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View Full Version : Why mock drafts and "Mel's best" are worthless



TallyStiller
04-24-2010, 12:59 PM
When we (and the media talking heads) sit around trying to analyze the draft, we look at it from an approach of "find a hole that needs to be plugged, find the best player at that position, and take him". Most smart NFL teams don't do that... and, from GBN report, http://www.gbnreport.com, here's why - Two alternate theories that may explain our draft behavior

1. Draft the best athlete: The most tried and true draft theory, though, it drives a lot of fans, particularly those who are more likely to be looking for a quick fix to distraction. It is also something of a misnomer; best athlete implies you are primarily taking a guy for his athletic ability - speed, vertical leap, weight-room strength etc. - when done correctly it really should read "best player available". Drafting the best player is also based on the notion that drafts are not primarily about fixing a weakness on the team for next year, but rather are part of a longer term building process.

Here's how BPA works, at least in theory. First, we give each veteran on a particular team a numerical grade which we will call their hypothetical player value (HPV) on a scale of ten. Then a team with a WR with HPV of 8 and an OG with a HPV of 6 and arrives at the draft and has a choice of two players: a WR with an HPV of 9 and an OG with an HPV of 8. Obviously by taking the OG the team would increase its value at that position by 2 points whereas by taking the WR their total HPV would rise only 1 point. In the short ternm the team would increase its total HPV by taking the OG. However, if a team did the same thing over a period of years, that is, took the player with a HPV of 8 at a position of need, but passed on a 9 at another position, at the end of a 5-year period, for example, that team would have a total HPV of 40 from the 5 picks, whereas the higher graded players would have added a total of 45, and everything else being equal a much better team. Given the incredible vagaries of pro football careers - injuries, FA defections, and the fact that all players develop differently and at different paces - this year's crisis at OG, for example, may have been solved by an undrafted FA no one counted on, while one at another position suffers a career ending knee injury - drafting the best player available simply maximizes your odds of having the best possible team over the long haul.

Of course, when a team makes its pick there is often not such a clear difference between players; in fact there may be several players with a similar ranking and that's when that team can focus on which of those players/positions will help that particular team the most.

The problem with BPA, however, is that, almost by definition, it does not do a good job of addressing problem areas. This can be be a major concern, particularly at positions like QB, left offensive tackle, RDE and CB where it is critical that a team have at least a competent player if they hope to be a serious contender. This is where free agency can, and should, come into play.


2. Building from strength: We almost always talk about using the draft to fix weaknesses; this may not always be necessarily the most efficient way to build a team however. In a nutshell, the problem with this approach is that if a team brings a strong player into a weak unit, opponents can quickly neutralize the impact of that player by double-teaming or playing away from them. If on the other hand a team drafts to its strength, it is possible to create a super unit that make all other units on the team better simply because opponents have to invest so much in stopping the good unit that the weaker ones are allowed considerable liberties.

I think we have used the second around here, covering for average corners, ever since Rod Woodson left. Ben does the same for the offensive line. We're trying to address the line to help the run game, but obviously figure that improved pass rush will increase the backfield havoc and negate the need for outstanding cover corners.

flippy
04-26-2010, 10:58 AM
#2 isn't so obvious but very interesting.

birtikidis
04-26-2010, 01:54 PM
Tally, I think we've done a pretty good job of mixing the two. I think that's why we are always at or near the top every year. But I also think we do a good job of mixing in "need" picks as well. your point about woodson, is good for the msot part, but it actually illustrates the guys point.. we reached for charred scott instead of picking the best available guy, and to be honest, as much as I l ove woodley and Harrison, the front seven in front of Rod was much better then what's in front of Taylor.

steelblood
04-27-2010, 07:48 AM
Mock drafts worthless? Where is the wet blanket emoticon! :D

SteelAbility
04-27-2010, 07:57 AM
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the scouts literally spending their lives evaluating players in game situations whereas we're a bunch of forum hacks. 1st round, sure, we're all experts since those guys get ridiculous national exposure. The dropoff in our insights tends to start in early to mid 2nd round. These guys are paid to find diamonds in the rough.

I do like point #2 though, for sure.

Chadman
04-27-2010, 09:13 AM
Yeah...but mocks are fun...

