6

March

Playing Devil’s Advocate: Quality vs. Quantity in the NFL Draft

Clay Matthews NFL Combine

Clay Matthews at the NFL Combine

Let’s play devil’s advocate for a second and argue that Ted Thompson should trade up in the draft.  Now I’m not going to be crazy and say that Thompson should trade away every pick the team has in order to pull off a “Ricky Williams”, but moving some of the picks to get better position in the draft does have its benefits

My reasoning is that having too many draft picks can actually be detrimental to the team.  When Thompson took over operations from head coach/general manager Mike Sherman, the team was in a salary cap nightmare and as a result Thompson needed every draft pick badly in order to restock the roster with low-cost, high-reward players.  Also, since the team was stocked with players from the old regime, Thompson had no qualms getting rid of player in lieu of his own guys (all new GMs do this subconsciously if not very consciously) and the easiest way to do that was through the draft.

As a result from 2005, the first year Ted Thompson started drafting for the Packers, to 2010 only 6 out of 57 drafted players  (about 10%) have failed to make the 53 man roster; 2005 6th round pick Craig Bragg, 2006 4th round pick Cory Rodgers, 2006 7th round pick Dave Tollefson, 2007 5th round pick David Clowney, 2007 7th round pick Clark Harris and finally 2009 5th round pick Jamon Meredith.  So far this system has worked pretty well for Thompson; he’s drafted the vast majority of the current team and the Packers have won the Super Bowl and posted a 15-1 season under Thompson’s regime.

However last year in the NFL draft, Thompson was forced to get rid nearly 30% of the players he drafted, triple the average; 6th round Ricky Elmore had a terrible time converting from a 4-3 DE to a 3-4 OLB and didn’t show much in special teams and was probably one of the first players to be cut.  Fellow 6th round pick Caleb Schlauderaff was also slated to be cut as well if Thompson hadn’t been able to trade him off to the New York Jets first for a undisclosed draft pick (most likely a 7th rounder).  Finally 7th rounder Lawrence Guy was also likely to be cut, but instead ended up on the IR list all season.  This is in essence squandered resources as these picks could have been used as bargaining chips to put the Packers in a better position to select better players, or in other words trade up.

This year, Thompson may have more draft picks than he’s ever had with the 7 standard draft picks awarded based on the previous year’s record, probably another 7th rounder for Caleb Schalauderaff and presumably at least 3 compensatory picks, one each for ILB Nick Barnett (signed with the Buffalo Bills), OG Daryn Colledge (signed with the Arizona Cardinals, who might net the highest compensatory pick due to his large contract and playing time) and DE/DT Cullen Jenkins (who signed with the Philadelphia Eagles).  Of course, the exact formula used for determining compensatory picks is unknown outside of the NFL, but the presumption is that these picks are awarded based on the contract and play of the free agents who departed the team last year versus the contract and play of the free agents who were signed last year (which there were none of note).

So for all intents and purposes, and presuming that the Packers don’t sign any free agents of note this year as well, which is pretty much a given, the Packers could very well expect to have 11 draft picks this year, and so the question becomes, is Thompson going to be able to cut nearly 20% of the 53 active roster in order to keep all those draft picks?

The short answer is no, just look at what happened last year.  The Packers have good depth at most positions, and with most players being selected by Thompson are likely going to fit into the Packers team philosophy, so there isn’t going to be a easy cut on the roster.  So the chances of a late round rookie making the team are considerably harder than it is on other teams who are going through head coach/GM transitions or are in full rebuilding mode.

One argument against using low round picks to move up in the draft is that drafting a player gives the team a better chance of signing them to the practice squad; but in my opinion if there’s a player the Packers want on their practice squad, they shouldn’t be drafting them in the first place.  Another argument is that drafting by quantity will improve your chances of finding a late round gem; but as Tramon Williams, Arian Foster and Victor Cruz showed, drafting is such an inexact science that plenty of great players don’t even get drafted at all.  Furthermore, it makes more sense to draft a player you feel confident about rather than many players who you don’t but may become great players in the future.

