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Why does everyone want to trade our potential top 5 pick???


dhrone
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we have a golden opportunity here to get a real difference maker with this pick. We could potentially get: The most complete and NFL ready DT to come out of college since Warren Sapp, we have a chance to get our choice of a franchise QB, we could possibly get an OT that would solidify our OL for 10 years, and best of all we could get one of the best RB prospects to come out of college...ever!

why trade down when it is unlikely teams are willing to give up what we would demand? how often do you see someone trading out of a top 5 pick and getting 2 first rounders or a 1st 2nd and next years 1st? how often does that really happen except for in all of your far-fetched, madden induced mock drafts??? the only way it would make sense is if we traded down a couple of spots 5 at the most because we feel we could still get the QB we wanted (only if Mcfadden and Dorsey are gone). even then there is still a lot of value at the top of this draft. and people want to say things like we would only draft McFadden or a franchise QB to sell jerseys and put people in the stands... well as much as you guys dont want to hear it the Atlanta Falcons are a business and this year they are losing money. putting people in the stands and creating a buzz around our team is a good thing! adding a few key OL FA and getting everyone healthy will sure up our OL enough to where we wont have to take an OT with the first 4 picks of the draft like some of you clowns have in your mocks. we need a difference maker, now!

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I agree , but if BP is set on getting Brohm , we could trade down to around 15 , get an extra 1st and still take our future QB . But I had rather take McFadden with our top pick and then trade back up and get Brohm like Clev did last year.

But if they go with Ryan ( I hope ) then we will have to take him with our top pick period.

But of the 2 senerios above , I would rather us take the first , McFadden and Bohm over just Ryan even thou I do feel like Ryan is the better prospect .

One last thing , If we do trade back up with our 2nd pick to take Brohm , we would have the choice to take either 1. McFadden , 2. DT Dorsey , 3. OT Long , And either of those top 3 would be nice but this is the order in which I would rank them myself. We can get some good OTs in the 2nd and 3rd rounds.Heres what i would like ....................

1.3rd pick ,McFadden or Dorsey

1.15th pick, Brohm , have to give our 2nd houston pick this year, a 3rd , and a 2nd next year.

2.34th pick ,OT Jeff Otah... 6-6 ,340

2.40th pick traded for Brohm

3.65th pick trade for Brohm

3.98th pick which is the Comp pick for PK, John Creco OT , 6-5 , 320

4.105 Pick , Moffit MLB

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Steve_Bartkowski (12/8/2007)
draftnut57 (12/8/2007)
I agree , but if BP is set on getting Brohm , we could trade down to around 15 , get an extra 1st and still take our future QB . But I had rather take McFadden with our top pick and then trade back up and get Brohm like Clev did last year.

But if they go with Ryan ( I hope ) then we will have to take him with our top pick period

Look again , I was still working on the quick Mock when you were ranting. And yes I would not pass on McFadden when Dunn is almost at retirment , you better believe it . I want everybody to know iwould take him over an OT .

So in other words you want the sexiest, fantasy football madden like pick possible. I get it.

The people that want a better football team on the field know that O-line is our weakest link. We are in a great position to snag the best run blocking OT in the draft who is also very solid in pass protection (Jake Long). I think it would be a crime to pass on Long if he's available with our current team needs.

Brohm and McFadden have hope if they land on a team with a good O-line and scheme. I think Ryan will be a bust.

1.3rd pick ,McFadden or Dorsey

1.15th pick, Brohm , have to give our 2nd houston pick this year, a 3rd , and a 2nd next year.

2.34th pick ,OT Jeff Otah... 6-6 ,340

2.40th pick traded for Brohm

3.65th pick trade for Brohm

3.98th pick which is the Comp pick for PK, John Creco OT , 6-5 , 320

4.105 Pick , Moffit MLB

You better believe I would take Mcfadden over Long in a heartbeat , with Dunn near the end , I think that would be a crime ot pass on him.

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I'd love to have McFadden or Dorsey. To me, those are the only two guys worth picking in the top 3 or even 5. I really don't think we will take Jake Long that high. He's a great player, but there are too many question marks about him. He's the best OL in the draft, but not the best LT prospect. He hasn't seen many speed rushers in the Big Ten, which he has problems with, and he'll see them every down in the NFL. As for the QB's, none of them are worth a top 5 pick. We definitely won't be picking Ryan, he doesn't want to play here, and why would Petrino take him over Brohm.

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atlfalcon2184 (12/8/2007)
I'd love to have McFadden or Dorsey. To me, those are the only two guys worth picking in the top 3 or even 5. I really don't think we will take Jake Long that high. He's a great player, but there are too many question marks about him. He's the best OL in the draft, but not the best LT prospect. He hasn't seen many speed rushers in the Big Ten, which he has problems with, and he'll see them every down in the NFL. As for the QB's, none of them are worth a top 5 pick. We definitely won't be picking Ryan, he doesn't want to play here, and why would Petrino take him over Brohm.

