Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

BrownMal15.jpg

» Futures: Texas RB Malcolm Brown

DeMarco Murray is the toast of the NFL, but injury and team issues clouded some observers' view of his talent. Texas RB Malcolm Brown might have the same problem this winter. 

13 Jun 2006

Four Downs: NFC North

Best player available analysis by Sean McCormick
Remainder of Four Downs by Michael David Smith

(Ed. note: For this round of Four Downs, we're pleased to present Sean McCormick's "Best Player Available" analysis for each division, along with the usual gang commenting on other moves by each team before and since the draft. The reasoning behind BPA analysis is explained in this article. Each player drafted is listed along with his position on four different independent draft boards and the Best Player Available according to each of those boards. Please note that two of these boards only ranked 100 players.)

Chicago Bears

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
42 DB Danieal Manning 52, 60, 71, 100 RB LenDale White (2), OT Eric Winston, DB Ashton Youboty
57 DB Devin Hester 79, 98, 106, UR DB Richard Marshall (2), OT Eric Winston, DB Ashton Youboty
73 DT Dusty Dvoracek 82, 95, 97, 111 G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DT Gabe Watson, DB Darnell Bing
120 LB Jamar Williams 154, UR, UR, UR OT Jonathan Scott, DB DeMario Minter, DE Mark Anderson, DT Babtunde Oshinowo
159 DE Mark Anderson 45, 53, 81, 91 DT Babtunde Oshinowo (3), DE Mark Anderson
195 FB JD Runnels UR, UR, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
200 G Tyler Reed UR, UR, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall

There may not be a team in the league with a more curious draft than Chicago's. After a season that saw the Bears field one of the best defenses in the league and an offense that huffed and puffed to cross midfield, general manager Jerry Angelo took defensive players with his first five picks. What is more confusing is that it wasn't a case of Chicago simply taking a best player available approach, as the players they took were for the most part not all that highly rated. If anything, the draft seems to have been informed by Chicago's playoff meltdown, when their defense was completely incapable of even slowing down Steve Smith.

Chicago traded out of the first round and then used both of their second round picks to address the secondary. Danieal Manning is an athletic safety with good coverage skills, but he played his college ball at Abilene Christian, which is a long way away from the NFC North. Manning will need time to adjust to the step up in competition, but with a roster full of safeties who aren't ideally suited for a Cover-2 scheme, the team will be tempted to press him into early service.

Devin Hester played his college ball at NFL-factory Miami, but he's not ready to contribute immediately, either. He bounced back and forth between wide receiver and cornerback without ever excelling at either, and his lack of reps at corner has hindered his development. He's another player with a high potential to bust, and none of the boards considered him worthy of a second-round pick. At least he should help the Bears improve their punt returns, because unlike Bobby Wade he can hold onto the ball most of the time.

Dusty Dvoracek and Jamar Williams were drafted to add depth along the front seven. Dvoracek had some alcohol-related problems at Oklahoma, but he's a tough football player who has the speed to get into the backfield and be disruptive. He's an excellent fit in a one-gap system, and it's not a surprise to see the Bears placing a high value on him. Williams is dangerously slow for an undersized linebacker, and it's hard to envision him challenging for playing time.

Chicago's best pick was Alabama defensive end Mark Anderson. Anderson doesn't have the explosive speed that you would expect for a 260-pound end, but he gets off the snap quickly, reads and reacts well, and shows a decent closing burst. He'll contribute immediately in a rotation and has the chance to become a quality starter once he adds some bulk.

Recent Free Agent News

The big news in Chicago has been the lack of news: The Bears figured that there's no reason to make big changes when you've just won your division, so they'll go into 2006 with all 22 starters from 2005 projected to start again. The only notable free-agent additions to the team were cornerback Ricky Manning and quarterback Brian Griese, both of whom are currently projected as backups.

But the lack of free agents doesn't mean the Bears haven't engaged in contract negotiations this off-season. Two of last year's most important players, running back Thomas Jones and linebacker Lance Briggs, expressed frustration with their contract situations and threatened to skip the team's mandatory veteran mini-camp last weekend, although both did attend camp. Jones thinks (rightly) that it's ridiculous that Cedric Benson, last year's first-round pick, makes significantly more money than he does despite significantly less production. But that's a beef he ought to take up with his union, which has agreed to a system that pays unproven rookies more than proven veterans. Briggs is on the last year of his rookie contract, and when you've gone from a third-round pick to one of the best linebackers in the league, you're going to be underpaid. He thinks (rightly) that he won't get to test the market when his contract expires because the Bears will put the franchise tag on him. But that's a beef he ought to take up with his union, which has agreed to a system that restricts the movements of free agents who get the franchise tag.

Undrafted Free Agents of Note

Chicago fans were disappointed that the Bears went with defense and ignored their need for a tight end in the draft, so they're hoping one of the two undrafted free agent tight ends they picked up, Tim Day of Oregon and Cooper Wallace of Auburn, can catch on. If they could combine Day and Wallace into one player, they'd have something: Day is a good receiving threat but doesn't block as well as a 256-pounder should, while Wallace blocks well but doesn't have great speed or hands.

The undrafted free agent who has the best chance of making the team is Ohio State kicker Josh Huston. Incumbent kicker Robbie Gould, a rookie last season, doesn't have a strong enough leg: He made only three of eight field goals from beyond 40 yards (with a long of 45), and he had only one touchback in 54 kickoffs. Huston is a good kickoff man and could take Gould's job with a strong preseason.

Detroit Lions

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
9 LB Ernie Sims 12, 12, 14, 14 QB Matt Leinart (4)
40 DB Daniel Bullocks 39, 43, 43, 57 RB LenDale White (2), OT Eric Winston, DB Ashton Youboty
74 RB Brian Calhoun 52, 59, 67, 77 G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DT Gabe Watson, DB Darnell Bing
141 OT Jonathan Scott 71, 90, 93, UR OT Jonathan Scott, DB DeMario Minter, DE Mark Anderson, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
179 DB Dee McCann 264, UR, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (3), RB Andre Hall
217 OG Fred Matua 86, 119, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
247 LB Anthony Cannon UR, UR, UR, UR RB Andre Hall (2), DB Anwar Phillips (2)

For anyone looking to dispute the validity of a best player available approach to drafting, exhibit A would undoubtedly be Matt Millen. The Lions embattled GM has put together several well-regarded drafts, but they haven't added up to a competitive team. Indeed, of the group of Shaun Rogers, Kalimba Edwards, Dominic Raiola, Boss Bailey, Kevin Jones, Ted Lehman and Mike Williams—all players who were considered excellent value when they were selected—only Rogers has been an unqualified success. The rest of the players have either been inconsistent, injury-prone, or simply terrible.

Perhaps Millen was a bit gun-shy after the Mike Williams pick blew up in his face last year, because Millen wanted no part of the consensus best player on the board, USC quarterback Matt Leinart. Instead of scooping up a franchise quarterback that simply dropped to him, Millen stuck to his pre-draft plan, opting for linebacker Ernie Sims. New coach Rod Marinelli is installing a Cover-2 defense, and Sims is a ferocious hitter and excellent pass defender who will fit the scheme well. But the fact remains that linebacker is a position group that can successfully be addressed at almost any point in the draft, while elite quarterbacks are almost the exclusive province of the top of the first round.

While Millen has been alert to value at other positions, his failure to quickly repair the Joey Harrington mistake meant that Detroit passed on Byron Leftwich, Ben Roethlisberger and Aaron Rodgers when each was among the best players available. Now he's passed on Leinart in favor of a tandem of Jon Kitna and Josh McCown. It looks bad now, and it's probably going to look even worse in three or four years.

Millen has strongly preferred players from big time programs during his tenure, and he stayed true to form throughout the draft. Daniel Bullocks showed good speed and burst while he was at Nebraska, and he is a perfect fit in a two-deep zone system. He's already penciled in with the first unit. Brian Calhoun was good value on three of the boards, and he figures to see immediate action as a third down back. Calhoun is an undersized back in the mold of Warrick Dunn, but he has the ability to step in and start should Kevin Jones continue to struggle.

Millen has particularly favored Texas players, so it was no surprise to see him end Jonathan Scott's slide in the fifth round. Scott fits the profile for a Longhorn lineman -- he has great measureables, but his technique and his effort leave much to be desired. Mike Martz and offensive line coach Larry Beightol have a lot of work to do before Scott is ready to contribute, but the pick may well pay dividends down the road. There were several corners with notably higher grades available when Detroit took Dee McCann. McCann isn't fast, but he's a decent in man coverage and has special teams value.

Recent Free Agent News

The Lions overpaid for Ross Verba, giving the 32-year-old former Packers and Browns guard $4 million for this season. Verba was once a good player, but he missed all of 2003 with an injury and all of 2005 waiting to find a team that would give him the kind of contract he thought he deserved. After a full season off, that team finally emerged, but the Lions got a player with an awful lot of rust. Good move for Verba, bad move for Detroit.

