2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results
2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results
Photo: USA Today Sports Images

results compiled by Aaron Schatz

Thanks to all the readers who participated in our second annual NFL Draft Reader Poll. The results are below, and I'm sure everybody will enjoy discussing what their fellow readers got right (or wrong).

Which team had the best draft for value in 2011?

24.6% Detroit

10.0% Cleveland

9.8% New York Giants

6.9% Green Bay
6.7% Tampa Bay

5.5% New Orleans

4.9% New England

3.5% Indianapolis

Which team had the worst draft for value in 2011?

26.3% Atlanta

16.2% Seattle

14.5% Minnesota

11.4% Carolina
6.8% New England

3.9% Jacksonville

3.9% Tennessee

3.7% Oakland

Which first-round pick was the best value?

26.1% Nick Fairley, DT, DET (13)

23.0% Prince Amukamara, CB, NYG (19)

9.4% Patrick Peterson, CB, ARI (5)

8.0% Cameron Jordan, DE, NO (24)
5.9% Jimmy Smith, CB, BAL (27)

3.5% Anthony Castonzo, OT, IND (22)

3.5% Gabe Carimi, OT, CHI (29)

2.8% Mark Ingram, RB, NO (28)

Which first-round pick was the biggest mistake?

32.1% Cam Newton, QB, CAR (1)

28.9% Christian Ponder, QB, MIN (12)

12.7% Jake Locker, QB, TEN (8)

10.9% Julio Jones, WR, ATL (6)
4.5% James Carpenter, OT, SEA (25)

2.9% Aldon Smith, DE, SF (7)

1.7% Danny Watkins, G, PHI (23)

1.4% Blaine Gabbert, QB, JAC (10)

Which Day 2 draft pick (Rounds 2-3) will play the biggest role in 2011?

22.1% Andy Dalton, QB, CIN (35)

16.0% Da'Quan Bowers, DE, TB (51)

6.7% Mikel Leshoure, RB, DET (57)

5.4% Daniel Thomas, RB, MIA (62)

5.4% Randall Cobb, WR, GB (64)
4.2% Stephen Paea, DT, CHI (53)

3.2% Ryan Williams, RB, ARI (38)

2.6% Ben Ijalana, OL, IND (49)

2.6% Brooks Reed, OLB, HOU (42)

2.6% Ras-I Downling, CB, NE (33)

Which Day 2 draft pick (Rounds 2-3) will play the biggest role long-term?

18.0% Andy Dalton, QB, CIN (35)

11.6% Colin Kaepernick, QB, SF (36)

10.6% Da'Quan Bowers, DE, TB (51)

10.0% Ryan Mallett, QB, NE (74)

4.8% Marvin Austin, DT, NYG (52)
3.9% Randall Cobb, WR, GB (64)

2.6% Bruce Carter, LB, DAL (40)

2.6% Justin Houston, DE, KC (70)

2.3% Leonard Hankerson, WR, WAS (79)

2.3% Greg Little, WR, CLE (59)

Which Day 3 draft pick (Rounds 4-7) will play the biggest role in 2011?

20.3% Roy Helu, RB, WAS (105)

10.5% Alex Henery, K, PHI (120)

6.8% Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, ATL (145)

5.1% Greg Salas, WR, STL (112)

4.6% Sam Acho, DE/LB, ARI (103)
4.2% Christian Ballard, DE, MIN (106)

3.4% Jordan Cameron, TE, CLE (102)

3.4% Delone Carter, RB, IND (119)

3.0% D.J. Williams, TE, GB (145)

2.5% (6 players tied)

Which Day 3 draft pick (Rounds 4-7) will play the biggest role long-term?

15.0% Marcus Cannon, OT, NE (138)

8.3% Ricky Stanzi, QB, KC (135)

5.4% Casey Matthews, LB, PHI (116)

3.8% Christian Ballard, DE, MIN (106)

3.8% Chris Carter, LB, PIT (162)

3.8% Greg Romeus, DE, NO (226)
3.8% D.J. Williams, TE, GB (145)

3.3% Sam Acho, DE/LB, ARI (103)

3.3% Jordan Cameron, TE, CLE (102)

2.9% Tandon Doss, WR, BAL (123)

2.9% Davon House, CB, GB (131)

2.9% Greg McElroy, QB, NYJ (208)

Who will be the best fantasy football rookie in 2011?

33.7% Mark Ingram, RB, NO

16.3% A.J. Green, WR, CIN

13.9% Julio Jones, WR, ATL

9.4% Daniel Thomas, RB, MIA
7.4% Mikel Leshoure, RB, DET

4.5% Ryan Williams, RB, ARI

2.2% Andy Dalton, QB, CIN

2.0% Titus Young, WR, DET

Atlanta's trade up for Julio Jones: Good move?

85.4% No, they needed more draft picks to help on defense.

14.6% Yes, they needed one great offensive player to put them over the top.

New England's trades for more 2012 picks: Good move?

54.5% No, they needed pass rushers and they're running out of time in Tom Brady's prime.

43.7% Yes, the picks they added have more value than the ones they gave away.

1.8% No, there won't be a draft in 2012 so they gave away picks for nothing.

Give a nickname to the new Detroit defensive line of Ndamukong Suh, Nick Fairley, Kyle Vanden Bosch, and Cliff Avril.

We got a lot of similar responses to this question; I guess some of the possible nicknames were just that obvious. My personal favorite, and the nickname I think is going to stick, is "The Disassembly Line." We randomly chose three of the readers who submitted this nickname and gave them free copies of Rex Ryan's new book, Play Like You Mean It. Congratulations to Doug Faust, Eric Schneider, and Daniel Wood.

Other popular nickname choices included The Pride, Motor City Maulers, Motor City Monsters, and Detroit Sack City. Some of the more unique suggestions included Ate Mile, Detroit 1-8-7 (a great TV show, by the way), the Fearsome Fordsome, Hitsville USA (an old nickname for Motown Records), the Jim Schwartz Blues Explosion, The Arsenal of Democracy (an actual WWII nickname for Detroit), Voltron, The Crumple Zone, The Silver Crush, Three Men and Cliff Avril, The Ford F-1150 (the combined weight of the four players), and the Henry IIs (as they are the Lions in Winter).

