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SaveOurSonics

Draft: Things We Learned

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Showed you just how dominant LSU was this past season. How many LSU players were taken in this draft? 13. That is an SEC record. Im even surprised at Moss not being drafted. 

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1 hour ago, Yin-Yang said:

I don’t think there’s enough uniformity in the league for that to matter, though. For starters, I’d be hesitant to believe that that even crosses a GM’s mind if Player A is 21 and Player B is 22 (and depending on the position/type of player they’re looking for, age + maturity might be more ideal). But beyond that, you’d have to be looking at two dead even prospects, and how often are two guys of the exact same caliber going to be separated by rounds? Like for the sake of this discussion where I was pointing out FRP, blue-chip players - if you have two that are only spectated by age, how likely is it really that that guy falls to the second round? I get that that changes the debate a little bit, but I don’t think there’s enough evidence of elite prospects that are maybe 23 or 24 years old that are getting passed on for unknown reasons other than age.

So I’m not disagreeing with your point there - if you have two identical prospects, usually it’d make sense to go with the younger one - I just don’t view it as a common enough occurrence to be entirely noteworthy, especially if we look for examples where the second prospect drops to the second round. I think the reason we’re seeing more younger players in the first round is because, very generally: A) more underclassmen are declaring than in the past, and B) the best prospects come out when they can, rather than finishing school. That’ll exclude late bloomers, guys who want to finish their degree, and players who were maybe injured their final season, but that’s a smaller sample size than the former group (I would imagine).

Honestly, now that I really think about it, I don't think it would affect my drafting much. Other than like you said, the rare scenario where two equally comparable prospects are sitting there, and youth might be on one players side. There's just too many other factors that are more important and carry more weight - production, character, measurables, etc. 

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We learned that by week 9, ESPN will have a segement with Higgins that will be about playing with this years #1 qb vs next year's #1 qb and how its different playing with each. I GUARANTEE IT.

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If age doesn't cross a general manager's mind then he has no business holding that job. There are always subjective excuses and rationalizations. We want everyone to be equal in every other category so we can make a simple 1 on 1 comparison. That's not the real world, any more than it is the real world to compare quarterbacks from team to team with every teammate and coaching staff as identical. 

All the related studies indicate that age is an undervalued category. The mainstream media has not picked up on it. That's part of the reluctance to accept it. The mainstream media is preoccupied with the "Overreaction Monday" type of programming because that's what fans demand, the relentless subjective versions. The same applies to draft sites because the obsession is tape, tape, tape. 

The numerical tools like age and analytics are slowly starting to overcome all the weaknesses of relying solely on tape. As I've mentioned, this wouldn't be happening if tape had a competent record. It is disgraceful and bordering on laughable for the first round bust/disappoint rate to be so high, given reel after reel of front row film on every player and the college game so identical to the pros. The bust rate would make a heck of a lot more sense if college football were 7 on 7 and with the games held in secret and not on tape. To view the entirety yet screw up so dependably should not be possible.  

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23 hours ago, badgers0821 said:

I think most people know this but the takeaway I always have is that we as fans know little to nothing about what our respective teams will do in the draft. As an example:

Everyone (including myself) “knew” the Packers would take a WR in the first few rounds. They didn’t take a single WR in the entire draft.

Every Falcons fan on here was 100% certain they would go DL if they stayed at 16 and even with the top EDGE rushers (minus Young) available they went CB.

Without fail every year we as fans think we know more than we do.

If I had a dollar for every Chiefs fan that told me “there’s no way they’ll draft a RB 1st round” I could return that stimulus check. 
 

there’s a lot of ticked off Chiefs fans right now😂😂, although most of them are coming around once they see the highlights.

 

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Posted (edited)

Josh Jones is a compelling example of someone the NFL wasn’t a huge fan of but the draft community adored. Where’s the discrepancy there? Based on tape and the Senior Bowl, he’s arguably a late first rounder and the 5th OT taken. But when you factor in age, level of competition, and some athletic limitations (arm length), that’s enough dings on a prospect to see him drop a round further than anticipated. Now, that could come and bite the NFL in the arse if he ends up being a good player, but it at least explains why he fell where he did. 

Is there any other reason why he fell? Was it just a culmination of things?

