Rich McKay on "In the Herd" this morning...

LambeauLeaper

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Atlanta Falcons GM Rich McKay was on ESPN radio this morning and talked a little bit about their draft strategy. I can't quote it word for word, but he basically said that they look for guys from big schools that produce. They avoid guys from the smaller schools that get drafted high because of speed or leaping ability. He said that's when you get into "potential/project" territory and there's risk involved.

Basically, the Falcons have the exact opposite approach that the Packer's have. Hmm, interesting how they are headed up and we're headed down. This is what bothers me about Thompson the most. I'm not trying to rag on the guy - he's barely gotten his feet wet as our GM, but the little history he has here (and in Seattle, for that matter) show that he's much more interested in the long term. That's fine, but if he's constantly got his sights set on "3 years from now" then I think we're in trouble. You have to mix in a little urgency for the current team you have on the field. Another example is his decision to stand pat on adding a 5th receiver right now. Chatman as #3 and Murphy as #4 doesn't exactly make me feel comfortable - especially with Ferguson's inability to remain on the field. The likelihood of Chatman stepping into #2 brings back horrid memories of the Vikings game last January. I also read that Ferguson will be returning punts now? Why?!? To further endanger your now #2 receiver that can't stay healthy as it is? Makes no sense to me.
 

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Leaper..

That's a good point...how long have we been hearing that the Pack has to surround Favre with "talent" at wide-receiver...and Sherman's drafts two rookies (Ferguson and Walker) who take 2-3 years to "develop"...

and what about the defensive line?

Now Walker's out...and Ferguson is still unproven....there doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency amongst the pack to draft for need "today"...

I was hoping that the Pack would have picked up Chad Morton (Giants) when he was cut from New England...To have Ferguson returning punts when they need the receivers that they have not getting hurt, and with Ferguson's his history, is highly questionable...
 

digsthepack

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Well, guys, last I looked, we have some rookies starting and, by all accounts, doing pretty well. Colling has yet to make any of us cringe, and neither had Whitticker. Let's see what Murphy does in the coming weeks............
 

DePack

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Actually I believe Murphy will be our #3 this week and Chatman #4. I wouldn't sign someone just to sign someone. Pathon may still be an option but TT obviously wants to see what Murphy can do this week.
 

digsthepack

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Damn that Aaron Kampman....all he does is hustle and make plays!

Just curious...is Southern Mississippi one of those "big time" programs he refers to.

Walter Payton came from Jackson State...another powerhouse in collegiate ball.

Jerry Rice...Mississippi Valley State..where you ask? Me too.

Steve McNair and Donald Driver.....Alcorn State....a national terror on the gridiron.

I am thinking you get my drift at this point.
 

TOPackerFan

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Walker and Ferguson were from big schools and both produced in college. It still took them time to develop as pros. It takes time for a lot of guys no matter what school you're from.
 

digsthepack

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And let us just go down the list of huge "big school" busts:

Mandarich
Marinovich
Leaf
McNown
Michaels

The list goes on and is a big one.
 

CaliforniaCheez

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Ted Thompson drafted "big school" or moderate large school guys with the exception of Collins, Coston, Campbell (Hawkins is in a unique category). Small school guys do take more time and are riskier so they should be taken later like Costin.

Rogers(Pac10), Murphy(Texas A&M moderate large), Underwood(SD State moderate large), Popinga(Brigham Young moderate large), Montgomery(Texas A&M moderate large), Craig Bragg(Pac Ten), William Whitticker(Big 10).

Coston and Campbell seem to prove the general rule and Collins is the exception to it.

If you look around the league at the practice squads they are predominately small school guys.

I tend to like Big Ten and Pac Ten guys who start. They have already gone through a lot to get there and have had good coaching in a competitive environment.

There are exceptions like Jerry Rice so we should not be too prejudiced but generally the odds are as Mckay indicates.
 

LambeauLeaper

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You guys are pretty much all missing the point. The point of the arguement wasn't "Big Schools vs. Small Schools", it's drafting "projects". Obviously there are going to be cases of busts from big schools and studs from small schools. But to make that the focal point of the arguement is missing the point.

Also, I read later (after the first post in this thread) that they are still looking at Pathon and others and just want to see what they have with Murphy. That makes me feel better, because otherwise it felt like a complete lack of urgency to stand pat.
 

digsthepack

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They will still need an additional receiver...unless they are thinking Bragg should Murphy really shine.
 

paxvogel

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Once you get into day two you are mostly drafting projects. There are probably 5 blue chippers per draft. About 20 Pro Bowl caliber players and then either steady players or you take a shot. I do think bigger programs will give you better offensive linemen however. :comp:
 

spaulding

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Let's remember 2 things

1) It's McKay's 1st year in Atlanta

2)His draft this year

1 27(27) Sharod White WR UAB
2 27(59) Jonathan Babineaux DT Iowa
3 27(90) Jordan Beck OLB Cal Poly
4 27(128) Chauncey Davis DE Florida St.
5 24(160) Michael Boley OLB Southern Miss
5 27(163) Frank Omiyale OT Tenn. Tech
6 27(201) DeAndra Cobb HB Michigan St.
7 27(241) Darrell Shropshire DT South Carolina

I never knew UAB, Cal Poly, S. Miss, and TENN Tech were big schools
 

LambeauLeaper

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spaulding said:
Let's remember 2 things

1) It's McKay's 1st year in Atlanta

2)His draft this year

1 27(27) Sharod White WR UAB
2 27(59) Jonathan Babineaux DT Iowa
3 27(90) Jordan Beck OLB Cal Poly
4 27(128) Chauncey Davis DE Florida St.
5 24(160) Michael Boley OLB Southern Miss
5 27(163) Frank Omiyale OT Tenn. Tech
6 27(201) DeAndra Cobb HB Michigan St.
7 27(241) Darrell Shropshire DT South Carolina

I never knew UAB, Cal Poly, S. Miss, and TENN Tech were big schools

Now you know.

Sarcastic remarks aside, maybe we can try to see the point of my post instead of nitpicking the details. Like I said about 5 posts above, my point has really nothing to do with Rich McKay, the Falcons, or a test to see how many people can completely miss the point of a post. McKay's interview just made me think about how much Sherman loved projects when he was GM and TT seems to be on a similar track (don't read too much into that..I think TT is much wiser than Sherman, but we'll see). Sure, every once in awhile a project will pan out. I think Collins got that label, but is proving people wrong already - it's also way too early to put that in the books, though. But, in the recent past, we seem to tend to go after the guys that "are fast" or are "great leapers" (ie. Ahmad Carroll). I hear the term "raw" more often than not, it seems, when talking about Packer draft picks.

It seems like the arguments I'm hearing here are trying to say that the Packers aren't that much different from other teams when it comes to drafting. I'm sure that's true to an extent, but I still believe we go after "projects" earlier and more often than other teams.
 

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Leaper,
I think you are right. I've always been frustrated with us taking "speed" over "talent". Look at who we passed up last year because Carroll was faster...Chris Gamble and Mediue Williams...those two were drafted after Carroll and were projected ahead of Carrol by most analyst, but weren't as fast. They had outstanding rookie seasons. Same thing with Ferguson and Walker. They had great physical stats, but limited proven talent on the college level. Doesn't mean that they won't pan out eventually, but why take the "project" when we were obviously drafting a "need" position. You can't coach instinct...the thing that probably makes the most difference when all these top athletes hit the field...more so that 1/100th of a second in the 40 yard dash (especially considering these guys are running in a straight line, on turf, with no pads and don't have to cut, back peddle, bump, tackle, etc)

It seems like the Packers were always drafting for a track meet not a football game.

With TT, its obvious he was drafting best available player and I think he knew that Collins was being over looked by most teams. Baltimore called Thompson to congratulate him on the pick. That is about as big a compliment as you can get considering Baltimores track record with the draft.
 

PackerTraxx

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He contradicts himself with picks 1,3,5,5 and 7, I would not term those as "big schools that produce". That's 5 out of 8 picks. I wish he would follow his own advice, that will leave more good players on the board for us.

TT has said he will take the best player available, personally I like that philosophy. I believe Collins, Murphy(the way it looks) and Whittacker contributing early is more than most teams. Drafting in the lower third you're not going to get blue chippers that can contribute right a way, as a rule.

Sherman kept trading up to try to get immediate help and all it did was cost us draft choices.
 

LambeauLeaper

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Yes, McKay seemed to contradict himself, but I was merely paraphrasing. I don't remember the interview verbatim as I was in my car on the way to work, but he likely said "we TRY to go for guys at the bigger schools". My whole point in even mentioning McKay is that he seems like a GM that has a clue what he's doing. Here's an old article from 2001 that I read about him while he was with Tampa Bay.
Happy with Bucs? Thank Rich McKay

By HUBERT MIZELL

TAMPA -- Rich McKay overcame his advantages. First coach of the Bucs was his dad, John (1976-84), so teenager Rich got noticed, even embraced, by Tampa Bay owner Hugh Culverhouse.

His professional godfather.

Before long, with Princeton education and Stetson law degree, young McKay was on a Hugh-fueled power path. Critics guffawed, even whined, seeing Rich's rise in a floundering Bucs organization as unproductive and laced with seminepotism.

