Walkthrough: No Reaches

Walkthrough: No Reaches
Walkthrough: No Reaches
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

by Mike Tanier

When it comes to scouting prospect tape, "better late than never" is a wise adage.

The Seahawks drafted West Virginia pass rusher Bruce Irvin in the first round, and many of us invoked the dreaded r-word ("reach") because we had him listed as a mid-round value, if we had him listed at all. Don’t judge us harshly: it is hard to form a coherent opinion within a ten-minute window.

Soon after the draft, the Jets said that they would have taken Irvin if the Seahawks had not. Several teams with 3-4 schemes and defense-minded coaches apparently had Irvin high on their draft boards. Pete Carroll and Rex Ryan can both be wrong about a player, but it is a safer bet that the rest of the draft intelligentsia overlooked something, whether it was Irvin’s actual potential or the attributes that would make him appealing to coaches. (Those are not always the same thing).

So let us watch some tape together. This first cut up is from the West Virginia-Pitt game.

About 16 seconds into the clip, Irvin gets put on the ground by the Pitt left tackle. It happens again at 47 seconds. The Pitt tape was the one I watched pre-draft; the only one, because I did not think Irvin would be a first-round pick. In between those two pancakes, he shows his wheels by chasing Pitt quarterback Silversun Pickups down from behind. But two pancakes in 47 seconds were enough for me to say, "yeah, little pass rush guy, fast, gets clobbered a lot, no need to do serious investigation."

It is important to note that Irvin is playing defensive end on these snaps. As a 245-pound defensive end, he is going to be pancaked. When the Mountaineers put him in the Wide-9, he generally looked much better.

The Pitt footage gets better as the game goes along. At about 3:57 you see a fine example of the quickness with which Irvin works back inside against his blocker. He beats the left tackle off the edge, and once the blocker sets wide, Irvin swivels inside and flushes Sunny Delight from the pocket. Irvin executed this move a few times earlier in the game, but here it gets the worn-out left tackle completely crossed up. Note the quickness and body control of the move: head, shoulders, hips and thighs all moving as one. Sometimes, a young pass rusher’s "inside move" has his shoulders moving inside while his torso changes direction. There’s a real suddenness and agility to Irvin’s move.

Irvin makes a similar move to record a sack of Soleil Moon Frye at about 4:47. The late-game footage has Irvin chasing the poor quarterback all over creation during a final desperation drive while the left tackle watches.

Now, let’s check out the bowl game against Clemson. This cut-up is apparently all over the Seahawks blogs. Like the Pitt game, Irvin starts slowly in this game. Irvin gets washed down the line on a long Clemson run at about 38 seconds. At about the one-minute mark, he gets a hurry – and should draw a holding penalty – with his inside move. There’s a comical offside penalty at 1:15; Irvin went to the Michael Vick Sliding Academy.

Doug Farrar pointed me to the play at the two-minute mark: Irvin is taken wide by the left tackle, but loops completely around the field and chases the scrambling Tajh Boyd down from behind. Irvin displays wide receiver-caliber speed on this play. Jon Gruden even gushes about Irvin’s speed on the replay. The next play, at around 2:40, is more impressive to me because it is yet another example of Irvin’s exceptional inside move, this time resulting in a sack.

What we see, again and again, is a pass rusher who is able to make his left tackle take an incredibly wide set, then work back inside of that blocker, before the blocker can initiate any real contact. That last part is key: keep watching the tape, and you see Irvin avoid blocks, bounce off blocks, or make a pass rush move or two before he gets blocked.

That is what the Seahawks and Jets were looking at. Both teams have no problem putting a "designated pass rusher" on the field for about 40 snaps per game. Neither Carroll nor Ryan will put an Irvin-type at defensive end, let alone inside the tackle’s shoulder, where Irvin lines up at times on these cutups. Neither team was concerned about Irvin’s one-dimensionality, because that dimension includes a very critical skill: the ability to threaten the edge of the pass protection with elite speed and change-of-direction quickness.

Now, after watching all of that, I would rather have Melvin Ingram or Courtney Upshaw. SackSEER was rather lukewarm on Irvin with its 11.1 sack projection, though Nathan Forster’s "boom or bust" assessment sounds accurate enough. None of us in the draftnik world are Ryan or Carroll, however, or their personnel guys. It’s not just that they have more film, more interview opportunities, and more resources. They also have a playbook. They can take Irvin and say "he will go here, here, but not here." The rest of us have to make a kind of one-size-fits-all projection. We do the best we can.

So "reach" was a strong word. Maybe we should say "specialized pick."

Here is a little more Irvin footage if you're interested.

Thirsty Island

The first thing that goes through my mind after the last selection of the first round of the draft is: where will I go to get a drink?

To be precise, this year my first thought was "why didn’t the Giants select Rueben Randle, Stephen Hill, or Coby Fleener?" There were funny, informative, pre-written scouting reports locked and loaded in my hard drive, all of which would have made fine capstones to the live blog. Instead, I had to scramble after David Wilson, who looks like just another scat back, albeit a good one. The Jets and Giants obligingly took Hill and Randle in the second round, but that was of little use to me on Thursday night.

The first round ended just minutes after 11 p.m., and the Wilson report was posted by 11:15. My editor punched my proverbial timecard almost immediately. Where do I go to get a drink?

It is fun to get a manhattan in Manhattan: made with rye, not bourbon, so it has that dry bite. Rye is a fashionable drink these days, with all the craft distillers making their own versions. That causes confusion and expense, but it also means the bartender is not just going to glug Jim Beam rye into the glass and shrug his shoulders. But Thursday night did not feel like a manhattan night in Manhattan.

There are a handful of good places to get a drink in Manhattan. Okay, there are tens of thousands: chic places, trendy places, shady places, even cheap places if you look hard enough. Historic places. Once in a while, I splurge for a 20-dollar cocktail at the Algonquin, because writing jokes about Janoris Jenkins’ sex life makes me James Thurber. But that is not a post-draft kind of hangout, unless you are drafting some sort of manifesto on the lively arts. And it was blocks in the wrong direction.

