Re: Lombardi Shares Insight of BB's Draft Approach
posted at 4/22/2012 2:37 PM EDT
My turn to dish a bit on BB's approach:
BB regularly goes after injured players these days. If they get better, BB has hit the gold mine. If they don’t get better, BB accepts his small loss and walks away from the table. Examples of injured players include Gronkowski who had a back problem in college, and Cannon who was undergoing chemo for two months after he was drafted. Gronk doesn’t appear to have a back problem and Cannon doesn’t appear to be bedridden.
BB likes head cases if they are apparently not head cases. Pot addicts go to the head of the list because there’s almost no such thing as a pot addict, just dumb football players who smoke the herb days before their drug tests. Hernandez was a pot addict gamble, a potential waste of a fourth round pick. Next, BB is ok with trying out some malcontents such as Randy Moss and Corey Dillon. Moss stayed on the up and up until he couldn’t really play football anymore, then lost it. Corey Dillon never lost it.
BB goes after all sorts of other players with major downgrades. Someday I’ll meet BB shopping through the real junk at Building 19. He shot a seventh round pick on Cassell, the quarterback who had never started a college game. He invited the wrestler Steve Neal to camp despite the fact that Neal had no idea how to put on his football padding. Tom Brady was this skinny kid with a noodle for a throwing arm.
Part of BB’s success is trading contrary to the market. All new coaches want to win now or else they are fired, so they all want to trade into 2012 and they all want to trade up to either get the few promising quarterbacks or the few genuine day 1 starters in the draft. BB goes the other way and makes a profit, sometimes making as many as 10 trades in the draft for one year. Buy low, sell high. The exception is when he jumps up ahead of a rival to grab a key player, such as Gronkowski or Ty Warren.
I really like the Patriots’ 2010 and 2011 draft selections, and that’s a good sign for 2012. ProfootballFocus.com just came out with their 2008-2010 draft grades. Here are my grades at this point on the Patriots 2011 draft:
Solder: He was pretty good last year and he should get better, which is what you want to say about a pick #17. At this point I give the Patriots a +1 for drafting him. The scouts nailed it.
Ras-I Dowling, Shane Vereen, each –.5 at this point for being injured all the time. I believe that if you draft injured players it’s partly your own fault. Didn’t you read their injury history?
Ridley: He’s fast, but he has to hold on to the ball better. I’ll give the scouts a +.5 at this point.
Ryan Mallett: Tom Brady was also a big question mark at this point, and only showed promise in the preseason of his second year. Players were complimenting Brady at the end of his second preseason so that’s when we’ll know something about Mallet. I have no idea so Mallett is even-steven.
Cannon: +1.5, a perfectly outrageous find for a fifth round pick. If you draft a cancer victim because you discovered that he’s not particularly dead yet, and on top of that he can start at left tackle in the NFL, that’s to your credit. If Cannon had flopped, the Pats would have heard the boos.
The last three draft choices were pretty much throwaways. That often happens with seventh rounders across the NFL, where the chance of success averages 10%. I’ll give a collective –.5 to cover the whole lot of them.