Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features

ReplayIns14.jpg

» Scramble for the Ball: Getting it Right?

Instant replay review is one of the cornerstones of the modern NFL. The process and its myriad special rules have been internalized and constantly debated. Mike Kurtz wonders: is it worth it?

29 Apr 2009

2009 NFL Draft Report Card Report

by Vince Verhei

The Steelers built their Super Bowl champion squad on a foundation of long-term planning. Of their 22 starters last season, 20 were drafted by Pittsburgh, but only four -- Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Darnell Stapleton, and Casey Hampton -- started 10 or more games in their rookie years. The rest were brought in via the draft and promptly placed on the bench. They were developed slowly, not thrown to the wolves. Other perennial playoff contenders like the Colts and Eagles draft similarly, for the future, not for the upcoming season.

With that in mind, it's silly to try to evaluate a draft mere days after players have been selected -- but that doesn't stop everyone under the sun from trying. Rather than throwing out yet another collection of alphabet soup at you, we've collected the grades of some of the Internet's most popular draft evaluators to try to find a wisdom of the masses. For the sixth year in a row (here are the 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 versions), we've compiled and compared the draft grades of various experts to see which drafts were most popular.

Our draft graders this year:

One grader presented us with a difficult assignment. In a fairly pretentious move, SI.com's Tucker sorted his draft evaluations into descriptive groups rather than mere letter grades, as if "Loved It" is substantially different than "A+." It's not always clear which groups should rank higher, but after reading his text, we have translated his categories into letter grades thusly:

  • Loved It: A
  • Hated It: D
  • Didn't Love Or Hate It: B+
  • You're Gonna Do What?: F
  • Need More Information: C+
  • Steady As She Goes: B-
  • Shrug Of The Shoulders: C-

With that out of the way, it was just a matter of converting all the grades into grade point averages (counting an F as an 0.0, a D as a 1.0, all the way to 4.3 for an A+) and looking at which teams averaged the highest and lowest grades. We've also looked at the most polarizing grades, as measured by the standard deviation of all grades, to see which teams caused the most disagreement.

Highest Grades

Philadelphia Eagles
GPA: 3.57
Highest Grade: A+, Pete Prisco
Lowest Grade: B-, Mel Kiper, Charles Robinson
Comments: Tucker has high praise for new Eagles Jeremy Maclin ("arguably the best receiver in the draft") and LeSean McCoy ("the most elusive and pure runner [in the draft]"). Czarnecki writes that Maclin was the top receiver on the draft boards of 18 teams. The Eagles also get points for trading picks to acquire tackle Jason Peters and defensive back Ellis Hobbs, causing Weisman to simply write "Wow." The Eagles scored top to bottom; under "Questionable Move," Prisco writes "Hard to find any. I mean it."

New England Patriots
GPA: 3.44
Highest Grade: A, Jason Cole
Lowest Grade: B-, Ross Tucker
Comments: The wheelers and dealers of the league value quantity over quality. "The fact that teams continue to give the Patriots draft picks seems insane," writes Cole, who was most impressed by the team's new defensive backs: "[Safety Patrick] Chung is a big-time hitter and [cornerback Darius] Butler has great speed." Among the Patriots' myriad acquisitions were two picks in next year's draft. "Considering how mediocre this draft was, that was a smart move," according to Rosenthal & Silva. Weisman calls defensive tackle Ron Brace "a two-gap devourer of blockers and insurance against Vince Wilfork leaving in free agency."

New York Giants
GPA: 3.40
Highest Grade: A+, Rob Rang
Lowest Grade: C+, Ross Tucker
Comments: Rosenthal & Silva like the Giants' new receiver: "Failing to land Braylon Edwards was a bit disappointing, but Hakeem Nicks comes from a pro-style offense, offers terrific hands and route running, and may be the draft's most NFL-ready wideout." Weisman notes that linebacker Clint Sintim led the ACC in sacks, adding that he "can move up and rush from [the] line." Rang is a fan of the Giants' later selections: "With raw talent to work with in skill position players Rhett Bomar, Travis Beckum, and Andre Brown in the middle rounds, it is hard to find a fault in the Giants' work this past weekend."

Green Bay Packers
GPA: 3.33
Highest Grade: A, Mel Kiper, Ross Tucker, Charles Robinson
Lowest Grade: C, John Czarnecki
Comments: "I love what this team did to solidify its shaky defense in the first two picks alone," writes Kiper, "with the selection of two excellent players in defensive tackle B.J. Raji and outside linebacker Clay Matthews." Robinson notes that "nose tackles in the 3-4 scheme are at a premium, and the Packers had a great one fall in their lap in Raji." Tucker calls Raji "the best defensive tackle in the draft," saying he can play nose tackle or end in the Packers' new 3-4. He also likes the versatility of Matthews, "the best combo pass rusher-pass defender available."

Baltimore Ravens
GPA: 3.31
Highest Grade: A, Ross Tucker, Jason Cole
Lowest Grade: B-, John Czarnecki
Comments: Tucker congratulates Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome for "getting tremendous value at every selection." He says tackle Michael Oher "has all the physical tools to be a good starter in the NFL" and claims that defensive end Paul Kruger "will quickly fit in on the Ravens' intimidating defense." Cole applauds Baltimore for taking tackle Michael Oher as late as they did: "Oher is a lot closer to the likes of Eugene Monroe, Andre Smith and Jason Smith than his status as the No. 23 overall pick indicates." For Rosenthal & Silva, this is nothing new: "Ozzie Newsome is one of the best, year after year."

Lowest Grades

Oakland Raiders
GPA: 0.63
Highest Grade: C-, John Czarnecki
Lowest Grade: F, Tom Mantzouranis, Larry Weisman, Ross Tucker, Jason Cole
Comments: Weisman opens with a question: "[Wide receiver] Darrius Heyward-Bey seventh? He disappeared for games at a time, is not a well-rounded receiver but boasts the key Raider attribute -- straight-line speed. Just a huge reach and not enough value here." Tucker finds the Raiders plenty entertaining: "I would pay money to get a copy of the Raiders draft board. Seriously ... Sorry, Raiders fans, but it does not look like there is any light at the end of the black tunnel." Cole calls this draft "another cry for help by the Raiders as they keep taking players based on outdated theories about what works in the NFL." He says that safety Michael Mitchell, whom the Raiders picked in the second round, "was considered a borderline prospect, someone who should have gone in the sixth or seventh round. Furthermore, this was the eighth time in the past nine years that the Raiders have used a first- or second-round pick on a defensive back. They wouldn’t have to do that if they would pick good ones."

Dallas Cowboys
GPA: 1.66
Highest Grade: B, Tom Mantzouranis
Lowest Grade: D, Gregg Rosenthal & Evan Silva, Mel Kiper, Ross Tucker
Comments: Rosenthal & Silva loath almost every move the Cowboys made: "Getting gifted press corner Mike Mickens in the seventh kept this draft from getting an F, even when factoring in the Roy Williams trade." Kiper gives them something of a pass for not getting to pick until the third round, "but they then went out and reached on [linebacker] Jason Williams and [tackle] Robert Brewster." Tucker's summary is so concise we can just list the whole thing here: "The Cowboys traded down and drafted a bunch of players who won't even make their roster. What is the point of that? Out of their 12 picks, maybe two of them will contribute in 2009. Not good."

Tampa Bay Buccaneers
GPA: 1.81
Highest Grade: B, Mel Kiper
Lowest Grade: D, John Czarnecki, Ross Tucker
Comments: "I'm not really convinced that the Bucs had to trade up in the first round in order to select Kansas State quarterback Josh Freeman," says Czarnecki. Tucker takes it a step further: "The Bucs probably could have traded down and still landed him." Weisman knocks the Freeman move and names the guilty party ("Hang this one on new coach Raheem Morris, who knew Freeman from Kansas State"), and says things went downhill from there ("drafted a couple of D-linemen who don't seem to be special").

Denver Broncos
GPA: 2.14
Highest Grade: B+, Gregg Rosenthal & Evan Silva
Lowest Grade: D, Rob Rang, Jason Cole
Comments: Rang doesn't like the deals the Broncos made: "A series of solid defensive backs (Alphonso Smith, Darcel McBath, David Bruton) was lost a bit in a shuffle of trades with Seattle that essentially gave the Broncos third- and fourth-round picks in a weak 2009 draft for a first-round pick in next year's draft. The decision is one of several in a mystifying offseason in Denver." Cole calls new running back Knowshon Moreno "a terrific player," but points out the Broncos already signed a bevy of runners in free agency. "Also," he adds, "giving up a first-round pick in 2010 for the right to get Alphonso Smith could really backfire in a serious way." We'll get back to Rosenthal & Silva and that B+.

Washington Redskins
GPA: 2.14
Highest Grade: B, Gregg Rosenthal & Evan Silva
Lowest Grade: C-, Ross Tucker
Comments: Reviewers were nearly unanimously lukewarm to this draft; the Redskins' standard deviation of 0.37 tied with Tennessee for the lowest in the league. "Brian Orakpo looks like Tarzan but too often plays like Jane," writes Tucker, who evidently hasn't seen a picture of Johnny Weissmuller in a while. Czarnecki also hems and haws on the new linebacker: "Orakpo had some nicks, but some teams thought he was the draft's best edge pass rusher." Prisco reminds us all that Washington traded away their second-rounder last year for Jason Taylor -- "How'd that work out?"

Most Polarizing Teams

New York Jets
GPA: 3.01
Standard Deviation: 1.21
Highest Grade: A, John Czarnecki
Lowest Grade: F, Ross Tucker
Comments: Yes, a standard variation significantly higher than a full letter grade. This is what happens when you give up a lot for a quarterback who only started one full season in college. Czarnecki argues the price wasn't that high: "The Jets should have been forced to give up another second-round pick next year instead of three reserve players they no longer wanted." Cole referred to these reserve players as "roster flotsam," which would be a great name for a fantasy football team. Rosenthal & Silva didn't hold back: "We love their aggressive move. They targeted a franchise leader for the next decade and got him. The veterans the Jets gave up were just role players and Sanchez is a smart, accurate passer who can handle the pressure of New York." On the other side of the fence, Tucker says the Jets should be in win-now mode, but "it is hard for me to imagine USC quarterback Mark Sanchez being better as a rookie than fourth-year vet Kellen Clemens." Their next lowest grade was a B- from Weisman: "Bold move to go up for [Sanchez]. This after ditching Chad Pennington and the dalliance with Brett Favre. Give them points for courage of their convictions in trading up and taking the Southern California junior, who could well be their starter this year."

San Francisco 49ers
GPA: 2.46
Standard Deviation: 0.89
Highest Grade: A+, Rob Rang
Lowest Grade: C-, Larry Weisman, Ross Tucker, Pete Prisco
Comments: For Rang, this was about more than receiver Michael Crabtree: "The 49ers' ability to add a first-round pick in next year's draft (from Carolina), as well as fill holes at essentially every position, was the key to their draft." Weisman disagrees completely: "They did not have much to work with after [Crabtree], though, and they may not have done much with what they had." He specifically notes that running back Glen Coffee "shows few measurable NFL skills." Robinson writes simply that Crabtree "could be a great one," but Prisco lists Crabtree under "Questionable Move": "That foot makes it a risk. So does his diva act."

Kansas City Chiefs
GPA: 2.20
Standard Deviation: 0.86
Highest Grade: A-, Jason Cole
Lowest Grade: D, Tom Mantzouranis
Comments: Cole raves about the Chiefs' selections of defensive end Tyson Jackson and defensive tackle Alex Magee, saying that along with new quarterback Matt Cassell, they are "key foundation players." Rosenthal & Silva call Jackson "a stretch with the third pick," but gave the Chiefs a B- "because they stole a franchise quarterback in [Cassel] with their second-round pick while the rest of the NFL napped." Mantzouranis gave the lowest grade, but unfortunately his comments are limited to pithy phrases; all he has to say about Kansas City is "erratic behavior hinders progress." Kiper gave the Chiefs a C-. "I do like the selection of offensive tackle Colin Brown in the fifth round," he adds, "but the rest of the late-round picks didn't really do anything for me." Rang says the Chiefs did a poor job of filling their needs: "With questions surrounding the ability of their current linebackers to function well in the new scheme, it was surprising [general manager Scott] Pioli didn't use a single draft selection on the position."

Denver Broncos
GPA: 2.14
Standard Deviation: 0.81
Highest Grade: B+, Gregg Rosenthal & Evan Silva
Lowest Grade: D, Rob Rang, Jason Cole
Comments: Rosenthal & Silva were big fans of the players Denver picked: "... the Broncos got quality with the best running back in the draft (Knowshon Moreno), the best 3-4 outside linebacker prospect (Robert Ayers), and a nice value in second-rounder Alphonso Smith." They were less enamored with the process: "Giving up a first-rounder for Smith, however, gets Denver marked down ... If [quarterback Jay] Cutler’s unnecessary trade counted in this grade, we’d give Denver an F." And these were the guys who liked Denver's draft.