Simply put the more draft picks you have, the more options are available to you, but they have to be used as currency in the draft.  For instance, in 2009, the Packers came in with an extra 6th rounder (from a trade for the Packers 7th round pick in 2008 with the New Orleans Saints) and an extra 3rd rounder, which the Packers got from the Jets for he-who-will-not-be-named.  With more picks, Thompson was able to package his 2nd round pick and both 3rd round picks in order to draft outside linebacker Clay Matthews III, which I think everyone agrees turned out pretty well.  But more importantly, the Packers were able to draft Matthews without completely decimating their draft that year, as they still were able to draft 8 players, most notably starting guard TJ Lang, who is an up and coming player.

This year could be very similar.  With so many compensatory picks, the Packers could make a single big trade or a couple smaller ones and still have enough picks to draft developmental players for the future.  The worse that could happen is to waste the picks by drafting players who don’t have a chance to make the roster.

 

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Thomas Hobbes is a staff writer for Jersey Al’s AllGreenBayPackers.com.

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70 Responses to “Playing Devil’s Advocate: Quality vs. Quantity in the NFL Draft”

  1. PackersRS says:

    What you describe is the best scenario IMHO, Thomas.

    Like you said, the Packers are stacked, so too many picks may not have room on the roster.

    On the other hand, moving up to get a player doesn’t guarantee better quality, we all know too well that just because a player is drafted higher doesn’t mean he’s better than a player drafted lower.

    But the chances are better of getting a better player with a higher pick.

    The conclusion that you came up with is money. TT will keep a reasonable number of selections, because he always finds at least 1 gem in those lower rounds, and having more picks means more chances of it happening. But, if the situation is right, the Packers have the means to make a move and get a guy they really want.

    I hate that we have to wait until late April for the damn Draft! We know the Packers aren’t going to do anything in FA (nor do I necessarily think they should). Let’s just skip it and draft already!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

    • JimR_in_DC says:

      PackersRS says “I hate that we have to wait until late April for the damn Draft! We know the Packers aren’t going to do anything in FA (nor do I necessarily think they should). Let’s just skip it and draft already!”

      Amen!!!

      Good article, Thomas. I think you’re absolutely right…quality over quantity this year. I hope TT is of the same mindset.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

  2. TedTheSledge says:

    Pack won’t get compensatory consideration for Barnett as he was under contract when he was cut and only UFA losses count. The 7 players in the formula are Jenkins, Colledge, B Jackson, K Hall, Spitz, A Smith and Bigby. All 7 lost UFA’s go into the pot and a maximum 4 picks can be awarded per team and I think they will get 4.

    They can also go the New Endgland route if they feel they have too many picks and trade their non-comp picks into future years. This is something that teams with solid rosters who are given extra picks have done in the past like NE and Philly. Looking forward to 2013 as of now there are another 7 potential UFA losses this year so if they do not re-sign Wells and Grant in particular or high buck UFA’s from other teams this spring they may have another bounty coming.

    All good things for a team with a strong front office and scouting system!!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      Thanks a lot for the info, when you say that all free agent departures are entered into a pot, does that mean their total contracts/starts/playing time/etc factor into the formula? I was under the impression that the Panthers got a 3rd round compensatory draft pick solely based on losing Julius Peppers.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • TedTheSledge says:

        Sometimes it’s easy to correlate a given lost player to a comp pick received, like the 4th GB got for Kampmann last year as he was the only loss. If a team has less than 4 losses you can go pick by pick in some cases but when a team exceeds 4 the league still needs to compensate them for numbers greater than four and that’s where they start getting merged together. Bigby and A Smith signed vet minimum deals and do not count for much on their own, but added together they might be enough to move a pick for BJax from a 7 to a 6 for example. But yes all UFA’s lost should be counted by the league.

        Our high value ones like you mentioned are Colledge and Jenkins, then a drop off to BJax and Spitz to get the max 4 picks. K Hall, A Smith and Bigby together should move one of those 4 picks up a round, which one is ????. GB signed no UFA’s from other teams in 2011 (guys like JJones, Kuhn don’t count as they were GB’s in 2010) so there should be no minuses this year. League winter meeting is March 26th-28th so that is when we will find out for sure.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

          So if players are pooled to determine picks, is it possible that Colledge and Jenkins could be pooled to produce a higher pick or at some level of salary/play do players become their own distinct compensatory pick? For instance, if Colledge and Jenkin both warrant a 4th rounder alone, could they be combined to produce a 3rd rounder?

