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04 May 2006

2006 Report Card Report

Guest column by Bill Barnwell

The best time to judge a draft, undoubtedly, is only hours after the draft has been completed. With this in mind, newspapers and websites from around the country put some of the nation's finest football writers on a deadline to grade every team's draft by Monday morning. These grades, juxtaposed, tend to reveal inconsistencies. Now, I know that it's somewhat heretical to imply that some writers are basing their grades on hearsay, biased scouting reports, or the half-hour they caught of a N.C. State game on ESPN2 this year while trying to study algebra with their fifth grader. On the other hand, if you believed everything they said, you'd have never gone outside. The third annual Draft Grade Review (2005 version here, 2004 version here) continues the Football Outsiders tradition of looking at – and loving – the disconsensus.

I drew results from eight different draft grades:

The average grade amongst all writers was about a B-; Jarrett Bing, as appears to be his wont, ranked the drafts on a four point system based around some vague concept of showtime and/or audition. Maybe it had something to do with the creepy faux-Merovinigian guy who ESPN thought would be a good idea for their opening. The lowest draft grades came from the Dallas Morning News' Rick Gosselin, who was also the toughest grader last year; the friendliest graders were Dan Pompei and Pete Prisco. Pompei's warmth, undoubtedly, is due to his recent miraculous avoidance of relegation.

Gosselin, much as Ned Macey noted last year, doesn't really offer reasons for why he hands out such low grades; for example, take this comment on Baltimore, who received the standard Gosselin grade of a ‘C': "Ray Lewis has been squawking about not having enough protection at middle linebacker. The Ravens addressed that by selecting the biggest defensive tackle on the board in Ngata."  The Jets, who received the same grade, appeared to do well enough for themselves: "The Jets had the best first round, selecting the draft's top left tackle (Ferguson) and center (Mangold) as walk-in starters on one of the NFL's worst offensive lines. Eric Smith brings attitude and toughness to the defense." If only Mario had been that stifling!

The other highlight of the individual team grades was Ron Borges' (insert requisite Richard Seymour quote here) A-/D- grade for the Titans' draft, writing, "If Young and White fulfill their potential this could be a legendary draft. If they don't, it will be an infamous draft." In this vein, I propose that next year, every team is assigned an A-/D- grade depending upon whether their players fulfill their potential or not.

Only five drafts graded out as B+ or better on average:

  Bell Borges Gosselin Kiper Maske Pompei Prisco Dr. Z AVERAGE
ARI 4 B+ A B A A A+ A A
NO 4 A B C A- A- B A B+
CLE 3 A- A+ B C+ B+ B+ B- B+
PHI 4 A- B B B+ A A+ C+ B+
SF 4 A C B+ B+ B+ B+ A- B+

(Ed. note: Wow, I'm so busy on the book I didn't even notice ... did Dr. Z finally give up on his ridiculous "A-/B+, B+/B" grading system this year and actually decide that three levels of each letter were enough?)

Arizona's draft was seen, almost across the board, as the best in show for the second year running. Even Mel Kiper's relatively low ‘B' grade was separated, by him, into an ‘A' for the first day and a ‘C' for the second, where he expected them to take more offensive linemen. Kiper's tempered enthusiasm for the otherwise-stars of the draft extended to New Orleans, who he criticized for grabbing safety Roman Harper in Round 2 when he felt they needed a cornerback and linebacker more. Mark Maske, meanwhile, criticized Cleveland for only getting to move up nine spots in Round 2 as part of the Jeff Faine trade; considering the difference in pick value was a high fourth round selection, it doesn't seem like too awful a return for a player who, really, the team had no leverage to work with for trading purposes. You may notice Gosselin's glowing opinion of the Browns' draft; he said about it, "The Browns found quality in every round. They took Pac-10 rushing champion Harrison in the fifth and the draft's best fullback in the sixth. Wimbley and Jackson give Romeo Crennel starting linebackers in his 3-4 defense." Looking at that and the Jets' reviews, I think I'd rather have the C draft myself.

And now, the exciting part. Here are the six drafts that inspired the most dissension:

  Bell Borges Gosselin Kiper Maske Pompei Prisco Dr. Z AVERAGE
                   
HOU 4 A- B B+ D+ D A D B-
DEN 4 B+ C B A- D B- A B
GB 2 B+ C B C- A+ B B B
BAL 3 B+ C B+ C- A- A B B
CHI 1 D- D B C- B- C- D C-
BUF 2 D B C D+ B+ C+ C C

Houston: As you might expect, Houston's move to draft Mario Williams over Reggie Bush inspired a divergence of opinions. Jarrett Bell asked, "Will Williams be better compared to Sam Bowie or Bruce Smith?", a question that will undoubtedly be on the forefront of everyone's mind when Williams grows six more inches, loses all pigment, and fails to develop a jump hook. Dr. Z said, "…the frosting on the cake was owner Bob McNair telling the New York press that it wasn't the fact that they couldn't sign Bush as much as a desire to draft for defense. Respectfully, sir, may I remind you that you were not addressing town folks. This was The Apple.", which I guess assumes that the Houston press are much more gullible. Maybe Dr. Z hasn't read the Post recently. Everyone loved the pick of OT Eric Winston in the third round, and gave credit to the Texans for all their non-Williams picks.

Denver: Draftniks were split on the pick of Jay Cutler. Gosselin noted that Cutler could be "The Ben Roethlisberger of 2006", which begs the question of who Ben Roethlisberger may be next year. Meanwhile, Prisco named Cutler Denver's worst selection, saying "They must really like Jay Cutler. But this is a team built to win now. So why waste a pick on a project quarterback?" Considering Jake Plummer had the league's fifth-highest DVOA last season, Prisco may have a point. Everyone except Prisco liked the move for Javon Walker, which is strange considering Prisco's comment about Cutler.

Green Bay: Bell, like some of the ESPN analysts during the draft, compared Hawk to a Ray Lewis or Brian Urlacher-type player, which ignores the fact that they play inside linebacker as opposed to outside. Most everyone declared Hawk to be the safest pick of the draft, with Gosselin noting that Hawk had "…arguably the best intangibles". I'm not really sure how that argument would go. Everyone also linked Hawk to third-round pick Abdul Hodge as the core of Green Bay's defense for years to come, in what would be a nifty move for Hodge if there was no rookie salary cap.

Baltimore: Besides the aforementioned strange Gosselin comment about the Ravens, people seemed to generally like the Ravens' draft. Dr. Z, as you might expect, loved the concentration on line play: "You bet I like drafts that lead off with two big guys, DT Haloti Ngata, 338 pounds, and they say he still has some growing to do (Did I ever tell you why I really like King Kong? Because there's a guy who won't take any guff from the airlines), and Chris Chester, an athletic center who pulls out and leads plays. " The biggest hater was Mark Maske, who wrote "First-round DT Haloti Ngata helps (Ray Lewis can't blame his performance on the play of those in front of him anymore), but there wasn't much overall sizzle." Some say that the draft lacked overall sizzle, but Pompei says the draft will yield multiple starters, while Prisco notes that the Ravens are a team that "…always drafts well." Several people pointed out the pick of Demetrius Williams as being a likely steal, Prisco comparing him to Outsiders favorite Keenan McCardell in his polish. Are skill position players more likely to be pointed out as steals because they're more likely to be noticed in a fleeting moment of success (i.e. a long TD pass) than other players?

Chicago: Dr. Z was quite hurt by Jerry Angelo not returning his phone calls in what was the real highlight of any of the draft grade articles. Despite liking the Bears' picks, he gave them a D. The variance in grades here was an analysis of whether you liked the Bears' selections or not; the high point seemed to only be a B because no one liked the Bears picking entirely for defense. Worth noting is that the Bears did not pick any linebackers in the draft, which would seemingly indicate that they are going to make an effort to lock up Lance Briggs. Both Kiper and Pompei really liked the pick of DE Mark Anderson in the fifth round.

Buffalo: Strangely enough, everyone seems to agree on the Bills draft. Everyone thinks they reached with Donte Whitmer, and almost everyone feels the same way about John McCargo (and giving up a third to move up and grab him). That being said, everyone also thinks their picks of Ashton Youboty and Ko Simpson were excellent. Borges took a nice little shot with, "Marv Levy looked like what he was Saturday — a guy running his first draft at the age of 80." Maske criticized them for not picking Leinart, but that seems just a little bit harsh towards J.P. Losman, who has all of eight career starts.

Finally, here are the average grades amongst the eight draft reviewers for all 32 teams:

ARI A CHI C- DET C+
ATL C CIN C GB B
BAL B CLE B+ HOU B-
BUF C DAL C+ IND C
CAR B DEN B JAC C+
KC C+ NYG C+ SD B-
MIA C NYJ B SEA B-
MIN C+ OAK B- SF B+
NE B PHI B+ STL C+
NO B+ PIT B TB C
TEN B- WAS D+ NFL B-

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 04 May 2006

149 comments, Last at 15 May 2006, 11:15pm by Bjorn

Comments

1
by ToxikFetus (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 10:30am

If Washington had an average grade of D+, why wasn't it on the worst-of list?

2
by gja (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 10:39am

The second list is the list of the drafts with the most dissension, not the worst.

Everyone thought the redskins had a bad draft.

3
by Belt (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 10:54am

Washington didn't really have a draft, they just didn't have anything better to do last weekend.

