Instead of flogging that dead horse, I thought it’d be interesting to compare the Banner draft with some other GMs. Other, proven, really good*, GMs:
- Jerry Reese (Giants GM, 2007)
- Ted Thompson (Packers GM, 2005)
- Kevin Colbert (Steelers GM, 2000)
- Tom Dimitroff (Falcons GM, 2008)
- Ozzie Newsome (Ravens GM, 2002)
How did they approach their draft? Did they look for holes in their roster and fix em? Did they go for luxury picks (a.k.a, BPA)? If so, in what rounds did they ‘splurge?’
And as an academic matter, I’ll add in the needs assessment for the teams that I derived by looking at their depth chart on April 5. It’s not comprehensive.. but if I can identify a need, it’s probably a need.
I’ll just cut to the chase. All of these GMs who are smarter than me, you, and -if we’re looking at the records- Joe Banner,
They share these commonalities in their drafts.
- They addressed team needs in their first two rounds.
- None of their top picks will un-seat a young productive player.
- Their first rounders are projected as immediate three down starters.
The Browns’ draft can’t tick the box on any of these goals.
[Note: I did NOT cherry pick these five. These were the first five GMs that came to mind as the best.]
Jerry Reese (Giants GM, 2007).
LB, O-line, S
1 19 Justin Pugh T
2 49 Johnathan Hankins DT
3 81 Damontre Moore DE
4 110 Ryan Nassib QB
5 152 Cooper Taylor S
7 225 Eric Herman G
7 253 Michael Cox RB
No one had Pugh rated that highly but Reese is the guy who ‘reached’ for Jason Pierre-Paul. And it addresses a need with Diehl’s age (and DUI). Protect the franchise QB. Smart.
Marvin Austin has been disappointing and Hankins looks like a shot fired across the bow. Getting a top five player on game film in the 3rd is good; getting a possible franchise QB in the fourth is good.
And the need-addressing safety is 6’4″. (more…)
Traded out of 4th and 5th rounds? No biggie.
In case there’s any lingering confusion about the value of 4th/5th picks, here are alumni of those rounds who were significant contributors to last year’s playoff teams:
- J.Rodgers, Nicholas (Falcons);
- Sopoaga, Goldson (Niners);
- Lang, Sitton (Packers);
- Cousins, Riley, Lichtensteiger (Skins);
- Wright, Sherman, Chancellor, Giacomini, R.Bryant (Seahawks);
- Brinkley, Robison (Vikes);
- Dumervil, Koppen, Tamme (Broncos);
- Hernandez, Mesko, Gostkowski, Ninkovich, Lloyd (Pats);
- Jones, Quin, Casey, O.Daniels (Texans);
- Pitta, L.McClain, McPhee (Ravens);
- Ballard, Mathis (Colts);
- Boling, Atkins, Peko, Geathers (Bengals).
So let’s cool it on the jive that those picks don’t matter.
Walking away from that talent pool with all the red on the depth chart is tantamount to punting on the 2013 season. (more…)
We’re not going 13-3 next year.
Can’t disagree, Jimmy. That fate seems well-settled now. With the league’s smallest salary cap number and a draft that failed to address any team needs, there is indeed little chance for thirteen wins.
But with a team who has been speaking down to us about building through the draft, and that we should avert our eyes from the Mike-Brown-esque payroll… the trading out of this year’s draft is the NFL equivalent of Berea dragging their ass on our carpets.
Haslam-Banner preaching practice is fine and dandy but, if you don’t mind, let’s not act like striving for the Super Bowl this year would have been so absurd. Let’s challenge the premise of ‘We must suck more before we can be good.’ There is plenty of precedent for poor teams to improve year-over-year. Hell, here’s a list of sub .500 teams* who won the Super Bowl in the following year.