Thanks to everybody for your participation in this year's draft poll!


125 comments, Last at 06 Mar 2012, 2:01pm

45 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results


(although any ref to Lion in Winter is also good in my book. Henry: Philip, I gave you too little in our last meeting. Philip: Yes. Nothing is too little. And the Henry works for both Ford and Plantagenet)

Disassembly Line is very good as well.

Now on to the 10% who voted Ryan Mallet as having the biggest long term impact... what, does Brady's 8,000 SF pool need a cleaning? "Ryan, get off the phone with Sorgi and get the damn skimmer!"

73 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I am one of the folks who voted for Mallett. I am not sure how it will transpire, but I believe that within 5 years he will be a star in the league, for someone. Barring the Pats giving him away, that would mean that they'll either have had to play him (due to some circumstance affecting Brady) or they'll have flipped him for more draft-pick value than they expended, or both.

The guy can play, and assertions that he's a head-case have been vastly overstated, in my opinion.

3 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

To the 2.9% who voted for Aldon Smith as the worst value in the first, I'd invite you to watch the tape of Missou vs Colorado last year, especially to those people who gave top marks on value to the Pats. Not saying he's certain to be a great pick but he should have had a higher rep from the pundits.

The Disassembly Line is just great, as is Hitsville USA.

5 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I understand that Detroit is going to have perhaps the scariest DLine of recent memory (although I still think the Panthers 2003 line was also scary: J.Peppers, M.Rucker, K.Jenkins, and B.Buckner were no laughing matter, and did basically carry Carolina to the Super Bowl). And I understand that getting Fairly at 13 was amazing and very lucky. However, I can't help but feel they were chosen to have the best value draft because of the DLine, and not really because of their entire draft. I don't particularly like LeShoure to be the pounder that everybody thinks his body type would generate, especially after the write up about how he doesn't play like a power back right now. Also, I feel like they didn't have very many pick, and needed quite a few. I understand value is based upon what they did get with what they had, and that it would have been ridiculous to trade out of 13 with Fairly still available, but I just don't think it really had the most value. I really thought Cleveland and GB had better value drafts.

As for Carolina, I don't like the pick of Newton, mainly because I don't see how a) he is going to succeed when nobody exactly like him has really ever succeeded, and b) Carolina of all places will offer him the chance to succeed. They never spend money, they haven't developed a quarterback in this millenia, and they have only twice ever spent a top 100 pick on a QB prior to this draft.
All that said, who else were they going to draft? I would have liked Dareus, but I also don't see him as that player that can do what Suh or Fairly is going to be able to do. He'll be more consistent, and probably have a wonderful NFL career, but he won't have their careers (I like Fairly, but I think he has legit bust potential). Green is going to be one heck of a pro, assuming the Bengals don't screw him up like Peter Warrick (I still don't think Warrick was worth a top 30 pick, and that it was obvious that he wasn't going to be the pro Cinncy thought he'd be). I also don't see the Panthers, who haven't drafted a WR in the first round since Rae Carruth, doing that, especially since every WR that's ever been productive has been drafted in the late second or beyond. And Rivera is coming from a team that has had success with later round WR's, and not with first rounders.
I just think that Carolina got the pick in a bad year to have it, and that they picked the only player that could conceivably fulfill the potential that comes with being a #1 pick.

76 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Personally, if I was Carolina I would have taken AJ Green. I felt he and Peterson were the two best players, and Green filled more of a need. I'd rather go into 2011 with Claussen and Green than Newton and...?

I think if you're confident that a WR will be a perennial Pro-Bowler, than it's worth the first pick if there's no great QB.

6 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I somehow missed the fact that there was a poll. The only question I probably would have gone against the grain on would have been the Day 3 prospect with the most impact. I find it astonshing that nobody thought to list one of the punters/kickers for their answer. I don't know which one will be the best of them, but I find it very likely that the most impact from the bottom of the draft will be one of these guys.

51 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I'd even posted a mention in the original comment thread asking how anyone other than a kicker would be a reasonable bet for third-day immediate impact. We know he's not going to be the best, but there's no other individual strong choices available--you can pretty much see "Kicker + Eagles + Lack Kicker = Impact!" tattooed on his head.

58 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

It depends how you interpret the question. Should you name the guy with the biggest expected role or the guy with the highest probability of having a bigger role than anyone else? I would say Henery is extremely likely to have a bigger role than the vast majority of players drafted on day 3, but really quite unlikely to have absolutely the biggest.

Also, this year the day three picks included two running backs selected by a Mike Shanahan team with no obvious solution at that position already on the roster, one of whom is a darling of this site's various RB prospect metrics who Shanahan traded up for in the fourth. I voted for Helu because I think he's the clear answer to "most likely to have the biggest role", but I don't think he's an unreasonable answer to "biggest expected role" either.

7 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Detroit is going to be this year's 49ers, the team everyone picks to make the playoffs but isn't nearly as good as people make them out to be. Is Gunther still the defensive coordinator? Yes? Then they'll lead the league in missed tackles like all his defenses always do. Do they still have glaring needs at LB and in the secondary? Is Stafford still unproven? And the last time I checked, Vanden Bosch hasn't been good in two years.

Don't buy into the hype.

10 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I don't know if they'll make the playoffs, I think the Bears and Packers are still quite good, but they're going to be a dangerous team that wins some games you didn't expect them too.

If they were in the NFC West I would expect them to make the playoffs, they probably could have made it last year if you swapped them for Seattle.

11 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Most likely because they wouldn't have face the Packers and the Bears twice. I bet the Dolphins, Jaguars, Bucs, Raiders (that's right, the Raiders), Chargers, and Giants could have all made it had they been in the NFCW. But you have to draft to play the division you're in, just like everybody not named the Colts drafts to take down Manning in the AFCS. The Lions have done that, as they are in a league where all teams have their franchise QB, or so they think.