Carolina Panthers
GPA: 2.48
Standard Deviation: 0.76
Highest Grade: A-, Tom Mantzouranis
Lowest Grade: D+, Gregg Rosenthal & Evan Silva
Comments: Mantzouranis on Carolina: "Flourishes in stressful situations." Apparently he is talking about the new Panthers and not Jake Delhomme. Anyway, for more on Carolina, we turn to Tucker, who gave them a B+: "The Panthers give up next year's first rounder for the second year in a row, but it doesn't matter because they got the pass-rusher they desperately needed ... in Everette Brown, a guy who many people thought could have gone in the top 15. Georgia defensive tackle Corvey Irvin will contribute in the rotation as a rookie." And then there's Rosenthal & Silva: "Brown only projects as a third-down rusher in the Panthers' 4-3 scheme."

Overall Grades

Here's every team's grade for each reviewer, with overall GPA and standard deviation:


2009 Team Draft Grades By Reviewer
Team Czarnecki Cole/Robinson Kiper Mantzouranis Prisco Rang Rosenthal/Silva Tucker Weisman GPA SD
PHI A B- B- A- A+ A- B A A 3.57 0.61
NE B+ A B+ A- B+ B+ A- B- A- 3.44 0.38
NYG B B B A B- A+ A+ C+ A 3.40 0.75
GB C A A A- B B+ B- A B+ 3.33 0.69
BAL B- A B A- B B A- A B- 3.31 0.53
CIN A B- B B- B+ A B- A B 3.27 0.58
HOU A B+ B+ B+ B B- C+ B+ C+ 3.06 0.55
JAC B+ A- C+ A- B B A- C+ C+ 3.03 0.61
NYJ A A- A- B B+ B A- F B- 3.01 1.21
ATL B+ B+ B B+ B+ B C- B- B 2.96 0.52
DET A B+ B- B A B C C+ C+ 2.96 0.72
ARI B B+ B+ B+ B- C B B- B 2.92 0.42
CHI B- B B C+ A B B+ C+ B- 2.92 0.52
IND B- B C+ B B+ B A- B- C- 2.82 0.58
PIT C C+ B B+ B B B+ B- B- 2.81 0.44
TEN C B C+ B B B B- B- B 2.74 0.37
2009 Team Draft Grades By Reviewer
Team Czarnecki Cole/Robinson Kiper Mantzouranis Prisco Rang Rosenthal/Silva Tucker Weisman GPA SD
SEA B- B B C+ B- A C- C+ B 2.74 0.64
MIN C C C+ C+ B- A- A- B+ C+ 2.70 0.69
BUF B C- B+ C B- B C C+ A- 2.63 0.67
CLE C C+ B- B- C B A- C- B 2.57 0.63
MIA B- C C- B- B- B- B B+ C 2.53 0.52
CAR B- C C A- C+ B D+ B+ C 2.48 0.76
STL B B C B B- B- C C- C 2.46 0.52
SF B- B- B+ C C- A+ C C- C- 2.46 0.89
SD B- B C+ B C- C+ B+ C- C- 2.41 0.62
NO C B C B+ C C+ C- B+ C- 2.37 0.66
KC B- A- C- D C C- B+ C- C 2.20 0.86
DEN B D C C+ C- D B+ C+ B- 2.14 0.81
WAS C C+ C+ C C C B C- C 2.14 0.37
TB D C- B C+ C- C C+ D D+ 1.81 0.66
DAL C C+ D B D+ C D D D+ 1.66 0.71
OAK C- F D F D D D F F 0.63 0.64

Reviewing the Reviewers

Now here's some useless data for you: Which of these reviewers was hardest to please? Who was the biggest pushover? And whose grades were pretty much all the same?


2009 Team Draft Grades By Reviewer
Reviewer GPA St. Dev. High Grade (team) Low Grade (team)
Rang 2.84 0.817 A+ (Giants, 49ers) D (Broncos, Raiders)
Mantzouranis 2.82 0.844 A (Giants) F (Raiders)
Cole/Robinson 2.75 0.888 A (Three teams) F (Raiders)
Czarnecki 2.75 0.756 A (Five teams) D (Buccaneers)
Rosenthal/Silva 2.74 0.892 A+ (Giants) D (Raiders)
Prisco 2.66 0.787 A+ (Eagles) D (Raiders)
Kiper 2.61 0.710 A (Packers) D (Cowboys, Raiders)
Weisman 2.46 0.857 A (Eagles, Giants) F (Raiders)
Tucker 2.41 1.036 A (Four teams) F (Jets, Raiders)

Tucker looks like both the toughest and also the most erratic grader; that may be a reflection of the way we've interpreted his nebulous rankings. Rang, the only reviewer to dole out two A+ grades, had the highest overall average. Kiper was the steadiest grader, putting exactly half the teams in the league somewhere between B- and B+.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 29 Apr 2009

161 comments, Last at 09 May 2009, 7:44pm by Vince Verhei

Comments

1
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 9:15am

Are you guys going to make your own grades, or just state the "experts" opinions and then make fun of the ones they got wrong?

5
by Bill Robinson (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 9:38am

You should read the article before commenting. And by the way, why comment if you haven't read the article? What is the point of that? Do you watch movie trailers, then comment that the director had no grasp of the material? Do you read the cover of a book, then post online about how wonderful the prose was?

The Internet and everyday life is fast enough. Slow down and read the article before you post.

118
by RickD :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 12:46pm

Wow, Bill, you really burned him!

OK, now that I've read through the article three times, I have to think that Chris is far more correct about the content of the article than you are. The FO writers do not offer their own opinions about the draft at all.

So... (clears throat)

"You should read the article before commenting. And by the way, why comment if you haven't read the article? What is the point of that? Do you watch movie trailers, then comment that the director had no grasp of the material? Do you read the cover of a book, then post online about how wonderful the prose was?"

Seriously, dude. Glass houses and all that.

120
by dmb :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 12:53pm

Rick, they offer the opinion that teams' drafts really can't be assessed until at least a few years have passed. That's the opinion on the draft offered here, and it should be quite clear.

And they generally aren't making fun of any experts for being "wrong" about their opinion, either. They're making fun of the fact that other writers feel compelled to evaluate something based on almost no information. In other words, they're not making fun of the results of the evaluations at all; this is a mockery of the whole process.

132
by Karma Coma :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 8:46pm

Is it really the kind of article that takes three readings to fully grasp?

"Profit is limit ONLY by your ability to BANG SPORK"

6
by JD (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 9:39am

I think part of the point of this article is that it's ludicrous to grade a team's draft before any of the prospects step on the field. That's why FO has published their annual series looking back at the drafts of several years ago in lieu of current draft grades.

28
by Anonimouse! (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 12:37pm

I think I've read some of those, and I seem to remember coming away disappointed because they didn't grade the teams draft classes. Wait 6 years, get no grades? Serious blueballs ahoy.

94
by Kevin Eleven :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 6:53pm

Definitely the latter.

How can anyone even give the Raiders a C-?

Two teams that get Fs from me are the Broncos and Jets. Franchises screwed.

137
by Ben Ten (not verified) :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 6:02am

Explain how the Jets screwed their franchise? Just missed out on the playoffs last year and good pickups on defence in the offseason and get rid of players they dont want to draft a QB prospect considered better than Stafford by the Lewin forecast? I must be missing something.

2
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 9:22am

I seemed to like the Eagles, Giants, Texans, Packers, Jaguars, Ravens, Seattle, Rams, ( and Bengals could be real good).

I wasn't a fan of what the Raiders, Bucs and Broncos did.

3
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 9:36am

I highly doubt that they would post their own grades: this site does not claim to be about scouting college prospects, and quite frankly, grading drafts is a daft activity anyway.

That said, no Rick Gosselin? I was under the impression that he was widely seen as the premier draft journalist in the mainstream media.

7
by Jimmy :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 9:43am

No Gosselin and no Nawrocki either. Nawrocki divided the teams into outstanding, good, average and questionable which should be easy enough to convert to a grade scale.

4
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 9:37am

Here is a question for you guys...

Do you think in such a game of uncertainty, picking winners and losers on draft day, that the pundits have a bias towards the "good" GMs? Look at who is at the top of the GPA list? Eagles, Patriots, Giants, Ravens... I mean even the Steelers were graded above average as well but nobody seemed too impressed. Is that bias and signaling that you know that they know what they are doing.

Maybe the it isn't so much the pundits are quick to give the "good guys" a good grade, but some will, while others would be very hesitant to give bad grades to good GM's. Could you ever imagine a pundit ripping the Patriots/Ravens? Maybe if they really didn't like the selection they'd give them a C- or such which would still "inflate" their draft grade.

I said I wasn't impressed with Denver, but I think Knowshawn Moreno will be very good and is clearly the rookie of the year favorite. Then again, I am no college football buff and don't watch all the games.

10
by Temo :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 9:54am

I think you're largely correct on this point.

37
by AB (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:30pm

Of course. If the Raiders had picked Sebastian Vollmer in the second round they would have been canned for it.

But given that no draft pundit has access to the resources and information that the top teams have, if you are a pundit who wants your grades to look right in years to come it probably makes sense to back the Pats, Colts and Eagles, and against the Raiders and the 49ers, rather than trust your own amateur player evaluations.

96
by chowder (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 7:32pm

Of course, if the Raiders had a stacked roster AND double-digit draft picks AND anything resembling credibility, they wouldn't really be the Raiders, would they?

80
by Robo-Hochuli (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 5:15pm

I've been kicking around how the draft postmortems would have read if Michael Mitchell had been taken by the Bears (as has been rumored) instead of the Raiders. Instead of going to an organization that has a (justified) reputation as dysfunctional and maverick-y, he'd have been going to one whose GM has a good reputation for drafting small-school defensive prospects. It just colors the perception much differently.

In that same vein, Crabtree fell to the 49ers, so he really must be an uncoachable diva. If the Packers had taken him at 9, every expert would proclaim him the "steal of the draft" and call the character questions "much ado about nothing."

83
by tuluse :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 5:30pm

One rumor going around was that the Bears were looking at Mitchell in the 4th round, so that paints a different light on the matter.

Also, most people seem to think Crabtree was a good pick, maybe not a steal (the guy was a top 10 pick), but that the 49ers got what should be a very good player. It's the minority opinion that he won't work out.

86
by Robo-Hochuli (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 5:44pm

The rumor I'm referring to was the Bears telling Mitchell that they planned to take him at #49:

Link

No direct quotes, but a specific enough story to believe over a vague valuation of liking him in the 4th round.

87
by Robo-Hochuli (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 5:50pm

Oops, there was a quote:

"When [the Bears] did that, I was like, 'I'm going to be a Chicago Bear,' " Mitchell told the Raiders media during a teleconference. "That's what I was thinking."

So, yeah, the Bears would have taken him at #49.

89
by AnonymousToo! (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 6:15pm

If you believe everything that teams say on draft day, that is . . . .

90
by AnonymousToo! (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 6:24pm

If you believe everything that teams say on draft day, that is . . . .

97
by Jimmy :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 7:42pm

Mitchell said what he said and the Chicago reporter spoke to a team source. We have no idea how many players the Bears kid that they are planning on drafting, or how many teams play a similar game. There were reports that Harvin told the Vikes that the Pats had told him they were going to take him at 23, of course he might have told Chilly that in order to get himself drafted at 22.

There is always a lot of static on draft day.

113
by Chip :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 10:43am

The Bears telegraphed their desire to trade out of the #49 spot a week before the draft. They were targeting a blue chip WR and knew that chances were slim that one would slid to #49. When the last one came off (Robiskie) at #36, Angelo gave the order to start working the phones around the league to bail out of the second round. The Bears apparently had three offers to trade down. They traded with Seattle and per the draft chart, lost about 100 points in the trade (~425 pnts for ~325 pnts).

Given how one sided the trade was, it likely indicates that the Bears were only going to pick Mitchell in the event they could not trade down. So Al Davis is all on his own on that one.

121
by Jimmy :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 12:53pm

Quite a few trades over the weeked indicate that quie a few teams have thrown the old draft chart away and the Bears / Seahawks trade woud be one of them. I think who the Bears traded with was more about where they would end up and whether the guys they were targeting would be there as opposed to trying to squeeze maximum value out of the trade. I think it worked out well for the Bears, adding young, athletic depth to two premium postions on the defense was probably more important than whoever they could have got at 49. I still think it probably worked out better for the Seahawks once they had picked up a first rounder next year to still get a mid-second rounder for their third and fourth picks.

As for the Bears draft as a whole I am fairly happy. After the Cutler trade my biggest concern wasn't second receiver but that in a couple of years the Bears defense and special teams would have fallen off a cliff. Plenty of warm bodies to reinvigorate both units are very welcome. I would also have been happy to have seen them take Iglesias at 49 as I think he brings a lot more to a team that runs a West Coast offense with Hester and Olsen opposite him than a lot of other teams. Tough guy, great hands, runs good short and intermediate routes. Whilst he may not have the flash or upside of a lot of the more regarded prospects the Bears didn't need flash or upside they needed dependable.

126
by tuluse :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 4:28pm

Here is a link to a beat reporter saying it was the 4th round.

http://blogs.dailyherald.com/node/1888

133
by BSK (not verified) :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 9:15pm

Great point. Pats take a guy several slots above where predicted and they "knew something" and "went and got what they needed." Raiders make the same move and they "reached" and "didn't get enough value".

We're going to applaud the Pats for taking Chung in round 2 when most draft boards had him somewhere in the 90's? What would be the response if the Lions did this?

Also, Kiper does the same thing every year: each team gets between an B+ and a B-. Very useful information there.