- 2000 Pats, 5-11; 2001 SB Champs
- 1998 Rams, 4-12; 1999 SB Champs
- 1980 Niners, 6-10; 1981 SB Champs
Even a Super Bowl appearance would be a goal worth having:
- 2002 Panthers, 7-9; 2003 SB loser
- 1999 Giants, 7-9; 2000 SB loser
- 1997 Falcons, 7-9; 1998 SB loser
- 1995 Pats, 6-10; 1996 SB loser
- 1987 Bengals, 4-11; 1988 SB loser
- 1980 Bengals, 6-10; 1981 SB loser
Just wanted to set that straight. No. We don’t have to suck in order to build and grow. We do, though, need to address problem areas on the roster during the off-season.
What were the team needs and how were they addressed?
We’ve bludgeoned all these in earlier posts:
- Cornerback is manned by Buster Skrine and his size limits his abilities.
- Free safety was handled ineffectively by Usama Young.
- Guards include competent Jason Pinkston whose health is still questionable and below average Sean Lauvao. 2014 UFA, journeyman John Greco shapes up as the top guard.
- Tight end has unproven Jordan Cameron.
- Fullback has no starter.
- And the [needless] adoption of Horton’s 3-4 created a need at ILB, now covered by undrafted FA Craig Robertson.
That’s six positions of need. And we’re not even dealing with MKC’s assertion that we need two starting WRs or other noise about kickers and punters and quarterbacks.
How have the needs been addressed?
- Ignored dozens of CBs in free-agency, including at least ten who would be taller than any currently on the roster. Signed 5’9″ Chris Owen to one year contract. Drafted 5’9″ Leon McFadden in the third round who is equally short and considerably slower than the current liability at CB, Buster Skrine. (No offense Buster.)
- Cut Usama Young. Ignored safeties in FA. Selected a safety in the sixth round who is currently re-habbing a blown Achilles.
- Drafted Tackle** Garrett Gilkey with pick #227.
- Signed two back-up tight ends in FA, neither of whom are known to exploit the center seam which is sought after now for the tight-end-as-a-weapon role.
By my math, that’s zero success at upgrading positions of need. (more…)
There are 56 6’4″ and better WRs today. Five years ago there were 31.
News item: Huge cornerback Tharold Simon drafted by Seahawks two days after arrest for “public intimidation, resisting an officer and unnecessary noise.”
Lessons: Big cornerbacks are valuable; the best defense in the NFL knows this; the Browns do not.
After much ballyhoo about our team hiring an MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference stalwart as CEO, it’s apparent that Mr. Banner does not let the CEO in the draft war room.
Wasn’t there a whole lot of happy talk about advanced analytics helping the Browns?
Didn’t we all assume these principle would be applied to talent acquisition?
Maybe someone should have taken a harder look… because from here it looks like Scheiner’s contribution will be bigger scoreboards.
And by ignoring even the simplest set of data as shown at the top, the numbers on the scoreboard are likely to look the same as they have for decades.
What was the #1 need of the 2012 Browns?
But I’ll repeat: our defensive backfield was bad. Usama Young was horrible. Sheldon Brown got injured. Buster Skrine played hard but was exploited by tall receivers. Say again: Skrine was always in position; Skrine cannot cover NFL WRs because he’s too short.
There was no need to improve the strongest part of the team, but fine: we have a one-year Defensive Coordinator who wants to run his special system and needs to acquire three free-agents and use the #6 pick to re-do the perfectly good front line.
But fine… we’re fans and you can tell us anything and we’ll believe it because we HAVE TO. So… ok:
CAN’T HAVE ENOUGH PASS RUSHERS.
Fine fine fine.
Why we hate ESPN: they don’t even read their OWN research.
And this is the good stuff. Behind the pay wall. INSIDER.
I know we’re all going to be alright, but think of all the twelve years old boys who rely on ESPN for their talking points in middle school.
On the pick: I liked Mingo in college. Was really disruptive in the Chik-Fil-A loss (even though his stats don’t show it). Terrorized Boyd all game.
I’d be all in on Mingo if we hadn’t just SIGNED TWO FREE-AGENT EDGE RUSHERS AND MOVED OUR BEST PASS RUSHER TO THE POSITION MINGO PLAYS.
