that he's a work in progress, and the sort of player that probably shouldn't have seen significant live-fire time before 2008 (or, ideally, even 2009).

The only real problem with Jansen, I think, is his cap number, if he can recover from his ankle injury (this being the huge question). Although, yes, he has ended up on IR in two of four years, I don't think this broken ankle indicates fragility. There aren't a lot of players who would walk away from the hit he took. Bodies just aren't made to move like that.

But we'll see what happens. They're a good team that's not *that* far from being a contender, but with Zorn's nonsense about it taking multiple years to develop his WCO, it wouldn't surprise me to see the team start cutting the 2004 signings to start to get younger and deeper for 2009 and beyond. I just don't see a clear direction in what they're doing right now.

186
by Alex (not verified) :: Tue, 04/29/2008 - 11:10pm

159 - Alex - you are both spelling the name wrong - it’s Tarvaris Jackson.

So it is. I stand corrected.

Tarvaris? Interesting, the way announcers say it, it seems like the first r is silent (although maybe I'm just not paying attention). Favre, Rodgers, Tarvaris...what's with all these NFC North QBs with unusually spelled names and spare letters lying around everywhere?

I do trust that Kyle Boller's name doesn't have an i though, right?

187
by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 12:08am

I like your use of the term “replacement” for T-Jack–it fits into my notion that although he needs improvement and may never be a Pro Bowler, I look around the league and I see 15 QBs that I would rather have for the next five years–and an equal number that I wouldn’t take over him.

Time out! There's a big difference between "replacement" and "average". Replacement level is roughly what an average backup QB would be, so about the 48th best QB in the league. If Jackson were the 16th best QB in the NFL, the Vikings would have made the playoffs last year. He can be a valuable backup, and his running ability means he's a better QB than he is a passer, but still, the Vikings need to find someone else to take over the starting job.

Which begets the question–who were/are the Vikes supposed to get instead of T-Jack?

Garcia, Rosenfels, Harrington, Pennington. Jackson would no longer be the best QB on the team if they acquired any of those four, all of whom were/are available through FA or trade. Then Jackson could be holding a clipboard, learning slowly, ready to step in for a few games if the starter got hurt. That's the role he should have in the NFL, at least in the near future. Jackson should only see the field in case of injury to the starter, or in garbage time at the end of blowouts.

Draft Brohm/Henne/Flacco this year? Then they would be back to where they were this time last year with T-Jack.

Yes, but with Brohm or Henne, they'd have a prospect who would be highly likely to become an above average QB, and would likely be better than Jackson by the 2009 season. Their players wouldn't all be old by then, so they'd still have a good defense, and AD would still be young. And unless they somehow acquire a starting quality QB, they're not going to win the Super Bowl next year anyway, so they might as well. I'll say this for them: they did something to address their QB situation when they took Booty in the third round. That's a step in the right direction. A baby step, but it's something. Which is a hell of a lot more than their division rival Chicago has done.

The kid makes some cuckoo-crackers decisions–that can be taught away or changed (but also may never be learned).

I'm not sure that it's true that they can be taught away. People always say that, but I've yet to see a QB who made really bad decisions on a regular basis for a long time, then stopped doing so after gaining more experience/practice/coaching. Brett Favre was still making the same ridiculous decisions in his final year in the league that he made as a rookie (of course, he was good enough the rest of the time that he was still a HOFer).

What can’t be changed is arm strength, speed, and toughness–three things Jackson already has.

I agree, but still, those are some of the least important skills for a QB. I mean, it's great that he's got a really strong arm and good mobility, but those are supposed to be little bonuses for a QB, not his main skills. Otherwise, Akili Smith would've been a great QB, instead of a bust.

