Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

05 Dec 2005

2005 Quick Reads: Week 13

Time for me to anger the Chicago fans. Inspired by reader Sean McCormick, take a visit to the wonderful world of the worst quarterbacks of the DPAR era. Kyle Orton, by the way, is not the least valuable quarterback of 2005. Plus all the quarterback DPAR ratings -- Charlie Frye second! -- along with the best and worst running backs and receivers for Week 13

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 05 Dec 2005

86 comments, Last at 14 Dec 2005, 12:02am by Sid


by Charles Jake (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 5:50pm

I'm a Bears fan, and I'm not mad. You're just telling the truth. Hopefully we don't have as many trollish fans as ATL does.

by JG (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 5:56pm

I agree. I am also a Bears fan, and I've been backing Orton all season saying he just needs time. But I now know he needs time on the bench instead. He's getting worse. Yes, his wide recievers aren't all that good, but they're ok, and couple that with a good line and solid running, he should be completing more than 6 passes. I am officially on the "play Grossman" bandwagon.

by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 5:58pm

Is it really surprising the Cardinals are talking about bringing Kurt Warner back? In Minnesota, Dennis Green relied on Brad Johnson, and Randall Cunningham, who wasn't exactly a spring chicken at the time (and, if memory serves, Jeff George).

by Harry (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:00pm

Aaron, are you channeling Ron Borges? You write "what in the name of all that is holy and not on injured reserve was Tom Brady doing in that game handing off at the end? What, Doug Flutie was in the bathroom or something?" I don't know, I don't see what the big deal is. What are the odds of Brady actually getting hurt in that situation? Especially against the Jets.

by Craig B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:02pm

The following comments were given on Rudi Johnson: "Other than Bill, clearly the most successful of the Cosby's." What is that supposed to mean?

You also mention that Edge "[h]as now passed Tomlinson and Alexander to rank No. 1 in DPAR for the season." How much of a lead does he have on Alexander? Is he going to lose his lead tonight?

by elhondo (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:05pm

I've stood by patiently when DVOA was adjusted to make the Charger's predictions worse. I've endured the yearly articles denigrating the Redskins and accepted that they weren't as good as the local paper said.

But c'mon, Leaf isn't the worst QB of all time? That needs to be fixed.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:05pm

Craig B: Rudi was a character on the Cosby show. I think it was the daughter they added to the cast.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:08pm

Don't forget Warren Moon and Jim McMahon, Jon. Green actually developed Johnson from his early years of NFL Europe.

by admin :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:08pm

It's supposed to read Cosby Kids, I e-mailed them to change it. I totally forgot about Rudy the girl on the Cosby Show, I was thinking of Rudy with the taxicab driver hat on Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids.

I don't expect Bears fans to troll on this article. They're having enough of a problem with this argument on their own message boards. This one really has the Bears fans split.

by B (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:12pm

elhondo: Leaf isn't the worst QB of all time because he only started 10 games. He did manage to rack up that impressive DPAR in only 245 pass attempts, a number Orton has already surpassed.

by Ferg (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:12pm

Re 3: Don't forget Moon. But the difference is, those Vikings teams were winning.

Re 6: Leaf is the only QB appearing on that list twice. In other words, he was not only terrible, but he also managed to hang around for a couple years without getting any better.

The real question is: Did Rock Cartwright have better DVOA than DeShaun Foster on the day?

by Sage Rosenfels (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:17pm

That's right. I've got your patrilineal descent right here.

by admin :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:18pm

Re: 4, any odds greater than zero were too high.

Re: 5, d'oh! Totally forgot about Alexander playing tonight.

Re: Carr, also remember we're counting sacks here against the quarterbacks.

by Drew (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:24pm

Not sure why I'm ratting them out, but Peyton Manning and Edgerrin James had a lost fumble on a handoff exchange. Did either of them get "credit" for that?

by admin :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:28pm

Manning did, and thanks for letting me know that was a running play, since I mark most aborted snaps as passing plays (they usually are).

by Mitch Wojcik (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:29pm

I can't help but think that Dennis Green treats the QB position as fungible...that it's more important to him to get superior offensive talent around the QB than to have a superior talent at the QB position (though you have to have at least a competent QB or two on your roster).

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:35pm

Lots of QBs start out poorly. Rookie QBs almost never transfer well to the pro game and if you're starting one, 99% of the time you're mailing in the season.

The real impressive thing here is that the 2002 David Carr, on an expansion team with no line, WRs, or running back, still rated as only MARGINALLY worse then Ryan Leaf, who has not 1 but 2 of the worst 4 seasons of any QB in the history of DPAR.

