Mallory from St. Paul, MN
NFL teams aren't stupid and most probably draft along the lines of best player available or best value available, most of the time. However, when you read the media comments on picks, fully two-thirds of comments are along the lines of “fills a huge need.” Is this just because media folks interpret draft picks in the context of what need the pick addresses and any time you take the best guy he's going to fit in somewhere? Or am I wrong about most NFL teams actually trying to maximize value, regardless of position?
There are hard-core BAP drafters and then there are soft, or less-committed BAP drafters; the latter will mix BAP and need-drafting. I think there are more of the latter than the former. The Packers are a hard-core BAP-drafting team. They will not stray from their value line. I can think of a few other such teams and they’re good drafters, too. The media only knows what a team’s needs are. It doesn’t know how a team’s value board is stacked, therefore, it can only offer a prediction based on needs or draft history. For example, knowing the Giants’ affection for value, especially in big guys, I thought Marvin Austin was an easy prediction when the Giants picked him. I’ll give you another one: the Eagles picking Dion Lewis. He fit. The Eagles love Brian Westbrook-type backs and now they have two of them in Lewis and LeSean McCoy. Ironically, Lewis is the guy that replaced McCoy at Pitt. Teams will keep going to the well to drink; sometimes all you need to know is where the well is. What I’m trying to say is that the media is in a guessing game. Don’t take anything we say about the draft too seriously because we don’t have access to team’s boards. We’re just having fun and hoping it might entertain you.
Jesus from El Paso, TX
What kinds of things will the coaching staff be evaluating when they finally meet Sherrod and other draft picks that they were not able to evaluate through scouting?
They’ll be evaluating their picks against a higher class of competition. When they evaluated those picks in college, they were often seeing those players against players that will never make it into an NFL camp. That’s why level of competition is important. Scouts feel more comfortable drafting a kid out of a conference that dominates at the highest level. That doesn’t mean you’re drafting the conference; you’re still drafting the player, but the conference allows you to get a better read on a prospect. Derek Sherrod played in the SEC, which annually produces the best defensive linemen, especially pass-rushers, in all of college football. You don’t worry about the read you got on Sherrod. New Mexico State, on the other hand, was a bad team in a non-BCS conference. If and when mini-camp or OTAs begin, the Packers will get a chance to see Davon House against the likes of Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson. The Packers will know very quickly if they got the right read on House.
Teddy from Mequon, WI
How scary is Detroit’s defensive line?
The Lions’ draft doesn’t have enough depth to it. A five-man class isn’t good enough for a team that has yet to “arrive.” Their first pick, however, is a blockbuster. Nick Fairley will team with Ndamukong Suh to likely become the best one-two inside punch in the NFL. As soon as I saw the Vikings pass on Fairley, I looked down to see which team had the next pick and my immediate reaction was, “Oh, no.”
Aaron from La Crosse, WI
Do you think Cobb will be used almost like a Percy Harvin in the Packers offense and special teams? He seems to have similar traits in that he has experience out of the “Wildcat” formation and in the return game.
I see him as an Antwaan Randel El, without the pass attempts.
Bob from Fargo, ND
If the Packers are picking the BAP, why aren't they turning their picks in until there's less than a minute left? Shouldn't it be in right away?
What’s the rush? Use all of your time; maybe someone will call and offer a trade that represents more value than the pick you would otherwise make. It’s all about value.
Richard from Chapel Hill, NC
What teams had the best drafts in your book? Outside of the popular choices of Detroit and New Orleans, I'm pretty impressed with the picks of the Texans, Titans, Chiefs and Steelers.
