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How vital is the draft to a teams success?


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PROFOOTBALLTALK.com

The NFL draft is far from an exact science for the NFL personnel experts who do it.

Bill Polian, a longtime NFL GM, now with the Indianapolis Colts, has done some extensive research on Super Bowl winning teams.

Polian's conlusion was that over the past 20 years, teams that have won the Super Bowl have drafted at a success rate of approximately 57-58%.

Polian says that most teams draft at a success rate of about 50%, and that teams that draft in the Top 10 consistently draft at around a success rate of approximately 42%.

It confirms what most of us believe, that building your team through the draft is the way to go.

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Good article, Ham, and a great question. Remember when I posted the Giants first rounders for the last decade? Losers like Thomas Lewis and Jarrod Bunch? Yet, they still went to the Super Bowl despite all of that. Wat it goes to show, IMO, is that it's NOT just what teams do in the first two rounds, but it's even more important what the do in rounds 3-6. Whether this is a function of the salary cap or whether it's a product of parity, the depth of your team is almost more important now than your top 5-6 guys.

It seems like, out of your top 15 players, if at least 6 of them don't come from late round pick-ups, you have zero chance of a) paying them and B) winning. It just goes to show, the GM job is alot harder than it looks.

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Good article, Ham, and a great question. Remember when I posted the Giants first rounders for the last decade? Losers like Thomas Lewis and Jarrod Bunch? Yet, they still went to the Super Bowl despite all of that. Wat it goes to show, IMO, is that it's NOT just what teams do in the first two rounds, but it's even more important what the do in rounds 3-6. Whether this is a function of the salary cap or whether it's a product of parity, the depth of your team is almost more important now than your top 5-6 guys.

It seems like, out of your top 15 players, if at least 6 of them don't come from late round pick-ups, you have zero chance of a) paying them and B) winning. It just goes to show, the GM job is alot harder than it looks.

Great observation, TS ... I know for a fact that you have been beating that drum for quite some time and I have always agreed

Bottom Line: You cannot win SB's if you consistantly drop the ball on those two days in April.

Operative words being "TWO DAYS" in April

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Unfortunately, Bradway is useless on Day Two. Any chance if we get his cell-phone number you can chat with him on April 24th, Ham? :?: :lol:

Bradway WAS useless on day two until his @ss was on the line last year and he made the very un-Bradway like moves of drafting Erik Coleman and Jericho Cotchery.

Although, he tried his best to make up for it with his Adrian Jones pick.

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TS, funny thing is you kid me on occasion about my affinity for those small school sleepers, but I know our philosophy is identical and I know its in jest

We both believe that competitive teams are built on day one of the draft, but SB caliber teams are built on day two of the draft ... that's what separates the GREAT GM's from the GOOD GM's ... and of course the ABYSMAL GM's consistantly lay an egg on both days

Point being, my affinity for the small school studs started way back in the day ... Steel Curtain & Doomsday ... when I observed as a youngster how these teams would consistantly uncover small school gems on day two of the draft, year after year, which accounted for those STACKED LINEUPS they would toss out there on Sundays for most of my youth

Raiders played that game back in the day as well, but the Cowboys and Steelers were the firsts to spend equal resources and time scouting the small schools and black colleges

I once read a great story about this ... how they were so far ahead of their time in this regard, and how that largely accounted for their dominance of that era

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I kid you about small-school sleeper knowledge because I like to imagine that I'm well-schooled on every player that will get drafted, and then you come out with about 50 more guys that get drafted on the first day that I never heard of. Pure jealousy on my part, Ham-bone. Let's not lose sight of how petty I am. :lol:

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To look at things from an economic perspective....

You win the superbowl by having the greatest productivity in the league.

Put another way, If you were to consider what each team in the league, in total, deserved to be paid last year, there is no question that the Patriots would be at the top.

In the salary cap era NFL everyone has the same amount of $$$ to spend. You only get an advantage by

1) Getting bargains (paying $2 million for a player who gives you $5 million in production)

2) Screwing up less than the next guy.

3) Having a CS or system that can make a player play at a higher value than he was thought to be when you got him.

It is impossible to build a superbowl winning team under a salary cap if you are paying everyone what they are worth (unless you're massively backloading things and "selling the future".)

You can't build a team like the 80s 49ers or the early 90s Cowboys--- or the '00s Patriots--- if you are paying all the players fair value.

When you get down to it you have to screw as amny of them over as you can, as much as you can get away with it.

That's not quite true: being a dick will come back to haunt you, but the bottom line is you need to find players who play like Tarzan and get paid like Jane.

The draft remains THE BEST tool for doing that.

Look at the 2003 New England Patriots.

With a 74.6 million dollar cap the Patriots got the following BARGAINS from their 2000 to 2003 drafts.

QB Tom Brady-------- $3.323 million

DE Richard Seymour-- $2.524 million

LT Matt Light-------$716k

FS Eugene Wilson----$865k

Deion Branch--------$505k

David Givens--------$314k

Asante Samuel-------$303k

Dan Koppen----------$253k

At a rough guess Tom Brady was 10 million dollars worth of quarterback, maybe more. Seymour was 5 or 6 million worth of DE. Light was 3 mil worth of LT, Wilson was 2 mil worth of safety, and the WRs, Samuel, and Koppen combined were worth at least 4 mil.