I agree that they're going to be the spoilers to more then a couple team playoffs chances. I don't think they'll compete for a playoff spot with GB and Chicago, mainly because the offense is a complete question mark, but they will be pretty good.

18 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

They were 1-1 vs the Packers and had it not been for an odd rule that negated a touchdown catch would have been 1-1 vs the Bears. Yes Rodgers missed over half of the loss but he didn't do much while in the game and Detroit was playing with a back-up as well.

That being said, that Packers are equipped to deal with them. Sitton can handle Suh 1 on 1 and will be able to handle Fairley as well if they move Suh so that he isn't fighting with Sitton (which they did a few times last year). Assuming Grant, Green, or Starks can actually run next year at around the level Grant provided the last couple of years while healthy that will take some of the bite out that the Packers weren't able to take out last year.

Finley being healthy and the addition of DJ Williams, and Cobb should make it a bit easier to attack the seams, and Jennings/Driver/Nelson/Jones (or Cobb) already had an advantage on the outside. Delmas is a legit safety but there should be enough healthy weapons to exploit middle and deep too.

The Packer's D should still match up well too. Woodson/Williams/Shields can cover any set of receivers. The run shouldn't be as damaging since I expect there to be fewer injuries to the linebackers, and the extra depth and stronger sub packages will help. I'm hoping they can resign Jenkins. But even without him, I don't expect Neal to be hurt again, and Wilson was showing improvement. I'm very high on Guy, the 7th round pick, but only as someone to take a few snaps this year, I think he still needs a few years to show full potential.

I don't think the Bears will fare as well. While they have improved their offensive line, they lost the trench battle in both games last year and it will only get worse. They don't have elite receivers so the weaker secondary of the Detroit isn't as much of a concern. I can't expect them to play 3 against three different 3rd string QBs again next year. And while they get to play Carolina again, so does the rest of the NFC North this year since the North gets NFC South and AFC West. Chicago getting Carolina while Green Bay got Atlanta was the difference last year in who won the division.

I can easily seen Detroit going 3-3 in the division and picking up wins over San Fran, Carolina, Denver, Dallas, upsetting KC, and another win out of San Diego, Oakland, New Orleans, Tampa Bay to get to 9-7, which is where I think Chicago will finish as well. I think Chicago was a 9-7 team last year that just had more than it's share of luck to get to 11-5.

I don't think GB will do better than 12-4 either.

The reason is that the NFC North is playing the NFC South, and I think those are the two best division in the NFC. I don't have a read on the AFC West, I think that division is getting better, but is still weak. But Green Bay gets New York, and Chicago gets Philly as well which are both tough games.

21 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

don't have elite receivers so the weaker secondary of the Detroit isn't as much of a concern.

The reason the Bears beat the Lions twice last year is because Cutler shredded them through the air. Their back seven simply wasn't good enough.

I think Chicago was a 9-7 team last year that just had more than it's share of luck to get to 11-5.

The Bears weren't lucky when Cutler got injured on the first play of the second quarter in the NFC championship game. Or when they lost most of their offensive line to injury in approximately 30 minutes of game time and had to scramble to put it back together resulting in the QB getting concussed and generally battered and having to play inexperienced players leading fairly directly to three losses. The Bears were probably a better team last year than the Skins and Seahawks and possibly the Giants too but confusion along the line about blocking schemes pretty much sank the Bears those days. When the blocking settled down (a bit, I am not claiming they were actually much good) the Bears offense went from -30%DVOA (good for 30th) to 5%DVOA (good for 14th) when looking at the first ten to the last six games of the regular season. If the blocking does improve (especially if they add a decent guard in free agency) the Bears might actually field a decent offense. Maybe it does take a season and a half to learn the Martz offense?

38 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

The reason the Bears beat the Lions twice last year is because Cutler shredded them through the air. Their back seven simply wasn't good enough.

The reason the Bears won the first game was a technically correct call that turned what was a catch into an incompletion. Johnson caught the ball, the Bears should have been down 20-19 pending extra point. Cutler did have 372 yards but he also had an int and the Bears only produced 19 points. The leading receiver was Forte with 153 yards (not the wide outs) and he got 89 of that on one play, which was actually a dump off, I don't think it was designed screen. It wasn't because of poor coverage by the secondary, but yes the poor angles and tackling on that play do show some of the issues the Lions have, I don't deny that.

In the 2nd game Cutler had 234 yards, which is a bit above average. But again the winning touchdown for the Bears came after a questionable roughing the passer call. One that as I recall the league said was a mistake when they did game reviews.

The Bears were never "in control" at any point in either of those games and in fact were trailing in the 4th quarter in both of them. They had no depth on a questionable offensive line and that hurt them, but even if fully healthy on the one unit that did actually have injuries, it was still a weakness.

Even with the weak secondary and linebackers (that I don't deny) that the Lions have. It's still matching a weakness against a weakness with the Bears. I'm still not impressed by the receiving corps of the Bears. Then they match a strength in their d line vs a weakness of the Bears, the o-line. The Lions receivers match up well vs the Bears secondary now too. I think the Lions offense is going to put up more points, in general this year and they were a solid scoring offense last year. The Bears had an excellent scoring defense last year, and great special teams that helped give the poor to so-so offense enough to work with. I'm not sure the Bears D is going to be as good next season either.

The Bears weren't lucky when Cutler got injured on the first play of the second quarter in the NFC championship game.
In a game they were already trailing 14 to nothing and his play wasn't great up to that point either. But you can't play the injury luck card. The Bears were the least injured team in the NFL last year. Even had Cutler played that whole game I don't think the Bears would have won, even with the Packers offense decided to take the 2nd half off like that were wont to do all season (just disappear for a few quarters). Who knows though.

Of course if Calvin Johnson had been rolled onto his back or didn't just leave the ball on the ground after he got up after making a catch, or a couple of questionable calls in the first game vs the Packers didn't happen, or Aaron Rodgers didn't suffer a concussion and the Packers beat the Lions (or New England) and the Bears didn't win the conference the one really big piece of bad luck the Bears had might not have mattered.

