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08 May 2014
Here's an open thread for all readers to discuss the 2014 NFL Draft on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday May 8-10. Don't forget to also follow commentary from FO writers with the Twitter hashtag #FOAud.
Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 08 May 2014
65 replies , Last at
13 May 2014, 10:32am by
Please, announcers, shut the hell up about Michael Sam already. He's a mid-round prospect, and fawning over him just because he's gay, and pretending it's somehow the most important thing about him, makes you part of the problem.
Another year watching Berman. My life needs a re-evaluation
Bills trade up for Sammy Watkins. My life as a Jets fan needs a re-evaluation.
Really Jacksonville? Blake Bortles? At least with Manziel the seats would be filled.
They've gone from Gabbo to Bort. I guess they're Simpsons fans too.
Somebody is going to get a steal with Manziel. Wow.
On the other hand, he may turn out to be not very good.
For my money, Bridgewater is the steal. Although Manziel is well worth a shot, especially at that price.
The man with no sig
Eh, I'm not really impressed with any of these guys as upper first round qbs. That doesn't mean that none of them will turn out to be great, of course. Hell, for all I know, all three will be terrific. I just wouldn't be surprised if none of them turn out to be above average, or even average.
The most interesting thing I read about the draft this spring is what I saw at Silver's 538, which strengthened my long held suspicion that nobody in the NFL has been shown to be a significantly better drafter than anyone else. It's pretty likely any disparity we see over a few years time is just dumb randomness at play, and furthermore, NFL execs and coaches greatly overestimate their ability to forecast which player within any given round, or similarly sized group, will ultimately perform better.
Not that this reality will prevent umpteen nonsensical pieces about how these execs grade out.
Yeah, but it assumes that the best 10 players in each draft are equal, ignores need vs best player available, and I'm not convinced on their ranking of the top 10 players as it seems to rank teams down for post draft injuries - Sean Taylor #54 from 2004. Poor drafting Washington, you should've seen the red flags on getting shot in home invasions?
It also looks at this 'league wide' rather than for a specific team. Because the Raiders misidentified Darrius Heyward-Bey as the best WR in the draft, it reflects in the study that the league cannot identify 1st round talent, when it's specifically the Raiders making a mistake at WR.
If the study looked at the drafting for each team, for each position, for each coaching regime i think you would have a better study however small sample size becomes an issue - it's hard to realise whether Seattle's recent DB drafting is due to luck, talent, or a little from column 'a' and a little from column 'b'
That's what I've maintained for years; that no single person makes enough draft picks for us to really have confidence as to which professional evaluator is good at it and who is bad at it. Toss in an owner like Jerry Jones, who determines which players his franchise picks, despite the fact that he likely spends more time looking at the bottom of a lowball glass than he does film, or a mentally diminished owner like Al Davis, and the notion that we can make confident statements regarding which GMs evaluate college talent better than others becomes pretty dubious.
I strongly suspect the gap between the best and the worst is pretty darn narrow.
I think the gap between the best and average is very small, but we've seen some GMs just destroy teams so I'm not sure between worst and average is very small.
Hey, that link you provided was from a piece that is a year old. The piece I am referring to....
.....uses a better approach.
Interesting article. I like the comparison of "The Chart", the old chart of draft pick equivalents, to the observed AV of draft picks. Shows a huge over-valuation of the top 10-15 picks.
Hey everyone! Turn off ESPN and watch NFL Network! It's much better!
I would if I had it.
Nevermind, I didn't realize I could watch it online for free haha.
So much better than ESPN.
Until they go to the B team, and Mayock is replaced by Matt Millen.
If the Rams an get something sorted out on offense, well, playing that defensive line when it has the lead is not going to be a lot of fun.
Falcons fans are nearly unanimous in loving the pick of OT Jake Matthews. I think trading up for Clowney was a non-starter.
The Vikings grabbing Bridgewater at the cost of their 2nd round pick and a 4th seems like a good deal. The Seahawks better hope giving Bridgewater to Minnesota instead of outside their conference in Houston doesn't come back to bite them. Then again, maybe they'll draft a Richard Sherman in the fourth round.