188
by Mossey Cade (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 1:52am

Alex,

Eloquently stated. But a couple nits to pick with your otherwise reasonable and highly-knowledgeable response:

1. If Henne and Brohm are indeed "highly likely to become above-average quarterbacks," they wouldn't have lasted until the second round. They would have been picked by the 20 or so teams that currently has an average or below-average quarterback.
2. I don't know that the alternative QBs you say were available to the Vikings really could have been had. Garcia was rumored to have turned down any FA offers from the Vikings because of their shoddy WR situation--the same factor that didn't help T-Jack last year. And sub-par as T-jack has been, I'll take him over Harrington any day. Getting Pennington and Rosenfels would require their teams to pull the trigger on a deal. I haven't seen evidence they were willing to do that.
3. Even if your point is true--that the Vikings should have obtained a different starting QB--is Brad Childress that stubborn that he would rather lose games and his job than admit that T-Jack isn't ready??!!

Respectfully,

Mossey Cade

p.s.--And yes, if we can keep this up, maybe FO will indeed give us our own "Irrational Tarvaris Jackson Thread"

189
by jimm (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 7:32am

I started compiling a list of QB's and there comp % and starts through their 24th year. That list included Jackson, V. Young, Leinart and J. Cutler. I added most of the 1-2 rounders in the last 10 years or so and I added some superstars of the last 20 years.

What's apparent is very few exceed 60% completion rate, those that do tend to have very good career. The busts almost always complete less than 55%. A large group of decent QB's haven't thrown a 100 passes by their 24th year.

Some greats were well below the 60% level (Elway, Aikman, McNabb).

T. Jackson ranks pretty high on the list in comp % ahead of Leinart and V. Young.

starts doesn't tell you much because so many bad QB's get tons of starts and many good ones very few or none all.

Here's the list:

1 Joe Montana 63.9 8
2 Tom Brady 63.7 14
3 D.Culpepper 63.3 27
4 Jay Cutler 62.6 21
5 Roethlisberger 62.4 40
6 Brett Favre 62.2 29
7 Dan Marino 61 41
8 Drew Brees 60.7 27
9 Peyton Manning 60.4 48
10 Tim Couch 59.1 37
11 Byron Leftwich 58.9 27
12 Aaron Brooks 58.2 5
13 T. Jackson 58.1 14
14 Vince Young 57.1 28
15 Shaun King 56.7 21
16 Matt Leinart 56 16
17 Kyle Boller 55.6 34
18 Donovan McNabb 55.5 22
19 Troy Aikman 55.1 26
20 Cade McNown 54.6 15
21 Rex Grossman 54.5 6
22 Alex Smith 54.4 30
23 Andre Ware 54.3 4
24 Rick Mirer 54.1 29
25 David Carr 54.1 27
26 Steve Mcnair 54.1 29
27 Trent Dilfer 54 38
28 David Klingler 53.8 17
29 Michael Vick 53.6 36
30 R Cunningham 52.9 21
31 John Elway 52.7 24
32 Akili Smith 52.3 4
33 Steve Young 52.2 5
34 Eli Manning 51.6 23
35 Patrick Ramsey 51.6 16
36 Quincy Carter 51.1 8
37 JP Losman 50.2 8
38 Joey Harrington 50.1 12
39 Matt Schaub 49.2 2
40 Ryan Leaf 48 18
41 Heath Shuler 47.7 13

190
by JMM (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 8:05am

"24th year" ???

191
by jimm (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 8:07am

JMM - by 24th year - I mean before they turn 25.

Here's a list of QB's that hadn't thrown over 100 passes in the NFL before their 25th birthday.

Carson Palmer
Mark Bulger
Jason Campbell
Aaron Rogers
Trent Green
Kurt Warner
Philip Rivers
David Garrard
Chad Pennington
Tony Romo
John Kitna
Matt Hasselbeck
Phil Simms
Chris Simms
Jake Delhomme
Jim Kelly

192
by jimm (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 8:31am

My guess for Tarvaris Jackson -

he's either Steve McNair/D. McNabb or Aaron Brooks Shaun King. I wouldn't be surprised either way.