Grade: Harumph. (more…)
After all: the value of pick is established by an imaginary market comprised of dozens/hundreds of reporters/bloggers/analysts who know markedly less than the football people who are determined to be overpaying.
It’s absurd and we do it every year.
Tyson Alualu is a reach. Brian Bulaga is value.
I thought I’d take a look at how it goes when we annually fall into this trap. Let’s compare a mock database to the actual picks taken that year. Let’s see if there’s anything to the ‘reaches’ and ‘values’ assessments that are laid down.
The dicey part of this is finding old mocks. Our friends at WalterFootball still have their old mocks up going back to 2003. That is why I chose Walter as the arbiter for ‘reach’ and ‘value.’
On a quick tangent, let me take a moment to congratulate Walter on their accuracy.
Out of 322 first round picks since 2003, 211 were +/-6 of the actual pick. That’s 65.5% of the time they’re hitting the mark. 63 times nailed it.
There are no metrics on mocks so we can’t say with certainty that that’s great… but it seems great to me. There are misses (mocked Quinn to the Browns at 3 in 2007), but there’s also a few hits (DHB to the Raiders at 7 in 2009). And sometimes they get it more right than the pros (mocked all-pro Beatty 20th in 2009; he fell to the Giants late in second round).
For the most inexact of sciences, I’ll give them a ‘job well done’ rating.
For our purposes we’ll just say that if you pick someone twelve slots higher than the mock, it’s a reach. Twelve slots lower, it’s value.
I only looked at the first round. So if someone was mocked in the second or third round, I’m saying their mock position is 33. That’s why Alualu (mocked at #53, taken at #10) isn’t far and away the Reach Champion. Likewise, the best value picks are in the second, third, etc., rounds. I don’t account for those here either.
If you’re interested in the raw data, here’s the messy spreadsheet.
I’ll keep the whole list in the sidebar for reference for the next couple days.
Dave and I can squeeze in one more KKE before Thursday, so let’s just cut to the chase:
Who will the Browns take and why?
We’re into the fun part. The smoke show. After months of top ten, Dee Milliner is now damaged goods. Geno Smith could slide to second round if not taken by Jacksonville. The Browns are intrigued with Tavon Austin and Geno Smith. Fluker will go before Warmack. Cordarrelle Patterson has not the math skills to run a curl route.
You name the name, there is smoke.
As pertains to the Browns, the smoke is most heavy and the path is unknowable. In spite of their history, Haslam/Lombardi are hard to read. New coaching staff, no one knows who holds sway in the draft room. We’re not even sure if the coaches have great reads on the existing roster.
Let’s apply geometric logic to this problem and clear away the smoke. Narrow the possibilities. First: the prevailing smoke.
1. Can’t have too many 6’3″/300 d-tackles; pass-rushers; defensive front personnel in general.
Just look at the talent already assembled for Horton’s five man front. The investments of dollars and draft picks. It’s rock solid.
If you’re the Niners or Seahawks and don’t have holes elsewhere, THEN you can do a BPA. The Browns though? More top defensive front personnel are luxuries they can’t afford.
We’re good at the defensive front.
It makes no sense to get another OLB, DE, DT with the other holes in the roster.
It makes EVEN LESS sense when you factor in there will be no trade down. Hell, even the Dolphins are looking to trade back.
Browns have five holes and if they get three starters in the draft it’s a homerun.
Don’t be drafting guys where you have starters.
2. It’s a QB league; you have to find your franchise QB and if he’s there at six, you take him.
Pfft. Let’s give last year’s first round pick a chance to work in a non-remedial offense. The reports from the mini-camp are all positive. (more…)
Time for another Kolonich/Kanicki Exchange. This weekend, we thought it’d be interesting to explore the world of sleeper draft prospects. For these purposes, we’re defining ‘sleeper’ as someone projected to be taken in rounds 5/6/7.
I couldn’t just take one. (Sorry Dave.) I’m going to rank my sleepers and they shake out like this:
- Knile Davis, RB, Arkansas;
- Kenny Tate, SS, Maryland;
- Ricky Wagner, OT/OG, Wisconsin.
with several honorable mentions.