If the rumor mill is to be believed, defensive tackle Marcus Bell may soon become a free agent. The Lions were docked two days of team activities after a player complained that new coach Rod Marinelli was violating league rules against contact at off-season practices, and Bell is widely reported to be the player who blew the whistle. Marinelli might just decide Bell isn't his type of player and ship him out, but the funny thing is, Bell is his type of player, at least if you go by what he does on the field. As a backup in Detroit the last two years, Bell has had exactly the ability to use his hands in fighting off blocks that Marinelli says he likes in defensive linemen. Bell's linemate, James Hall, is the team's union representative, which means he was responsible for taking Bell's complaints about practice up the union's chain of command. Hall issued one of those noncommittal statements on the team's Web site that people issue when they know they're supposed to say something but don't want to say anything. The full text of the statement was:

"Irrespective of what you may have heard or what has been reported, since the arrival of Coach Marinelli and his staff, the player's commitment to his vision for a winning organization has been tangibly demonstrated through extraordinary levels of participation, effort and energy devoted to his offseason program.

"I have been with this franchise my entire seven-year career and can tell you the level of player participation and dedication to our off-season program has been unprecedented. We look forward, as a team, to continuing to work with Coach and his staff to build the kind of championship caliber franchise the city of Detroit and its fans deserve."

Undrafted Free Agents of Note

The most intriguing undrafted free agent the Lions signed was guard Frank Davis, who was born in New York but raised in Panama, then earned a scholarship to play football at South Florida when his Panamanian team attended a summer camp in Tampa. Davis is a 326-pound guard who isn't ready to play right away, but he has promise as a long-term prospect.

Green Bay Packers

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
5 LB A.J. Hawk 4, 4, 5, 6 LB A.J. Hawk (2), QB Matt Leinart, TE Vernon Davis
47 OT Daryn Colledge 44, 55, 60, 64 DB Richard Marshall (2), OT Eric Winston, DB Ashton Youboty
52 WR Greg Jennings 62, 63, 69, 73 DB Richard Marshall (2), OT Eric Winston, DB Ashton Youboty
67 LB Abdul Hodge 38, 51, 54, 72 DB Ashton Youboty (3), TE Leonard Pope
75 G Jason Spitz 96, 129, UR, UR G Max Jean-Gilles, DB Ko Simpson, DT Gabe Watson, DB Darnell Bing
104 WR Corey Rodgers 197, 300, UR, UR DT Gabe Watson (3), DB Ko Simpson
115 DB Will Blackmon 66, 118, UR, UR OT Jonathan Scott, DB DeMario Minter, DE Mark Anderson, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
148 QB Ingle Martin 284, UR, UR, UR DT Babtunde Oshinowo (2), DB DeMario Minter, DE Mark Anderson
165 OT Tony Moll UR, UR, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (3), RB Andre Hall
183 DT Johnny Jolly 179, 204, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
185 DB Tyrone Culver UR, UR, UR, UR DT Rod Wright (2), DE Stanley McClover, RB Andre Hall
253 DE Dave Tollefson UR, UR, UR, UR RB Andre Hall (2), DB Anwar Phillips

Green Bay did a lot of moving and shaking, pulling off four draft-day trades that ultimately gave the team 12 picks to work with. With a roster full of holes, the Packers were content to split the picks evenly between offense and defense. They started the rebuilding process by adding one of the sure things of the draft, Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk. It's rare for a linebacker to go in the top five, but Hawk is a complete player who can handle all three linebacker positions and never has to come off the field. For now Green Bay plans to play Hawk at both outside positions; in particular,he will play on the strong side for passing downs, where his coverage skills will help the Packers defend the tight end better than they did in 2005.

The Packers added another highly touted Big Ten linebacker later in the first day when they snagged Iowa's Abdul Hodge. Hodge is strictly an inside player, as he lacks the lateral quickness to play in space. He's a hard-hitter and an excellent blitzer, and he led Iowa in tackles in each of the past three seasons. It wouldn't be surprising to see the team shift Nick Barnett to the weak side and promote Hodge to the middle linebacker spot at some point this season.

At least one board thought highly of Will Blackmon, but he's far from a finished product. Blackmon split his time between corner and receiver at Boston College, and while he is a good athlete, he may not have the quickness or the technique to stay with NFL receivers. His transition to the NFL will also be slowed by a broken foot from his first minicamp; he could miss part of training camp or even the season. Other second day defensive selections included Texas A&M defensive tackle Johnny Jolly, Fresno State safety Tyrone Culver and Northwest Missouri State defensive end Dave Tollefson. Of the group only Jolly stands out as being even moderate value.

Green Bay took the first step towards rebuilding its once-dominant offensive line with the second-round selection of Daryn Colledge. Colledge played left tackle at Boise State, but the Packers are going to slide him inside and play him at guard. Colledge has the necessary athleticism to pull and trap, and he should represent a major upgrade along the interior line. Louisville's Jason Spitz will also be playing guard.

The Packers also addressed the skill positions. After trading Javon Walker to Denver, a move that left them very thin in the receiving corps, they added two rookies in Greg Jennings and Corey Rodgers. Jennings is a player who was moving up the draft boards late, so it was no real surprise to see him taken by the middle of the second round. In the fourth round, Green Bay reached for Rodgers, who has suspect hands and needs to add weight.

Furman quarterback Ingle Martin made a name for himself at the combine, where he threw the ball as well as anyone. The Packers have a long and impressive history of developing quarterbacks, and Martin has all the tools to succeed at the pro level. He'll probably spend a year or two in NFL Europe getting reacquainted with playing from under center.

Recent Free Agent News

Can Charles Woodson play at a high level for a full season? No one doubts Woodson's athletic ability, but the Packers gave him more than $10 million for this season alone. If he works hard enough to earn that money, he and Al Harris could become the best pair of corners in the league. But it's more likely that Woodson is going to show his trademark inconsistency, leading the Packers' front office to say, “We paid $10 million for this?�

Jon Ryan, who led the CFL in punting last season with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, has been a pleasant surprise to the Packers this off-season, and he appears to have a leg up on incumbent starter B.J. Sander, who has never lived up to the promise that led the Packers to choose him in the third round of the 2004 draft. All aspects of special teams caused problems for the Packers last season, so scouting Canada, where the kicking game plays a greater role, was a wise move.

Undrafted Free Agents of Note

Appalachian State defensive end Jason Hunter doesn't have a prayer of standing up against the NFL's toughest tackles on running plays, but he's a quick edge rusher who just might have enough speed to catch on as a special teamer and a third-and-long role player. Those are exactly the type of players that training camps are made for. He'll have a few months to prove he belongs.

Minnesota Vikings

Pick Player Player Rankings Best Player Available
17 LB Chad Greenway 17, 18, 20, 20 OT Winston Justice (3), DB Jimmy Williams
48 DB Cedric Griffin 55, 57, 60, 75 DB Richard Marshall (2), OT Eric Winston, DB Ashton Youboty
51 C Ryan Cook 99, 169, UR, UR DB Richard Marshall (2), OT Eric Winston, DB Ashton Youboty
64 QB Tavaris Jackson 226, 250, UR, UR OT Eric Winston (2), TE Leonard Pope, DB Ashton Youboty
127 DE Ray Edwards 82, 84, 107, 117 OT Jonathan Scott, DB DeMario Minter, DE Mark Anderson, DT Babatunde Oshinowo
149 DB Greg Blue 88, 145, UR, UR DT Babatunde Oshinowo (2), DB DeMario Minter, DE Mark Anderson

It's generally not a good sign when a team fires its personnel director right after the draft, and Vikings fans are right to be concerned about the quality of the 2006 draft haul. Minnesota started off well enough, taking Iowa linebacker Chad Greenway with the 17th pick. Greenway saw his stock fluctuate in the postseason due to poor workouts that left scouts questioning his functional strength, but he was moving back up late as teams went back to the tape and watched him fly all over the field. Greenway has excellent cover skills, and he should provide an immediate lift for a Minnesota defense that had all kinds of trouble covering tight ends and running backs last year.

It's in the second round where Minnesota's draft started to come apart. The second round is the most cost-effective section of the draft, producing starting-caliber players at moderate cost, and the Vikings had three second-round picks to work with thanks to the Daunte Culpepper trade and a draft-day trade with Pittsburgh. Texas cornerback Cedric Griffin was a decent selection, although there were several corners with notably higher grades still available. Griffin is a bigger corner who excels in zone coverage, but he doesn't have the recovery speed to handle smaller, quicker receivers. Griffin might ultimately be better suited for safety, but the Vikings will give him every chance to play on the outside.

Three picks later, the team selected jumbo-sized New Mexico center Ryan Cook. Cook is built more like an offensive tackle than a center, and he can probably play at guard or right tackle in a pinch. He's not a good athlete, however, and he's a long way from being ready to assume a starting job. Players like Cook tend to go in the fourth or fifth round, and that's where all the draft boards projected him.