I agree 100% , and idon't see how anybody could take Jake Long over Darren Mcfadden??? I'm telling you to that this draft is loaded with good OTs , and like the past few years , It's hard to know who the best OT is really going to be anyway. I thin Jake is over rated a litlle bit anyway, JMO.

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Steve_Bartkowski (12/8/2007)
draftnut57 (12/8/2007)

You better believe I would take Mcfadden over Long in a heartbeat , with Dunn near the end , I think that would be a crime ot pass on him.

You forgot about this guy named Norwood. I personally haven't seen Mcfadden do anything that Norwood can't.

Without fixing our O-line Mcfadden would get stuffed behind the line of scrimmage all the time just like Dunn and Norwood currently do. Mcfadden benefits from one of the best run blocking O-lines in college football.

Well I love Norwood , but he is a situational Back only !!! Plus he needs to help us in the return game , But for that every down, big , powerful back that BP wants and we need, No sir ... Norwood will never cut it in that area , try to do that and Norwood will end up on the injury reserve every year. We need and must get another Bigtime power back to go with our great deal in the 7th Snealings who I really wanted last year BTW. For you to think that Norwood can do everything that McFadden can do is a surprice remark from you. NO way is that statment true. I wish it were , but notta.

And for fixing the OL , I agree with you 100 % , The thing I can't understand is why do people think the only way you cna fix a certain postion on the tema is with a 1st round pick . WE need Veteran OL first , and I'm sure that McKay will go out and take the best 2 available in the FA maket conceidering that we have the worst OL in the NFL plus we can still draft 2 really good OTs in the 2nd and 3rd rounds of the draft plus get a good Guard in the latter rounds if need be . We can pick up Nat Darsey from Clev and or Starks , I think we will go after both .

One last comment , I have always been of the mind set to always take in this order as needed in the 1st round, QB, RB , DE , DT , and then use the 2nd round to take OL man , Now I know what you are saing , well look at our OL,, Ah Hah!! Your right , but look back , if i had the time I could go back th last 8 years and show you where I wanted OLman in the 2nd round in most of those drafts , and if we had taken the OL I had picked out for us we would not be i nthe shape we are now , so what am I saing ? That we have not done th rgiht thing and taken OL in the 2nd . There is a way to build a OL and their is a best wayto build a OL , we have not spent enough time and money and not enough high draft picks on the OL , but I'm talking about 2nd round picks not 1st , the only way I would take a OT in the first is if 1. he was for sure great , and 2 . ONly when we didn't need a QB , RB , DT , or a DE. Just my philosophy , and No Atlanta has never used my philosophy and probably never will sad to say. But it does all depend on who is there at each round , you always have to go by that.

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dhrone (12/8/2007)
we have a golden opportunity here to get a real difference maker with this pick. We could potentially get: The most complete and NFL ready DT to come out of college since Warren Sapp, we have a chance to get our choice of a franchise QB, we could possibly get an OT that would solidify our OL for 10 years, and best of all we could get one of the best RB prospects to come out of college...ever!

why trade down when it is unlikely teams are willing to give up what we would demand? how often do you see someone trading out of a top 5 pick and getting 2 first rounders or a 1st 2nd and next years 1st? how often does that really happen except for in all of your far-fetched, madden induced mock drafts??? the only way it would make sense is if we traded down a couple of spots 5 at the most because we feel we could still get the QB we wanted (only if Mcfadden and Dorsey are gone). even then there is still a lot of value at the top of this draft. and people want to say things like we would only draft McFadden or a franchise QB to sell jerseys and put people in the stands... well as much as you guys dont want to hear it the Atlanta Falcons are a business and this year they are losing money. putting people in the stands and creating a buzz around our team is a good thing! adding a few key OL FA and getting everyone healthy will sure up our OL enough to where we wont have to take an OT with the first 4 picks of the draft like some of you clowns have in your mocks. we need a difference maker, now!

It all comes down to what is better. Is it better to get (assuming we have the #2 pick & not tied with anyone record wise) to be able to draft 2 of the top 33 players in the NFL draft or would it be better to get 3 of the top 33 players in the NFL draft?

A trade down could net us 3 of the top 33 players in the draft & we obviously have enough holes to fill that the extra round one pick could be more beneficial than our traditional approach under Blank of drafting someone to just put butts in seats.

You are right, trading 2, 1st round picks doesn't happen often. But with Dallas holding 2 later 1st round picks & probably only being a player away from the absolute elite of the NFC, it might be a possibility this year.

