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2013 needs

Discussion in 'Packer Fan Forum' started by FrankRizzo, Dec 1, 2012.

  1. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    I don’t think any GM is purely a BPA drafter but there is something that makes Thompson unique beyond his heavy reliance on drafting and developing talent for the team. Before the last draft I started a thread about BPA, BVA and tiers of talent in the draft. http://www.packerforum.com/threads/bpa-bva-and-tiers-of-talent-in-the-draft.35167/

    Here’s some of what I posted there: "I think there is a misunderstanding among some fans about the best player available philosophy because IMO no GM drafts strictly using this philosophy. Not even Ted Thompson. While I do believe Thompson adheres to his draft board more than nearly every other GM, it does not mean at every pick Thompson and his staff look at every player available at every pick in a vacuum. …

    So if he’s not adhering purely or blindly to BPA how does Thompson conduct the draft? IMO it boils down to two departures from BPA. The first is how he and his staff construct their draft board, the listing of all the players available in the draft that they are willing to draft. First, of course they take into account the systems they run. (I’d guess all teams do this.) …

    The other departure IMO explains why Thompson trades up and mostly down in drafts as much or more than other GMs. The concept is talent tiers in the draft. We frequently read before drafts where the drop off of talent occurs, particularly early in the draft. It may be the top 10, 12, 15 or even 20 players are viewed as being clearly better prospects than the rest of the draftees. I remember reading that Ron Wolf did a study of drafts (or had one done) that determined the average top talent tier in the draft ended at about pick 17. These perceived tiers go beyond just the top tier of talent and IMO the reason Thompson trades so frequently is because if he can stay in the same tier (as determined by him and his staff of course), he’s willing to trade down to acquire more picks. The “Jordy” trade down is an obvious example. I’ll bet they had Jordy and a couple of other players in the same tier and rather than just grab Jordy with pick #30 in the first round as the BPA, Thompson traded down and still got one of the players he would have picked at #30 with pick #36 and picked up an extra fourth rounder.
    And when a player is available from an “upper tier”, he grabs him. Aaron Rodgers is the most obvious example. I’ll bet a lot of teams, including the Packers, had him in the top talent tier of the 2005 draft and when Thompson had the chance to grab him at pick 24 instead of another player probably in the second tier, he didn’t hesitate to take him. I also think the trade up for Matthews occurred because Thompson saw a top tier talent fall into the second tier."

    IMO what makes Thompson different from most GMs IMO is the discipline in sticking with his board and patience he shows while drafting.
     
  2. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    I don't. I made no attempt to define "drafting for need" nor would I ever argue there are only the two draft models. I've simply argued that TT does not draft the "best player available" without qualifications.



    This is pretty much the way I characterized it, except for one thing. TT might call it BPA, but that is not what it is, and I'm sure most fans don't understand BPA that way, as evidenced by current and past debates I've had on this subject. I've seen many quotes from TT when asked about his upcoming draft strategy and he pops the one liner...BPA. Clearly, that is not something to take a face value. If you can find a quote where TT qualifies BPA in the way you describe, I'd like to see it. Then I can nip this debate in the bud next time I'm foolish enough precipitate it.

    I guess I have not made my point clear enough. I don't necessarily disagree with TT's draft approach, though I've disagreed with some picks. What I have trouble with is fans and reporters taking "best player available" one liners at face value and claiming need is not a factor.

    Since we've now established we're in agreement in principle, I'll only ask this question. If TT had Hayward with a 1st. round grade, why would he he wait to trade up to the 62nd. pick to take him? Why not the 55th. pick, or the 45th.? I would consider that either the rumor is an exaggeration or other more pressing needs were under consideration. Probably the former.



    Again, we've already agreed in principle, but this is not BPA. I already argued that trading down is more consistent with BPA than trading up anyway.
     
  3. adambr2

    adambr2 Cheesehead

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    I thought Manning was a good pick at the time. So far not so much.

    Although I'd much rather have a guy that TT just has to have than someone that Mike Sherman just has to have. *cough* BJ Sander *cough*
     
  4. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    I couldn't help but notice you scrupulously avoided using the term "need" in that exegesis. Where do you see it fitting in? It would stand to reason if you're not ranking players but tiering them, need becomes a factor.

    I doubt tiering is all that unique simply because it makes too much sense. For example, anybody who grades one guy at 6.5, another at 6.7 and a third at 7.0 would have to be numb nut to just blindly take the 7.0 guy regardless of other factors...like need or depth of the draft at the various positions those 3 players represent. Further, tiering acknowledges the fact that grading is an inexact science and that boiling a player down to one number has a meaningful +/- margin for error.

    I don't see TT's draft philosophy as being all that unique. If you want to attribute any special draft success to TT, it mostly comes down better talent evaluation, cordial relationships with other GMs, and quick wits and a broad mental bandwidth put to work on draft day.