While Cook might be considered a reach, the selection of quarterback Tavaris Jackson was more of a lunge. Minnesota traded away two third-round picks so they could move up and grab the Alabama State passer. There was a fair amount of buzz about Jackson as a sleeper prospect, someone who would make a team very happy on the second day, but absolutely no one expected Jackson to come off the board before the likes of Brodie Croyle or Charlie Whitehurst. Minnesota fell into the classic trap of assuming that the other teams shared their evaluation, and they acted on that assumption. Jackson is a raw prospect who will need a lot of work on his throwing motion and his footwork, but Vikings fans who just watched the team trade Daunte Culpepper for a second-rounder are going to have high expectations.

Minnesota recovered somewhat with their final two picks, as both Ray Edwards and Greg Blue were excellent value. Edwards is a bit of an enigma -- he had a great start to his career at Purdue, but he never really developed, and a poor attitude got him benched midway through his junior season. He has day one measureables, and he has the chance to develop into a rotational lineman. Blue was a big hitter who missed a lot of tackles at Georgia. Blue had a terrible time in coverage during Senior Bowl week, and it looks like the Vikings will work him exclusively at strong safety.

Recent Free Agent News

There hasn't been any news of the Vikings signing a free agent quarterback, and it appears that there won't be. That means the Vikings are happy to go into the season with Brad Johnson as the starter, Mike McMahon as the backup, and Tarvaris Jackson as the rookie third-stringer. It's hard to understand why the Vikings would be content to have such completely unproven players backing up the 37-year-old and injury-prone Johnson, but apparently they are.

Undrafted Free Agents of Note

When the Vikings signed Texas Tech running back Taurean Henderson, they added exactly the type of player new head coach Brad Childress loves for his offense. Henderson is a very versatile receiver who did a little of everything in Texas Tech's pass-wacky offense. Much like Brian Westbrook did for Childress in Philadelphia, Henderson might take a handoff on one play, catch a short pass out of the backfield on the next, pick up a blitz after that, and then line up in the slot and go long. All undrafted free agents are long shots to make the team, but Henderson finds himself in a better situation than most.

Minnesota made a highly unusual move when it acquired Eagles receiver Billy McMullen for undrafted free agent Hank Baskett. Childress obviously wants to import players who learned his offense in Philly, having previously acquired McMahon and offensive lineman Artis Hicks. Childress has worked with McMullen and presumably saw something he liked, so to get him in exchange for a rookie who didn't even cost the team a draft pick is gravy.

Posted by: Michael David Smith on 13 Jun 2006

104 comments, Last at 17 Jul 2006, 1:20am by David Ferrier

Comments

1
by ebongreen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 9:40am

A.J. Hawk is slotted for weak-side linebacker, not strong side, according to press reports of mini-camp and OTAs. Check the excellent Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel Packer Plus section, which features an A.J. Hawk article this morning.

2
by John (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 11:15am

Yikes, that's really some poor research on Hawk. Every article in the MJS has spoken of him playing the weak side.

3
by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 11:15am

Thanks for the heads-up. The two depth charts I checked had him on the strong side, though. I could see it shaking out either way.

4
by John (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 11:17am

Also, Spitz has worked only at right guard so far, and actually worked with the first unit on Monday.

5
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 11:55am

It would be interesting to see a detailed study done on the efficiency of the draft "market". I suspect that it would show that various rankings are about as efficient as the proverbial dart board method of equity selection. The stock pickers who get their rear ends handed to them by the dart board still have their jobs, so I think the draft graders can breath easy.

6
by admin :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 12:04pm

Edits made.

7
by Nate (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 12:40pm

Williams is dangerously slow for an undersized linebacker, and it’s hard to envision him challenging for playing time.
In what world is a 4.59 @ 236 slow and undersized? Using that thinking, Lance Briggs should be out of the league, considering that he ran a 4.7 @ 240. I can see him beating out Hillenmeyer, and if anyone goes down, there really is noone ahead of him who is any good.

8
by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 12:57pm

Nate,

I'm not a scout, but every profile of Williams that I've looked at has emphasized his poor playing speed. He may run a decent 40 time, but it hasn't translated onto the field.

9
by PackMan (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 1:03pm

Any news of Barnett moving to outside LB and Hodge moving into the middle? I know Barnett was never a MLB until the Packers put him there (OLB in college and TE in High school)

10
by dman (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 1:19pm

I heard somewhere that ernie sims has already suffered 5 concussions, is this true? If so that pick has to be one of the worst ever.

11
by dryheat (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 1:49pm

Yeah, it's true about the concussions. He had some documented disciplinary flags too.

I think that Millen's latest plan is to restore the former glory of the Lions by tricking fans into thinking they've re-signed former Lion greats. This year it's Sims, next year's number one will be a Sanders, and look for a Spielman in '08.

12
by beedubyuh (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 1:55pm

I was sure the Bears would take Marcedes Lewis since he both filled a need and was an appropriate value. When they traded the pick I was happy because TE is a position that can be filled in later rounds. Then they spent their 2nd rounders on a couple of guys who excelled as returners, a skill that can not only be addressed in later roudns, but via free agency. So at that point I was confused. I guess it all depends on how good of a safety D. Manning develops into. I thought the D-line picks were the highlight of their draft. Dusty will be an instant rotation guy. He will be at least Paul Grasmanis-like and maybe could be Steve McMichael-like. Anderson is the guy that I am most optimistic about, though. He could certainly be as good as Alex Brown. Which is a good thing.

13
by Sophandros (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 2:38pm

Is there any particular reason that you guys didn't even list Detroit's two seventh round picks?

14
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 3:46pm

AJ Hawk:
"He'll play on the weak side in the base defense, in the middle in the dime and on the strong side in the nickel."

http://www.jsonline.com/index/index.aspx?id=44

15
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 3:49pm

AJ Hawk:
“He’ll play on the weak side in the base defense, in the middle in the dime and on the strong side in the nickel.�

http://www.jsonline.com/story/index.aspx?id=434809

(sorry I linked to the wrong page the first time)

16
by Aaron Boden (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 4:26pm

No one mentioned it but the pickup of Jon Ryan by GB is stellar. In one CFL game last year he averaged over 60 yards punting, with a high punt of around 80. The only question is whether he has touch to pin teams inside their 20. I don't know as I didn't see a lot of Bomber games last year.

17
by John (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 5:00pm

Apparently Ryan had a punt into the wind yesterday that didn't even make it past the line of scrimmage.

18
by JeffD (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 6:09pm

It seams like the packers drafed way more guys then the rest of the division. I am looking forward to seeing the Nickel D this year with Hawk and Carrol moving to the third DB spot it will be interesting.

19
by JeffD (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 6:14pm

Ryan is going to be the punter this year barring injury. The staff wants to get rid of B.J. He was the old staff's guy a high pick that has not worked out well they would be better off to cut him and get it over with. If they keep him and he has another less than great year the new staff takes blame better off bringing in a FA who looked good in the CFL. New blood for the team and the current staff's guy.

20
by Bobman (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 6:55pm

Hah! "Abilene Christian... is a long way from the NFC North." Maybe in mileage, but not passing attacks.

Oooh, double-quotes, where have you been all my life!

21
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Tue, 06/13/2006 - 11:38pm

I think that the Chicago Bears are going to win the division this season. The vikings have no offense or defense, the Lions might have a wildcard spot run as long as Roy Williams and Kevin Jones excell. The Packers might have a shot at 6-10 with Hawk being the cornerstone of their defense. I do wish however, that the packers traded their first rounder next year and a couple of picks from this draft to get the 6th overall pick to select Vernon Davis.

Vernon Davis is an excellent tight end, and will not only help Brett Favre's numbers, but will also help Aaron Rodgers, when he takes over the reins, and he would be a valuable replacement of Javon Walker.

If the bears can aquire a tight end, and have stability at the QB position, then you're looking at a team to go 11-5 again, or even 12-4.

22
by Sean (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 3:52am

Re 13: Yes, an errant mouse click. We'll fix that in a second.

23
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 5:59am

Re 21, I don't know what you're talking about Vernon Davis wise. At all.

Unfortunately for the Bears they have to play the Niners again this year, and I don't know if they'll be able to count on 50 MPH winds to save them.

24
by Fnor (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 8:31am

Re: 23
Yeah, the poor Bears will have to count on something else to save them. Perhaps the fact that the niners are a terrible team.

25
by the K (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 10:34am

"But the fact remains that linebacker is a position group that can successfully be addressed at almost any point in the draft, while elite quarterbacks are almost the exclusive province of the top of the first round."

Errrrr....like Joey Harrington? How's that working out for the Legendary Millen? Sorry, but I just couldn't help but point this out. FO of all analysts should realize that first round QB doesn't automatically equal top tier starter.