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • TedTheSledge says:

            I believe it’s true that the higher level a player is the more likely they stand on their own, and that pooling is more common at the lower value levels and when a team loses a higher number of UFA’s but you are getting into the secret recipe the comp committee uses. If for example Jenkins and Colledge were the only 2 losses, and Jenkins was considered a strong 4 and Colledge a weak 4 it could go either way that the team receives two 4′s OR one 3 and 1 five. Only the league knows for sure and the way they value baffles the teams themselves sometimes.

            I believe that based on last year with Kampman bringing a 4 for a 4yr 24 million deal (6 mil avg) where he played 8 games and had 6 sacks, Jenkins is close to bringing a 3 with his 5yr 30 million deal (6 mil avg) playing in 16 games with 5.5 sacks and named pro bowl alternate. He should be a solid to high 4 at worse. Colledge at 5yr 27.5 million deal (5.3 avg) started and played in 16 games looks to be also a solid 4 so I’m in agreement with you there on those two. Now is where the lower level guys come into play and I could see Jenkins being pushed to a 3 and perhaps Colledge holding at a 4 which would be fantastic. The other two picks could either be two 7′s or a 6 and a 7. At worst I would hope for a 3, 5, 7, 7 but who knows. There is one factor that could change things THIS year where looking back does no good but I may be out of room =)

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          • TedTheSledge says:

            Ok … that one factor that might have an effect this year is that there were a group of players denied UFA status in 2010 under the old CBA. The Pack had a few of these guys, Colledge, Spitz, Blackmon (basically the 2006 draft class on 4 yr rook deals) and there was some question if these guys would report as they were rightly cheesed off.

            How that could affect this years comps is that there was a larger number of UFA’s in 2011 than normal due to this group who had to wait an extra year. More UFA’s available may have caused a larger number of players switching teams, and that would result in more teams qualifying for comp picks due to their UFA losses. The leagues comp limits prior to this year was 4 picks per team and 32 picks leaguewide. So the unknown is whether a larger number than normal of qualified will strain the pick limits, or whether by using the same limits the value teams get for their losses will be lower as the league tries to shoe-horn them all in.

            I have tried to get some writers to opine on this and nobody will take the bait, ESPN’s Clayton was tracking UFA movement last year with a running count of those switching teams but I never saw him post final totals compared to prior years. Bill Huber did respond that he thought the leagues limits would stay the same but acknowledged it’s just too mysterious a process to say with any certainty. Maybe as the winter meeting gets closer some writer will take a look at this … I hope =)

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  3. Mojo says:

    Agree with what you’re saying Thomas. When TT came on the scene, the Pack needed both cap relief and bodies. Now he needs IMO a pass-rushing OLB/DL or both preferably. Also a decent safety, CB prospect and backup QB and backup OL. Not really all that much. I would have no problem if he traded-up tendering a few of his projected 12 picks. We need a few more play-makers, not just bodies.

    And if he needs to dip into free agency, then do it. So if we lose compensatory picks for some of our lost FA’s next year, big deal. Just like this last season the window is open, the time is now, we need to strike while the iron is hot, chase our dreams, go for the gusto….alright, alright, I’ll stop with the idioms.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • PackersRS says:

      The problem with FA is not the loss of draft picks. It’s the impact on the cap space and the kind of performance the street player can offer for it.

      Usually, with the big name FAs, it’s too much buck for not enough bang. And the Packers don’t have a lot of cap room as it is, let alone accounting for CMIII’s, Jennings’, Rodgers’, Finley’s, Raji’s new contracts coming up if not this year the next.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

      • Jay says:

        I don’t see dire financial straits up ahead with those contracts. When Woodson retires, Cm3 gets the bulk of his salary; when Pickett retires, Raji will probably get a similar deal. Jennings could get the savings from Driver’s current contract. Rodgers will be difficult but i think it’s manageable. Finley might be the odd man out, but I think our receiving weapons can compensate…

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        • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

          The “best problem to have” is when you have too many good players to pay. But I definitely see this as an issue, just look at the Steelers who basically cleaned out the locker in order to get under the cap. I don’t think just eliminating Pickett’s and Woodson’s contracts are enough to make due; Rodgers is going to command one of the biggest contracts ever at some point, Matthews likely will get a top 5 OLB salary as well and Jennings probably will get more than just what the Packers save on Driver. Keep in mind Matthews and Raji will be FA at the same time, so that will definitely make things very tight that year.

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          • Mojo says:

            Not saying they should go after big name free agents at all( I wouldn’t consider Mario Williams) . I’m looking at more of the backup types for QB and OL. I wouldn’t pay much more than we are for a player currently on the roster from the same position. But if you can upgrade at about the same price – go for it. I also hear, because of the tight cap this year, a number of teams are jettisoning good players. This could be a buyers market in FA.

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            • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

              Well I would argue that if it’s a buyer’s market, the Packers sure aren’t buyers, or at least not big buyer’s. After Finley signing, there’s probably not much left, especially if you factor in the money that Bush and Well (maybe) are going to get. Like I said, its a good problem to have, better that you have too many good players that you want to pay rather than having no one and then paying Daryn Colledge 27 million dollars

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  4. Dan "FireMMNow" Blakley FireMMNow says:

    The packers always have a lot of picks in rounds 5-7, but they do not have much trade value. TT could try to trade 4 7th round picks and all it would amount to is a 5th round pick.

    Having a lot of picks does not necessarily mean that a team can move up a significant distance.

    In general I agree with you, less is more this year, but getting an extra second or third round pick is easier said than done when the majority of your tradeable picks are in the late rounds.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 0

    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      I agree, but for instance, the Packers get a 4th round compensatory pick, they could package their own 4th and some of the lower round picks to move up to the top of the 4th round without sacrificing much, since they still would have their compensatory pick at the end of the 4th round and since the Packers are picking late, there isn’t going to be much of a difference between pick 28 and pick 33-36 (approx)

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

  5. cow42 says:

    The Packers need upgrades/replacements at…

    olb
    dl
    cb
    s
    c
    qb2

    keep all your picks… you have a lot of holes to fill.

    there are a lot of players on the roster who could be cut to make room. the idea that the roster is so “stacked” that there’s no space for new players is ridiculous.

    bush
    collins
    grant
    clifton
    driver
    flynn

    there’s 6 spots, right there.

    crabtree
    dominguez
    h green
    lattimore
    lee
    levine
    peprah
    md jennings
    so’oto
    walden
    wilson
    wynn
    b jones
    zombo

    could all be cut without anyone even flinching.

    there’s tons of room to add as many players as they want.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 5

    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      I’d certainly flinch if nearly half of the Packers roster was cut. I’m pretty sure Thompson agrees as well, as I pointed out in the article, he basically had to give up on 30% of his draft because they weren’t better than what he already had. Keep in mind these guys managed to get on the Packers roster last year, which in itself is testament to how good these players really are.

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

      • Tarynfor12 Tarynfor 12 says:

        I don’t think having to give up on 30% of your draft is all that bad.
        53 man roster,average 9 picks a draft,minus 30% or 3-4 player for est and your replacing 5 possible players a year not because their bad but FA,age,injury takes them off the squad.
        I’m with cow42,and think there are players that can be cut without flinching and replaced in the draft.
        Isn’t that what Draft and Develope does,create and fill holes little each year than to be slaughtered all at once.

        Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

        • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

          Well the big point is that cutting drafted players is like throwing away money, as draft picks are the currency and you expect a return on your investment. If Thompson could use those picks to maneuver in the draft and pick better players instead of just draft what falls to him, then the team would likely get better

          Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

          • Tarynfor12 Tarynfor 12 says:

            “Draft picks are the currency and you expect a return on your investment”.

            To increase your chance of a return ,you need disposable currency for error and if I can get two 5-7 years guys from my stock picks yearly,the loss of the others doesn’t effect the value achieved.

            Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

            • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

              On that train of thought, would you rather spend your money on a bunch of penny stocks or on a couple stocks that you feel confident will make money? I should point out I’m not saying the Packers should trade every pick we have to get the first pick overall. Again in 2009, the Packers managed to get two 1st rounders, while still have enough draft picks to get developmental and backup level players.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

              • Tarynfor12 Tarynfor 12 says:

                Good question and the answer depends on situation you’re in.The win now guy wants to try and strike it and big fast and is blind by the possible bust and huge financial/personell loss from it.
                The I want solid steady performance guy who gets a windfall twice in 5 years will prevail longer even with some minor setbacks than reckless now guy.

                TT is penny stock guy and will be in the game longer than the other.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

              • Zack says:

                Might I throw out the idea that TT has been a penny stock guy for so many years and the build up has reached the point where we’re coming up on a rebuilding point for our team in 2 years and a majority or our roster has appreciated to much more than just pennies and will be on contract years at that point so maybe it’s time to be a strike it rich team for a year and take more chances so that we can come away with a superbowl or 2 before half our roster walks? Who says that you have to use one general purpose approach to every off season? Who says you can’t break from tradition one year? I’m not married to this statement, just throwing it out there for debate.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

              • Tarynfor12 Tarynfor 12 says:

                When you break away from the system that has built your success,your buying a ticket on the “slippery slope” of business.Can it be rewarding yes,can it be disastrous yes.
                The bang for the buck is appealing and I corrulate that to Las Vegas(live here)and 99% of the times with FA,your return isn’t what you put in,but if glamor,bright lights and stupid flaunting of cash is the direction,like Monday morning airporters,sorry,regret and dim lights is whats left.
                I’ll stick with secure,smart,and steady stock returns and flourish without the glamor and false batting eyelashes.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

              • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

                Well one thing that Thompson has to consider is that at you can’t expect to go from Favre to Rodgers to X and still maintain such a high level of QB play. Just going from Favre to Rodgers was hard enough (maybe only Montana to Young is comparable) and getting another great quaterback is probably asking too much. So in that sense, Thompson has to strike when the going is good, because Rodgers’ play will start declining just like everyone other player at some point.

                Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

    • PackersRS says:

      I agree with you to some point.

      The Packers need better production from those positions that you listed, no doubt.

      But that improvement can come from the roster. The only position where I really don’t see improvement with the current players is at OLB.

      DE there’s Neal. IMHO we ought to draft another one, since the rest have proven to be insuficient. But it’s way too soon to give up on a player everybody was so pumped up about, including Cullen Jenkins.

      CB there will be progression from both Shields, Williams and Davon House. Woodson played much better at the end of the season, IIRC he didn’t give up a single completion over 20 yards after the second MN game. But he needs to tone down the gambling, or the supporting cast needs to do a better job. But the important thing is, it’s fixeable. No, he’s not going to be a shutdown corner again, but he seldomly plays the outside spot anyway.

      S, if Collins can come back we don’t have a problem. If not, only Morgan Burnett won’t cut it.

      At C, it’s not even sure we have a problem there. FA hasn’t begun, there’s a good chance Wells will come back, and the Packers have reportedly been in contact with Chris Myers’ agent (which is illegal, but not unheard of).

      And QB2 is not a big problem. Harrell will enter his 3rd year in the same system, which is the year in a WCO that the QB starts getting comfortable with the scheme and starts being able to pay attention to the opposing D. More importantly, Rodgers almost never misses a game.

      All in all, not a lot of holes in this squad. Let’s remember that this team has only lost 8 games in the last 29.

      Let’s give some guys at least 1 offseason before we cut them, shall we?

      Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

      • cow42 says:

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        • PackersRS says:

          Again, you were reasonable till you said it was all Rodgers…

          DE – not counting on Neal to save the pass rush. That’s why I say they should draft another DE if the situation is right. But counting him off because after he had major knee surgery he didn’t perform up to par is completely misguided.

          CB – BS on Woodson. I’ve argued this over and over and not going to go into that again. We’ll talk about this when the season starts. About Williams I will. Williams is an average cornerback, with good ball instincts. What Williams excells at is in press coverage, but a shoulder injury limited him the whole season. Not only that, but his counterpart (Shields) was such a liability playing press that Capers simply did not call any more press at all. Shields needs to be taught the technique because he has all the physical skills to be able to be a great press corner. But Shields only started playing corner in college his last year. Moreso, it’s rare for a college team, with the quantity of spread offenses, to play press coverage. So good chances are he had never been taught how to play it up until 2010. He got away with a lot his first year because he either got lucky or was able to compensate with his speed. That didn’t happen last year, I don’t know exactly why, but if I had to guess is because his head got big and not only he got sloppier with the little technique he knew, but he also started peaking at the QB (gambling in press coverage) more and more.

          Regarding Collins, if the doctors clear him, he’ll be back. Not only it’s too much money, but he really likes playing football, and he was starting to get recognized as an elite player.

          I’ve already said that the QB2 is pretty much meaningless for a championship run, unless you have Steve Young or Michael Vick as a QB. Moreso in today’s rules.

          And, again, regarding Rodgers, I can only shake my head. The statement is false to begin with, it’s no coincidence that a lot of teams went quickly after each Packers cut and that the Packers PS is the most sought after.

          This team is build around the QB, but so is almost every great team. You think if Eli Manning goes down the Giants win the SB? If Brady? Peyton? Brees?

          You don’t win a SB without an elite QB. Saying that one team is better than the other if both QBs are down is pointless, you’re not winning it all without them.

          The Ravens and their mighty defense and running game have been to the SB ONCE in their existence. The Steelers had one of if not the best defense of the 90′s and have only gotten to the SB after Big Ben was named the starter.

          The Packers have the best QB in a league that clearly favors the passing game, and have built the best roster possible to make damn sure that he’s successful. And that includes a defense that, not for last year, was top 3 in QB rating, one of the better measurements of success, top 3 in scoring D, and top 10 in yards. Add to that that all of the elite players on this team and most of the core players are below 30 except for Woodson and Pickett, and any notion that this roster is “a house of cards” deserves to be met with laughter.

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          • cow42 says:

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            • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

              Let’s keep the banter civil here shall we?
              No one knows about Collins, the doctors will give their opinons this month and Collins will probably make a decision after that, but as he’s still on the roster and still making money, he’s on the team.

              Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 0

              • PackersRS says:

                Cow may be pessimistic to the extreme but he’s civil. In fact, if anyone was rude it was me and I apologize.

                I just vehemently disagree with the notion that this is a bad team, as portrayed by him.

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        • Zack says:

          Yeah you got carried away and the good points that you made get lost in the overstated and mostly fabricated problems illustrated in this discussion. PackersRS already addressed most of the overstated position issues so suffice it to say I’ll just say I second everything he said. As for the other stuff you’re saying.

          Can’t run- Who says we can’t run? I offer you the challenge of explaining to me why you think we can’t run. Both of our main RB’s averaged over 4 yds/carry. just because we didn’t run very often doesn’t mean that we can’t run.

          Can’t stop the run- Ok… I’m kind of with you on this one. When you have a scrubs like Walden and CJ Wilson that’ll happen which most of us are hoping they’ll address in the draft.

          Can’t stop the pass- We’ll be a lot more effective at stopping the pass when we get pass rushers. I think that the secondary took more of the blame than they’re actually owed when it came to the passing yards given up this year. If you look at a vast majority of the big passing plays given up this year the QB’s had an unacceptable amount of time to just sit in the pocket, allow their recievers to create space, and pick apart our defense. I’m talking 5 seconds+, a lifetime for an NFL QB.

          The more disturbing trend for me was the poor tackling from our secondary… I forgot who showed the stat but 3 of our starting DB’s were in the bottom 10% of the league rank on percentage of missed tackles (and also number of missed tackles) and Hawk was also on that list…

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          • cow42 says:

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            • Zack says:

              wow you don’t listen to reason. what do you want… adrian peterson? 4 yds/ carry is a decent run game. Not great but it’s acceptable. If you have a star running back you have to pay him like a star running back which means that they take up more cap room which considering how much of our offense is dedicated to the run game, would not be a good value for our team considering we’re so stacked in the recieving core. these guys performed well and if you say that we should have leaned on our run game more I’d more than agree with you. But to suggest that it’s starks and grants fault that we barely ran is as backwards as it gets.

              If we don’t get pass rushers it would be mismanagement. there are opportunities. last off season was not my favorite from TT and I think he’ll learn from his mistakes and do better this off season but if he fails to upgrade I’d say that’s 2 bad ones in a row. I think that issue will be addressed.

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            • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

              I think the true distinction is what the team is focusing on. If you are the New York Jets and you have Mark Sanchez behind center, then yes 3.9 y/a is unacceptable because your whole gameplan is predicated on controlling the clock and not giving the ball back to the other team. If you are the Packers and you have Rodgers slinging it around like a video game character, then hell yes 3.9 y/a is acceptable because running is just to mix it up and give opposing defenses something else to worry about. Teams only get so many plays a game, and if you were the Packers, you want to throw the ball right? If that’s the case, then the running game is going to fall behind.

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        • Zack says:

          Anyway I kind of lost the point I was getting to. Do you just enjoy getting a reaction out of people or do you overstate and make outlandish coments because you actually believe these things? Your approach makes it hard to take anything you say seriously even if there is some truth to it.