I realize both of my posts are filled with what-ifs. But my eyeballs tell me that Bears were a good team with above average luck. Not a great team with average luck. That's the way the NFL works and they got to the NFCGC and they should have been there. I don't expect them to maintain success based off of that though. Hell the Packers had a lot of luck with what other teams did to even get into the playoffs.

As a Packers fan I'm more worried about the Lions in 2011 than I am about the Bears, and I think both of them will be winning teams, but just barely.

I still think both the Bears and Lions are in that 8-10 win range next year. I think the Packers are in the 10-12 range next season.

50 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

the first game was only in doubt due to the bears fumbling the ball in just about every goalline opportunity. Also, everyone seems to forget is that the Lions apparent touchdown came with enough time for the Bears to respond. It wasnt game over.

I think your assesment of the Bears is actually pretty accurate, but I think you are overrating the Lions.

92 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

The Lions were in the game because the Bears were 0 for red zone opportunities, but then, they never came out of an offensive shell until the Bears finally took the lead -- and once that happened, they immediately drove down the field and "scored". It's hard to analyze in-game decision making without factoring in the game situation at least partially. The Calvin Johnson Play is easier to analyze in a vacuum because 98% of the game had already occurred at that point -- the subsequent possible consequence tree was much smaller.

68 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

The long Forte pass was a screen and yes Forte scorched the Lions as well last year (the Lions defense really had problems with speed last year, and tackling, and coverage). I am assuming you didnt watch the game as it was over as a contest when Peppers ended Detroit's season in the second quarter. Backus is still there, Stafford has now suffered three shoulder seperations in two seasons (two left, one right - on one he wasn't even getting hit) and they ignored their line on draft day so I am not sure why you think the QB, line combo will be any stronger next year. The second game against the Lions was nowhere near as close a competition as the box score indicates.

In a game they were already trailing 14 to nothing and his play wasn't great up to that point either

That would depend when you think Cutler got injured. I think he was injured on the very first play of the second quarter when he tried to flick the ball to Matt Forte to avoid getting sacked in the end zone and Ryan Pickett landed on the outside of Cutler's left knee. It was the only shot to the outside of that knee that Culter took. At that point the score was 7-0 and Cutler was 2 of 4 for about 25 yards or so. The common impression people seem to have is that he only got injured towards the end of the half but if you look back at the tape that doesn't really make sense as he looks like a completely different player in the second quarter.

You seem to want to ascribe everything good that happens to the Bears to luck and everything bad to them being rubbish. Put it another way, Cutler can still get injured at the start of the second quarter but in this alternate reality Urlacher doesn't fall over after Rodgers hits him on the pick run back and scores whereas Raji does a fat man with the ball fall and doesn't score. Bears win 21-14 despite losing their starting QB and having to play a whole quarter of Todd Collins. Of course none of that happened so its congrats to the Packers (rather the Pack than Roethlisberger's redemption story which would have made me throw up in my mouth). However I think you are seriously over egging the dominance of the Packers over the Bears. I don't think there was a single dominant team last season but no one will think about that in ten years and the Pack got the Lombardi.

72 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

No, I don't think the Packers were really that much better than the Bears. I responded with wide strokes to your wide strokes. I may also be reacting to all the crap I got last year from Bears fans during the regular season. I've also been quoted as giving Martz credit for adapting to the players he had and not trying to force a scheme on them. If he would have done it sooner the Bears might have had another win. Both the Packers and Bears lost to teams I think they were clearly better than and I think they both won games that just as easily could have lost. But they were trailing both Lions games in the 4th quarter. They scored with 1:31 left in the second game, and they had a touchdown overturned with :31 left in the first game. My whole point is that they really weren't that much better than the Lions. A team that, oh by the way nearly came back from a 28-14 deficit against the Packers and actually beat them in another game. My point is that the Lions weren't completely horrible last year.

You say Backus is still there, yes the Lions have a weak offensive line, but the Bears have worse. Cutler missed games for the same reason Stafford was out, his offensive line failed to protect him, but the Lions coaching staff didn't have Todd Collins as a back-up. Shaun Hill is servicable and Drew Stanton (who the Bears got to play) was better than expected. If you have a China Doll as your starter or an offensive line that sucks you better have a solid back-up. It's why the Packers are keeping Flynn and I'm surprised they didn't grab a QB in the late rounds this year.

The Bears have a better back 7, sure, but the Lions have better receivers. The Bears special teams are better than the Lions but not by a lot. The Lions have a better defensive line, but it's not heads and shoulders better than the Bears. I agree the Bears were better than the Lions, if you got to play the season several times the Bears would be in the 8-11 win range most times but could have ended up with as few as 6 wins a couple of times and the Lions last year would generally have been 6-8 wins with a couple of 10 win seasons in my opinion.

You can read that I said the Bears had an excellent defense, excellent special teams and a so-so offense. That will win you more games that it will lose. The Packers had an excellent defense, crappy special teams, and a highly inconsistent offense that could go from best in the league to one of the worst in the league. The Bears were the least injured team in the NFL, the Packers were one of the most injured. As I stated, to me, the Packers have more indicators that they can repeat, and their draft seemed to address their biggest issues, special teams and more offensive options that should help with the inconsistency.

You brought up the luck factor and I simply countered that argument. The Bears came back and made a game of it, because their defense got them back in the game and they got a couple of good drives too. But the Bears had 7 three and out (two of them in the first quarter with an uninjured Cutler). The Packers had three. The Bears had 4 drives of 30 or more yards, the Packers had 6. Though perhaps I should go with 40 yards as that is closer to what you would generally need to get in scoring range starting from the 20. The numbers and my eyes showed a game the Packers controlled for longer than the Bears. The end of the 3rd and most of the 4th the Bears were generally playing better than the Packers. That matches the results, a one score game. The team that won clearly played better for 2.5 quarters vs 1.5 quarters.