    Another factor that cannot be overlooked is drafting for your system, beyond not taking 4-3 guys for a 3-4 system and the like. It should be clear to everyone that the TT/MM system does not value the C/G/TB positions as highly as most teams. They think the picks and the money are better spent elsewhere. TT might downgrade (or down tier) one C compared to how other teams' grade him because they just don't see good marginal value in having, for example, the best C in the league vs. having the 16th. best. And lower grade college tackles can make fine guards, thank you very much. To the extent that the system is the right one has a strong influence on the success of the drafts; the the extent it isn't then it doesn't.

    For what it's worth, I'll repeat once again my original point: When TT tells a reporter that he'll be taking the "best player available" with his picks, it's a brush off. He doesn't want to talk about what he does. Nothing wrong with that. It's just foolish to take it at face value.
     
  5. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    So, I just went looking for these supposed quotes from TT describing his tier approach and came up empty, but I did find Chad Toporski's piece at Jersey Al's where he proposes the use of "best value available" (BVA) rather than BPA:

    http://jerseyal.com/GBP/2012/02/23/ted-thompsons-nfl-draft-strategy-best-value-available/

    While I'd quibble with a few of his points, the core of his argument is the argument I've made. Which takes me back, once again, to the original thesis...when TT tells a reporter he drafts the "best player available" without qualification he's blowing smoke, and for good reason.

    I'll await these quotes from TT on his tier system. Not that I doubt he uses tiers; I doubt he'd talk about it to the press...it would be out of character. But I'd welcome any links on the matter since it might support my argument. Speculations and inferences about tiers are not the same thing...I can do that myself...and I have. :)
     
  6. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    You hit reply to the wrong post. I said literally nothing about tiers in my post, and I never said without qualification, quite the contrary. BTW that link was the very one used by Jack in an earlier post.
     
  7. 13 Times Champs

    13 Times Champs Cheesehead

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    HRE, I'm no draft guru by any stretch of the imagination but there were several things that disturbed me , some which you have mentioned. One was that he played inconsistent in college. There was a bigger question with him being able to play in space than some of the other guys who would have to make the transition from DE to LB as he would. What I've seen from him is one of the weaknesses they pointed out and that is getting off blocks. He just looks like a DE to me as well. He looks like one especially when he has to cover. He's a bull rusher right now.
     
  8. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    That's relatively simple. He was able to afford the trade he made.
     
  9. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    One of the reasons I started the thread I linked to was specifically to debunk the idea of BPA and begin it by saying IMO no GM has ever strictly adhered to it and it would make no sense to do so.

    I didn't avoid the use of the word "need" scrupulously or otherwise. In fact in that thread I quote Thompson in response to a question saying, "It (need) is always going to be a factor, it’s not that it doesn’t factor in…" Where I see need fitting in is as Thompson constructs his draft board. I also agree he doesn't value some positions as highly as others, particularly interior OL. He has used a second and a third rounder on RBs so IMO he's following the trend in the NFL (which emphasizes the passing game over the running game) more than downgrading RBs ala OGs. Or perhaps he downgrades RBs who they view as runners "only" and not threats out of the backfield in the passing game.

    I didn't advance the idea of tiers as unique. As far as I could tell at the time it was new to the draft discussions on this board but not a new idea. I brought it up as an explanation of why Thompson departs from a strictly a BPA strategy. (BTW, I also credit BVA to an author whose article I linked to.)

    Where we disagree is I do see Thompson's draft philosophy as unique. First, I think he uses the tier concept more than almost any other GM. His history of trading down is evidence of that IMO. Although it may sound mundane IMO he's unique in the discipline he shows in adhering to what his draft board is "telling him". From everything I've read and heard, the reason he's patient and disciplined is all the in-fighting among the scouts and coaching staff has already been resolved and then the draft board is finalized.

    You see the Rodgers pick as a need pick and I don't so from my perspective there is no greater example of Thompson's discipline than his first pick as Packers GM. My guess is nearly every team in that draft had Rodgers and Smith graded as the top two QBs by a long shot. Some perhaps even had Rodgers graded slightly ahead of Smith. In addition my guess is every team views QB as the most important position in the NFL. But look at how many GMs passed on him for someone likely rated significantly lower on their draft boards. I think it's also an example of him taking the long view - again, that should be a big "duh!" regarding GMs but IMO most are as focused on the immediate future as their HCs (and sometimes they're one and the same).
     
  10. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    Well, I'm glad that's settled.
     
  11. rodell330

    rodell330 Cheesehead

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    Draft the best player available for the position of most need. Is it that hard?
     
  12. Cheesehead625

    Cheesehead625 Cheesehead

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    Our #1 need does not come from the draft... We need someone who can get these players in shape already. How are we always more injured than any other team?
     