Leper Friend
04-27-2010, 09:28 AM
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the scouts literally spending their lives evaluating players in game situations whereas we're a bunch of forum hacks. 1st round, sure, we're all experts since those guys get ridiculous national exposure. The dropoff in our insights tends to start in early to mid 2nd round. These guys are paid to find diamonds in the rough.

I do like point #2 though, for sure.
I like point # 2 in theory , however it doesn't apply to this year's draft.I hate the 2nd round pick. Sure , the olb's are now deeper but you can still only play 2 at a time. The unit ,as a whole , is now deeper but it's not a "super unit" .They still have to take one of the pro bowl olb's out to get him on the field.

That doesn't make the unit better.

flippy
04-27-2010, 10:43 AM
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the scouts literally spending their lives evaluating players in game situations whereas we're a bunch of forum hacks. 1st round, sure, we're all experts since those guys get ridiculous national exposure. The dropoff in our insights tends to start in early to mid 2nd round. These guys are paid to find diamonds in the rough.

I do like point #2 though, for sure.
I like point # 2 in theory , however it doesn't apply to this year's draft.I hate the 2nd round pick. Sure , the olb's are now deeper but you can still only play 2 at a time. The unit ,as a whole , is now deeper but it's not a "super unit" .They still have to take one of the pro bowl olb's out to get him on the field.

That doesn't make the unit better.

It keeps the ProBowlers fresher and better pass rushers in the 4th quarter.

Think the Giants Dline 3-4 years ago.

Think about the impact Brett Keisel had coming off the bench on 3rd downs and the spark he gave to the pass rush.

I love grabbing extra LBs.

We're about to unleash hell.....

SteelCrazy
04-27-2010, 11:02 AM
Bryant McFadden is a good example of the theory of a super unit covering for a weaker unit. B-Mac did not fair very well when he was a CB for a weaker LB corp in Arizona. Actually he had a pretty bad year because there were no super units on the Card's defense. The Steelers have that unit in their Linebackers and therefore BMac does a very good job. Why Gay couldn't duplicate that success is because he is a lower grade than BMac and that's why it is a good move on the Steelers to have traded for him............

SteelAbility
04-27-2010, 11:28 AM
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the scouts literally spending their lives evaluating players in game situations whereas we're a bunch of forum hacks. 1st round, sure, we're all experts since those guys get ridiculous national exposure. The dropoff in our insights tends to start in early to mid 2nd round. These guys are paid to find diamonds in the rough.

I do like point #2 though, for sure.
I like point # 2 in theory , however it doesn't apply to this year's draft.I hate the 2nd round pick. Sure , the olb's are now deeper but you can still only play 2 at a time. The unit ,as a whole , is now deeper but it's not a "super unit" .They still have to take one of the pro bowl olb's out to get him on the field.

That doesn't make the unit better.

It keeps the ProBowlers fresher and better pass rushers in the 4th quarter.

Think the Giants Dline 3-4 years ago.

Think about the impact Brett Keisel had coming off the bench on 3rd downs and the spark he gave to the pass rush.

I love grabbing extra LBs.

We're about to unleash hell.....

I thought we already unleashed fiery hell last December and it didn't work. :wink:

TallyStiller
04-29-2010, 07:12 PM
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the scouts literally spending their lives evaluating players in game situations whereas we're a bunch of forum hacks. 1st round, sure, we're all experts since those guys get ridiculous national exposure. The dropoff in our insights tends to start in early to mid 2nd round. These guys are paid to find diamonds in the rough.

I do like point #2 though, for sure.
I like point # 2 in theory , however it doesn't apply to this year's draft.I hate the 2nd round pick. Sure , the olb's are now deeper but you can still only play 2 at a time. The unit ,as a whole , is now deeper but it's not a "super unit" .They still have to take one of the pro bowl olb's out to get him on the field.

That doesn't make the unit better.

It keeps the ProBowlers fresher and better pass rushers in the 4th quarter.

Think the Giants Dline 3-4 years ago.

Think about the impact Brett Keisel had coming off the bench on 3rd downs and the spark he gave to the pass rush.

I love grabbing extra LBs.

We're about to unleash hell.....