Nearly all of those players are also rookies who got better. Ryan Leaf managed to not only suck in '98, but only got a little better by the time 2000 rolled around.

by FizzMan (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:36pm

Is there any pattern of young quarterbacks regressing in the latter half of the year at the beginning of their careers? Ben Rothleisberger seemed to do it last year; from afar (i.e., I haven't seen much of either of them play), the media would have you believe that Eli Manning and Kyle Orten did it this year. Other examples? Reasons it's not really true for any/all of these quarterbacks?

by dfarrar777 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:38pm

Koren Robinson, #1 receiver...

(sound of Seahawks fan banging head against wall...)

It's just not fair, dagnubit.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:39pm

You're right about not getting trolled by the Bear fans -- most of them are just enjoying the ride, knowing that it will come up short in January.

Yes, I know that's offhand psychoanalysis, but watching Orton all season lets you know that this won't be THE year.

What mystifies me is why Jeff Blake is just sitting there. He has to be an improvement on the flatlining Orton or a rusty Grossman. And this from a guy who has built his Loser League team around Orton -- TWICE.

by Flux (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:42pm

Aren't players from the Sunday night game usually included in this tally? You have an early bedtime or press time or something, Aaron? I kept reading down the list thinking, "Brees wasn't great, but he surely ranked in the top 20?"

Adding in LT's value might also change the Edge into 1st place, not that LT did a whole lot against the Raiders.

by Tom Kelso (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:43pm

And, as a Ravens fan who reads a lot of gratuitous slams against Billick and his never-claimed offensive genius:

None of those worst seasons involved a Raven QB? Not Boller, Wright, or Redman? Or is there some participation criteria that wasn't met?

by JasonC23 (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:51pm

A Bears fan here, but no trolling. I was on the "Orton's good enough, keep him in for continuity and because he may get better soon" train...until this game. That was positiviely Krenzelian against the Packers right there. It was basically last year's Bears-Titans game.

I think Rex was still the third QB for the Packers game. I think that if he's healthy enough to be elevated to #2 this week or next, it would be very hard for Lovie not to pull the trigger if OrKrenTonZel shows back up in a late-season game.

by Joon (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 6:58pm

just curious--if a pass is picked off, does it count against the intended receiver's DVOA/DPAR? more than an incompletion would, i mean?

this question mostly has no context, but i would just like to point out that the bengals defenders are really good at making a play on passes in their direction. most defenders knock down passes, but the bengals guys look as acrobatic as wide receivers. great hands, too. i was duly impressed.

by Fnor (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 7:03pm

The Bears wide recievers are definitely not "not that bad." They're really quite terrible, drops all over the place.

by NF (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 7:04pm


"OrKrenTonZel" has just passed "Peytom Branning" as my favorite pseudo-portmanteau.

Also, I was right about Gilmore being the worst receiver of the day. Half of all the incomplete passes by Rosenfel were to Gilmore. Can someone who watched the game tell if he looked as bad as the play-by-play showed him to be?

by Nate (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 7:05pm

Orton is getting worse. That's a problem. I'm not sure Jeff Blake is better, however. Grossman should be better, but he must have some continuing health issues, as he was only the emergency QB last week.

by TomC (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 7:08pm

Part of me wants to feel smug about the intelligence level and demeanor of Bears fans relative to those of certain other teams -- but I know that all I'd have to do to convince myself otherwise would be to post to one of the general Bears discussion groups that this guy on FO said Coach Ditka was a woman or something.

by Parker (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 7:08pm

RE: 16
When in Minnesota, Green often referred to 'the system' being the key to the success of the team. Meaning: "We can plug in just about any QB for it is my genius that will lead us to victory."

Unfortunately, his system did not include plans for a defense.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 7:09pm

#21 Flux,

Brees is number 10 on the list.

by Paytonrules (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 7:21pm

Bears fan chiming in here -

is the Bears defense still going to be historic after yesterday? They were far from great against a mediocre offensive team. DPAR seems highly volatile, let's not forget that 3 weeks ago Jacksonville was the league's best defense.

by bobman (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 7:31pm

I am a little surprised that Manning's nearly "perfect" day had a fairly ordinary DPAR. Even against a poor team, if you complete 76% for good yardage per attempt, 3 TDs and 0 INTS, shouldn't you come out on top? I guess I'm spoiled and that goofy QB rating system does little to help.

