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Two NFC teams were hit hardest by injuries last year. One already set the AGL record in 2016, while the other has a coach with the worst AGL since 2002. Also: the Rams' incredible bill of health in L.A., and Tampa Bay's questionable injury reporting.

10 May 2014

Audibles: 2014 NFL Draft Day Two

compiled by Andrew Potter

For this year's NFL Draft, we're bringing in our usual in-season Audibles at the Line feature, combining our Twitter feeds with e-mail discussion. Both Friday and Saturday morning, we'll have a selection of tweets from us and a few reader tweets we found particularly insightful. To follow these tweets live during the first three rounds of the draft, or to contribute your own thoughts or a question for the FO staff, you can use hashtag #FOAud. We then also have an e-mail conversation among the staff writers after each of the first two days of the draft.

After both Thursday and Friday, we will compile a digest of tweets and e-mails to produce this feature. By its nature, it can be disjointed, not entirely grammatically correct, and dissimilar to the other articles on the site.

Audibles is still being written from our point of view, meaning the comments in this feature are often written from a fan perspective as much as an analyst perspective; in order to properly accuse FO writers of bias, please check our FAQ.


Tom Gower: Texans had so many needs they could only screw that up pick by not taking a good player. XSF is good.
@MilkmanDanimal: The post-Gordon Browns are going to emulate Carolina; mobile QB, a TE, zero WRs. Excellent plan.
Scott Kacsmar: Matt Schaub will probably start Week 1, but Raiders with a top 40 pick at QB now, making it 26 out of 32 teams.
@matthew_carley: Bucs continue a good offseason, added LT, WR, DT, now a big TE. If Lovie gets the D to work they could be much improved.
Tom Gower: The draft would be a much better TV event if we didn't know they were 2+ picks behind less than an hour into the broadcast.
Aaron Schatz: This "let's have retired players announce picks" thing is really slowing down the TV version of the draft.
Scott Kacsmar: They did it last year too and I don't recall it being this bad.
Aaron Schatz: New Chicago Bears theme song.
@Mercurius100: Our long national nightmare is over. We no longer have to hear the forced narrative about no RBs being selected. Thank goodness.
@MilkmanDanimal: The NFL Network is currently employing Matt Millen and Greg Schiano, I assume for the sole purpose of quarantining them.
@matthew_carley: The jags should take a qb, if my quarterback was Blake Bortles then I think I'd need a quarterback.
Aaron Schatz: Wow, Patriots with a colossally wasted pick, taking Jimmy Garoppolo, a QB with serious flaws. So much for maximizing Brady's window. Much better picks for Pats would include taking a chance on Louis Nix's knees, or taking David Yankey. Gee, if the point is to take a QB of the future, would even be better to take a guy who dropped due to ACL, like Mettenberger in 3rd. Not only does this not make sense, it makes less sense if they don't deal Mallett. Otherwise why not wait 1 more year for Brady heir?
@Mercurius100: Somewhere Andy Reid is thinking he could handle clock management better than the NFL Draft people.
Rob Weintraub: Interesting Falcons pick. Southward almost surely going to play S. He can fly, but tackles like a Falcon. You know what that means.
Vince Verhei: The middle class of D-lines in the NFL is disappearing. Rich keep getting richer.
Aaron Schatz: Great pick by Texans to take Louis Nix in third. Despite the knee risk, value is great.
@matthew_carley: Nix must have had some major concerns over medical issues. His tape looks like the love child of Keith Traylor and Vince Wilfork.


Aaron Schatz: Anyone who followed me on Twitter tonight knows how I feel about the Pats taking Jimmy Garoppolo in the second round. Maybe I'm depending a bit too much on Matt Waldman's scouting report here, but we're talking about a quarterback with definite flaws. I don't see why he's so much better than, say, Zach Mettenberger -- especially if you are looking for an heir apparent to Brady who likely doesn't play for two or three years, so Mettenberger's ACL recovery doesn't cause an issue. The Pats could have used so many other things to improve the team to try to make one more Super Bowl run during Brady's last couple years -- Louis Nix to give them another young DT, a guard or center, a tight end... I liked this move with Ryan Mallett because it was the end of the third round, not the second, and the Pats weren't yet in "Brady's got very little time left let's WIN NOW" mode. Now, I don't like it.