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Draftnut57 (12/8/2007)
I agree , but if BP is set on getting Brohm , we could trade down to around 15 , get an extra 1st and still take our future QB . But I had rather take McFadden with our top pick and then trade back up and get Brohm like Clev did last year.

This is my preferred scenario. I don't think Brohm is worth a #2 overall. But I'm not sure that Petrino agrees with us.

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Bart , I could agree with Long being a good player , JMO that I would not take him over McFadden , A future starting QB for years to come ,or DT Dorsey , It is all opinion and that's mine , I understand where you are coming from , I just think there is a way to do what we need to without taking a OL with our first pick and still take care of our OL problem. I happen to think that we could get a OT in the 2nd round that would be only ahair differance in them and Long if not as good , and I'm of the opinion that there are no RBs , DTs , QBs in any other roudns that will even come lose to compairing with McFadden , Dorsey , Ryan , and Brohm. I always believe in taking best players per round or should I say in old fashion terms , Get while the gettins good .

Thank Goodness McKay did take a OL in teh 2nd last year, and my favorite OL in the Draft per pick . And I loved that pick and still do , Blalock was probably the best OL Atlanta has ever Drafted (for the Pick) That is the key to me , FOR THE PICK!!! And for the pick I.... just.... dont.... think Jake Long would be near as good as Mcffaden , Dorsey or Ryan .

BTW , Blalock is a prime example of what I've been tring to say about how and when to draft OL. Bad thing is that's the first time we have done that in a long time , but It also is all based on picking the best OL with the pick , sure they could blow it like Reeves did when he drafted that OT in the 2nd about 8 years ago , I done forgot his name , but that all can be blamed on bad tallent evaluation.

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Steve_Bartkowski (12/8/2007)
Draftnut57 (12/8/2007)And for the pick I.... just.... dont.... think Jake Long would be near as good as Mcffaden , Dorsey or Ryan .

I can see that statement possibly being true about Mcfadden or Dorsey but Ryan?!?!? He is GARBAGE! I have watched him play several times this year and he is SOOO inconsistent and makes horrible decisions. I consider Ryan to be a DANGEROUS pick with HIGH bust potential. People rate him so high because of what he COULD be, not because of what he IS. A top 5 pick on that kind of player is scary. You also have to figure in team needs:

J Long >>>>> Any OT we have

G Dorsey >> T Lewis

D Mcfadden > J Norwood

M Ryan ? Harrington/Redman/Leftwich

WEll ,you could be right about Ryan , BC QB is the hardest position to evaluate , and why I hate having to draft one period , but somtimes it is nessesary , I wish we could get a QB without having to draft one bc they do bust more than any other position.:crazy:

But as of right now I think Ryan has the most potitial of ay QB in the draft , and could be a great one behind a good line. But I also do realize we could not only get a better deal in Brohm , But he could step in immediatly and take over if need be . I also think we could pick up and extra pick be trading donw some to take Brohm. I think BP knows exactly what he wants to do.

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dorsey will likely be gone to the dolphins #1. if hes not, and the pats have the #2, then he will likely be gone to the pats. then, if were there at #3, we have a shot.

to be honest, i dont really want mcfadden. i want to upgrade the offensive line and the defensive line a LOT in this draft. dorsey would be great, ellis would be great, jake long would be great (at RT), id love ryan clady later in the top 10...

there are lots of options for the front lines and i want to take advantage of them. i really want brohm, but there is a legitimate chance he falls in the 15-25 range imo, and we could always trade back up for him if we wanted him badly enough.

but id love the idea of trading down from the top 5 area and getting back to the 6-12 range that has much better value and is much cheaper too. we could be getting guys like: Ryan Clady, Brian Brohm, maybe Sedrick Ellis at #6, Lauranaitis, and maybe Kenny Phillips if we wanted to go that direction (which i dont). honestly, there are lots of options there and wed add at LEAST a 2nd rounder, and whos to say we dont add a player at a need position with a trade down?

the fact of the matter is, trading down from the top 5 is not easy, but if you do you get lots of good value for it and in this draft wed have a great opportunity to bolster our offensive and defensive lines if we had 3 second round picks. imagine...

1st- Brohm

2nd- Kentwan Balmer, DT, UNC

2nd- Alex Boone, OT, Ohio State-

2nd- Jeff Otah, OT, Pittsburgh-

3rd- Titus Brown, DE, Mississippi State-

how amazing would those first 3 rounds be??? thats what we could do if we traded down, and that fills the QB, LT, RT, UT and RE needs all in the first 5 selections, all in the first 3 rounds.

that would be awesome.

