30 Dec 2005
I apologize to Don Banks for the harsh words I'm about to lay down, but this article is an example of why I started Football Outsiders. The idea behind it is a lot of fun -- had we known then what we know now, how would the 2005 draft had played out? But Banks' choices and comments are filled with every bad kind of football analysis, ignorant of economics and worshipping flash over substance.
Start at the beginning, where Banks has the 49ers taking Shawne Merriman instead of Alex Smith. Banks claims that the 49ers "could have saved money" by taking Merriman and then Ryan Fitzpatrick in the middle rounds. But if the 49ers had taken Merriman number one, he wouldn't be making Merriman money. He'd be making Alex Smith money. The number one pick always makes number one pick money. So the 49ers would have saved nothing.
At number four, he gives Chicago Matt Jones. For the moment, let's put aside the fact that nobody could have predicted the injury to Cedric Benson, as well as the fact that this injury doesn't mean Benson won't be excellent in future seasons. Instead, let me ask you: is Matt Jones really the third-best offensive player of the past draft? And is he really more valuable than a middle linebacker like Lofa Tatupu or Odell Thurman?
At number eight, he has Arizona taking Samkon Gado. Seriously, just drill a hole in my head to stop the pain. Gado is a great story, but he has done nothing to prove that he is going to be a top running back in this league for years to come. The Cardinals are supposed to want Gado instead of Antrel Rolle because Rolle was injured for part of his rookie year? Would anyone want Gado over Thurman or Derrick Johnson or Demarcus Ware?
Oh, but wait until page two. It's not so bad until you get to the end. Raise your hand if you think that, in retrospect, it made sense for the Jets to take Mike Nugent in the second round. Think that was too early? Well, Banks thinks Dallas should have taken Nugent in the first round. Yes, Nugent has missed fewer field goals than Jose Cortez or Billy Cundiff. So has Rob Bironas, and he cost the Tennessee Titans nothing. How could anyone come away from this season with the idea that Mike Nugent was not drafted high enough?
On page three, let's see ... we've got the Jaguars at 21 taking Jerome Mathis since, as we know, a good kick returner is worth more than a starting receiver like Mark Clayton or a starting cornerback like Carlos Rogers. Banks doesn't like Seattle's original pick of center Chris Spencer; he gives them Troy Williamson instead because "with the lightning-fast Williamson still on my board, I'm not worried about the offensive line down the road." Congratulations, Don, you're the new general manager of the Houston Texans. Who needs offensive linemen? Your super-fast receivers will look great in the end zone while your quarterback is eating the turf and the other team's defensive tackle is lumbering towards the end zone with the football.
We're not done yet. Banks has the Falcons at 27 taking Chris Henry instead of Roddy White because Henry has six more catches and four more touchdowns. Has it occurred to anyone that perhaps Henry has a few more touchdowns because he has CARSON FRIGGIN' PALMER as his quarterback? Finally, this look back suggests the Steelers and Eagles should have taken Brandon Jacobs and Marion Barber at 30 and 31. Yes, situational running backs aren't usually available in the third or fourth round, so you should take them over the guys Banks leaves out of his first round like Rolle and Spencer and Mike Peterson and David Pollack and Erasmus James and Kirk Morrison.
Phew. Longest XP ever, but I had to get that off my chest.
39 comments, Last at 31 Dec 2005, 3:48am by Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Person
Guest columnist Zachary O. Binney fact-checks a story in a national publication and finds that everyone makes mistakes.