I'm also not a big fan of Carlos Hyde to the 49ers. I guess he fits their scheme really well, but how many running backs does one team need in the modern NFL?

You've got to wonder what is going on with Louis Nix's knees that he fell all the way to 83, but that's a great risk for Houston to take there.

Scott Kacsmar: I've spent the last week bashing QB succession plans, especially ones that involve a second-round pick, so obviously I think the Patriots made one of the dumbest picks of the night. Ian Rapoport also reported the Patriots would have taken Blake Bortles at 29 if he was there, so maybe they have some concerns about Brady's not-so-long-term. But I fundamentally don't believe in using a good pick like that for someone who may be the quarterback for the next coach of the Patriots. They have to be in win-now mode with every decision and that's the farthest thing from it.

I thought for sure the Steelers would get their usual CB or WR selection in round 3, but they just took RB Dri Archer. At best you're talking about a third-down back who will play behind Le'Veon Bell and LeGarrette Blount, so I don't see how that's very helpful for a team with big question marks at DT and certainly corner. I also realized since Mike Tomlin's been the head coach, six of the 13 picks in the first two rounds have gone on front seven players. The Steelers used to be able to get those guys with late picks, such as Joey Porter, Jason Gildon, Greg Lloyd, Aaron Smith, Brett Keisel, Larry Foote, James Harrison (UFA), etc. Now it's always a high pick and they haven't hit the mark nearly as well. That's frustrating.

Loved how the 49ers were dealing all night. They could have their own farm team at this point (don't forget Tank Carradine and Lattimore from last year).

Can't believe Houston might go into the season with a QB depth chart of Ryan Fitzpatrick/Case Keenum/T.J. Yates. I don't think trading for Ryan Mallett does anything to help. Drafting Zach Mettenberger might be a good move, but he's got some red flags for sure. Could be a tough draft to remember if any of those guys like Bridgewater, Carr or Garoppolo work out.

No idea if it will work out, but I love Jacksonville's offense-heavy approach. That team has to start scoring more points. It's been putrid since 2011. Even if they're not winning, give the fans something better to watch. Bortles has two rookie receivers to work with and maybe Justin Blackmon will get his head right.

As much as I said I liked the Ebron pick yesterday for Detroit, I do hate giving up the 10th pick for a tight end. The Jets getting Amaro at 49 looks much better in comparison. They had to do something better than Cumberland at that position.

Aaron Schatz: Actually, this could just be a one-season fluke, but Cumberland was No. 2 among starting tight ends in DVOA last year. But of course, with most teams playing two tight ends at this point, it was still a need for the Jets and I liked the Amaro pick a lot.

Scott Kacsmar: Okay I was kind of midstream when the pick came through, but maybe the Steelers just want Archer to return kicks and a minimal number of touches (or a Sproles role, though I can't see that in Pittsburgh). I'm still not sure that's worth a third-round pick with the other needs, but he might be the fastest player in the draft. Al Davis would have been all over this one.

Vince Verhei: My summary of the first two days of the draft: The middle class of defensive lines in the NFL is disappearing. A lot of the rich teams (St. Louis, Carolina, Arizona) got richer, and Houston could join them if it all comes together.

Also, on the list of losers, we must add the Cowboys. Not because of any player they picked or trade they made, but because of Jerry Jones' admission of the way his team handled the first round. Jones admitted that Johnny Manziel was the top player on Dallas' board, but they couldn't take him because of Tony Romo's contract -- which in turn came about because of prior salary cap mistakes by Jones and company.

In short: The common perception (and I do stress the words "common perception") of Romo just went from "good QB who chokes in the clutch," to "good QB who chokes in the clutch and makes way too much money," to "good QB who chokes in the clutch and makes way too much money and COST US OUR SHOT AT JOHNNY F. FOOTBALL." Yeah, that's going to go over well.

Cian Fahey: Dri Rainey Archer McCluster is another small, straight-line running receiving back who Todd Hailey will render ineffective. Wonderful.

Tom Gower: The lesser investment and, frankly, expectations that should be associated with second- and third-round picks make Day 2 a bit harder than Day 1 to talk about from a sheer macro team-building standpoint. The Titans traded back to get more picks in a fairly deep draft, a move that made sense, and still took the first running back. From a macro-level perspective, that made sense. Making Sankey the back they took, well, that's where my second-guessing comes in.

Similar story with the 49ers taking Hyde. Frank Gore is old, everybody knows that. Old running backs often decline, we know that. Gore's performance level could fall off a cliff any day. Taking Marcus Lattimore and giving him a redshirt year last year made sense, but we really have no good idea just how good Lattimore is right now. LaMichael James, he's not a Gore replacement. They have a number of running backs, but which of them, if any, are good? Hyde could take over as their lead back this season or he could be another rarely-used spare part like James. And now the 49ers get another redshirt candidate in Brandon Thomas, albeit one coming off I believe only his first major injury. It's smart from a team-building perspective, as everyone else will tell you.

Oh, yeah, and outside of Derek Carr (Raiders, second round, made a lot of sense) and Jimmy Garoppolo (Patriots, no sense), teams didn't pretend there were quarterback solutions. We may see a run early in the fourth like we did last year at the position, but good for them.

Vince Verhei: A few other notes:

* Atlanta's draft, like their whole offseason, has been very boring, and very smart.

* Panthers could use secondary help, and haven't added any DBs. However, consider this: Their second-string defensive line (2012 fourth-rounder Frank Alexander, Colin Cole, 2013 second-rounder Kawann Short, and 2014 second-rounder Kony Ealy) is better than the starting line on some teams.

Cian Fahey: Louis Nix dropping to the third round was obviously a massive pick for the Texans, but right now they look like they're going to be the 2013 Carolina Panthers without Cam Newton. The defensive tackle that really caught my eye was Will Sutton. He should be a very effective player from the first week of his rookie season in that defensive line in Chicago.

I'm surprised Bruce Ellington has lasted to the fourth round, but it's understandable because of his size(or lack thereof).

The Miami Dolphins have had a really good draft without receiving too much plaudits. Addressing both the right guard and right tackle spot to round out their offensive line should dramatically help Ryan Tannehill.

Speaking of helping under-appreciated quarterbacks, Sam Bradford is going to have a great year. The Rams recognized their real issue, running the ball, and didn't force a receiver pick that really wouldn't have altered their offense. Stacy and Mason could combine for 450 carries and 2,500+ yards next season. That's how good I think their offensive guard pairing and RB duo can be.

By establishing that run they should open up more space for the receivers to work in.

The Jets have had a really good draft so far and they can still add a quality receiver to complement their other moves on offense so far. It's bizarre that the Browns haven't taken a wide receiver with the Gordon news and the 49ers trade for Stevie Johnson was brilliant for both sides involved. The Rashede Hagemann pick in Atlanta doesn't make sense to me, they need an edge rusher. He's just an interior pass rusher where they already have 3/4 contributors who need snaps. I like Donte Moncrief, but Colts fans are going to hate that pick because he's very similar to DHB.

The Vikings are having the best draft so far, Crichton was massive value. I have no idea what the Tennessee Titans are doing(Sorry Tom).

Rivers McCown: What is a quarterback succession plan and what is a quarterback?

Jacksonville completely moved on from Blackmon after dropping two picks on Lee and Allen Robinson, admitting they weren't expecting anything from Blackmon. While I don't -like- that, I think they've done a good job adding talent.

I actually liked the Dri Archer pick, but perhaps I'm overrating his chances to stick as a back. I wouldn't have taken him in the third round, but he's got homer potential.

I'm not big on Atlanta's offseason. I liked the Jake Matthews pick, but I'm not sure guys like Asamoah and Soliai are cost-efficient solutions. Hageman isn't the sort of pick I'd want in the second either.