  13. rodell330

    rodell330 Cheesehead

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    Injuries are apart of th game, however all the pulled muscles are inexcusable. These guys need to teach proper stetching techniques.
     
  14. mradtke66

    mradtke66 Cheesehead

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    Yeah, and it can come back to bite you.

    Let's say you're the Packers. Greg Jennings loves you so much, he's signed a 10 year, veteran minimum contract. March 2nd, the entire Tight end depth chart went out to dinner and ever last one of them broke their legs in a car crash and will miss the upcoming season. Now that we've set the extreme example, you need a tight end and are set at wide receiver.

    The best TE is rated about 34th on your draftboard. You're picking in the 20s. There, staring you in the face is a Super Wide Receiver. Imagine Randy Moss but with Jerry Rice's brain, heart, and desire. For whatever reason, he's available and you had him rated as the number 1 pick in the draft. What do you do?

    A smart GM follows his board and takes the receiver. Such a player would dominate the league for years. You can always get the 2nd or 3rd best tight end. His value might even line up with your second or third round pick. But you only get so many chances at great or truly great prospects. When you can get them, you have to take them. You can always use offensive line depth, pass rushers, wideouts, cornerbacks, and that second running back. About the only position this doesn't apply to is quarterback when you are A) set and B) he's young enough.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  15. TecmoBobNelson

    TecmoBobNelson Cheesehead

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    A decent GOOD running back would be nice. Reggie Bush, Peyton Hillis, Felix Jones, Shonn Greene, and Danny Woodhead are all on the final year of their respective contracts. Reggie Bush would likely be franchised, but any of the guys above would be an upgrade to what we have now.

    Felix Jones has shown flashes of talent during his time with Dallas, he and Woodhead would most likely fit the same purpose; that of a utility player. If Peyton Hillis can return to his 2011 form, then he would be great as a straight-ahead runner who can pick up 4-5 yards a carry. Honestly, I would rather have a guy like that; someone who can pick up the 2nd and 3rd and shorts.
     
  16. HyponGrey

    HyponGrey Caseus Locutus Est

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    Oxymoron
     
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  17. TecmoBobNelson

    TecmoBobNelson Cheesehead

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    Not when he's the ONLY player that the defense needs to key on. Defenses know that Mark Sanchez isn't going to lite them up through the air so they can leave guys in 1-on-1 coverage most of the game; especially against that horrendous Jets receiving corps. Also, 806 yards and 5 TDs through 12 games certainly isn't anything to sneeze at, especially when our leading rusher has 360 yards and ZERO TDs.

    In fact:

    Cedric Benson - 248 yards, 1 TD
    Alex Green - 360 yards, 0 TDs
    James Starks - 255 yards, 1 TD.

    Greene alone has 3 more TDs and only 57 less rushing yards.
     
  18. ThxJackVainisi

    ThxJackVainisi Lifelong Packers Fanatic

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    Not hard but foolish - this is the mistake many GMs make IMO. One of the most blatant examples for Packers fans is the 2005 draft. We can quibble about the position of most need going into that draft but I'd be surprised if anyone would argue backup QB fit that criteria. As I remember it, the pre-draft talk was a DB was the most likely pick at #24 (BTW, S Nick Collins & S Marviel Underwood were picked in the 2nd and 4th rounds). If Thompson had adhered to BPA at the position of most need, Rodgers wouldn't be a Packer.

    There could be two dozen players rated ahead of the top rated player at the position of most need on the Packers draft board, going for need would be mistake in that circumstance. In the next draft we'll see how Thompson "attacks" the position of OC. That's a position not often picked in the first round and (although I've spent zero time looking at the talent likely to be available in the next draft) I'll be very surprised if Thompson grabs one in the first round.

    Thompson has talked about selecting players at positions of perceived depth. He says that depth can be diminished quickly during an NFL season so if you can get a player you think will be a difference maker (or legit NFL player depending where in the draft you're picking) you should take him. Another example: Was WR the position of most need in the 2011? I don't think so but Randal Cobb will likely turn out to be one of Thompson's best picks.
     
  19. rodell330

    rodell330 Cheesehead

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    hmmm?? i don't look at it that way but i see your point. I see it as if hey, we need an olb who can rush the passer...ok we pick 32, theres an olb who is rated third in the draft sitting there. I draft him
     
  20. AmishMafia

    AmishMafia Cheesehead

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    Draft inferior players and you end up with an inferior team. Simple as that.

    Think about it. The difference in talent between good and poor teams isn't as great as one would think. If at your pick you have a choice between an 8 (of 10) or a 7, and you select the 7 because it is a 'need', over time you will have a team comprised of 7s. Take the 8, even if he has to sit on the bench for a year or two till there's a spot for him. You never know when you find a hidden gem and he steps to the plate in the position of need and is at least adequate anyway.