This draft was a beer draft: it was quick, smooth, and effervescent. All I wanted at 11:30, the time I hit the street, was the frosty taste of a job well done, weeks of preparation resulting in a well-executed live performance.

A place called the Harvest Brewery lies just a block from Radio City Music Hall. It is tourist-friendly without being a freakin’ Hard Rock: standard-issue brew pub décor and menu, India Pale Ale and Oatmeal Stout and burgers with slightly offbeat toppings. It gets the job done.

Except that when I walked in, the bartender told me that I missed last call.

Let’s reset the math. I left Radio City Music Hall by 11:30. Harvest Brewery is a block away. The draft sent hundreds of thirsty sports fans onto the streets about 27 minutes earlier. The Rangers won Game 7 of a hockey playoff 18 blocks away; 18 blocks are like 18 miles in Manhattan, but there were obviously some happy Rangers fans wandering around in search of wings and beer. The Devils were in overtime. The bar and tables were rather full, though not overflowing.

This is Manhattan, before midnight. Not Manhattan, Kansas. Manhattan Manhattan, a few blocks from Times Square and the theatre district. Last call, 11:30 p.m.?

The bars in Mount Ephraim were still open, for heaven’s sake! I stood, mouth agape and watering, thirstily eyeing the taps, the bottles, the merry hockey fans with full drinks and plates of pub grub. What gives?

Reflecting on the event, I could have sworn that the bartender, before telling me I was out of luck, made a quick gesture toward his neck, as if he were pointing to a lanyard. I was still wearing my press pass. Fans at the draft also got lanyards from a credit card company: if they were spotted wearing them, they won some prize, like an interest rate below 22.7 percent or something. The fan lanyards looked a lot like the press lanyards. I wonder, were they shooing away fans who were at the draft? Did they not want oddballs with their faces painted in Redskins colors sullying the good name of an establishment that caters to Rangers fans?

Stranger things have happened. This weekend, I am covering the Phillies-Nationals series and the Nationals’ effort to keep Philly fans out of the ballpark. Maybe Harvest Brewery has some Take Back the Pub initiative in place. Maybe a Jake Locker fan slugged a Cam Newton fan there last year.

In any case: farewell, Harvest Brewery. You have lost my business until the next time I am one block away and thirsty, which will probably be next April, assuming I can get to your fine establishment before it stops serving liquor at dusk. I found another place for beer and wings, though it too was quiet, as were other places I poked my head into on my way back to the hotel.

City that never sleeps, indeed.


Thanks to everyone who came to Football Outsiders for our chats on Thursday and Friday. We had a great crowd and lots to talk about!

If you did not check out the Google Plus chats at the New York Times Fifth Down blog, here is a link to the replay. Judy Battista and I shoot from the hip, with the help of teenage blogging sensation Brad Wolff, who was in Salt Lake City and not in school for some reason. Look carefully at the background when I am speaking and you can see a roll of toilet paper over my right shoulder. A lot of people in this house have allergies, and it is more convenient than tissues at times, but I really need to do some cleaning.

New Orleans Saints Top Five Running Backs

Blech. What a dull list! When we did the quarterback top fives, we could at least lead off with Drew Brees and Archie Manning, and there were worse third and fourth options than Bobby Hebert and Aaron Brooks. If we ever get to receivers, we have Danny Abramowicz, Joe Horn, Marques Colston, Wes Chandler ... an interesting group. These guys are just weak.

The Saints had ten different leading rushers in their first ten seasons, with no duplicates. Jim Taylor led them with 390 yards in 1967, their first year and his last. Then came Don McCall with 637 yards. Andy Livingston made the Pro Bowl with 761 yards the next year.

Then, go see for yourself at Pro Football Reference. It is a parade of nobodies, many of them gaining about 600 rushing yards in their Lead-the-Saints season. In 1975, Michael Strachen led the Saints with 668 yards. He is only relevant because I found some footage of Peyton Manning getting interviewed about his father at age three, with Cooper making faces next to him, and Peyton is wearing a tiny Strachen jersey.

The man who broke the string was Chuck Muncie, who led the team in 1976 and 1977, then had a mammoth year in 1979, with 1,198 yards and 40 receptions. Muncie was high on cocaine the whole time. George Rogers also had major, well-publicized cocaine issues. Ricky Williams preferred marijuana, and while we can fill the message boards with arguments about the relative health hazards and severity of habituation between the two drugs (though it may be more fun if we don’t), Williams’ substance abuse choices inarguably affected his career. All three were early first-round picks by the Saints; there is no grand connection here, just a strange, sad coincidence.

A fourth high pick, Reggie Bush, did not need drugs to be a nitwit.

So, we are left with this list:

1. Deuce McAllister

A boom-or-bust big back, McAllister had exceptional size and speed, but his success rates hovered around 43 percent, and DVOA never thought much of him. McAllister ranked 13th in DYAR and 21st in DVOA in 2003, his 1,641-yard season.

McAllister is the Saints all-time leading rusher, by a margin of over 1,800 yards. It is an incredible feat for a player with such a modest career.

2. Chuck Muncie

A big back with great hands, Muncie and Manning lifted the Saints out of the deepest pit of awfulness and got them to around .500. Muncie was, by his own admission, higher than a cumulus crowd the whole time. Muncie later turned his life around, after a jail term. His career was impressive, even with all of his problems. Drugs probably cost him a bust in Canton.

3. George Rogers

Rogers caught just 55 passes in his career. Only Michael Turner has fewer receptions (51) among running backs with more than 6,000 rushing yards. Rogers looked like Earl Campbell in his first two seasons, then tailed off quickly before moving to the Redskins, where he filled John Riggins’ role as the big overrated guy who scores goal line touchdowns.