The Packers were a better team than the Bears with worse results last year. Either one was strong enough to win the Super Bowl, because there wasn't a lot of difference between any of the 10+ win teams last season. They all had some form of major weakness, well Atlanta didn't, they just weren't dominate in anything. The Packers were horrid on special teams with an inconsistent offense. The Bears had no offensive line and I still don't think Jay Cutler is as good as people think he is (honestly I think they would have been 11-5 with Orton last year too) which lead to a sub par offense.

79 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

No you brought up luck, not me. The first thing in my first post was a quote from you that included the word, it is why I posted, I too have read stuff all over that simply states the Bears were just lucky from all kinds of fans and it isn't any less annoying for me. ;)

My opinion if NFC North offensive lines is that no one has a particularly good line, and that the Bears looked much worse at the start of the year when they were running all Martz' seven step drops without the blockers to do it. The Pack probably have the best line but they aren't that far ahead of anybody in the division (the only lineman I particularly rate is Sitton) and the Bears are the only team to have attempted to improve it so far. The paucity of talent in these units accross the division leaves me able to think that if the Bears were to sign a guard (eg. Harvey Dahl or Davin Joseph) they might actually field the best unit out of the four teams next year. This isn't down to possible Bears brilliance but rather that none of the others are all that good either.

As for Orton / Cutler; whilst Cutler got battered and concussed behind that line Orton might have died. The guy is a statue and the standard of his play goes downhill fast when he picks up niggling injuries, if he had been the Bears QB last season they would still be searching Lake Michigan for parts of his corpse.

81 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Didn't the Packers draft a lineman with their first pick?

And I think the Bears are pretty good. At the end of the year they were playing like a team with their record should probably have been playing, but people will always say they were worse than their record because they looked so terrible at the beginning of the season. Put less confusingly, I think the Bears were lucky to have the record they did given how poorly they played early on, but their record was not out of line with their talent and potential.

I also think the Lions are pretty good. They played every division team tough last year and had horrible luck with QB injuries in those games. Stafford played, I believe, one half of one game, and Shaun Hill missed the second Bears game and the second Packers game. Drew Stanton is bad.

I don't know if the Lions will make the playoff next year, but they have the potential to. The North is pretty stinking loaded though.

85 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

What you could all take from this discussion is that Minnesota are royally f&&**d, especially when you factor in a rookie qb and the division playing the NFC South. Carolina look screwed too. Two teams who have just spent 1st round picks on qbs could well end up with the chance to take Luck, which could be interesting.

93 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

My point is that the Lions weren't completely horrible last year.

Just hugely inconsistent.

They beat the Packers, and beat TB in a game TB needed to win, but also lost to Buffalo. They also lost coin-toss games to the Jets, Packers, and Bears (x2). The Pats were the only team to smash them. Without changing performance at all, the Lions could have been 3-13 or 10-6. In 2011, I wouldn't be surprised if they were 3-13 or 10-6.

I remain grateful they didn't play NO or Indy -- teams who I would expect to destroy them in a Belichickian manner. Peyton Manning is a worst-case scenario to the Lions defensive reality -- he personally is immune to a defensive line-based rush, and the Lions have only cardboard-cutouts at LB and DB and are helpful to stop timing routes, and you know, actually tackle people.

100 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

The NFC championship game is another game where people's memories seem to be selective. The Packers came out on fire and built a sizable lead, but then failed to score an offensive point in the entire 2nd half, and it got within one score.

My biggest concern with Martz is that he thought Todd Collins could play QB at an acceptable level. At no point in any pass he attempted did look capable.

104 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I still blame that decission by Martz as directly costing the Bears the NFCC. Plug in Hanie for the posessions Collins had and there is a very good chance the Bears are driving for the winning FG instead of the tying TD and there's no desperation pass on fourth down to be intercepted and end the game...

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

28 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I think the main reason the 49ers were given so much hype as a playoff team last year, was more to do with their pissweak divison , rather than that they were a strong team. I think people expected them to get at least 8 wins which would have been pathetic enough to win the division. However, they even failed to live up to those modest expectations.

14 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

The Disassembly line is very good, and is absolutely going to stick. It has a lot of different interpretations and references built in.

84 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

But it's way too clunky. Seven syllables? That's not a nickname.

They'll play games (hopefully) and then if they don't all get immediately injured and/or actually live up to the hype (I'm sure they will), then something lazy and unfun will go around. I think Disassembly Line is overthinking it. Anything where people have to be like "oh yeah, like an assembly line, but for taking things apart, because they're from Detroit where they used to make cars on an assembly line and... hey! Taco Bell has a new volcano taco!"

Simmons's "Chaos N. Suh" for Ndamukong Suh is the worst. Just awkward in every way. I'm partial to "Runaround Suh," but c'est la vie.

If you're gonna nickname an entire unit, they have to earn it first. You can't just look at the Jacoby, Grimm, and May draft and call that O-line the Hogs. Joe Bugel's got to do it in camp while they're plowing over poor Dave Butz over and over again.

And in case you're wondering, yes, this entire post was an excuse to drop a Dave Butz reference.

17 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Team nicknames are cool. I'm partial to the Steel Curtain, but the Purple People Eaters, the Broadstreet Bullies, the Four Horsemen, the Monsters of the Midway, the Hogs are all great too. We haven't really had any good ones since the Greatest Show on Turf.

22 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

It's odd that nicknames just stopped after "The Greatest Show on Turf", and that was such a good one. We need some new nicknames. The only units I can think of that are deserving would be the Colts offense, Chargers Offense, Saints Offense, Steelers defense and Ravens defense. There might be others, but those are the units that have been great for years.

44 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I think that was Vincent Jackson's agent, Neil Swartz, who publicized it. It happened when the Chargers let Neil Swartz negotiate a contract with other teams prior to a trade, but the Chargers kept killing the deal by demanding too much in return. Out of frustration, Swartz complained that's why other people around the league call him the "Lord of No Rings."

52 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Isn't the Colts Offense called "Peyton Manning"?

