For the sake of better discussion, I’ve split this into two posts. Issue #1: To get busy with SBNation’s abominable post yesterday, or not? is found here.
Issue #2: Whom do I serve?
I received a curious email last night from the Editor of SportIsEverything.com. This is the new Irish sports web site who recruited me provide content on American football.
I received a complaint earlier about a swearword in your safest/riskiest draft picks piece. If possible, could you avoid using them in future.
That’s not unreasonable I suppose.
Ironic though, given some of the content on the site.
Just in this week, there was a ‘Best of Web’ feature with a picture of Brittany Spears’ bare fat ass. There was a post comparing the Irish Football coach to Hitler… moustache and everything. I mean: _I_ had begun questioning whether I wanted _my_ posts on _their_ site.
Ok, the site has some different goals and they’ve been fine to work with. Still happy to be affiliated.
But then the swear word admonishment was followed up with an exhaustive critique of my Safest/Riskiest Draft Picks post by a peer writer. (His excerpting of my content is in grey):
Good morning Kanick
I have to say I am appalled by your post about ‘safest/riskiest draft positions’. It is sloppily written, full of inaccuracies, pointless sexual references and even swearing, which will only serve to get the entire site blocked by many firewalls. ___Editor___ has told me he is not 100% hot on NFL facts and figures so he has accepted your article on a trust basis. Your article is a disgrace and this is why; (more…)
Two items have crossed my desktop this morning and added together, they present an ethical dilemma for your friend Kanick. Boiled down, the dilemma concerns what do I stand for and should I share it you.
It’s tempting to ignore such questions and to avoid conflict or controversy. Easier.
But I’ve been moved by two Edmund Burke quotations:
And with that, let’s proceed.
Issue #1: To get busy with SBNation’s abominable post yesterday, or not?
[Issue #2: Whom do I serve? may be found here.]
SBNation made me sad yesterday. An unfunny race-baiting post was put forward under their masthead by Bill Hanstock. The post is comprised of the tired old ‘let’s make fun of white guys’ meme that we see on our twitter feeds and some blog posts daily. Such tweets and posts are grating, but we generally let them pass.
The SBNation piece is beyond the pale and requires a response. The dilemma is that I want to talk sports here, not debate the decline of civilization.*
The post fails on so many levels I’m hard-pressed to stack rank them.
- I start here: it’s unfunny. It’s not ‘not funny’… it’s unfunny. Cringe inducing. Discomfiting. The author knows he’s white, right? Are we to believe he’s never high-fived another white guy? Has he never worn an oxford shirt? It’s like: guy, you’re judging yourself.
I wasn’t going to do a mock draft because, c’mon, they’re worthless.
But I just read Reghi’s mock* which includes:
12. Miami – Justin Hunter – WR – 6’4 wideout is a reach here, yet projects ahead of his Tennessee teammate Cordarrelle Patterson.
and decided why the fuck not. You don’t have to know details. You don’t even have to read headlines. Headlines such as:
- Mike Wallace signed by Miami for 5yrs/60mm;
- Brian Hartline signed by Miami for 5yrs/31mm;
- Brandon Gibson signed by Miami for 3yrs/10mm.
There’s also Tyler Eifert going to the Bears after they just gave Martellus Bennett a 4.5mm bonus and a four year, 20mm contract.
So… what the fuck… why not?. The bar’s good and low where I like it. I’ll take a swing.
Here’s what I’m doing: going to Ourlads for current depth chart; checking recent FA investments; checking ratings of last years starters; and marrying need with perceived value on board. These are the generally the picks *I* would make with a couple exceptions where I bow to prevailing wisdom. (*cough* Tavon Austin *cough*)
Easy enough, no? Let’s go.
3/28 update: Yesterday the Raiders dropped Tommy Kelly; Chargers dropped Jared Gaither. This affects the mock. Maybe we’ll take another swing at this next week as more teams make more moves.
Meantime, adjusted picks in red.
3/30: I’m going to log meaningful transactions and bake into a new mock next week:
- Raiders drop Tommy Kelly;
- Chargers drop Jared Gaither;
- Dolphins sign Brent Grimes;
- QB landings spots (Kolb, Flynn, Palmer)
- Saints sign K. Coleman;
- Saints sign Victor Butler;
- Falcons sign Unenyiora;
- Ravens sign Huff;
- Cowboys sign Will Allen;
- Ravens sign Dumervil. (more…)
Back before MIT introduced analytics to the sports lexicon. Before data warehousing got renamed Big Data and recognized as a tech trend. Even before AWS offered Elastic Map Reduce in the cloud… Kanick was doing number crunching on this question:
What NFL Draft first round selections are most likely to wash-out?