I agree with most of what Cian said, but Sam Bradford has to actually play well before I'm ready to say he'll have a great year. And I thought Ja'Waun James was perhaps the biggest reach in round 1.

Among the drafts we haven't talked about yet, I'm a big fan of what Green Bay and Chicago have done to this point.

Rob Weintraub: Cincinnati's draft is unexciting, but solid as is their wont. Top quality CB, Law Firm upgrade, and a Michael Johnson clone, while not forcing the backup QB play. Grab some interior beef and I'll be satisfied.
To Vince's point, the second-string defensive line in Cincy is Hunt (2nd), Clarke (3rd), Thompson (3rd) and Still (2nd). That doesn't even count Robert Geathers, who was hurt last year and may be odd man out but was starter before injury. The first four is not quite the Rams or Panthers, but as an 8-man group they're right there.

Posted by: Aaron Schatz on 10 May 2014

41 comments, Last at 22 May 2014, 7:10pm by liquidmuse3


by MilkmanDanimal :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 3:22pm

I'm still completely perplexed why Tampa, who has Doug Martin (clearly had a phenomenal rookie year two years ago before getting hurt last year), Mike James (who played incredibly well until he broke his leg last year), and Bobby Rainey (who had a couple great games as the third starting RB last year), went ahead and drafted RB Chris Sims in the third round when there are clearly glaring needs on the interior o-line, WR past the first two slots, defensive line depth, and SLB. Another RB? OK, so he's more of a receiving back, but he pretty much has to turn into the rebirth of Darren Sproles for this to make any sense. That backfield was already pretty loaded, and there were definitely other needs.

Also, doesn't he have to be like 6'6" to play in Tampa? Is that the rule now?

by tuluse :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 3:44pm

Lovie Smith loves utility running backs. The other Adrian Peterson lasted for years because he was a good special teamers, a not-awful runner, and an average blocker and receiver.

His top running back every year (except for the ill-fated we have to start Cedric Benson because we spent the #4 overall pick on him) was both a good blocker and receiver, Thomas Jones and Matt Forte.

by bobrulz :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 4:39pm

The Patriots must know something we don't about Tom Brady. Either that or Belichick dropped some acid. I would say that those 2 possibilities are equally likely.

by RickD :: Sun, 05/11/2014 - 12:13am

The Patriots know that Tom Brady is 37. Consider all of the following QBs: Dan Marino, Joe Montana, Steve Young, Kurt Warner, Jim Kelly, and Brett Favre. You know how many of them were still in the league at the age of 39? Just Favre.

And if people haven't noticed, Brady doesn't have much of a long pass any longer.

There seems to be a mentality that has infected a lot of people reporting on the Patriots. The logic goes: we have to assume that Brady can keep playing at a high level, even if that's an unrealistic premise, and then figure out what the Pats would need to win a title. The ironic thing about this attitude is that all of the Patriots' titles were won in Brady's first four years as a starter, when he was still learning and not yet a truly great QB.

Maybe Garoppolo isn't the guy. Maybe he is. I know I don't know. What I do know is that I'm far more likely to take Belichick's opinion on this seriously than the second-hand opinions of sportswriters who are basing their opinion on somebody else's scouting report.

by Noah Arkadia :: Sun, 05/11/2014 - 8:57pm

I agree that Brady hasn't got long, but maybe they should have drafted Bridgewater instead. I think the main point is that Garoppolo doesn't seem like such a great prospect. I did watch film on him, by the way, although Waldman's article certainly influenced me. I hadn't noticed all the flinching before that, but I couldn't stop seeing it afterwards. I couldn't help but wonder how he would react to truly big, fast and strong defenders, since he didn't even play against big schools in college.

Who, me?

by Led :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:23am

But, lordy, the young man is handsome. Maybe Belichick thinks a high DBI (Dream Boat Index) correlates with effective QB play and is the secret to Brady's success.

by MJK :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 5:27pm

Re Pats and QBs:

Everyone seems to be either of the opinion that "Brady is almost done, so we have to WIN NOW" or "Brady is still under contract for four more years and still playing well".