Well, they really needed to draft a qb, and if he's the remaining guy they had ranked highest, then getting a pick at the top of the fifth in the earlier trade, and swapping out the pick at the top of the fourth, to move up 8 spots to get Bridgewater, is a pretty smart move. I'm not sold on the guy, but there's a reason nobody pays me 7 figures annually for my opinion on such matters.
As it was once explained to me very frankly by the president of a big-4 sports team, the reason aren't paying you for your opinions on such matters isn't because you aren't smart, it's because you: (1) didn't play in college; and/or (2) don't have a famous/rich relative.
Buy yeah, Norv Turner certainly knows more about QBs than me. Nevertheless, I liked the pick for the Vikings.
At least they can be happy he went to the toughest division outside of the NFC West.
The Vikings may provide a nice study this year in the value of coaching. I don't think the Vikings defense has been well coached since Tomlin went to the Steelers, and I wasn't impressed much by Musgrave. If Zimmer gets good production from a 1st rounder that some people say was a stretch, and most importantly, the dbs look like they have a clue for the first time in years, and Norv shows again why so many owners decided to give him a head coaching job, the Vikings could make big jump in quality play. In a very tough division, it may not be obvious, but it'll be interesting to watch.
I love how the NFL.com article about the Jets drafting Pryor mentions how he will help their run defense. They had the 2nd best DVOA against the run last year.
Few interesting picks jumping out at me:
*Bills trading up for Watkins? They've drafted Marquise Goodwin and Robert Woods last year, traded for Mike Williams and have Stevie Johnson. Constant 4 x WR formations this year?
*Ebron to the Lions is interesting given they resigned Pettigrew to pretty good cash. I guess Ebron will be split out a lot and you'll have 2 TEs along with Megatron and Golden Tate most of the time. Probably a good move given the standard of linebackers in the NFC North right now.
*Really thought the Giants should take Donald at #12, given Cullen Jenkins is declining and the fact there are stacks of WRs to be had later in the draft. Now the Rams are building a dream D-line. We'll see if they were better off boosting that or trying to cover the holes in their back 7. After all, CB-Fuller, LB-Shazier, LB-Mosley, S-Pryor & Clinton-Dix were basically the next guys picked.
*Ravens picking CJ Mosley ahead of a safety must mean they aren't real impressed with Arthur Brown (2nd round of last year). I guess it gives him more time to develop at least, since they brought back Daryl Smith too.
*Dolphins got shafted a bit by their draft position. Not sure they really wanted to reach for Ja'Wuan James there, but none of the other guys they were hoping for fell to them eg. Zack Martin, or a linebacker.
*Chiefs taking Dee Ford surprised me, didn't think they needed another edge rusher. Apparently Justin Houston is in the last year of his deal, but still, they must really have loved Ford.
*Bengals taking Darqueze Dennard officially labels Dre Kirkpatrick a bust I'd say.
*Eagles got stuck a bit. I wonder if they wanted a safety and traded back once Clinton-Dix got taken. Marcus Smith will get labeled a reach, but I think he fits the D well and at least they got an extra 3rd rounder out of it.
*Jimmie Ward to the 49ers interests me given they just signed Bethea and have Eric Reid. Ward's pretty dynamic, so they could probably play all 3 at once.
*And the Broncos taking Bradley Roby...they picked Kayvon Webster in the 3rd last year as well. Loading up on young CBs it seems.
- There was predraft talk about the Bills trying to trade Stevie Johnson but he has some hefty salaries remaining on his contact that could hinder such a trade.
- I don't get the Ebron pick, they had nothing better to do than add another TE?
- I wish some bugger had taken Donald, that line will be ridiculous. I'm not sure I've seen a better for man group, the original fearsome foursome was before my time.
- Jim Harbaugh was making noise last night about Ward being in the competition at nickelback. The guy I really wanted was Verrett.