So that was about two years ago.
The context was that going into the 2011, the usual suspects in Cleveland media were pounding the table for drafting ‘a playmaker.’ As though it’s a position. As though the line of scrimmage just takes of itself. As though the coaching and game planning and play calling don’t have an effect on ‘plays’ being ‘made.’ Draft playmakerz. You can’t escape it if you’re a Browns fan. You may hear ‘quarterback driven league; get a QB’ more these days and while both are laughably simplistic, ‘draft playmakers’ is never completely out of most conversations.
Anyhoozles, I suspected that drafting a ‘playmaking’ WR was a dicey proposition and personally, I was fed up with the ongoing problems finding a right tackle and wanted it fixed with a high pick. So I set out to see if we could find trends from past data.
I went through all the first round picks going back to 1985* and tried to determine these things:
- What positions had the highest percentage ‘miss?’
- What positions offer the greatest ‘home run’ potential?
- Do the numbers change markedly when looking at top-10 picks versus overall first rounders?
I am defining ‘wash-out’ as follows: if a player stayed in the league less than five years, he is a wash-out. So, for example, notable bust Tommy Vardell (taken 9th overall by the Browns in 1992) is not a total wash-out because he managed to stay in the NFL eight years. I wanted to use an empirical measurement and thus avoid letting my judgement play a role. (I *did* attempt to rule-out injuries here.. e.g., Jerome McDougle, Bo Jackson, Sean Taylor = not wash-outs. I may have missed some players in doing this.)
Definition for ‘home run’ is wholly touchy-feely and can be the subject of debate. I just looked through the list and asked myself if that player was a stud in the league for an extended time-frame.
Then, as a kludgy way to measure risk/reward, I married the two values in an HR:BUST ratio. This tries to normalize, for example, the risk associated with drafting a RB against the probability of gaining a hero.
Here’s the spreadsheet. The summary page is up front; raw data for each position is found in tabbed worksheets behind it. It’s all sortable. I think I’ve shared it as editable; don’t worry about changing anything, I have a master copy.
The easiest way to work through the numbers is to go position by position. I’ll give a rating for the position then ID a notable bust and homerun. Let’s go.
Quick hitter this morning: I’m participating in Dawgs By Nature’s reader mock draft. I drew the Dallas Cowboys and I’m up.
Prior picks are:
- Kansas City: CB Dee Milliner, Alabama
- Jacksonville: DE/OLB Dion Jordan, Oregon
- Oakland: OT Luke Joeckel, Texas A&M
- Philadelphia: OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan
- Detroit: DE/OLB Ezekiel Ansah, BYU
- Cleveland: OLB Jarvis Jones, Georgia
- Arizona: OG Chance Warmack, Alabama
- Buffalo: QB Geno Smith, West Virginia
- Jets: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee
- Titans: SS Kenny Vaccaro, Texas
- Chargers: OT Lane Johnson, Oklahoma
- Dolphins: CB Desmond Trufant, Washington
- Buccaneers: DT Sharrif Floyd, Florida
- Panthers: DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
- Saints: OLB Damontre Moore, Texas A&M
- Rams: WR Tavon Austin, WVU
- Steelers: DT Sheldon Richardson, Missouri
If the draft breaks this way, the Cowboys will sprint to the podium for Jonathan Cooper, OG, UNC.
Whenever I watched the Cowboys this year it seemed like Romo was running for his life. It turns out that that’s a strength of Romo’s so the sack numbers weren’t low.
But Romo’s league leading 19 interceptions reflect the fact.
A few weeks ago, Kanick received an interesting email from Ireland.
I’m launching a sports website in Ireland called Sport Is Everything and we are looking for contributors for our NFL section.
I was reading your blog and really enjoyed it. I was wondering if you would be interested in submitting some of your articles to the new Sport Is Everything site? … I would reference every article and provide an author box on each post. … It would be a win-win situation for all involved, as it would introduce Irish football fans to your site.
Let me know what you think and thanks for getting back to me.
And so it is that step two in our plan for global media reconstruction falls into to place via the kind offices of the discerning editors from Sport Is Everything.
Check out the site, it’s sharp.
For the soccer fans among us, I think you’ll appreciate the thorough coverage of English and Euro football leagues. Do give the Final Third podcasts a listen if you want some soccer talk done. Or.. done pretty much like you and I would do our football talk.
And here is your Kanick page.
I expect to proceed just as I have been. At the same time, I’m grateful for the kind words and for the opportunity share perspectives with our sports brethren in Europe. Look alive. We’re worldwide now.