Turner and Rogers fill a unique ecological niche in the running back biosphere: power runners who are so inept in the passing game that they have negative receiving value. DYAR gives Turner exactly two yards above replacement for his career, but our metrics are scraping against small sample sizes when dealing with a back who catches six passes per year, and DYAR is not designed to calculate the value of having to leave the field or block on every single passing down. Turner may be climbing out of the category; let’s wait and see.

There are no comparable backs to Rogers and Turner among the top-75 all-time rushers. Riggins caught about 20 passes per year early in his career. Larry Csonka fits roughly the same mold but caught 106 passes. Steve van Buren has fewer receptions, but now we are going back to the true T-formation. Brandon Jacobs is similar, but at a lower success level. Most backs with such rudimentary receiving skills have a hard time claiming regular roles long enough to crack 5,000 yards. Turner and Rogers are pretty special. Anyone who saw Rogers in his brief prime would agree.

4. Dalton Hilliard

Hilliard gained 1,262 yards in 1989 and hung around for several years before and after as a committee back. Hilliard threw four touchdowns on option plays in his career; his quarterback rating was 141.4.

5. Fred McAfee

McAfee led the 11-5 Saints with 494 rushing yards in 1992. He then faded quickly, and he appeared to be on the same career path guys like McCall and Livingston followed in the 1970s. McAfee bounced around the league for a while, reinventing himself as a special teams captain. He returned to New Orleans and spent seven seasons as the Saints’ personal protector, a fullback on the kick return team, a part-time return man, and general special teams ace. If we ever open the Special Teams Hall of Fame, McAfee will join Steve Tasker, Bill Bates, Gary Stills, and a select handful of others in the non-specialist wing.

McAfee is fifth so we do not have to sort from among the masses. Reggie Bush could easily be fifth once you account for his receiving and return value, and strip away all the baggage. However, it is illegal to say charitable, or even fair, things about Bush on the Internet. Tony Galbreath was a great receiving fullback whose numbers bear some surface similarity to Bush’s. I could rank Galbreath ahead of Bush and keep my blogger’s card, but I am just too tired to compare one complementary receiver-back to another across 40 years of history right now. (Sorry.)

Rueben Mayes was great as a rookie in 1986, had a fine follow up season in a strike year, then faded fast. His career looks almost exactly like Rogers’, but with nowhere near the same peak. Ricky Williams trudged through three productive years, hating every minute of it.

Pierre Thomas or Mark Ingram could easily make this list with a few good years. The Saints have had three different leading rushers in the last three seasons; it will be four if Ingram leads the team in 2012. Franchises have a funny way of falling into old habits.


83 comments, Last at 08 May 2012, 9:55pm

#1 by pound4pound (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 1:10pm

"Soon after the draft, the Jets said that they would have taken Irvin if the Seahawks had not."

No, actually it looks like either the Seahawks or someone in Irvin's camp leaked a story that this was the case, but the Jets quickly denied it. Here's Rex:

"Not at 16, I can tell you that much," Ryan said, when asked if they wanted the talented, but troubled pass rusher from West Virginia. "He's a guy we did a lot of stuff on. We liked Bruce Irvin as a player, but not ahead of the first two guys we took."

Points: 0

#2 by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 1:18pm

Has any coach said they didn't get the guy they really wanted with their first two picks?

Has any coach said they liked another team's pick just ahead of them in any draft?

Points: 0

#3 by Anonymouse (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 1:23pm

Has any team ever made up stories of other teams' interest in order to justify their own draft picks? Pretty sure that one's a yes.

Points: 0

#12 by 40oz to Freedom (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 2:31pm

Yeah, that is odd. Seahawks trade back to 15, pick up 2 more draft picks, then get the guy they supposedly wanted all along. Almost as crazy as picking up 2 O-linemen in the first two rounds of the draft.

Points: 0

#4 by Thomas_beardown // May 03, 2012 - 1:30pm

The Giants in 2004

Points: 0

#16 by Displaced Bolthead (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 2:41pm

True that. Though, Seattle isn't using Irvin as leverage against the Jets or 49ers for more picks. Now that would've been a crazy 1st round trade.

Points: 0

#5 by ebongreen // May 03, 2012 - 1:38pm

Having watched a fair bit of YouTube footage about him post-combine, I saw a player who was utterly miscast as a hand-down end by West Virginia, and wished devoutly that the Packers were able to pick him up to go opposite CM3. With his speed and bend on the edge, Irvin was practically born to play 3-4 OLB; with the right coaching and the development of more countermoves, he'll be a terror from a two-point stance.

I found the Seahawk pick puzzling from a scheme perspective, though not a talent one. A lot of draft-y folks were saying second round pre-draft; had the Packers nabbed him instead of Perry with #28, I'd have been pretty happy. I still don't know why (again, from a scheme perspective) that the 'Hawks or Bears didn't draft Perry instead of Irvin and McClellin. What's the world coming to when 4-3 teams draft 3-4 OLBs and 3-4 teamd draft 4-3 ends?

MADNESS, I tell you!

Points: 0

#6 by Karl Cuba // May 03, 2012 - 1:45pm

I'm with Tanier on the Irvin pick for the Hawks. Their base formation is three big uglies with an elephant rusher that they call a Leo. Irvin will back up Clemons there this year and eventually replace him while coming onto the field as a nickel rusher opposite Clemons against passing formations.

I still don't like the way he's done if a tackle gets their hands on him. I would expect him to get stronger though and his burst off the edge is almost reminiscent of Fred Dean.

Points: 0

#8 by ebongreen // May 03, 2012 - 2:02pm

I fully expect him to improve as well. If he becomes a football monk - eats, sleeps, breathes gridiron - and stays out of trouble in the Big City of Seattle, he's got all the athletic tools you'd want to develop in an undersized edge rusher. 6'3" 250 and moves like a freakin' safety - he's this year's Von Miller, or Urlacher as an OLB, at least from a physical standpoint.

How do humans that large motor like that? One of the wonders of football, and part of why it's fun to watch: athletic freaks getting their athletic freak on.