Regarding the second opinion...I disagree. He's 37. His game last least noticeably dropped from "elite" to "very good", and a marked downturn at age 37 doesn't bode well for four more years. On this very site, there was an article talking about how, on detailed tape review, his accuracy was shockingly poor compared to his normal level of play. However, I think he does have, probably, a year or so left in him at high level.

However, Belichick has NEVER been the sort of coach to look at a good core group that's aging and mortgage the future to WIN NOW. Frankly, it just doesn't work--even an elite team has maybe a 1/8 chance to win the SB, and an otherworldly once in a lifetime team can still lose the SB (see 2007). You're better off planning for succession and trying to maintain play at a high level into the future.

Also, remember that Belichick is the guy that benched (and released) Bernie Kosar for Testaverde when he thought Kosar was starting to decline, and benched (and traded) Drew Bledsoe because he thought Beldsoe's decline was inevitable. He's also the one who maintains it's better to let a player go a year too early than a year too late.

Given all that, I highly expected the Pats to take a QB with a high pick this season, and wouldn't even have been surprised if talk of Brady trades had been entertained. I'm just shocked it was Garoppolo, and not Bridgewater. I'm a big fan of Bridgewater, and the player they Pats did take in the 1st...well, they probably could have gotten a similarly good player where they took Garoppolo in the 2nd.

by Noah Arkadia :: Sun, 05/11/2014 - 8:59pm

Exactly, I agree with everything. I half-expected the Pats to take a QB in the first and then, Bridgewater was there! ...and they passed.

Who, me?

by RickD :: Sun, 05/11/2014 - 11:03pm

I pretty much agree with this take. I think it's likely that Belichick valued Easley much more than most of the other teams did, and might have been able to get him in Round 2. But he may not have been as keen on Bridgewater. Reportedly the Pats would have taken Bortles if he had dropped to them. That they didn't do so with Bridgewater makes me think they might not be as keen on him.

I honestly wouldn't be surprised to see Garoppolo start as soon as 2016. It's weird that it's always a surprise when Belichick gets rid of a player before the fans and press think he should. I have no idea why people think he wouldn't do the same with Brady. How many weeks ago was he threatening to cut Wilfork? He ran Welker out of town just last year.

by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 9:41am

I wouldn't be surprised either. In fact, I already know that Brady's cap number will increase by 5m if he is released next year (maybe I even said so in another post). However... that will be all up to Garoppolo. Only chance of that happening is if he really impresses the team.

Who, me?

by dryheat :: Wed, 05/14/2014 - 10:12am

Yep. There's no quicker way to turn the Patriots into the Raiders than to make every decision based on a "win now" mentality, as most media, and probably a majority of fans, suggest they should.

There's no reason to believe that the Patriots under Kraft and Belichick are going to start sucking the day Brady retires. They won a Super Bowl after Brady's first year as starter. There's no reason they can't win a Super Bowl after somebody else's first year as starter if they continue making sound, emotionally-detached organizational decisions.

by Sifter :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 7:38pm

Have to laugh at the general outrage from Pats fans over the QB pick. How many #62 picks have helped a team 'win now'? (Answer: there's been 1 Pro Bowler selected at #62 in the last 20 years, CB-Tim Jennings, and it took a move to Chicago before he was any good) If the Pats really want to 'maximise their window', how about spending up to the cap? There's plenty of veteran FAs out there to fill these supposed holes. Travelle Wharton is a good, but old guard, Kevin Williams is similar at DT, Dustin Keller is worth a look at TE. Brett Keisel is still available. Heck, Richie Incognito's still out there if it's a win now mode. Who at #62 would have helped the Pats better than any of those players? Pointing at a random big board and seeing Louis Nix is the BPA is great, but there was obviously a reason he dropped about 50 spots lower than projected.