I think the problem with the Steelers D and Ravens D is that the best nicknames for them have already been taken (Steel Curtain and Purple People Eaters), so anything that's given to them would be a bit second rate.

Surely there must be a good potential Wire-based nickname for the Ravens?

Steelers could be called something like "[However many varieties of Heinz sauces there are] varieties of Blitzes"?

54 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

For the record, the Purple People Eaters was a nickname for the Vikings defensive line in the 1960s and 70s. I don't know if you already knew that, and was just pointing out that it would've been a good name for the Ravens D, but just making sure.

Also, I think humanity can conceive a better nickname for the Ravens then the Purple People Eaters. I mean, come on, that's really only half decent, since it is very long and not very descriptive of their real jobs.

77 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

IIRC Jim Marshall hated the name Purple People Eaters. He didn't like the cannibal connotation.

As for the Ravens and Steelers, the lack of nicknames isn't for lack of trying. I remember driving through Pittsburgh listening to Myron Cope trying to get a nickname for the early-Cowher defense. He was pleading with callers that the defense wouldn't be a DEEE-FENSE until it had a catchy name. I think "Blitzburgh" is what came out of that.

The Ravens tried for a nickname as well. Purple Pain, Harm City, but none stuck. I liked Harm City but few people outside of the area know that Baltimore is known as Charm City. The play on words doesn't mean as much when you're not aware of the pun.

83 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

That's an interesting story, about the origins of Blitzburgh. Didn't realize it started with the, I'm guessing, Kevin Greene/Levon Kirkland/Rod Woodson Steelers. It's still a pretty good one, and the Steelers defense has basically been very much the same since then, just new parts, new great linebackers.

102 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Yeah, it was in the mid-'90s when they were hosting championship games. "Name the defense" (other units for other teams) seems to be a reliable way to fill a few talk show hours, so any time the team is good it becomes a topic, and T-shirt printers listen anxiously.

It seems to me that nicknames work best when they spring up organically, rather than in the "We need a name for the Lions' line" manner.

90 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

There has to be a deeper reason for the disappearance of old nicknames. Perhaps the news cycle moves too fast and competing journalists and commentators don't want to use another persons creative material? Who knows.

Personally, if it were up to me, I'd put "1940s Man" in the booth for games. Those broadcasts from way back when were prodigious pontificators offering a cornucopia of cliches to describe athletic action!

19 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I have trouble understanding why people selected:

2.8% Mark Ingram, RB, NO (28)

As the 1st round pick with best value. I thought the value was horrible.

20 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Maybe because there's no salary cap, so the downside of paying a premium for the position is minimized? Additionally, once you're at pick 28, the salary (in years past anyway) is low enough that it is possible for a RB to outperform the contract, thereby providing financial value to the team.

I don't think he offered the best value any more than you do, but I can see a thought process which could lead someone to that conclusion if they think he's the next LT/AP.

113 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Not true. Let's say we expect the Saints' pick in 2012 to be about #24. According to the traditional value chart, that means they gave up 1080 points of value, equivalent to the 14th or 15th overall pick. This study from PFR suggests that the Jimmy Johnson chart actually does a very good job of estimating the value of picks between #4 and #100 relative to one another (while badly overvaluing the top three picks and somewhat overvaluing picks from the fourth round onwards).

In other words, for this to be retrodictively good value, Ingram will have to perform better than the average #14 pick. For it to be a rational move by the Saints, he must have been one of the 14 (or so) top players on their draft board. Again, if you believe Ingram is a spectacular, Tomlinson-type talent, you can rationally believe this to represent extremely good value.

Remember, too, that he doesn't have to be one of the best 14 players in the draft for this to be a good move - just better than the average #14 pick. That means roughly 40 career AV, equivalent to Ronnie Brown's career to date, slightly better than that of Ladell Betts's, and slightly worse than Julius Jones's. For this to be clearly a good deal for the Saints, AV suggests that Ingram would only need to be Deuce McAllister or Thomas Jones, not Tomlinson or Peterson.

Maybe you think AV over-values modern running backs (I'd be inclined to agree, for backs not named Marshall Faulk). Maybe you really want to apply the more exacting standard of "14th best player in the class" rather than "average #14 pick". In the thread for the 2005 Draft 6 Years Later piece, I tried to do a 20/20 hindsight first round do-over. The 14th pick was Derrick Johnson. Others in that approximate vicinity were Nick Collins, Thomas Davis, Leroy Hill and Kyle Orton. Is it really so outlandish to think Ingram might be better than all those guys?

I freely admit there's an extent to which I'm playing devil's advocate here: I don't like the trade any more than you do, but that's because I'm not a big fan of Ingram. I don't think it's inherently a bad idea to make a move like this for a running back.

116 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Agree with you Shush. Most fans and yes even posters here, tend to overvalue draft picks. You don't have to be that great to be worth a 1st or 2nd round pick. A mere reliable starters production over only a few years is worth a 2nd round pick IMHO, anything more and you definitely deserve to be a 1st rounder. Further down in the thread we've got a claim that Ahman Green's career would be worth a late 1st rounder, which to me seems not right. Do over that 1998 draft and he would be at least a mid rounder, and arguably the Bears might take him at #5 knowing that Curtis Enis would be rubbish. If Mark Ingram ends up having an Ahman Green-type career, I think the Saints would be absolutely thrilled (assuming they get the Packers part and not the Seahawks bit...)

121 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Last year, the #5 pick in the draft, Eric Berry, signed a 6 year, $60 million contract with $34 million guaranteed. You need a lot more than "Aman Green production" in order to be worth that kind of scratch. Even if you end up producing on a LT/AP level, you might earn the money but you're still not a bargain. It is impossible for a RB to be able to outproduce his contract. If the team doesn't acquire a guy who embarks on a Hall of Fame level career path immediately, they've blown their budget overpaying for a guy who should never have been picked that high. Teams win because they have players who outperform their contract, allowing them to get more value than their budget would otherwise allow. You can't do that picking a RB in the top of the first round. Even in the late first round, it's still very difficult.

