|Looking back at some of the swaps this off-season, there is a pretty steep drop off in value for veterans who are traded for draft picks. This year there were a few deals that stick out when you look at what teams ended up using their acquired picks on.
Daunte Culpepper to Miami for a Ryan Cook (C, New Mexico - Round 2, 51st Overall)
It's hard to believe the Vikings couldn't get anything more for Culpepper, unless you consider the wild night of shooting dice on Lake Minnetonka and the brutal knee injury he suffered last season. Take into consideration that San Diego selected Antonio Cromartie at 19th overall, despite the fact that Cromartie didn't play a down for the Seminoles in 2005 after tearing his ACL in July. The comparison isn't perfect, but a franchise quarterback is worth less than an unproven rookie at a position that has been dubbed "overrated"?
Patrick Ramsey to the Jets for Reed Doughty (S, Northern Colorado - Round 6, 173rd Overall)
I can't sit here and say I know anything about Doughty other than scouts project him to be a special teams contributor and not much more at this point. Essentially, the Jets were able to get a capable backup quarterback for a special teams player. There was a 10-percent chance at best that they could have picked a quarterback in the sixth-round who could be put under center in Week 1 (should Chad Pennington be unable to go) and give the team a legitimate shot at winning.
Brandon Lloyd to Washington for 3rd Rounder in 2006 and 4th Rounder in 2007
While there is too much of a paper trail for me to figure out what San Francisco decided to do with the third-round pick, here I look to the fact that receivers were generally very low on many teams' draft boards this year. Lloyd, a former fourth-round pick himself, played well for the Niners last year despite the lack of experienced talent around him. Although he had some issues with the coaching staff and teammates in San Francisco, there are few players who are NFL-ready and as talented as Lloyd available in the middle rounds of any draft, let alone this year's.
I bring attention to these trades because there are questions about all NFL draft prospects and yet, teams have a tendency to gravitate towards obtaining draft picks rather than proven veterans. I write these things understanding that the players in the trades above come with disclaimers because of injuries or other off-the-field issues (see also: John Abraham and Javon Walker). Obviously you can't just deal all of your picks for veterans, but the draft is about filling needs and getting the most value for the picks and players at your disposal.
Posted by Derek VanRiper at 5/5/2006 12:43:00 AM
|While I agree it was a shock Leinart slipped to 10 (he would've been the top pick a year earlier, for God's sake!), here's the logic the Bills went through, just so no one thinks everyone from Buffalo is as dumb as yours truly: After the Raiders took Huff (a point where I thought the Bills were in amazing bargaining position), the team wanted Whitner above anyone else remaining. It wasn't even close. While they fished the pick anyway, knowing eight was a little high to take the #2 safety, the most anyone was offering was a swap of firsts and at best a late fourth. They considered it anyway, then realized the unpredictable Lions orginally wanted Huff, and someone tipped them there was a very good chance they'd take Whitner ... forget about the Kipers of the world, he was moving up that fast in inner circles. While I think Leinart may be the steal of the first round, something has to be said for just sticking to the guy you firmly believe in and trying not to get too cute. The first round is so unpredictable anyway, you might as well go with the guy you did all your homework on and believe will succeed.
Posted by Tim Schuler at 5/3/2006 3:11:00 PM
|I agree with Jason Thornbury that "conventional wisdom" and players falling is a bunch of phooey. Who are we getting all our information from? A few guys like Kiper and Greene who break down film and compile monstrous big boards. Most of the time, I look at their rankings, go look at film, and completely disagree. I don't think Houston should be lambasted for their pick. But, it was stupid, being a general manager isn't just about doing what's best for the team, it's doing what's best for the franchise. Bush and Young sell tickets and put fannies in the seats. Even though the Tomlinson trade was a much smarter football move for the Chargers, the Falcons couldn't go wrong taking Vick cause win or lose, he sells tickets. Look at how many times on Monday night/Sunday night the Falcons are on and they aren't even that great a team. Williams is a great player, but he's not the pitch man or star that people will pay to go see. Williams may get a sack every other game if he's everything we say he is, but even then, that's one play a game for the average fan to get hyped over. The average fan doesn't understand how Williams funneled a play inside or forced a QB to check down. As a business move, it was stupid.