Glad to see Edge getting even more credit; the man and his line are so monstrously consistent: there was some goofy stat during the Steelers game about runs from 5-7 yards, that Edge had 85 while the closest competitor had about 48. 1-yarders? Not me. 50 yarders? nuh-uh. But for steady, meat-and-potatoes, 6 yarders, he's your man.
And I know it's common to knee him in the figurative 'nads for not having the burst he had pre-injury, but if you look at his 22 games pre-injury (season 2 when he led the league, and the first six games of the injury season, when he averaged 110 yards per game), his longest run was 30 yards, and since then he's been about the same in the long game; better actually since he's had a 43 and a 40 in the past two seasons, respectively. His first season did see a 72-yarder, though, but the injury did not change that. He's always been a patient--almost maddeningly so--runner. He is the NFL RB equivalent of a counter-puncher. And he should have a long career because he learned from Marvin Harrison that it's better to give them a yard, take a glancing blow and go down or OB, rather than put your head in an anvil for that final yard (unless you're charging for a 1st down). Lord knows he's fumbled enough in high-profile situations trying for the extra yard. I thought he had THAT cured until a few games ago when it meant nothing. grrrr. He rarely takes a square shot. 3rd fastest in an NFL career to 9,000 yards! Egads, that's almost HOF credentials (throw in the 2 times leading the league, four pro bowls, and the 2,000-plus yard combined yardage seasons, and the all-time best ratio of 100-yard games), though if his career ended today, I doubt he'd get much mention. He should for blitz pickup alone. Maybe he needs a SB or just more 8-man drop defenses....

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 7:50pm

I think your two comments inform each other bobman (though I wouldn't call 9.8 'ordinary').

Peyton was nearly perfect on 17 throws. Edge was consistantly well above average - never super-spectacular, never awful, on 28 carries. Thus Peyton's in the top third, and Edge is near the absolute top. Remember, DPAR is a counting stat. The more 'attempts' you have, the more points you can rack up (or piss away if you're Kyle Orton).

by Ray (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 7:50pm


I think the likely reason Manning had such an "ordinary" DPAR for yesterday (hey Bears fans, how would you like to have had Manning's "ordinary" day?) is because he attempted so few passes. (As I understand it) DPAR is cumulative, where each play is valued and added to the total. So even if each pass was rediculously valuable (which apparently they were) you still can have only so much value when you throw the ball just 17 times. That and DPAR is defense adjusted, so keep in mind that he was playing against a pretty awful team and so his DPAR was adjusted downward accordingly.

The question it seems you want to ask regarding Manning's overall performance is what was his DVOA for the day? It doesn't just take the value of each pass, but it rates the overall success of all his plays. That will get you want to find out how he did overall compared to the other QBs (as opposed to the value he added to his team for the day).

by Dan (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 8:07pm

Orton should start next week against Pittsburgh. That way:

- Grossman gets another week of recovery
- There's a good chance that Lovie can make the switch after a game that Orton lost
- Rex doesn't get a chance to hurt himself against the #3 defense (which is also #3 in adjusted sack rate)

Three weeks for Grossman seems like the right balance between the risks of rust & reinjury. And yes, I'm a Bears fan.

by JMR (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 8:07pm

Re 20:
I'm going to throw my hat in here to support Orton. Not because he wins, but because I think he is the Bears' best option, at least until Grossman is healthy.

I was down at training camp for a couple of days post-Grossman injury, pre-Orton being named the starter, and I can say that he flat-out was the best quarterback in drills and in scrimmages. Blake seemed(s?) to have lost all accuracy on his short throws and a miserable touch on everything but his fastball. Hutchinson is a solid backup if the Bears were in the CFL.

I think there's one very small intangible that Orton has. He is willing to throw a deep ball. Sure, it gets picked off every so often and is a 90% lock to be incomplete, but defenses this year have (for some reason) honored this threat and not given the Bears as many 8/9 in-the-box looks as one would expect. This could just be because given the Bears' defense, other teams are terrified of giving the Bears any sort of lead on a big play from which to work.

by geoff (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 8:09pm

Wasn't everyone mad at Green last year for pulling McCown for a couple of other young quarterbacks? He's never seemed to have a bunch of faith in McCown. Why play him if he's not any good?

I don't know why it's important to develop a young quarterback, if your young quarterbacks aren't any good. Should Oakland play Tuiasasopo (not that he's all that young these days)? Should the Dolphins play Cleo Lemon?

Kurt Warner: The least bad option...

by Purds (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 8:19pm

Re #6:

elhondo, you're right. Lead wasn't so bad, especially when you consider those intangibles he brought to the team, like teamwork, media savy, body language, leadership. I wish my favorite team (Colts) had listened to conventional wisdom that draft season and picked Leaf over that Manning guy who will never be as good as his father.

