A Disaster



The only thing worse than drafting a wide-receiver in the first round is trading up to do so. Buffalo mortgaged the future in order to get someone who won’t help them win now.  Then they picked a lineman from Alabama, and linemen from Alabama generally don’t work out in the pros. But at least they did pick some linemen–that is the one and only good thing to say about this draft.

Really, it all goes back to the fact that I am not sold on E.J. Manuel as the quarterback.  I don’t care how good Sammy Watkins is; it’s not going to matter if they can’t get him the ball.  They would have been so much better off drafting University of Buffalo’s Khalil Mack, but I guess they saw no value in having a hometown star who plays a key position on the team.

But ok; so they decided to go the “build the offense by getting good receivers” route. I have seen no evidence that this plan will work, (look at Arizona for the past decade to see the best outcome of this scheme) but apparently, that was their strategy.

So, if that really is their idea, why would they then go and trade the best (or second-best, if you buy the Watkins hype) receiver on the roster?  I mean, do they want to have a strong receiving corps or not?

And of course they failed to draft Michael Sam, which I really thought they should have.  That’s not a disaster, but it would have been smart.  (By the way, how is it that the Defensive Player of the Year in the best college conference falls to the late seventh-round, especially when the latest any previous recipient of that honor went was in the fifth round?)

To my mind, the clear winner of this draft was Cleveland. They strengthened their defense, got someone who has the potential to be the next Colin Kaepernick or Cam Newton, and got Buffalo’s first-round pick next year (I expect it will be a very high one) to boot.

I watched a couple of Andrew Luck’s games on TV last year. I’ve only seen highlights of RG III. So this is just a knee-jerk reaction, not backed by any intensive film study or anything like that.

But Luck, every time I watch him play, looks incredibly awkward to me. I don’t know quite how to describe it, but he looks tense. He’s a good player, but there’s just something very odd about the way he plays. Something about his running and throwing motions is very weird looking to me. RG III, on the other hand, looks really confident and comfortable on the field. It’s not just that he’s more athletic; it’s his whole demeanor.

What does this mean? Probably nothing. I’m not a professional scout, so what do I know? We all know Luck is going first and RG III is going second, but I thought I’d mention this. If Luck is a bust and Griffin is the next big star, I can say I saw it early.

I enjoy watching football. And I am fascinated with the personnel decisions that go into making championship-caliber teams. So, naturally, I really like the NFL draft. It’s always fun to see who teams get, and then imagine how their choices will play out.

There’s just one thing I don’t like about the draft: the endless mock drafts that come before it. Those drive me nuts.

Don’t misunderstand me; I enjoy being an armchair GM and saying “Team X should draft so-and-so” as much as anyone. But most mock drafts aren’t really trying to predict what will happen, or even what you think should happen. They’re just saying “Hey! Team X could draft Player A. And then Team Y drafts player C. Where does that leave Player B and Team Z? But what if C goes to X, B goes to Z, and and A falls to late in the first round?” And on it goes. My point is, once the top quarterback prospects are gone–which is usually by the fifth pick–it’s anybody’s guess what will happen. That’s why you watch the draft–to see who goes where.

Now, I have no problem with predicting outcomes of games. To me, that’s fun. But that’s because I believe you can actually have a success rate significantly greater than 50% if you know the game. (I don’t, by the way.) But with mock drafts, it seems like it’s all just guessing and fantasizing based on nothing in particular. You might have some idea of a team’s needs, but even then they sometimes surprise you by taking a player they don’t need.

I never understood the point of it, myself. Add to all this the fact that teams sometimes deliberately put out misinformation and it makes seem even more like just a guessing game. I prefer to try to analyze a team’s needs and figure out who they should take based on that–though the drawback to this is that I don’t know if I’m right or wrong until several seasons later.