135
by tuluse :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 1:54am

Kiper's grades go from a D to an A this year, but sure just make data up to fit your theory.

138
by Wanker79 :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 9:17am

Yeah, go ahead and jump on a guy for a slight exaggeration. The point is (and I completely agree) that Kiper always gives pretty much every team between a B- and a B+ with a few outliers sprinkled in. Which on the whole makes his analysis even less useful than the rest of the tea-leaf readers.

8
by Monkey Business (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 9:48am

I honestly don't know why people even bother evaluating the Colts draft. I mean, year after year, everyone says that Bill Polian is probably the best draft guy in the league, and continually pulls starters out of 7th rounders and UDFA's. Every year, the Colts have a safe draft, full of talented, high character guys, and every year they're always in that A- to C- range.

Basically, what I'm saying is "In Polian We Trust".

15
by shake n bake :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 10:52am

"If you give out the report cards the day after the draft, it’s completely devoid of reason. How can you possibly give a student a grade the day he is admitted to college and enrolls in class? Draft report cards are the same thing. I used to get mad at those things, but now I say, ‘Fine. Give us a C every year, and we’ll just keep making the playoffs."

—Indianapolis GM Bill Polian.

44
by brett ratliff (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:57pm

is polian the best pure GM (non-coach) of all time? his work in buffalo, carolina, and indy is amazing. in addition to finding good lower round talent, he doesn't miss on early picks either. i can't think of another GM that has been better at team building.

74
by shake n bake :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 4:04pm

FO's friend and mine, 18to88.com has a piece on Polians HOF case.

http://18to88.com/2008/12/should-bill-polian-be-in-the-hall-of-fame.html

76
by tuluse :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 4:31pm

Jim Finks did a pretty good job if you want a more historical comparison. Ozzie Newsome has done a great job. Those are the best I can think of.

100
by Anonymous 2 (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 10:24pm

The Vanais (Sp?) brothers would be my pick; older one was reposnsible for the Glory Year Packerers and then 20 yers later, the younger one built the 1985 Bears;

106
by Jimmy :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 6:49am

I have no idea if a Vanias brother was involved, but as far as I am aware most of the credit for the roster construction of the 85 Bears is normally given to Jim Finks.

144
by TomC :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 2:56pm

Finks resigned after the '83 draft and Jerry Vanisi replaced him. The only '85 starters that came after that were Wilber Marshall, Fridge, and Kevin Butler, so I think Finks rightly gets most of the credit.

98
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 8:14pm

Maybe, but I have a hard time grading anything hes done in Indy other than picking Peyton.

Having the best quarterback who ever lived makes the rest of your offensive picks look good, not matter their actual talent level.

156
by MainlyRaven (not verified) :: Sun, 05/03/2009 - 1:06pm

I'm not as impressed with what Polian has done in Indy lately. Manning is just too good and covers up a lot of weakness. The Colts couldn't run at all last year, their defenses has never, ever been consistently good. The only thing that really has been consistently good is the passing game.

What Polian did in Buffalo is more impressive to me than what he's done with the Colts.

9
by Thomas (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 9:50am

I don't understand the media's infatuation with the Patriots' drafting skills. Superior coaching and quarterbacking are the overwhelming reasons for their success. They do well with smart cheap veteran free agents, like Rodney Harrison and Mike Vrabel. But this roster has never been laden with talent during the Bill Belichick era.

I just skimmed over the last 10 drafts, and I could not find a single one that was impressive.

Patriots draft history

16
by Led (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 10:57am

They've built one of the best DL's in the league through the draft and hit the lottery with Brady. But they've also drafted lots of other guys who fit in well with their system and can be effective playing the roles they want them to play. In that sense, it's hard to separate great coaching from effective drafting. But I would agree that free agency has been a much larger reason for their success than people generally recognize.

43
by steelberger (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:56pm

I dont really understand why the Pats are considered a "great" drafting team either. Dont get me wrong, I am not saying they are a bad drafting team, but I dont think they are one of the best.

I think the main reason is them getting Brady in the 6th round, which is more luck than anything else (be honest, if ANYBODY really thought he could be as good as he is, no way he would have lasted that long). Of course, they have also done well drafting for the D-line (as mentioned).

That said, they are not a great drafting team. I would say they are about average. Some good years, some bad.

99
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 8:30pm

you must not be looking at the same drafts as me.

in 2005, The patriots picked, a Probowl Guard (Logan Mankins), the starting RT (and LT for his rookie year) (Nick Kazcur) on one of the best lines in the league, one of their starting corners (until yesterday)(Ellis Hobbs) and their starting strong safety(James Sanders). They also picked a QB who went on to be franchised and traded for a 2nd round pick, and will start for another team (Cassel).

5 Starters, 1 a probowler, on a team that goes to the playoffs almost every year, and has very few open roster spots, is an excellent draft, especially when you're drafting last.

In 2003, The patriots picked a ProBowl DE (Warren), A multi year starting safety (Eugene Wilson), A probowl cornerback (asante Samuel), their starting center for the last 6 years (Koppen), and a LB who left for a 3 year 13M deal (Tully Banta-Cain).

The patriots have turned over almost their entire roster in the past 5 years, and averaged about 13 wins a season doing it. If you don't think they're drafting well, you're wrong.\

116
by Joe :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 12:38pm

The patriots have turned over almost their entire roster in the past 5 years, and averaged about 13 wins a season doing it. If you don't think they're drafting well, you're wrong.

Rich, your comment about Polian/Colts/Manning in #98 applies to the Patriots as well. Every move the Patriots make looks great when they have the QB position locked up with Brady. Regardless of what people think of Cassel's season, if the Patriots played like last year every season then nobody would say New England's player evaluation skills are very special, they wouldn't be averaging 13 wins a season, etc.

128
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 5:28pm

"Regardless of what people think of Cassel's season, if the Patriots played like last year every season then nobody would say New England's player evaluation skills are very special, they wouldn't be averaging 13 wins a season, etc."

The Patriots of week 9-16 were a 13 win quality team. The patriots of week 1-8, were about a 5 win team. Most of this was Cassel growing into the position. Serioulsy, check out the stats. They went from one of the worst teams in the league to one of the best. Cassel went from terrible to very good. In the last 8 weeks or so, he was in top 5 for QB DYAR almost every week.

As to Brady/Manning, I'm of the oppinon that Manning is MUCH better than Brady (and I'm a pats fan), but that can't be discussed here

131
by Joe :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 7:59pm

Not sure how this impacts my point (and your original point re: Colts), which is that good QB play masks a lot of personnel decisions.

140
by greennogo (not verified) :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 11:57am

Good QB play can only go so far in masking those decisions though...there have been a number of quality QB's over the years whose teams have had subpar seasons regardless of their production.

143
by Wanker79 :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 1:27pm

That's true...for "good" QB play. But we're talking about two of the all-time greats here. That'll have a tendancy to cover up alot more than a good QB will.

150
by steelberger (not verified) :: Sat, 05/02/2009 - 7:16am

Rich,

Any reason you didnt mention 2007, 2006, 2004, 2002, etc?

Like I said, the Pats have some good drafts and some bad ones.

11
by Sideshow Bob (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 9:55am

No Raiderjoe grades included in the mix? For shame, FO, for shame.

17
by Kevin from Philly :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 10:57am

I can tell you now: Raiders - 5.00 Std Dev - 0.00 for the last 5 years.

73
by Anonymous Steeler fan (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:55pm

Wow - raiderjoe can give higher grades than anyone else. And yet, that seems appropriate...

12
by Anonguy :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 10:18am

Kiper's C+ of the Colts is probably motivated by his always being wrong about who Polian will choose. It is what it is I guess.

And the A for the Pats because they acquired a bunch of guys who will more than likely be cut and never suit up for them? How's that Chad Jackson working out up there in NE again? Oh wait...

"In the NFL Draft, there are two sure things: Everyone will be wrong about who Bill Polian drafts, and no one will understand who Al Davis drafts."

41
by DrewTS (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:52pm

Kiper also has some history with the Colts. He grew up as a fan of the Baltimore Colts, which could easily influence his opinion of the Indianapolis Colts positively or negatively. There was also the hilarious incidenet with Bill Tobin that still shows up in draft montages every once in a while (and for the record, they were both wrong). It could be that he struggles with objectivity regarding the Colts, so he just throws a C+ out there, figuring it's right in the middle.

119
by RickD :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 12:49pm

Good job noticing the one bust of the Pats' drafts in recent years.

How's that Jerod Mayo working out for them?

13
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 10:26am

Thanks Temo

I just always get that impression that no matter what they Patriots do, writers argue it was a stroke of genius (whether it looks genius) and if it doesn't look genius they argue that ( in a few years... you'll see). It's like their safety valve. In general argue the patriots, colts, ravens, eagles, steelers, ( maybe Giants) had a good draft... rip the Raiders, Lions or whoever else...

Would you want to be aruging that Matt Millen did things right? Would you want to argue that Bill Polian, Scott Pioli or Ozzie Newsome did things wrong? These rankings are handicapping the poker players as much as they are handicapping the actual picks.

Bill Robinson- I don't understand why you are so mad. Many people would argue that if you are going to make fun of other people's picks ( say 3 years down the road), maybe you should post your own ????

JD - It is more "fair" to judge a draft after years of seeing the picks pan out, but that's not what everybody wants to hear on April 29th. Everybody wants to hear you their team the _______, drafted player ______ and it was a stroke of genius and now team _______ will be better in the future and the fan should be excited.

14
by amarquis (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 10:50am

"Many people would argue that if you are going to make fun of other people's picks ( say 3 years down the road), maybe you should post your own ????"

They aren't making fun of the specific picks, they are pointing out that even the best minds cannot reliably predict success. There simply isn't enough information.

FO makes picks all the time, highlighting current NFL players that may have a future ascent or decline in store. These are sensible predictions to make, since you have much more information and can make apples to apples comparisons to past NFL players on a similar career path.

45
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:00pm

Many people would argue that if you are going to make fun of other people's picks ( say 3 years down the road), maybe you should post your own ????

They haven't posted draft grades in the entire lifetime of this site. They won't do so now just because you keep whining about it.

Especially considering I'd say the vast majority of the readers prefer the draft grade report.

139
by Wanker79 :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 9:26am

I know I'm going to regret responding to this, but please point out one single instance of any of the above draft evaluation capsules being made fun of?

18
by Theo :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 11:00am

Stapleton wasn't drafted and didn't start his rookie season.

81
by rk (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 5:18pm

Right, and they didn't draft 6 of their starters (article says 2): Parker, Hartwig, Stapleton, Harrison, Farrior, and Clark.

19
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 11:04am

For the record, and for what little it's worth, I am very happy with the Texans' draft, despite my concerns about Cushing's injury history. I think the Falcons and Packers appear to have done very well. I think that Sanchez is a serious risk, but one with enough upside to justify the Jets' move. I think Denver has done a good job of evaluating talent, but that the trade was retarded, because they gave away the wrong pick, because only teams whose championship window is closing should ever trade away future picks, and above all because it cost them an invaluable piece of leverage for the trade they would be planning next year if they had an ounce of sense: up to #1 for Sam Bradford. Finally, I think the worst draft achieved without the aid of necromancy by any team this year was, sigh, Detroit's. Stafford has a huge bust probability and almost no chance of being better than quite-good-but-erratic. Pettigrew will be a good player, but a team that is horrible across the board has no business using a first round pick on a tight end. Similarly, Delmas may well be quite good, but again, a safety is a luxury pick that an awful team in need of top-to-bottom rebuilding can ill afford. They even picked two return men, for Chrissakes. I like the Sammie Lee Hill pick for upside based on physical ability, but that's about it. Believe me, as a Texans fan I know what happens when you try to build a team from scratch by drafting at the skill positions. Every Detroit pick should have been OL or front 7 - maybe corner at a pinch.

20
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 11:16am

Ok so here is a question for you. Do you think NFL GM's believe that player X is either going to be a success or failure, hit or miss, destined to be good or destined to be bad or that they more or less look at these picks in a probability fashion.

Like, Matt Stafford is going to be good, or Matt Stafford will be a bust... OR a probability distrubution.

There is a 3.6% percent chance he's Peyton Manning
There is a 13.6% percent chance he's Carson palmer
There is a 34.1% percent chance he's Jake Delhomme
There is a 34.1% percent chance he's Sage Rosenfelds
There is a 13.6% percent chance he's JP Losman
There is a 1% percent chance he's Ryan Leaf

Where as maybe Sanchez had a
5% Peyton Manning
25% Carson Palmer
20% Delhomme
20% Sage
25% Losman
5% Leaf

but maybe one team wants is ready to take risk on a more hit/miss prospect, where as one team wants a prospect with less beta to build the roster etc. Also, some teams potential " probability distributions" could be effected by scheme/coaching/teammates.

Like if Mike Shannihan is your coach, your probability distribution is skwed more to the upside as opposed to if you have a defensive head coach. If you have Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss catching your passes, then it skews you upward as well. If you have Troy Williamson as your best WR, you are more likely to fail ( at least until you get more help) etc.

If Tanier or Barnwell had access to the GM's, I'd love to hear their philosophies on the draft pick nature/nurture arguments of GM's.

33
by Anonimouse! (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 12:59pm

Offhand I'd guess conventional wisdom is the opposite of what you have;

that Stafford has more upside along with more bust potential, where Sanchez has a lower 'complete bust' chance but a bigger chance of being another Kellen Clemens/[Redskins QB name here].