My method and pool.
For a pool,
I’m consulting Sobo’s Top 300 listing* and going with his names after 150 as my pool. Bad idea, Sobo’s too good; precious few ‘sleepers’ residing sub-150 on his board. Instead, I pulled Drafttek’s Top 400 and loaded them in a google spreadsheet here.
Let’s get one thing out of the way up front: I’m the ultimate ‘casual draft wonk’ if that makes sense. I’m not the guy looking at tape of a 100 players; but that won’t stop me from having a strong opinion on guys I have seen and like. (For example, I was a major advocate for Justin Boren a couple years ago. A rare miss.) I know that doesn’t make sense on the surface, but with so many misses by the experts … anyone can be an expert.
Here’s who I liked in going through the back-end of that linked spreadsheet.
The prospect reviews.
Let’s work through these guys.
Knile Davis. Dude weighs 227 and ran 4.37. Injuries? Broken ankle in 2011. Well.. yeah, that’s why he’s 155 on your board. But says here he picked up 1300 yards in 2010; tops in the SEC as a freshman. I swear: three hundredths of a second slower than Tavon Austin and 50 pound heavier. And 31 bench reps. Austin projecting in top 15; Davis fifth round (by this board). Scouts cite fumbling and he plays, ‘soft and timid.’ After reviewing all the guys on this post, Davis is my top ‘sleeper.’ Good review of Davis here.
Denard Robinson. This is a simple, ‘What do your eyes tell you?’ We’ve see him for four years in the Big 10. He’s been nothing but baller. Teams MUST game plan for him We’ve established that there is no ‘playmaker’ position that you can draft. But if there were, Denard Robinson would rate high in that positional ranking. However, he would NOT rate highly if we were ranking baseball pitchers.
Jake Stoneburner. Always reliable, good hands, blocks… very Ohio State-ish tight end. Who saw a 4.65 40 coming out of him? If Stoneburner can run seam routes on top of everything else, that makes him Heath Miller which is terrific in the sixth round.
(I like Jack Doyle from WKU a lot too, but he wasn’t in drafttek’s top 400. I checked with drafttek; they informed it was not an oversight. Sorry, Jack.)
Ricky Wagner. Two years ago Wagner so impressed with his dominating Rose Bowl against TCU, I screen capped the hole that John Clay got to run through. He was playing guard on that team (Carimi, Konz, Zeitler were on that line too. Mother of God, can you imagine??). Anyway, I don’t know why Wagner is not beloved since that year, I really don’t. This is another trusting of my eyes and I think Wagner will be starting in the NFL for a long time. Maybe at guard?
Lawrence Okoye. 6’6″/
280 308 and nothing but athlete. I’m big on the pure athlete and I’m not the only one. Last year’s recipient of Draft Highlight Video of the Year*** was taken in the sixth round by Bill Belichick. Okoye’s got a track and field background and in an unpublished Margus Hunt paean, I checked into other track and field guy, here’s what I found:
- Billy Winn, state runner-up (NV) in discus; state finals in shot-put;
- Cameron Jordan (eight sacks last year for Saints), state champ (AZ) in discus;
- Sam Acho (starting ROLB for Horton’s Cardinals), state champ (TX) in discus and shot put;
- Jabaal Sheard, 4th in state (FL) in shot put, also threw discus;
- JJ Watt, state champ (WI) shot-put.
Just saying, it’s a positive. Speaking of positives, check his stats: 4.8 40, 35″ vert, 30x 225 bench reps on THIRTY-FIVE INCH ARMS. Added bonus: his age can be confirmed to be 21. From Gil Brandt: “Okoye looked like he could be drafted. He was unbelievably active and incredibly explosive in drills. It was a real, first-class show.”
Should also point out that the reigning top 5-tech DE (Watt) is a converted Tight End; this year’s top 5-tech DE prospect (Ansah) has been playing football for three years; this year’s third highest 5-tech prospect (Margus) has been playing football three year. Why not this guy? Especially if it just costs you a sixth rounder. (more…)