Edited by SmittyBacall

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17 hours ago, BaltimoreTerp said:

I wonder if it had to do with logistics or just with general comfort level with the prospects. Trading up in the 1st round is a high profile move and the sort of thing that can often make or break a less established GM's tenure with their team if it's a more aggressive move up, and it just doesn't look like many of these GM's were willing to stake their careers on chasing guys they've met twice over Skype.

Bingo. Yeah, I think it had as much to do with things like Pro Days being canceled, not being able to do their own medicals, not being able to meet with prospects in person, talk to college coaches in person, etc.

I think it's more of an "All of the Above" answer.

17 hours ago, BaltimoreTerp said:

Those are the kinds of trades you make when you feel absolutely confident in the guy you're trading up for, and I feel like some of that certainty can build up through the things that weren't possible during this draft process: getting the guy in your building to put him through your own workouts/tests, seeing how he interacts with your coaches and staff, even small  things like what the chemistry is like during the visit dinner, etc. Obviously it's anecdotal but think back for example to the story around the Bills getting Josh Allen and how important the Bills braintrust's trip to Wyoming to spend a couple of days with Allen ended up playing in their conviction that he was their guy. It all adds up. 

Absolutely. 

17 hours ago, BaltimoreTerp said:

Not that these GM's didn't trust their boards but at least early on I think the combo of teams being more risk-averse about making a headline-popping move for a guy they don't fully know, and the virtual/remote draft process seeming to combine to create less opportunity for teams to fall in love with outlier prospects early on that would have shaken up the board made for a pretty even/predictable 1st round with fewer trades. The only big 'trade that wasnt' made' that I can think of was Philly not moving up for Lamb, otherwise we never really even saw guys fall quite far enough for an opportunistic GM to get aggressive and move up. 

Yeah, Miami was a wildcard with as much smoke as they put out. I think it boiled down to this philosophy for them:

If Tua is there, we are taking him. But, we are NOT going to trade up for him.

The Top 10 is also somewhat unique this year. It was a foregone conclusion Burrow was going where he did (the same for Chase Young), the Lions are in "win now" mode with Patricia, so a tradeback made sense, but it appears the value/partner(s) weren't there to elicit passing on the #1 player left on their board in Okudah, and Gettleman will always take "his guy" wherever they are drafting regardless of perceived value (I loved Thomas too btw).

QB's going at #5 and #6 seemed to make everyone happy, and it's apparent in Carolina that Rhule has A LOT of time and went all defense. Arizona got their QB last year, and JAX seems to like Minshew/didn't like anyone else enough to trade up, and Cleveland was clearly going to get Wills, making 2020 a "No excuses for Baker" year with a Pro Bowl TE, 2 Pro Bowl RB, 2 Pro Bowl WR, Njoku back healthy, Wills/Conklin at the OT spots, Bitonio as a Pro Bowl LG and Tretter as a Pro Bowl C.

Then, as you said, the depth in the WR class probably minimized the value in a trade-up from a lot of teams.

I think that this draft was unique on a lot of fronts.

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On 4/26/2020 at 10:33 PM, Awsi Dooger said:

Great stuff from the OP. Age is easily the most underrated variable leading to the draft every year. Scouting reports and mock drafts ignore the influence far more than they should. For example, many mock drafts including the one here had the Dolphins taking Josh Jones at 18. There's only a 2 year age difference between Jones and Austin Jackson, the guy the Dolphins actually selected. But that is massive in terms of lifespan to date, and how long the guy has played football at high level. It's like a 20% cheat in your favor. NFL teams are increasingly realizing it is wiser to invest in the younger more talented guy, even if the older guy looks superior on tape right now.

The trend will only continue. We'll have 5th year guys overvalued on draft sites 11 months from now. 

40 yard speed is significantly overrated at wide receiver and underrated at running back. Many recent studies have revealed as much. Not everybody appreciates the summary because it flies against conventional wisdom. In particular there's a Seahawks blogger who comically clings to the stale ignorant version. But similar to age the NFL is increasingly more aware than the draftniks. You really have to be extra special to be drafted as a 4.6 or slower running back. The running game is used more seldom these days so it pays to have a guy who can break a long one. Tee Higgins would have been punished a heck of a lot more if he ran a slow 40 time at running back than at wide receiver.