I don't hate the Ebron pick. Trying to draft a CB or DE (their two biggest needs) at that slot would have been a reach. They failed to trade up for Watkins, and with Gilbert, Mack, and Evans gone, Ebron was a no-brainer (even if he was their plan C). I hope if they decide to cut Pettigrew there isn't too much of cap hit.
"I wish some bugger had taken Donald, that line will be ridiculous. I'm not sure I've seen a better for man group, the original fearsome foursome was before my time."
I don't know how they did it, but San Francisco twice neutralized 3/4 of that foursome last year.
I think the 70's Vikings DL is still the best I remember. Any of Eller, Page, and Marshall could dominate an OL, and Larson was usually overlooked simply because the others were so good. The Vikings had basically no offense during their prime, even taking into account the era. Other teams have had good fronts for a few years, but I don't think any DL since then has had that sort of run.
So they might be somewhere between the Fearsome Foursome and the Purple People Eaters! Why does that not fill be with confidence?
The niners are at least relatively set to deal with this approaching apocalypse, Wilson can at least run away but who will help Carson Palmer?
Dolphins should have done what the Eagles did. They must have given James a significantly higher grade than the remaining players on the OL, so that they were afraid the Chiefs or Cards would pick him. The results might back that evaluation up, but in the meantime, it doesn't look like a good start for Hickey.
The Bills overpaid. Was it more than what the Falcons paid for Julio Jones? If Watkins does turn into Julio II it'll be hard to criticize it, but not a smart bet, I think.
Very intrigued by the Rams. I like the idea of building a great front four at the expense of the DB -no rules against strengthening that area later in the draft or next year.
Eagles were fortunate to have the Vikings and the Browns wanting to trade up to 22 for Manziel, and could bid them against each other. But pick #19 may have just been a little bit too far for those teams to move and so the Dolphins got stuck.
As a Bears fan I hated to see the run on safeties tonight. I don't know that much about Kyle Fuller and I think picking a corner was justified, but they absolutely need at least one safety because pretty much everyone they currently have is terrible. Looks like they may need to use their second round pick on a guy who's a bit of a reach just to be sure they get one.
As for the QBs picked tonight, seems like Bridgewater might be entering the best situation (well, except for playing in a stacked division). Bortles is going to have a tough time in Jacksonville and the Browns have decent talent on paper but are so dysfunctional that I expect they'll ruin Manziel somehow.
I like the Browns situation. Awful lot of talent there. Can they eff it up somehow? I bet they can, but I think they won't.
"Can they eff it up somehow?"
Do you really need to ask that question of the Browns organization?
Wright is average, and I don't think Conte is as bad as he looked. The front seven created a lot of confusion and mismatches the at-best-average safeties couldn't deal with.
Fix the front seven, and you'll see improved play from the safeties.
Yeah, when a front seven is getting knocked on their a**es, and making the safeties play linebacker along with covering large areas down field, against an unhurried qb, well, only a HOF caliber safety is going to look adequate in that sort of situation.
I agree that Wright is better than Conte, but unfortunately he's going to be near-average for the Bucs this season, not the Bears. You may be right about Conte improving, but I'm also concerned about his health going into the season.
Man. I have not been keeping proper tabs this off-season.
If Conte is the only safety who should even be considered starting quality on the roster, ouch.
And the Vikings screw the Texans! I saw it coming a mile away and so should the Texans have. If I am Houston, I would've been more aggressive trying to trade up to secure Bridgewater.
There were lots of rumours before the draft that the Texans were trying to trade for Ryan Mallett, which could explain Houston standing still.
True, but how many times will the NFL fall for the fallacy of the Patriots star backup QB? Mallet does seem intriguing but if he were any good, wouldn't the Pats want to keep him as Brady's replacement? I just hope they don't get a first or a second for him. Please don't let them get a first or a second.
How many teams have fallen for the fallacy of the Patriots backup QB?
KC where the GM worked in New England the year before, and what Drew Bledsoe?