I guess we'll likely know after this year because by 25 McNair and McNabb were clearly getting better - Brooks actually regressed and King wasn't playing and more.

Much of the chat on this site about Jackson seems to suggest he's Heath Shuler/Ryan Leaf bad. I just don't see support for that argument. He's somewhere in the great middle of who knows. Odds favour him being mediocre or worse, but I don't see anything that suggests he's horrible along the lines of the true busts.

193
by 1stPrize2Tickets2ndPrize4Tickets (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 9:23am

Jimm,

My guess for Tarvaris Jackson -he’s either Steve McNair/D. McNabb or Aaron Brooks Shaun King. I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

My overly-expressed sentiments exactly (but couldn't you have thrown Steve Young in there for, uh, diversity's sake?).

194
by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 10:02am

1. If Henne and Brohm are indeed “highly likely to become above-average quarterbacks,” they wouldn’t have lasted until the second round. They would have been picked by the 20 or so teams that currently has an average or below-average quarterback.

Only if those teams knew that they were highly likely to become above-average QBs. The whole point of Lewin's system is that NFL teams systematically underestimate certain QB prospects, and overestimate others. QBs with high projections usually become above-average QBs, even if they're drafted in the second round. Drew Brees had 37 starts, and completed 61.1% of his passes, so his projection coming out of college would've been quite good. Yet he lasted until the second round.

Garcia was rumored to have turned down any FA offers from the Vikings because of their shoddy WR situation–the same factor that didn’t help T-Jack last year.

In that case, they get a pass on Garcia.

And sub-par as T-jack has been, I’ll take him over Harrington any day.

I don't know, Harrington had a much better DPAR last season despite a significantly worse supporting cast. He's almost an average QB, which would be a big help to a team like the Vikings. And he could've been acquired cheaply. Worst case scenario, you keep Harrington as a backup if Jackson beats him out for the starting job.

Getting Pennington and Rosenfels would require their teams to pull the trigger on a deal. I haven’t seen evidence they were willing to do that.

Maybe not, but honestly, if you offered the Texans a first rounder for Rosenfels, I think they'd take it. And the Jets would probably be willing to part with Pennington for about what the Vikings paid to get Jared Allen. If they're willing to give that up to get an elite DE, they should be willing to do the same to get a good QB.

3. Even if your point is true–that the Vikings should have obtained a different starting QB–is Brad Childress that stubborn that he would rather lose games and his job than admit that T-Jack isn’t ready??!!

No, Brad Childress is too stupid to realize that he will lose games if he doesn't get a better QB than Jackson. He doesn't know that Jackson isn't ready because all he sees is physical talent. If he knew, he would've gotten a QB to replace Jackson by now.

I started compiling a list of QB’s and there comp % and starts through their 24th year.

Interesting list, but I'm not sure whether it helps us a lot wrt Jackson. He's above some good QBs, but also below some bad ones. But it does put him in a positive light, I guess.

If you wouldn't mind too much, could you try to make another list? I was wondering if anyone would make a list of QBs who started 35+ games in college and completed under 55% of their passes there, and still became average or above average QBs in the NFL. I'm just curious about whether that list is empty or not.

My guess for Tarvaris Jackson -

he’s either Steve McNair/D. McNabb or Aaron Brooks Shaun King. I wouldn’t be surprised either way.

Honestly, I think Jackson's upside is Jake Plummer, but I doubt he'll be that good. FWIW, I think Jackson is a better QB prospect than Kyle Boller, so Childress > Billick.

195
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 10:18am

I also greatly dispute the notion that Harrington is an upgrade, or even on the same level as Jackson. I lamented the fact that Garcia was in Tampa last year, but I also doubt whether the Vikings could have acquired him. Finding decent quarterbacks is hard, hard, hard, but that is also a good argument for the Ron Wolf theory of drafting one every single year, no matter if you already have an established guy or not.

196
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 10:25am

Pennington is no longer a good qb, and you'd have to be nuts to give up what the Vikings gave up to get Allen, to acquire Pennington. Pennington can't make the throws, and good decisionmaking only get you so far. No, arm strength isn't the most important thing, but that doesn't mean Fran Tarkenton should come out of retirement. I haven't seen enough of Rosenfels to have an opinion.

197
by Yaguar (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 10:34am

189: You've chosen the statistical category that Jackson is best in. Do the same for, say, interception percentage, and he comes out absolutely horrid.

198
by jimm (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 10:41am

The notion of giving up a 1st rounder for Chad Pennington or Sage Rosenfels is nutty. The Vikings sucked passing and stopping the pass. They spent a 1 and two 3's to get about as good a pass stopping solution as they could (spent a 2 in the draft to do the same).

What QB could you get for a 1 and 3 - McNabb (doubt it - probably take 2 1's).

I think the Vikings made the right choice chasing Allen with picks rather than getting some middle of the road QB. Ferotte is likely as good as Harrington or Pennington at this stage.

Having said that I would have liked to see them draft Brohm in the 2nd round. He has a chance to be a Drew Brees - I think it would have been worth the gamble.

199
by jimm (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 10:47am

Alex - upside predictions are kind of pointless - Aikman, McNabb, Steve Young, heck even Elway looked pretty shaky at 24. Nobody ever heard of Tony Romo at that age.

My point is that Jackson looks more mediocre to me than obviously awful. The odds still favour him being mediocre at best, but I don't think you can completely rule out a potential much higher upside like you could for many 24 yr supposed prospects.

200
by jimm (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 11:04am

189. Yagaur - I don't have the whole list here at work - but I don't think that's true - a quick sample. His int rate is below average for sure but it's not horrible. I will post the whole list including int%, td% and yds/att tonight.

Mcnabb 2.5
Brady 2.9
Montana 3
Brooks 3.1
Leinart 3.3
Pmanning 3.4
EManning 3.4
Harrington 3.7
David Carr 3.8
losman 3.9
v. young 4.1
jackson 4.3
Elway 4.5
Shuler 4.9
Aikman 5.2
McNair 5.2
leaf 5.5

201
by Bobman (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 12:04pm

YPA should be a decent barometer as well, as some guys likely sacrificed yardage for shorter/safer passes and a higher completion %age, especially in their youth or if their playbooks were constructed to protect a young QB.

Then there's Ben R, who in my mind has an outlandish YPA.

#193, I was thinking the same thing. Not enough mormons or lawyers on the first list.

202
by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 4:37pm

I’m completely agnostic about Brennan.

I, on the other hand, believe that the existence of Colt Brennan CAN be demonstrated by the senses.

203
by jimm (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 6:48pm

189. Yaguar..you are right that comp % is Jackson's strongest ranking. Of the 41 QB's I looked up here's how he faired:

Comp Pct - 13th
Starts - 30th
TD % - 27th
Int % - 34th

Not sure how much I'd trust int % as a key indicator - number 1 in the list with lowest int % was Klingler, #3 was Rex Grossman, #4 Michael Vick, #5 Rick Mirer, #6 Shaun King. Elway, Aikman and S. Young were all in the bottom 5.

I'd upload the list but I'm not sure how to do it and make it readable. The data columns get jumbled.

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by Alex (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 7:15pm

I also greatly dispute the notion that Harrington is an upgrade, or even on the same level as Jackson.

I don't see why. What evidence is there that Jackson's better than Harrington? Harrington had a significantly worse supporting cast - better receivers, but almost no running game (29th in DVOA), and a terrible O-line. Jackson had a top 5 running game to help him out, often allowing him to throw with 9 guys in the box, and still had a much lower DPAR/DVOA than Harrington. I mean, Harrington isn't going to be anything special, but he's already had 4 seasons with a higher passing DPAR than Jackson's ever had, despite never having a better supporting cast. Maybe Jackson's mobility gives him a bit of an edge, but honestly, the Vikings already have plenty of people to run the ball. Having someone who could throw it a little better would help a lot.

Now, maybe Harrington wouldn't turn out to be an upgrade, but why wouldn't they at least try? It's not like it would cost them anything, and they'd have someone to compete with Jackson for the starting job. What possible harm could come from adding a mediocre QB to their roster?

Pennington is no longer a good qb, and you’d have to be nuts to give up what the Vikings gave up to get Allen, to acquire Pennington. Pennington can’t make the throws

Pennington's still plenty good. He can't make all the throws, but he can complete passes when there's 8 or 9 guys in the box all day long. He was 9th in DPAR the year before last, and he's not so old that you'd expect a decline from age yet.

Yeah, if he has to constantly bail out a terrible defense by throwing long desperation passes, he's going to do poorly. But he wouldn't need to do that for the Vikings, because they have a good defense.

I think the Vikings made the right choice chasing Allen with picks rather than getting some middle of the road QB. Ferotte is likely as good as Harrington or Pennington at this stage.

I wasn't saying they should take a QB instead of getting Allen, I meant getting a decent QB in addition to getting Allen. It's great that they're fixing their pass rush, but now that they've done that, they should address their QB situation. To be fair, they kind of did, with Booty in the fifth round, and getting Frerotte is a good move. But still, they really should've taken someone in the second round, or made a trade for a decent QB. They could've gotten Henne or Brohm and, at worst, left them on the bench for a year and let Jackson start again.

Was it really more important for them to get a DB in the second round than it was to get a QB? Which problem is going to hold their team back more? Call me crazy, but I'd say the QB problem's a bit more important.

And it's not like taking a QB in the second round means they have to give up on Jackson. They can still keep him as the starter if he beats the odds and gets really good. Then, they'd even have depth at QB, in addition to talent. And seeing as Jackson's already missed, what, 4 games in his young NFL career due to injury, having depth at QB can only help them.

Nobody's saying it's impossible for Jackson to become good, but the Vikings shouldn't count on it. They should act aggressively to make sure that if Jackson doesn't pan out, they've got other viable options. And they've gone through two drafts without really doing that.

205
by jimm (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 7:56pm

Alex - I don't think you should ever trade your first round pick unless you are getting a known star player.

I was hoping the Vikes were taking Brohm in the 2nd but one has to wonder how good Brohm is when so many teams that needed and wanted a QB passed on him. Lewin's system uses 3 variables to predict success - completion pct, starts and pro evaluators ranking (did he go in the first two rounds). With respect to the first two statistics he measures very high, with respect to the third he's clearly borderline. Heck if GB passes on him he's likely a 3rd rounder and not even measured by Lewin's system.

206
by jimm (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 8:07pm

I just went back and read about Brohm on the FO on ESPN article...and something funny struck me

"33 starts, 65.8 percent completion rate"
"...he was a projected No. 1 overall pick a year ago."

Had he come out last year Lewin would say - not a good prospect - not enough starts.

Stays a year and the NFL scouts decided - hey this kid ain't that great.

207
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 9:49pm

206:

I don't buy that. He was projected #1 prior to his declaration in January that he would stay in college for his senior year. He missed the entire process (combine, pro days, interviews, etc.) that leads up to the draft. Had he done that in 2007, he easily could have slid down draft boards just like he did this year.

I am curious how much, if any, the entire Petrino debacle in Atlanta stuck to Brohm.

208
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 04/30/2008 - 11:22pm

Alex, to give up a first and two thirds for a qb who can't make the throws is less that wise, if, for no other reason, there is no reason to think that Pennington's arm strength will be on a plateau for the next few years, as opposed to a pronounced downward slope. Just comparing trading that draft value for a qb is Pennington perilous physical state, to doing so for a de in Jared Allen's physical state, is dubious.

