Monday, May 16, 2011

The Future Power of the AFC North

I was listening to the Rich Eisen podcast on a weekend drive from Philly to Richmond Sunday, and one nugget jumped out at me. Right now it's very popular to talk about how some teams are having player-led camps, and talk about how dedicated these players must be! Yeah, very exciting, great.

But one jumped out at me. Apparently Colt McCoy is running what has been dubbed "Camp Colt." It would seem that McCoy has thrown down as the would-be organizer of this camp, demanding most of his offense join him. It would seem that he's running a very regimented workout, including lifting and social activities on top of the football work they're putting in. To top this off, Eisen said that Colt has even ordered a media black-out by the players for this camp, not allowing the media into the practices and asking players not to talk about what they've worked on with media members.

I searched far and wide for a post with my thoughts on McCoy, but I couldn't find one. Patrick can probably recall our discussions about him though. I said it at the time he was picked...this is a kid - as a Ravens fan - that I fear. I specifically remember having a conversation (I believe with Patrick) where I said very soon after the Browns drafted him that they were one of a very few teams I really didn't want to see take him.

McCoy actually compares somewhat closely with Drew Brees coming out of college. Generally a weaker than you'd like arm, but exceptionally smart and highly accurate. He's the type of QB I think you want to take a risk on...the guy that has everything except the physical tools.

In other words, he's last year's Christian Ponder, except the Browns didn't have to use #12 on him, they used #85 instead. This is the difference between why McCoy was a terrific pick for the Browns, and Ponder was a bad pick for the Vikings.

Still, word of Camp Colt just further emphasizes why I'm scared of the kid. He started eight games for them, went 2-6 in those games as a 3rd round rookie, and yet still he demands the respect of his teammates and seems to have become the team leader.

Granted, we know very little about what's going on. We can't say for sure the players are treating him as the given leader of this team. But if it is true, count it as another notch on my belt keeping track of why I think this guy is going to be a great QB down the line, and why I'm very concerned about the Browns over the next five to ten years.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

You Want To Be An NFL Star? Go To Wake Forest

UpUpDownDown at Black Heart, Gold Pants did a pretty impressive study of college programs' abilities to develop NFL draft picks. Other than USC and Ohio State at the top of the list, there were some interesting results, and results that I think are explainable.
After USC and OSU, the next 8 schools weren't typically national powers; Iowa, Cincinnati, and Va Tech the best of them. The model appears valid, I won't regurgitate it here, cuz that really isn't my point anyway. Their overall conclusions were that the Big Ten was the best player development conference, that if you want to proceed to the NFL then picking a Big Ten school, particularly OSU, Iowa or Wisconsin is your best bet.

UUDD points out that talent selection (scouting) plays a role here. While each player was rated based on the amateur scouting services star ratings, every program will evaluate high school players a bit differently. Just like with the NFL draft, not all five star recruits are equal. More importantly, not all two star and three star recruits are equal either, and this is where I think you'd see a disproportionate impact in the overall development score. A single two star recruit ultimately getting drafted is equivalent to 8 five star recruits. It is easy to see how this could generate noise.

Furthermore, it would be useful to have further scoring based on draft round. Simply getting a high school recruit drafted is an accomplishment, regardless of star rating. Reality though, is that a 7th round draft pick doesn't have great career prospects anyway when compared with 3rd, 2nd and 1st rounders.

Nice work by UUDD.

There is an additional caveat that prevents any of this from being actionable by a clever two star recruit. In the Comments section, HoyaGoon points out

Its a result of the nature of the recruiting services and their evaluation models. Since Rivals/Scout are funded through subscription services, they tend to focus a disproportionate amount of their staff and efforts in the regions/areas where more of their subscriptions come from. And, in general, that tends to be SEC country and areas like Texas/Oklahoma and Ohio (as well as others). Players in those areas are more likely to be evluated correctly, as more attention is paid to them. Players from other regions don’t get that same scrutiny and tend to have the greater chance of being under-evaluated.

In other words, disparities in the star systems may be so great that these conclusions are entirely invalid. UUDD points out that Iowa State and Iowa have similar recruit grades while Iowa has vastly superior development scores. This could simply be a matter of no one spending much time grading recruits in Iowa and the Dakotas and so the distinction in recruiting quality differences isn't detected by the star system.


Thursday, May 5, 2011

Belichick And The Conundrum Of The Draft

So Chris and Jim and I have been going back and forth via email a little bit about how good Bill Belichick is on draft day. I tend to believe that he is a genius who is more concerned with being the smartest guy in the room; that even while he is great at draft day trades his actual drafts are pretty mediocre.

I only use the introductory paragraph to provide context for the following which was my most recent email reply:


A week ago I would have agreed with you completely, or at least more than I do now.

But then I read this:


in part I point this out because I discovered the website accidentally while pursuing draft coverage and it is now my new favety fave website of all time. But more specifically I point this out because R.C. does what I like to do when I have my head on straight, which is to consider the alternatives.

We all love the idea of trading down, getting more picks, scalping the dude who wants to trade up for Brady Quinn or whatever. The reality though, and R.C. made this clear to me, if even by accident, is that really isn’t how it works. If you are good at drafting, you are good at drafting. If you aren’t, you aren’t.

I understand that I am extrapolating this from his article, but it is really crystal clear to me. In fact it is especially crystal clear to me since I watched Millen “win” draft after draft then only to find out that he was drafting players who other teams didn’t want.

Atlanta didn’t “win” the trade with Cleveland from any kind of a value perspective, but from a strictly outsider objective viewpoint, the trade might have been the smartest thing they could have done, if only by accident. Atlanta, it seems, actually kind of sucks at drafting players. So to sacrifice an entire draft to get a sure thing superstar absolutely makes sense. This is of course, limited by the possibility that Jones won’t be a superstar but it is well balanced by the probability that the Falcons would have fucked up those picks anyway.

So what does this have to do with New England? Well, everything. New England also sucks at picking players after the first round. This is weird because a) they are great at picking first rounders and b) they always trade out of the first round. At some point you would think that someone would notice that, gosh Bill, you did really well with that Mayo pick and that Wilfork pick and that Mankins pick and that Seymour pick and other than that Brady pick decade ago, not really much else.

well, okay. The Samuel pick was pretty awesome too.

But the overarching point is that there is a sort of weird contradictory thing going on in Foxboro. The Patriots are awesome at using their first round picks, and they are awesome at getting rid of their first round picks. While both of these qualities are valuable, considering that they really kind of suck at picking in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th rounds, maybe the former skill is really more valuable.


About This Blog

Twitter: oblong_spheroid

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP