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Defending Jeff Ireland and the Saints front office:


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Defending Jeff Ireland and the Saints front office:

 

So much is being said in the media of picks such as Alex Leatherwood to the Raiders at 17 and Payton Turner to the Saints at 28 and the majority of it is negative simply because those in the media feel those prospects were reaches in round one.

 

This is such a load of crap and is the furthest from the truth and here’s why…

 

#1. Scouting outlets and the media as well as armchair scouts (like myself) are not prevy to the medical information on these prospects like these NFL front offices are.

Medicals are so important when NFL teams make selections. You can have a prospect that is in the top 10 of every mock draft from January to April but is completely off NFL teams draft boards due to an unknown injury or underlying medical condition that the media is not prevy to. So when that prospect falls in the draft or other at his position go ahead of him, that’s not the fault or blame on those franchises or prospects its actually the fault of the media for glamorizing a prospect without having the full knowledge of that prospect… so as a fan don’t fall for the media trying to cover their butts by vilifing the teams for not agreeing with them, its their own fault and its not the NFL teams job to correct the medias narrative.

 

 

#2. All media, scouting outlets and armchair scouts do a generalized scouting board which is in stark contrast to what NFL teams scouting departments do.

When I do my yearly scouting reports and big board on overall available draft prospects, its done in a generalized format because I’m doing it on the huff and not part of a particular scouting department. Meanwhile the Saints are scouting and setting their board based on a variety of factors like team fit, culture, positional value, positional traits, offensive and defensive schemes and team need. Due to this, each teams board will be much different than the others and vastly different to a basic generalized board by someone in the media especially when the knowledge of the prospect medicals are implemented within the NFL teams boards.

 

So to say, OMG… that’s such a reach, that guy is nothing more than a 2nd or 3rd round pick is so stupid and idiotic its impossible to fathom to me. This is not an exact science meaning no one is right and no one is wrong but these NFL teams have the most information to make the best educated guess for what best for their particular franchises so for someone on the outside to speak as they know better is ridiculous. If you disagree fine, your entitled to do so but please stop short of acting like you know more than these teams… you don’t!

 

 

#3. Contrary to popular belief, NFL teams don’t scout stats, box scores or university prestige in round one… they scout traits and measurables.

To many fans get caught up in where a prospect played in college, how much production he had and is he a need for their team. This is not what NFL teams scout in round one. The first thing you must realize is that in ANY NFL draft there are typically 15-20 true 1st round prospects with ture 1st round grades in that particular draft. Gil Bryant once said the 1st round should be 1-20 and 21-40 should be the next round. This is what he was talking about. The fact is that picks 21-32 are actually 2nd round picks with 5th year options now.

 

Why does this matter? Simple… if you feel there is a 1st round talent available to you past pick 20, you take him. The Saints viewed Payton Turner as a 1st round prospect and they got him at 28 which is great value. Wanna know why Turner was a 1st round prospect for New Orleans… keep reading.

 

 

#4. Every team values prospects differently and have different prototypes for all positions meaning a prospect you might love, your team might not even consider based on their prototype.

The Saints clearly have prototypes for all positions and they also have a positional value they stand by. For example, the Saints prototype for defensive end is clear… 6’4”-6'6" 260-280 lbs with athleticism, active hands, effort, character and a dual run/rush skill set with versatility. The Saints also value prospects with upside  and potential opposed to prospects whom are tapped out growth wise. The Saints also place a extremely high value on the edge position with Mickey Loomis drafting 5 1st round defensive ends during his time as Saints GM.

 

So, looking at this approach its easy to see why a prospect like Payton Turner would be very attractive to the Saints. He’s 6’5” 270 lbs with tremendous athleticism, measurables and versatility. Hes regarded as a very high character prospect with great leadership qualities and possesses the most upside of any defensive lineman in the draft. There is ZERO doubt that the Saints would have had a 1st round grade on Turner and landing him at 28 gives them the best value for the pick and fits their team building philosophy.