4
by Dan (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:02am

Giants with a C+? they drafted unquestionably the fastest reciever in the draft, which was a glaring need for them with an aging Amani Toomer and an oft-injured Tim Carter... Their first round draft pick, Mathias Kiwanuka, is the heir apparent for when Michael Strahan retires in a couple years... I disagree with the Giants trading out of the 25th spot, but according to an inside source of mine, the Giants would have drafted Kiwanuka... Linebacker Gerris Wilkinson gives the team much-needed depth at linebacker behind LaVar Arrington... Barry Cofield and Guy Whimper provide depth on the offensive and defensive front. Cmon a C+?? they should have one of the top 10 grades in the draft

5
by MJK (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:03am

I've been going over draft history and it seems like the Redskins often have a "bad draft" because they pool all their resources to grab just a few people the like and don't seem to care about finding hidden talent in mid and late round picks. I guess this jives well with their pay to win now philosophy. With their emphasis on signing hot talent now, maybe they don't consider the draft to be very important. The couple players they target and like usually turn out OK.

Redskins fans can maybe answer this: I wonder if one reason why they constantly are spending so much on free agents is because they don't tie a lot of money up into developmental prospects...?

6
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:11am

#4-

I do like most of their later round picks, but the pundits are right when they puzzle over the Kiwanuka selection- you forget that Strahan already had a servicable heir aparent in Justin Tuck, who played excellently as a rookie last year, and was arguably already starter-quality on a team with less potent defensive ends. We now have *four* worthwhile defensive ends and no real two-gap DT, which is a problem.

Why the Giants didn't instead draft Winston Justice to replace the ineffective and penalty-ridden Luke Petitgout is beyond me. The later rounds were good, but the first round was, well, horribly blundertastic. C+ sounds right.

7
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:12am

Money doesn't get tied up in developmental prospects: it gets tied up in veteran free agents. Once you get past day 1, round 4/5/6/7 are basically free (especially rounds 5/6/7).

Draftees in day 1 aren't, but except for round 1, they're far cheaper than the average free agent price.

The biggest problem with the Redskins philosophy is that you really don't have the money available to sign enough free agents to fill out your roster - which means in the end, your roster usually gets filled with a number of undrafted free agents or minimum-salary veterans.

8
by Michael David Smith :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:13am

The thing I hate about draft report cards is the way the "experts" seem incapable of any kind of differentiation among the teams. Rick Gosselin is probably the best draft analyst anywhere, but he gave 20 C's.

9
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:18am

Yah, I wondered over the Giants lack of a DT pick. They do need more defensive linemen - if you look at their roster, they really don't have many quality defensive linemen on the roster (about 6) but I definitely don't understand why they picked a DE.

There was a discussion in another thread over the depth of the Washington DL, and the most comparable one I could find was really the Giants. But with the loss of Allen (who granted, wasn't all that, but he had at least played a lot) they're really short at DT. Maybe they're planning on moving someone inside?

10
by James, London (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:18am

Loved the Pompei/Pompey reference from the 'other' football.

11
by Oswlek (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:21am

I'd give them an A because their track record is so good and the key - which almost is never spoken - is that they know how to develop their players. I love that they are getting Tom Brady help. I really like Maroney pick. I have to wait and see on Chad Jackson but that goes back to development. Tulsa FB Garrett Mills in the 4th round might have surprised some but I liked it. They have a lot of guys and they'll coach up a bunch.

At Bill Belichick's post-draft press conference, someone got up the nerve to mention to the coach that he seemed to have problems at LB, and uh, CB, too, and yet the team's first five picks were offensive players, including a kicker. Doesn't this seem odd? ("Odd, waddya mean, odd?" From what movie? Said by James Westerfield, playing Big Mac, the hiring boss, in On the Waterfront). I mean, it seems to be an offensive draft, does it not? And I got a kick out of Belichick's reply -- "If you take a running back in the first round and then trade up to take a receiver in the second round, it's going to be hard to have a defensive draft." The runner: the highly sought after Laurence Maroney. The receiver: Chad Jackson, No. 1 on some people's board. Then there are two really interesting TEs, Dave Thomas and Garrett Mills. And an astute observer of this column, someone who's still awake, that is, will note that I gave the Bears a low grade for doing the same thing, drafting to strength, not need. So where's the fairness, huh? Look, friend, I learned a long time ago you simply do not second-guess these babies up in Foxboro. They know what they're doing.

The above reviews of the Pats draft by Chris Mortenson and Dr. Z, respectively, are one of my favorite parts of being a Pats fan right now. I told my wife that everyone would give the Pats a grade of a 'B' on their draft because their picks never make complete sense, but nobody will stick their neck on the line to challenge them. At this point I think that NE could draft 7 QBs and they would get positive reviews.

Mortenson expands on the player development issue here:

Well, gotta go. Remember, the key to the draft is whether or not teams develop these guys. That's the key to the draft. A lot of these guys have potential but development is an equal part to the deal. God Bless!

While I don't disagree with the statement, I love when analysts give themselves a huge trap door like this. If the players don't pan out, it doesn't mean that he was wrong with his positive review, it just meant that the team didn't develop the players properly.

12
by Matt Weiner (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:29am

Gosselin: The Super Bowl champs were the only team afforded the luxury of drafting for need.

What does that mean? He seems to say Indy was also drafting for need, but why are the Steelers afforded that luxury and Indy not?

13
by James C (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:29am

"Worth noting is that the Bears did not pick any linebackers in the draft, which would seemingly indicate that they are going to make an effort to lock up Lance Briggs."

The Bears 4th round pick was Jamar Williams from Arizona State who is a linebacker.

14
by GlennW (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:09pm

> What does that mean? He seems to say Indy was also drafting for need, but why are the Steelers afforded that luxury and Indy not?

I think it was poorly expressed, but the idea is that the Steelers' "need" was very specific, one position only, yet not absolutely critical as perceived with the loss of Edgerrin James. I'm not sure I agree with that (some current Steelers starters may be overrated) but that's the common perception. Did the Colts have other major priorities besides at RB? I think they still need secondary help, and in the first round had to make a choice between those two priorities, which the Steelers really didn't have to.

15
by MadPenguin (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:10pm

I believe we need to blend these draft grades, college rpi, and the high school star rating into a formula that will exactly pick how good a team's draft was.

Or we could ask paris hilton's dog...

16
by Smeghead (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:18pm

MDS (#8), is that really so? Dr. Z broke them into 10 different letter-grade strata, but I'm not sure the differentiation adds all that much to the equation, much as I love the doctor.

At this point, all these dudes are quantum particles, risk-reward curves with largely similar aggregate expected returns which will be realized (or not) when the cat turns up alive (or not) ... it's probably more fair than not to throw most of them in a compost heap together, even if added differentiation lets you show how much homework you did and stake a claim for future I-told-you-so's.

Damn, it's still May. Can I get a minicamp here? Or something?

17
by MdM (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:19pm

I think Dr. Z made a strange and ridiculous comment, that the proper time to grade a draft is NOW, that we don't need to wait a few years and make revisionist history. Was that a joke? It didn't seem like it. It always seemed to me that these draft grades are only slightly less speculative than mock drafts.

18
by James C (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:25pm

I read somewhere that Ernie Sims had five concussions in college. Can anyone tell me if this is true?

If it is true five is a really big number for a guy that is yet to take his first hit in the pros and who is undersized for his position. How many more before the doctors start telling him not to play (although he would then most likely forget and play anyway).

Is it possible that Matt Millen has found a new way to stuff up his draft?

19
by Bill (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:31pm

Let's not underestimate Matt Millen. He strikes me as a guy who would hunt every chance he got on the Oregon Trail regardless of whether he needed to rest, buy wagon wheels, heal Marty's dysentery, whatever.

20
by johonny (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:32pm

I think the reason there isn't much spread in the Draft grades is most teams seem to follow the same set of rules. This year only the Bears, Bills and Washington really went out of the box on draft day. If you do what your suppose to do then the only thing to write about is who you took, but in many cases who you took was a matter of what was there when you drafted...

21
by jebmak (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:37pm

It annoys me when they give draft grades based on the number of players that a team drafted. Either the team drafted good players with the picks that they had, or they didn't. If you are going to penalize a team for trading away their draft picks, you should include the players that they traded them for. Example, If the Dolphins trade a second round pick for Griese or Culpepper, then include that in the draft grade, based on how you feel about that player.

Yes, I understand the pointlessness of complaining about something as stupid as day after the draft grades.

22
by Bill (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:38pm

Drafting for need is a murky concept. Some writers (Bell, I remember most prevalently) use it to criticize teams, but others use it to compliment teams' focus.

I also think that Dr. Z was, much like me, being sarcastic about the proper time to grade a draft being now. In fact, without realizing, I sorta stole his intro. Sorry Doc.

23
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:40pm

#17, I think his point was that wagging a finger at somebody after five years is pretty easy, and if you want to be a credible pundit, one oughta say immediately how one judges a draft, so when an evaluation is done five years from now, the pundit's immediate grade can also be stacked up against the eventual outcome. I think Z has in the past, when giving a five or six year evaluation, also given what his grade at the time was, but I may be giving him too much credit.