Draft picks are a crap shoot, sooner of later people will realize this. There are no locks. Guys like Robert Gallery and Aaron Curry proved it, the supposed safest choices who've busted hard. By taking Garroppolo this year, while Brady still has a year or two left, the Pats are giving themselves a higher chance of hitting on a young QB. Because if Jimmy G fails, there is always another draft next year and the year after. That's why Ron Wolf loved a late round flier on a QB. You never know when you'll hit and end up with something valuable. And if you're trying to replace a legend, then the sooner you know what you've got, the better. Kinda like the going for 2 early rather than late argument.

by Sixknots :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 9:48pm

Have to agree with both your and MJK's thoughts. Only nitpick: Gallery had SOME usefull value years, Aaron Curry, on the other hand...zero! Ugh!

by theslothook :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 10:58pm

I think you have to take this pick more as a sign of value than maximizing win now. Did they get the right value for this pick? Let's assume that sitting on the bench does nothing for your true value(a questionable assumption, I know, but bare with me). If you assume brady will be the starter for another 3 years, then this pick feels wasted because you're essentially drafting a player who will contribute nothing to the team for 3 whole years. If instead they had drafted another position, that player could at least have contributed on special teams, could be folded in as a rotational player, be a mediocre starter, or even develop into a pretty good player outright. Even if he never became a pro bowler, all of these alternatives represent far more value than 0 snaps over 3 years.

On the other hand, if you think qb development is like fine wine, then 3 years on the bench in theory makes sense. I personally don't, but I don't think there's enough evidence to say one way or the other.

Overall, I think the draft is a crapshoot but only in the sense that no team consistently is able to out pick their draft slot. And while great players come from the top, the 2nd round still has a higher expected value than the lower rounds do. ANd in that sense, spending a 2nd rounder on a player who won't see the field for 3 years does not represent good value.

by Sixknots :: Sun, 05/11/2014 - 12:08am


by MJK :: Sun, 05/11/2014 - 1:40am

A couple of things:

* I'm not sure Brady will be a starter for another 3 years. Or at least, the only way I see that as very likely would be if the Pats DON'T find a decent young replacement. Barring injury, I think he will be very good but not elite this year (on par with last year), above average but noticeably showing his age next year, and, if he's not replaced, after that, barely serviceable.

* Backup QB does play a role in practice. So it's not like you're getting NO value out of him, even if he never plays a real game snap.

* If they'd drafted another position, that player would have to make the team AND the active roster to be a rotational player or contribute on special teams. The Pats starting roster right now is pretty set, and a late 2nd round pick would have to be darned surprisingly effective to crack it.

Although, like I said, I wish if they were going to draft a QB high, I wish they had gone whole hog and taken Bridgewater in the 1st rather than roll the dice on Mr. No-Tendons.

by theslothook :: Sun, 05/11/2014 - 4:31am

I won't disagree with most of your points except the last one. I think people underestimate how quickly roster turnover can happen. And the pats are no exception. Good players are good players regardless if your "set" at them. Injuries occur, cap space is limited and flexibility is always preferred. A roster can look very different with just a year. As an example, the pats linebacking core looks crowded. IF jamie collins pans out(a 2nd rounder) it gives them flexibility on resigning Mayo/Hightower and since good players are hard to come by regardless, it's a luxury to have such a problem.

Whether or not the backup qb provides, "no value", I think we can all agree he's probably going to provide less value than a typical 2nd rounder would. I would agree though, if the name of the game was to draft the best valued replacement for Brady, then Bridgewater made more sense.

by Alternator :: Sun, 05/11/2014 - 5:02am

Garoppolo has better physical tools than Bridgewater and did perform exceptionally well, so much so that he was considered a viable QB prospect despite the competition being inferior.

If you're going to sit a QB *anyway* for a few years, might as well go with the raw talent and ability that needs heavy development to work out his flaws, rather than the guy who's already set to start and needs real game experience to continue improving.

by Theo :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 8:30pm

"Aaron Schatz: This "let's have retired players announce picks" thing is really slowing down the TV version of the draft."

