Jump to content

The problem with drafting non-premium positions in the 1st round


Recommended Posts

Simply stated, margin for error. 

When a team drafts a safety, guard, or tight end in the 1st round, fans instantly start comparing him to the best players at his position. "Yes! We just got our own Kam Chancellor, Steve Hutchinson, or Tony Gonzalez!" 

The problem is, those guys don't come around every year, so most of the time you end up with a lesser version. Herein lies the rub. 

Across the NFL, above average players at premium positions are monumentally more valuable than above average players at non-premium positions. 

Here's a little experiment. We'll informally decide who the #10 player at a certain position is and discuss how that player is viewed across the NFL. 

QB: You could make a pretty decent case Matt Ryan is the #10 QB in the NFL. He is in the middle of a $100+ million contract extension and multiple teams would give up significant resources to have him as a QB. He's very valuable. 

WR: I'm going to say Mike Evans is the #10 WR in the NFL. He is still playing under his rookie contract but there should be little doubt Tampa Bay is very happy with him and he will be handsomely paid soon. 

LT: Andrew Whitworth: Has been playing forever, has been well compensated, and any team using a 1st round pick on a tackle would be happy if that player had a career like Whitworth. 

EDGE: Olivier Vernon. Just signed a $85 million contract extension. 

SS: George Iloka. Did not seem to have hot interest from the rest of the league and signed a 5-year $30 million extension with the team that drafted him. 

As you can see, drafting a safety in the 1st round only really works out if you pick a top 3-5 caliber player. If Dan Quinn got on the stage and said "We're really excited to have added the next George Iloka to the Falcons," most fans would probably not be very excited. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 382
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

My problem with what you're saying is that "premium position" depends on what team you're talking about. For example I'm pretty sure most would consider corner a premium position, but Carolina let an all-pro walk. Why? Because the believe it's not a premium in there system. So I really think it depends on the team/scheme.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

so are we supposed to go like this in 1st round?:

2016 - Defensive End

2017 - Cornerback

2018 - Quarterback

2019 - Left Tackle

2020 - Defensive End

2021 - Cornerback

2022 - Quarterback

2023 - Left Tackle

Wash......Rinse......Repeat...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Quinn has stated several times that the SS is one of the most important positions for his defensive scheme - that makes it a premium position for HIS scheme.

You cant throw a blanket statement on what every team considers a premium position because every team run different schemes and value positions differently.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, HaRdH3ad said:

My problem with what you're saying is that "premium position" depends on what team you're talking about. For example I'm pretty sure most would consider corner a premium position, but Carolina let an all-pro walk. Why? Because the believe it's not a premium in there system. So I really think it depends on the team/scheme.

As well as the player actually playing the position. 

In general, you can debate positional value. When it comes to specific picks, you arent talking about positional value anymore, you're talking about specific players. 

There's also a ton of noise with respect to the types of positions that get publicity...which throws off the analysis. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, FentayeJones said:

Quinn has stated several times that the SS is one of the most important positions for his defensive scheme - that makes it a premium position for HIS scheme.

You cant throw a blanket statement on what every team considers a premium position because every team run different schemes and value positions differently.

True......I believe in the NFL in general is the safeties are becoming more and more important than they have been in years past.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, FentayeJones said:

Quinn has stated several times that the SS is one of the most important positions for his defensive scheme - that makes it a premium position for HIS scheme.

You cant throw a blanket statement on what every team considers a premium position because every team run different schemes and value positions differently.

Feel free to name all the strong safeties in the NFL you would consider premium players for Quinn's system. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

To be as cliche as possible, the unit is only as strong as it's weakest link.

Sure, the hook at the end of a chain is required to secure it around an object, but if the link in the exact middle of the chain is broken, the entire assembly is worthless...

Much like a defense in the NFL.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think the OP has a point in general.

You get to use FA and the draft to build your team.

Would you rather try to get a very good/very good pass rusher, corner, QB, LT in free agency?

Or would you rather try to get a good/very good safety, LB, OG, TE in FA?

The latter cost in the vicinity of 6-9M and the former in the vicinity of 12-18.