This was my thought exactly. I think it's apparent that Tomlin/Colbert think that the fastest way to improve the D is to turn up the pressure. I think the lack of depth behind Woodley and Harrison, combined with the number of snaps they had to play rushing the passer wore them down, both as games went on and as the season progressed. A few snaps off in the 2nd quarter, I believe, will translate into better 4th quarter results for the primary pass rushers next fall.

I've come to the conclusion that in today's NFL, the only way to stop a top notch passing game is by putting the QB on his *** on a regular basis... kind of like a hockey team needing to jostle a goalie to win. Our Pens now have the grinders to do this, Alex O (for overrated) and his one and done Caps don't - they remind me of our mid - late '90's Pens when we dealt the brawlers like Kevin Stevens and Rick Tocchet out of town and brought in Ron Francis and Luc Robitaille... great players, but no grit. Point is, we didn't jostle enough QB's last year, making Bruce Gradkowski, Cornholio, Aaron Rodgers, et al look amazing in 4th quarters of games we should have cruised in.

I've watched supposedly "great" cover corners (Champ Bailey when we went to Denver last year?) get absolutely torched to the point where I believe that spending a premium pick on one is a total waste of time... better ball skills to takeadvantage of mistakes forced by the pressure? Absolutely. A guy with Darrelle Revis' glue like cover skills? Unnecessary, not to mention expensive. I can get a quick twitch pass rusher on the 2nd day. A shutdown corner? Not so much.

Get to the QB and none of the rest of it even matters. That's what defense in today's NFL is, and what we drafted to do.

TallyStiller
04-29-2010, 07:30 PM
FWIW, I suppose if this is the prevalent strategy amongst NFL D coordinators, Ben's ability to make plays AFTER the rush has hit home makes him a true X factor... and could explain Josh McDaniels' choice to draft Tim Tebow 25th. Anybody feeling Tebow as Ben minus the off the field drama due to his size, mobility, and ability to shed a hit?

Shawn
04-30-2010, 05:36 AM
Perhaps it has to do with the fact that the scouts literally spending their lives evaluating players in game situations whereas we're a bunch of forum hacks. 1st round, sure, we're all experts since those guys get ridiculous national exposure. The dropoff in our insights tends to start in early to mid 2nd round. These guys are paid to find diamonds in the rough.

I do like point #2 though, for sure.
I like point # 2 in theory , however it doesn't apply to this year's draft.I hate the 2nd round pick. Sure , the olb's are now deeper but you can still only play 2 at a time. The unit ,as a whole , is now deeper but it's not a "super unit" .They still have to take one of the pro bowl olb's out to get him on the field.

That doesn't make the unit better.

It keeps the ProBowlers fresher and better pass rushers in the 4th quarter.

Think the Giants Dline 3-4 years ago.

Think about the impact Brett Keisel had coming off the bench on 3rd downs and the spark he gave to the pass rush.

I love grabbing extra LBs.

We're about to unleash hell.....

I forget which Steeler coach said this but it was stated Worilds would be hard pressed to get ANY pt other than special teams this year barring injury. He said Woodley and Harrison don't take kindly to coming off the field.

Shawn
04-30-2010, 05:37 AM
FWIW, I suppose if this is the prevalent strategy amongst NFL D coordinators, Ben's ability to make plays AFTER the rush has hit home makes him a true X factor... and could explain Josh McDaniels' choice to draft Tim Tebow 25th. Anybody feeling Tebow as Ben minus the off the field drama due to his size, mobility, and ability to shed a hit?

Well that and minus the ability to throw. :lol:

TallyStiller
04-30-2010, 08:11 PM
FWIW, I suppose if this is the prevalent strategy amongst NFL D coordinators, Ben's ability to make plays AFTER the rush has hit home makes him a true X factor... and could explain Josh McDaniels' choice to draft Tim Tebow 25th. Anybody feeling Tebow as Ben minus the off the field drama due to his size, mobility, and ability to shed a hit?

Well that and minus the ability to throw. :lol:

Not saying I'm BUYING Tebow, or expecting McDaniels to be employed by 2012... just wondering if Ben is the prototype for the future of NFL QB's - the next step in the evolution of the position, if you will, given the prevalence of that speed and pressure approach to defense.