Ehm... they don't stop the clock for it, so it slows down nothing.

by Karl Cuba :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 9:43pm

There was a good hour or so on Saturday when there was a three or four pick backlog of picks that has been taken but not announced. Aaron isn't the only one that got irritated by that.

by RickD :: Sun, 05/11/2014 - 12:16am

Yes, it was pretty silly when the actual draft was already in the 3rd round, but there will still 3-4 picks left in the second that hadn't been announced.

by Sixknots :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 10:01pm

Y'know, looking it over, the Raiders had a very good draft (time may say excellent) with a limited number of picks. Shouldn't we be getting some much deserved crowing from RaiderJoe by now?

by Karl Cuba :: Sat, 05/10/2014 - 11:24pm

I think he imbibes a disastrous amount of Sierra Nevada in early March and usually emerges from hibernation around August.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Sun, 05/11/2014 - 12:39pm

The problem is every set of Raiders draft picks is a very good draft; RJ is an eternal font of pure optimism. Do really like their draft, though, presuming that offensive line doesn't result in a Houston-esque Carr crash.

by Jerry :: Sun, 05/11/2014 - 10:38pm
by armchair journe... :: Sun, 05/11/2014 - 11:23pm

streaming rj hurts my brain.


by Noah Arkadia :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 9:46am

Wow, seems like he's doing harder stuff than alcohol these days:

Raiderjoe_FO ‏@Raiderjoe_FO 16h

@SOBL1 computer

Raiderjoe_FO ‏@Raiderjoe_FO 16h

@SOBL1 cimpuyer

Raiderjoe_FO ‏@Raiderjoe_FO 16h

@SOBL1 sign off yhr cimourter

Raiderjoe_FO ‏@Raiderjoe_FO 16h

@SOBL1 Then notice stain by t he spacebar and

Raiderjoe_FO ‏@Raiderjoe_FO May 10

May 11, 12:45 am. First toad spotting of this yr

Who, me?

by Kevin from Philly :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 10:40am

On the other hand, I've read worse draft summary stories than "People attended, players were drafted".

by Rivers McCown :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:05pm

Has a very Vonnegut feel to it.

by MilkmanDanimal :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:45am

RJ's Twitter account is pretty great to follow, just because he's clearly incredibly knowledgeable about the NFL. Sure, he's as much a homer of his team as anybody could be and his spelling is . . . creative, but he'll throw out nuggets of NFL history that prove the guy really knows his stuff. The eternal Raiders optimism is funny, sure, but RJ really knows his football.

by Dr. Bill :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 11:29am

I think Aaron's being overly emotional on this. Which is something I totally understand--I was stunned when the 2d RD pick came in, and I still have a sort of sick, queasy feeling that my team spent a 2d round pick in a deep draft on a QB who I hope will warm the bench for 3 or 4 years. But that's my gut reaction, not my analytical reaction.

1) I can't argue with the idea of being a good long term steward of the franchise, and making sure you have depth at QB. Arguing that you shouldn't have depth at QB is indefensible.

2) Given that, I am bedrock sure that the NE scouting staff is more qualified than Matt Waldman to decide who fits their team, and their relative value. I say this really liking Matt's work, but come on--he's not a pro player personnel guy with the Pats. Which doesn't mean that the Pat's scouting/GM group is perfect, but they do a pretty good job drafting. I've analyzed a ten year sample of AFC East drafting (2002-2012), and while the Jets have a slightly higher median success rate with drafting (by Career Weighted Approx. Value), the Pats have done much better drafting high-end talent. During that period, the Pats drafted 3 players with a CWAV 70+ (the rest of the division had none), and the Pats had 32 players make AP/PB, while the Jets were closest behind at 24. I'm pretty sure the Pat's scouting (for their team), and value philosophy of making more picks, is better than any media expert's scouting.

3) The draft/roster building process is holistic. Looks to me like the way the board fell out, Belichick thought he could draft for QB depth AND get tremendous value in the 3rd round--those are three linemen with legitimate starter potential. Currently the Pats have UFA's at center and guard who are pretty good players that have worked hard and took coaching to be better than their physical gifts. Would not be surprised if two of the three drafted end up as starters in the next two years. How do you argue with that?

by SandyRiver :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:35pm

Given their respective draft positions over that period, even modified by trades/comp picks, Pats being as successful or moreso than the Jets says something. (Perhaps more about the Jets - and Bills/Phins - than the Pats?)