Points: 0

#7 by Thomas_beardown // May 03, 2012 - 1:54pm

I'm not sure why people thought McCellin would be a 3-4 OLB, he played end his entire college career. Yeah he's undersized, but isn't that what you would expect a cover 2 defense to draft?

Points: 0

#9 by ebongreen // May 03, 2012 - 2:05pm

Not when Perry - who is bigger, stronger, (straight-line) faster, and also a college DE who compares more like a Dwight Freeney - is available for the taking. Perry to me is a "pure" pass-rusher, which is what Tampa 2 looks for in ends; McClellin's value is in his versatility, because he played up as well as down for Boise.

But maybe that's just me.

Points: 0

#10 by Thomas_beardown // May 03, 2012 - 2:14pm

When I watched Perry (which wasn't much, but I heard the Bears would be interested in him), what I saw was a very athletic strong person who had little idea how to play football. On running plays he would push the lineman in front of him backwards like 3 yards but would be oblivious to the running back running right next to him for a 6 yard gain. He was better at pass rushing, but it still looked to me like he lacked instincts on how to play defensive lineman.

However, whatever Perry looks like, that doesn't really change what McClellin would do.

Points: 0

#39 by Jerry // May 04, 2012 - 5:20am

The classic 3-4 OLB is an undersized college defensive end. When the 3-4 was rare in the NFL, the Steelers would regularly draft those tweeners relatively late, give them a year to learn the position, and plug in another Joey Porter or whoever.

Points: 0

#76 by kpak76 (not verified) // May 08, 2012 - 1:25am

It's because Seattle runs a hybrid 4-3. It's a 4-3 only by name. It is ran optimally with 3-4 personnel. Irvin is going to play what we call the Leo which means he lines up 2 point stance on the line most of the time. He fits perfectly for it.

Also its kinda ridiculous to assume the Hawks started the story that the Jets where going to take him at 16. Especially since the only thing that Carrol has said was that the Jets like him a lot and that they couldn't risk losing him. They said nothing about them taking him with the next pick. That was some other source. For all we know, Ryan is back peddling. Ryan has been known to make stupid comments to the press. It is true that the Jets call the Hawks and jokingly cursed the Hawks out for taking Irvin. The Hawks GM John Schneider has confirmed this. The fact that the Jets had to change their draft plans on moving back when Seattle took Irvin makes me believe that the Jets saw him much, much, MUCH higher than the 3rd round grade Ryan is saying he gave Irvin to begin with. You just don't do stuff like for a guy you graded in the 3rd round.

Points: 0

#11 by Led // May 03, 2012 - 2:16pm

Those Irvin clips remind me of Aaron Maybin. Irvin has been productive a lot longer than Maybin was in college so I would expect him to be better than Maybin. But with that tall, lean frame, it's hard to see him being an every down player.

Points: 0

#13 by Insancipitory // May 03, 2012 - 2:36pm

From what I've seen I like the Irvin pick. I'll have a better idea when I go to a player appearance. It just seems that the players who can find some joy in that (or fake it very well) are the guys who play for a long time. FWIW Aaron Curry had about the worst attitude I've ever seen of someone at a player appearence, made me sorry for even showing up.

But really I just felt the need to add I'd sack Soleil Moon Frye. I would sack the hell out of her. Illegal touching, all that.

Points: 0

#14 by Raiderjoe // May 03, 2012 - 2:39pm

Gill Fenerty fun guy to watch. D. McAllister besy . Hilliard very enjoyable to watch play. Uncle of former Gaints rexeiver I. Hilliard. D. Hilliard gerat 1989. And then blow out knee and mever good again

Points: 0

#56 by Roscoe // May 05, 2012 - 6:01pm

Dalton has another nephew, Kenny, who had a great year as a freshman RB at LSU.

Points: 0

#60 by Dean // May 06, 2012 - 5:56pm

I think he should have given the #5 spot to Guido Merkins.

Points: 0

#15 by Raiderjoe // May 03, 2012 - 2:40pm

Who is S.M. Frye, Insanciproty?

Points: 0

#18 by dryheat // May 03, 2012 - 2:53pm

She's famous for playing Punky Brewster in the mid-80s, but I don't understand the running joke on the Pitt quarterback. Is he really that terrible that it's not worth referring to him by name? At least Rusher McFumbles made sense to me. Running through names starting with "s" does not. I guess if that segment was longer, we could've seen him referred to as Stockard Channing, Sirhan Sirhan, St. Louis Blues, and Sherrif Buford T. Justice. The joke would still be lost on me though.

Points: 0

#29 by Shattenjager // May 03, 2012 - 7:28pm

I think the joke is based on the fact that the guy has "Sun" in his name. (I had to look up the guy's name: Tino Sunseri.) Hence Silversun Pickups (Which I also had to look up, incidentally.) and then Soleil Moon Frye.

I think if it would have continued, Moon Unit Zappa was undoubtedly next.

Points: 0

#31 by Led // May 03, 2012 - 8:45pm

I believe Soleil is "sun" in French.

Points: 0

#32 by Shattenjager // May 03, 2012 - 8:55pm

That makes more sense. I never thought of that at all.

I guess that means no Moon Unit Zappa.

Points: 0

#45 by justanothersteve // May 04, 2012 - 11:22am

Sunny Delight always sounds like a pron star name to me. Or the next Bond girl.

Points: 0

#77 by kpak76 (not verified) // May 08, 2012 - 1:30am

You must be young.


Points: 0

#17 by Jeff M. (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 2:42pm

The other thing with Irvin is that he's still got a lot of room for improvement. I don't like just how willing he's been to throw his college coaches under the bus with quotes like "I've never been coached on how to pass rush," but watch his tape and it's pretty clear he's telling the truth--all the production so far is based purely on natural talent and athleticism.

If he just adds a shoulder-dip moving coming off the edge (something I've never seen him do on tape), his speed becomes much more effective on the outside rush, the tackle needs to get an even wider set and lean out/back even more to get to him, and that superb natural inside move (that we do see on all the tape and Tanier discusses above) gets even more devastating.

That plus the Seahawks using him in a rational way (WVU coaches: "well, he excelled as a wide-9 nickel pass-rusher, let's put him at 5-tech in a 3-man line!") makes me cautiously optimistic he can be a double-digit sack force in sub-packages right away (if you think that's crazy look at 32-year-old Raheem Brock's 2010 stats in the same role) plus a long-term successor to Clemons.

Considering the LEO end is the most important position in Carroll's defense, getting a guy who seems purpose-built for the role, and the guy they thought was the best pass-rusher in the draft, with basically unlimited ceiling, seems worth the investment they made to me.

Points: 0

#24 by ebongreen // May 03, 2012 - 3:25pm

Take a look at his junior tape and you see more of the edge-rush with his shoulder getting down.


When he's only got one guy to beat, he's hazardous to block.

Points: 0

#25 by ebongreen // May 03, 2012 - 3:25pm

Take a look at his junior tape and you see more of the edge-rush with his shoulder getting down.


When he's only got one guy to beat, he's hazardous to block.

Points: 0

#19 by Jonadan // May 03, 2012 - 2:53pm

So Pitt started a guy named Tino Sunseri. No wonder Mike was making things up instead of trying to remember that.

"When you absolutely don't know what to do any more, then it's time to panic." - Johann van der Wiel

Points: 0

#40 by Mike_Tanier // May 04, 2012 - 9:27am

He has been a starter for two years. And he is not terrible. I wasn't trying to pick on him with the Sun jokes.

Watch a Pitt game, or those cutups, and you will hear how his name becomes an ear worm. Sunseri. Sunseri. And it sounds like some strange New Age trend. "We are taking the Sunseri approach to raising our children."

Points: 0

#20 by AJ (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 2:58pm

Yeah i think of maybin too. Its funny, the jets were the only team who figured how to utilize maybin effectively- a one trick speed guy who can get after the qb in space. In many ways, the jets pats games this season really signaled how the nfl game has evolved at the highest levels(i mean from a perspective of the pats offense vs the jets defense).

The patriots, prior to this season, were all about the spread. It could be with receivers or tight ends, but it was about spread, especially with running backs and working the slot. The very formations that bust base defenses.

The jets countered with uber sub packages featuring a plethora of dbs. It didn't matter that they lack an impact pass rusher, they had enough cover guys and blitz schemes and they understood-coverage has a higher correlation to pass defense than pass rush does. They went from using linebackers david and scott to much smaller players in westermann and throwing out four corners playing all over the field. Brady often likes to yell "he's the mike" to set the defense but the jets really broke that mold.

And it worked too! For a while. The jets had successfully defended the patriots since 2008 other than that 45-3 shellacking(man it was hard to explain that one), and it worked this season too, until the pats countered back. They effectively went no huddle and ran the ball against the jets. Not only did this not allow the jets to substitute, but because the same personnel being used in ne's sub were being used in base, the jets didn't know what to do. Bring back bigger guys and get killed by the tight ends? or stay small and get run on? they chose to stay small and got run on. I think ryan hopes to counter back still remaining small, but two or three talented de's to play both run and pass. Its probably why he chose coples and wilkerson in back to back drafts even though he knew they don't have that traditional attack outside linebacker. In essence, rex wants to build an everydown sub package.

Points: 0

#21 by Mikey // May 03, 2012 - 3:01pm

We want Ironhead!


What WAS with the thingy?

Points: 0

#22 by chemical burn // May 03, 2012 - 3:09pm

I know - my first thought for Saints backs was "Ironhead!" He was most fun to watch of any Saints RB of all time. It looked like it would be no fun to have him run into you.

Points: 0

#23 by Joseph // May 03, 2012 - 3:23pm

Re: Reuben Mayes, I seem to remember that he had some kind of leg/knee injuries that cut out his effectiveness.

Points: 0

#26 by Dan // May 03, 2012 - 3:46pm

Irvin looks to me more like a blitzing DB than a front 7 pass rusher. A ton of speed, but he's in trouble once a blocker's on him. It's like Adrian Wilson as a nickel DE/OLB.

Points: 0

#27 by fb29 // May 03, 2012 - 4:33pm

Midtown Manhattan is full of tourists and olds. Not exactly a late-night crowd.

Points: 0

#28 by chemical burn // May 03, 2012 - 5:08pm

Yeah, I was going to say the only place sleepier in NYC at night than the immediately vicinity of Rockefeller Center is way downtown around Wall Street. I have a friend who works evenings at 30 Rock and finding any place to meet him for a drink at even 9:00 is impossible.

Incidentally, I just last week had lunch at the place Tanier went into and got denied service...

Points: 0

#41 by Mike_Tanier // May 04, 2012 - 9:30am

But ... but ... this was 11:45 PM!

I live in what are essentially bedroom communities and small town communities in Camden County. I don't think I could find many vibrant crowds at the local bars at 11:30 on Thursday night, but none of the places around here are stacking chairs, either!

I reserve the right to be flabbergasted that I can get a beer and burger at midnight in Haddon Township but not in midtown Manhattan.

Points: 0

#46 by chemical burn // May 04, 2012 - 11:22am

Well, like I said, I'm there all the time at around the same time you were having trouble finding some place and in reality there are five or six bars that stay open until 4:00a.m. within 3 blocks of 30 Rock. I think you're just responding to the fact that in the rest of NYC, there are 2 or 3 bars/restaurants on every single block that stay open until the wee hours...

(Also, a lot of late-night bars in that area have a tendency to tiny poorly labeled places that cater to the people who work at the 24hour news channels and t.v. shows nearby, so they're not visible unless you walk right up to them and look in the window...)

Points: 0

#30 by Nathan Forster // May 03, 2012 - 8:03pm

I like how this topic intersects nicely with my two biggest statistics projects.