Here is one of the recent related studies. It is combine performance in general but the area spotlighted is speed more revealing at running back than wide receiver:

https://www.stat.berkeley.edu/~aldous/Research/Ugrad/Paul_Park.pdf

It's not just projectability associated with younger guys, there's more potential excess value a team can extract on a second (or third contract). The only way to really get excess value beyond the rookie contract (relative to market prices) is to extend you own home-grown stars before they hit the market. Big difference in extending a guy after four years who was drafted at 21 (with a five-year extension covering his age 25 - 29 seasons) and one who was drafted at 23 (with a five-year extension covering his age 27 - 31 seasons).

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2 hours ago, JTagg7754 said:

We shouldn't have learned that draft grades don't mean blank as this was a funny read:

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1164404-2012-nfl-draft-grades-seattle-seahawks-and-worst-grades-after-first-two-days

 

While it doesn't mean your point is wrong, I'm not sure that a 2012 Bleacher Report article from a "featured contributor" is evidence that no draft grades matter.

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2 minutes ago, sp6488 said:

While it doesn't mean your point is wrong, I'm not sure that a 2012 Bleacher Report article from a "featured contributor" is evidence that no draft grades matter.

And the other teams they chose in that absolutely bombed their drafts. 

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NFL teams still hate safeties, or at least value them among the least important positions in football, which is absolutely bonkers to me. The one taken round 1 was Simmons and even he was listed as a LB (and arguably fell a bit due to the safety boogeyman). I'd like to think that I have a passing knowledge of how football works and to borrow a basketball metric, it always seems that safeties have some of the highest +/- numbers for defenses but its an annual collective shrug by the league.

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On 4/26/2020 at 6:20 PM, SaveOurSonics said:

Exactly what the thread title says, I wanted to use this as a place to share tribal knowledge around the things we learned from the draft. I'll start with a few observations: 

1. Age matters
- Of the 32 picks in the 1st round, only 3 5th-year Seniors were selected -- and one of those was bonafide stud QB Joe Burrow. The other two were CB Damon Arnette (surprise 1st rounder) and Jeff Gladney (barely at the tail-end). The 2nd round featured S Kyle Dugger, G/T Robert Hunt, DE Darrell Taylor, and WR Van Jefferson. So within the first 64 picks, a total of 7 5th-year Seniors. This isn't to imply that these guys slipped due to age alone, but popular prospects like Josh Jones, Jabari Zuniga, Zach Baun, Neville Gallimore, Prince Tega Wanogho, Jonathan Greenard, K.J. Hill, James Proche, Trey Adams, Raequan Williams, Robert Windsor, and Akeem Davis-Gaither slipped further than their pre-draft projections. 

I'll take issue with this. What the draft has been showing for years is that most players prefer to come out early if possible. Redshirt Juniors often graduates, so it is normal to come out. Thus. It is unsurprising that redshirt seniors are an exception rather than the rule. In Burrow's case, he was not a redshirt; he was a transfer. 

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7 hours ago, SmittyBacall said:

Josh Jones is a compelling example of someone the NFL wasn’t a huge fan of but the draft community adored. Where’s the discrepancy there? Based on tape and the Senior Bowl, he’s arguably a late first rounder and the 5th OT taken. But when you factor in age, level of competition, and some athletic limitations (arm length), that’s enough dings on a prospect to see him drop a round further than anticipated. Now, that could come and bite the NFL in the arse if he ends up being a good player, but it at least explains why he fell where he did. 

Is there any other reason why he fell? Was it just a culmination of things?

I had Jones with a 2nd round grade, but even then he fell a full round later than someone who was relatively sour on him. 

Is age a huge deciding factor? Probably not, but I think it's silly to suggest it doesn't matter or isn't considered at all when projecting prospects. Whether that be because they were a late breakout, have less time to develop, or will be older at the time of contract renewal doesn't matter, it only matters that it's under consideration. 

As far as I know, guys like Neville Gallimore, KJ Hill, and James Proche had no real off-field knocks against them aside from age and all three went later than expected. 

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With all of that said, I do want to point out that this thread was intended to be about everyone sharing things they learned and that we could start to collect. The OP was simply meant to serve as a launchpad for those discussions. 

We can all agree to disagree on the age factor if it helps us progress to a topic of more merit. 

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