26
by asg (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 11:27am

FO of all analysts should realize that first round QB doesn’t automatically equal top tier starter.

"A implies B" is not the same as "B implies A".

27
by lobolafcadio (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 11:50am

However, be optimistic Lions fans, a solid player (even a LB) is a major upgrade compared to a major bust, even if there was a better pick possible.
As we say : "un tiens vaut mieux que deux tu l'auras"
so "one got worth more than two you'll get"

:o)

28
by dman (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 12:05pm

RE#25 Nobody said a first round quarterback was a guaranteed thing, what they are saying is that you are much much more likely to get your franchise quarterback in the first round than in any other, whereas that is simply not true for linebackers. They know this because they have looked at the numbers and done a statistical analysis. With that in mind, I think considering what leinart has done in his career and is likely to do the rest of his career versus what ernie sims has done and is likely to do in his career, the pick was a terrible one.

29
by Theo (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 12:06pm

but with a roster full of safeties who aren’t ideally suited for a Cover-2 scheme, the team will be tempted to press him into early service

As a fellow safety I wonder why you think the Bears' safeties aren't suited for a Cover 2.

30
by justanothersteve (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 12:45pm

The best addition the Lions made was signing Martz. Martz has made shown he can turn unheralded QBs into all-pros (e.g., Trent Green, Warner, Bulger). So there was no need to draft a QB #1. If they can learn to block, the Lions offense will be dangerous even with Kitna or McCown. (For the record, I'm a Packers fan and believe they made enough improvements to go from worst to first.)

31
by Derek (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 1:00pm

Is Nebraska really considered a "big time" program any more? I know they are a top ten program historically but the Big 12 North has been a pretty weak division for the last few years. During Bullocks career, the team put together the following records.

2005 8-4
2004 5-6
2003 10-3
2002 7-7
Overall 30-20

Not bad for most programs but certainly subpar for a "big time" school.

32
by sam_acw (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 1:02pm

No.20 - you took the words right out of my mouth!

33
by Insancipitory (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 1:58pm

Re Fnor, 24
Normally, I'd agree with you. But the Bears offense is so heinously offensive that they required 50 MPH winds to save them from one of the worst teams in NFL history.

34
by kyle(tcn) (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 2:00pm

RE:31

Being a 'bigtime' school in college football has always seemed to be more about what goes into the program rather than what kind of production comes out of it. When Notre Dame was struggling a few years back no one doubted that they would rise again; on the flip side of the coin, West Virginia has put together a few straight solid seasons but i have yet to hear anyone refer to them as a 'bigtime' school.

a lot of money and resource is sure going in to NU's program (new stadium renovations began despite that atrocious 5-6 season) and even the season opener against Louisiana Tech is televised, so i'd say they can still be considered a 'bigtime' program, even if the north has played little brother for the first decade of the big xii.

35
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 2:06pm

#30

exactly, the coaching staff was Millen's big offseason move, not any free agent signings. All I know is that God Belichick said that Sims was a top 5 talent.

and #31-its not so much that Nebraska is a good team or not, its that they play in a power conference. Millen has drafted only one player on the 1st day not from a BCS conference-Keith Smith from McNeese State and only 8 out of 44 draft picks.

36
by bmw1 (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 2:29pm

RE: 28

Michael Smith wrote a decent article for ESPN.com. Paraphrasing his article, of the 40 quarterbacks drafted in the 1st round since 1986, only 3 have won a Super Bowl, and only 4 others have played in the Super Bowl. Furthermore, the HIGHEST number of QB's that are potential starters this year is 19, and is more likely to be ~14-15. Those numbers don't add up to a greater likelihood of finding a franchise QB in the first round than any other.

Looking back at the past 10 Super Bowls and the quarterbacks who won them:

2005 - Roethlisberger - 1st round
2003 & 04 - Brady - 6th round
2002 - B. Johnson - 9th round
2001 - Brady - 6th round
2000 - Dilfer - 1st round
1999 - Warner - Undrafted
1998 & 97 - Elway - 1st round
1996 - Favre - 2nd round

Additionally, Johnson, Dilfer, Warner, and Favre didn't win Super Bowls with the teams by which they were drafted or first signed. So, it's pretty much a crapshoot, which is pretty disappointing given the amount of money and effort that teams put into scouting.

37
by Tom (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 4:23pm

#36
And Elway didn't win his with the team that drafted him either.

38
by BB (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 5:17pm

Re: 23, 24, 33:
Maybe there won't be 50 MPH winds, but there also won't be Kyle Orton. Even if Rex Glassman goes down again, they at least have a credible NFL QB to play this year.

39
by Jerry F. (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 6:05pm

Also, the Bears beat teams other than the 49ers, in games without 50mph wins.

40
by Green Bay for Life (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 6:19pm

I still do not see how Millen has his job. I have been going through it in my head again and again. Most teams give you 3 years to prove that you have what it takes. I don't know maybe Millien really has some dirt on the Fords and that is how he is keeping his job right now. I remeber when the NFC Central(Old School) used to bring fear to any opponets eyes. Just like the AFC North does now. God I want those days back.

41
by Michael David Smith :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 6:28pm

Re 35, "Belichick said that Sims was a top 5 talent," what's the source for that?

42
by Rocko (not verified) :: Wed, 06/14/2006 - 9:06pm

Hawk and Hodge, how can you go wrong with 2 of the 4 best linebackers on the Big-10 (the best conference in college football)?? Green Bay is going to have a vastly improved defense! A.J. Hawk will leave his mark in this game!! Go BUCKS!

43
by jimmo (not verified) :: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 12:27am

it's Ron Borges, so feel free to slam it, but still...

Boston Globe April 29 "If they wanted to move, say, to Baltimore's No. 13 slot, they may end up with a player such as Sims, whom Belichick has told some teams he considers one of the draft's top five players..."

44
by emcee fleshy (not verified) :: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 1:01am

Re: 36 Furthermore, the HIGHEST number of QB’s that are potential starters this year is 19, and is more likely to be ~14-15. Those numbers don’t add up to a greater likelihood of finding a franchise QB in the first round than any other.

Yes they do. What they don't do is add up to a more franchise QBs in the first round than all the others.

Also, there's a difference between "franchise QB" and just "QB." Palmer≠Kitna.

45
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 11:19am

THE AFC NORTH IS A TOUGH DESCISION. AND ITS BETTER TO TAKE A FRANCHISE QB IN THE FIRST ROUND THEN ANY OTHER POSITION. YOU ARE TAKING A RISK, OF COURSE, BUT YOU TAKE RISKS WITH ALL THE PLAYERS. NO ONE KNOWS FOR SURE HOW ALL THE PLAYERS WILL PLAY IN THE NFL. BUT A QB CAN TURN A FRANCHISE AROUND IN A FEW SEASONS, AND TURN THEM INTO A PLAYOFF TEAM. PEYTON MANNING GOT THE COLTS TO A 13-3 SEASON HIS SECOND YEAR. CARSON PALMER GOT THE BENGALS TO CAPTURE THE AFC NORTH IN HIS 3RD SEASON.

THIS IS HOW THE AFC NORTH WILL PAN OUT THIS SEASON.

BENGALS - 11-5
STEELERS - 10-6
BROWNS - 8-8
RAVENS - 7-9

46
by John (not verified) :: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 11:55am

THANK YOU STEVEN YANG. yikes.

47
by Nick (not verified) :: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 12:09pm

Isn't this the NFC north thread?

48
by JeffD (not verified) :: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 12:23pm

RE #45

Forgive me if I don't rely the word of someone who apparently did not read any of the 44 posts before him. Same guy who will swear that he picked the exact order and records of the division at the end of the season and saw the upset comming when nobody else did but didn't make it to the window in time......

49
by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 12:34pm

Re: 36

Why stop at 10 years ago? Because if you go back 10 (or just 1) more years, the case for 1st round QBs becomes stronger.

1995 - Aikman - 1st overall
1994 - Young - 1st overall* (Supplemental draft of USFL players)
1992 & 93 - Aikman - 1st overall
1991 - Rypien - 6th round
1990 - Hostetler - 3rd round
1988 & 89 - Montana - 3rd round
1987 - Williams - 1st round
1986 - Simms - 1st round
1985 - McMahon - 1st round

50
by bmw1 (not verified) :: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 6:28pm

Re: 49

Adding it all up, 7 quarterbacks who were drafted in the first round have won Super Bowls in the past 20 years (Young doesn't count in the supplemental draft, and frankly Williams is a fluke to make the list), and 7 were not drafted in the first round.

Still, the fact remains that 3 of the 40 QB's drafed in the first round (7.5%) since 1986 have won the Super Bowl. Obviously many of them have yet to fully develop (E. Manning, even Vick), and some of them seem primed to win a championship in the near future (P. Manning, Leftwich), but that rate of success does not build a case for drafting QB's in the first round in recent years.