— Purds

by Purds (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 8:21pm

Sorry, I meant Ryan Leaf

by Zac (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 8:29pm

Just figure DPAR / play. We don't know that exactly, so let's use attempts as a rough estimate. So sorting by Passing DPAR / Attempt, we get:
Charlie Frye - .64
Peyton Manning - .58
Brad Johnson - .49
Ben Roethlisberger - .33
Steve McNair - .31
and Alex Smith at -.47 .

by fromanchu (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 9:13pm

re:5 and 7
to nitpick, rudi was cosby's youngest daughter on the show, but she was part of the original cast. the add on was olivia, cosby's granddaughter.

by Richie (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 9:15pm

"Oh golly?" hehe

by IzzionSona (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 9:21pm

Uh, Purds, I think he was commenting that Leaf should be considered the worst QB of all time--i.e. FO is not rating him badly enough, rather than too low.

Then again, you could be being highly sarcastic too, in which case everyone will have a good laugh at my expense.

by ABW (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 9:25pm

Izzy, I think everyone is having a laugh at your expense. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but I think that Purds wishing that the Colts had picked Leaf(or Lead, if you're Purfs :-) ) instead of Manning is the tipoff to the sarcasm.

by Chris (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 9:27pm


The Dolphins just couldn't hold onto the ball at all. There were drops all over the place on catchable passes.

by Pat (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 9:30pm

I'll pull for Orton as well - just because Grossman is not that good of a quarterback.

Look, it's very much akin to the Detroit situation, except Chicago is winning games. Swapping QBs every week doesn't help. One of the two QBs has a good game, and he gets the next start. He then has a bad game, and the other QB starts, and the offensive line has a fit adjusting for the rest of the year.

You also have the downside that Grossman hasn't practiced with the offense for very long. Orton has. He sucks, but he sucks in a way that the team understands. Better the devil you know, rather than the devil you don't.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 10:12pm

Reuben Droughns (sp) and Clinton Portis are both over 1000 yards on the season... what does this do to the "You can plug Tony Siragusa behind the Denver line and he'll gain 1000 yards" theory?

I've had a chance to watch some Browns games and I was impressed with how well Droughns ran..

by Tim Gerheim :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 10:41pm

I think the other side of that theory is that Shanahan is good at finding good backs. Probably you could stick Tony Siragusa behind the Denver line and he'd get 1000 yards, but the Broncos prefer to stick Mike Anderson and Tatum Bell back there and get 2000 combined.

by Peter (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 11:29pm

Aaron : No worries about trashing Orton. I think most of us are counting our blessings that Chicago has made it to 9-3 when 90% of the media said we'd barely scape 5-6 wins at most.

Trend to watch next week : If memory serves (they don't provide archives) Harmons weekly predictions has so far predicted Chicago to lose 11 of the 12 games it's played this season. Including every game of it's winning run. And the one time they predicted we'd win, we lost.

When Harmon starts predicting Chicago to win, we'll lose :)

by JonL (not verified) :: Mon, 12/05/2005 - 11:34pm

So when can we start calling Rudi Johnson "Sweet Feet?"

And RE: #37, the other Cardinals quarterbacks last year were Shaun King (not so young) and John Navarre (young but untalented). I think the criticism comes in not giving McCown a full season to see what happens. He could probably have as many 300 yard games as Warner.

by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 12:09am

15 -- Aaron,

That reminds me of a question I had about the Manning fumble. The announcers initially described it as a fumble by James and I think everyone who saw the play would have assumed that the NFL stats would have recorded it that way. Replay showed that Manning put the ball right in the breadbasket where it was supposed to go on the handoff, but Edge reached for it and knocked it forward with his fingers. That is, Edge never secured possession of the ball.

I have to assume that the NFL is not going to have stats guys review tape to evaluate whether it was the QB or RB who was most responsible for a botched handoff. Do they simply have a policy of designating the QB responsible for a fumble until the RB has secured possession?

Related question -- I would also assume that all fumbles on botched snaps are assigned to the QB. I don't recall a center ever being listed as fumbling. If so -- if the center fires a shotgun snap over the QB's head or dribbles it on the ground, is that a QB fumble?

by doktarr (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 12:23am

When was the trading deadline in the NFL? Week 9 ot 10? I remember Bill Simmons bringing up the idea of the Packers trading Favre to Chicago. In retrospect, given the directions the teams have gone, it seems like a true win-win trade. Plue Favre gets to come back to Lambeau on Christmas day and all the media would have gone nuts.

by Ruben (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 12:24am

I'm an Eagles fan, and couldn't give two licks about the Bears' season. That being said, why is everyone all over the Grossman bandwagon?

Furthermore, why IS there a Grossman bandwagon? What, just because he was a first round pick? So was Patrick Ramsey! Check this from 04:

8-R.Grossman CHI -2.2 4.2 -18.8% -2.1% 88 583 1 5

From 03:

Grossman, Rex CHI 0.6 0.9 -11.6% -10.5% 79 397 2 2

He's. Never. Been. Good.

If there's ever been a player whose laurels have been created by the media, Grossman is he.

He was hyped too much as a preseason Hiesman candidate at Flordia for at least two year straight, and busted every time.