122 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I agree that Green would not be a good use of a selection as high as five. I believe the no-brainer choice for the Bears in that spot given a 20/20 hindsight do-over would be Hasselbeck, assuming that 1-2-3-4 was Manning-Moss-Woodson-Faneca, as I think it would be. I would also take Ward, Thomas, Kreutz, Birk and maybe Rolle and Little ahead of Green. I believe only a back with Marshall Faulk level receiving skills is capable of significantly outplaying a top-5 contract in today's NFL.

As for Ingram, it's worth remembering how steeply the money falls off in the first round. Last year's #14 pick (the equivalent value to what was given up for Ingram) was Earl Thomas, who signed for 5 years, $21.1m, with $12.32m guaranteed. A running back could certainly outperform that. Jared Odrick went at #28 - the spot for which Ingram will actually be remunerated - and signed for 5 years, $13.072m contract with $7.134m guaranteed. That's veteran journeyman money. It is not even remotely difficult for a back to outperform a late first round contract, and Green would have done so by a huge margin.

91 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

And if the 28th pick had already belonged to NO, you'd have a point. But giving up this year's second AND next year's first means the only way this was the best value is if he's on the Adrain Peterson/Chris Johnson/LT level. Which absolutely NO ONE seems to think he is.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

24 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I don't really follow the draft closely, so this is the first time I'm noticing this, but just to clarify, so there was a guy named Cameron Jordan and another named Jordan Cameron? Why has no one made some glib comment on this yet??

36 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I don't get how Ingram is going to be the best fantasy guy next year. RBs on the Saints already kinda sucked as far as fantasy goes; why would adding another one to the Thomas/Ivory/Bush group make him more valuable? At least with the receivers they're going to a place where they actually need receivers.

62 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

1. Running backs are far more likely to be highly productive as rookies than almost any other position (exceptions being pass-rusher, kicker, punter and returner). It just takes them less time to adjust to the NFL.

2. Bush is very probably gone.

3. Yes, the Saints will operate a committee, but Ingram may well be the leading member (if not, it's hard to justify what they gave up for him).

4. Running backs are worth more than receivers in fantasy. In a dynasty league, sure, give me Green or Jones. But for re-draft purposes it's got to be a running back. You prefer Thomas or Leshoure or Helu? Fine. But it's unlikely to be either a rookie WR1 catching passes from a rookie QB on what will probably be a horrible offense or a rookie WR2 on a team that a. runs the ball a lot and b. has both an uber-stud WR1 and an ultra-reliable TE.

69 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

If he turns out to be a top back, #28 is a good value.

BUT below I list the top running back taken in each of the previous 10 drafts. In most cases I say they would not have been worth a pick in the twenties:

2010 Spiller
2009 Moreno
2008 McFadden
2007 Peterson
2006 Bush
2005 Brown
2004 Jackson
2003 McGahee
2002 Green
2001 Tomlinson

71 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Spiller - incomplete
Moreno - no
McFadden - incomplete, but looking yes-ish
Peterson - hell yes
Bush - no, but not a disaster
Brown - very close call
Jackson - hell yes
McGahee - no, but not a disaster
Green - yes
Tomlinson - hell yes with bells on

Excluding those who I think are still too early to call, that's 3 huge hits, 1 further definite hit, one very marginal case (outstanding player when healthy, but health issues), two guys who are useful but not worth the pick, and only one guy who actually sucks. I'd say that was a pretty good rate of return.

Edit: Immediately after posting, realised that "Green" was of course not Ahman Green but William Green. Which makes him a clear bust, not a clear hit. I still think that's an acceptable rate of return, given that the hits in that sample are such colossal hits.

94 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Even if it was Ahman Green I completely disagree he would be worth a top 20 pick. He's a good RB, but he's not nearly good enough to waste a first-round pick on when just the second round of those drafts gave us McCoy, Forte, Rice, MJD, Portis or even Julius Jones and Travis Henry.

And as much as I like Brown, I don't think he's worth a top-20 pick either...

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

96 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Ahman Green was the 7th most valuable player taken in 1998. Even Fed Taylor, the #9 pick, out-performed his draft slot, as the 5th most valuable player taken in 1998.


103 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Very interesting. I would never have guessed that. And seeing how he's the fourth-highest RB by AV selected in the 98-06 drafts, ahead of Westbrook, Ricky Williams, Steven Jackson, MJD, Larry Johnson and Frank Gore really leads me to question my perception of Green and/or the accuracy of AV.

However, there are two hings that jump out at me from looking at that draft:

1) What a shallow draft. And specially at RB. Other than Taylor and Green, the best you could hope to get from the 98 class was Micheal Pitman... and then it really falls off a cliff.

2) While I consider AV a good stat, it definitely still doesn't really account for positional differences as well as it wants to, specially with regards to OL. I don't think anyone would really preferr to have Ahman Green than Olin Kreutz or Matt Birk, do they? Also, the fact that Flozell Adams and Tra Thomas are the runaway leaders in AV at tackle in that class once again underscores just how shallow that draft was.

But I will concede that Green was definitely a more impactfull player than I gave him credit for.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

106 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Actually no they wouldn't have. Green had a stretch of 10, 100 yard games, and several others of 6+. He did things no Green Bay running back had done in a long time and no back since has been close. He broke of 90+ yard runs in both 2003 and 2004 and had an 80 yarder in 2001. I know that really long runs have a lot of factors, but he had "highlight reel" runs. He was so much better than Levens and Edgar Benett ever were. He's clearly better than Ryan Grant too. He was a game changer.

Do you really remember Favre in the 01-06 years? The 15, 16, 21, 17, 29, 18 interceptions Favre. His DYAR ranks in those years were 5, 14, 10, 5, 10, 14. He had a couple good years and 4 pretty average years. I don't think it's complete coincidence that Favre threw 29 ints in 2005 either, a year that Green was injured and only played in 5 games. He comes back and plays in 14 games in 2006 (for 1432 yards from scrimmage) and Favre looks better again. It was related. Green helped Favre out those years, he wasn't just an average running back.

He was nearly Adrian Peterson and was better than Chris Johnson. Yes, better than Chris Johnson.

Numbers are Rushing Yards-Receiving Yards-Touchdowns-DYAR (Rushing + Receiving)

Chris Johnson . 1228-260-10-155 -- 2006-503-16-456 -- 1364-245-12-(-25)
Ahman Green . . 1240-393-09-182 -- 1883-367-20-503 -- 1163-275-08-94
Adrian Peterson 1341-268-13-198 -- 1760-125-10-051 -- 1383-436-18-255

Yes Johnson's receiving was bad enough last year to give him negative total DYAR. Those aren't Greens top 3 seasons either, I just went with what I think matched Peterson and Johnson's conventional stats best in a three year stretch. Green was better overall in 2001 than he was in 2004 with a 1387-594-11-198, and Green in 2006 put up 140 DYAR with a 1059-373-06-140 line. To be fair Peterson had his best DYAR season in 2010 with 1298-341-13-322. So I don't have his best DYAR season up there, again I matched the conventional rushing peaks. Peterson's DYAR really was that low in his 1700 yard season though 121 rushing and -70 receiving. His receiving vastly improved the last 2 seasons. Greens peak years do compare favorably to two of the top rated backs in the game today.

Speaking of peaks, take a look at most rushing yards in a season since 1990, if you don't want to follow the ling it goes Jamal Lewis 2003, Barry Sanders 1997, Terrell Davis 1998, Chris Johnson 2009, Ahman Green 2003. Adrian Peterson 2008 is #14. The list is actually 1500 rushing yards or more in a season from 1990 onward.

Conventional stats again sure, but yes, Ahman Green rates that highly in AV because he was better than a lot of people expected. He might be a little overrated but he had 20 (2003), 17 (2001), 13 (2000), 13 (2002), and 11 (2004) AV in his top 5 seasons, and when you look at those seasons (I have all the numbers above except for 2000 which was 1175-559-13-226). You'll see that AV and DYAR tend to match. 2003-503-20, 2001-198-17, 2000-226-13, 2002-182-13, 2004-94-11.

Now all those numbers aside if I were drafting at 24 or so, with full knowledge of the players future careers I would still take a few players that are behind him on the AV chart for that draft, of course several of those players will likely pass him next year or a year or two down the road, but that is because running backs have short peaks, and a high peek like Green had was worth it, but longevity matters too, though I'd take Green over any of the other players who aren't playing anymore. I'd take Hasselbeck and Flozell Adams over Green for sure, but they will both pass him in AV next year too. Takeo Spikes and Keith Brooking are worth considering (and likely will pass him next year as well). Olin Kreutz and Matt Birk are maybes for me, they have both declined a lot in the last couple of seasons and I'm not sure their peaks are move valuable than what Green provided.

So while I don't think AV is perfect, I don't think it's that far off either. Most of the players that are behind Green on that list, and I think are better, have a chance to still pass him. Though you saying you would take Vonnie Holiday over him... The Packers had them both and Holiday was at best just a solid player. He got you 5 - 8 sacks a year, made some tackles in the run game, missed a couple of games to injury. That's what an average DE should do I guess. I didn't miss him when he was gone. I missed Green.

107 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

You almost never see this, and certainly not on the net, but I think it's important:

Your arguments have convinced me. Green was definitely a much better back than I had been giving him credit for. His career is probably worht a late first rounder.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

109 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I see 2 issues with your recent points to evaluate Ingram pick's value:

1. He wasn't just "a RB picked in the 20th", he was picked with a 2nd rounder and a 1st rounder in 2012, which is more

2. Looking at the backs picked in the 1st recently and looking at their level of play isn't a good evaluation of the value: for that, you have to compare with backs picked later too: even though recent 1st round RBs have been relatively successful, lots of 2nd round backs also have been (MJD / Rice / S. McCoy out of the top of my head). I think Ingram is a good RB, but it's too much investment, especially considering the level of the players you can pick a tad later.

43 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

For a fellow Packer fan, your remarks are quite thoughtful. Alliterations are fine, but as the Nuremberg rallies demonstrated, the masses will always choose short and punchy. U-S-A, U-S-A, U-S-A was the widely accepted fall-back chant by the crowds who celebrated Bin Laden's death. I foresee the Siverdome rocking to the sounds of Suh-na-mi, Suh-na-mi on third down situations when play resumes.

112 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

The "Purple People Eaters" nickname grew out of a novelty song from several years earlier. At least Wikipedia confirms my memory. The Detroit nickname may emerge (if it does at all) from pop culture as much as from some reference to place (Disassembly Line) or specific players (Suh-nami).

I'm surprised none of the Broncos fans here brought up the "Orange Crush" or the Cowboys fans and the "Doomsday Defense".

114 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

I'm a Bronco fan. The Orange Crush name always bothered me because I had always read that the name came from the soda (I have since discovered that it is not that clear-cut).

Especially after the ever-famous Raiderjoe comment that the Raiders are great because they "only care about winning, not soda and pants,"* the idea of naming a defense after soda bothers me.

*Note: I'm sure that there were typos in that comment that I'm not remembering. I'm not going to pretend to be able to copy Raiderjoe.

124 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Nearly a year later, this is pretty lolleriffic. I wonder how many folks have re calibrated their awesome draft eval skills after whiffing horribly on the Newton pick.

125 Re: 2011 Football Outsiders Draft Poll Results

Everyone gets players wrong, the professionals included. Newton looked like a very risky pick, as opposed to one without real upside. It seems the risk has paid off. Good for the Panthers, but that doesn't mean it wasn't a risk.

From what I remember, my view at the time was that I'd have seen him as an intriguing prospect in the 20s, but too big a risk at #1. He, Dalton and Kaepernick were the only QBs I would have considered in the first, and none of them in the top half of the round. It may well be that in the era of slotted rookie contracts, big risks at the top of the draft are more rational than I and others were allowing. But if I had been the Panthers then, I would have taken Green or Miller, and if I had to choose a player from that draft now, it would indeed be Newton.