I guess what it might boil down to is that the potential to find an Aikman is SO intriguing that dealing with an Akili Smith or Ryan Leaf along the way is a minor. I don't believe that there is one correct/best way to acquire a franchise quarterback; it seems just as likely that a team could find one in the 1st round as they could in later rounds or trades. So, I don't think bad teams should put so much stock into one player when the rate of success of finding what they're looking for is so low. Bad teams are probably better off filling other needs with early rounds in the draft, and looking for a QB or two to develop in later rounds or via trade.

51
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 6:41pm

OK, I ACCIDENTALLY CLICKED THE WRONG THINGY AND THOUGHT I WAS IN THE AFC NORTH, NEVERTHELESS, THE BEARS ARE GOING TO WWIN THIS DIVISION. PERIOD.

ALL THE OTHER TEAMS ARE HORRIBLE. THE LIONS STAND A CHANCE AS LONG AS ROY WILLIAMS AND KEVIN JONES PLAY GOOD.

BUT THATS IT. NO ONE ELSE CAN TOUCH THEM. THEY WILL PROBABLY BE 6-0 AGAINS THE DIVISION THIS YEAR. MAYBE 5-1 AFTER THEY ALREADY LOCKED UP HOME FIELD ADVANTAGE AND REST ALL THEIR STARTERS.

52
by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 06/15/2006 - 6:52pm

Re: 50

Still, the fact remains that 3 of the 40 QB’s drafed in the first round (7.5%) since 1986 have won the Super Bowl.

1. I don't understand the "drafted since 1986" cutoff. I could understand (sort of) a 1994 cutoff (salary cap era), but there's nothing special about 1986 (other than being 20 years ago), and it eliminates Elway, Simms, and Williams from your list.

2. What would a good percentage be? The maximum percentage is 50% (20 out of 40), assuming a rookie QB won the SB in 1986 and a different (not necessarily rookie) QB won it every following year. What's the corresponding percentage for 1st round running backs? Wide receivers? Left tackles? Remember, they must have started the Super Bowl, or else we have to count Tommy Maddox and Drew Bledsoe.

53
by Kuato (not verified) :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 2:07am

Re: QB Drafting

So are you arguing that the best QB wins the Superbowl every year any only that one QB is worth considering a franchise QB? If I`m not mistaken, Dilfer won the superbowl but was so bad he got cut the next year for Elvis Grbac. I have to totally reject your argument as superfulous. Just because a QB didn`t win the SB dosen`t mean he is not a franchise QB.

Think of the Best QBs in the game today, almost every single one of them was taken in the high first round.

Manning, Leftwitch, McNabb, Big Ben, Palmer, etc

Once in a lifetime a team will hit Tom Brady in the later rounds, and you can often get a very servacible QB then (T Green, M Hasselbeck, etc)and there are some great 2nd rounders historically like Farve and Montana.

But the fact remains that on average most of the really good QBs come from the blue chips at the top of the draft. You shouldn`t draft a QB there just to draft one, but if he really belongs in the elite prospect group, he should be hard to pass up. This statement is not true for any other position.

I don`t have time to research now, instead of limiting your criteria to just the superbolw winning QB, what you you look at the 4 QBs that played in the Champ games. I bet with that criteria, you will get about a 50% hit rate.

54
by bmw1 (not verified) :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 2:37am

Re: Drafting QB's

I don't have time to sit and look at all the conference championships either, nor to look for RB's, LT's, etc. Just off the top of my head, it seems like most teams have more success in drafting positions other than QB with first round picks. I would guess that more first round RB's (Ronnie Brown, Cadillac Williams, LT, McGahee, Edgerrin James, Jamal Lewis, Shaun Alexander, Larry Johnson, Steven Jackson) are successful RB's than are QB's.

I do agree with the earlier poster who basically said that a QB doesn't have to win multiple Super Bowls to be a franchise QB, or even a successful QB. Donovan McNabb has done amazing things for the Eagles franchise without winning a Super Bowl. Additionally, a good, if not even great, QB has much more of an effect on a team's success than a good/great RB, or any other position for that matter. You're basically looking at somebody who has to be one of the top 4-5 running backs of all time to be able to carry a team the way a good QB seems to be able to.

Still, only half of the teams in the NFL will use a starting QB who was drafted in the first round.

55
by Kuato (not verified) :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 3:06am

Had time to do this century.

First round QBs in Champ games.
2005 - 1 Roth
2004 - 3 Vick, McNabb, Roth
2003 - 2 Manning, McNabb
2002 - 2 McNair, McNabb
2001 - 2 (3) Maddox, McNabb (Bledsoe also played and scored a TD for the Pats)
2000 - 3 Dilfer, Culpepper, Collins

So 13 of the 24 Champ game starting QBs since 2000 were drafted in the first round. Over 50%. Seems pretty darn good to me.

56
by Kuato (not verified) :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 3:13am

Mistake in my previous post, Maddox wasn`t the starter for Pitt in 2001. Slash was who was taking in the 2nd. So that drops to total down to 12 of 24 or exactly 50%.

57
by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 10:57am

On the topic of first-round quarterbacks winning Super Bowls, I wrote this on Deadspin during the draft:

Of all the pure silliness passing itself off as "analysis" that appeared in the run-up to the draft, the silliest might have been this from Peter King's cover story on Vince Young in this week's Sports Illustrated:

"In the last 20 years NFL teams have drafted 43 quarterbacks in the first round, each time thinking, This is the guy who's going to lead us to a championship. But only two of those players — Troy Aikman (Dallas Cowboys, drafted in 1989) and Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers, 2004) — have won a Super Bowl as a starter with the team that picked them. Two for 43. That's a batting average of .047."

Yes, .047 is a bad batting average. King doesn't explain why he thinks teams that draft first-round quarterbacks should win the Super Bowl at the same rate as baseball players get hits, though. I guess King thinks it ought to be more like 13 out of 43, since that would equate to about a .300 batting average? The problem is, 32 teams get first-round picks each year, and only one can win the Super Bowl. So obviously, the majority of first-round picks don't get Super Bowl rings with the team that drafted them. If you read King's piece on Vince Young and came away thinking the Titans shouldn't draft him, you might be right. But stay away from King's bizarre mixing of metaphors, mixing of statistics and mixing of sports.

58
by Mr Shush (not verified) :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 11:46am

I must say, I find it astonishing that no QB-hungry team (I'm thinking especially of the Bills) saw fit to offer Mike Martz a head coaching job this off season. The man's record in identifying and developing QB talents that others had missed is simply astonishing, and given the value of a franchise QB, two years of Martz (which is about how long it seems to take him to find/create such a player, on average) would be worth it for a struggling team even if he was a completely horrible coach in every other respect (which he is not).

59
by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 12:59pm

I agree that Martz should get another shot as a head coach, but remember that he had problems both with his health and with his relationship with the St. Louis front office. I think that scared off a lot of teams.

60
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 1:22pm

I ran the numbers (1st round draftees from drafthistory.com; Super Bowl starting lineups from hickoksports.com).

1st round draft picks since 1986:

Centers: 6
Started and won SB with team that drafted him: 1 (Damien Woody, #17 overall)
Started and won SB with another team: 0

Defensive backs: 91
Own team SB: 9 (Steve Atwater, #20; Todd Lyght, #5; Kevin Smith, #17; Ty Law, #23; Craig Newsome, #32; Duane Starks, #10; Tebucky Jones, #22; Chris McAlister, #10; Troy Polamalu, #16)
Other team SB: 4 (Rod Woodson, #10; Deion Sanders, #5; Darrien Gordon, #22; Tyrone Poole, #22)

Defensive ends: 80

Own team SB: 5 (Willie McGinest, #4 [Both starts at LB]; Kevin Carter, 6; Peter Boulware, #4; Trevor Pryce, #28; Grant Wistrom, #6)

Other team SB: 2 (Neil Smith, #2; Simeon Rice, #3)

Defensive tackles: 50
Own team SB: 7 (Russell Maryland, #1; Dana Stubblefield, #26; Bryant Young, #7; Warren Sapp, #12; Richard Seymour, #6; Casey Hampton, #19; Vince Wilfork, #21)
Other team SB: 2 (Ted Washington, #25; Sam Adams, #8)

Guards: 15
Own team SB: 2 (Alan Faneca, #26; Kendall Simmons, #30)
Other team SB: 1 (Jeff Hartings, #23 [Started at C]) [Note: all 3 played for last year's Steelers]

Kickers: 1
Own team SB: 0
Other team SB: 0

Linebackers: 64 (includes Brian Bosworth in supplemental draft)
Own team SB: 5 (Robert Jones, #24; Wayne Simmons, #15; Derrick Brooks, #28; John Mobley, #15; Ray Lewis, #26)
Other team SB: 1 (James Farrior, #8)