As to the GM thing, I'd guess that GMs probably focus on maximizing the "Delhomme and up" %; anything lower than that can be had via FA/midround pick. In fact, you are probably better off with Ryan Leaf than Losman; the sooner it becomes clear your boy isn't the answer (assuming he's not) the better. Awesome that the Texans gave Carr a $9M or whatever roster bonus late in his C1 then cut him a year later.

54
by Mr Shush :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:37pm

I see where you're coming from, but I disagree. Stafford's touch is poor and his accuracy is inconsistent. We've seen enough of him to know that he has those flaws, and the numbers support that analysis in the shape of his comparatively poor completion percentage on a talent-laden offense. I believe it is a widespread misconception among NFL fans and even coaches and general managers that accuracy can be taught or learned at the NFL level. An inaccurate quarterback cannot be elite; in many offenses he cannot succeed at all. Linehan's offense is a better fit for Stafford's talents than almost any other in the NFL, but I don't think Stafford's performance will keep Linehan in his job for very long. Stafford's flat out bust probability is not too much higher than any other junior quarterback's, but his realistic ceiling is Kerry Collins or, as Chris quite rightly suggests, Jake Delhomme. Would you pay Jake Delhomme $12m a year? Hell, I wouldn't pay him what the Panthers actually do.

Sanchez, on the other hand, looks excellent. He's poised, he's accurate, his arm strength isn't insane but it's quite good enough to succeed at the next level - certainly better than Pennington's. But, but, but . . . he's only played 16 games, and he was surrounded by exceptional talent in a conference of largely fairly poor defenses. The bust probability on Sanchez relates to nothing in the scouting report but simply to the combination of lack of faith in any scouting report based on so little data and the fact that the vast majority of good college quarterbacks do not become good NFL quarterbacks. In a funny way, Sanchez has exactly the profile of someone you'd see as a terrific pick on day 2, not dissimilar to Matt Schaub's, for example.

And Chris, I certainly think that what you're suggesting is the correct way to look at it, but I'm not sure that all NFL personnel people think that way.

63
by Anonimouse! (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:10pm

I was just saying what I believed the conventional wisdom was. I agree that accuracy, touch, and timing aren't much easier to coach than arm strength, and I'm not a Stafford fan.

For Sanchez though, I don't think the onus is on scouts to find reasons you aren't going to be an elite QB, I think the onus is on you to prove you will. I'm certainly ready to believe that Sanchez could be a good NFL QB, I just don't think he's shown much evidence to support it at this point.

40
by KyleW :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:44pm

I don't think they would be distributed approximately normally, which is what you have. Given we are dealing with a sample of people in the tail of the whole population (ie everybody who plays football) it is likely to be distributed with a larger probability of being a bust or a journeyman than than even being an average starter. Although the distribution will be slightly better for Stafford than for Keith Null (Rams 6th round I think).

Remember that an average starter, Jason Campbell say, is the roughly the marker for the upper 6th of all NFL quarterbacks (assuming 3 per team).

49
by bradluen :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:20pm

I think the decision tree would look something like:

With low standards (minimise chance of a Leaf): draft Stafford

With high standards (maximise chance of a P. Manning): draft Sanchez

With intermediate standards:
Believe conventional wisdom: draft Stafford
Believe FO: draft Sanchez

51
by Eddo :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:29pm

I think you have it backwards, or at least a bit mangled.

I'd say Stafford has higher Ryan Leaf Potential, as he's more likely to be a complete disaster, but also higher Peyton Manning potential, in that he could conceivably harness his pure ability and become a all-time great.

Sanchez, on the other hand, has the worst case scenario of being a decent backup, but will probably never be a top-three QB.

So rather than breaking it into "low" and "high" standards (does any team really have "low standards," anyway?), I'd classify it as risk-averse and risk-tolerant. The Lions were risk-tolerant; they were willing to take the chance that Stafford's a total bust in case he develops into a franchise QB. The Jets, however, are (somewhat) risk-averse, in that Sanchez will be adequate for them, even if he's not truly worth the fifth pick overall.

105
by vague (not verified) :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 6:11am

As a Bears fan who spends too much time watching Jerry Angelo's press conferences he constantly talks about the "ceiling and floor" of picks.

He changes strategy with regard to the draft as the proscouts(the scouts who scout nfl players) and coaching staff assess the talent level of his team.

So in say 2005 when the Bears had many holes Angelo attempted to draft players with the "highest floors" or players with the least bust potential.

In this draft due in part to a. Cutler being on the team and b. the lack of high draft picks(but not total draft picks) it is clear Angelo picked for players with the highest ceiling. The exception being Inglasias (sp?) (Oklahoma)because of a huge need for having a player who is at least servicable. Later recievers Knox (Abilene-Christian) and even to a lesser extent Kinder (pitt) were picked based on their athletic possibilities (ie their "cieling"). By picking frequently and aiming for the (generally) the best atheletes availible he is gambling that a couple will develop as good as a 1st or 2nd rounder but for a lower cost.

Now clearly Angelo isnt the best GM in the league but he is at the very least average. Since he has been GM the Bears have been competitive every year but 2004. Angelo is the only GM that I have followed closely enough to feel i have any glimmer of his/her methodology.

I do not think that risk or reward are calculated in the percentages you suggest because these numbers are "empirical" representations of subjective qualities. This last bit is my personal conjecture with no evidence or observation to back it up.

129
by Rich Conley (not verified) :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 5:33pm

"Sanchez, on the other hand, has the worst case scenario of being a decent backup, but will probably never be a top-three QB."

Really? The kid played 16 games of college football surrounded by elite talent. I'm not even sure he'd be a good backup on most college teams, let alone an NFL team. Theres just not any info.

his 2008 stats look great, but I'm not convinced that hes all that much better than Booty. Year to year stats fluctuate. Thats the point of picking guys with lots of starts, you can tell what is the normal level, and what is noise. Sanchez could be all noise.

130
by Eddo :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 5:54pm

Don't get me wrong, I hate the Jets trade for Sanchez. I, personally, don't think he'll be much of a QB, I was just giving my opinion of the perception of the two QBs by most analysts.

I wouldn't have touched Sanchez until the end of day one. I firmly believe his ceiling in the pros is about that of Brad Johnson. His floor is probably Dan Orlovsky (serviceable backup, to be kind).

21
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 11:22am

Shush - I am excited about Barwin and the Texans front 7. Cushing, Barwin, Ryans, Super Mario, Okoye, ( Addibi from last year)... This team could make major strides next year. They have a solid offense, and now they have the horses up front to stop the run, and pressure the passer. I think Kubiak is a good coach, and just watching that team fight in that tough division, always play Indy tough, beat the #1 Titans at home at the end of last year.... It will be hard in the south, but I like their chances.

People dog on the Lions to grab a lineman, but I don't think Backus/Cherrilus are that bad. Cherrilus made some mental mistakes with penalties last year, but he could be a dominat Mauler RT with his strength. If the team signs Larry Foote like some have speculated, their LB core could be quite good with Simms/Peterson and Foote. Denver trading their own #1 pick was a huge mistake, no doubt.

22
by Temo :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 11:22am

The Cowboys selected a bunch of special teams players to bolster their shit coverage teams and used the rest of their (only day 2) picks on developmental players who fit their system but need to be nurtured for a couple years. They don't try to draft starters in the latter rounds for their (supposedly) stacked roster.

I don't like the Brewster pick, but everything else seems fine to me. Yes, probably up to half these guys won't make the roster and the rest will have to contribute on special teams. I'm ok with that.

27
by mawbrew :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 12:36pm

I'm guessing a big part of the Cowboys relatively poor grades had to do with the Roy Williams deal that cost them 1st and 3rd round picks. I think that's generaly perceived as a bad deal now based on what Williams failed to contribute last year. I'm curious if Cowboy fans are as negative about this trade (in hindsight) as most people.

29
by FullMoonOverTulsa (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 12:41pm

As a fan, my issue with the Williams trade is that the Cowboys got nothing out of him last year (Miles Austin should have started in the final game in Philly) and they could have chased him in free agency this year, keeping the draft picks.

60
by Temo :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:03pm

^Agreed. They vastly overpaid.

23
by Adam B. (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 11:32am

I'm wondering if the best move now is to take a report card from, say, three years ago, four years ago, etc., and see how those prospects panned out on the field to determine which analysts have been most consistently correct.

24
by Sanchotene, Brazil (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 12:17pm

Nice. But how about compare the 2004 Report Card with the players development from there to last season?!

What could we learn from that?

25
by Scott P. (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 12:20pm

I give this Draft Report Card Report a B+.

56
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:37pm

I give your evaluation of this Draft Report Card Report a C-. The '-' is for lack of explanation for your grade, however the brevity is appreciated.

And I'll give my evaluation of your evaluation a B+. Concise, but reasoned.

67
by Bobman :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:33pm

And I give them both a "liked, but don't love." The reason being they amused me, but I doubt that amusement will last through the 2009 season. I'll revisit it in three years and see if I still feel the same way.

92
by the silent speaker (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 6:48pm

A+ would snicker again.

26
by dmb :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 12:26pm

In a fairly pretentious move, SI.com's Tucker sorted his draft evaluations into descriptive groups rather than mere letter grades, as if "Loved It" is substantially different than "A+."

I had to laugh at this, because in a few weeks, I'll be graduating from a college where professors provide written evaluations rather than letter grades. (And yes, it's accredited -- it's actually a state honors college.) Of course, they don't simply make the evaluations categorical (beyond the obvious pass/fail), so it really is qualitative rather than just having grades without the letters.

On a slightly related note, shouldn't all the teams fall into Tucker's "need more information" category? It seems silly for him to acknowledge that the results of the draft can't really be fully evaluated yet, but only apply this reality to a select group of teams.

35
by Eddo :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:06pm

Tucker's article was typical. He usually grasps about 75% of a concept, but then writes about the remaining 25%. He understands the league at a micro level (e.g. what's on players' minds), but has trouble stepping back and actually providing coherent analysis based that knowledge.

38
by justanothersteve :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:36pm

I didn't think Tucker was pretentious as much as trying to be funny with borrowed material. The Loved It, Hated It, You're Gonna Do What reminded me of the "Men on ..." skits from In Living Color. All it was missing was "Two Snaps with a Spike by the Tight End." As a Packers fan, I'm also not as thrilled with it as some. While I'm very happy with Raji, I think Matthews is an overachiever with high bust potential. I'd have rather kept the picks and drafted LBs in both rounds 2 & 3, and used the second round 3 pick for another position or trade bait.

68
by Bobman :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:39pm

Hey, I had that too. But, don't you also get actual traditional grades recorded for transcript purposes? If not, grad school might be tough to get into.... (There's an "Arrsted Development" joke in here somewhere... didn't Maeby get grades like a tulip in math and a smiley face in chemistry...?)

First day of every new semester, 9 a.m., I was waiting at the registrar's office door to check my letter grades from the previous semester. She used to get a kick out of it, mainly because I was the only visitor she ever got. "You again...." I've saved all my written evaluations 25 years now, probably just to throw in my kids' faces if they ever come home with crappy grades. Humanitarian that I am....

102
by dmb :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 12:33am

There's no letter grades here at all, which has its benefits and drawbacks. You're right that it's going to be a pain for grad school, but since I'm going to be taking some extra classes after graduation anyway, I'll be able to take some classes at some less-obscure place that gives out letter grades. So in the end, I'll have spent most of my time at an institution that I love but I'll still have at least something of an easier-to-translate record of my ability when I apply for grad school.

The nice thing about the narrative evaluations is that since I've done well in my classes, they read almost like a letter of recommendation with precise information about what I've done here.

103
by tuluse :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 1:38am

I think she got an alligator in one class.

She also got a C- in one class.

110
by Travis :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 9:50am

It was a crocodile in spelling.

30
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 12:42pm

Since I've been following the draft, I haven't had any reason to defend the Seahawks' draft from the consensus view, ever, and it's really inconsequential, but I'm going against my nature this year, and contending they had the best draft. Indulge me.

Consider that some respectable draft gurus like Mike Mayock had Max Unger as the top center. It was surprising to see 2 centers go before Pittsburgh was on the clock, but whether that happened or not it wouldn't have been surprising to anyone for Pitt to take Unger, whether 1st or 3rd Center. So, he's marginally a 1st rounder, but for the sake of this argument, 1st round talent.

So their yield:

1. Curry. Top overall talent (arguable, but close to consensus)
2. Denver's 2010 first. (A minimum yield of 60 points/5 spots, if Denver wins the Super Bowl. Most likely somewhere between 14 & 22nd, a much greater net)
3. Unger (spent their 4th to move up and take their third 1st round value in as many picks).

Three first round values. And the Eagles, most loved by far, got decent value at the pick for Maclin with a couple red flags, and better value for McCoy, who just couldn't rise up anybody's board into the late 1st. I would have expected more people that value, uh, value, over flashy names to be raving about the Hawks' draft, but it's lukewarm.

47
by Anonimouse! (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:06pm

"Person A thinks Player X is 1st round talent; Person B thinks Player Y is better than Player X; therfore, Player Y is 1st round talent." isn't acceptable logic. It's possible that Person B just happens to not think much of Player X.