I really like the Saints’ and Texans’ drafts, and I also like the Browns’ and Bills’ drafts. The Browns used their first two picks to fix their defensive line for the long-term future. Phil Taylor and Jabaal Sheard are outstanding gets. Greg Little and Jordan Cameron are value picks that address a critical need in the receiving corps. Their best pick might be Jason Pinkston, a finesse pass-blocker a lot of draftniks had going in rounds two or three. The Bears loved Pinkston and had him lined up in case they didn’t get a tackle early. Pinkston is not a mauler, he’s a pass-blocker and more of a left tackle than a right tackle, but Joe Thomas is the Browns’ left tackle and my guess is the Browns picked Pinkston because they play in a division with the Steelers and Ravens and the Browns need to be able to pass-block against the LaMarr Woodleys coming off the front side. The Bills, in my opinion, had a blockbuster draft; one of the best in the league. Marcell Dareus and Aaron Williams will step right into the starting lineup. The Bills got amazing value in the middle rounds and how about this for a seventh-round pick: defensive tackle Michael Jasper, 6-4, 394? Nobody even knows who he is but here’s what we do know: He likes to eat. He played last season in the 420-430 range and exploded the scale in January when he reached 448 pounds. Since then, he’s been on a strict diet, obviously.
Brian from Little Rock, AR
How do teams keep from having their playbooks leaked to other teams? Is it illegal for a team to obtain another team’s playbook?
Illegal? No. Playbooks are distributed to the players and returned to the team when the season is over. The players’ position coaches hold the ultimate responsibility for the security of the playbooks. I’ve long appreciated the security issue, but I don’t think playbooks are nearly as top secret as game plans are. Hey, everybody has the same plays. Playbooks are as thick as “War and Peace,” so an opponent can’t teach all of that to its players in a week’s time and only a fraction of it will be used anyhow. The game plan is the real top-secret document. If you get the game plan, then you know what’s coming. That’s why coaches and equipment managers do a sweep of hotel dining rooms and meeting rooms, to make sure game-plan materials weren’t carelessly left behind. Coaches tend to recycle successful game plans.
Dan from Fremont, WI
Mark Herzlich was not drafted, which I think is very unfortunate. When a man has the heart and drive this man does, there’s no doubt he will do great things. See Lance Armstrong. Cancer is no easy thing to overcome. Packers, would you pick him up, please? Low risk being undrafted; I only see upside here.
As a cancer survivor, I’m a fan of Herzlich’s, too. He’ll be signed as an undrafted free agent; he’ll get his chance.
Eric from Fort Atkinson, WI
What are your thoughts on the Packers’ draft picks? I thought picks 1-5 were great, but the other ones I am unsure of. I don't know any of the guys that we drafted from the sixth round or later, although I did watch Ricky Elmore's combine video and he seems intriguing.
The Packers’ third-day draft, in my opinion, was workmanlike. GM Ted Thompson kept doing trades that went back a little on the front end and came up a lot on the back end. That’s pure value trading because he kept increasing his numeric points value. Some teams aren’t as attentive to detail and that’s why they don’t get the hits late in the draft that the Packers do. One spot can make the difference between a Donald Driver and a guy that can’t get past the first cut. The first three picks offer a more easily identifiable upside. The only issue is Alex Green’s history for fumbling, though he is said to have made gains in securing the ball. Tony Villiotti is one of my favorite draftniks because he deals in statistical tendencies according to long-term results. For example, he looks at the careers of first-round picks over 20-year and five-year time frames and then he applies those stats to assign a ranking to a team’s draft. He ranks the Packers as having the 21st-best draft class, which is pretty darn good for a team drafting dead last.
Ryan from London, England
In your opinion, was Randall Cobb the best receiver left in the draft or was he selected due to his return abilities?
He was selected because he was the highest-rated player left on the board.
Ryan from Las Vegas, NV
Even though they can't be signed to contracts, can teams contact undrafted players at this time?
Teams may not contact any player, drafted or undrafted, during the lockout. Those that contact players are cheating and I think the league will be vigilant in policing this matter. If you get caught, expect to be made an example of.
Larry from Chicago, IL
In regards to the drafted players, who do you see contributing immediately, who's the diamond in the rough and who will need work?
Randall Cobb probably has the best chance to contribute immediately because he does so many things. He’s the kind of guy coaches love to toy with in their game plans, so that also gives him a little edge. D.J. Williams is your diamond-in-the-rough guy. With Mike McCarthy’s acumen for invention on offense, Williams offers star potential. The need-work guy is probably Ricky Elmore, because he’s making a position switch.