Quarterbacks: 46 (includes Steve Walsh, Timm Rosenbach, and Dave Brown)
Own team SB: 2 (Troy Aikman, #1; Ben Roethlisberger, #11)
Other team SB: 1 (Trent Dilfer, #6)

Running backs: 76 (includes Bobby Humphrey)
Own team SB: 2 (Emmitt Smith, #17; William Floyd, #28) [Note: Jamal Lewis did not start Super Bowl XXXV]
Other team SB: 2 (Marshall Faulk, #2; Antowain Smith, #23)

Tackles: 73
Own team SB: 6 (Harris Barton, #22; Eric Moore, #10; Aaron Taylor, #16; Jonathan Ogden, #4; Orlando Pace, #1; Kenyatta Walker, #14)
Other team SB: 0

Tight ends: 20
Own team SB: 2 (Dan Graham, #21; Heath Miller, #30) [Note: both teams had the best record in the league the year before]
Other team SB: 0

Wide receivers: 75 (includes Rob Moore)
Own team SB: 4 (Mark Ingram, #28; Michael Irvin, #11; Alvin Harper, #12; Torry Holt, #6)
Other team SB: 2 (Andre Rison, #22; Keyshawn Johnson, #1)

I don't see much difference between any of these positions When the fact that teams start 2 WR, 2 RB, 2 T, 2 G, 2 DE, 1/2 DT, 3/4 LB, and 4 DB is figured in.

61
by Travis (not verified) :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 1:24pm

Editing my TE note: Dan Graham's Patriots didn't have the best record in the league, but they won the SB.

62
by Michael David Smith :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 2:10pm

That's great research, Travis. Thanks for sharing it with the rest of us.

63
by B (not verified) :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 3:05pm

So drafting a TE in the first round gives you a 1 in 10 chance of winning the superbowl in the next couple years? Better, actually, if you count Ben Watson, although he might not have been a starter. I guess Bellicheck really is a genius for drafting all those TEs.

64
by coltrane23 (not verified) :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 4:36pm

Mr. Shush, as a 'Hawks fan who observed Martz's team relatively closely, I think Martz needs a year or two away from being a head coach. Health (and a poisonous front office)issues aside, I observed stretches of Rams games where he just seemed to lack basic situational awareness.

I would compare him to the anti-Buddy Ryan, in that he seemed not to care about his defense at times. To me, he's an offensive genius, but he gets so lost in what he's doing with the offense (particularly the passing game) that he neglects other aspects of the game. So having him as OC in Detroit should be a boon to the Lions' offense, but he needs to have a head coach keep him in check at times.

After a year or two, I fully expect him to be a hot HC candidate again. I think he didn't get picked up this year because the timing of his departure from the Rams left few positions open (I may not be remembering that correctly). When he's a HC again, I think he's smart enough that he'll have learned to pay better attention to all aspects of a game, not just the offense. I just hope he's not coaching in the NFC West again, unless it's in Seattle (after Holmgren retires). :-)

65
by John (not verified) :: Fri, 06/16/2006 - 5:34pm

20 of the 40 superbowls have been won by a quarterback drafted in the top 10 (that includes Steve Young).

66
by Kuato (not verified) :: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 8:22am

Thanks for the info Travis! Interesting stuff.

67
by dryheat (not verified) :: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 10:28am

Great list. I'd suggest Ty Warren DE Patriots is an omission from the list.

68
by Travis (not verified) :: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 10:53am

Re: 67

Ty Warren didn't start in either Super Bowl XXXVIII or XXXIX. I left out bench players mostly for time reasons (harder for me to check), but they also didn't meet the parameters of my original question.

Sources:
http://www.hickoksports.com/history/sb38.shtml
http://www.hickoksports.com/history/sb39.shtml

69
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 11:46am

Ok guys, lets look at it this way. the qb is the most important part of the team right? because its the only position that changes the way other positions work. also it changes if the other positions will be as good or not.

picture it this way.

with a bad passing attack, defenses will key in on the running back, and there is little chance he will not fail. with a bad passing attack, the wide receivers will always fail.

with a bad passing attack, the offensive line will give up many sacks because the QB takes to long to make descisions. with a bad passing attack, the defense might have to work harder to prevent points, because the offense isnt getting any.

if the defense work harder, then the injuries start piling up.

so wouldnt it make sense, to take a QB in the first round, if you are not satisfied with your QB position?

70
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 11:58am

B (#63 )--
So drafting a TE in the first round gives you a 1 in 10 chance of winning the superbowl in the next couple years?
Actually, in both cases, it was an already-good team, adding another weapon on offense. It's not surprising that a team in such a position, would win a Superbowl within a season or two.

71
by Starshatterer (not verified) :: Sat, 06/17/2006 - 12:12pm

so wouldnt it make sense, to take a QB in the first round, if you are not satisfied with your QB position?
Only if there's a quarterback on the board, who will solve your problem. Otherwise, draft the best player you can get, and try to solve the QB problem another way.

This season alone, Miami, New Orleans,and Baltimore did not take a QB in the first round, but traded for, or signed free agent quarterbacks.

Their decisions seem perfectly reasonable to me -- only New Orleans had a "lottery" pick to spend, and they can hardly be faulted for drafting that Reggie Bush fellow, especially since they had signed Drew Brees before the draft. Vince Young, Matt Leinart, and Jay Cutler were gone before Baltimore picked.

72
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Sun, 06/18/2006 - 2:20am

New Orleans did a good thing by signing drew brees, because they knew a qb wasnt going to solve all of their problems, so bush or williams was the best choice for them. miama was in no position to take a qb, although they couldve traded up, nevertheless, i would rather have daunte on my team than some rookie who is not ready yet for the speed of the nfl. and baltimore had a small chance to get cutler or leinhart, and they shouldve traded up to get one of them. steve mcnair is old and a salary cap issue and baltimore needs to work out those problems.

73
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 06/19/2006 - 3:04am

RE: 40

You should start working on that question after figuring out how Isiah Thomas, arguably the worst GM in the history of sports, not only still has a job, but is going to get a promotion.

74
by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 06/19/2006 - 3:10am

RE: 70

He was poking fun at the actual relevance of the statistic.

75
by dryheat (not verified) :: Mon, 06/19/2006 - 10:28am

#68 ... Ah yes, I forgot the Pats came out in that 1-6 personnel alignment in 39. Ty Warren was the starting DE all season long, so he definitely belongs on a list of 1st round starters on Super Bowl Teams, but I understand that doing so would require a lot more research on your part. Carry on, then.

76
by bmw1 (not verified) :: Mon, 06/19/2006 - 6:15pm

Amidst all the discussion about the draft and, somehow, AFC North predictions, does anybody have any predictions for the NFC North?

It seems to me that 3, or even 4 of the teams could end up within a game or two of .500. Chicago has to be the favorite, but if (and I know it's a big if) things work out for the Lions and Vikings they could be playoff contenders in the NFC. Both teams have a ton of talent, with the Vikings maybe having more veteran talent and the Lions having a potentially explosive young offense. The Packers aren't too much different than they were two years ago, except for the offensive line. The defense seems improved, and while they ranked 7th in overall defense last year (by NFL stats), their defensive improvements could help out their DVOA, especially late in close games. If (once again big) the running backs return to health and the o-line can play respectable football, the Packers could be a 8-8 or 9-7 team too.

Poster #40 longs for the days when NFC North opponents will be feared. I don't know if it's quite to that point yet, but I think every team in this division could compete with the best teams in the league on any given day. Granted, their consistency will likely be horrendous, but they can all do some damage.

I'll predict Bears at 10-6 winning the division, Packers at 9-7 in second (I'm pretty sure that if Brett can get 9 wins he'll tie Elway for the most wins by a QB, so the team might have some extra incentive to play hard; also, no wild card), Vikings at 9-7 in third, and Lions at 7-9 in fourth.

77
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Tue, 06/20/2006 - 1:44am

THE NFC NORTH IS A JOKE! EASILY THE WEAKEST DIVISON IN FOOTBALL.

THE CURRENT DIVISION CHAMPION HAS NO QB/RB/WR THAT IS WORTH MENTIONING IN THE SAME SENTENCE AS JOEY HARRINGTON, FRANK GORE, AND ROBERT FERGUSON.

THE TEAM WITH A HALL OF FAME QB HAS A HALL OF SHAME ROSTER. (EXCEPT FOR AJ HAWK AND CHARLES WOODSON, BUT THEY HAVE YET TO PROVE THEMSELVES HAVING NOT PLAYED A DOWN FOR THE PACKERS)

THE VIKINGS TRADED AWAY THEIR BEST PLAYER IN 05, AND THEN THEY TRADED AWAY THEIR NEXT BEST PLAYER IN 06 (RANDY MOSS, DAUNTE CULPEPPER), I GOT NOTHING TO SAY, AT LEAST THEY GOT A GOOD OFFENSIVE LINE????