by Sifter :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 7:34pm

While the Jets have picked higher, the Pats have had the better team. Those two factors probably cancel each other out, because if you join a better team you have a better chance of being successful. Yes it's harder to make the roster, but once you're in there you're in a better situation to succeed.

by Led :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 12:49pm

I'm interested in your analysis of the Pats' drafting. What does "median success rate with drafting" mean? Also, who were the Pats' draftees with CWAV 70+? Thanks. (By the way, if you've written up anything on this and give a link, I'd happily click it.)

by Dr. Bill :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 1:21pm

Hi Led,

I don't know how to host a file here. Basically I trying to get a sense of draft talent evaluation, and so I used Weighted Career Approximate Value (WCAV: http://www.sports-reference.com/blog/approximate-value/). It's an attempt to put a number on seasonal value for players, then weighted for peak production against raw career totals. I don't know that it's perfect, but it seems to pass the sniff test. I looked at WCAV for every player drafted in the AFC East 2002-2012, and looked at the median WCAV and total number of draft picks. The results were:

NY Jets: 14.25
NE Patriots: 12.12
Miami Dolphins: 11,22
Buffalo Bills: 10.62

TEAM: Total Picks
NY Jets: 70
NE Patriots: 97
Miami Dolphins: 87
Buffalo Bills: 91

I was a little surprised--I thought the Pats would have drafted better. It turns out the distributions are different. Even though the Pats had a lower median CWAV, they had some real homeruns (Vince Wilfork, Asante Samuel, and Logan Mankins).

So maybe you prefer more consistency, which the Jets had, or taking more swings and hitting more homers.

by Led :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 2:37pm

Thanks. Very interesting. Presumably, however, to get the median figure the Pats must have had both a higher percentage of "homers" and "strikeouts" (draftees with very low value), to continue your metaphor.

The Jets had Revis and Nick Mangold, which I'd definitely consider comparable to Samuel and Mankins (don't know the exact CWAV figures), but obviously if you're making 20% fewer picks your overall total value from the draft is going to be a lot lower even if you're picking slightly more efficiently on average. The Jets should have been making more picks -- you can't hit a homer if you don't swing.

by tuluse :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 4:00pm

You switch Tom Brady with Jet's QB 2002-2014 and I bet the Jets have a few superbowl wins and the Patriots are a scrappy team with a few big playoff upsets.

by commissionerleaf :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 4:23pm

Not so sure.

If Chad Pennington is a Patriot, maybe he doesn't get injured. If Chad Pennington doesn't get injured, he's among the best QB's in the league 2002-2014. Similar skill set to Brady, actually.

by tuluse :: Mon, 05/12/2014 - 4:56pm

Well if Pennington doesn't get injured, the Jets might have won one with him themselves.

Given how often he got hurt, I think it's clear his body just couldn't withstand the NFL and he was going to get hurt wherever he played (I could see him getting a run of 3-4 years in a row in though).

by MilkmanDanimal :: Tue, 05/13/2014 - 11:07am

I'd be curious to see some kind of similar metric for free agents/trades, which would clearly be a harder thing to approach. Randy Moss and Wes Welker were clearly hugely successful players for the Pats, but didn't come via the draft. Throw in the rotating Wheel of Veteran RBs Who Want A Ring from the earlier part of the decade, and there's a big part of the success.

by liquidmuse3 :: Thu, 05/22/2014 - 7:10pm

Milkman, Douglas got hurt (& Schiano probably ran him into the ground), Mike James got hurt IN HIS 1ST START, & Rainey was a fluke (2 good games?). No, Sims is not going to strictly be a runner, in fact, I think he's the slot receiver essentially, but to think Tampa are OK at running back is strictly a surface read to me.

And Tampa's defensive line depth? What, you don't like McCoy, Johnson, Clayborn, McDonald, Spence, Bowers, Means, & Gholston? They seem pretty deep to me, especially with a Lovie Smith "just go get the QB" defense.

And someone (in the other draft board?) mentioned "Lovie's offense". Nope, Lovie learned his lesson---that baby is Jeff Tedford's & Jeff Tedford's alone.