He led Florida to a mediocre season his senior year, and then was EMBARASSED by the legendary Victor Hobson of the Michigan Wolverines at the Outback Bowl (for those not in the know, Hobson wasn't very good...).

For some ridiculous reason, this fake-cred stuck! So then he's a first-rounder in a weak QB class, and now he's the Great White Hope of Chicago? Please. I know his family is old-money...maybe they hired a great PR firm to hype their always-been-mediocre kid?

I am serious when I say he's John Navarre if he wasn't at Florida during and immediately after Spurrier.

Beyond that, he's never thrown for more than a few games in two seasons. How do you all know he's even going to be able to make a read?


by JonL (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 12:34am

Can we please stop taking unprovoked shots at Patrick Ramsey? It's not like he was the second coming of Akili Smith.

by Ruben (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 12:46am

OK, educated football writers, everyone off the Ryan Fitzpatrick bandwagon and onto the Nick Hartigan bandwagon.

Aaron, didn't you get the memo? White guys aren't permitted to play tailback in the NFL. Some crap about how they lack the appropriate "burst" or something or other that would get you kicked out of commentary if said about anyone who wasn't white.

Although, a brainy white dude from NoVa (Northern Virginia) with Gold fronts would be hilarious.

But I'm sure he'll make a good slot receiver, punt returner or nickelback...

Last note: The Tim McGraw halftime song asked "who's gonna win the Reggie Bush lottery?" Yahtzee!

by Ruben (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 1:02am


No, he isn't, but he is still a First-round pick that isn't playing like one. How many column inches and reader comments are spent in this space and many others, discussing the "Bust factor" of first-rounders? Ramsey has counted many millions against the Persons' cap, denying the 'skins the ability to pick up x player for y position.

Regardless of who he isn't, he IS a wasted spot on the Roster, eating millions in cap space and real dollars.

The Skins could've taken one of many quality players with that pick (see link):

Clinton Portis (surprise!)
'Twaan Randle El

That brings up another discussion point: Should teams reach? So you need a Franchise QB to build the team, but it's a weak year. It's Boller in 03, or Jason Campbell in 05. Do you pick up a vet, and a 2nd-day rookie to carry you through to next year, when there's a stronger QB class? Or do you reach for lesser-quality QBs, who would be 2nd rounders in other years?

Food for thought.

by JonL (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 1:03am

Although, a brainy white dude from NoVa (Northern Virginia) with Gold fronts would be hilarious.

I know some guys from Fairfax who fit that description pretty well.

by admin :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 1:07am

Not sure what the NFL policy is on assigning fumbles, but a center can be listed as the fumbler. It will say something like this:

2-10-BAL 20 (4:29) 8-D.Carr Aborted. 76-S.McKinney FUMBLES at BAL 21, recovered by HOU-8-D.Carr at BAL 21.

In DPAR, I assign this to McKinney, not Carr, but nobody ever reads about it because the center ends the year with one pass play.

Why is everyone all over the Grossman bandwagon?

Look at Grossman's limited time in 2003-2004. Assuming he does not improve, you are correct, he is not a star. He is a replacement-level quarterback. But that makes him worth three points a game more than Orton anyway.

by JonL (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 1:07am

RE: #56

I admit to being unimpressed with Ramsey's pro career, and I agree that there were better options for the last pick in the first round, but I guess my request would be to ease up on using Ramsey as an example of an egregious bust. His numbers (DVOA, DPAR, etc.) from the last few seasons put him in the top 30 (really top 27 or so), which while not what one would expect, qualifies him for a starting job somewhere.

by doktarr (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 1:15am

Rueben #56,

I haven't done a study, but "reaches" don't seem to work out too often. The closest I can think of to a recent QB who was picked in the first round, deemed a "reach", and turned out to be a success, is Daunte Culpepper. That's become a questionable example as of this year, and of course there's lots of counterexamples.

With those valuable picks in the first couple rounds, stock up on the more reliable items (defensive players, offensive linemen) or take the skill players who are actually projected in those spots.

by Paytonrules (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 2:28am

Just curious - but where is "replacement level" calculated? There seem to be an awful lot of negative DPAR numbers - for example like half the QBs on the list in any given week - which would imply there's 15 'replacement' QBs out there better than the starters. That certainly isn't the case.

Then again I pulled this right out of my buttocks - so maybe I'm totally off.

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 2:44am

Re: 55 (well, sorta...)

When's the last time a WR went #1 overall and wasn't a big disappointment? Well, I guess that's sorta a loaded question, since only 4 wideouts have ever gone #1 overall, and I can't speak with much authority about Dave Parks or Lawrence Elkins, but how about a super-highly regarded WR turn into a superstar?

