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.

1 comment:

  1. fwiw, I've been telling people all week that Kolb is going to Cle, even if I don't want him to.



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