Thursday, April 28, 2011

Idiot's Guide to the NFL Draft, in Two Acts

We typically leave NFL draft coverage to one of the several thousand blogs dedicated to poking and prodding this year's herd of cattle, but our totally unbiased scouting department tipped us off to an outrageous iniquity that we felt compelled to address. And as a bonus to our readership, we continue to deliver fine whine about the Buffalo Bills. Consider this dual post our gift to you on this high holy day.

I once had to wear a Toronto Blue Jays cap for an entire softball season because I lost a bet. I'm prepared today to go one further. If Cam Newton is a better professional quarterback than Greg McElroy, I'll wear a Toronto Blue Jays cap for two entire softball seasons.

Ridiculous, you say? Probably. And certainly, on the face of it. But consider the following analysis:

The first syllable of McElroy's last name is a homophone for Mac. Newton stole a PC. Advantage: McElroy

McElroy's sister is a kind and gentle soul, gracious with fans of all shapes and sizes. Newton's father tried to sell him to the highest bidder. Advantage: McElroy.

Moving on to professional potential, a Google search for 'greg mcelroy tom brady' yields 44,300 hits. If you Google 'cam newton character issues', a whopping 331,000 hits are produced. Advantage: McElroy.

Most casual observers probably believe that Newton's statistics are far better than McElroy's. You all remember what Mark Twain said about statistics and lies, don't you? Let's take a look at the two signal-callers' 2010 passing stats. McElroy was 222-313 for 2987 yards, a 70.9% completion percentage, 20 TDs and 5 interceptions. Newton went 185-280 for 2854 yards, a 66.1% mark, 30 TDs and 7 picks. Since passing the football is clearly the method NFL coaches prefer their quarterbacks to employ to advance the ball, the advantage is as unequivocal as it might seem contrarian: McElroy.

McElroy led the Crimson Tide to a 24-3 mark in games he started. Newton's Blinn JC and Auburn teams were 25-1 in his starts. Advantage: McElroy, for learning how to lose gracefully while remaining a winner. Even the best NFL QBs will drop 4-5 games a year. Learning how to do so without losing focus is a critical skill.

In the brains department, it's really not even close. McElroy posted a Wonderlic score of 48, while Newton recorded a 21. Advantage: Newton. McElroy's score concerns most NFL coaches, who don't want players smarter than they are.

It'd be hard to find a more obvious example of the mainstream sports media completely missing the boat, unless you opened a newspaper and read about Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens, Manny Ramirez, or, really, any Major League Baseball game played in the late 90s or early 2000s. Bookmark this page and remember to speak well of us in five years when McElroy's leading the Vikings to another NFC Championship game while Newton's fishing with JaMarcus Russell.

---------------------

The Bills were terrible against the run last year, just like the year before that. Everyone in the league knew this. Teams ran against the Bills 54.69% (clicks!) of the time. The league-wide average for percentage of running plays was 44.57%. Only two other teams were run on more than 50% of the time: Denver (51.40%) and Oakland (50.21%). I don't know if the respective 3.29% and 4.48% differences are statistically significant, but it's clear that everyone knowingly, purposely, and with malice aforethought skewed their offense towards the run when they played the Bills, more so than against anyone else in the league. In case you're curious, Pittsburgh had the lowest rushing rate against at 35.19% and the next-best team (Baltimore) was 39.18%. So the Steelers are the anti-Bills, which may explain why they played in the Super Bowl while Buffalo has the #3 pick in tonight's draft.

I've whined about Buddy Nix's drafting prowess before so it comes as no surprise that I expect him to do something terrible with said #3 pick. I would like them to trade down for a defensive lineman of NFL-starter quality and a pick in the mid-to-late-teens, and then use that mid-to-late teen pick to draft an NFL-starter quality offensive or defensive lineman, or a linebacker who will be more effective than a turnstile. My second choice would be for them to draft Nick Fairley at the #3 spot. My tertiary option would be Von Miller at #3. My quaternary option would be some other approach that fulfills their glaring run-stopping needs.

The Bills do not need to take a QB at #3. Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the future of the franchise, but they can get by with him for another year or two if they draft a QB in the second round and bring him along slowly. Nor do they need a RB as they already have Fred Jackson and CJ Spiller. So I used to think they would take Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, or Mark Ingram. But I found an even dumber pick for B-Nix to make, and I can practically guarantee he'll do it. AJ Green. In addition to their aforementioned run-stopping woes, they have no pass rush, a journeyman QB, a porous OL, a middling running game, and Stevie "Wonder" Johnson. It makes no sense whatsoever to draft a WR. So AJ Green is the pick.

115 comments:

T.J. said...

That Stevie Johnson tweet is so fantastic.

rob said...

i also like the picture of you with greg mcelroy's sister

T.J. said...

Ouch.

rob said...

we kid, we kid

TR said...

Maybe Stevie Johnson was listening to Petty's "Don't Do Me Like That" when he was tweeting. He's probably a big Heartbreakers fan.

zman said...

In the interest of full disclosure, Stevie twat that tweet at God after dropping a game-winning TD in the endzone, not at Buddy Nix after learning that Nix plans to draft AJ Green, but I hope for something equally ridiculous from Stevie later tonight.

zman said...

Note that the biggest bust depicted in this post does not belong to the only woman shown.

rob said...

if the redskins select julio jones tonight, i will be willing to reconsider my opinion of little danny starfucker.

and then, after reconsidering for a moment, will remain firmly convinced of his complete worthlessness.

TR said...

I think Julio and AJ Green are no-brainer NFL studs. The draftniks are nitpicking with their critiques. I also think highly of Patrick Peterson. If stud WR prospects have their heads screwed on straight, they can excel immediately. Even some w/o heads on straight (Bryant, Britt) become impact players.

zman said...

I respectfully disagree, TR. I think it's rare that a rookie receiver excels right away. Terry Glenn, Randy Moss, Marques Colston, and Dez Bryant are rookie anomolies. Receivers don't typically start to perform until their second or third year. It drives me nuts when people who are paid to talk about sports talk about how team X or quarterback Y now has "weapons" after drafting a WR.

T.J. said...

You leave Carl Pickens alone, zman.

rob said...

i haven't listened to a ton of draft preview coverage, so this may have been beat to death, but if i'm a gm i wouldn't touch a quarterback early this year, especially one with no experience in a pro-style offense. assuming the lockout extends throughout the summer, a rookie qb's gonna have no chance to go through the typical preseason and will be picking the game up on the fly even more than normal. i think qb's are way overvalued in this draft.

i expect the redskins to take 3.

TR said...

I see your point Zman, but I think the new crops of uber-physical guys can step in a bit sooner. Of course, production is based on the talent of the QB, so it's hard to say. But those two guys are bad-ass freaks.

TR said...

My point is similar to the one Rob just made. That there are some sure-fire studs out there that teams shouldn't pass on. But they will. And they'll talk themselves into people like Jake Locker. And he'll suck.

mayhugh said...

While I still wish the skins would just commit to being awful this year (e.g. trim any fat they can (assuming other teams would take them) for picks, including one of their tights ends, any of their receivers, McNabb, Orakpo), I would not be super upset over a Julio Jones pick.

rob said...

i would be thrilled with a julio jones pick, to be clear. i'd just still hate the owner. have i mentioned that i hate the owner?

rob said...

wait, you'd trade orakpo?

zman said...

I've read that AJ Green is the best player in the draft, not just the best receiver, and I'd believe it if the consensus is that he could put up a 60/900/6 rookie season on the right team. The Bills sadly are not that team.

Dave said...

is it time to take the wheelhouse off my links list?

rob said...

turns out i like brussels sprouts. who knew?

mayhugh said...