For what it's worth, per the Mocktopus, Bruce Irvin was the biggest "reach" (the biggest divergence between draft position and conventional wisdom) since at least 2005. I'm not saying that means Irvin will bust but it's an interesting inquiry in and of itself. Here are the top ten "reaches" in the first round since 2005 (the number after the slash is the difference between actual and projected draft position):

Bruce Irvin / -54.0
Tim Tebow / -42.2
Duane Brown / -41.1
A.J. Jenkins / -40.3
John McCargo / -37.6
Tyson Alualu / -33.1
Matt Jones / -33.1
Christian Ponder / -32.2
Ryan Matthews / -23.2
Cam Newton / -22.8

Sorry JPP!

Points: 0

#36 by Sifter // May 04, 2012 - 12:18am

Interesting list...no DEs/pass rushers on there though. Actually not many defenders period. McCargo sucked, and Alualu has been merely OK (when healthy...). Irvin is breaking new ground for sure.

Oh and Ricky Williams for sure at #5...Bush's record looks OK I guess, but in reality he was a huge disappointment for being the so called 'once in a generation' talent. Ricky was much closer to living up to that huge expectation of being worth a whole draft.

Points: 0

#37 by BaronFoobarstein // May 04, 2012 - 4:17am

Nice data. I assume the mocktopus knows where each was conventionally thought to go and where each did go. Instead of looking at raw pick position difference I'd be interested in seeing reaches with other value functions: the commonly referenced trade value chart, and the expected value by draft slot data from the other thread here on FO. I was about to redo this list by trade value when I realized that reranking these names isn't nearly as interesting since other names are likely to appear.

Points: 0

#61 by Dean // May 06, 2012 - 5:56pm

Yeah, but all that means is that he lost the popularity contest. It has nothing to do with whether or not he's actually any good - just whether or not the hive gave him the Internet Seal of Approval or not. That's the big flaw with Moctopus - it doesn't do anything other than measure internet popularity.

Points: 0

#62 by BaronFoobarstein // May 06, 2012 - 7:08pm

I think the wisdom of the crowds articles suggest there is some validity to that hive opinion. What would be really interesting to me would be a retrospective on players we can somewhat judge to see how the hive compares to various front offices.

Points: 0

#63 by Dean // May 06, 2012 - 11:30pm

Funny, I have the same problem with Wisdom of Crowds. It's simply an internet popularity contest. I suppose I simply don't find the masses interesting enough to care about their collective opinion. That collective is the collective wisdom FO is supposed to be breaking down.

Points: 0

#64 by Thomas_beardown // May 07, 2012 - 2:20am

Maybe, but you need to define what that wisdom is right? If nothing else Mocktopus gives us that starting point.

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#65 by Dean // May 07, 2012 - 9:59am

Do we need to define it? What value is popular opinion?

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#66 by Thomas_beardown // May 07, 2012 - 10:45am

You are the one who said FO is here to breakdown popular opinion. You have to know what it is to break it down.

However, I think it's valuable to give FO a baseline to work from. Something to test against. Common wisdom says running equals winning, is this true? Etc.

Points: 0

#67 by erniecohen // May 07, 2012 - 11:24am

The wisdom of crowds effect arises from the crowd (collectively) knowing stuff that the experts don't know. For example, if you want to know if stocks are going up, asking a lot of people whether they are going up can be effective because how they feel about stocks affects the price. Similarly, front offices are very much tuned into collective wisdom on the value of players in the draft, because this collective wisdom affects both when a player is likely to be chosen and because an owner and fans are a lot less likely to be pissed off about a draft bust if collective wisdom suggests picking him was a reasonable thing to do; thus collective wisdom has a very real relationship to the genuine value of the player.

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#68 by Dean // May 07, 2012 - 2:12pm

I'm still not buying it. Having spent the last 15 years in the financial industry, I can assure you that "asking a lot of people" will get you your information just in time to have missed the rally. Likewise - any front office worth a damn (and even most that aren't) genuinely don't care about making popular draft picks. They know that fans that are pissed off on draft day will have forgotten about it by minicamp and still buy tickets, turn on their TVs and sport officially licensed NFL products.

Points: 0

#75 by Nathan Forster // May 07, 2012 - 10:17pm

Just a few notes on the Mocktopus.

For those who are interested, the very earliest incarnation of the Mocktopus didn't use mock drafts at all--I actually created a number of position-specific stats to measure individual teams' "needs" and only used the Internet commentariat for prospect value. The resulting mock drafts that this created completely bucked conventional wisdom, made lots of sense when you thought about them, and also bore absolutely no resemblance to what happened on draft day. It wasn't until I ditched this approach and started incorporating mock drafts that I started approaching a level of accuracy comparable to a halfway-decent mock. They are very far from perfect, but if you're actually trying to project the draft, mock drafts are absolutely the best source of information available.

I also like to think that it would be a mistake to equate the Mocktopus with conventional wisdom. As an example, in 2010, everybody and their grandmother had Eric Berry mocked to the Browns at number seven. However, the Internet consensus was also that Eric Berry was one of the best players in the draft, and the Mocktopus was skeptical that Berry would actually be available for the Browns for them to draft, and mocked him to the Seahawks (he ended up going one pick earlier to Kansas City).

Sorry JPP!

Points: 0

#33 by Reinhard (not verified) // May 03, 2012 - 9:07pm

Irvin is way stronger than Maybin. Maybin looks like a basketball player, Irvin is thick, plus looks like he will get stronger. He reminds me more of demarcus ware actually; he came in at 6-4 251 lbs too.

Points: 0

#34 by armchair journ… // May 03, 2012 - 11:52pm

Harvest Brewery is 100% tourist-intended and populated by such... and it's really a restaurant that happens to have beer, more than the other way around. Not surprised they have restaurant hours.