Ignoring the last couple years for lack of time to develop consensus, the best WR drafted in the top 5 since 1984 has been either Keyshawn or Andre Johnson (take your pick), and there hasn't been an all-pro level player taken in the top 10 at WR since Torry Holt (who, if memory serves, wasn't seen as lightyears ahead of David Boston, or a guaranteed lock). In fact, the track record of high-draft-pick WRs is pretty spotty.

Shouldn't the question be "Who's going to lose the Reggie Bush lottery?"

by Mike (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 3:18am

I'm curious to see what the Panthers do next week against the Bucs. Deshaun Foster had by far the best day of any Panthers RB this year, but it was against the porous Atlanta defense. Earlier this year Stephen Davis has a great day against the Bucs, rushing for about a 4.5 clip for most of the game (it dropped to 4.0 after he punched it in from 1 yard after the third try). Davis' style is better for running against the small Buc defense, and Foster hasn't had the same kind of success against them.

So the question is who do you play? For all the talk about Foster getting more carries, Davis opened the game. My guess is it ends up the same way this week and Davis gets pulled if he isn't successful.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 3:56am

#56 Ruben
I disagree with your assessment of Ramsey. We all think he sucks... but he hasn't gotten the exposure of Harrington, Boller, Orton, Ferrotte. He hasn't played behind a decent offensive line either (that sounds like all the guys I listed, save Ferotte).

The way I see it... there are going to be a bunch of teams wanting a young QB, even a backup going into next season. I can see some team trading at least a 3rd + 6th or even a decent DE for Ramsey. I'm not sure if Gibbs feels comfortable with Campbell as the backup, but if they are fine with Campbell, Gibbs seems like the type of guy who would let Ramsey go.

Miami, NY Jets, Detroit, Baltimore... I think we should offer Ramsey to the Lions for Carlos Rogers and a 3rd...

Not every QB develops like Manning, Palmer, Vick, Mcnabb, Culpepper.

Delhomme sat for 4/5 seasons before starting. Steve Young didn't look so great with Tampa Bay. Brad Johnson sat behind Warren Moon. Hasselbeck, Brunell, and Brooks sat behind Farve. Trent Green bounced around for 5 years. Jake Plummer looked worse than Ramsey during the same time period.

I'm pretty sure an Outsider (Tanier or MDS?) had an article on NFL QBs, specifically first round draft picks during the offseason or last year...

by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 4:16am

Re 56:

The short answer is that teams should never reach at any position, and they particularly shouldn't reach at quarterback.

That said, I thought Campbell was the more egregious reach than Ramsey. Ramsey has a very good skill set, but it's hard to know if Steve Spurrier permanently damaged him or not.

It's also tough to say what Washington will be able to get for him in a trade. On the one hand, there are a few teams that figure to at least inquire as to his availability. On the other hand, everyone also realizes that Ramsey is the odd man out in Washington, and that depresses his trade value somewhat.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 4:29am

It was Ned Macey who wrote the article on first round QBs... in January 2005.

by Matthew Furtek (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 4:54am

The problem is, you can't define a "reach".

Looking at the comments on the 2004 NFL draft from FO, readers commented that Julius Jones, Vilma, Lee Evans, and Ben Watson were reaches. Someone mentioned Menwelde Moore as a reach. Readers correctly pointed to the Patriots reaching for Gus Scott... a name mentioned as an alternate pick was one Nathan Vasher.

Someone also was complaining about the Bengal reaches... if they drafted so poorly how do they end up where they are today?

I think my point was and is.. . "reach", "value pick", "need pick", etc. all go out the window once the whistle blows and teams start playing.

by Sean (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 7:29am

Not true at all- a reach is very simple to define, namely someone who was taken off the board before he was supposed to go and/or while there were players with better grades still available. If you were to compile the various draftniks together, you'd get a consensus that Julius Jones was a second round prospect, Vilma a mid-first, and that both Lee Evans and Ben Watson were solid first round prospects. Not a one of those picks was a reach, so they're not really good examples.

And I'm not sure who was complaining about Bengals reaches. Carson Palmer had the top grade in his draft class and went where he was supposed to. Chad Johnson had a first round grade and went in the second round. Rudi Johnson was considered good value where he was taken, as was David Pollack, as was Erich Steinbach, as was Odell Thurman. Actually, the trademark of the Bengals drafts since Marvin Lewis took over has been a tendency to get players at points in the draft when they were already supposed to be off the board. Lewis' first year draft of Palmer, Steinbach, Washington and Dennis Weathersby is a classic example of BPA drafting. Chris Perry was considered a questionable pick and, while he's showing signs of not being a bust, it's still reasonable to question the pick with some of the other prospects who were still on the board.