 

Now would all teams view Turner as the Saints do? Absolutely not, because their scouting with a different set of parameters than the Saints with a different outlook , scheme and need. Take the Saints 2nd round pick for example… Pete Werner once again fits the Saints prototype at the linebacker position. The Saints like big linebackers, Werner is 6’3” 240 lbs. They like versatile linebackers whos played a ton of football, Werners done that. They want smart linebackers who are instinctive. Done!

 

Now compare that to a guy many wanted the Saints to draft at 28… Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. JOK doesn’t get past the first box. Hes 6’1” 217 lbs. Hes a hybrid defender who in the Saints system would be competing with CGJ and PJ Williams for a big nickel hybrid role, not with anyone at the linebacker position. Its not that the Saints didn’t like JOK, they just did not value him as high as other teams might have especially some media generalized big board that has nothing to do with their system.

 

 

#5. Finally… NFL teams scouting departments have an entire division focused solely on draft intel from other teams.

This means most NFL teams have a fairly good knowledge of how the draft is going to play out meaning they can target players in certain rounds that fit their systems, needs and value. The trade the Saints made for Paulson Adebo is a prime example of this. Did the Saints try to trade up for Jaycee Horn, of course but as expected the cost was to high. So they stood pat and took Turner, then focused on a guy like Adebo who they likely felt was every bit as good as guys like Greg Newsome, Caleb Fairley and Tyson Campbell but knew could be had outside the top 50. Also this shows an aspect most media does not include in their team mocks and that the fact that free agency is not over. The Saints know that they will eventually sign a veteran corner soon to start or even trade for one. So the need at corner isn’t as dire as draft pundits looking at a current depth chart might think it is.

 

 

Conclusion…

I’m not trying to say Payton Turner is going to be the best lineman in football… what I’m trying to say is that he possesses the traits, character and work ethic to one day become that guy and that’s why he’s worth a 1st round pick. How teams value positions, traits and prospects is a very complicated thing and needs time and development before ANYONE can accuse anybody of being a “reach" or a “bust".

 

Let time tell!

 

 

WHODAT

 

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, whodatworm23 said:

 

Conclusion…

I’m not trying to say Marcus Davenport is going to be the best lineman in football… what I’m trying to say is that he possesses the traits, character and work ethic to one day become that guy and that’s why he’s worth a 1st round pick. How teams value positions, traits and prospects is a very complicated thing and needs time and development before ANYONE can accuse anybody of being a “reach" or a “bust".

 

I changed two words in your conclusion to remind me of 2018. :D 

Turner is a significantly better athlete than Davenport, I get that. But to me that just further highlights how big of a screw up the trade up for Davenport was. And to me that undermines the narrative you're alluding to here that we (we meaning NFL fans) like to throw up when our team makes a pick that is difficult to be overly excited about. 

 

When you talk about how teams value positions, traits and prospects differently than the fans and media might, you are right on the money. But different than the fans and media doesn't always mean better than the fans and media. The Saints valued Marcus Davenport over Lamar Jackson (the QB we all 'knew' we were trading up for) Derwin James, and Jaire Alexander. I know that Lamar Jackson was one the fans and media knew better on. Dude won an MVP while Davenport watched anime and nursed a bum ankle. Fans/media don't always know best, but every once in a while they do. 

I won't pretend to know everything about incoming college players, specifically this year. But if it's too early to decide if anyone is a going to be a reach or a bust, then what's the point in scouting or hoarding high draft picks? You're trying to take the best talent available in the draft, whichever player will help your team the most. We didn't do that when we took Davenport and people said as much, many people don't think we did it Thursday night either and once again have said as much.

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4 minutes ago, Dome said:

I changed two words in your conclusion to remind me of 2018. :D 

Turner is a significantly better athlete than Davenport, I get that. But to me that just further highlights how big of a screw up the trade up for Davenport was. And to me that undermines the narrative you're alluding to here that we (we meaning NFL fans) like to throw up when our team makes a pick that is difficult to be overly excited about. 

 

When you talk about how teams value positions, traits and prospects differently than the fans and media might, you are right on the money. But different than the fans and media doesn't always mean better than the fans and media. The Saints valued Marcus Davenport over Lamar Jackson (the QB we all 'knew' we were trading up for) Derwin James, and Jaire Alexander. I know that Lamar Jackson was one the fans and media knew better on. Dude won an MVP while Davenport watched anime and nursed a bum ankle. Fans/media don't always know best, but every once in a while they do. 

I won't pretend to know everything about incoming college players, specifically this year. But if it's too early to decide if anyone is a going to be a reach or a bust, then what's the point in scouting or hoarding high draft picks? You're trying to take the best talent available in the draft, whichever player will help your team the most. We didn't do that when we took Davenport and people said as much, many people don't think we did it Thursday night either and once again have said as much.

Your also not seeing it from the point of view of the position the team was in when they made the picks... the Davenport for example, just like the Lattimore selection. The Saints were in a "win now mode" knowing Brees was nearing the end. Corner was our biggest need and opted for Lattimore and not trading up for Mahomes. Horrible decision looking back but no one knew what Mahomes would be, if they did he would have went #1. Hindsight is always 20/20. With the Davenport selection it was a prospect that fit their prototype and the team felt they were a pass rusher away from competing for a Superbowl so they took their shot... can't fault them for that. Once again no one knew what Lamar would be, if they did you really think he falls to 32?

 

The draft is viewed by all kinds of angles and each team sees it differently depending on the state of their franchise and what their approach is. I'm not a back seat driver... ill never question a decision made in real time after I wait for the results to answer the question.

 

Picks bust, some hit... no one bats 1000.

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Another thing on Davenport... Saints fans don't like to hear this but while his sack numbers aren't thier and the injuries are adding up, the numbers are clear... this is a much better defense when he is on the field. 

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12 minutes ago, whodatworm23 said:

Your also not seeing it from the point of view of the position the team was in when they made the picks... the Davenport for example, just like the Lattimore selection. The Saints were in a "win now mode" knowing Brees was nearing the end. Corner was our biggest need and opted for Lattimore and not trading up for Mahomes. Horrible decision looking back but no one knew what Mahomes would be, if they did he would have went #1. Hindsight is always 20/20. With the Davenport selection it was a prospect that fit their prototype and the team felt they were a pass rusher away from competing for a Superbowl so they took their shot... can't fault them for that. Once again no one knew what Lamar would be, if they did you really think he falls to 32?

I do disagree here. There were more than a couple of Saints fans that wanted to move up for Jackson, trade Brees for a high pick or let him walk for a comp pick and build around our new young QB.

Mike Mayock was halfway through a 3 minute prepared speech about all the big plans Payton had for Jackson when Davenport was announced.

I personally was hugely disappointed at the time and had to talk myself into liking the pick. I know lots of Saints fans felt we reached.

That’s not 20/20 hindsight, that’s feeling at the time that the team had a better option on the table and didn’t take it.

 

12 minutes ago, whodatworm23 said:

 

The draft is viewed by all kinds of angles and each team sees it differently depending on the state of their franchise and what their approach is. I'm not a back seat driver... ill never question a decision made in real time after I wait for the results to answer the question.

You’ve been disappointed by signings or cuts the Saints have made in the past, no? Or maybe disappointed by a signing or cut that didn’t happen?

I don’t see this as much different. 

 

12 minutes ago, whodatworm23 said:

 


Picks bust, some hit... no one bats 1000.

I don’t think anyone is expecting the Saints to bat 1000, but at some point the logic starts to crumble... I’m just toeing the line to figure out where. 

Hypothetical: let’s say the Saints traded into the top 10 to select Ian Book...  problematic, right?

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23 minutes ago, whodatworm23 said:

Another thing on Davenport... Saints fans don't like to hear this but while his sack numbers aren't thier and the injuries are adding up, the numbers are clear... this is a much better defense when he is on the field. 

I don’t disagree. I think he’s a good football player and he’s disruptive.

 

but two first round picks invested?

I’d like to be able to say more than “ignore the stats, we’re better with him” on a guy we’ve invested so much into. You could find guys that make us intangibly better for much less than two firsts. 

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I think your taking what I said out of context... I didn't say we shouldn't disagree with picks or question them. What I said was we (fans) and media need to stop acting as if we have more or the same info on prospects as NFL teams do because we don't.

 

As for the Davenport trade... I personally said it was a mistake at the time but it was more so of the compensation we gave up not the prospect. For example, Jaycee Horn was my favorite player in this draft and he was the target for the Saints trade up and had they been successful I would have disagreed with the trade due to the compensation not the player. However as far as Horn's potential in the NFL its a crap shoot just like any other prospect. If Davenport would have developed into a big time edge rusher and helped Brees and the Saints advance to the Superbowl NO ONE would be disagreeing with the trade or the selection but he didn't so now in hindsight we all point and say see. The Saints were never going to move on from Brees until he moved on. We can disagree with that sediment as well but thats the direction they took and once that decision was made it affected their approach in other decisions.

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1 hour ago, whodatworm23 said:

I think your taking what I said out of context... I didn't say we shouldn't disagree with picks or question them. What I said was we (fans) and media need to stop acting as if we have more or the same info on prospects as NFL teams do because we don't.

 

This is fair, but also fans and media can be right about a prospect that teams passed on or took to early, even without all the info.

For example, fans that thought Davenport was too big of a project for what we gave up. 

 

1 hour ago, whodatworm23 said:

As for the Davenport trade... I personally said it was a mistake at the time but it was more so of the compensation we gave up not the prospect.

Wouldn’t this be the case for any player that you felt wasn’t worth what we gave up? 

People might not be questioning Turner the prospect, just what we gave up for him (a 1st) ... you know? Same as you thought the compensation for Dav was too high, people might think Turner in the first was too high.
 

Whether it be trading up, trading back, keeping your own selection and making a pick there, when you exchange your pick in for a player, that’s the compensation you’re giving up for him. 

 

1 hour ago, whodatworm23 said:

If Davenport would have developed into a big time edge rusher and helped Brees and the Saints advance to the Superbowl NO ONE would be disagreeing with the trade or the selection but he didn't so now in hindsight we all point and say see.

But what about the people who didn’t like the pick at the time? The people who at the time wanted Lamar Jackson or Derwin James. That’s not hindsight, those are people who with less info and knowledge than the Saints had, would’ve selected a better player. 

1 hour ago, whodatworm23 said:

 

The Saints were never going to move on from Brees until he moved on. We can disagree with that sediment as well but thats the direction they took and once that decision was made it affected their approach in other decisions.

I don’t disagree with your assertion, but that doesn’t mean it was the best move.
 

Fans at the time who wanted us to take Jackson and turn brees into picks or another high quality player may very well have put us in a better spot than we are now.
 

It’s all speculation of course, but even with full acknowledgment that fans and media don’t have all the info teams do, sometimes they sniff out a bad pick the night it happens 

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Posted (edited)

Basically what I’m saying is that you’re right, fans as a whole aren’t as educated on prospects as teams are.
 

 

that said teams make bad picks all the time, and sometimes fans know those picks are bad even when they’re made.

right now it’s easy to say “we have no idea” and you’re right... but in two years down the road , if Turner sucks and we’re looking to draft or sign a pass rusher, the people who questioned their pick can say “actually, I did have an idea” similar to the people who questioned the Davenport trade up and selection can say “yeah, saw this coming” now that we’re a couple years down the road and he hasn’t panned out into a high end pass rusher 

Edited by Dome
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4 minutes ago, Dome said:

This is fair, but also fans and media can be right about a prospect that teams passed on or took to early, even without all the info.

For example, fans that thought Davenport was too big of a project for what we gave up. 

 

Wouldn’t this be the case for any player that you felt wasn’t worth what we gave up? 

People might not be questioning Turner the prospect, just what we gave up for him (a 1st) ... you know? Same as you thought the compensation for Dav was too high, people might think Turner in the first was too high.
 

Whether it be trading up, trading back, keeping your own selection and making a pick there, when you exchange your pick in for a player, that’s the compensation you’re giving up for him. 

 

But what about the people who didn’t like the pick at the time? The people who at the time wanted Lamar Jackson or Derwin James. That’s not hindsight, those are people who with less info and knowledge than the Saints had, would’ve selected a better player. 

I don’t disagree with your assertion, but that doesn’t mean it was the best move.
 

Fans at the time who wanted us to take Jackson and turn brees into picks or another high quality player may very well have put us in a better spot than we are now.
 

It’s all speculation of course, but even with full acknowledgment that fans and media don’t have all the info teams do, sometimes they sniff out a bad pick the night it happens 

Sounds like a Lotta hindsight... which is an area I don't like to commet from regarding the draft. These picks are made in real time. For those who perfered other prospects over the ones selected in the past whose to say that those players whom have succeeded would have done so in New Orleans? Would the Saints have gone all in on Jacksons playing style as the Ravens did? What if we took Darwin James and he tore his ACL in training camp? See the problem with hindsight is you open up the "what if" box which is terrible because that door swings both ways and is endless.

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1 minute ago, whodatworm23 said:

Sounds like a Lotta hindsight...

I think we have completely different understandings of what hindsight means 😂

Im specifically talking about guys who didn’t want Dav at the time and thought there were better options... 3 years later if they still think those options were better, that ain’t hindsight. 

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4 minutes ago, Dome said:

Basically what I’m saying is that you’re right, fans as a whole aren’t as educated on prospects as teams are.
 

 

that said teams make bad picks all the time, and sometimes fans know those picks are bad even when they’re made.

right now it’s easy to say “we have no idea” and you’re right... but in two years down the road , if Turner sucks and we’re looking to draft or sign a pass rusher, the people who questioned their pick can say “actually, I did have an idea” similar to the people who questioned the Davenport trade up and selection can say “yeah, saw this coming” now that we’re a couple years down the road and he hasn’t panned out into a high end pass rusher 

Thats why (typically) GM's and Coaches pay for those bad decisions with their Jobs. Davenport may or may not bust, this season is pressure time for him. Even more now that Turner is in town, but its also a wake up call for Jordan as well whos been moonlighting as a media head alot lately and is coming off a down season. Turner's selection will light a fire 🔥 under the A** of both those DE's or it better because having your possible replacement already in town is alot different from maybe they might move on.

 

So if Turner is a solid rotational player in 2021 but his presence elevates and motivates both Jordan and Davenport into career years isn't that value within the pick outside of the prospect?

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1 minute ago, Dome said:

I think we have completely different understandings of what hindsight means 😂

Im specifically talking about guys who didn’t want Dav at the time and thought there were better options... 3 years later if they still think those options were better, that ain’t hindsight. 

Your right... but for every fan that said that about Davenport there is a fan that was pissed we didn't get Ruben Foster and ended up with Ryan Ramczyk. 

 

You see... when the front office is wrong its amplified by fans but when fans are wrong its forgotten. I truly believe that every pick made by every team is made with great intentions understanding prospects bust for a number of different reasons but the moment front offices begin catering to the fans is the moment you need a new front office.

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18 minutes ago, sammymvpknight said:

Quick question. Has there ever been a player drafted by the Saints that you were disappointed by the selection and that player went on to prove you wrong?

In the later rounds probably. No early picks. The picks I disliked the most in recent memory were Peat and Ruiz.
 

Peat isn’t great, but we didn’t trade up for him and he’s been a long term starter. Ruiz isn’t great either but he’s only got one year under his belt. I’m not certain he was better than a number of vets we could’ve got on a 1-year deal but hopefully the best years are still ahead of him. 
 

And it’s not that I overly dislike Turner as a prospect, I see the physical tools and understand the upward trajectory. But I didn’t think a pass rusher was our biggest need and I thought there were real difference makers at WR, CB and LB available still. Davenports hype train has been slow to leave the station and that’s left a bad taste in my mouth. I’m not as sold as everyone else is that we can rely our coaching staff to develop a high end pass rusher off the edge.
 

Besides Hendrickson last season, who has been a good edge guy that wasn’t already a top shelf talent when our current defensive staff got here?

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