Due to money-grubbing Culverhouse tactics, the Bucs became infamous, perpetual NFL losers. But look at them now. Super Bowl contenders. Respected. Now employing 12 players who have been recent Pro Bowlers.

Oh, yes, he overcame.

At the core of Tampa Bay success is Rich McKay, the late Culverhouse's cerebral/competitive protege, who could be today's biggest winner among NFL general managers.

Last season ended with sour Bucs faces, an unforgettably dreadful Sunday in Philadelphia, where they lost a first-round playoff game. But Tampa Bay goings-on since, in the tricky and oft-lethal era of the NFL salary cap, have been remarkable.

McKay deals have dramatically sweetened an already imposing roster. While many cap-calamitous franchises are being savaged by hyperactive misspending, Tampa Bay has been adept at keeping core players plus adding dynamic talents.

Money was found to hire Brad Johnson, giving rare stability to coach Tony Dungy's quarterback position. Ryan Leaf was signed, too, but he came cheap after the former No. 1 draft pick bombed physically and emotionally in San Diego.

McKay's most electric shocker was hiring gifted pass rusher Simeon Rice, a major force, turning an already imposing Bucs defensive department into a downright scary challenge for 2001 opponents.

All along, McKay was using a crackling mind and whirring calculator, straining to make sure Tampa Bay avoided the cap blunders that have devastated Jacksonville, San Francisco, Dallas and other teams.

John Lynch and Marcus Jones were looming unrestricted free agents, called URAs in pro football babble, but McKay signed both before a Pro Bowl safety and a late-flowering defensive end could go shopping for deeper green.

Challenges kept coming.

Offensive tackles are especially fragile Bucs positions. Dependable if unspectacular Paul Gruber retired. Jerry Wunsch wasn't Pro Bowl stuff, but he became a valuable commodity, a UFA who sought offers from elsewhere along with Ronde Barber, a solid cornerback.

McKay mused last month, "If we can just keep one of them, that would be pretty good." He did far better. Barber and Wunsch both reupped. Neither the GM nor Dungy will tip college-draft desires, but if a promising tackle is around when they pick 21st, the Bucs should further enhance the OL.

A year ago the Bucs helped that neighborhood, signing guard Randall McDaniel and center Jeff Christy, both former Minnesota standouts. Still another former Pro Bowl husky from the Vikings, tackle Jeff Steussie, became available last month. I wondered if more purple might be added to Dungy's scheme.

Clearly, considering their hunger for tackles, the Bucs were not enchanted by Steussie's recent seasons. Interest was nil, even though the former Cal-Berkeley guy coaxed a $6-million signing bonus out of the Carolina Panthers.

Tampa Bay kept options open.

Oh, sure, McKay loses some players, but the pain has been minimal this off-season, with tight end Patrick Hape leaving for Denver and linebacker Don Davis going to St. Louis. Frankly, neither was worth the money they received from the Broncos and Rams.

Damien Robinson, a safety, is a free agent still shopping the NFL for heavier money. Tampa Bay is prepared to use Dexter Jackson in Robinson's spot, with McKay seeing it as a bonus if Robinson opts to stay.

"If you pay too many huge signing bonuses, it can lead to down-the-road trouble," McKay said. "If you're handling 2001 payroll by dipping from resources that should be set aside for 2004 or 2005, I see that as creating real discomfort."

Though several teams took $30-million-plus plunges for 2001 signing bonuses, Tampa Bay has spent $16-mil. "We're okay for now and also next year, when (running back) Warrick Dunn comes up (for renewal)," McKay said.

Why do NFL franchises get cap stupid? Mostly, it's ego, triggered by coaches and owners who go nuts in mega-staffing for the season upcoming, rather than taking a sharp, long-range approach.

Rich McKay is a whopper asset.

One time, Culverhouse was right.
 

digsthepack

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Hey, there is talent at every level of collegiate ball who would qualify as immediate impact players and projects. Hell Ware from Troy State is probably going to be the best DE taken this draft and he is starting now.
 

PackerTraxx

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Leaper, I think I get more what you're saying, if he said something like all other facets being equal and one guy is from a small school, the other guy from a big school he's take the one from the big school, I would agree.

On the other hand, if you had a situation like Troy Vincent and T. Buckly, Wolf make a big mistake picking based on conferenes and who each player's respective team played. He should have picked on the players themselves. They were very equal on measureables except Vincent was 6'0" and 190 lbs. Buckly was 5'9" and 170 lbs. Also, Vincent was a higher character person. Wolf let the wrong factors weigh in, he should have picked the bigger, better person. Can you imagine the other areas we could have concentrated on if a key position like that is set for a dozen years?
 
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