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I agree Long is a great run blocker, but he will have trouble in the NFL at LT. His stats are overrated. While he did give up only 1 sack, he also plays in the Big Ten. The conference isn't known for speed and he has alot of problems with speed rushers. He will see them every down in the NFL. What if we draft him and he can only play RT? Thats a big waste of a top 5 draft pick. If we don't trade our pick, its gotta be McFadden or Dorsey and thats it.

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I have a feeling that we are going to pick up a FA QB by the name of Andrew Walter and that our 1st pick will be spent on Mr. McFadden.

With the fact that Tyson Clabo has shown his ability to play the Tackle position, we can get a LT either through the draft (which we can get in the 2nd round) or through FA. That would give us a very good line with the fact that Datish will be back and Foster looks like a gem.

Guys, we have some really good guys that are very young and our OLine is going to be better than you think it is next year. Add that with the additions of McFadden and Walter (who I think is a diamond in the rough just waiting to be shined) and we could have the makings of a really good team. Once we get that young core seasoned a bit, then we can go out and make a splash with the FA pick up.

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Steve_Bartkowski (12/8/2007)
Draftnut57 (12/8/2007)And for the pick I.... just.... dont.... think Jake Long would be near as good as Mcffaden , Dorsey or Ryan .

I can see that statement possibly being true about Mcfadden or Dorsey but Ryan?!?!? He is GARBAGE! I have watched him play several times this year and he is SOOO inconsistent and makes horrible decisions. I consider Ryan to be a DANGEROUS pick with HIGH bust potential. People rate him so high because of what he COULD be, not because of what he IS. A top 5 pick on that kind of player is scary. You also have to figure in team needs:

J Long >>>>> Any OT we have

G Dorsey >> T Lewis

D Mcfadden > J Norwood

M Ryan ? Harrington/Redman/Leftwich

I completely agree with everything you've said in this thread. There's no way in the world I would take a great running back prospect over a great offensive tackle prospect, especially with the way this team is right now. Look at Reggie Bush. He was hyped as a combination of almost every great running back to ever live and he's averaging a poor 3.7 YPC and that's with the threat of Brees' down field passing.

Let's say we draft Darren McFadden. Well, that automatically makes him the focal point of our offense and as such, the focal point of our opponents' defenses. That means we still probably won't have the threat of an elite quarterback to throw the ball down field and they can stack 8 guys in the box. Well, without a great run blocking offensive line, that means even the great Darren McFadden is going to struggle. It would be the same exact way in Minnesota right now if they didn't have the beasts lined up from LT to C.

Now, let's say we draft Jake Long. By all accounts, he is the best offensive tackle in the draft. Does he struggle with speed rushers? That's debatable. If you call giving up 1 sack to one of the top speed rushers in the country struggling, then maybe. I know they're all going to be fast like that in the pros, but that doesn't mean he has already peaked. Look at Blalock, he's struggling right now, but we all know he's got the physical tools to succeed in both pass blocking and run blocking. That's what Jake Long is. He has ALL the physical tools to be successful in both areas, but he only needs coaching on one. He's already a dominant run blocker and won't need that area refined very much.

With Long, he helps Norwood and whoever else we line up. With Long, he helps give the quarterback time to throw the ball. You can debate about his pass protection struggles if you wish, but there's no way you can debate the fact that he is better than Gandy at everything he does. He helps out both aspects of our offense where as McFadden would only help out one (save for some swing passes or screens). Let's say in the end, he has to move to RT. Fine. Now we have one of the most dominant RTs in the league. That's worth investing in, in my opinion.

I'm sorry, but there's no way you can convince me that we should take a running back over Jake Long, no matter how great he supposedly is. I've seen highlights of Darren McFadden and while he is very talented no doubt, he has HUGE holes to run through a lot of the times and that's not something we can expect to give him, especially right away. Sure we could pick up an offensive tackle in the 2nd round, but we did that with Blalock and he has struggled as a rookie even though he was probably our best lineman the day he signed his contract. There's no reason to believe the next rookie won't struggle too, because after all, he's a rookie.

A combination of Jake Long, Jerious Norwood, and Rashard Mendenhall/Jonathan Stewart/Tashard Choice is much better than McFadden and say Chris Williams or Alex Boone. Norwood is already averaging close to the league's best, now if we get a guy that can grind it out like the three I listed can, he should be that much more dangerous late in the game. To sum it all up, for this team at this moment in time, Jake Long fixes more areas of need with a smaller (in my opinion) risk and we need offensive linemen more than we need a running back.

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Your reply is something of a mixed message. You argue that Reggie Bush isn't doing enough for New Orleans, presumably due to the fact that a good RB is useless without a good offensive line. You go on to argue that a topflight tackle would make that sort of difference. Bush plays behind one of the best offensive lines in football, and their LT was a top 15 pick overall. They also have a first round center in Jeff Faine and one of the best guards in football in Jahri Evans. So, he has exactly the sort of offensive line you believe would make the difference in the running game. The problem is that high draft picks on the line don't guarantee success. People keep missing this point. Here are a batch of examples:

Pittsburgh Steelers starters on the offensive line were drafted:

1-26

5-168

4-131

1-30

2-38

Both of their first round picks are outside the top 25 and neither one of them is a tackle.

New England starters on the offensive line were drafted:

3-100

1-32

2-48

5-164

UDFA

Again, their first round pick is a guard instead of a tackle.

Indianapolis starters on the offensive line were drafted:

4-118

5-141

UDFA

UDFA

2-42

Yes, the vaunted Colts offensive line includes two UDFAs.

I took a moment to glance at that Football Outsiders offensive line stats thing, even though I have no idea how much I trust their analytical evaluations. I mainly know them as the people who ranked us fourth in the NFC South power rankings the week after we had clinched the division in 2004. They have the Giants ranked #2 for best o-lines.

The Giants starters on the offensive line include:

3-79

2-34

UDFA

UDFA

5-160

That one pretty much speaks for itself. The other teams they have in the top 5 that we haven't discussed are Tampa and Philly.

The Tampa Bay starters on the offensive line include:

2-59

1-23

2-35

5-148

UDFA replacing Luke Petitgout, who went 1-19. This is the first OT who went in the first round as of yet, and he didn't go in the top 15. Tampa did exactly what I believe we are in the process of doing. They evaluated their line before last year's draft, and they decided to upgrade the talent across the board. The end result was that they drafted two players I coveted for the Falcons in Davin Joseph and Arron Sears plus a tackle I liked who didn't fit our system in Jeremy Trueblood. Just locking down those two positions with quality players has obviously made a huge difference for them.

They didn't spend a top 10 pick on any of the positions, but they spent the #23, #35 and #59 on them and voila! Their line is much improved, although I don't believe it is the fourth best in football quite yet. We've already spent the #39 pick in 2007 on a guard. Another guard and another tackle in the same range is just what the doctor ordered in my opinion.

1-16

4-109

UDFA

4-126

4-104

The #16 pick is one of the best guards in football, Shawn Andrews.

So, these are the top five offensive lines according to that site plus Pittsburgh, the gold standard for line depth over the past 15 years. Between them, they have exactly one OT drafted in the first round, and that was all the way back in 1999, by the way. The only one of the six teams who has three o-line picks who went in the top 40 is ranked #24, although I have to question that scoring methodology based on what I have seen of the Steelers in 07.

In opposition to the prioritizing of first round offensive linemen, these teams have all excelled in finding later gems. There are a grand total of five players drafted in the first round as opposed to five drafted in the fourth round, five drafted in the sixth round and six (!) who were not drafted at all. This is why I constantly point out that we have more than one pick in the draft to address the line. What the above demonstrates more than anything else is how important it is for a team to bring in top flight guards, and we are (hopefully) already one step into that process with Blalock. It also shows that there are any number methods available to create a quality offensive line. This is far from a one size fits all situation.

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Not only do most great offensive lines consist of high draft picks, it should also be noted that the worst offensive lines of the past few years haven't gotten better with top draft picks. Oakland's line was bad enough before Gallery, and just kept getting worse with him there. The position coaching in Oakland is miserable, they were switching guys around in the rotation and Gallery has had to adjust to position and scheme changes while there. Buffalo drafted Mike Gandy, who never did anything, just like the rest of the Buffalo offensive line. Arizona's line has improved, the year after getting rid of Leonard Davis, and with their top rookie, Levi Brown, doing next to nothing.

What matters is coaching, training, and grit. If a team can find a left tackle with good feet that can handle a speed rush, they can go out and find guys that can get the job done. They don't have to be high profile, no one has to know about them, it's best if other teams have never heard of them. But they need to be gritty and smart. Meanwhile, bad offensive lines often consist of one decision on a rookie or free agent involving a lot of money going sour (Houston is a great example of this in particular) and rather than attempting to draft more talent to fix a line that didn't get any better, a team goes out in free agency and tries to find someone who's already hit their ceiling, maybe more than one. So they put more money in it, they still don't get expected production, and either they take the Arizona route and just start over again, or they go the Houston route and draft multiple mid-level prospects with the hope that someone emerges. Either way, the best way to go about building an offensive line is to not have to hope you hit gold, but to find guys that will work in the scheme and taking them.