So, when you can, you want to draft the players that are very hard to get in free agency.  However, you don't reach on an inferior player just because he plays a different position, and you don't have 10 years to build a team in the NFL...you have a shorter window, so you do have to make sure you're getting what you need for the next couple years...not playing the super long term game.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've seen a lot of people talking about "window" with respect to team building. And I keep seeing people throw around "5 years" or "10 years" as longview perspectives. 

IMO, I don't have any idea how any GM would look further than 3 years (max) down the line with respect to team building. The only time you go longer than that is when you're locking young talent into 5 year extensions....and even those are blurry. 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

7 minutes ago, takeitdown said:

I think the OP has a point in general.

You get to use FA and the draft to build your team.

Would you rather try to get a very good/very good pass rusher, corner, QB, LT in free agency?

Or would you rather try to get a good/very good safety, LB, OG, TE in FA?

The latter cost in the vicinity of 6-9M and the former in the vicinity of 12-18.

So, when you can, you want to draft the players that are very hard to get in free agency.  However, you don't reach on an inferior player just because he plays a different position, and you don't have 10 years to build a team in the NFL...you have a shorter window, so you do have to make sure you're getting what you need for the next couple years...not playing the super long term game.

I get what you're saying, but that assumes there are a handful for $6-9M guys available for the handful of teams looking to fill that position, and that ATL is an attractive option for those players... The equation isn't as easy as going into the NFL superstore, walking down the FS/SS isle, and picking one off the shelf... Any FA signing is more like a perfect storm of money, need, usage (think Scho), team chemistry, surrounding area attractiveness, etc. than it is just going out and getting any player you want.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's interesting and clever. It's even accurate on the surface but it can also be wrong in a flash. The game changes and focus positions do also. MLB was the glamor position on D. It's not close now. There was a time an LT was just a line guy. Now they are 3rd highest paid.

i think they got Lee in Jones. They just didn't have room for another development edge rusher like Lawson. A friend told me Neal isn't like a normal rookie. That everything about him is leader. That he's such a heavy hitter-and he naturally hits the ball and Guy's hands-that he's s turnover waiting to happen. And he stays on the field. He'll be top 4 on return defense team's first week out. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, DoYouSeeWhatHappensLarry said:

I've seen a lot of people talking about "window" with respect to team building. And I keep seeing people throw around "5 years" or "10 years" as longview perspectives. 

IMO, I don't have any idea how any GM would look further than 3 years (max) down the line with respect to team building. The only time you go longer than that is when you're locking young talent into 5 year extensions....and even those are blurry. 

 

I agree with this, and that's what I was referring to above.  If you have 10 years, you play the value game completely.  But you don't.  You have 3 generally, and then you're fired.

It IS a reason to take that safety and LB in FA if ones who fit your system are available, so you can take those other players in the early rounds.  But if you didn't cover over it in FA...you have to cover over it somewhere.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

8 minutes ago, takeitdown said:

I think the OP has a point in general.

You get to use FA and the draft to build your team.

Would you rather try to get a very good/very good pass rusher, corner, QB, LT in free agency?

Or would you rather try to get a good/very good safety, LB, OG, TE in FA?

The latter cost in the vicinity of 6-9M and the former in the vicinity of 12-18.

So, when you can, you want to draft the players that are very hard to get in free agency.  However, you don't reach on an inferior player just because he plays a different position, and you don't have 10 years to build a team in the NFL...you have a shorter window, so you do have to make sure you're getting what you need for the next couple years...not playing the super long term game.

I totally get this part and think there's some merit to it. Though....I think an argument could be made that drafting premium/expensive positions in the first might give you excess early value but it also could lead to longer term costs. Is it better to draft a quality SS that you'll pay ~$8m on a second contract than it is to draft a quality CB that you'll pay $15m on a second contract? IDK....I think its a discussion worth having. 

I mean look at what the Bills did with Cordy Glenn this week. Good, solid LT. Quality player. They're paying him $13m a year with almost $27m fully guaranteed. For a guy who is a good starter at a premium position (allegedly). Is that better than the Seahawks being able to lock Chancellor up for like $7.5m? I'd much rather have Chancellor at his price than Glenn at his price. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

27 minutes ago, FentayeJones said:

Quinn has stated several times that the SS is one of the most important positions for his defensive scheme - that makes it a premium position for HIS scheme.