24
by Independent George (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:41pm

I don't understand the last chart - how is it organized? It doesn't seem to be alphabetical, by conference/division, average grade, or any other pattern I can discern. Does this mean I fail the wonderlic?

25
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:44pm

It's alphabetical (plus NFL last), grouped in 3 tables of 3x5, 3x5, and then 3x1.

26
by ChrisFromNJ (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:54pm

#9-

Well, they did draft a DT in Round 4, but even he isn't really a two-gapper. I suspect the thinking was that after Buckner and Ngata, there really wasn't anyone who really stod out, and the Giants could wait for awhile. Which may be sound strategy, but it still leaves us with this horrible hole in the middle.

27
by GlennW (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 12:56pm

> It annoys me when they give draft grades based on the number of players that a team drafted. Either the team drafted good players with the picks that they had, or they didn’t.

Same with docking teams which draft low in every round; there's only so much flexibility those teams can have. The entire exercise of grading drafts is futile. I'd start with giving everyone a "C", and only dock teams who I perceive unnecessarily gave away draft picks, like Buffalo and Minnesota did, and maybe bump up the teams who likewise gained picks, and value. And even then, that's based only on my own assessment of the value acquired with those picks, which in time could prove to have been inaccurate.

28
by giving him the business (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 1:11pm

Re:19 Bill, big high five. I always love a good Oregon Trail reference.

29
by Tarrant (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 1:17pm

I agree regarding differentiation. It annoys me that many (not all) of the commentators can't be bothered to really say whether things are good or bad.

I commented on another thread that Kiper didn't give a single grade above B+, and not a single grade below C. Does he really believe that some of those B+'s aren't better than other B+'s? Or than some of those C's really aren't worse than some of the other C's?

And then there's the already-mentioned issue of not having as many picks, or having low ones - in one of Kiper's summaries, he said something to the effect of "This team only had six picks, but I absolutely loved what they did with all of them - they made best use out of every single pick, not a one was wasted. But since there were only 6...B."

B? If someone honestly believes that a team got full value for every pick it made, and it made more than 4 or 5 or so, then that should be an A or A- draft....etc.

T.

30
by Moses (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 1:21pm

Goesslin needs to check his meds because he's just gone plain delusional on some of his rankings.

31
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 1:21pm

Re: 11

Yes, I think past performance is factored into most the grades the Pats received (though Gosselin did give them a C). I give Dr. Z credit for admitting what I think most of the rest of these guys were feeling.

32
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 1:35pm

#18,
yeah 5 concussions, never had to miss a game from what I understand though. So I guess none were major.

and he is not undersized. Pretty much the same size as all the other Tampa-2 LBers and Jonathan Vilma.

33
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 1:37pm

Wondering about draft picks that 'fall' vs. those that are picked 'early'. It would be interesting to know if guys taken well after they were projected (Max Jean-Gillis, Darnell Bing) actually performed better or worse than guys taken well before they were projected (Tarvaris Jackson, Devin Hester). I wouldn't be surprised if the latter group actually had better careers (there's a reason these GMs have their jobs after all), but don't have any data.

34
by James C (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 1:59pm

RE 18

OK not undersized, his brain just bruises easily.

35
by Scott (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 2:19pm

Things I love about draft grades:

1. How most grading articles start with the disclaimer "It's such a silly exercise but everybody does it, so, okay, I'll do it too I guess..." Everyone's doing it: Isn't that the excuse you use to get little Tommy to smoke pot? Anyway Kudos to Dr. Z for being contrarian on this point (unless he was kidding; it's hard to tell with him sometimes).

2. How the graders always equivocate--like Borges giving an A-/D- and Mortensent talking about the key being development. And on ESPN when one of the goofs said after the Texans passed on Bush "This will either make them perennial Super Bowl contenders or ruin their chances of getting there for years to come..." A comment, by the way, which could apply to any team picking anyone first overall. It's more truism than analysis.

3. Kiper's grades, he already seems bored with this draft, like the grades are this annoying exercise that's keeping him from starting to watch tape for next year's draft.

36
by Scott (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 2:20pm

Things I Hate About Draft Grades:

1. The "for the next ten years" clause. E.g. "The Packers have solidified their linebacking corps. for the next ten years." Or "between the two players they'll be set at tackle for years to come." Someone at FO should do an analysis of how many players out of all the ones drafted end up playing in one place for ten years or, even more absurd how many draft picks from the same year that play with each other (two linebackers, say) end up playing together for "the next ten years." Even "for years" to come seems silly in the peripatetic NFL.

2. The lack of grade distribution. Is it me, or does it seem like everyone hovers around B. Look, if these exercises are meant to be speculative and entertaining--surely they're not exercises in true analysis--have fun with them. Give some Fs. Give some A-plusses. Give some Incompletes, pass-fails. Do something interesting.

3. Storylines. Look, we all know Ray Lewis called out the D line. But this inane parroting of each other "Well Ray can't complain now" or "Ray has no excuses now" is so bland and unreported. Do some work. Find out if Newsome/Billick were trying to placate Ray for real and if so, what kind of friggin' draft strategy is that. Couldn't even one grader suggest or find out if the drafting of Ngata actually validates Lewis' kvetching? No. Instead it's lazy storyline writing.

37
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 2:26pm

"some current Steelers starters may be overrated"

The total bastard in me really, really wants to nominate Larry Foote as overrated just to see what happens...

38
by Israel (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 2:35pm

#17 I think Dr. Z made a strange and ridiculous comment, that the proper time to grade a draft is NOW

Perhaps he hears his biological clock ticking.

39
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 2:37pm

Re: 36

I've forgotten where I read it but one of the analysts made the point that while the Ravens did pick up Ngata, they lost Kemoeatu in FA. So, no net change in Ravens DT 'beef'. If Ray couldn't be successful with Kemoeatu in front of him....

40
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 2:38pm

What is somewhat troubling is the prospect of a guy getting five concussions without ever having missed a game. I'm no neuroligist, but it strikes as being most likely not in the player's best interest. There are already too many old football players with premature dementia.

41
by DD (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 2:48pm

Some current Steelers starters might be overrated:

I would start with Ben of the 22 Q.B. rating in the superbowl, and 11 passes per game, but seeing all the hype from Steelers fans lately, I better just leave that alone!

42
by dman (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 2:52pm

Millen's an idiot. Plain and simple. Ernie simms wasn't better than a late round flyer, the fact that millen passed up leinart for him is unconscionable.

43
by Bill (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 2:52pm

That Roethlisberger guy the same one that was 3rd in DVOA last year?

44
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 3:29pm

Yah, him. I mean, we all know that real QBs all have fantastic ratings in the Super Bowl.

Clearly, the real QB on the Steelers was Antwaan Randle-El last year. Just look at his rating in the Super Bowl!

45
by PackMan (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 3:38pm

I watched the Draft review on ESPN, and if i remember right, Kiper gave every team Bs and Cs. What is the point of using the school letter grade system, if you are going to only use half of the letters. I guess to him a team must grab 7-10 first rounders to get an A. He shoulc grade on a curve, giving the best team(s) an A+ and then moving down and the worst team(s) should get an F.

46
by max (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 3:42pm

I don't understand how you calculate your average grades amongst the eight draft reviewers. Using the Rams as an example, I found the following grades from your sources: 2, B, C, C+, B, B+, A, B+. Assuming A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1, and the minuses and pluses are worth 1/3. I get the Rams average grade to be 2.8. That is somewhere between a B+ (2.67) and a B (3). Please explain.

47
by JasonK (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 3:45pm

Re: Giants' DTs

It's true that guy they drafted, Barry Cofield, doesn't have a prototypical two-gapper frame. But neither did Kendrick Clancy, and he did pretty well at the position last year. It'll be him, Damane Duckett, or Jonas Seawright (who the coaches have all been talking up lately). They've got good players at all 3 of the other line positions, so all the big tackle really needs to do is occupy linemen on running plays.

Spending a 1st-rounder on the guy who'll be your #4 DE when the season opens does bother me. None of their current ends would make a credible tackle on a down shorter than 3rd and 8, so they're not going to be moving anyone. Apparently, they just had Kiwanuka rated much higher than any other team (top ten, if you believe the post draft boasting). I am dubious, but I've got a good amount of trust in their scouting and drafting, especially since Jerry Reese took over as director of player personnel.

48
by max (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 3:46pm

I made a mistake, I should have typed "that is somewhere between a B- (2.67) and a B (3), not a C+ (2.33) as was listed."

49
by TomC (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 3:48pm

33 - I've been curious about that, too, particularly because for the team I follow most closely (the Bears), reaching for rising guys has worked better than picking up the falling ones late. Two particular guys I remember being excited to get in the late rounds were TE Alonzo Mayes and WR Dez White, both of whom were solid 1st-round projections until close to draft day. They both sucked. (Then there was Kyle Orton last year, but all kidding aside I think it's too early to judge him.) On the flip side, two recent "who the hell is he" 2nd rounders -- Charles Tillman and Tank Johnson -- have turned out quite well.

50
by ABW (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 3:50pm

Re: 36

Draft picks that have played for 10 years in one place, off the top of my head, although I did have to check for some of them:
Willie McGinest
Tedy Bruschi
Ted Johnson, although he retired last year
Troy Brown, although no one thought he would
Ray Lewis
Orlando Pace
Jonathan Ogden
Michael Strahan
Brian Urlacher probably will
Jason Taylor almost certainly will
Zach Thomas
Mack Strong
Steve McNair
Marvin Harrison
Tom Nalen, and probably a bunch of other Denver lineman
Will Shields

You most certainly can set up a position for 10 years with a good draft pick. It's just that the guys who report on the draft are lousy at picking out which ones will do that.