In this case that's what's happening; some people thought Mack was 1st-round talent and Unger 2nd round talent; others thought Unger was a slightly better 2nd round talent than Mack. Neither qualifies Unger as first round talent (finding someone who puts Unger down in their "top 32 overall" would counter this). Far as I can tell, most people had Unger in the 45-50 range.

For the trade value, the chart which you appear to be going by defines a any pick in next year's draft to be worth what a pick exactly one round lower would be. For it to be an 'even' trade by that standard, Denver would have to have one of the worst records in football. Which doesn't seem a bad bet at this point, but doesn't make it a 'value'. Also, Deon Butler was ranked closer to 200th by most than the 91st he was taken. 'Value' just wasn't a recurring theme of the Seahawks draft, by conventional wisdom.

Seattle got Curry. He looks to be a star. That seems to be about where the story of the Seahawks 2009 draft begins and ends.

59
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:59pm

Disagree. Unger was a 4-year starter, who played pretty much every position on the O-line at some point (maybe he only played 4 of the 5 spots). It was a great pick for both value and need. Barring horrendous player development, he'll be a solid pro for the next 12 years.

Meanwhile, Denver looks to be on track to compete with Oakland for the bottom of the AFC West. I would bet good money that Seattle just netted a top-10 pick next year, when the QB class will be far better. And please ignore the 'draft value chart' for a moment; having a top-10 pick (but not a top-3, due to financial constraints) is a very, very good thing.

Here: the following is from Pro Football Weekly's player grade scale (as an example):
5.50-5.99 — Could become a a quality NFL player and should be a first-day pick.
5.10-5.49 — Could make an NFL roster. Has a good to great chance of being drafted.

Regarding Deon Butler as the "200th best", rather than "91st, where he was taken"; PFW's 91st ranked player scored a 5.40. Their 200th player scored a 5.17. They, and everyone in between, 'could make an NFL roster. Has a good to great chance of being drafted'. Butler scored a 5.20 at the 181st slot. Point being - once you get that far, there is little discernible difference between the picks. Or, as mentioned on this site in a previous article, for each position there are 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and 'Other'.

They'll now have a wide choice of the top talent in 2010 draft, of which 8-16 draftees annually are considered 'top flight'.

Is this homerism on my part? I don't think so. I like the 'Hawks, but I'm a Vikes fan. And I think the Seattle draft was far superior to Minnesota's.

61
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:05pm

I set it up that way by measuring each acquisition in units of "round" of talent, mostly for the sake of clarity (I struggle with chronic verbosity) but your label of fallacious logic doesn't apply. That's not the grounds that I feel qualifies Unger, but I admit rather than explaining how I think he's qualified, I used that appeal to Mayock authority, so to speak, for the purposes of illustrating that my assessment of the Hawks' draft isn't coming out of left field. You follow me?

So, to get to the heart of your contention, whether Unger is first round talent, I contend he was rated a 4 star prospect. Some 4 stars stand out higher, of course, by impact position, potential, lack of red flags, etc,. but past the top 15 or so, there's a pool of talent 30 deep or so, usually (maybe a bit thinner this year) that's close enough in talent that any could be 1st rounders.

Again, I'd cite the hypothetical that Pittsburgh took Unger. Would you consider it a reach? If so, take a stand and tell me he's not a first rounder, otherwise, forgive my poor grasp of communication and see my point.

I still concede considering him a 1st round talent is marginal. But the overall value the Hawks got out of their 1st 4 picks just isn't rivaled anywhere I can see.

I acknowledge that the league considers a next year pick to be of slightly less value than a this year pick. I think that's fallacious, but I acknowledge that's how most of the league looks at it. But if you mean to tell me that next year's 1st is always worth this year's second, and next year's 2nd is always worth this year's third, please show me where anyone with credibility considers such a tremendous differential. A full round? Who in the world truly value them that way?

If Seattle gave up the 37th overall in a weak draft, and got a top 5 pick next year in a stronger draft, do you truly have the credulity to claim that's a break even proposition?

That's madness. My understanding is the league generally considers next year's to be about 90% of this year's, because you don't know where it will be. Most give rampant future pick stockpiling, such as by Belichick, plenty of accolades. Your claim doesn't jibe with anything I've ever come across.

I think you're just looking to burst any bubble you can find. I agree with you on Deon Butler. He wasn't anywhere near by radar when they took him. I hadn't mentioned him up to this point, and that alone doesn't nearly come close to negating the value they got out of the first three picks.

71
by Anonimouse! (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:52pm

I can tell you that the prospect of drafting Unger was widely discussed in Steeler country, and the consensus was that it would be a very disappointing 1st round pick, but a good value at 2.64. In specific answer to your question, I am on board with this consensus, but I'd prefer to keep my personal opinions out of it (I think Mike Wallace is straight up better than Heyward-Bey, but I won't claim he's a '1st round value' based on that).

As to "who in the world with any credibility values the differential that way", that's pretty easy. The fact that someone was willing to make the trade with Seattle proves that one organization agrees with it, and the fact that Carolina made a similar trade proves they feel similarly. Any time a trade happens, you can't say that there is no one who thinks team A didn't net value, because by definition there is such an entity.

Anyway, I was saying by the draft value chart, that is an even swap. My personal opinion, I'd trade my 2nd every year for a 1st the next, but that's just me.

84
by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 5:33pm

"As to "who in the world with any credibility values the differential that way", that's pretty easy. The fact that someone was willing to make the trade with Seattle proves that one organization agrees with it, and the fact that Carolina made a similar trade proves they feel similarly. Any time a trade happens, you can't say that there is no one who thinks team A didn't net value, because by definition there is such an entity."

That's a really weak case and I think you know it. For one, SF/Carolina's trade doesn't match up the same way, and for another, don't values drop in a non-linear fashion? The difference between the 1st and 33rd pick and 32nd and the 64th are not the same. So when you're talking about moving from 37 to top 10 and possibly top 5, there's no *way* that value makes any sense at all.

93
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 6:50pm

I disagree on the Denver account. After trading away Cutler, getting Orton out of the deal along with a hefty net of picks, I think they realized Orton is only of value with a strong supporting cast around him, and picks now, getting one year under their belt, as opposed to next year, become circumstantially more valuable.

Touches upon the main criteria FO used at the top of the article to explain why draft grades are silly. Drafting for the future is smart when you're in the midst of a long contention run with an established franchise QB like the Colts. When your window is closing, not so much. With Denver, they could arguably be bad enough to just accept rebuilding, but after losing Cutler I'm thinking they feel the pressure to rebound with something encouraging.

And the Carolina GM is a Redskin clone. But sure, you win on a technicality. There are folks out there. OK, but the draft chart, what chart has ever established what next year's pick is worth?

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/draft06/news/story?id=2410670

First hit on the search, but I've seen a dozen. It's all about a single draft, I don't see a chart that supports what you're saying, but I am prepared to be enlightened.

50
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:29pm

"2. Denver's 2010 first. (A minimum yield of 60 points/5 spots, if Denver wins the Super Bowl. Most likely somewhere between 14 & 22nd, a much greater net)"

You must see something in the Broncos that, as a fan, I sure don't. I think 14th is about the highest the pick could reasonably be expected to be. I figure it's nearly a sure thing that Seattle winds up with a top 10 pick, and given the absolute lack of improvement on defense, there's a good chance of top 5.

64
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:11pm

Just trying to be reasonable. I haven't given Denver much of a study, yet, but a lot of Hawk fans are anticipating the pick to be high. Wishful thinking? So, too, did the Cowboys anticipate the Browns' pick to be high, and for one year, they rose up to screw the boys. Good for them, but anyway there's a lot to point to Denver being bad, but I haven't looked closely, and there's always surprises.

I just know their defense was horrible last year, they lost Cutler, Orton'll need a tremendous supporting cast. Decent at offensive "skill" positions, Clady is good, they got another cornerback, pass rush still a question. Run defense is still a question. OK, pass defense, too, but they have some pieces there. A corral of RBs, kind of odd, but on further consideration, I could amend that to 10 to 20. if it's higher than 10, that's just gravy, but it's difficult to fully anticipate it.

31
by Fan in Exile :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 12:44pm

Could someone please explain Rang's quote about the Bronco's to me? He says that it, "essentially gave the Broncos third- and fourth-round picks in a weak 2009 draft for a first-round pick in next year's draft." That's just not true at all. It was a straight trade of a 2010 first for a 2009 second. This is clearly a case where you need more info before grading.

If Smith turns out to be great and the Bronco's pick is mid round it's just fine. If Smith bombs and the Bronco's have a high pick then it's a bad idea. I think the people who hate this are the ones who don't want to gamble. I have to say I like gambling when you win. :)

36
by Bowl Game Anomaly :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:08pm

Smith has to be great for this to be a decent trade. Essentially the Broncos used a 1st round pick on a safety. Teams usually don't draft safeties in the 1st unless they are convinced the player is great.

What I'm saying is, if Smith is only a pretty good safety comparable to what you would normally find in the 2nd, then it was a bad trade because he cost them a 1st.

(Formerly "The McNabb Bowl Game Anomaly")

39
by Insancipitory :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:43pm

The Seahawks swapped a 2nd for a 2010 1st, then traded their 3rd and 4th for the Bears 2nd to pick the guy they were going to pick at the original 2nd. If you believe Alphonso would have fallen to the Bears 2nd pick, it's a 2010 1st for a mid 3rd & 4th.

FWIW the Seahawks had Smith highly rated too, so maybe he wouldn't have fallen to a pick the Broncos could have traded into for less. That's about the only thing that casts the trade in a positive light for the Broncos from my perspective.

As a Seahawks fan, well... heh. Putting aside the effervescent joy I feel at the suffering (actual or impending) of the Broncos and their fans, the Broncos play the AFC N and the NFC E iirc. If Knowshawn Moreno isn't the next Terrell Davis there's a pretty good chance the Bronco's 1st round pick is top 5. c:

55
by The Hypno-Toad :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:37pm

Well, I freely give you my suffering for your schadenfreude pleasure, as I figure someone should get something out of this idiotic Broncos draft. The anger keeps not fading.

112
by Fan in Exile :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 10:36am

I appreciate the explanation. However I think that's an exceptionally stupid way of looking at the trade. It really just seems like they're reaching for ways to make the trade look bad. At the same time it seems like they're missing the point that trading up is about transferring risk. The Bronco's didn't want to risk that Smith wouldn't be available, but the Seahawks were willing to risk it.

They're also missing the point that the Bronco's got to keep their later round picks so that they could get other guys. If you're going to keep that advantage in mind then you would also have to throw in at least part of the value of McBath, Quinn and Bruton as part of the trade consideration, because giving up the first allowed the Bronco's to get them as well.

I do think that the suffering is going to be the Seattle fans. Defense wasn't our only problem our 31st ranked special teams was pretty bad, which look to be a lot better after the draft. I also think that our defense will be better not having Slowick in charge anymore. I think all those dreams of a top five pick are going to end up getting crushed.

I also can't see both the NFC east and the AFC north maintaining their status as the best divisions. I'm seeing a regression to the mean really helping us out next year.

115
by ThatemW (not verified) :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 11:22am

Hello! McDaniels is looking for short term gains! He has to have the best year he can this year. So he's perfectly happy to trade away tomorrow in order to have a chance to win today.
Of course, if the Broncos keep the strong offense, have fewer turn-overs, and the defense improves a little, all things being equal they should do better.
Too bad they have a really hard schedule.

32
by DJ Any Reason (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 12:53pm

James Farrior, Ryan Clark, and Justin Hartwig started for the Steelers in XLIII and were not drafted by the Steelers. James Harrison and Cary Davis were undrafted FAs and were not originally signed by the Steelers. And, technically, Willie Parker was not drafted by the Steelers.

46
by steelberger (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:03pm

You are incorrect about James Harrison.

78
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 4:33pm

You're right about Clark, I overlooked him. I knew Farrior and Hartwig were drafted by different teams, and I should have clarified that a handful of players (Harrison, etc.) were undrafted, but they were handled like most of the other rookies -- promptly placed on the bench and brought along slowly. That was the key point I was trying to make.

34
by Moses (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:04pm

I shall point out that both Matt Millen and Terry Donahue routinely received "A" and "A-" grades from this crowd of morons. Both of those incompetents drafted their teams into mediocrity. Here's a draft grade and it being revisited by someone who is at least honest:

2004 San Francisco 49ers: Grade given on 5/1/04: A

Good Moves: This was a Bill Walsh draft. Rashaun Woods and Derrick Hamilton are talented receivers who will compete for the starting wide out jobs immediately. G Justin Smiley will be a welcome addition to the 49ers' offensive line. Defensive players CB Shawntae Spencer, DT Isaac Sopoaga and MLB Richard Seigler all should get valuable playing time in 2004.

Bad Moves: I thought a better receiver could have been taken instead of Derrick Hamilton, but it's not a big deal.

June 5, 2008 Update: How many busts can a team draft in a single year? The 49ers apparently were going for the record. Let's see... Rashaun Woods (No. 31 overall) is out of the NFL ... Justin Smiley (2nd round) is a very mediocre guard the Dolphins overpaid for this offseason. They'll soon regret that move ... Shawntae Spencer, another of San Francisco's second-rounders, is a sub-par corner who is seeing his playing time diminish every year ... Keith Lewis (6th round) is still on the team, but only as a backup safety ... Derrick Hamilton (3rd round), Richard Seigler (4th round), Cody Pickett (7th round) and Christian Ferrara (7th round) are all probably hanging out at Rashaun Woods' house every day because they're also unemployed.