There are two ways to grade a draft. One is how the players actually end up, and obviously that is ultimately the most important (it's also not something that you can do until 3-4 years after the draft). But the other way is important, too, and that is how many players were taken before they were supposed to be versus how many were taken after they were supposed to be. Generally speaking, teams that accumulate a significant number of players "at value" end up with more production out of their draft classes than teams that don't. So it's still perfectly valid to come to conclusions on the quality of a pick based on predraft consensus- if a player was taken before he was suppsoed to, it's up to the player himself to prove the consensus wrong.

by Todd S. (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 10:54am

#62 Reggie Bush is an RB, not a WR. I suppose you could be implying that he'll have to change positions at the next level; I disagree with that.

by stan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 11:58am

Another way to look at a draft pick is what it could have brought in trade plus saved salary (i.e. opportunity cost). My gut feeling is that clubs tend to assign far too much value to a top ten pick. They will use it on a player who has never played a down when proven veterans at the same position are available as free agents or in trade for a lower round pick.

As for QBs, if I had a bad team, I would much rather have 3 veteran QBs (Detmer, O'Donnell, Don Strock, Earl Morrell, Volek, Warner, Bulger type players) whose total salaries would be mush less than one unproven first round pick. Spend the left over money building a defense.

Hire one of the offensive line coaches (e.g. Mudd at Indy) who have proven over many years that they can take undrafted rookies and retreads and build a serviceable line -- one that can pass protect, if not run block. You can get to .500 in the NFL with an offense that can pass without turnovers. You don't need a super RB or brilliant WRs. If the QB can read defenses, and throw an accurate if weak ball, to receivers who know how to run routes and find seams (even if they can't make spectacular catches), you can move the ball enough to beat the weak teams and split with the mediocre teams while losing to the playoff teams. If all the money spent on defense actually produces some special playmakers, you can become the Ravens and win a Super Bowl.

It is a heck of a lot easier to evaluate defensive talent than offense. Spend the money on a sure thing. Stockpile mediocre QBs (injuries happen) and RBs. Build an O-line and receiving corps with your coaching.

by TomS (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 12:02pm

Aaron, GREAT reference to Jim LeClair!

It is nice to know that there are actually some people out there that know a little something about Bengals' history, however thin.

by Drew (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 12:03pm

Re 62

Shouldn’t the question be "Who’s going to lose the Reggie Bush lottery?"

I've been thinking that for a couple weeks. The right to pay #1 draft choice money to a RB is not much of a prize in my book. We saw in the free agency period last offseason that some teams are beginning to think that way as well. There's also the fact that many of the bad teams have bad O-lines, making drafting a RB questionable at best.

by Dan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 12:18pm

Pat (#46), you're right that "Grossman is not that good of a quarterback", but for a Bears QB that's praise with faint damnation. Who's the last Bears QB that you could say that about, without it being pointed understatement (like saying "The Lakers haven't had that much success without Shaq")? Not Kyle Orton, not Craig Krenzel, not Jonathan Quinn, not Chad Hutchinson, not Kordell Stewart, and maybe not even Chris Chandler. You might have to go all the way back to Jim Miller (though not to the glory days of 2001, just to the fading glory days of '02). Rex Grossman has been able to hover around replacement level, and when a Bears quarterback can do that it catches people's eye.

by TomC (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 1:09pm

Have to agree with Aaron & Dan. As well as the Bears' OL and RBs are playing, a replacement-level QB might look really good. (Some replacement-level receivers would help too.)

by JasonK (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 2:27pm

To change topics completely, I was surprised to see Julius Jones as a top RB. I have to wonder if that 25-yd screen on the last play was included in his receiving DPAR. I know Aaron has said something before about ignoring certain throw-away plays at the end of the game/half.

I doesn't seem to me that running 25 yards behind two blockers when practically the whole defense starts at least 15 yards off the line of scrimmage is a particularly notable achievement. Especially when you consider that he was tackled in bounds, ruining their chance at a last hail-mary for the tie.

by Travis (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 2:50pm

Just adding on to #75's point.

The Cowboys' final drive started at their own 4 with 1:22 left. They had 1 timeout. The play-by-play:

Dallas Cowboys at 1:22
1-10-DAL 4 (1:22) 11-D.Bledsoe pass incomplete to 83-T.Glenn. Play Challenged by Review Assistant and Upheld.
2-10-DAL 4 (1:13) 11-D.Bledsoe pass incomplete to 19-K.Johnson.
3-10-DAL 4 (1:08) 11-D.Bledsoe pass to 21-J.Jones to DAL 18 for 14 yards (58-A.Pierce). P14
1-10-DAL 18 (:51) 11-D.Bledsoe spiked the ball to stop the clock.
2-10-DAL 18 (:50) 11-D.Bledsoe up the middle to DAL 22 for 4 yards (97-K.Allen). Back to pass, rushes.
Timeout #3 by DAL at 00:40.
3-6-DAL 22 (:40) 11-D.Bledsoe pass to 21-J.Jones to DAL 30 for 8 yards (28-G.Wilson). P15
1-10-DAL 30 (:24) 11-D.Bledsoe spiked the ball to stop the clock.
2-10-DAL 30 (:23) 11-D.Bledsoe pass incomplete to 82-J.Witten.
3-10-DAL 30 (:16) 11-D.Bledsoe pass incomplete to 19-K.Johnson (39-C.Deloatch).
4-10-DAL 30 (:10) 11-D.Bledsoe pass to 21-J.Jones to NYG 44 for 26 yards (58-A.Pierce, 26-B.Alexander). P16

Jones' 3 catches all went for first downs. However, he didn't get much more yardage than that, and failed to get out of bounds all 3 times, costing the Cowboys at least 30 seconds.

by dbt (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 3:17pm

I realize that officially fumbles are credited the the QB until the RB secures it, but that pitch from Orton at 11:09 in the 2nd hit TJ in the hands and he bounced it off his facemask. I don't know that I'd really blame Kyle for that one.

Orton's also seen a lot of stupid drops, like the one that hit Des Clark in the hands and it bounced up and was picked off. The one a lot of people are calling a drop, Muhsin in the end zone on the fade, was underthrown and well defensed by Al Harris. I don't blame Moose for that one.

by Parker (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 3:27pm

The other day my wife told me that my 'Husband PAR' was getting dangerously close to 0.0.

It was sort of a bitter sweet moment.

by DJAnyReason (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 6:12pm

Well, shows how much attention I play to college football...

by Dan (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:06pm

Parker (#78), you should really start to worry if she tells you your Husband DPAR. How is she making those opponent adjustments????

by Falco (not verified) :: Tue, 12/06/2005 - 9:16pm

Count me as one who thinks a team should want to win the Reggie Bush lottery (assuming he declares for the draft-which I think is all but a lock). He's that good.

First, what teams were doing in the off season w/ Running Backs proves the opposite of what is claimed in #72. Teams were not wanting to pay big salaries to Alexander/James, but preferred to pay rookie 1st and 2nd round picks (which commanded less money). This is likely because the peak RB age is around 27, and these teams would rather get a player that can be good right away and through the life of the rookie contract, rather than a player at a higher salary that may decline in 2 years.

Second, RB's are typically good right away, or at least within 2 years. Top 5 picks at RB have fared pretty well compared to other positions and provided immediate return, with serious injuries being the primary reason for busts. Prior to this year, the last top 5 picks at RB were Tomlinson and James. I wouldn't say either of those teams were great the year before, or had decent lines. Barry Sanders was the top overall pick in 1989, and was immediately a star.

If I am the Texans or Niners (and certainly Jets or Packers) I take Bush. I then throw numbers at the OL/DL in rounds 2-5. You can find good lineman in these rounds if your scouting department does its job (big if). I know with KC, Shields was a 3rd, Waters a FA, Wiegmann was I think a 4th rd with another team.

If someone will trade a late 2nd or 3rd for Domanick Davis, do it. Davis is a better version of Travis Henry, and is a poor pass blocker that certainly only throws gasoline on the pass protection issues. Bush would be the best player on the board. You take the clearly best player, and then draft for need.

by NF (not verified) :: Wed, 12/07/2005 - 12:04am

Its not going to happen, but I want to see whoever drafts Reggie Bush retool their offense towards rushing. By this I mean getting lighter, faster offensive linemen who are physically better at run-blocking, and run the ball on 75% of all plays. This is what the average NFL offense looked like in 1960. In that sort of an offense, with a capable backup RB, I think Reggie Bush would obliterate all rookie rushing records.

by Sid (not verified) :: Mon, 12/12/2005 - 7:37pm

RE: 20

My 2nd half Loser League QBs are Orton and Alex Smith. I screwed up at RB and WR, but at least I'm doing well at QB. :D (Clarett's Folly is the team name)

by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 11:47pm

re: 53

ramsey is a heck of a lot better than orton. so is grossman.

by Sid (not verified) :: Tue, 12/13/2005 - 11:48pm

re: 53

Hobson wasn't very good? He's a starting linebacker in the National Football League. How many former college LBs can say that?

by Sid (not verified) :: Wed, 12/14/2005 - 12:02am

re: 56

reaching for QBs is always a bad policy. The Boller and Campbell picks were mistakes.

RE: Julius Jones being a reach

Whether he was a reach or not, I'm not so sure he was worth the pick. He's injured so often that his value is limited. Marion Barber, on the other hand, was a great value pick.