Also, Harrington's DVOA was about -22 in 2002, and in 2003, about the same as Jackson's last year, -12. You don't bring in Harrington because he already has had a ton more starts than Jackson, and has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can't play, and roster spots are finite.

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by Erik Smith (not verified) :: Thu, 05/01/2008 - 12:55am

Re: #69

Pat, another fine post as usual. My diagnosis of the Eagles' red zone trouble last year was TE as well. A few turnovers on 'D' this year will go a long way, too.

210
by Alex (not verified) :: Thu, 05/01/2008 - 8:06am

Alex - I don’t think you should ever trade your first round pick unless you are getting a known star player.

If you use that draft pick to draft a player, you aren't getting a known star player, yet most people don't think that's a bad idea.

Lewin’s system uses 3 variables to predict success - completion pct, starts and pro evaluators ranking (did he go in the first two rounds). With respect to the first two statistics he measures very high, with respect to the third he’s clearly borderline.

Not really. He went in the first two rounds, it doesn't matter whether he went at the end of the first or the end of the second. He's a good prospect who fits a pattern of QBs who are systematically underestimated by NFL scouts.

Heck if GB passes on him he’s likely a 3rd rounder and not even measured by Lewin’s system.

Yeah, but GB didn't pass on him. They took him for a reason. That reason is that they consider him a good QB prospect. And that's enough to satisfy the requirements of Lewin's system.

Had he come out last year Lewin would say - not a good prospect - not enough starts.

Stays a year and the NFL scouts decided - hey this kid ain’t that great.

You know, it only really applies if he falls out of the first two rounds, not if it seems like he could've fallen out of those rounds. Lewin's system still applies to Brohm, and it gives us plenty of reason to think Brohm will be a good NFL QB.

Alex, to give up a first and two thirds for a qb who can’t make the throws is less that wise, if, for no other reason, there is no reason to think that Pennington’s arm strength will be on a plateau for the next few years, as opposed to a pronounced downward slope.

I agree it would be a huge risk, but so is getting a DE who's one drink away from a suspension (don't get me wrong, I think that was a great move). Maybe the risk is higher with Pennington, but still, the Vikings can win now. But only if they get a starting QB.

If you really think that Pennington's arm strength is likely to fall off rapidly before he turns 33, then fine, it wouldn't be worth that much. I'm not sure that's going to happen, but if you think it likely, then that would be a good enough reason not to make the trade.

Also, Harrington’s DVOA was about -22 in 2002, and in 2003, about the same as Jackson’s last year, -12.

Yeah, but this is 2008. I'm not saying that Jackson won't eventually be better than Harrington. But he isn't as good now. And if the Vikings can get a QB who had a positive DVOA last year, with an inferior supporting cast, without giving up anything other than a roster spot, they should do it, because they can win the Super Bowl next year.

But they probably won't do it without getting better play from the QB position. Anything that increases the chances of that happening should be a priority. Even if it's something as simple as having someone better than Brooks Bollinger or a 37 year old Gus Frerotte as the backup QB.

You don’t bring in Harrington because he already has had a ton more starts than Jackson, and has proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that he can’t play, and roster spots are finite.

He's proven that he's never going to be great, and likely never even above average, but he's also shown that he's not terrible. Roster spots are finite, but honestly, do you think keeping a backup or special teamer is more important than potentially upgrading your QB position for next year?

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by jimm (not verified) :: Thu, 05/01/2008 - 3:07pm

Alex - I'm a big believer that the only fair way to judge a QB is when they play on the same team with the same players. Arguing that Harrington was in a worse situation for a QB than Jackson seems likely on the surface but probably not the case.

Take a look at the stats for Redman. He was actually better than Harrington. Take a look at Holcomb - he stunk the joint out as did Jackson.