Now, as for a football move, I think it was good. You cannot compare Bush to Williams straight up. Two things need to be taken into consideration. First, there is severe scarcity at the DE position. In the last decade, only 4 DEs came into the draft rated by scouts as highly as Mario Williams. Those guys were Peppers, Simeon Rice, Courtney Brown and Andre Wadsworth. Most top 10 DEs we see in the draft have severe deficiencies such as Kearse who had size problems/tweener, ditto for Jason Taylor, Strahan wasn't even mentioned early on, Abraham, and Freeney also both had size problems. You almost never see complete DEs like Williams. Yes, he took plays off, yes, he may have been inconsistent, but he raised the level of play of everyone around him. He's the reason McCargo went in round 1 and he really doesn't have many serious questions surrounding his game. Everyone has potential to bust, but very rarely do you get a shot at a DE like Williams and the Texans were "football" smart to take him.
On the flip side, you see complete rbs every year. There is a pro bowl back in almost every draft and you always find a few in rounds 2,3, or 4. Additionally, they have a shorter shelf life and you can get away at the position with someone above average. Corey Dillon was a 2nd rounder, Portis was a 2nd, Brian Westbrook, Julius Jones, Tiki Barber, these guys all get it done and were all questionable prospects who had deficiencies. You don't need a Reggie Bush at RB, he's a luxury. He will get his 20 touches a game via run/pass, but you will still need a #1 WR and a #1 RB. He doesn't fill any needs, but he helps in a lot of areas. With the salary cap and parity as it is, I don't think teams can win while pouring so much money into a guy who can't even solidify one position on the depth chart for you. I guess the converse argument would be that he allows you to pour less money into the other positions like WR/RB since he raises their play, but the Texans already had Davis and Johnson at those positions with big contracts. The Texans simply could not afford to draft Bush. Maybe they should have traded down to get picks, but they obviously felt there was a big difference between Williams and D'Brick. They are right, this draft had a lot of linemen and the Texans were able to get two outstanding ones late in Winston and Spencer. There wasn't much to choose from at DE in those rounds. Extra picks are great, but all the picks in round 2 or 3 still wouldn't have gotten them the DE they needed and how do we know the Jets wanted to move up and give up their 2nd rounder anyway?
In the future, people should not blindly compare Bush to Williams. They need to compare the difference in production between Bush and Domanick Davis while considering the increase in production between Williams and Anthony Weaver/Antawn Peek who Williams will be replacing. Draftniks like to make bold statements and proclaim you have to take the best player available or scream that Reggie Bush is Lebron James. Even if that were so and Bush were Lebron, it doesn't matter. Football is the ultimate team sport. You need 52 guys. Bush could be fantastic, but you just don't win putting that much money into a guy who can't be your #1 receiver nor can he be your #1 running back. Teams are built in the trenches and having big stars at the skill positions is a luxury. Look at the Patriots, yeah, Brady's got a big contract, but it's not that big by Qb standards. Seymour is the one making big money. With the Steelers, Hines Ward has a big contract, but again, it's not exorbitant, just above average. The money is spread out evenly. Sinking money into running backs is a death trap and frankly, Bush is a "util" player, he's not even an RB. Drafting him is like buying rims before you have a car.
Posted by Eddie at 5/1/2006 12:25:00 PM
|How many times did we have to hear "Reggie Bush" Bowl last season? Every time Houston, or New Orleans, or the Niners or whatever Crapgroup seemed to play someone. Every time Kris Brown missed a field goal and got accused of doing a Rudy Stein and taking one for the team. And the winner, er loser, decides they don't even want him? Just shows all this stuff has become as crazy as options trading. Why didn't they call it the Mario Williams Bowl? How many of us really even knew who Mario Williams was in December? Whacky, fun and even with a whole cottage industry devoted to it, impossible to put a finger on.
As for USC, what a disappointing day. Their flagship guy misses the slam dunk #1, Leinhart (a possible #1 overall last season) slips about seven spots, Justice drops almost 30 picks and Lendale, somewhat expectedly, continues his freefall deep into the second round. I can actually argue that, as much money as these guys lost, all of them ended up in better places for their pro careers, but a month ago the first round would have been littered with Trojans, and some of them were pretty much penned into a slot.
Posted by Tim Schuler at 4/30/2006 7:15:00 AM