AND THE LIONS MAY ACTUALLY DO ALL RIGHT AS LONG AS THEY GET SUPERB PLAYING FOR KEVIN JONES AND ROY WILLIAMS. CAPISCHE??

HONESTLY, I DONT SEE ANY TEAM DOING BETTER THAN 9-7 OR 10-6 IF THEYRE EXTREMELY LUCKY. THE BEARS HAVE A GOOD SHOT AT THE PLAYOFFS, BUT THEY GOT A TOUGHT SCHEDULE BEING THE DIVISION CHAMPION AND WHATNOT.

THE ONLY TEAM THAT IS EVEN REMOTELY CLOSE TO BEING AS BAD AS THE NFC NORTH IS THE NFC WEST, BECAUSE THEY HAVE ONE PLAYOFF CALIBER TEAM, WHICH IS NULLIFIED BY AN ALMOST GURANTEED LAST PLACE FINISHER 49ERS TEAM, AND TWO POSSIBLE 6TH SEED FINISHERS IN THE PLAYOFFS. THE RAMS, CANT REALLY GO ANYWHERE WITH MARC BULGER AND STEPHEN JACKSON AND ISAAC BRUCE GETTING OLD, BUT I LIKE CARDINALS THIS SEASON, THEY HAVE A GREAT OFFENSE, AND IF THEY GET A LITTLE IMPROVEMENT ON DEFENSE, YOU CAN GURANTEE A PLAYOFF SPOT RESERVED FOR THEM.

78
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 06/20/2006 - 2:14am

Thanks for your nonsensical opinions. Now go away and don't come back.

79
by bmw1 (not verified) :: Tue, 06/20/2006 - 2:08pm

Dear Stephen Yang,

Please read your computer manual and learn how to operate the caps lock key.

80
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 06/20/2006 - 3:23pm

Re: The comedic stylings of Stephen Yang

Wow, you're a real genius. Of course the Eagles are going to suck without Owens. How could we have all forgotten all the stud wide receivers McNabb's been throwing to his entire career.

Pre-Torn Ovaries:

2003
WRs: James Thrash/Todd Pinkston
Record: 12-4; NFC East Champ; NFC Champ. Appearance

2002
WRs: James Thrash/Todd Pinkston
Record: 12-4 (6 games minus McNabb); NFC East Champ; NFC Champ. Appearance

2001
WRs: James Thrash/Todd Pinkston
Record: 11-5; NFC East Champ; NFC Champ. Appearance

2000 (McNabb's first as a starter)
WRs: Charles Johnson/Torrence Small
Record: 11-5; NFC East Runner-up; Won Wild Card Playoff Game

81
by Wanker79 (not verified) :: Tue, 06/20/2006 - 3:24pm

Aw, crap. Wrong Four Downs Thread. I suck.

82
by Sid (not verified) :: Wed, 06/21/2006 - 2:34am

Well, insulting "Stephen Yang" is appropriate in any of the Four Downs threads, really.

83
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Thu, 06/22/2006 - 12:31am

look people, just because i know more about football than all of you, doesnt mean you have to be mad at me. capische?

the bears are going to win the division without a doubt, because there defense is amazing, and there offense is just good enough to win games. i predict 11-5, or 10-6 for the bears.

84
by Joe Wolf (not verified) :: Thu, 06/22/2006 - 1:11am

re:77
NFC North
Bears: 11-5
Vikings: 9-7
Lions: 5-11
Packers: 4-12

NFC West
Sea Hawks: 13-3
Rams: 6-10
Cardinals: 5-11
49ers: 4-12

Even though seattle had a 13-3 recored it should be rembered that there schedule included no fewer than 9 games against the worst teams the NFL had to offer. 6 games against NFC west opponents, the Texans, Titans, and Packers! On top of that they had the good fortune of playing playoff games against teams that had been horribly weekend by injuries and travle, prior to facing them.

Mean while 5 of the Packers 12 losses where by three points or less. 2 by only 1 point. On top of that they beat Seattle. 4 points more for each of those 5 games and the divisions worst team is tied for second with a 9-7 record.
The Vikings having sufferd a huge shake up in the offseason and the loss of there starting QB, and the boat scandle in the midle of the season still went 9-7.
The Bears won the division with an 11-5
record while playing the majority of the season with a fourth round rookie QB.
to say that the NFC north is the weakest division in football is rediculous. The NFC west has been, and in all likely hood will continue to be the worst division in foot ball. Unless the AFC east is some how able to beat them out.
The simple truth is that while every team in the NFC north aside from mabey the Packers is very close to blowing up, whether it is a question of coaching (Lions) or one more player (Bears: QB Vikings: LB, OG, RT) The NFC west while having another round of high draft picks is still Two to five years out.
The black and blue division is coming back. GET READY.

(if you look you will see that the bears and vikings have taken care of there team needs this season.)

85
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Thu, 06/22/2006 - 1:28am

THE NFC NORTH IS THE WEAKEST DIVISION IN FOOTBALL. THE NFC WEST IS STRONG AND WEAK AT THE SAME TIME. THE SEAHAWKS BEAT THE REDKINS WITHOUT THEIR MVP RUNNING BACK. IF THAT DOESNT SAY SOMETHING, THEN I DONT KNOW WHAT DOES. I WILL AGREE, HOWEVER, THAT THE 49ERS ARE THE WORST TEAM IN FOOTBALL AS OF RIGHT NOW. THEY LOST JULIAN PETERSON TO THE.....SEAHAWKS, WHO SHOULD BE AT LEAST 11-5 THIS SEASON WITH THE ADDITION OF NATE BURLESON AND KELLY JENNINGS. THE CARDINALS ARE A PLAYER OR TWO AWAY FROM THE PLAYOFFS, AND THE RAMS, JUST NEED A FEW MORE IMPROVEMENTS AND THEY'LL BE IN THE THICK OF THE PLAYOFF RACE.

THE NFC NORTH, HOWEVER, HAS TO BE THE WEAKEST DIVISION. THEIR PLAYOFF CONTENDER LOST IN ITS 1ST GAME. AND WHILE KNOWN FOR ITS AMAZING DEFENSE, I HAPPEN TO REMEMBER SOME WIDE RECIEVER EXPLOITING IT FOR A BUNCH OF YARDS AND TDS??? WHILE THE SEAHAWKS CONTAINED HIM.

THE PACKERS CANT GET ANY BETTER THAN LAST YEAR, AND THE SAME FOR THE VIKINGS. I EXPECT THE BEARS TO GO 10-6 OR 9-7. THE LIONS MIGHT HAVE A SHOT AT THE PLAYOFFS. BUT THE CARDINALS DEFINATELY HAVE A SHOT AT THE PLAYOFFS WITH EDGERRIN JAMES RUNNING THE BALL.

86
by Joe Wolf (not verified) :: Thu, 06/22/2006 - 4:35am

Yang
You can't run the ball and you can't pass the ball with out an offensive line. dosn't matter who is doing the running or the passing or the catching. no o-line, no offense. trust me I'm a vikings fan and I saw it first hand.
while the cardinals have tried to shore up there O-line with rookies the Vikings are doing it with veterans. Two of wich are perenial all pro's. Matt Birk (returning from injury), and Steve Hutchinson.
The Cardinals pickup of Leinart should be very good for them but not this year, and Warrner has yet to prove he can stay healthy for an entire season. It should be interesting to see how James goes from running behind one of the best O-lines to running behind one of the worst.
The rams are either aging, bad, or just a litle above par at every skill position except running back. there o-line while not necesarrily bad is far from one of the best. and it is nothing compared to what the Vikes "should" have this season. on top of that there defense is traditionally ugly and they have done very litle to help that and a lot to hurt it with the loss of Archuleta.
The 49ers are the 49ers. enough said.
This is a division the lions could dominate so hopefully the seahawks shouldn't have a problem.
as much as evry one likes to say that the vikings were hurt by the loss of chavous the simple truth is that Tank Williams is at least on par and posibly even an upgrade. Chavous as much as I like him is not the ball hawk people made him out to be. he is someone who compensates for a lack of speed whith a ton of film study. while the loss of Brian Williams as a nickle back was a big hit, players like Ronyell Whitaker, and Dovonte Edwards are on the verge of blowing up along with Cedric Griffin drafted in the second round the position is in good shape. the line backer corp will hopefully be improved with the addition of Chad Greenway, and Ben Lebber. and the deffensive line will see the return of Kenechi Udeze, and Erasmus James having one NFL season under his belt, the D-line should be even more dominate than last year.
The offense should see vast improvements with the new O-line. the left side is soon to be probowl from the inside to the outside. the other big pickup on offense is FB Tony Richardson.
The personel are there. It's just a question of how well they pickup the new play books.
The lions also have the personel it's just a question of wether they finally have the coaching staff that can put it together.
The packers are legitamet contenders if they can stay healthy. however after this year it's up in the air.
If Grossman can stay healthy for the bears they may finally get the mediocre offense to go with there outstanding deffense. and even if Grossman can't stay healthy they at least (finally) have the vetteran back up that can do more than hand the ball off or throw it away.
the NFC north has made some big strides over the last two years and it is about to become very apparent.

87
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Thu, 06/22/2006 - 9:00pm

the last time an nfc north team won the superbowl was the packers in 1997. the last time an nfc west team won the superbowl, it was in 2000. and the 49ers won it many times from the late 80's to the mid 90's. look, the vikings have very little skill in the skill positions, as do the bears and the packers.

brett favre is generations passed his prime, donald driver is their only adequate receiver, and their running game is a mess.

the lions are not great at qb, and the rb and wr all depends on the players, who sometimes do good, and sometimes, do...well you saw it last season.

the nfc west has the worst team in the nfl. but they also have one of the very best, if not the best. and the other two, are a few players away from being playoff contenders, for arizona its the o-line and some defense (although they ranked in the top 10 for defense) and for the rams its defense, defense, defense. but i do beleive archuleta wont be missed too much now that chavous has replaced him.

i just want to say the afc south, is the most equal division in the nfl.

colts 14-2
texans 2-14
jaguars 12-4
titans 4-12

but the nfc west is an overall weak division, it is definately stronger than the nfc north. but i think its safe to say the strongest divisions are the nfc east, nfc south, and afc west.

88
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Fri, 06/23/2006 - 1:20am

Brett Favre may be older, but he is still the best QB in the NFC North. Who do you think is better? Kitna? Johnson? Grossman? Griese? C'mon now. And as for recievers the Pack have expirienced recievers in Rod Gardner and Donald Driver as well as 2nd and 4th round draft picks at reciever. As for the running game, it may have been a mess last year when the 1st and 2nd string RBs were out for most of the season, but with Ahman Green and Najeh Davenport healthy I don't see how it can't improve.

89
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Fri, 06/23/2006 - 1:47am

you have a point. im not going to lie to you. you have a point. but brett favre threw a career high 29 interceptions last season. thats a lot. their o-line hasnt gotten any better. their receiveing corps havent improved much. their running backs cant do great with that horrible line. the only thing that has improved since last season is the defense. and not by much.

i think brett favre isnt the best qb anymore, and if he is, its very close. brad johnson went 7-2 last year as a starter. thats pretty good. rex grossman just has to stay healthy and he will be goood. and kitna and mccown just need to adapt a little to the lions offense, and they shall do good.

90
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Fri, 06/23/2006 - 7:06am

It will be interesting to see how GB's O-line will do this year. Both guards are rookies, and noticable slimmer than the guys they had last year. The new Coach there is implementing zone blocking and cut blocking, and I think these young guys have some potential esp Daryn Colledge, a 2nd rounder, but also Jason Spitz a 3rd rounder. GB addressed the O-line in the draft right after they took AJ Hawk, because thay felt as you do that they needed some help there. As far as the interceptions go I think thats partly a case of Favre being forced to take chances, and partly because Robert Ferguson sucks. When you're behind esp late in the game you have to take a chance. And GB was definatley behind very often. Its true that Brad Johnson had a good year, but he's even older than Favre. I'd go with Favre, the better player coming off one bad year, over Johnson a good QB also, but not as good as Favre and aging just like him coming off one better year. Maybe this year the Packers will realize that #2 reciever Robert Ferguson sucks and put Rod Gardner in to throw to. But ask Rookie RB Samkon Gado how he likes running behind that "horrible line". He ran 582 yards at 4.1 Yds per carry. That's about as good as a typicical Ladanian Tomlinson season if you take into account that Gado only played for about a third of the time. Its not the O-lines fault that he fumbled so often. Anyway, he's just the third string. Imagine how the starting RBs will perform!

91
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Fri, 06/23/2006 - 9:37pm

but what makes you think that they wont be behind in most games this season? i think the packers shouldve either

A) gotten vernon davis. helpful to favre and rodgers when he takes over the reigns.

B) traded down to the 20th pick or so, getting an extra secound rounder, meanwhile getting chad jackson, and getting two offensive linemen in the secound round.

also the vikings arent that much better than the packers.

92
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Fri, 06/23/2006 - 10:08pm

there's no doubt that Vernon Davis is a talented TE, but the Pack already have 3 proven TEs: Bubba Franks, David Martin, and Donald Lee. That's not their weak position at all. I think they were wise to take the best available player 1st round (AJ Hawk), and then concentrate on their O-line. That's a good starting point for any 4-12 team. The O-line. Chad Jackson. . . What? I don't think the Packers could afford to sign 2 first round draft picks. The 49rs did it but their picks were 6th, and 22nd. The jets picked 4th and 29th. Davis was pick #6 1st round, and Jackson #14 1st round. Early 1st round picks like Jackson have a heavy price to pay for. No NFL team this year traded for an early round 1st rounder. They'd have to trade up some serious picks to get the 14th pick from the Eagles! By that rationale why didn't the Packers just sign Mario Williams and Reggie Bush while they were at it! But seriously like I said before its not like they ignored the WR position. They drafted 2nd and 4th rounders at WR.

93
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Sat, 06/24/2006 - 1:51am

first of all. the broncos moved up to the 15th, and then the 11th.

next, i see your point about the tight ends.

but i never said get both of them. i said it as an option, if not one then the other. but they couldve gotten chad jackson late in the first or very early in the second.

oh and one more thing..........

PACKERS SUCK.

94
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Sat, 06/24/2006 - 4:02am

ok I'm sorry I misread you comment. I now see that you meant get one or the other, not both. However, the broncos did not move up to the 11th pick. They traded up to the 15th pick and got Santonio Holmes. I also disagree about your evaluation of The Green Bay Packers. If anyone sucks in the NFC north right now its Detroit.

95
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Sat, 06/24/2006 - 2:17pm

WTF ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT????/

THE BRONCOS MOVED UP TO THE 11th PICK AND GOT JAY CUTLER.

THE STEELERS MOVED UP TO THE 25TH PICK AND GOT SANTONIO HOLMES.

I THINK YOU GOT THOSE TO MIXED UP.

AND THE LIONS ARE BETTER THAN THE PACKERS. ROY WILLIAMS WILL DO BETTER, AND SO WILL KEVIN JONES.

sorry i was in caps, that last post made me extremely angry.

96
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Sat, 06/24/2006 - 6:30pm

No need to get angry. my bad. You are right. They did get the 11th pick. I got mixed up. Roy Williams and Kevin Joes are both good players. If Kevin Joes can return to his 2004 level of play that will help the Lions alot. But I think Donald Driver is a better reciever than Roy Williams.

97
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Sat, 06/24/2006 - 10:53pm

donald driver no one else to support him.

98
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Sun, 06/25/2006 - 10:18pm

That's true. As of now there is no proven #2 reciever. As the season gets underway one may emerge, but who knows.

99
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Tue, 06/27/2006 - 1:26am

one probably wont. the packers arent doing better than 6-10 this season. i gurantee it. their offensive line is horrible. and their defense is ok, and their qb is older than most of the coaching staff, and was already playing pro football before some of the new players were BORN.

100
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Tue, 06/27/2006 - 5:20am

*cough..cough* Brad Johnson *cough...cough*

101
by Stephen Yang (not verified) :: Tue, 06/27/2006 - 11:41pm

cough cough 7-2 as a starter as opposed to 4-12 cough cough

102
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Wed, 06/28/2006 - 10:06pm

Exactly. Johnson did well, which is why being old as a QB isn't necessarily a bad thing. And just because Johnson outplayed Favre last season doesn't mean he can do it this season. Favre wasn't so much younger when he got a DVOA of 22% in 2004. Everyone gets to have a bad year, including Johnson, who had a DVOA of -18.2% in 2004. But he is better than that, and he came back and did very well last year. He was just as old as Favre is now when he had that turn-around year, and Favre is just as capable of having a good year this time around.

103
by Peter (not verified) :: Mon, 07/10/2006 - 11:59am

Er, not really... the Vikings have clearly improved from last season, and the Packers have gotten considerably worse. Favre is on the decline, to the point that he's gotten sad to watch. I don't see the Packers winning very many games at all... although the Lions are even worse, the Bears are sort of looming over everyone at this point.

104
by David Ferrier (not verified) :: Mon, 07/17/2006 - 1:20am

ok, Chad Greenway is pretty awesome, I admit it. He's almost as good as AJ Hawk, but how has MInnesota improved elsewhere, for example the most important position at QB? By losing Culpepper? Not that Johnson's a bad QB, far from it. But out of 14 seasons he's had only 3 seasons where he's started all 16 games. I'm saying when he gets injured there's not going to be anyone with expirience to take his place. Culpepper may have made some young QB mistakes, but he's only getting better, and I don't think any DE's in the NFC North were dissapointed at his going to Miami.