79
by ammek :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 4:38pm

I don't catch many 49ers games, but even so

I've never heard of any of those players.

42
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 1:53pm

33- I thought the "conventional" wisdom was that Stafford was a "safer" pick because he had 38 college starts, a stronger arm, audibles where as Sanchez only had 16 starts.

I'd agree that you are probably better off drafting Ryan Leaf and finding out real quick that he is garbage, rather than drafting David Carr, JP Losman or any other terminally flawed quarterback, floating him along for a few years, and then having to rebuild.

In that case, taking a boom/bust player might not be such a bad thing, rather than stringing along a below average or even average guy.

52
by Eddo :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:31pm

I don't recall anyone saying Stafford was a "safer" pick than Sanchez. In fact, the argument for Stafford was that he has a higher ceiling, so a team would be willing to risk him totally crapping out.

Sanchez, due to his experience in a pro-style offense, is safer in that he can step in right away and at least not be a train wreck. He may never produce enough to justify a top-five pick, but at least he won't be seen as a bust.

58
by Anonimouse! (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:47pm

I figure arm strength to give Stafford more 'upside', with accuracy making Sanchez more 'safe'. You can't really coach arm strength, but you also can't play at the NFL level without accuracy. Also, I think Sanchez played in something closer to an pro system, which makes his tape easier to translate.

I agree that the track record argument edges toward Stafford as 'safe', but I think it's outweighed.

Either way, they're both short, fairly immobile guys with unexceptional pocket presence and they both score an impressive 1 of 2 out of Lewin's "two factors you need to have", so offhand it kind of appears to be choosing between an Edsel and a Yugo, but whatever.

48
by Key19 :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:14pm

I disagree, FullMoonOverTulsa. I think that Roy's price would have escalated to the point where the Cowboys couldn't afford him if he hit free agency. Let's not forget that they're about at the top of the cap.

This also is a reason why they weren't too upset about giving a first and a third for Roy. Jerry has said multiple times that getting a first rounder signed this year would be very difficult given the situation regarding the CBA. They simply don't have the cap room to sign a big name guy to a huge 1st round deal and still have room to resign people like DeMarcus. Whether that's true or not, that's what his story is.

I personally like this draft a lot. It could've been a great draft, but it was still a pretty good draft. The way I see the Cowboys is this:

If their offense gets marginally better than last year, and their defense is able to play at a high level like they were for a few games in the later half of last season, and their special teams are SIGNIFICANTLY better, this will be a much better team than last year. Special Teams was such a killer last season.

Now, when I say the draft could've been great, here is what I mean: Jerry should have traded up! Seriously. There were a bunch of guys that went in the few picks before their #51 that would've been great. Then they all got scooped up and Jerry was just like "well there went all of those guys we wanted!" and traded down. Ok, come on Jerry. You gotta spend a 7th to trade up 5 spots or so and land a guy like Connor Barwin. Chances are that Jason Williams is still there when your other (non-traded down for) 3rd round pick came. Get him then, and then pick Stephen McGee in the 4th and see if Brewster is still there later. I like Brewster, but to say I'd rather make sure I get him than risk not getting him but also getting Connor Barwin is insane. I really do think most of these guys will make the team and will be solid contributors sometime next season. Our new special teams coach Joe DeCamillis is really excited about quite a few of these guys, and Wade Phillips is really excited about Jason Williams and a couple of the pass rushers we drafted. Personally, I'll take their words over the likes of Kiper and such. If anyone knows what it takes to be a successful pass rusher, it's Wade.

I really think this will end up being a solid draft. It's just too bad we couldn't get a guy like Connnor Barwin or Max Unger (I think it was him) who ended up going just before #51.

53
by FullMoonOverTulsa (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:34pm

I don't think Williams price would have escalated much in FA or else he would have chosen to be a FA.

I agree that he needed to move up from 51. He certainly didn't get much for moving down.

107
by mawbrew :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 7:53am

Sounds like Jerry's blowing smoke to try and convince folks that Williams trade really wasn't such a bad deal. It makes no sense. Signing the #20 slot in the first round would have required a 4-5 year deal at about $3million/year. About what they're paying Jon Kitna this year to back up Romo. To suggest they couldn't keep Ware (or some other key player) because of the cost of the #20 pick is just silly.

111
by Mr Shush :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 10:32am

The Lions would have gone for a franchise-and-trade, though, surely? I don't think waiting for Williams would have made much difference to anything.

117
by mawbrew :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 12:41pm

I'm not sure that's as much of a lock as you suggest. Certainly if Williams had another season like 2006 or 2007, yes the Lions would have franchised him and gotten something similar in trade. But the chances or Williams reproducing those numbers in 2008 was virtually zero, IMO. Martz was gone. Kitna was gone after the 4th game. Through five games in Detroit in 2008 Williams numbers were poor. Net, if he stayed in Detroit and put up mediocore numbers in 2008, I'm not certain they would have franchised him. And even if they did, his trade value and salary expectations would likely have been lower than they were when Dallas got him.

57
by bradluen :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 2:45pm

Pete Prisco's 2010 draft preview.

#1: Jevan Snead! Prisco definitely wins craziest analyst of the moment (whether he's good-crazy or bad-crazy I'll let the gallery judge).

62
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:10pm

Maybe he just figured that, if he was going out on a limb to project a draft before a single snap of the collegiate season has even been played, he might as well go hog wild with it.

What I don't get - and Prisco mentioned it with Snead, as others have with Stafford - is that teams are still enamored with the 'rocket of an arm'.

Drew Bledsoe was asked about his 'rocket of an arm', and replied that, in any NFL season, he might toss a 50+-yard-pass six times. Or something to that effect. So why are NFL teams (some of them) and NFL draftniks (all of them) enamored with a QB's "cannon".

Ryan Leaf had a cannon. Peyton Manning had a brain.

66
by Jacob Stevens (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:19pm

I thoroughly agree, but to play the other side a bit, with Stafford, what gave the wow factor more, I'd allege, is the zip on the passes regardless of distance. The slings on the 15-20 yard passes gave zone defenders no chance to react and make a move unless they were a foot away.

Compare that to Sanchez, who I was higher on, who is accurate, isn't really lacking in arm strangth and can throw some long accurate balls as well, but they float, they take a while to get there. He had good touch on the ball, but when touch isn't so important, and getting the ball there before a corner gets there, before the safety gets over to keep it from getting a score, or to break it up, that can make a difference.

When a QB is a liability because he doesn't adequately look off the safety, then a QB can be a lesser prospect if his arm strength gives defenders an extra split second to either defeat his passes or contain his receiver.

72
by Bobman :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:55pm

"Ryan Leaf had a cannon. Peyton Manning had a brain."

Hell, all you had to do was look at their skulls. Leaf is a pinhead whereas Manning has such a big brain, a forehead is not large enough to contain it. That's why he has a fivehead.

Regarding the appeal of a cannon arm--doesn't quite matter how often it's used, so long as it's used once in a while; the threat should keep a safety a couple yards deeper, allowing the middle to be a bit more open for slot receivers, TEs, and RBs. How long do most bombs travel in the air? 35 yards? 40? Percentage-wise, it's a far cry from 50, but it's still plenty deep. And if you are asking your QB to max out his distance potential on throws, you leave him no margin for error. I suspect that leads to injuries, INTs, and other bad things. It's great to have a guy who can throw it 50 yards and then you dial back to 35 yards to give him a better chance of making it a good, accurate, well-timed throw. And on the off chance you need a 50-yd Hail Mary with 3 seconds left, then you let loose.

77
by Tundrapaddy (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 4:31pm

Regarding the appeal of a cannon arm--doesn't quite matter how often it's used, so long as it's used once in a while; the threat should keep a safety a couple yards deeper, allowing the middle to be a bit more open for slot receivers, TEs, and RBs.

I have to disagree, and I'll bring up my very own Minnesota Vikings offense as proof.

They occasionally try a deep ball, in efforts to back a safety away and provide room for Purple Jesus. Sadly, this fails, and it fails because T-Jack has no accuracy beyond 20 yards downfield. Thus, it still appears that accuracy is far more important than arm strength. This usually happens on 2nd down, after having inevitbaly gained 2-3 yards rushing on 1st-10. They follow it up with a 3-yard out on 3rd-7.

Look at the best pro QBs in the league (Manning, Brady, Brees, etc. etc.), and they weren't drafted or ranked highly due to arm strength. That's not to say that they have weak arms, just that arm strength was not the 'primary listed attribute', for lack of a better description. Heck, Pennington has the noodliest arm in the league, and he got the Dolphins into the playoffs.

65
by Phoenix (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:17pm

Here is another grader, Clifton Brown at the sporting news. http://www.sportingnews.com/yourturn/viewtopic.php?t=542934

How about this gem:

Pittsburgh Steelers: F

It's hard to have an impressive draft after you win the Super Bowl and pick 32nd. Defensive tackle Evander "Ziggy" Hood could be a nice pickup on a line that needed to get younger. Wideout Mike Wallace is an intriguing deep threat.

69
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:49pm

Ok Ok Ok I wasn't trying to argue who is a safer pick and who has more upside, and I wasn't trying to argue whether the players have a projected "normal" distribution or not.

I was trying to see if Tanier or anybody else that had access to the GM's knew how they looked at draft picks....

Does Carl Peterson think Sanchez is a "good player" or a "bad player", or if he's a 5% Manning, 14% Palmer, 34% Delhomme etc on some sort of a bell shaped curve?

I'd think that most of the FO readers believe that a "probability distribution" does exist and that it's not 50% succeed, 50% fail, and not linear, and that there are other factors to the distribution itself ( which would agree with the recent Tanier article).

If I have a good head coach, OC, position coach, Randy Moss/Wes Welker, a good line, etc. etc. etc., it would potentially raise or skew that distribution to the "good side", and reduce the chance I have Ryan Leaf II. If I am drafting a WR and he has Peyton Manninc practicing with him and chucking him passes, his distribution would skew better as well.

Mr Shush - I think it is the correct way to look at it too, and I am not sure all the NFL personel people do as well, that's why I wish some of our FO guys with more access could find out next time they fraternize with those NFL VIPS.

JIM SCHARTZ ARE YOU READING???

70
by Chris (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 3:50pm

Ok Ok Ok I wasn't trying to argue who is a safer pick and who has more upside, and I wasn't trying to argue whether the players have a projected "normal" distribution or not.

I was trying to see if Tanier or anybody else that had access to the GM's knew how they looked at draft picks....

Does Carl Peterson think Sanchez is a "good player" or a "bad player", or if he's a 5% Manning, 14% Palmer, 34% Delhomme etc on some sort of a bell shaped curve?

I'd think that most of the FO readers believe that a "probability distribution" does exist and that it's not 50% succeed, 50% fail, and not linear, and that there are other factors to the distribution itself ( which would agree with the recent Tanier article).

If I have a good head coach, OC, position coach, Randy Moss/Wes Welker, a good line, etc. etc. etc., it would potentially raise or skew that distribution to the "good side", and reduce the chance I have Ryan Leaf II. If I am drafting a WR and he has Peyton Manninc practicing with him and chucking him passes, his distribution would skew better as well.

Mr Shush - I think it is the correct way to look at it too, and I am not sure all the NFL personel people do as well, that's why I wish some of our FO guys with more access could find out next time they fraternize with those NFL VIPS.

JIM SCHWARTZ ARE YOU READING???

91
by KyleW :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 6:47pm

A normal (or Gaussian) distribution has the bell shape you were refering to.

I agree that it would be interesting to see what sort of distribution the top NFL GMs and coaches think different draftees have. I guess it would be affected by the players and coaches on the current roster and also by the round they were drafted in, while clearly not just being 50 bust 50 not.

However I doubt you could really derive it properly due to the huge difference in the variables affecting each draftee.

75
by Anonymous1 (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 4:29pm

The Pats have definitely lagged behind the better teams of late in the draft, but they are still quite adept at finding talent.

06-07 are the classes that people give them most grief about, so let's look at them more closely.

06 - Maroney has proven to be a talent, but has also has difficulty getting on the field. His dancing is vastly overplayed. I personally feel he is going to have a very good season this year. NE certainly doesn't deserve tons of credit, but it isn't their fault the guy can't stay healthy

Chad Jackson - complete flop worthy of any and all derision.

Dave Thomas - showed great promise in 06 and 07, but fell far short of expectations in 08. Still a passable NFL player.

Gost - one of the best kickers in the league.

O'Calaghan/Mincey/Stevenson/Andrews/Smith - all except Andrews are still in the league and Andrews is only out because of personal issues.

07 - NE felt this was a poor draft and traded out of the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds picking up Welker, Moss and a 2008 2nd. They also traded #28 for (essentially) Moss and Jerod Mayo. Despite not getting many draftees from this class, the players acquired would probably be amongst the best ever from a single draft day.

Meriweather - took some time, but is starting to look like he has upper tier ability in him. Certainly is going to be a solid player for a number of years, barring injury or catastrophy

Richardson - still on the team, but now appears to be buried under an avalanche of newcomers.