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jidady (12/9/2007)
Your reply is something of a mixed message. You argue that Reggie Bush isn't doing enough for New Orleans, presumably due to the fact that a good RB is useless without a good offensive line. You go on to argue that a topflight tackle would make that sort of difference. Bush plays behind one of the best offensive lines in football, and their LT was a top 15 pick overall. They also have a first round center in Jeff Faine and one of the best guards in football in Jahri Evans. So, he has exactly the sort of offensive line you believe would make the difference in the running game. The problem is that high draft picks on the line don't guarantee success. People keep missing this point. Here are a batch of examples:

Great post and this is exactly how to have an intelligent argument. When I opened talking about Reggie Bush, I was implying more that he just isn't that good. I was comparing his hype to that of Darren McFadden. People are saying McFadden is can't miss, but Bush was the can't miss of the century and he hasn't become elite as of yet. I know the Saints have a good offensive line, but if the running back just can't run between the tackles, then it doesn't matter. Most of the time teams draft running backs to do just that, but Bush got hyped because of his versatility and that God-awful, glad-it's-gone "all-purpose yardage" he got thrown on him towards the end of college. He had all the moves in college, but he never had to be the guy that ran up the middle because they had that guy in LenDale White.

I think coaching has a lot to do with it as well. The Steelers have been the "gold standard" as you say, but I think a lot of that has to do with scouting and coaching. That's their strength. I think when that's NOT your strength, as is very obvious with the Falcons, you have to overcome that with a lot more naturally talented players. That's where spending higher draft picks comes in. Blalock is a great start to our offensive line. Hopefully Clabo and Datish can fill in a couple more spots. However, we still need a LT. The truly great tackles are picked high. I know that the teams you listed didn't draft theirs high, but if you look around the league at the best of the best left tackles, not the whole line, they're generally drafted in the 1st round as Bartkowski pointed out.

With that said, it could go either way. If we draft Jake Long, he better turn out to be the elite LT he should be. If we draft later in the draft, we're going to have to hope that somehow we got lucky that this coaching staff knows how to find offensive linemen in later rounds, because the previous ones haven't been able to.

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one of my favorite drafting strategies for positions that are high risk high reward (such as QB or OT, especially LT...) is to draft multiple players you could envision starting. for instance, in one mock i did this year i drafted brian brohm and then joe flacco or josh johnson in the 4th round to bring along like we developed schaub. i personally think we have to try and trade down from the top 5 and get into the 6-12 range. i love jake long as a RT but i have concerns about him as a LT. however, the options available to us 6-12 include: Ryan Clady, Brian Brohm, Andre' Woodson, James Lauranaitis, possibly Sedrick Ellis, among a couple others. if we decide to go with brohm, we can choose from a bunch of OT's in the 2nd round. for instance: Alex Boone, Jeff Otah, Chris Williams and maybe even Sam Baker depending on how his stock rises or falls. the OT from Oklahoma might be an option there too, but he would have to declare like Boone might. so, we could get Brohm, Boone and Otah (for instance) and have the QB, LT and RT needs checked off in 2 rounds.

that is my favorite strategy right now, especially if the depth at OT continues to increase. if oher (even though he looks to be staying in school), clady, boone and others declare this year, it will push 1st round value into the 2nd, and we would be wise to snatch it up early.

personally, i would love to get a guy like joe thomas in the 1st round but there is not a LT of his caliber available that high. i LOVE ryan clady however, and would not be the least bit upset if we selected him. however, i would rather auction mcfadden off to the highest bidder and get at least an extra 2nd rounder out of it than select him without an offensive line to run behind. it will take at least a year for these guys we draft this year to get into the starting lineup, or at least be ready to play consistently in the starting lineup, and once all of our starters are lined up, it will take even more time for them to gel as a unit. these things take time. so what would mcfadden do while our offensive line was in flux? return kicks? he would not be effective, just like norwood and dunn havent been as effective this season. mcfadden might be a great player, but he has a great offensive line at arkansas. i would much rather move down and either address the LT or QB positions, both of which are huge needs and question marks, with a stud like Clady or Brohm, and then fill out the rest of the roster with our bevy of picks in the first 3 rounds provided a trade down.

thats my rant about that. :P

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"I think coaching has a lot to do with it as well. The Steelers have been the "gold standard" as you say, but I think a lot of that has to do with scouting and coaching."

In reading your comments, it appears that we are philosophically similar on the topic for the most part. I was one of the people worrying about Reggie Bush's adjustment to the NFL due to the fact that speed guys such as Rocket Ismail and Desmond Howard struggled. Those sorts of gamebreaker players are always in for a rude awakening when they realize they are playing against a lot of people who are as fast as them.