51
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 3:51pm

That is somewhere between a B+ (2.67) and a B (3). Please explain.

You meant B-, not B+. You should also remap the 1-4 scale that Bell uses to the 0-4 scale (A-F) that others use. So a 2 is a 1.5 on that scale.

But it should be a B-, not a C+.

52
by GlennW (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 3:53pm

> The total bastard in me really, really wants to nominate Larry Foote as overrated just to see what happens…

I'm a Steelers fan and I wouldn't go crazy over that assessment. And in fact given the overall age/quality equation at the position, ILB is a position of relative need.

53
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 4:00pm

Koy Detmer (wow, that's surprising: a 7th round draft pick with the same team for 10 years) and Brian Dawkins, too.

54
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 4:13pm

It’s true that guy they drafted, Barry Cofield, doesn’t have a prototypical two-gapper frame. But neither did Kendrick Clancy, and he did pretty well at the position last year. It’ll be him, Damane Duckett, or Jonas Seawright (who the coaches have all been talking up lately).

What about Robbins? Of the guys you listed, he's the one that's had the most experience, by far. I would've figured him and Joseph would be the default starting two tackles, with the others pushing for their position.

They’ve got good players at all 3 of the other line positions, so all the big tackle really needs to do is occupy linemen on running plays.

DE's definitely set, obviously - even if one of the players gets injured, there's a definite quality player waiting. But DT - yah, Joseph should start, but after Joseph and Robbins, there's... no one with real experience.

55
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 4:27pm

RE: 19

Millen might be the kind of guy to kill 3 400 lb buffalo, 7 200 lb deer, and several squirrels, even though you can only carry like, 150 lbs of meat. But at least he's not the kind of guy to always decide to float the wagon down the river risking life and limb in order to avoid paying a couple bucks for the toll road.

RE: Ernie Sims
That's 5 diagnosed concussions, don't forget.

56
by Mentos (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 4:34pm

I liked the Browns, Cardinals, and Saints drafts the most, even though Wimbley will underachieve until he goes to Denver in 2010.

57
by Bill (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 4:35pm

I was using a 5 point scale with an A+ being worth 5, a B being worth 3.3, a C being worth 2.1, a D being worth .9, and a F being worth 0. I didn't scale the four point scale to a five point one because it would've given seven teams A+'s and Bell's writeup didn't indicate such a strong approval of those teams. The Rams had an average grade of 2.7, which is exactly inbetween B- and C+. They had 5 grades of a C+ or worse, and only 3 with B- or better, so I gave them a C+ as an average grade.

Millen is ENTIRELY the guy who would kill way too many animals.

58
by Bill (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 4:37pm

Max,

I apologize - I don't have an A marked down for the Rams in my spreadsheet. Who gave them an A?

59
by Devin McCullen (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 4:55pm

From the tasteless joke file:

There are already too many old football players with premature dementia.

Yes, and FOX can only employ so many of them.

60
by JasonK (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 5:02pm

Pat,

The Giants usually field one 1-technique tackle, and one 3-technique tackle. Joseph is the clear starter at the 3-tech position. Robbins is his backup. He might see some time in the 1-tech spot, but he's not the type of guy who can take double-teams all game long. Unless they do something silly like go sign Grady Jackson, they're going to be counting on the who-dats I mentioned above.

I'd be less nervous if Kenderick Allen hadn't be cut loose. He was an RFA, but the team rescinded his tender. They said he'd been difficult to work with this offseason, not returning calls and the like. (I think he has since signed with the Packers.) He was Clancy's backup last year and saw a fair amount of playing time.

61
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 5:21pm

And if the Lions would have drafted Matt Leinart? He would be the laughingstock of the NFL and on this board as well. Lets see:

7 Offensive players in the 1st round? And 2 QBs? Millen should know that QB X was a 6th rounder and look how well he did.

Leinart? He already had 2 arm surgeries...and he had an average arm to begin with? Good job Millen...

He dates Paris Hilton...

#42:
Sims was called a top 5 talent by Bill Belichick before the draft even started. Either the Cardinals and Rams were going to take him if the Lions did not (Green was on the phone with Sims, telling him he was going to be their pick if Detroit passed up on him).

Let the Millen-bashing continue though. I am not an apologist for him, just sometimes the comments get annoying (especially the WR ones....yes it was funny the first 500 times)

62
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 5:22pm

argh, 61 should read 7 offensive picks in the 1st round since 2001....

63
by Karl Cuba (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 5:23pm

re: 50 You missed Bryant Young. And if you're going to include guys who will probably make it to ten years I'd include that Manning fellow that plays for the Colts (not his brother though, the one that likes to throw off his back foot whilst falling over)

64
by mawbrew (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 5:37pm

Re: 61

I think it's good that Millen has started addressing the defensive side of the ball early in the draft. Now he can do for the defense what he's already done for the offense. :-)

FWIW, I think the Lions have the potential with the QB and coaching changes to be much improved this year.

My biggest complaint with Millen at the moment is this silliness with Harrington. Stop whining and cut the dude.

65
by Scott (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 5:37pm

RE: 50, 53

Okay, I couldn't leave it alone so I went through every roster on NFL.com to find all players with 10+ years experience and find out how many years each spent with the team that drafted them. What I found surprised me a little and was interesting.

A note on the methodology: Years of experience include the upcoming year on NFL.com, even though they haven't played yet, so it's a bit of magical thinking and the list would obviously change due to injuries and cuts. The reason I didn't compensate for this is because I didn't notice it until I was done with one conference.

I have a full list in an email if somone wants to see it but here's some of the stats I gleaned from going through the list:

Total # players with 10+ years exp: 178

Pct. which are P/K: 9 (16/178)

Avg. # players with 10+ years exp/team: 5.5625 (~10% of the 53 man roster)

# of players with 10+ years exp who played 10+ years with the team that drafted them: 51

Pct of players with 10+ years exp who played 10+ years for the team that drafted them: 29 (27% excl. P/K)

Pct of NFL players who have played 10+ years for the team that drafted them (assuming 53 man roster): 3

Avg. # years players with 10+ years experience played the team that drafted them: 6.7

Team with fewest players with 10+ years exp: BUF, ARI (2)

Team with most players with 10 + years exp: STL, KC (11)

Player who spent longest with team that drafted him: Matt Stover (16)

Non Kicker who spent longest with team that drafted him: Michael Strahan, Will Shields, Troy Brown (14)

Lots of linemen in the list, obviously and few skill players, but a few. Mostly WR: Marvin Harrison (11) Troy Brown (14) Rod Smith (13) and Wayne Chrebet (12). One that surprised me was Dwayne Carswell, 13 years with Den, who drafted him.

Other skill positions represented well: TE and FB (if you can call FB "skill" position). Notably, there were many quarterbacks on the list but only one with 10+ years with the team that drafted him: Steve McNair (12) and we know he's gone soon.

What does all this mean? Well I think it means that you can in fact set up a position (especially a non-skill position) "for years to come" or "for a half-decade to come" (which is about the average excluding P, K and LS).

Having said that, draftniks still throw the idea around WAY too much every year. Since only 3 percent of players in the NFL set a team up "for the next ten years" only 3 percent of draft choices, or 7.65 draftees, deserve this kind of praise. And in the early rounds this is said of more than eight of the picks, I'd wager, though no formal study has been done.

So there you go. These are my first three posts ever and now I feel like one of all you. I'm not sure this is a good thing.

66
by Tom (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 5:42pm

Brad Hopkins was an Oiler/Titan from 1993-2005, though he probably won't be back in 2006. Blaine Bishop was an 8th round pick who stuck around for 9 years. McNair's currently been with the team for 11 years, though he likely won't make a 12th.

Was there hyperbole involved in the "10 year" claim? Sure, a little. 8 years seems to be more like the average long tenure, but I think 10 is close enough for prognosticator work.

67
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 5:42pm

I apologize - I don’t have an A marked down for the Rams in my spreadsheet. Who gave them an A?

Prisco.

He might see some time in the 1-tech spot, but he’s not the type of guy who can take double-teams all game long. Unless they do something silly like go sign Grady Jackson, they’re going to be counting on the who-dats I mentioned above.

Geh, that's scary. Of course, it'll get even scarier if the who-dat gets injured, and then you're counting on a double who-dat.

That, and while a first-year (or barely-ever-saw-playing-time player like Duckett, or a practice-squad-only player like Seawright) might play well initially, they often don't hold up during the year.

That's really bizarre that they let that position open so much.

68
by Tom (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 5:43pm

#65
Welcome, Scott. It sounds like you'll fit right in.

69
by Scott (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 5:58pm

RE #65

Thanks. I hope so. I've watched the site for some time and have been impressed, mostly by its ambitiousness, creative approach and depth, but also by its openness to new ideas or tweaks of its statistical systems. Plus, it's fun to watch Lions' fans' heads explode over Millenomics.

70
by cd6 (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 6:01pm

re: 65 that's your third post? Sweet jesus

You've already done 80% of the legwork for a guest column I would love to read.