Don't get me wrong Rob, I really like Orakpo - seems like a good team guy, affable on the radio, fun voice, workout fiend, etc. But he is a situational pass rusher playing every down in a scheme/position for which he does not seem to be ideally suited. To me, he's a luxury that a craptastic team like the Skins should be shopping to get more value where they need it.

TR said...

Mayhugh just described John Abraham, circa 2005.

Mark said...

Our doofus overlord asked me to give him my thoughts on some of the SEC guys slated to go in the top 10 tonight since he has a writing assignment. I figured I'd include them here as well since I doubt I'll be around for much of the 1st round.

Patrick Peterson: a better athlete than a corner. Will make immediate impact on special teams but I'm not sold on him as a shut down corner. Jimmy Smith is the best corner in this drat imo. Could see him struggling fora year or two before moving to S. I like him but don't love him as a player. Never somebody who I feared as a Gator fan. Questionable intellingence. Word was he left South Florida for LSU because he didn't have grades/SATs to get into Miami or UF. LSU is good like that.

Marcell Dareus: Huge. Over 6'3" and 315+ but moves exceptionally well. Could play DT in a 4-3 or end in a 3-4. Very disruptive against pass and run and pretty skilled dropping into zone coverage as well. Seems like a sure thing. Maybe not dominant on the NFL level but a 10 year starter.

Julio Jones: Overrated. His 40 time at the combine is misleading as he doesn't play that fast.How many times did you ever see him beat a good CB deep in college. Was always dinged up at Bama. A good player, but not a WR worth taking in the top 10, imo. Whatever team drafts him will cite his blocking as a major reason they love him. That's nice but it's a bit like drafting a PG because he rebounds well.

AJ Green: Best WR in this class by far. Great with the ball in the air. runs fluid routes for a 6'3" guy (which is always a concern for bigger WRs). Plays faster than his 40 time. Could stand to add strength in order to fight james better in NFL. High upside. Worth a top 5 pick.

Nick Fairley: Explosive first step that allows him into backfield against pass and run. I don't watch tape so I'll have to take scouts' word for it but he has a rep for taking plays off. Combination of size, strength and speed is rare. If he's got his head on straight, he's a difference maker. In the mold of Bucs DT Gerald McCoy, only more explosive. Prototypical 4-3 penetrating DT.

I have other thoughts but that should cover most of the SEC guys in the top 10.

mayhugh said...

Mike Wise and Mark don't agree on much...

TR said...

"fight jams better"

Not a strength of Zman in his college days.

zman said...

Not true! You sent a bunch of joats to jam me on my 22nd birthday, including the Lumpmeister, and I fought them off. I think I even gave Lumpy a black eye. Of course, you and Schpfechk then threw me in the bowl without much fuss, but I capably defended myself against a jam or two.

zman said...

Mark enrolled at Ohio State?

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=6443472

Mark said...

My (realistic) wish list for the Bucs tonight:

Da'Quan Bowers
Jimmy Smith
JJ Watt
Prince Amukamara
Adrian Clayborn

Jerry said...

Fans are usually happy when their team drafts somebody they've heard of.

Jerry said...

Jets - required draft viewing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rZxNeFLuY98&feature=youtube_gdata_player

zman said...

Lots of bowties at the draft, almosr looks like Farrakahn and Reddenbacher styled the draftees.

zman said...

Lots of nerd glasses too. Very odd.

TR said...

Anybody else entering hour 14 at work? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

zman said...

Cam Newton's dad was styled by Dick Tracy.

zman said...

Grudens hair is styled by Donald Trump.

T.J. said...

I'm at SB Nation DC tonight...I need all the knowledge you got...

zman said...

I'm honestly impressed by von millers reaction.

Mark said...

Those nerd glasses are somehow cool now. Not sure why. I blame Farnsworth Bentley.

zman said...

I can't complain ... but I will note thatdareus was 3rd team all american and 2nd team all sec, and in my mind it makes sense to draft the guy from the 1st team, but I'm famously stupid.

Jerry said...