What is likely is that for all of Atlanta's shortcomings it was probably a better place to compile DVOA stats for a QB than Minnesota.

My guess is that FO is over-rating the QB's contribution to a teams success. I'm sure Kurt Warner had some astronomically high DVOA when St. Louis was the best offence in the NFL. Was Kurt Warner really some star QB or was the situation perfect for a QB to have fantastic stats?

Some other examples I can think of - Jeff Garcia - in SF he was good, onto Det looks like his career is over - goes to Philly and Tampa - now he's good again. Did he change or did the situation change? For all the talk about how Garcia would have saved Minnesota last year I don't buy it - I suspect he would have been well below average.

Obviously there are differences in QB performance, but I don't think it's anywhere near as important as FO suggests through their DPAR ratings.

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by Alex (not verified) :: Thu, 05/01/2008 - 6:49pm

Alex - I’m a big believer that the only fair way to judge a QB is when they play on the same team with the same players.

In that case, there's no fair way to say that Harrington isn't better than Jackson. Obviously, we're never going to be able to say with certainty before they actually do play on the same team, but there is some evidence that can help us come to a tentative conclusion about who is better. And given that Harrington has been on 3 different teams in the last 4 years, and in each of those 4 years he posted a higher DVOA and DPAR than Jackson has in either of his two years, Detroit, Miami, and Atlanta would all have to be significantly more QB friendly than Minnesota for Harrington to be worse than Jackson. Now, maybe that's true, but it's far from obvious. And when there's a decent chance that you could upgrade your QB position just by picking up a freely available player for a year or two, I don't see why you wouldn't do it. The roster spot that he would take up isn't going to push any great players off the roster, so I don't see why you wouldn't take a chance.

Take a look at Holcomb - he stunk the joint out as did Jackson.

Actually, both Holcomb and Brooks Bollinger had positive DVOAs last year. Jackson was the only QB on the Vikings with a negative DVOA. Granted, he's also the only one with a significant number of passes, but still, the performance of his backups does little to support the notion that Jackson was more victim of a bad situation than contributor to it.

In any case, I agree with your larger point to some extent - the team around a QB can have a significant effect on their statistics. But I don't see why people think Jackson's a better QB. Sure, he's got better physical tools, but he's awful raw right now. And what little statistical evidence we have regarding their abilities points towards Harrington being somewhat better, or at least about as good.

213
by phil (not verified) :: Fri, 05/02/2008 - 2:58am

#56 Jared Allen single handidly took over games last year. Jax took the shotgun approach with two young horses. My instinct is that those guys won’t be as good as Allen, but how much longer is allen going to play?

uh, years, barring a career ending injury? he just turned 26.

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by phil (not verified) :: Fri, 05/02/2008 - 2:59am

man, i'm stupid. even with the preview i still somehow manage to screw up my post. i meant "many years".

215
by jimm (not verified) :: Fri, 05/02/2008 - 7:51am

Alex - Your points on Harrington and Pennington have merit, but I sure as heck wouldn't want either of them quarterbacking my team. The negative points about Jackson are valid. I would take him over guys like Harrington and Pennington any day because I think he has a chance to be pretty good.

Jackson just strikes me as a guy that just keeps getting better and overcoming the odds. After 4 years in college he was miles from being an NFL draftee. He improved his comp % in college from 33.3 to 61.1 (improving each year). His td % and int % improved each year. While his NFL career has been very short he's improved each stat particularly 1st half to 2nd half last year.

Some guys beat the odds because they just don't give up. I think Jackson is one of those guys.

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by Alex (not verified) :: Sun, 05/04/2008 - 9:41pm

Jackson just strikes me as a guy that just keeps getting better and overcoming the odds.

I hear that, but still, you don't bet on someone beating the odds. The Vikings should certainly keep Jackson on their team, but it's not a good idea to count on him getting really good. Jackson being successful should be a pleasant surprise for the Vikings, not something they depend on.