Nice job man

71
by Scott (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 6:06pm

Re 70

I was going to keep going but then I lookedup and realized I was at work...maybe I'll try to do something more comprehensive soon. Thanks, though.

72
by Travis (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 6:37pm

Re: 65

Great post, but one quibble. Matt Stover was originally drafted by the Giants in the 12th round in 1990 and spent the entire year on the practice squad, before going to the Browns as a Plan B free agent in 1991. I think Jason Hanson is the longest tenured player still with the team that originally drafted him.

73
by Podge (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 6:54pm

One thing I love the way some positions are called "skill" positions. Its like the people who come up with these phrases think "Oh, to be a lineman you just need to be a fat bloater, no skill or talent involved there." Makes me smile every time.

74
by Mentos (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 7:09pm

The skill is that they handle the football.

75
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 7:15pm

Re: Pat/#7
We had this discussion in another thread.

Is there any evidence that a "cheap" draft pick is better than a "cheap" UDFA or veteran FA?

The Redskins don't pick up 7 players in the draft, but they do bring in either 7 UDFAs or "cheap" Vet FAs. These include "cheap" players such as Ryan Clark and Antonio Pierce (both left for $$$ in FA) and Lemar Marshall and their defensive lineman not named Wynn, Griffin or Carter.

You still bring 80+ people into camp who have to compete for their spots.

Now maybe they know something about defense, because all of their offensive starters are free agents or high draft picks.

76
by Bill (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 7:41pm

Pat,

You're right. With that, they would move up. My fault. Fortunately, I will be replaced soon enough by Scott.

77
by PantsB (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 7:42pm

The above reviews of the Pats draft by Chris Mortenson and Dr. Z, respectively, are one of my favorite parts of being a Pats fan right now. I told my wife that everyone would give the Pats a grade of a ‘B’ on their draft because their picks never make complete sense, but nobody will stick their neck on the line to challenge them. At this point I think that NE could draft 7 QBs and they would get positive reviews.
>>>>
It is pretty funny. The high point was the Logan Mankins.... he's a football player(?) coverage at pick 32 last year. No one wants to be the guy who is insultingthe next Tom Brady or the Ron Borges claiming they should have passed on Seymour.

78
by max (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 7:51pm

#58 and #67.....
Yes. Prisco gave the Rams an A. I gave them a B. Honestly, there is no way they deserve a C+. They made a great move to slide down 4 spots(from #11 to #15), pick up an additional high 3rd rounder, and still get the guy they wanted at the #11 spot (Tye Hill). No one really dropped to them and they still made solid selections.

79
by VarlosZ (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 8:13pm

I guess I'm the only one who doesn't think that draft grades aren't necessarily a stupid and futile exercise.

The problem isn't with the concept, but rather the execution. Every writer bases their grades mostly on whether or not they like this guy or that guy, but, of course, that's all just guess-work. It's results-oriented thinking when you don't even know the results!

Draft graders should be focusing on how a team did relative to the expected market value -- this guy was expected to go here, but they wound up getting him there -- or, they got above/below average value in this trade.

To a lesser extent, you can grade based on whether or not a team addressed its roster's needs, but even that is sketchy because you can never tell which guys will be able to contribute.

By this criteria, my Giants, for example, did pretty well. Kiwanuka was a bit of a reach at #32, but their 1st Rounder wasn't just him, but rather Kiwanuka and the Steelers' 3rd & 4th rounders (they got above average value in their trade). Similarly, Sinorice Moss (who I don't really like) was expected by most to go in the late 1st Round.

80
by VarlosZ (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 8:14pm

Crap. Please excuse the double-negative in the first sentence of my previous post.

81
by Pat (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 8:45pm

Is there any evidence that a “cheap� draft pick is better than a “cheap� UDFA or veteran FA?

Well, the UFA/draft pick is cheaper than the vet FA. So that's an instant bonus right there.

But the reason that a draft pick is better than a UFA? That's simple. Because you get the exclusive rights to the draft pick.

There are UFAs which Washington wanted which they didn't get. In fact, just take this to the extreme: assume that the Redskins know something about talent evaluation that the rest of the league doesn't, and so they can get more out of UFAs than the rest of the league can.

That can't work forever - other teams will figure out what they're doing (or people will hire the people away) and the talents that the Redskins were seeing will then start going away in the draft.

So it's not a sustainable philosophy. No way. Now, it make work in the short term. It'll especially work if the rest of the league is filled with crappy front offices. :) But in the long term, it's a losing proposition. Teams which draft better are always going to do better than you because they had first pick.

The Redskins don’t pick up 7 players in the draft, but they do bring in either 7 UDFAs or “cheap� Vet FAs.

That's about normal for all of the league, actually. The problem, of course, is that you're competing with the rest of the league for the services of those players.

Also, note that when I say a 'cheap' draft pick: all draft picks after the early first round are cheap. 31st pick in the draft? $1M/year in cap space, pretty much maximum. 10-year veteran? $800K/year or so in cap space, pretty much minimum.

That's the benefit of having draft picks instead of free agents. You can get much more production for much less cost. Now, if you're lucky, you can get that with UFAs, as well, but fundamentally, you're fighting the rest of the league for these guys. You would've been better off drafting them.

82
by mikeabbott (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 9:57pm

RE: Thread Teaser:
"Matt Leinart: Great draft pick, or the greatest draft pick? "

In todays 'better know a draft pick' we ask the Jets GM 'why do you hate America?'

83
by DGL (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 10:40pm

#65: You don't really fit in until everyone leaps in to nitpick and tell you where your analysis is flawed. But I see Travis has started the ball rolling :-) so I'll pile on: Wayne Chrebet announced his retirement last December, so that's one place the list will definitely change.

Also, the percentage of draftees that should be described as "setting up a team for ten years" is even lower than 3%. You could reasonably assume that 3% of draftees that make the team will "set up a team for ten years", but not all draftees make the team.

84
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 10:44pm

RE: Redskins

I would guess that a large part of Washington's ability to find FA's on offence is that they run schemes that most other teams don't use. That lets them pick up a guy like Mike Sellers (who doesn't quite have the hands for TE or the discipline for FB) and turn him into a very useful contributor at the H-Back position. Now, I don't follow the 'Skins that closely, so I don't know for sure if this carries over to any other guys. I really just pay attention to Washington to see how Sellers is doing, as he used to play for the Blue Bombers.

85
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 10:48pm

RE: The nitpickers on Scott

"A note on the methodology: Years of experience include the upcoming year on NFL.com, even though they haven’t played yet, so it’s a bit of magical thinking and the list would obviously change due to injuries and cuts. The reason I didn’t compensate for this is because I didn’t notice it until I was done with one conference.

That accounts for Chrebet and Hopkins.

86
by slu49er (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 10:48pm

That Stephen Colbert reference just made my day

87
by michael (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 10:50pm

sf by far had the best draft they got starters in manny lawson and vernon davis. Michael robinson who will be like a antwan randall el also potential starters in parys harrelson a "tweener" best draft for the 49ers in years and the best this year.

88
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:00pm

OK, I've just got to say that I'm getting a little bit tired of all this "He's the next Randle El!" crap. Whoop-dee doo! We just got an above average slot receiver that we can use on trick plays (excluding laterals)! Rejoice, good people!

89
by Stevie (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:01pm

Are the Giants interested in B Buckner to play DT or did he sign with someone?

90
by Sean (not verified) :: Thu, 05/04/2006 - 11:42pm

Re 79: I agree with you. There are two points at which you can judge drafts. In the immediate aftermath, you can see how teams fared vis-a-vis the general consensus on the worth of the prospects, and then you can check back in three years to see if the general consensus was accurate or not. More often than not, teams that consistently select players who were highly graded end up with better talent (which is different than saying teams that got good grades in mock drafts do well, as mock grades are often about how well teams filled their needs, which is not the same thing as accumulating the best players).

91
by smashmouth football (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 12:02am

Re: 41, 43
At the outset let me disclose I'm a rabid Ravens fan and absolutely detest the Steelers. But I think Roethlisberger is a top-5 QB. Not only is his DVOA/DPAR very good, but look what happened to his team last year when he missed time with his knee injury--they lost several winnable games, but then once Roethlisberger returned to the lineup, the Steelers became practically unbeatable.
Agreed he sucked in the Super Bowl, but even great players sometimes lay a t-rd.

92
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 1:19am

Michael robinson who will be like a antwan randall el

Except, like, not a receiver.

Do people just not listen in the draft when they announce positions?

Robinson won't be Randle El, and that's a good thing. He'll be a RB, and a freaking good one. If you saw Penn State at all last year, you know that Robinson has great vision, speed, and enough power to flatten a linebacker.

93
by Erasmus (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 1:48am

The Michael Robinson pick gave the 49ers 3 former college QBs who do not play QB in the NFL on their roster. I guess if Alex Smith does not work out, they have options....

94
by Eric (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 3:00am

The Redskins went from 1972 to 1979 without exercising any pick higher than fourth round. Wow. George Allen really did believe the future is now. One fantastic draft in 1981 (May, Grimm, Manley, Grant, 2-time pro bowler Charlie Brown, and for good measure, Clint Didier) was key to Gibbs' first run. Note that in today's 7 round draft, three of those guys are free agents, and Grimm and Manley were 3rd and 5th. So it's not all about the top of the draft, and no one really knows which 3rd rounder is destined for a HOF-type career. From Darrell Green in 1983 to Bobby Wilson in 1991, the Redskins didn't use their own first rounder. They did ok in that stretch as I recall. I know that the salary cap changes the economics somewhat, but the Redskins' George Allen approach is not completely far fetched.

I would like to point out that a team rarely gets more than three players who are better than mediocre (i.e. replacement value) in a given draft. And the better teams just won't be keeping that many rookies, so when everyone looks at the Eagles draft like they just added five future starters, you have to laugh. If they did, you can bet it's not five future starters for the Eagles. And for a team like SF to add five future starters--after stinking up the joint and losing a couple of starters to free agency and trade to boot--that's where the qualification "better than mediocre" comes in. For the 49ers, mediocre is an upgrade at numerous positions. For the Redskins, mediocre is only an upgrade at backup positions on both lines.

Just as important as drafting is recognizing what you have. To take the Redskins, they didn't draft well at the top of the draft in the early 1990s, but had they recognized what they had in 12th rounder Keenan McCardell, 6th rounder Frank Wycheck, or in a player they didn't draft, Rich Gannon, it wouldn't have mattered so much.

95
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 3:26am

From the Washington Post...

Coach Mike Shanahan rebounded from last year's draft-day gaffe of taking Maurice Clarett in the third round...

Whew, yeah, good thing Shanny made up for the horrible draft last year. I mean, he didn't have a first round pick, and all he wound up with was that lously Maurice Clarett character. And two of the three best CBs in the entire league.

That's my big pet peeve now- the media's tendency to judge a team's entire draft based on one pick, or the assumption that one bust is somehow greater than another. Maurice Clarett wasn't even the highest drafted player to not even make the team last year (6 other 3rd rounders failed to make their team- and all were drafted higher, since Clarett was picked last in the third round with a compensatory, untradeable draft pick). So why was drafting Clarett a huge mistake (when he didn't even count beans against the salary cap), while drafting those other 6 players (who all counted against the salary cap, and who were selected with tradeable draft picks) isn't even worth mention?

96
by Sifter (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 5:45am

I think the problem with giving out draft grades immediately after a draft is that there is no marking criteria. I sound like a teacher here...but unless you know how you are going to grade something how can you actually come up with a grade? So maybe scores out of 10(say) could be given for each pick and then weighted by pick importance in order to come to a final grade. For example, surely a good 1st round pick should be worth more than a good 4th round pick. It would be good to have some mathematical method rather than just going on a whim and a vibe like some of the experts grades seem to be done with.

97
by houlie (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 8:56am

A Mario Gosselin reference. A Mario-freaking- Gosselin reference! In an NFL draft column no less. That is absolutely epic. Maybe the greatest cross-sport reference I've ever read.

Bill Barnwell, this old hockey fan salutes you. You blew my mind.

98
by Jones (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 10:42am

#4
".........according to an inside source of mine......." Who are you excactly? lol thanks for the laugh

99
by Jones (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 10:54am

#95
Good post. It seems all critisizm comes from teams not addressing "glaring" needs. Shannahan has led the Broncos to 7 straight winning seasons which no other team in the NFL can say, so obviously he is bringing in a steady stream of talent that fits his system. He takes risk in the draft as well as free agency but Denver has managed to stay on a high to very high level for 10 of the last 11 years. And the exception was when Elway retired and Davis blew out his knee. Broncos are one of the few class franchises of the NFL in the salary cap era.(Pitt, NE, Phi, ???) The draft is just one piece to the puzzle
Maybe bad teams breed bad players and not the other way around......just a thought

100
by Scott (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 11:01am

Wow, I'm glad my legwork generated some discussion. And I'm glad I'm getting nitpicked. Like I said, that's one of the best parts of this site.

A couple of other things I noticed going back to my research: What seemed like an unusually high proportion of the players who've played 10+ years in the league either started with or passed through Pittsburgh. I didn't actually count it up but I kept noticing four-to-five year stints with the Steelers.

And on Pittsburgh's roster, of the five players with 10+, none have spent their entire career with Pitt. This tells me two things, if in fact the Steelers have at some time held a higher proportion of 10+ players than most teams: 1) Pittsburgh evaluates talent well and is good at acquiring through the draft, FA and trades what turn out to be very good long-term veteran players. And 2) Since none of those players played 10+ in Pittsburgh, the team isn't afraid to let them go and replace them, using their good talent eval mentioned above.

I should go back and actually see if it's true or if I just noticed Pittsburgh for some other reason.

As for Stover and the others, yes I made a few mistakes. And like I said originally, once I realized how NFL.com's stats worked, I frankly didn't want to go back and start over, but thank you to those who corrected me.

Another thing I'd like to look at, maybe this weekend, is draft grades versus the number of high-round "skill" players (I know, I know, "players who handle the ball a lot"). It always seemed to me that teams who drafted "sexy" picks high got better grades than teams that drafted even stud tackles and DEs etc. Esecially when those teams that take the "non-skill" players pass on skill players--e.g. Jets taking D'Brick over Leinart. The Jets didn't get bad grades but ARI consistently got HUGE grades. As did NO with Bush going there. So were the graders docking points on the NYJ because they passed on Leinart?

I have no evidence of this...yet. Thoughts?

Bill, I'm not out to take your job. It was, after all, your column that got me to post in the first place. It was great.

101
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 11:25am

so when everyone looks at the Eagles draft like they just added five future starters, you have to laugh.

It's not about adding starters. You add - at most - one starter for the next year in the draft. It's about adding depth, and cheap, talented depth.

Justice, for instance, won't start this year: Thomas and Runyan did. Thomas and Runyan are both signed through 2008. By that point, Justice will be 3 years into his rookie contract. He might start one year for the Philly, and then leave, replaced possibly by a new draft pick, or a free agent less expensive than what he wants.

If they did, you can bet it’s not five future starters for the Eagles.

So what? That's an ideal situation for Philly. Derrick Burgess was a 3rd round pick by Philly in 2001. When he hit free agency in 2005, Oakland signed him to a 5-year, $17.5M contract. Philly had him for 4 years for $2M. So they got a $3M/year DE for $500K/year. After that, they lost him - but who cares? He wasn't dirt cheap anymore.

It's not about getting future starters, or locking up positions for 10 years. It's about getting players for depth that are way better than the amount you're paying them. The only place you can do that is in the draft.

For the Redskins, mediocre is only an upgrade at backup positions on both lines.

So? The difference between a backup position and a starting position is one injury - and that injury will come some year.

102
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 11:54am

The Michael Robinson pick gave the 49ers 3 former college QBs who do not play QB in the NFL on their roster. I guess if Alex Smith does not work out, they have options…

Well, one thing that interested me is that Robinson actually said the 49ers would give him a shot at QB (backup, that is). Honestly, I think they'll be surprised. Robinson looked better and better over the season. By the end, he was still making mistakes, but they were getting subtler and subtler. Still just as costly, unfortunately, but much less blatant than in the Northwestern game.

Robinson's a really odd duck. He really seems to have no problem learning multiple positions easily. Heck, in spring practices at Penn State he was showing the recievers how to run their routes (as he was the only healthy veteran WR!) while practicing as QB.

Plus I wonder if you could work in some sort of wierd option plays with Robinson and another RB and Smith in there for misdirection.

103
by Smurf (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 12:11pm

Interesting that Dr-Z, a former lineman, rated Philly's draft, which included so many linemen so low.

I somewhat agree. The Eagles needed a SSLB, a true running back, and a young QB and got none of them. We'll see...

104
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 12:38pm

Why does everyone forget one of the Eagles' biggest pressing needs? They need a free safety. Badly. They've been striking gold with Dawkins still producing into his mid-30s, but that will end with a violent crash at some point.

They did get a SAM linebacker: that's what Gocong is for. Ah, you say "he was a defensive end! he can't produce this year!" but 1) he's got the size/speed for a linebacker, and 2) linebackers in general don't produce their first year with Philly. The draft wasn't going to fix anything there.

105
by Scott de B. (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 1:04pm

So? The difference between a backup position and a starting position is one injury - and that injury will come some year.

Or, if you're the Patriots, every year.

106
by Dan Riley (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 1:51pm

Existentially speaking (and I believe he was), Dr Z is right: this is the time to grade the draft. After all, who knows if any of us will be here in five years from now to know what we don't know today. And in the end, all we're really doing is stuffing packing material into the Fed Ex box of our empty lives...until minicamps open anyway.

107
by Eric (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 2:02pm

101: "It’s not about getting future starters, or locking up positions for 10 years. It’s about getting players for depth that are way better than the amount you’re paying them. The only place you can do that is in the draft."

Agreed, the draft is one way to get cheap, quality depth, and probably the best way. But it's clearly not the only way, particularly when the draft is only 7 rounds. The same argument you made about draft picks, the Redskins could make about Antonio Pierce, Ryan Clark and Lemar Marshall. They are the NFL equivalent of "Quadruple A" players in baseball, and they come cheap and can contribute just as much as draft picks.

Even the best people and organizations are not the best at everything. I contend that a team can make up for mediocre drafting with excellent pro scouting that yields highly productive players and with undrafted free agents who provide quality depth. Free agents Cornelius Griffin, Marcus Washington and Randy Thomas in one offseason is better than almost any draft. True, I have my doubts about this year's Redskins acquisitions, but I did two years ago too.