Aaron Gray twisted his ankle worse than Kobe, but it's not heroic when he plays hurt.

Jerry said...

Sparky are you watching the draft over the Magic game?

Jerry said...

TR - I'm reviewing a very boring deliverable, but it's not hour 14 and I'm on my couch.

TR said...

Day has just improved a bit. Holding 24 oz Heiny can and waiting to get on a train.

zman said...

I was recently puked upon. So you're ahead of me on hygiene.

zman said...

Locker?

Danimal said...

Gabbert just needs a board brah

zman said...

JJ watt was styled by john deere.

rob said...

just got home. imagine my surprise to see that the redskins didn't do anything stupid with the 10th pick.

zman said...

Da'Quan isn't a very traditonal name.

Mark said...

Finishing up a work event, Jerome. efforting multi-TV viewing and booze at my house. asap.

zman said...

Kiper just compared ponders arm to penningtons. Vikings fans weep.

Mark said...

Just got up on the picks so far. 4 QBs gone already? That's just stupid. Reaching isn't even adequate enough to describe what Tennessee and Minnesota have done tonight. I couldn't hate that Locker pick more. I have no faith in his ability to be a cromulent pro QB.

Mark said...

And he has a history of shoulder problems, Z! His arm isn't quite Pennington level weak but it sure ain't great. Those December games in Chicago and Green Bay should be interesting.

Danimal said...

Fairley and family really jazzed about heading to Detroit Rock City.

zman said...

Was nick fairley in boyz 2 Men?

Danimal said...

He will b soon playing with suh

zman said...

Character issues caused Nick Fairley to slipp so far that he was drafted one pick ahead of a guy who missed all of 2010 for NCAA violations ... and who has a tumor? I'm not sure what's crazier: his slide or St. Louis' decision to draft Quinn.

Mark said...

Fairley and Suh could be a devastating combiunation at DT if Fairley has his shit together. Two biggest difference making DTs on the college level in recent memory.

Mark said...

Not enough talk on here about Atlanta trading up for Julio Jones. That's a huge leap for anyone. If Jones is what they want him to be though, he makes the Atlanta offense much more explosive and alleviates the double teams on Roddy White.

Mark said...

Cameron Jordan. Didn't think he'd be available here. Take him, Da'Quan or Jimmy Smith.

Mark said...

I'm definitely okay with Clayborn though. His nerve issue worries me a bit but he's got a motor that revs non-stop.

Mark said...

My wife think that Clayborn intentionally matched his suit to the Bucs' colors.

zman said...

I wish the Bills had traded down with Atlanta. They need bodies. Cleveland gave up a ton.

zman said...

If I got drafted I'd tell Suzy Kolber that I want to kiss her.

zman said...

I mean Cleveland got a ton. Gave, got, whatever.

zman said...

Do the Colts take Ingram?

Mark said...

They probably won't. They'll go OL. He could really help them though.

What did Cleveland get from Atlanta?

zman said...

This year's 1st, 2nd, and 4th and next year's 1st and 4th ... or something like that.

T.J. said...

Who the fuck is Danny Watkins?

T.J. said...

69 bitches

Mark said...

I believe Danny Watkins is an OT.

T.J. said...

I believe I am 900 words deep and tearing up at Lee Greenwood...

zman said...

How often does a Heisman winning RB languish this long in the green room? Will he fall to the Pats.

Mark said...

It's amazing how running backs have become so devalued by NFL teams that they're now undervalued in the draft.

Mark said...

Saints go Ingram here.

zman said...

I forgot about the Saints. Dudes named Pierre just aren't cut out for a full 16 game season.

T.J. said...

Wrong question...

Mark said...

Surprising that Jordan dropped this far. Just listen to Kiper blow him.

Da'Quan Bowers must have the knees of an 80 year old.

T.J. said...

Kudos to Mark and rob and zman and work jerry and anyone who just got me through 900 words in 2.5 hours.

I be dumb.

zman said...