When we step back to think about what it is that draws us, as fans, to sport, I think we need to dig a little. It’s about being a part of something bigger than you are. It’s about belonging to a community built of shared experiences. Bonds created through common strong emotions bring us together in a special way. If you think about it, the neighborhood you live in, the neighbors you live next to, that’s random. What connection, what true emotional bonds, do you share with your conventional community-through-proximity members? But the bond among sports fans of a common team is deep and immediate and strong. The tribalism innate to human nature finds an outlet in sport.
You may think the introduction of sociology concepts into fandom a silly notion.
But consider the Miami Heat fan living in Ohio.
Such fans are poorer for having a less substantial bond to their team, based only on a particular player or a current wave of success. The fabric joining their tribe is thinner. There’s little joy in triumph because there’s little investment and it’s shared with comparably uninvested peers.
These fans should read more Shakespeare or at least watch the Henry V St. Crispin’s Day speech.
There’s no House of Plantagenet on a battlefield vs. King Louis VII. No Normandy vs. Anjou. No one is tuning their longbows today; there is no Agincourt worth fighting for on earth today. But there is Ohio State vs. Michigan. There is a place where we can pull together as a tribe and to unite through support of a team who represents us.
Once more unto the breach, dear Browns fans, once more!
Which is a long preamble to today’s subject.
The subject is uniforms. The greater subject is how simple uniforms emphasize what is pure in sport. How marketing overload dilutes the purity of fandom and at the same time attempts cynically to exploit those fans through the planned obsolescence of new uni intros. How focus on the form of unis distracts from the substance of sport.
But that’s a lot to tackle today, so let’s just explore some disturbing trends in uniforms today, shall we? (more…)
As you can see in the thumbnail, Cribbs lowers the crown of his helmet before having it taken off by Ellerbe’s STILL LEGAL hit. Thus on top of being knocked unconscious for ten minutes, Cribbs costs his team fifteen yards for the personal foul of ‘Lowering the crown.’
‘Cribbs has the ball.’ ‘Ellerbe targets his head with his shoulder.’ = LEGAL.
Cribbs lowers crown of helmet. = ILLEGAL.
Think that’s an outlier? Au contraire, mon frere. Here is another shoulder hit. This particular hit gets flagged under the ‘defenseless receiver’ rule. But if Jordan Shipley had managed to take a step with the ball he’d be considered fair game.
Great job NFL.
As has been said here before:
“… the solution couldn’t be easier: you can either make targeting heads illegal or require players to sign waivers accepting that they’ll have some level of brain damage after leaving the game.”
For more on my take on the NFL and head injuries, see this post.
Two quick hits today: John Clayton, bad GM; random pro-day draft prospect biases.
Clayton proposes bad deal for Dolphins.
So let me get this straight: Clayton is pimping a deal for the Dolphins to replace their anchor LT, Jake Long, with an under-achieving 28 year old on a one year 9.8mm contract that they’ll have to figure out a way to extend against their hopelessly back-loaded cap structure. And on top of the huge contract that the Dolphins can’t afford, they should give up one of their second round picks?
There is a better solution we’ll get to, but first:
What do you mean ‘back-loaded contract structure’ Kanick?
You heard that the Dolphins signed Mike Wallace for 60mm, right? Ellerbe for 35mm? But did you notice that both of those contracts are carrying only 1mm against their cap this year? What happens to the rest of the contract?
It gets pushed out, of course. Check out how the 2013 ‘all-in’ contract shenanigans will affect the Dolphins’ 2014 contract sitch to the left. –>
Get the idea? Re-signing/extending Branden Albert might be a bitch. John Clayton. Ass.
But Clayton is correct that the Dolphins’ two second round picks could become most useful. As we reviewed in our piece last week, the Dolphins could also do this:
Browns’ #6 and #68 (3rd) for Dolphins’ #12, #42 (2nd), and #82 (3rd).
In so doing, they can be assured a top 10 LT (from the Joeckel/Fisher/Johnson crop) and sign him to a rookie contract. In other words: for the same draft pick and less money the Dolphins can get a comparable/better/younger LT by swapping picks with the Browns.
Meantime, we get the CB we want (Xavier Rhodes) and who knows what TE (Eifert??) might slip into the middle of the second round.
Let’s bang this drum.
John Clayton: get your head out of your ass.
Miscellaneous draft prospect chatter.
Walter Football is tracking the pro days here. Some memory is being jogged looking through these. Here’s some random takes on the names so far. Will have a part two on this at the end of the month.
Tyler Wilson. I prefer to go to war with Weeden and whatever can be picked up cheaply. (Unless it’s Mallett whom I support picking up with a 4th rounder.) But if forced to choose between Tyler Bray and Tyler Wilson, I take Wilson.