I believe the most important skill of all is to recongnize and utilize the players you have. Many times, highly drafted players are playing mostly because of expectations, investment, and fear of embarrassment when you bench or cut a high pick for a who-dat. And good teams are at a disadvantage in utilizing their mediocre to good players, since they are stocked with good to very good players, and they can't use and keep them all. The comments earlier in this thread about how many players have passed through Pittsburgh are a case in point, and last I checked the Steelers, though they have an excellent model of talent development and a very good coach, have only won one Super Bowl under Cowher, and that under questionable circumstances.

The draft is mostly about measurables and projection. There are plenty of productive players at the bottom of the draft and in free agency, enough to stock the bottom 10 or 15 places on a 53-man roster. Just ask the 2001 Patriots.

108
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 2:43pm

Even the best people and organizations are not the best at everything. I contend that a team can make up for mediocre drafting with excellent pro scouting that yields highly productive players and with undrafted free agents who provide quality depth.

Oh, absolutely! But I also contend that said organization will do even better if they draft well and scout well. Fundamentally, you're better off identifying the players you want and drafting them than trying to sign them afterwards. In one case, you're picking them. In the other case, they're picking you.

As I've said elsewhere, the Redskins would do a lot better if they didn't throw their picks away like water. Both the Campbell and McIntosh trades were effective reaches. They could've garnered more value from both of those trades, easily.

Free agents Cornelius Griffin, Marcus Washington and Randy Thomas in one offseason is better than almost any draft.

Yeah, but you're not balancing production with cost, here, which is the problem. Griffin, for instance, was a great pickup, but he's $4M/year. For that price, you can get two first-round draft picks, and then, when Griffin can't play (like he couldn't for 3 games last year, and 1 the year before) you're backing him up with someone of equal quality, not a guy who you'd probably prefer to have on the practice squad.

That's the thing: saying "well, we got Griffin, Washington, and Thomas!" to someone who's raving about draft picks is a little silly. A team that's loaded with draft picks which pan out has far more muscle in free agency.

(Now, of course, you have to use that muscle... I'm looking at you, Philly. Granted, I wouldn't've wanted Randle El, but...)

and last I checked the Steelers, though they have an excellent model of talent development and a very good coach, have only won one Super Bowl under Cowher,

C'mon. Number of Super Bowls is a poor metric to judge a coach by. Only one team wins the Super Bowl every year. Binary variables like that are going to bias your results heavily.

There are plenty of productive players at the bottom of the draft and in free agency, enough to stock the bottom 10 or 15 places on a 53-man roster.

Sure, and you hope you don't have to use them if they have to go on your roster. Maybe you get lucky, like the Patriots did. But you're better off filling those places with known quantities rather than guess marks.

109
by Pat (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 2:53pm

And... that Walker trade suddenly looks a whole lot worse, if the numbers that Schefter has on NFL.com are real.

$8M/year for Walker? Really? Holy crap. That's more than Reggie Wayne got from the Colts, and Wayne wasn't coming off a major career-threatening injury.

Now that is optimism.

110
by calbuzz (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 5:04pm

Interesting to compare the Walker to Den for 2nd pick with Burleson to Sea for 3rd. Both coming off injuries, but similar years in 2004. Anyone happen to know the contracts for these players (guaranteed $$$)?

111
by centrifuge (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 5:42pm

Re: "Only won one Super Bowl under Cowher": In purely mathematical terms, each team should win the Super Bowl once every 32 seasons. It took Cowher 14, which makes him a little more than twice as good as an "average" coach.

Remember, the median number of SBs won by all coaches is zero.

112
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 7:34pm

#110

IIRC, Burleson had very little guaranteed money.

It really doesn't matter how much Denver is overpaying for Walker though. As many have pointed out, Denver has very few holes in the lineup and the offence is built to succeed in the short term. If they feel that Walker is the consistent deep threat that Lelie didn't become, it has enough of an impact on the rest of the offence that 8 mil a year is just fine.

113
by Sid (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 7:39pm

I've heard people glowing over Denver's decision to move up to draft Cutler, but I don't agree. I think it was foolish in several respects. For a team strapped for cap room, moving up to take a QB isn't going to help matters. Plummer is very underrated in my opinion, and I don't see how Cutler helps matters. Finally, it was somewhat of a reach, and a valuable 3rd rounder thrown out the window (a high 3rd to boot).

114
by Bronco Jeff (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 8:03pm

Re:100

Rod Smith has played all 13 years in Denver, but he was undrafted...

Don't hurt me please!

115
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 9:26pm

Sid,

You are right, but it is a move for the present as well as the future. One of these years, Jake's going to miss a few games. Denver's current backup QB is Bradlee Van Pelt, who was a 7th rounder. He's exciting as all hell, but he can't throw. Cutler represents both the QB of the future, as well as an upgrade at backup QB.

116
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Fri, 05/05/2006 - 10:03pm

Re #113: What I've heard about Denver's salary cap is that they spent the last 2-3 seasons clearing all dead money off of it. If that's the case, they might be cap strapped this year... but they should be reasonably cap healthy for the next couple of years. I haven't seen any cap figures for the next few years, so I don't know, but I thought I should throw that out there.

Also, I like the Cutler pickup. Here's a fun stat for you: in Shanahan's previous 11 years, the highest he ever picked was 15th overall (twice). It's hard to find a franchise-type QB when you're never picking in the top half of the draft (okay, okay, technically 15th is in the top half... but only barely). I don't blame him for looking at a very rare opportunity (an elite QB falling outside of the top 10, and him sitting at #15 overall) and deciding to trade up to get the QB.

Another thing- even if Cutler becomes the next Ryan Leaf, I *love* the move... because it signifies Shanahan still has long-term plans with the organization. You don't pick a QB #1 unless you plan to be around for a while... and I firmly believe that Shanahan is without question one of the top-10 coaches *AND* one of the top-10 GMs in the entire NFL.

117
by centrifuge (not verified) :: Sat, 05/06/2006 - 12:00am

...and I firmly believe that Shanahan is without question one of the top-10 coaches *AND* one of the top-10 GMs in the entire NFL.
I would agree that he's quite good. Never having a draft pick about #15 speaks pretty well to this.

("Without question" might be overstating your case a bit, though. ;) )

118
by Bill (not verified) :: Sat, 05/06/2006 - 3:50am

It’s hard to find a franchise-type QB when you’re never picking in the top half of the draft (okay, okay, technically 15th is in the top half… but only barely).

Top 5 QB's, 2005 (DPAR)
Manning: #1 overall
Palmer: #1 overall
Brady: 6th round
Green: 8th round
Hasselbeck: 6th round

Top 5 QB's, 2004 (DPAR)
Manning: #1 overall
Culpepper: 11th overall
Brady: 6th round
McNabb: 3rd overall
Green: 8th round

Top 5 QB's, 2003 (DPAR)
Manning: #1 overall
Green: 6th round
Hasselbeck: 6th round
McNair: # overall
Culpepper: 11th overall

So it's not hard...you just have to wait till the sixth round.

119
by topscribe (not verified) :: Sat, 05/06/2006 - 11:28am

It is amazing to me to see some talk as if Denver has a dire need that must be filled. Here we have an organization who played for the AFC Championship. That clubs will address perceived needs NOW to the detriment of the future is exactly why they go through "rebuilding" years. Notice Denver has few of those. They are consistently in contention, year after year. There is a reason for that.

This reason can be seen in the drafting of Cutler. Yes, Jake Plummer is one of the top five QBs in the league, according to DVOA, but he is closing in on 32 years of age. When he leaves, then what?

The draft landed Plummer, Walker (through trade, of course), the most gifted tight end (after V. Davis) in Scheffler, Dumerville, who accumulated 20 sacks last year, and perhaps the "sleeper" of the draft in explosive receiver Brandon Marshall. Moreover, they got the prototype Bronco offensive lineman in Outland Trophy winner Eslinger, and it cost them only a late second-day selection.

Anyone giving the Broncos less than an "A" in this draft is a . . . well . . . a Prisco.

120
by Midnight (not verified) :: Sat, 05/06/2006 - 2:15pm

I enjoy reading this website and all of the opinions on it so I thought I would offer a little character or intelligence info on a draft pick since I take so much away from here. The Falcons pick of Jimmy Williams. I was driving home this week and listening to the local Atlanta sports talk radio and they did a phone interview with Williams. When asked about whether he had ever been to Atlanta or what he knew of the city, he simply stated, ''I never been but I know there a lot of black people in Atlanta and that's all I know really. And I got my boy DHALL and VICK too. You know?!'' The interviewer admitted to falling out of his chair laughing when Williams said this. Pretty funny hearing those remarks from Williams when most of these guys have been coached on what to say in every interview. It might say something of his coachability at his position as well. Maybe, then again maybe not.(Kip, Napoleon Dynamite)

121
by Ben B (not verified) :: Sat, 05/06/2006 - 2:39pm

I'll put you down for great, since you obviously don't think he's the greatest draft pick. For the record, Mel Kiper said greatest.

Most definitely the highlight of my morning to see that reference.

122
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sat, 05/06/2006 - 4:40pm

Hah!
I was looking through some stuff and found Mel Kiper's list of reaches from last years draft.