Brett Gardner is killing it on my bench.

zman said...

Can anyone name an NFL team that couldn't use a big physical shutdown corner?

zman said...

I wouldn't draft someone too stupid to keep sketchy photos off of his facebook page leading up to the draft.

Mark said...

That's about half the draft.

Mark said...

What the fuck is going on in Baltimore?

T.J. said...

Did Mike Mayock just say he likes to bang in the back of a minivan?

T.J. said...

#15 Mike Pouncey- The Miami Dolphins think they took Xomat, got Tamox. I'm not gonna tell 'em. Are you?

Lumpy said...

Zman I don't remember getting close enough on a jam to catch a black eye. Aside from the ones that eneded with my head in the bowl. Usually courtesy of ed and/or mayhugh

But my memories of the mid 90's are hazy

zman said...

Dontay Moch's combine numbers are insane.

zman said...

I guess I mix all you lumpy guys up.

Mark said...

Now it's Ingram to the Saints and Belichick gets a 1 & a 2 for it. Stacking picks.

Mark said...

Even with the trade, which was a good one, I'd be a little pissed if I was a Pats fan. Ingram would fit in well there, imo.

T.J. said...

Anyone want to succinctly recap picks 17-32 for me?
/kthxbye

TR said...

Where's a good web site to see the 1st round trades? ESPN sucks for that.

zman said...

I'm befuddled by the Pats/Saints trade. Maroney was a 1st round pick and he didn't pan out so maybe Belichick is gunshy about taking a RB in teh first again? Or maybe he doesn't like Ingram Sr. so he didn't want Ingram Jr.? Otherwise it doesn't make sense. The Pats haven't run the ball well since Corey Dillon retired.

zman said...

Is this better than ESPN?

http://www.nfl.com/draft/2011/tracker#dt-by-round-input:1

T.J. said...

J-E-T-S!

T.J. said...

They took a terrorist?

TR said...

Jets just drafted a guy with a tattoo of his mom's Muslim name on his arm. Jets fans are going to go crazy for a guy they never heard of until the local papers wrote him up this week.

A salaam alaikum, Mr. Wilkerson.

zman said...

I hear that Wilkerson has quick feet, just how Rex likes them.

T.J. said...

JIHAD JETS!

TR said...

Zman - if the Pats think the best player on their board will still be there at 33 (their next pick), they are smart to trade out of 28 and stockpile another pick.

Mark said...

Wilkerson is friends with Cee-Lo?

zman said...

6'4" 315 lbs? Huge.

Mark said...

You're right, TR. But I think Z's point is that Ingram made sense for them. They need a run game and haven't had one in years.

zman said...

TR - I get the logic in theory, but the Pats are glaringly one-dimensional on offense. There isn't much room to upgrade a 14-2 team so it would make sense (to me at least) to get a guy who can start even if there's another guy with a higher value score that you can get later but who won't see the field.

Lumpy said...

The class below me had a multitude of large pasty guys. My class was just teej and me- and he was relatively thin by comparison

zman said...

Maybe it was Sizzler then.

Ras-I is another great name.

Mark said...

Yes. Ras-I is awesome.

New England's totally trading the 33rd pick.

Lumpy said...

Worst pick- Ponder to the vikes?

T.J. said...

Hell no...I'll let you guess again...

T.J. said...

Seriously, you guys, the Redskins traded DOWN...

2012 is legit. Tornadoes in Arlington. Dice Clay is relevant again. End of Days, man.

T.J. said...

Derek Sherrod just made the Packers better. They're like the goddamn NFC Patriots. Bastards.

Dave said...

no comment.

Danimal said...

Kate looks lovely

Mark said...

I hope that comment was in jest, Dan.

And I actually dislike the Locker pick even more than Ponder. Locker's a physical freak who's shown himself to be an inaccurate passer who resorts to using his legs too much. Tennessee drafted Vince Young with less character concerns, basically. I didn't like Locker as a 1st rd pick, much less in the top 10.