    I think what it boils down to is our definition of BPA. My definition (and I believe the predominately used definition) is that when you make a selection you pick a player who has the highest rating (usually a tie). If there are 5 guys ranked similarily, you take the guy that may present the biggest need to your team. That final sentence, I believe, makes you think it isn't BPA, but picking for need or at least to some degree.


    As far as why TT didn't trade up sooner for Hayward, here are some thoughts:

    1. Maybe he tried and nobody would trade or the cost was too high.
    2. Not all draft boards are the same. Perhaps TT felt that he would be a late 2nd on most draft boards but ranked higher on the Packer Board.
    3. There may have been 5 players in the tier still available. TT watched them go off the board, one by one. When it was down to one - Hayward - he pulled the 'trade-up' trigger.


    In the end, it is fun, and an interesting discussion trying to discern the intent/motives of a very tight lipped man, but we will never know for sure. Until TT starts publishing his draft board pre-draft, we won't know for sure, and this will remain only an cerebral excercise.
     
  21. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    First, there is never just one position of need. The salary cap makes it so. If there's a glaring need at a particular position there might be some stretch, but you don't want to be taking a #60 talent with #30 pick just to fill a hole.

    Second, you can't define need just by who's on the roster now. Teams have to plan roster formation a couple of years out, particularly with skill positions. It takes 3 years to properly train a QB (unless you land Andrew Luck) and 2 years to train a WR (Cobb is still missing obvious reads).

    It's easy to say we didn't need Cobb when we picked him, but it is not entirely coincidence that going into his third year, when he should be fully formed, Jennings is on the FA bubble.

    Just as teams look at salary cap considerations several years out, so too with roster formation considerations, particularly at skill positions and positions filled by aging starters. Cap planning and roster planning go hand in hand.

    To take one particular position as an example, NT does not appear to be a particular need for 2013. Raji's up and down but established, Pickett's playing well, and there are more obvious problems elsewhere.

    However, Pickett's contract is up after 2013 and he will turn 35 in the 2014 season; Raji's deal is up at the end of 2014 and may command more in the free agent market than his performance justifies. We do not have another true NT on the roster. So, the need for one big man in the next two drafts is likely, two of them in the next three drafts is a strong possibility. Given that decent NTs are hard to find (bulk + strength + agility) and the 3-4 philosophy pivots off the NT position, I would expect the Packers to have their eyes on an NT who, if he falls to a point where he present good value, will be snapped up. Keep in mind that teams scout multiple college classes...if this year looks to be deep in NTs that present good value and the next year not so much, that might be a factor in tipping the scales.

    A similar case can be made at TE. Finley's foothold is tenuous given the $, and while the other guys have their virtues, Crabtree and Taylor are not 3 down players, and Quarless can't get healthy and wasn't very impressive when he was. If the Packers decide not to pay Finley's $3.5 mil roster bonus in March, TE will launch toward the top of the needs list. If they pay him, the need is still there, though not so acute, because of his FA status after 2013.

    It's a weighting of need (looking out a couple of years), with the value propositions that present themselves at the time. In some cases the cost of filling a secondary need is so prohibitive as to rule out a pick no matter how good the guy is. For example, we will not be taking a QB in the first round, no matter who he is.
     
  22. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

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  23. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    It most certainly does. But you expect the words...in this case "best player available"...to suggest what is meant.

    You don't call an "apple" a "banana" just 'cuz the one in your hand happens to be yellow.

    Once need is introduced into the equation, "best player available" doesn't make sense, or at least it begs the question, "best for what?" Best for me, best for my needs or best regardless of who I am or what I need?

    I don't think what you presented is what TT does, or what anybody does, which goes to the point of why "best player available" is a bad term...it is misleading. Then again, I would argue TT means to be misleading, or at least non-disclosing.

    8.0 players are not jumped on over 7.0 players in a vacuum, independent of other factors. A team averaging 6.5 players is preferred if the talent is balanced across positions than a 7.5 team loaded at a few positions and bankrupt at others. The addage, "you're only as strong as your weakest link" is overused and often exaggerated, but it goes to the point.

    The tiered approach to grading and draft board construction, talked about in several posts above, makes too much sense, certainly more sense that BPA, to not be seriously considered.

    The key to draft success over the long term is getting x.x players at positions in the draft that have an x.x - 0.5 grade, while picking up a quality QB and some playmakers along the way.
     
  24. HardRightEdge

    HardRightEdge Cheesehead

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    -1. We would not have drafted Simpson. Terrible Wonderlic score.
     
  25. ivo610

    ivo610 Cheesehead

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    That was actually my reaction to the thought of miller and Matthews rushing the passer.
     

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