Green/Oldernburg/Hairston/Hilliard/Lua/Elgin/Brown - only Green made the opening day roster and proceeded to do nothing. Lua was IR'd and released the next season. Other than that everyone was gone by the end of camp. However, these are all 5th+ rounders with most happening in the 6th and 7th rounds trying to make a roster of a team that would go on to go undefeated in the regular season. AFAIK, Green, Oldernburg, Hilliard, Elgin and Brown are all still in the league, a remarkable hit rate of passable players that late in the draft.

Sure I would rather have had NE land another promising player or two still on the roster from those drafts, but the amount of guff NE receives from them is far overblown. If you consider all players acquired with draft picks (not just college), NE's 2007 class jumps up from poor to exceptional.

I am optimistic about this most recent class because it seems that NE dropped the "2nd round is for flyers" rule that they've had recently and selected a bunch of strong, well rounded prospects instead of Jackson/Bethel type guys. I have a sneaking suspicion that one of (if not two of) Brace/Butler/Chung is going to be considered a top 15 player from this class.

82
by sam :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 5:27pm

These grades are stupid, because they are based on the premise that a writer knows more than a GM and team of scouts. Mel Kiper's never heard of Derek Cox (3rd round pick #2 for Jacksonville), and they didn't draft the guys he thought they would, so he gives them a C-. Mel Kiper has to believe that if he's never heard of a guy then he must be no good, and therefore there is no reason to draft him.

I mean, why not, right? Nobody's going to hold him accountable. Mel loved the Jets draft, but is he gonna get axed if they suck or if their picks don't pan out?

--
sam! or the original sam from the old FO

88
by tuluse :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 5:59pm

I would say at least half the teams are going to end up with drafts that weren't very good. So using the whole "they know more then us" argument is pointless.

Also, I would say if Kiper hasn't heard of a prospect, it's a pretty big red flag. His whole job is identifying players who might be drafted and forming an opinion on them.

108
by sam :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 8:17am

That's fine. But a bunch of teams were at this kid's pro day. I give you these to entries:

From the sound of things, Cox wasn't a guy who was very high on many teams’ boards. Do you think there’s any chance he would have fallen to the Jags in the fourth round and we could have gotten our guy and kept our second next year?

Vic: Gene Smith said no. Smith believes Cox was highly-rated on many teams’ boards and wouldn’t have lasted to the Jaguars’ next pick. Terry McDonough told me he made a call to a scout friend on another team to see what he thought of the pick. It was a team McDonough believed to have strong interest in Cox and McDonough said he sensed disappointment in his friend’s voice that the Jaguars took Cox off the board. Remember this: These guys are scouts and their jobs are to find football players. Cox is a find. He’s a guy on one of college football’s country roads. You had to get off the main highway to find him and when scouts find a guy like that they develop a fondness for him because the team that drafts him can boast that they did, in fact, find him. Cox is a guy a lot of teams found. I listed those teams in one of the stories I did on Sunday. He was not an unknown to NFL scouts. He was only an unknown to Kiper and McShay.

Benny from Jacksonville
What did the Jags know about other teams’ interest in Derek Cox that made them think he wouldn't be available in the fourth round?
Vic: When a bunch of scouts representing several teams have assembled to watch a player from William and Mary work out, and then that player runs a 4.4 40 and turns in an eye-popping performance, it doesn’t take much to know those scouts are going back to their respective teams with a recommendation that they draft the guy. The only knock on Cox is that he’s from William and Mary and, you know, that kind of disrespect is starting to grate on me.

Now it's possible that no other teams were interested in this guy. But isn't it equally possible that Mel Kiper and his little team (who aren't currently employed as NFL scouts) overlooked a kid from a small school? Mel assumes that he knows more than these teams. How does he know where 32 teams had Cox ranked?

--
sam! or the original sam from the old FO

85
by putnamp (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 5:41pm

There's literally no justification for not ranking the Seattle draft at least a B, and honestly they probably had one of the best drafts if not the best draft in the league (cue Packer fans' disagreement). I'm not going to nitpick over HOW much better their draft was than anyone else specifically but the amount of talent they picked up in the first day alone was noteworthy, and the biggest knock I've seen against them was that they drafted Teel in the 6th and this is somehow a huge mistake or something.

95
by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 7:28pm

Rosenthal & Silva were big fans of the players Denver picked: "... the Broncos got quality with the best running back in the draft (Knowshon Moreno), the best 3-4 outside linebacker prospect (Robert Ayers), and a nice value in second-rounder Alphonso Smith." They were less enamored with the process: "Giving up a first-rounder for Smith, however, gets Denver marked down ... If [quarterback Jay] Cutler’s unnecessary trade counted in this grade, we’d give Denver an F." And these were the guys who liked Denver's draft.

Of course, if we factor in that they plan to play "the best 3-4 outside linebacker prospect" at DE, either the evaluators or the staff are complete morons. Neither should give you hope. Trading next year's (likely) top-15 pick for a guy you didn't want to draft that high this year is, shall we say, a bit risky. And trading two threes to make sure you get a TE (Quinn) who catches 5 balls per season, rather than, you know, just waiting to draft him in the fourth (or fifth) round where he belongs, is the point at which arrogance, hubris, and stupidity converge in a fireball named McXanders. And this does not even address the idea of using the twelfth overall pick on a work-a-day running back. When you get seriously outworked by the Bengals and Browns, its time to polish up the will and google "death by CO2). Thank god for the Raiders.

125
by AlanSP :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 3:36pm

f course, if we factor in that they plan to play "the best 3-4 outside linebacker prospect" at DE, either the evaluators or the staff are complete morons. Neither should give you hope

By "evaluators" do you mean Rosenthal & Silva or Denver's talent evaluators? Calling Ayers the best 3-4 OLB prospect is absurd. I actually don't think he's a good fit at either 3-4 OLB (not athletic, can't rush the passer) or 3-4 DE (undersized), but if I had to pick one, I'd prefer to see if he could bulk up and play 3-4 DE, where you aren't really relying on him to get to the QB or cover people.

145
by BroncosGuy (not verified) :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 3:46pm

I was referring to the pundits praising Ayers at a position he isn't going to play. If they are correct about him, then the coaching staff doesn't know where to play him. If the coaching staff is correct, then pundit's praise is clearly meaningless. Whichever the case, the statement is no reason for a Bronco's fan to click his heels.

101
by Xeynon (not verified) :: Wed, 04/29/2009 - 11:32pm

Our new special teams coach Joe DeCamillis is really excited about quite a few of these guys, and Wade Phillips is really excited about Jason Williams and a couple of the pass rushers we drafted. Personally, I'll take their words over the likes of Kiper and such.

EVERY NFL coach is excited about the players they drafted on the day after the draft. Since they either made the picks themselves, or work for the guy who did, this is to be expected. Indeed, it'll be news when an NFL coach says comes into his postdraft press conference and says "wow, we really crapped the bed with those picks!". A coach coming in and saying "we love our draft!" is not news.

Grading drafts the day after is obviously daft; if Jason Williams turns into DeMarcus Ware 2.0, he was a great pick; if he turns into Alonzo Jackson 2.0, he was a terrible pick. There's no way to know which way he'll go yet. What you CAN do is judge a draft by evaluating how highly prospects were rated vs. how highly they went and determine which teams acquired possibly underpriced assets on draft day; by that measure I don't think the Cowboys did all that well (and I'm willing to definitively state that I think they did screw up with the Roy Williams trade).

Also, I would say if Kiper hasn't heard of a prospect, it's a pretty big red flag. His whole job is identifying players who might be drafted and forming an opinion on them.

Agree. I don't know for a fact that Michael Mitchell won't be a good NFL player, just as nobody else does, Kiper included. However, the fact that he was considered a late round/UDFA prospect by all but a handful of NFL front offices indicates that the Raiders could have acquired him at a considerably lower financial/opportunity cost than they did by picking him in the 2nd round. That alone makes him a bad pick, as Michael Mitchell + 2nd round graded prospect >>>> Michael Mitchell + late round prospect.

As for the Bears rumor, well.. If they really did pick him because they were concerned the Bears were going to take him at #49, it's an even dumber move. If there's only one other team targeting a player in round 2 (and not a team noted for astute drafting, it should be pointed out), and 30 that aren't considering taking him, it's far more likely that you are one of two teams wildly overrating him than one of two teams that has discovered a diamond in the rough that escaped the attention of the rest of the NFL. NFL scouts and GMs aren't omniscient, but they do know more than most of us, and it's likely that a consensus judgment from 30 of them is more likely to be correct than an idiosyncratic opinion or one that's shared with only one other guy.

The whole thing reminds me of an incident that occurred when Ray Rhodes was coaching the Eagles and Ron Wolf was the GM of the Packers. Rhodes took Jon Harris, who was widely considered a late round prospect at best, at #25 overall because he was convinced that Wolf was targeting him a few picks later. As it turns out, the rest of the NFL was right; Jon Harris sucked and was out of the league within a few years, whereas the Packers' pick, Ross Verba, was a solid starting OL for several years. I'm still not convinced that Wolf didn't intentionally feed Rhodes misinformation to get him to make an insane pick.

104
by Staubach12 :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 4:21am

The conventional wisdom seems to be that not too many of the players Dallas drafted will make the team. I disagree. I think at least five of them make the team.

These players drafted are locks to make the team:
1. Jason Williams, ILB, Western Illinois (replaces Bobby Carpenter)
2. Stephen McGee, QB, Texas A&M (you don't cut a 4th round QB pick)
3. At least one of the following DBs: DeAngelo Smith, Michael Hamlin, and Mike Mickens
(team needs to replace Anthony Henry)

The following players have a greater than 50% chance of making the team:
1. Robert Brewster, T/G, Ball State (O-line depth is a big need)
2. John Phillips, TE, Virginia (there were only 2 TEs on the roster before the draft)
3. David Buehler, K, USC (kickoff specialist, gunner on the punt team--yes he can do both)
4. Another DB from the first list (Smith, Hamlin, Mickens)

Add Roy Williams to the mix, and this draft should yield at least 6 players. That's not a bad haul for one draft class.

109
by Chris (not verified) :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 9:06am

Staubach.

David Buehler apparently had a better bench and faster 40 than his USC Beast linebacker teammates Ray Ma and Clay Matthews Jr... but not Brian Cushing. That is unbelievable because I'd say all of those USC linebackers are beasts...

but not as strong and fast as their kicker... at least weight room strength that is.

124
by Staubach12 :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 2:47pm

Exactly. He actually played some linebacker and fullback at USC. The Cowboys think he could make the team as a special teams gunner even if he doesn't end up being the kickoff specialist.

A lot of people criticized this pick. I kind of like it.

114
by AlanSP :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 11:10am

Does anybody ever look back at these draft report cards to see if they have any correlation to the evaluation that you'd make 5-6 years later? It sort of misses the point to say that they're meaningless because we don't know how players are going to turn out. These are simply predictions about how we think certain groups of players will turn out, and should be evaluated as such.

There's a fairly large degree of hindsight bias when it comes to drafting; we judge the picks that worked out to be intelligent decisions and the ones that didn't work out to be stupid ones. It's easy to call Matt Millen stupid for picking Charles Rogers over Andre Johnson now that we've seen how their careers have progressed, but at the time, there was no real reason to think that Rogers wouldn't become the better player. Contrast that with, say, Kyle Boller, which was a bad decision at the time because there was little reason beyond his arm strength to think that he would be good in the first place.

In a sense, if you want to criticize draft decisions, now is really the time to do it. I think Robert Ayers was an awful pick because players like Robert Ayers (average size, poor college production, awful workout numbers) have been extremely unlikely to work out. Maybe Ayers will become one of the rare exceptions, but that won't change the fact that it was a low percentage pick, just like a bad shot in basketball is still a bad shot even if you make it.

123
by justme_cd :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 2:20pm

"Does anybody ever look back at these draft report cards to see if they have any correlation to the evaluation that you'd make 5-6 years later?"

That will be possible at FO next year when the Six Years Later Series catches up to the first time they did this Draft Report Card Report. I will not lie I am looking forward to comparing the two articles.

134
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 9:27pm

"In a sense, if you want to criticize draft decisions, now is really the time to do it."

Based on what? 10% of the information that the teams have? We weren't in the rooms during interviews, we didn't watch 30 game tapes, we didn't watch them at their pro days, and we didn't talk to their college coaches. We simply do not have enough information to make an informed opinion as to the quality of a pick days after its occurred.

". . . there was no real reason to think that Rogers wouldn't become the better player."

Again, we don't have enough information to make that opinion. Did Millen and the Lions overlook key information gathered by his scouts and gathered in the interview process? Did they ignore information from his college coaches at Michigan State? Did they miss something on game film that other teams might have caught?

136
by AlanSP :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 3:43am

We'll never have any of that information. So I stand by my statement that if you want to criticize draft decisions, now is the time to do it. Clearly, you don't think that we have enough information to criticize draft picks at all, so it's irrelevant when we choose to do so.

It think that's sort of a weak response, though. Teams have some more information than, say, Mel Kiper or Rob Rang, but not 10 times as much information (at least not 10 times as much useful information). It's not perfect, but we do have a few years of college performance, workout numbers, various bits of secondhand information and a whole lot of history. That stuff all matters to varying degrees.