With regards to McFadden, he's an entirely different type of player. The Peterson comparison holds, because they are similar running backs but if we go back to the 80s, he is in fact a Bo Jackson/Herschel Walker type. He is physically gifted both ways in that he can by or run through defensive players. Arkansas is a team that has had dreadful QB play the last two years he has been there yet they have been a factor in the SEC due in large part to their line play on both sides of the ball and their superstar RB. He's got that intangible wherein he makes a team much better. I think it's telling that the SEC is full of head coaches who have worked in the NFL and they just voted him the best player in the conference over the Heisman Trophy winner. He scares the opposition. That's a desired trait.

As for the coaching of offensive lines, I believe you are dead on. In fact, I've made exactly this argument about Arizona. It is not coincidental that the instant they brought in two of the Hogs to run their coaching staff, the running game has improved. I watched a game earlier this year where they had such a makeshift line that an undrafted center was playing LT for them...and he was holding his own! With Whisenhunt and Grimm, they have instructors who know what it's like in the trenches and they can relate that experience so well.

The Colts have been blessed during Peyton Manning's tenure by having Howard Mudd as their o-line coach for the past 10 years. In fact, I'm certain this was the idea McKay had when he brought in Alex Gibbs. He saw that Manning's progress was accelerated due to quality line play. So, he brought in the guy who had turned Denver from a playoff team to a Super Bowl winner. Unfortunately, it turns out that there aren't enough good, athletic late round offensive linemen to have multiple teams drafting that way. The move backfired on us in dramatic fashion.

This is the reason I was hopeful that Nick Saban's fleeing back to college would put Hudson Houck back on the open market. During my lifetime, he's been the most successful offensive line coach. He was the one who molded the 1990s Cowboys team into a dynasty and his coaching roots are entwined with McKay. Houck coached on his dad's USC staff back in 1970, running the freshman team. He's been at it that long, and his blueprints are still being felt in San Diego. He built up a line of nobodies into one of the best in football. Unfortunately for us, Miami hired Cam Cameron, who already had a great relationship with Houck. He wound up staying. If the Dolphins turn on Cameron after a winless season, something I wouldn't rule out, we might get another chance at it although I think Petrino is too tight with Mike Summers for that to be a reasonable possibility.

More than anything else, quality coaching is the trigger for enhanced offensive line play. Given the success Summers had at Louisville, I'm hopeful he can work his magic over time here. I worry that he's a bit too green for our needs, though. It seems like all of the best o-line coaches are grizzled veterans in their 50s and 60s who remember back when football was always played on natural grass and it was perfectly acceptable to cleat a DT's crotch.

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jidady (12/9/2007)
Your reply is something of a mixed message. You argue that Reggie Bush isn't doing enough for New Orleans, presumably due to the fact that a good RB is useless without a good offensive line. You go on to argue that a topflight tackle would make that sort of difference. Bush plays behind one of the best offensive lines in football, and their LT was a top 15 pick overall. They also have a first round center in Jeff Faine and one of the best guards in football in Jahri Evans. So, he has exactly the sort of offensive line you believe would make the difference in the running game. The problem is that high draft picks on the line don't guarantee success. People keep missing this point. Here are a batch of examples:

Pittsburgh Steelers starters on the offensive line were drafted:

1-26

5-168

4-131

1-30

2-38

Both of their first round picks are outside the top 25 and neither one of them is a tackle.

New England starters on the offensive line were drafted:

3-100

1-32

2-48

5-164

UDFA

Again, their first round pick is a guard instead of a tackle.

Indianapolis starters on the offensive line were drafted:

4-118

5-141

UDFA

UDFA

2-42

Yes, the vaunted Colts offensive line includes two UDFAs.

I took a moment to glance at that Football Outsiders offensive line stats thing, even though I have no idea how much I trust their analytical evaluations. I mainly know them as the people who ranked us fourth in the NFC South power rankings the week after we had clinched the division in 2004. They have the Giants ranked #2 for best o-lines.

The Giants starters on the offensive line include:

3-79

2-34

UDFA

UDFA

5-160

That one pretty much speaks for itself. The other teams they have in the top 5 that we haven't discussed are Tampa and Philly.

The Tampa Bay starters on the offensive line include:

2-59

1-23

2-35

5-148

UDFA replacing Luke Petitgout, who went 1-19. This is the first OT who went in the first round as of yet, and he didn't go in the top 15. Tampa did exactly what I believe we are in the process of doing. They evaluated their line before last year's draft, and they decided to upgrade the talent across the board. The end result was that they drafted two players I coveted for the Falcons in Davin Joseph and Arron Sears plus a tackle I liked who didn't fit our system in Jeremy Trueblood. Just locking down those two positions with quality players has obviously made a huge difference for them.

They didn't spend a top 10 pick on any of the positions, but they spent the #23, #35 and #59 on them and voila! Their line is much improved, although I don't believe it is the fourth best in football quite yet. We've already spent the #39 pick in 2007 on a guard. Another guard and another tackle in the same range is just what the doctor ordered in my opinion.