Matt Cassel did lead the Chiefs to a playoff spot. He actually made the Pro Bowl. (Of course making the Pro Bowl as a QB in the AFC sometimes mean "not faking an injury like everybody else".)
And arguably Brian Hoyer was Cleveland's best QB last season before he was injured.
The problem with planning for Mallett to be Brady's replacement is that his contract is running out, and he's not going to stick around after this season to be a back-up. And the Pats won't pay him starter's money when they could just draft a new back-up (which they just did).
Honestly, I have no idea how good Mallett can be. He's had almost no snaps in game situations.
With Belichick's history, if Mallet's the next guy, the next Aaron Rodgers or whatever, you keep him, pay him, and play him next year. It would be hard on the cap, though: Brady would cost an extra 5m against the cap if he were cut after this year.
In any case, as a fan of a fellow AFC East team this puts me at peace. I was concerned Mallet might have developed too well in the perfect situation for him, but I don't believe in Garoppolo.
I'm pretty happy with the Packers' pick. They needed help up the middle, preferably a safety, and got the one I preferred for their defense. I'd also have been ok with Pryor or Mosley, but I don't think either fits their defense as well.
I think Minnesota did the best out of the other NFC North teams. Barr has a ton of potential and they got Bridgewater at a bargain. The Bears needed secondary help and it's a lot tougher to find a good CB than S, so Fuller is a good pick. OTOH, I don't get the Lions taking Ebron at all. Not that he isn't a decent prospect. But they already resigned Pettigrew and Fauria was good as a rookie. The Lions have a good offense, but Beckham could have made them even scarier.
I wanted Mosley (a linebacker who can actually cover?!), but I'm fine with Ha Ha - agree that he's a better fit for them than Pryor. If he can play centrefield, Burnett always seemed more confident as a strong safety.
“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”
Looking at what they've done here it is hard not to think the Browns have just flat out killed it. If it works out as well as it looks I'm very happy for the fans of the Browns. If it doesn't it is just more to add to the litany of being a Cleveland anything fan. (Which to be clear i think would be lousy)
The picks by themselves look good, but in light of the Flash Gordon rumor?
You almost had to change your plans to swapping with Jacksonville for Marqise Lee to have a functional offense this coming season.
They didn't have to take Watkins (unless they were letting Gordon go altogether) but they arguably should've tried to take Ebron at 9.
I still think the Gordon rumor may have been floated by the Browns themselves to mislead everyone into thinking they would take Lee at 35.
If it is true, I can live with it if he gets it reduced to 3-5 games.
For the most part it's been an uneventful second round. Until now. OK Pats. WTF?
Well, there's another player in Kacsmar's "The 'Why, Belichick?'" column.
I'm on the Garappolo bandwagon. Lots of Pats' fans hate it because
a) they are in denial about Brady's decline
b) they think that the Pats should "go all in" to try to win this year, as opposed to taking the best player available.
c) these same fans are constantly saying that all the Pats need is another deep threat, as if Brady could throw the deep ball with accuracy any longer (and it was never his strongest point).
I'm not sold on Mallett being Brady's eventual replacement. So I'm on the Garappolo bandwagon.
Politely disagree. I find it hard to believe Garappolo was the top remaining player on their board. Even if he was, there was just too much talent there to waste a 2 on a develomental project which Garappolo definitely is. Stupid pick with high "bust" potential.
Dare I say but isn't this usually the 'Patriot way'? Their 2nd and 3rd rounds of recent years have been littered with randomness: spending multiple picks on defensive backs for starters (by my count, 8 x DBs in the 2-4 round range from 08-13: Wheatley, Wilhite, Chung, Butler, Dowling, Wilson, Ryan & Harmon), or picking 2 RBs in the same year, stuff like that.
I don't think Garappolo being developmental is bad. He's backing up Tom Brady! He won't be starting until Tom retires, so that probably gives him 2 years of redshirting until he actually plays.
Every quarterback in the league would "decline" if they lost their top 5 pass-catchers in a single offseason. Has that ever happened to an elite quarterback before?
I agree there were some slightly worrying signs to Brady's game last year, declining deep ball accuracy being the main one, but how much of that can be chalked up to the inexperience of the receivers? He's still a great quarterback, and until we see sure-fire signs of decline over 2 or 3 seasons, I don't see Garoppolo getting much of a chance - and I don't foresee Brady retiring either.
Either way, while Brady certainly COULD fall off a cliff, I just don't see it happening. He's way too strong at the mental aspect of the game. Not to mention, even if he did suddenly rapidly decline, the Patriots would likely be stubborn in moving on from him.
I don't see the point in this pick at all. Maybe he'll be good, maybe he won't, but that's not really the point. Either the Patriots know something we don't, or Belichick is getting senile.
It also defines Mallett as a bust, if they're already seeking his replacement how good can he really be? IMO they could have found a developmental QB later, one that's every bit as good as Garoppolo. Murray and McCarron have "NFL backup" written all over them and they are both more NFL-ready than Garoppolo is. Blowing a second round pick on a backup QB is just stupid.
Well-run teams don't try to have Curtis Painter be their backup quarterback.
Let's say that Mallet is roughly on the same tier as Cassel: low-end starting QB, a good interim guy while you plug other holes, or an adequate starter on a defense-and-running team (hello, Alex Smith!) That's still a starter that teams will pay good money for, and it's more than you want to pay a backup when your QB is one of the best players at his position. Mallet is one year away from walking; it's not that outrageous to grab his replacement and try to trade him away.
What if he's better, an average starting QB? A young, average starting QB with big physical tools will create a minor bidding war, one that the Patriots cannot afford to win without ruining their salary cap situation. Barring injury, Brady isn't going to retire after this year; if his decline last year was more about Brady getting older than replacing nearly every receiver on the team, he'll last 2-3 more years. It's not really practical to keep Mallet through a year or two of free agency when he'd be riding the pine.
Sure, you "wasted" a third round pick on Mallet and will get back what, a fourth? A fifth? Maybe a third next year? But that's ignoring the fact that Mallet was intended as an insurance policy, and the fact that insurance didn't prove needed doesn't mean it's a bad idea to have the policy in the first place. If Brady had been hurt and Mallet stood up and helped win a few games, kept the team with a home playoff game or two, a) making the playoffs is worth a third round pick, and b) his trade value would skyrocket.
Now, the second round can definitely be argued as too soon for any backup/successor QB, but the Patriots were in the AFCCG for a reason: the roster is good, and injuries were a large part of the reason the defense completely fell apart. Planning for the future isn't a bad thing.
Fair enough and all valid points. However I still feel that Garappolo was a huge reach and NE could have found good backup QB value later in the draft. IMO he's just not that "special" of a player, although they obviously feel differently (and they admittedly know a lot more than I do).
It's entirely possible that he's going to prove not worth the investment, though the Patriots have shown good insight with Brady's backups (Cassel was as good as his supporting cast, and Hoyer looked respectable until hurt, given that it WAS the Browns). Isn't it better to find that out now rather than after Brady retires, though?
If Garoppolo proves to be a solid starter, then the Patriots will look like the Packers: an old starting QB, still with plenty of ability to play, but aiming to get a succession plan in place before it's needed. If this is the case, then he'll have his shot toward the end of the current contract.
If he's not a solid starter, better to discover that NOW and try again once Brady retires in a few years, avoiding the team becoming a pit of failure at QB and praying mightily to hit the jackpot like the Colts did.
You can succeed like the Packers, or like the Colts. Which team would you rather try to replicate?
How are the Pats going to discover if Garappolo is a solid starter now exactly? Unless Brady gets hurt, he's not seeing the field for I would guess at minimum two years. You really can't project from practice.
Also, while Cassel was decent in New England and had one good season in KC, and Hoyer had a few nice games, they've spent two 3rd round picks on QBs that amounted to nothing (Kevin O'Connell, Ryan Mallet - so far, unless he gets traded).
I must suck at QB evaluation, because I loved Aaron Murray.
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