At my honest guess the Pats got 25 million "worth" of production for a little less than 9 million in cap room.

Having that kind of edge on the salary cap is HUGE.

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I kid you about small-school sleeper knowledge because I like to imagine that I'm well-schooled on every player that will get drafted, and then you come out with about 50 more guys that get drafted on the first day that I never heard of. Pure jealousy on my part, Ham-bone. Let's not lose sight of how petty I am. :lol:

Oh I know its all in jest ... I actually get a big kick out of that ... don't ever stop cause it makes me laugh out loud :D

But the main point is, we both carry an identical view of the draft ... the importance of day two ... and how to build a SB caliber team

Our view in this regard is IDENTICAL

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RS, I totally agree with the premise of your post ... brilliantly stated ... I would only add that this further highlights the importance of drafting well on day two, even moreso during the salary cap era, cause those players are cheap and if you consistantly exceed the average success rate on day two you will have a number of contributing players who are under-paid

And yes, then some of your star players need to be reasonable as well

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kind of off topic but what do you guys think is a bigger predictor of success... college production, or physical stats like the 40. How much does the level of competition play into how you should view college production?

Consistancy, work ethic, football skills, coachability, and physical tools are the most important things in a prospect.

Combine stats are important to the extent that they can be a great indicator of those physical tools which often provide the cap on how good a player can be.

Without physical tools a player will have a hard time ever being an impact player for your team.

Football skills and consistancy will show up on tape, physical skills can too, but they won't always (look at guys like D-Rob and Kevin Williams who were semi-invisible until people realized they'd been getting double teamed mercilessly throughout college, or CBs who no one throws at)....

Without football skills and consistancy you end up with a talented bust.

Work ethic and coachability you have to intuitively judge from interviews, background checks, and gut feeling.

Without these there's a high chance a guy will not improve or will cause problems for the team.

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RS, I totally agree with the premise of your post ... brilliantlt stated ... I would only add that this further highlights the importance of drafting well on day two, even moreso during the salary cap era, cause those players are cheap and if you consistantly exceed the average success rate on day two you will have a number of contributing players who are under-paid

And yes, then some of your star players need to be reasonable as well

BIG TIME.

A 1st rounder makes anything from close to 5 mil (#1 overall) to 900k (the #32 pick) his rookie year. Most make in the 1 to 2 mil range.

3rd and high 4th rounders get paid just above 300k their rookie years. Late 4ths and below get paid less.

Whenever you get a 3rd rounder or below as a starter on his rookie contract, you get a HUGE edge--- paying a starter 300k per year is HUGE in the NFL.

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kind of off topic but what do you guys think is a bigger predictor of success... college production, or physical stats like the 40. How much does the level of competition play into how you should view college production?

fatcat, I don't believe it's either/or ... IMO both matter ... but the outstanding GM's know how to strike the perfect balance and when to place greater emphasis on one or the other ... but at the end of the day, when all is said and done, you must have a GOOD EYE

Now what I'm about to say may be controversial, but I do not believe you can teach a man to have a DISCERNING EYE ... I've always believed that is something you are born with {or not} ... IMO its the one common trait of GREAT GM's and GREAT SCOUTS ... they have THE GIFT, the scouts eye, or the discerning eye

And that's why what I'm saying can be controversial, cause I do not believe the draft is the crap-shoot it has often been called, or at least not to the degree some would suggest ... IMO some scouts have more success than others cause they have THE EYE

That's Just a theory of mine ... JMO ... I have no way of proving it

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The best examples i can give you guys from the viewpoint of a Steelers fan is Tackle Max Starks from Fla. and CB Ricardo Colclough from Tuscullum, i believe.

Heres a kid (Starks) that i read alot of negative reports about last year. It seemed that no-one wanted this kid on the first day. The remarks went from slow footwork to bad hand work to lazy work ethic. Well, Cowher and Colbert happened upon this kid by going to se another lineman (i can't remember his name). They gave him an individual workout and let him do some of their drills and he obviously impressed em' enough that they used a 3rd rounder on him. Well, his rookie season Cowher found ways to get him on the field (Short yardage and FG unit at first) so that he could get a look at him in game action without risking a big mistake. I love the way Cowher handles players in that respect. He will, more often than not, put them in favorable learning situations. Needless to say, this kid has made Oliver Ross expendable and gives us a viable tackle for a good price.

Now Colclough, here's small school a kid we actually traded up in round 2 to get. Once again, he impressed Cowher and Colbert (this case at the senior bowl)and during his rookie season Cowher put him at nickle corner and let him return punts and kicks etc. Once again, favorable learning situation. This Kid will be replacing Chadd Scott as our starting corner next season IMO.

Ham and TS, you make excellent points. Hopefully i've helped shed a light on how the modern day Steelers handle the draft and how important it is to that franchise.

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SP, Colclough was a small school stud I liked as well ... hadn't heard about him since the draft and forgot he landed in Pittsburgh

Oh yea, Ham. He figures to be the starter at LCB for years to come there. Look for him to be brought along much the same way as Troy Polamolu (SP?), starter at safety. He might not make that big of jump but it takes a couple years for a CB to fully understand our complex blitz packages and coverage schemes IMO.

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The only way to have continued success in any sport is to be able to groom your own players and develop them- through drafting wisely.

GJ & Ham-Makes a great point -the ability to do well with your second day picks is something that is the difference between a decent GM and a great one.

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