Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A bit drafty

So first off today we'll dip into the latest free agency moves, then it's time to talk draft boards!! -- Jim Sorgi, previously of the Colts, has now found a new home in New York. God help them. -- Derek Anderson has been released by the Browns and subsequently lashed out at fans in the Cleveland area, noting the fact that they cheered once when he had to be taken off injured. Even for football fans, that's pretty cruel. And Anderson wants his revenge, saying he'd like to sign with a team that will pass through Cleveland soon (if he stays with his next team he'll have to wait four years maximum) and that it would be satisfying to roll over the Browns. Sounds like someone is fired and ready for a return! Anderson really isn't that bad. The Browns last season were. He's not great, but he's better than Sorgi or Carr. Anderson was replaced by Seattle backup Seneca Wallace. -- DE Jarvis Green has been picked up by the Broncos in an effort to bolster their pass rush. By all accounts, Bill Belichick was hoping to get Green back, so it looks like the Patriots will have to dip into the draft somewhere to help their pass rush. -- RB Thomas Jones has gone to Kansas, and it's not to meet Dorothy. Instead he'll be meeting Jamaal Charles, who impressed last year when he stepped in to the full time role of running back after the departure of Larry Johnson. It remains to be seen how offensive co-ordinator Charlie Weis will handle this group, as his boss and former Arizona Cardinals offensive co-ordinator Todd Haley is more of a pass friendly person. Whichever way they go, Jones is a tough runner and will bring a lot of value to the Chiefs organisation. -- As for possible moves yet to come, the Bengals have finished interviewing Antonio Bryant and now turn to Terrell Owens, who will meet with the Bengals today. Current Bengals WR Chad Ochocinco has supposedly put pictures on his Twitter account featuring him and Owens, which comes on top of his very verbal recommendations for Owens to join the Bengals. Bryant is due to meet with the Redskins later this week. Meanwhile the Cardinals are apparently showing murmurs of interest in signing Derek Anderson, who as I mentioned earlier has been released from the Browns. If Anderson was signed he would likely duel it out in training camp with current Cardinals number one QB (by default) Matt Leinart. And last but not least, LaDanian Tomlinson appears to have caught the eye of the Vikings according to the Star Tribune. LT and AP? OMG! Right, the starter is done, now to the main course. Best Player available or Draft for needs? Lets have a look. Best Player Available: So the theory goes that you make a draft board ranking all the players in the draft from 1 to 256. When your pick comes up and you're on the clock it's simple; you look at your board and take the best player left on it. Honestly, I hate this method. Imagine if the Eagles ranked all the draft prospects in terms of pure ability and when they got to their first pick, they saw the name Tim Tebow or Dan LeFevour at the top. Are they really going to take ANOTHER QB? Doubt it. And there are added problems with this approach as well. If you're the Dallas Cowboys then right now you're pretty much solid on offense. I really can't think of a need you have. Defensively you're still very good, but you need a few pieces to become genuine Superbowl contenders. So what happens if the top 5 or so names on your list are all offensive guys? Do you really need another receiver? Another RB? Of course, things change completely when you look at the Lions and the Rams. Where are their needs? Uhm... everywhere! (see coach, I told you the Lions were in for a ripping). You name it and these teams need it, except maybe the Lions can pass on a top QB and the Rams can pass on a top RB. But other than that, they really have little other choice but to just keep grabbing whoever is at the top of their board. I think this is where BPA comes into it's own, as well as with teams that are at the opposite end of the scale and have everything covered (which this year, is no-one). I just think that BPA has a tendency to ignore your glaring weaknesses. For example, let's look at my very own 49ers. Last year we picked 10th and took Michael Crabtree who feel to us by extraordinary luck. But as great as Crabtree is, and he will be great, it means we left another Michael, Michael Oher, hanging on the board and who eventually went to the Ravens at 23 (which was a steal really). I'm not saying that Crabtree wont help us, but oh boy could we do with a new OT. Our O-line is bad and without a good line, it hampers the production of both your passing and rushing attack. Crabtree is an improvement, but Oher could have been a difference maker. Drafting for needs: So basically here we're looking for the biggest hole in our team and then we're going to plug it. Whatever comes up bad, we need a good player to fill it. We'll happily skip over a better overall player in terms of end production in order to get a player that will fill a gaping space in our roster, possibly even hitting that same position again later in the draft. This is all about building a team. If you've never read "The Blueprint: How the New England Patriots Beat the System to Create the Last Great NFL Superpower" by Christopher Price, then don't, because it's really just a history lesson on the Patriots by a Patriots fan. The information in this book about the Patriots strategy could probably be gleaned just from reading their wikipedia page. In fact, the whole book could probably be replaced with their Wikipedia page. But there was one thing about it that caught my eye, a quote apparently attributed to Head Coach Bill Belichick that "it's not about collecting talent, it's about building a team". It might have been the other way around, but you get the point. And that's what drafting for needs is about. It's about building a group of players who will collectively win a Superbowl. Can you imagine if the Cardinals pick comes up and they go for a WR? Steve Breaston and Early Doucet may not be the greatest in the league but they're enough to back up Larry Fitzgerald. I have to admit it's tempting, when you look at some of the players out there in free agency and in the draft, it's tempting to go out and build an all Pro-Bowl caliber lineup at one position, but it just isn't good business for a team. You've got to understand you can't bust all your cap at one position. You've got to think about that big picture. That's where picking for needs comes in. Even if you see a tempting target on the board, if you don't need it, don't take it. Look at the Seahawks last year in the draft. Picking number 4 they could have taken Sanchez and started to build for the future, but instead they went for LB Aaron Curry and filled a much more pressing need. Building a team not just a collection for good players. As I mentioned earlier I think the Cowboys have things wrapped up offensively now, so they have a great chance to go out and draft defense heavy and make a real splash in the franchises future, instead of just accumulating more talent on an otherwise already impressive offense. All that said, there are two things as well I think you need to keep in mind: -- Depth. Of the draft, specifically. Basically what we're talking about here is the same situation we had last year concerning RB. There are a ton of great backs to be had in the draft, and really, if you wait till the late second round or early to mid third round, then you can still find a great back. This is something that's always tricky to judge and affects the BPA type teams more than the drafting for needs teams. If you have a great all round team and just need a back to finish the process off, then why not go early. But if you're looking for the BPA and it's running back, then you're probably better off just holding on until the second round. -- The glove that fits. This is more of a case of player evaluation than the actual argument between BPA and needs. So many times I think teams just grab a player without considering where that guy is going to slot into your offense. The perfect example is Suh and McCoy. Personally I think Suh would better fit a 3-4 team while McCoy will better fit a 4-3. The difference is marginal admittedly, but it's worth considering. If you are a power running team, I don't think C.J. Spiller is really your guy. This is something Bill Walsh apparently excelled at, finding guys that fit what he wanted to do. So that's that for another day. Later in the week, maybe Thursday or Friday, I'm gonna try to convince you that there's a connection between Belichicks' infamous 4th down decision and Temporary Restraining Orders, and then hopefully over the weekend or maybe Monday, I'm gonna go one better and try to convince you that high ticket prices and high beer prices are good for Football fans. In addition of course I'll be checking out all the free agency news each day and giving my thoughts. Thanks for reading and have yourself a good day.

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