Matt Jones, Luis Castillo, Logan Mankins, Lofa Tatupu, Nick Collins (CB, GB), Darrent Williams, Dominique Foxworth, Leroy Hill, Nick Kaczur,

His list of steals is not nearly as impressive.
Mike Williams, Roddy White, Matt Roth, Odell Thurman, Justin Miller, Bryant McFadden, Kyle Orton, Kemoeatu...

123
by Terry (not verified) :: Sat, 05/06/2006 - 9:45pm

Hah!
I was looking through some stuff and found Mel Kiper’s list of reaches from last years draft.

Matt Jones, Luis Castillo, Logan Mankins, Lofa Tatupu, Nick Collins (CB, GB), Darrent Williams, Dominique Foxworth, Leroy Hill, Nick Kaczur,

His list of steals is not nearly as impressive.
Mike Williams, Roddy White, Matt Roth, Odell Thurman, Justin Miller, Bryant McFadden, Kyle Orton, Kemoeatu…

I'm sure it's obvious, but this is really interesting. Anyone care to do additional years?

124
by Sid (not verified) :: Sun, 05/07/2006 - 1:49am

RE: 4

they drafted unquestionably the fastest reciever in the draft, which was a glaring need for them with an aging Amani Toomer and an oft-injured Tim Carter…

Maybe you meant unquestionably the smallest? ;) Moss was not the faster receiver in the draft.

125
by Kibbles (not verified) :: Sun, 05/07/2006 - 3:47am

Re #124: Yeah, I think that Chad Jackson actually was. Which should have been readily apparent from his otherworldly 10.7 yards per reception last season.

126
by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Sun, 05/07/2006 - 4:55am

Re: 123
Looking at archives of a Redskin forum.

In 2003 his #1 sleeper was Taylor Jacobs of Redskins and Dwayne White, DE from Louisville.

Some great excerpts from Kiper in 2003.

Willis McGahee is going to be on the shelf for a year, but the Bills have Travis Henry and Olandis Gary in the interim.

William Joseph can help the Giants, but they reached in taking Osi Umenyiora in the second round... Why did the New York Giants take Troy State defensive end Osi Umenyiora -- who did not play football until his junior year in high school -- in the second round instead of end Dewayne White from Louisville?

Billy McMullen will give Donovan McNabb some help in the passing game.

The Chargers went heavy on defensive backs and I like the trio of Sammy Davis, Drayton Florence and Terrence Kiel.

How did 17 defensive linemen get taken before Ohio State's Kenny Peterson? He is a versatile lineman who can play end or tackle and was one of the best players on the field in the national championship game against Miami.

How could Iowa tight end Dallas Clark go to the Indianapolis Colts in the first round while Tennessee TE Jason Witten -- who had virtually the same grade in my draft rankings -- lasted until the third round?

It's so funny looking at some of the posts and rankings... even the "Top Prospects 1 year from now". They had Charles Rogers as a great prospect... and Sean Taylor wasn't even the top rated Safety.

127
by Ben (not verified) :: Sun, 05/07/2006 - 1:49pm

The Bears did select a LB. His name is Jamar Williams and he was selected in the 4th round.

128
by DR U (not verified) :: Sun, 05/07/2006 - 4:12pm

That is a nice list you have compiled. If you are interested, feel free to check out my NFL Draft rankings.

DR U

129
by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Sun, 05/07/2006 - 10:50pm

Re 106: "all we’re really doing is stuffing packing material into the Fed Ex box of our empty lives…" Now, that is writing! Thanks, Dan, for making me laugh.

130
by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 12:43am

How could Iowa tight end Dallas Clark go to the Indianapolis Colts in the first round while Tennessee TE Jason Witten — who had virtually the same grade in my draft rankings — lasted until the third round?

That is a good question, though. Witten and Clark ended up both being very valuable TEs, and about equally good.

131
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 7:10am

Willis McGahee is going to be on the shelf for a year, but the Bills have Travis Henry and Olandis Gary in the interim.

I'm not sure what the problem with this statement is. Didn't McGahee sit out a year? Didn't they have Henry and Gary to hold the fort until he was ready?

132
by Sandman (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 11:24am

"Studying algebra with their fifth grader?" What kind a hyper-intelligent superbeings are these sports journalists breeding? I didn't get to algebra until 8th grade, and I was in the honors class!

133
by B (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 11:45am

Sportswriters think that algebra means "times tables"

134
by Athelas (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 12:30pm

Honestly, they start algebra in 3rd grade in our public school! The simplest form (x+3=5 type,) but they call it algebra.

135
by Bill (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 1:51pm

Algebra was introduced in the fifth grade for me....

136
by Trogdor (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 2:06pm

If I homeschool my children, they'll probably be doing calculus by fifth grade. So much time is wasted in schools repeating/reviewing the same math lessons every stinking year, if you cut out every half-year wasted on review (wow! we're learning to add fractions again, for the sixth year in a row!), you should be doing algebra and more by 4th-5th grade.

137
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Mon, 05/08/2006 - 6:00pm

Fractions still put me into a cold sweat.

138
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 10:33am

RE: 36

You hit on one of the things I hate the most. Whenever someone takes an OT in the high 1st "They're set at Left Tackle for the next 10 years."

Oh really? Ask the Bills about Mike Williams. Many other examples where that came from.
I wish these people would just shut up if they're going to make moronic comments like that.
Even if the player is good, that doesn't mean "they're set for the next 10 years." What if the player doesn't like playing for the team, or he doesn't like the coaching staff? What if he leaves for more money? What if he commits a felony? What if he breaks his leg?

139
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 11:50am

RE: 61

If that's the case, I wonder where Leinart would have gone had Detroit passed on him as well.

140
by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 12:21pm

RE: 73

Ask Michael Irvin. He thinks offensive linemen are just fat dudes who need to just stand there and get in the way of the defense.

141
by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Tue, 05/09/2006 - 3:36pm

Re 10: a "soccer" reference? That's a shame. I thought they really were going to relegate sportswriters. (No, really. I had my hopes up!)

I have to agree with Will on Ernie Sims' concussions. I think it would have been better news if the reports had said "Although Sims did sit out the remainder of each game in which he sustained a concussion, after going through the Seminoles' mandatory post-concussion recovery program, he showed no lingering symptoms."

I think the best thing about post-draft grades is that you get to look back on them forever.

142
by Mentos (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 12:12am

re: 141
I agree with that last line. I should note some of the grades somewhere and print them out for a toilet session in say September 2012 or so.

143
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 5:40am

re 107 since Cowher has been in charge of the steelers they have the highest winning percentage of any team, not a bad statistic to have.

144
by Dan (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 11:43am

re 47: my source in the front office confirmed that Kiwanuka ranked 9th overall and would have taken him at 25 had they not traded down

145
by Andrew (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 12:17pm

About NFL roster composition.

If the typical team drafts 7-8 players per year, a few UFA's make the team, and they sign a few free agents, and assuming that most players drafted or signed get at least a two year look, a little less than half of the 53 man roster is going to be made up of these recent additions.

If 25 or so players are beyond that initial two year bubble, that means a draft is successful if it produces 2-3 future long term players for that team. When a team can't do that, it typically is called "young", because it retains most of its draftees and UFA's for 3 years instead of 2, just to fill out the roster.

146
by Digit (not verified) :: Wed, 05/10/2006 - 4:58pm

Well, after the slight hubbabaloo about why NE would pick up a kicker in the fourth round, Mike Reiss seems to have found one possible reason:

From Reiss's blog:

When Patriots scouts and coaches assessed kicking prospects in the 2006 draft, the tee used by Stephen Gostkowski on kickoffs set him apart.

Gostkowski has always used a one-inch tee. Many other college kickers use a two-inch tee, seemingly putting them at an advantage because it’s easier to strike more of the ball when it sits higher off the ground.

In the NFL, kickers are required to use one-inch tees.

“Every team I worked out for asked about the one-inch tee,� said Gostkowski, one of the Patriots’ fourth-round choices (118th overall). “It’s another transition kickers have to make.�

The fact that Gostkowski used a one-inch tee at Memphis, and had success on kickoffs, increased his NFL stock. Essentially, NFL coaches and scouts didn’t have to wrestle with the projection of how he might fare with a lower-set tee.

(Rest can be read by clicking my name.)

147
by Moses (not verified) :: Thu, 05/11/2006 - 9:34am

Terry:

I’m sure it’s obvious, but this is really interesting. Anyone care to do additional years?

1997 - According to Kiper Jim Druckenmiller was a Top-10 selectee at QB, just a notch under Peyton Manning if he declared as a Junior, and the 49ers got a steal...

To date the most he's accomplished is getting acquitted of a date-rape charge.

148
by Chris (not verified) :: Fri, 05/12/2006 - 1:40pm

Re: 109, 110

In actuality, the Broncos are not really paying Walker $8 mil/year. He only signed an extension that kicks in after the 2007 season. He is only going to make about $1.5 mil/year until then. Like the Czar said, the Broncos were wise to backload his contract because of his injury history. If he does turn out to be "the man", then the Broncos will probably rework this deal for more guaranteed money and to make it more cap friendly.

149
by Bjorn (not verified) :: Mon, 05/15/2006 - 11:15pm

There's also a clause voiding the contract if he can't return from his current injury.