1-16

4-109

UDFA

4-126

4-104

The #16 pick is one of the best guards in football, Shawn Andrews.

So, these are the top five offensive lines according to that site plus Pittsburgh, the gold standard for line depth over the past 15 years. Between them, they have exactly one OT drafted in the first round, and that was all the way back in 1999, by the way. The only one of the six teams who has three o-line picks who went in the top 40 is ranked #24, although I have to question that scoring methodology based on what I have seen of the Steelers in 07.

In opposition to the prioritizing of first round offensive linemen, these teams have all excelled in finding later gems. There are a grand total of five players drafted in the first round as opposed to five drafted in the fourth round, five drafted in the sixth round and six (!) who were not drafted at all. This is why I constantly point out that we have more than one pick in the draft to address the line. What the above demonstrates more than anything else is how important it is for a team to bring in top flight guards, and we are (hopefully) already one step into that process with Blalock. It also shows that there are any number methods available to create a quality offensive line. This is far from a one size fits all situation.

Wow! Great post , this needs to be bumped.

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jidady (12/9/2007)
Your reply is something of a mixed message. You argue that Reggie Bush isn't doing enough for New Orleans, presumably due to the fact that a good RB is useless without a good offensive line. You go on to argue that a topflight tackle would make that sort of difference. Bush plays behind one of the best offensive lines in football, and their LT was a top 15 pick overall. They also have a first round center in Jeff Faine and one of the best guards in football in Jahri Evans. So, he has exactly the sort of offensive line you believe would make the difference in the running game. The problem is that high draft picks on the line don't guarantee success. People keep missing this point. Here are a batch of examples:

Pittsburgh Steelers starters on the offensive line were drafted:

1-26

5-168

4-131

1-30

2-38

Both of their first round picks are outside the top 25 and neither one of them is a tackle.

New England starters on the offensive line were drafted:

3-100

1-32

2-48

5-164

UDFA

Again, their first round pick is a guard instead of a tackle.

Indianapolis starters on the offensive line were drafted:

4-118

5-141

UDFA

UDFA

2-42

Yes, the vaunted Colts offensive line includes two UDFAs.

I took a moment to glance at that Football Outsiders offensive line stats thing, even though I have no idea how much I trust their analytical evaluations. I mainly know them as the people who ranked us fourth in the NFC South power rankings the week after we had clinched the division in 2004. They have the Giants ranked #2 for best o-lines.

The Giants starters on the offensive line include:

3-79

2-34

UDFA

UDFA

5-160

That one pretty much speaks for itself. The other teams they have in the top 5 that we haven't discussed are Tampa and Philly.

The Tampa Bay starters on the offensive line include:

2-59

1-23

2-35

5-148

UDFA replacing Luke Petitgout, who went 1-19. This is the first OT who went in the first round as of yet, and he didn't go in the top 15. Tampa did exactly what I believe we are in the process of doing. They evaluated their line before last year's draft, and they decided to upgrade the talent across the board. The end result was that they drafted two players I coveted for the Falcons in Davin Joseph and Arron Sears plus a tackle I liked who didn't fit our system in Jeremy Trueblood. Just locking down those two positions with quality players has obviously made a huge difference for them.

They didn't spend a top 10 pick on any of the positions, but they spent the #23, #35 and #59 on them and voila! Their line is much improved, although I don't believe it is the fourth best in football quite yet. We've already spent the #39 pick in 2007 on a guard. Another guard and another tackle in the same range is just what the doctor ordered in my opinion.

1-16

4-109

UDFA

4-126

4-104

The #16 pick is one of the best guards in football, Shawn Andrews.

So, these are the top five offensive lines according to that site plus Pittsburgh, the gold standard for line depth over the past 15 years. Between them, they have exactly one OT drafted in the first round, and that was all the way back in 1999, by the way. The only one of the six teams who has three o-line picks who went in the top 40 is ranked #24, although I have to question that scoring methodology based on what I have seen of the Steelers in 07.

In opposition to the prioritizing of first round offensive linemen, these teams have all excelled in finding later gems. There are a grand total of five players drafted in the first round as opposed to five drafted in the fourth round, five drafted in the sixth round and six (!) who were not drafted at all. This is why I constantly point out that we have more than one pick in the draft to address the line. What the above demonstrates more than anything else is how important it is for a team to bring in top flight guards, and we are (hopefully) already one step into that process with Blalock. It also shows that there are any number methods available to create a quality offensive line. This is far from a one size fits all situation.

Really good post. I've been torn between LT and BPA for a while but this post makes up my mind. With all of the talented tackles available for 2008, IMO we should go for BPA in the 1st. Thanks jidady.

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