Unfortunately, Midtown is a pub desert--if you're there and want a decent pub, you have to head west. Pony Bar on 10th Ave & 45th is probably the best bet, with dozens of craft brews (Brooklyn & Goose Island heavily represented).


Points: 0

#35 by armchair journ… // May 03, 2012 - 11:54pm

There's also a German Bier joint a block away from Pony Bar called Hallo Berlin. Good backup option for if the first place is full.


Points: 0

#38 by Jerry // May 04, 2012 - 4:42am

Is Harvest the place this tourist remembers as Heartland?

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#42 by Mike_Tanier // May 04, 2012 - 9:32am

Yeah, I got the name wrong but screw 'em if they won't give me a beer at 11:45 PM.

I ended up at 10th Ave. I know there's a good strip on the other side of the island as well. If the draft really ends at 11 again next year, I will take a train to Philly, have some beers at Monks or someplace, then sleep on someone's couch.

Points: 0

#43 by Eddo // May 04, 2012 - 10:18am

"It is fun to get a manhattan in Manhattan: made with rye, not bourbon, so it has that dry bite. Rye is a fashionable drink these days, with all the craft distillers making their own versions. That causes confusion and expense, but it also means the bartender is not just going to glug Jim Beam rye into the glass and shrug his shoulders. But Thursday night did not feel like a manhattan night in Manhattan."

I'm a big bourbon fan, but this is spot-on. Bourbon manhattans are great; rye manhattans are divine.

I actually tried my hand at making them at a party this past weekend; did fairly well for myself, I think. The second batch had a bit too much vermouth, but otherwise, delicious.

Points: 0

#44 by Led // May 04, 2012 - 10:34am

The key is the bitters. You gotta have it, but not too much!

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#47 by dryheat // May 04, 2012 - 12:08pm

dryheat's recipe for the Perfect Manhattan:

1. Fill a martini glass with ice, preferably crushed
2. Pour 2 oz of your choice of bourbon or rye into a shot glass and set aside
3. After at least 2 minutes, dump ice from martini glass and carefully place a cherry, with stem, at the bottom.
4. Shake exactly one dash of genuine Angostura bitters into the martini glass.
5. Carefully pare 2-3 inches of rind from a fresh lemon
6. Pick up a bottle of sweet vermouth
7. Put the bottle back down, drink the whisky, and throw the rest of that shit away.

I also make a fantastic Mint Julep.

Points: 0

#70 by AlanSP // May 07, 2012 - 3:07pm

My impression from bartenders I've spoken to is that they die a little on the inside whenever somebody orders the Groucho Marx style extra dry martini (the "pick up the bottle of vermouth, wave it over the gin and put it back down" bit). Probably pretty similar when you change the liquor and type of vermouth (or lack thereof).

Points: 0

#73 by bigtencrazy (not verified) // May 07, 2012 - 7:37pm

That's BS. I have been drinking straight Hendricks gin for years and nobody has batted an eye.

I like the other gins but Hendricks is my favorite

Sometimes I add some cucumber. Sometimes mushrooms. Sure I do olives

Points: 0

#74 by Thomas_beardown // May 07, 2012 - 7:43pm

Vermouth was invented because bathtub gin in the depression was awful.

Now maybe AlanSP means bartenders hate it when customers try to be super clever when they order. I could see that.

Points: 0

#78 by InTheBoilerRoom // May 08, 2012 - 12:57pm

It's not really accurate to say that vermouth was invented to cover up the terrible flavor of bathtub gin during prohibition, which is what I assume you were referring to when you said the depression. Vermouth has been around for a long time, and like bitters, was used medicinally prior to being incorporated into cocktails.

The cocktail fad that began in the mid to late 19th century led to vermouth being used to make Martinis and Manhattans well before prohibition and the Great Depression, and with good gins and bourbons, not just with dreck. At least that's my understanding.

And I interpreted AlanSP's comment to refer to the quip being irritating to bartenders.

Points: 0

#83 by LionInAZ // May 08, 2012 - 9:55pm

I don't know about Hendricks, but Plymouth gin is very nice.

Points: 0

#80 by dryheat // May 08, 2012 - 1:00pm

During my previous life as a bartender, nobody wanted vermouth in their manhattans, or martinis for that matter. It's just become more sociably acceptable to order a martini or manhattan or do during lunch than a gin/vodka/whisky on the rocks.

If the bartenders die a little, it's because they don't get to demonstrate their perceived skill as a mixologist.

Points: 0

#82 by BaronFoobarstein // May 08, 2012 - 5:02pm

That sounds a lot like Churchill's recipe.

As for the die a little inside, on the customer's side it comes when upon ordering a martini the bartender or waiter asks "vodka or gin?" (not that I don't understand why they have to ask).

Points: 0

#48 by Reader Martin (not verified) // May 04, 2012 - 12:57pm

I'm a Rob Roy fan myself (Scotch), but any barrel aged liquor will work nicely. For a change of pace, use an Antica vermouth which has plenty of herbal flavor so you can omit the bitters.

Points: 0

#55 by Aaron Brooks G… // May 05, 2012 - 4:58pm

If you omit the bitters, it's not a Manhattan

Points: 0

#49 by Dr. Not a Char… (not verified) // May 04, 2012 - 1:47pm

So how high is Chuck Muncie going to be on the Chargers Top Five? I was born in 1973, so I've always thought of him as a Charger.

Points: 0

#50 by AJ (not verified) // May 04, 2012 - 3:08pm


AS someone whos visited the east coast only once, i think i speak for the rest of us west coasters as being somewhat lost by these ny and philly references! Hell, i've never even had a real Manhattan

Points: 0

#51 by erniecohen // May 04, 2012 - 3:31pm

I may be blind, but these videos sure don't look like a #15 pick to me. I see a really fast OLB who isn't a threat to bullrush or run over a running back, who doesn't play with the leverage needed get under and past an OT without just running around him, and who isn't strong enough to take on a serious block on a running play. Everybody complains about Poe's lack of production, but frankly he looked just about as impressive overall as an edge rusher in his tape.

Points: 0

#52 by TacticalSledgehammer // May 04, 2012 - 4:19pm

I agree, but I think the Seahawks fell for the old "you can't teach speed" adage. Carroll probably saw the raw athletic ability and figured he could mould this guy into the next Demarcus Ware. We'll see if it works out, but I'm feeling Maybin as a more apt comparison.


“Treat a man as he is, and he will remain as he is. Treat a man as he could be, and he will become what he should be.”

Points: 0

#54 by Slaymont Harris (not verified) // May 05, 2012 - 10:42am

Those were pretty much my thoughts pre-draft. If his one trick is running around an OT, would that work in the NFL considering teams are going to be gameplanning for it? He looks like a guy that could have his speed diffused by just being run out of plays when he rushes on the outside, and I don't know that he can successfully get off blocks to counter inside. Also, he doesn't seem very instinctive in his movements and wastes a lot of steps getting to the QB. Even if he projects as a good fit for the Seahawks LEO position, he still looks like a project to me. Being the fastest pass rusher in the draft doesn't make you the best pass rusher in the draft.

Points: 0

#57 by erniecohen // May 06, 2012 - 9:25am

The bizarre notion to me is the idea that they are going to use him as a "designated pass-rusher". A major part of playing 4-3 is that you have 4 LBs (or at least 2 OLB) that you can rush or not rush, and so can rush one of them without the OL knowing which one, and hopefully get pressure with only 4 guys rushing. If you *know* a certain guy is going to rush, that just turns him into a 1-dimensional undersized DE. Think Dwight Freeney, but smaller, and without the inside rush or the leverage. (Irvin's only succesful inside move is after the OT is backing up, which means it's too slow to help blow up running plays.)

Points: 0

#58 by Slaymont Harris (not verified) // May 06, 2012 - 10:45am

(You mean 3-4) That's basically what I was trying to imply by saying "gameplanning". If he's coming in as part of a Nickel package to rush the passer, you can just tell a TE to run him out of the play or chip him. There's no element of surprise. He rushes more like a SS off the corner, but safety blitzes work because they can quickly get to the QB before a tackle realizes they are blitzing and gets their hands on them.

Points: 0

#59 by 40oz to Freedom (not verified) // May 06, 2012 - 2:04pm

Coach Carroll wanted to recruit Irving while he was at USC, but academic issues kept Irving from attending and he went to WVU instead. For someone that has no problems about cutting players he knew from college, seems like he sees something in Irving. Not sure if Irving will be a part-time player, he'll probably play in base defense, especially since the nickel package is the base defense.

The coincidental thing is that while Irving seems to be a one-trick pony, Holgorsen is replacing his defensive coordinator and other assistants. I'm starting to think Irving's comment about not getting any coaching at WVU is true.

Points: 0

#53 by bigtencrazy (not verified) // May 04, 2012 - 8:33pm

surprised all these Packer fans stopped by and didn't mention KGB who is a great comp for Irvin. KGB was a 225 lb kid out of college who Ron Wolf thought could be a pass rush guy. He was. But once he lost that first step he was done.

But for a few years he was a fine pass rusher who got manhandled on running plays by solid tackles. Put him against mediocrity and he could hold his own on runs

Points: 0

#69 by AlanSP // May 07, 2012 - 2:59pm

If you're looking for a Philly bar that has excellent Manhattans, I suggest Southwark. They have a great rye selection and knowledgeable bartenders. Probably my favorite bar in Philadelphia.

Points: 0

#71 by mm (not verified) // May 07, 2012 - 4:23pm

Dalton Hilliard and Reuben Mayes were both picked by the Saints in the 1986 draft. Mayes was good for about a year and a half before injuries took his talent. Dalton Hilliard then came on strong and was excellent through the 1989 season (I'm really interested in how his DVOA will look when FO gets there). Injuries then ended his effectiveness.

Checking the internet, one of those 2 players got 1st or 2nd team All Pro from UPI 3 times between 1986 and 1989. Their careers are a testament to how short a career of a quality RB can be.

I'd have Mayes, Pierre Thomas, or even Rickey Williams on the list before McAfee, who everyone loved as a special teamer, but wasn't much of an offensive player. I'm not sure what order I'd put anyone in after Deuce at #1. I'd be tempted to move Dalton Hilliard up, but those other RBs were before my time.

Points: 0

#72 by Sid // May 07, 2012 - 6:25pm

As mentioned in the first comment, the Jets never said they would've taken Irvin at 16. After the backlash Seattle got, they leaked a story that the Jets supposedly wanted Irvin.

As far as I've been able to learn, no one from the Jets ever said they would've taken him at 16. Indeed, I believe that the Jets would not have taken Irvin.

Rex Ryan said the Jets had Coples and Hill rated higher than Irvin.


So I take issue with re-reporting bogus reports.

Points: 0

#79 by dryheat // May 08, 2012 - 12:57pm

Why would you take the Jets post-draft comments more seriously than the Seahawks? Every team claims they got their guy. If the Seahawks took Childress and the Jets took Irvin, is there any doubt that Seattle would say that the Jets (or other team) wanted to draft Coples, and that the Jets would say that they had Irvin rated higher than Coples all along?

Brad Childress always claimed that Belichick wanted his draft picks right after he drafted them....because clearly Belichick's draft board is a well-publicized item. However it conned people into thinking he knew what he was doing for a while.

Points: 0

#81 by Sid // May 08, 2012 - 4:47pm

because it's far more likely Seattle is lying. Think about the situation. Seattle is desperately trying to justify their pick, so they claim another team wanted Irvin.

There's no basis for the report. Rex Ryan denied it, anonymous sources within the Jets denied it.

This has as much substance as randomly inventing that (insert team) wanted (insert player drafted earlier), which seems to be what happened here. I could tell you New England was desperately trying to trade up for Irvin and failed, but it has no substance unless it's supported. This was not supported.

Points: 0

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