You cant throw a blanket statement on what every team considers a premium position because every team run different schemes and value positions differently.

You are absolutely correct. In Dan Quinns scheme he puts a high premium on the SS spot.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

2 minutes ago, DoYouSeeWhatHappensLarry said:

I totally get this part and think there's some merit to it. Though....I think an argument could be made that drafting premium/expensive positions in the first might give you excess early value but it also could lead to longer term costs. Is it better to draft a quality SS that you'll pay ~$8m on a second contract than it is to draft a quality CB that you'll pay $15m on a second contract? IDK....I think its a discussion worth having. 

I mean look at what the Bills did with Cordy Glenn this week. Good, solid LT. Quality player. They're paying him $13m a year with almost $27m fully guaranteed. For a guy who is a good starter at a premium position (allegedly). Is that better than the Seahawks being able to lock Chancellor up for like $7.5m? I'd much rather have Chancellor at his price than Glenn at his price. 

And this is why, to go on a further tangent, the smartest FO's and coaches (which are few) shift their teams to fit the changing money positions.

Right now, you'd be best served to have a great interior OL (though those are catching up), great QB (have to have) and then pretty good OT, and constantly rotating 2nd rounder and bargain FA's at WR, TE, RB.

On D, solid Safties and LBs, and good DT/DE.  You have to pay one corner (similar to QB on O) and maybe pay one edge.  Rotate a lot of guys at 2nd DT, DE and backup LB.

A couple of the smarter teams, but mostly Belichick, play the game of creating offenses and defenses that rely heavily on the guys who cost the least.  That way if you do need to splurge, you have 8 of 11 solid players on each side already before spending for the "star."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The list of free agent safeties this year:

Eric Berry (Franchise Tagged)

George Iloka (Re-signed 5-year, $30M deal with CIN)
Eric Weddle (Signed 4-year, $26M deal with BAL)
Reggie Nelson (Signed 2-year, $8.5M deal with OAK)

Rodney McLeod (Signed 5-year, $37M deal with PHI)
Tashaun Gipson (Signed 5-year, $35.5M deal with JAX)

Will Hill
Rashad Johnson (Signed 1-year, $2M deal with TEN)
Walter Thurmond III
Tyvon Branch (Signed 2-year, $10M deal with ARZ)

Donte Whitner

Michael Griffin (Signed 1-year, $2.5M deal with MIN)

Rahim Moore (Signed 1-year, $1.85M deal with CLE)

William Moore

Dashon Goldson
Roman Harper
Husain Abdullah (Retired)
Andrew Sendejo (Re-signed 4-year, $16M deal with MIN)
Isa Abdul-Quddus (Signed 3-year, $12.75M deal with MIA)
James Ihedigbo
Rafael Bush (Signed 1-year, $1.5M deal with DET)
Dwight Lowery (Signed 3-year, $7.2M deal with SD)
David Bruton (Signed 3-year, $9M deal with WAS)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So you are saying we should try to draft first rounders that play premium positions when possible, and perhaps early in the draft?  Positions Like QB, LT, WR, DE?  Something like ...

QB top 3 pick 

WR top 6 pick

LT top 6 pick 

DE top 8 pick

The corollary is to then pick less "premium" positions like DT, CB, LB early or in the first round at all ?  Like maybe ...

DT at 24

LB at 19

CB at 22

SS at 17?

SS in the 2d round?

FS in the 5th round?

This seems oddly familiar somehow....  But sounds good to me!

 

 

Edited by JC Falcon
Link to comment
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, Summerhill said:

Feel free to name all the strong safeties in the NFL you would consider premium players for Quinn's system. 

This kills your point. The fact that there are not many makes it seem better to try to mold one than buy one.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Just now, JayOzOne said:

This kills your point. The fact that there are not many makes it seem better to try to mold one than buy one.

This is exactly my point. Finding the most elite of elite safeties is a long shot. If Keanu Neal is the type of strong safety that Dan Quinn needs, that means he is another Kam Chancellor and in the running for the best player at his position in the NFL. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share


×
×
  • Create New...