Having extra information doesn't help you make better decisions if you're focusing on information that doesn't actually matter. With Boller, all that extra information just served to distract from what should have been a glaring red flag, namely that Boller wasn't a good player in college. Likewise, I have more than enough information to feel confident predicting that Robert Ayers won't be a good pass rusher in the pros. Why? Because there's 10 drafts worth of data indicating that prospects like Robert Ayers don't become good pass rushers in the pros.

141
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 12:09pm

"Clearly, you don't think that we have enough information to criticize draft picks at all, so it's irrelevant when we choose to do so."

The NFL Draft is a projection of how teams think guys will do in the pros. It's hard to judge that projection without, you know, watching guys actually play in the NFL for a period of time.

Baltimore thought they could develop Boller. His college career was a mish-mash of bad talent around him and various coaches and coordinators. He had the nice senior season under Tedford and it was arguably the first season he had been coached. The truth is that they actually have developed him. His completion percentage has improved each season in the league. He was certainly competent during 2007 when he had to replace an injured McNair and put up similar numbers for a much worse football team. Baltimore misjudged how raw he actually was, how much development he really needed and probably what his ultimate ceiling would be.

Carson Palmer also sucked in college until the last 8 games of his senior season and he's done alright in the pros.

142
by tuluse :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 12:19pm

Carson Palmer also sucked in college until the last 8 games of his senior season and he's done alright in the pros.

You have a strange idea of "sucked."

146
by AlanSP :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 4:59pm

Judging decisions and judging the results of those decisions are different things (although you expect good decisions to produce good results more often than not). Sometimes a QB will throw into triple coverage and complete a pass, but that doesn't mean that throwing into triple coverage was a good decision. Similar story with the decisions people make on draft day.

As for Boller and Palmer, here are their respective numbers:

Boller
Year Comp-Att-Pct-Yds-TD-INT
1999 100-259-38.6-1303-9-15
2000 163-349-46.7-2121-15-13
2001 134-272-49.3-1741-12-10
2002 225-421-53.4-2815-28-10

Palmer
Year Comp-Att-Pct-Yds-TD-INT
1998 130-235-55.3-1755-7-6
1999 39-53-73.6-490-3-3
2000 228-415-54.9-2914-16-18
2001 221-377-58.6-2717-13-12
2002 309-489-63.2-3942-33-10

Boller still had an awful completion percentage even in his "nice" senior year, worse than in any of the years where Palmer was "sucking." Palmer's career percentage was over 11 points higher than Boller's, since Palmer went from being a little below average to being great, where Boller went from being comically bad to being merely below average. Nothing about Boller's college career indicated that he would be a good pro QB.

147
by beargoggles :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 7:55pm

I totally agree with your ultimate conclusion, which is that aside from arm strength (and toughness), there was no real reason to think that he would be a good pro QB. I didn't think so at the time, and I followed Boller's whole college career.

However, this overstates how bad a pick it was. Boller had essentially ZERO supporting cast until his senior year. Horrible receivers (the only decent one was kicked out of school after his freshman year because he cheated in class), no offensive line, mediocre running games, a series of in-over-their-heads offensive coordinators. I grew to admire Boller because he took a regular pounding without ever complaining or pointing fingers. Only when Tedford came his senior year, did Boller have any help whatsoever. I can see how a talent evaluator could decide that he had considerable growth ahead of him.

OTOH, same talent evaluator should have seen that no, he wasn't terribly accurate, couldn't throw on the run and didn't seem to make incredibly good decisions. But there is some reason that Boller has some of the ugliest 4 year collegiate numbers you'll ever see.

148
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Fri, 05/01/2009 - 8:32pm

"Judging decisions and judging the results of those decisions are different things (although you expect good decisions to produce good results more often than not)."

I agree that they are separate. The issue is that I don't have enough information to judge the original decision. You seem to be under the impression a highlight film (if that), combine numbers, a 10-year draft history, and a couple Kiper and Rang articles qualifies as a lot of information.

"Sometimes a QB will throw into triple coverage and complete a pass, but that doesn't mean that throwing into triple coverage was a good decision."

If you have Randy Moss covered by 3 guys who are 5-8, I'd argue it's not a bad decision at all.

As for Boller: rightly or wrongly, one of the best personnel departments in the NFL saw enough in "Boller's college career (to indicate) that he would be a good pro QB."

152
by AlanSP :: Sat, 05/02/2009 - 9:20pm

You seem to be under the impression a highlight film (if that), combine numbers, a 10-year draft history, and a couple Kiper and Rang articles qualifies as a lot of information.

I actually don't put much stock in highlight films as a way of evaluating players, since they're obviously biased in terms of what they show, e.g. you can't tell how good a running back is at turning the corner because you don't see the plays where he fails to do so. You can pick up some general idea of a guy's skill set and style of play, like whether a a receiver's catches mostly come on plays where he has separation or plays where he's covered and is simply able to win jump balls, and occasionally a few details, (e.g. Donald Brown sometimes circles around backwards to try to pick up big yardage, which can result in highlight reel runs in college, but probably won't work against NFL defenses), but generally you only see the pluses and not the minuses.

The comment about having 10 years of draft data was specific to DEs/3-4 OLBs, since earlier than that, I haven't been able to find reliable defensive college stats. For other positions, you can go back farther, and for some you can't go back as far, but the broader point is that we shouldn't approach the draft as if all those past drafts didn't happen. I bring up QBs and pass rushers specifically, since there's good evidence in both cases that college stats matter (e.g. inaccurate college QBs very rarely become accurate).

Nobody has perfect information here (not teams, not fans, not pundits), which is why you still see failures early in the draft and successes later on. You work with the information you do have. But it's not as if the information that we do have doesn't tell us anything. If you think it doesn't tell us enough, fine. I just find it kind of irritating when people talk about what a stupid pick a guy like Charles Rogers or Rashaun Woods was without even trying to explain what, if anything, made it a bad pick at the time.

As for Boller: rightly or wrongly, one of the best personnel departments in the NFL saw enough in "Boller's college career (to indicate) that he would be a good pro QB."

Or they took him because of things they saw outside of his performance in college. Boller did well in various other elements of the whole predraft process; the combine and all of those things that we don't see as fans (pro day, interviews, etc.). That was sort of my point; all that extra information led them to overlook the glaring flaws, or at least convince themselves that they weren't such a big deal.

153
by tuluse :: Sun, 05/03/2009 - 4:24am

Let me just say, Charles Rodgers wasn't the stupid pick, Mike Williams was.

155
by DoubleB (not verified) :: Sun, 05/03/2009 - 11:48am

"That was sort of my point; all that extra information led them to overlook the glaring flaws, or at least convince themselves that they weren't such a big deal."

And my entire point is, how do you know that? How do you know how much the Ravens weighted his college playing ability? You don't, unless you are privy to some inside information that I'm unaware of.

Everyone has red flags, weaknesses, or flaws. Will Sanchez have the arm strength to hit tight windows in the NFL? Will Stafford's decision-making be of NFL caliber? If one of those guys doesn't develop, then those flaws become "glaring" after the fact. Guys have had successful careers with average arm strength (Pennington). Guys have had successful NFL careers with average to poor decision-making (Favre). Guys have had successful NFL careers with poor accuracy in college (Cutler at 57%).

"I just find it kind of irritating when people talk about what a stupid pick a guy like Charles Rogers or Rashaun Woods was without even trying to explain what, if anything, made it a bad pick at the time."

Maybe nothing made it a bad pick at the time. Charles Rogers looked like a great pick early in his rookie season. Then he broke his collarbone twice and his substance abuse problem got out of control. Did the Lions know that he failed drug tests at Michigan State? Was it marijuana or something else more serious? Again, it's hard to judge because we don't know what the Lions knew. And even if they did know he had a drug problem, would it have mattered to his success had he been able to stay healthy early in his career? All we really know is that the pick didn't live up to its level of expectation.

158
by AlanSP :: Sun, 05/03/2009 - 4:18pm

Everyone has red flags, weaknesses, or flaws. Will Sanchez have the arm strength to hit tight windows in the NFL? Will Stafford's decision-making be of NFL caliber? If one of those guys doesn't develop, then those flaws become "glaring" after the fact. Guys have had successful careers with average arm strength (Pennington). Guys have had successful NFL careers with average to poor decision-making (Favre). Guys have had successful NFL careers with poor accuracy in college (Cutler at 57%).

Guys have not had success with a college completion % under 48% . The guys you've mentioned with lackluster college completion % (Palmer, Cutler) were still better than Boller by a substantial margin. The closest examples I know of who were successful are Brett Favre (52.5%) and Drew Bledsoe (54.3%). Both of those guys were still more accurate than Boller by a decent amount. Even ignoring that, though, Favre's success doesn't mean that taking inaccurate QBs is a good idea. The vast majority of guys in that range are flops.

159
by tuluse :: Sun, 05/03/2009 - 11:11pm

You have to adjust for era and system. Bledsoe and Favre both played way before Boller, when lower completion percentage was lot more common.

157
by MainlyRaven (not verified) :: Sun, 05/03/2009 - 1:21pm

As a Ravens fan, I'll tell you what happened with the Boller pick. Ozzie had two huge factors going against him. One was Billick, who cannot evaluate talent, and the other was Art Modell, who demanded that the Ravens get a QB in the 2003 draft before the ownership of the Ravens were transferred to Steve Biscotti (sp?). When Leftwich (whom Ozzie liked) was drafted, he was forced to take a draft a QB. Because Billick is in love with arm strength, Boller was the result even though he completed fewer than 50% of his passes at Cal.

122
by witless chum :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 2:01pm

The other issue with Roy Williams was that it was reported several times in the Detroit papers that he had a desire to play in his native Texas. That should have gone into the Cowboys' consideration of whether they could likely sign him after the season.

127
by Jerry :: Thu, 04/30/2009 - 5:26pm

From http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/09120/966601-150.stm

Draft analysts don't wait five years. Five minutes maybe, tweaks notwithstanding.

Do you think Art Rooney Jr., a pretty fair draft analyst, walked out of his Three Rivers Stadium bunker one day in 1974 thinking he'd just selected four Hall of Famers?

"No, no, no, no, no," he said yesterday. "We all knew they were exceptional players, but Webby [Mike Webster] didn't have great measureables and he was only 225 pounds; [Lynn] Swann had made big plays in big games, but he'd also run 4.65s and as one of our coaches put it, 'he's small, but he's slow'; [Jack] Lambert was kind of a chicken-chested guy, not a lot of upper body growth potential, and [John] Stallworth, who Chuck Noll wanted to take in the first round, was still available in the fourth, so we had a lot of questions."

That right there is the rhetorical evolution of the draft. Where once even guys who might know what was unfolding acted like they didn't, now guys who really don't know pretend to know everything.

149
by Spielman :: Sat, 05/02/2009 - 6:15am

I'm trying to figure out how the Verhei can say "it's silly to try to evaluate a draft mere days after players have been selected" and then rip Tucker for an article that begins "Giving a draft grade for each team the day after the draft is a fruitless exercise."

How is not wanting to give a letter grade pretentious? Tucker says the practice of evaluating the draft immediately is silly, and decides not to give letter grades. F.O. says the practice of evaluating the draft immediately is silly, and then gives us a spreadsheet article based on guys giving out letter grades, even going so far as to shoehorn Tucker's comments into letter grades. And then calls the other guy pretentious for screwing up their spreadsheet.

C'mon, guys. You can do better.

151
by Eddo :: Sat, 05/02/2009 - 1:45pm

Wow, where to begin?

You're having a hard time separating opinion from fact. If a writer had said, "It's silly to run the ball on third and fifteen," then proceeded to catalog all instances of teams doing so, is that a contradiction? No, of course not, and neither is this article.

It would be hypocritical if Vince then gave grades, but he didn't; all he did was track the grades other people gave.

And the Tucker thing is hilarious because he says it's stupid to grade teams, then he proceeds to grade them. He's just not giving letter grades.

154
by Jeff G (not verified) :: Sun, 05/03/2009 - 11:23am

One interesting exercise would be to re-visit the footage of previous regular season and All Star games. Sometimes this will give you new or additional insight that will help explain why a specific team "did what it did" in the draft.

The other reason I like to do this is because, more and more, I "trust my own eyes" more than I trust the so-called pundits. (They may have value in pointing me in the right direction or telling me what to look for, but quite often, I'll see stuff they either don't see or don't report).

160
by Anonymous12344344444 (not verified) :: Tue, 05/05/2009 - 10:54am

Way to marginalize the Seahawks. They arguably won the entire draft.

Got:

1.) the #1 player on virtually every team's draft board.
2.) Got Denver's first round pick in 2010
3.) 10 year starter on the offensive line
4.) Some Kiper-described late round steas (ie Courtney Greene etc)

Way to not even cover them jerks.

161
by Vincent Verhei :: Sat, 05/09/2009 - 7:44pm

I shouldn't even reply to this, but I can't resist.

1) *I* didn't marginalize the Seahawks. The *draft reviewers* did. You missed the point of the entire article.

2) Collectively, the reviewers ranked the Seahawks 17th, right in the middle. They got just one A. Rosenthal & Silva gave the draft a C-. If you have a problem with their review, take it up with them. The link's at the top of the page. But if you switch that to an A, they're still only around 3.0 or so and out of the top 10. So whatever you or I or anyone else thinks, the CONSENSUS is that the Seahawks draft was just average.