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  6. SchenySchen says:

    Cow42,
    You just cut our entire ST’s lineup. I get the derision of Bush as a CB but he is easily our best ST player. He also has versatility in the defense. Crabtree is our best blocking TE and its not close, not to mention a decent receiver. If you get rid of Wilson/Wynn and Howard Green, you have eliminated most of our Dlinemen? Those guys are not standouts but Wynn/wilson are decent backup players that have a place on the roster. Every team needs backups. You can’t expect to draft 12 guys and plug them in. Our special teams was much better this year because of the contribution of many of the guys you seemingly want to cut. Please tell me that your post was either trolling or just tongue in cheek. GoPack!

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    • cow42 says:

      i’m not proposing that ALL the players listed would get cut… just that there’s a pretty large pool of players who could be cut (without much negative impact) if, in fact, roster space was needed.

      i should have worded things better.

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      • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

        Essentially you are saying that the bottom 3rd of the team could be cut without much penalty. That is true for every team, every year. There simply aren’t enough star players and enough money to have a all-star team

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        • cow42 says:

          exactly.
          and that supports my initial argument.
          that there is more than enough “room” to add a high quantity of new players to the roster. thus, you should keep your picks.

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          • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

            My argument was more that no team can afford to have their bottom third stocked with high quality players, there simply isn’t enough money. My feeling is that if the Packers cut the bottom 3rd of the team, the players they resigned wouldn’t be appreciably better than before. That’s just the economics of the NFL at play.

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    • Oppy says:

      I think, technically, Quarless would be our best blocking TE, and it’s not even close.

      But then, he’s got a really messed up leg/knee and probably won’t see any action in 2012.

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  7. SchenySchen says:

    The coaches would disagree with you. Crabtree is the best pure blocker. Quarless got better at blocking, however, I think your point about him being injured makes his blocking skill a moot point, which you have pointed out. GoPack!

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  8. Zack says:

    There is the concept of trading James Jones and a later pick (maybe 4th or 5th?) or possibly James Jones straight up for a second round pick that I like. If you’re looking for us to move up in the draft in the early rounds I think that’s the best thing I’ve heard. Another thing would be coupling DD and James Jones and possibly a pick or two to someone for a first rounder. That would clear 8mil in salary cap (not inclusive of whatever cap penalty if any), give our young, raw, use or lose talent at WR room on the roster, and give us the extra impact pass rusher that some of us really really want. I think suffice it to say that 2 first round pass rushers would give us the extra punch that we really need on our defense. Not to mention if we don’t re-sign wells we could possibly draft Konz while not sacrificing our first round pass rusher. There are teams that really need some quality recievers and we can get a hefty profit for a couple vets like these guys. I don’t see much of an opportunity to move up the way we need to trading just picks. I understand you guys are talking theoretically but when applied to the actual draft I don’t think it’s plausible without coupling picks with players.

    Disclaimer: I understand that what I’ve suggested is not TT’s style. I’m not saying that I think this will happen. I’m simply trying to take the theoretical draft approach that you guys have stated and trying to apply it to the actual draft. Remember that comp picks aren’t tradeable and even if they were, most of them are later picks that wouldn’t equate to the type of picks that would be likely to translate to higher quality. I guess we could take our 5th 6th and 7th round picks trade them for an extra 4th or something like that with the comp picks to make up for the trades and then use that 4th round pick to sweeten a higher round trade deal so in that regard maybe it could be valid. but really this is all stuff that TT isn’t going to do =P

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    • gman says:

      If any team wanted James Jones, we would not have signed him for 3 mil a year. Teams just do not give up 2nd’s that easily. Draft picks are so valuable because a team gets their services for four years at a reasonable salary, therefore more money left on cap for high salaried vets.

      Mike Sherman traded picks away constantly Quality vs Quantity but that backfired every year. It just seems as though a certain % of picks are going to pan out, regardless of round, except 1st and maybe early 2nd. And teams do not just give those away(Unless their Oakland of Washington). Of course TT hits on a higher % than most GM’s, but just because you trade up doesn’t that mean your getting a quality player. Trading up is exciting, but gives some fans a false sense of security toward the picks real value. Let’s just say half the guys drafted will turn into players, why not better your chances of finding players by using 10 picks instead of five.

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      • Zack says:

        “If any team wanted James Jones, we would not have signed him for 3 mil a year.”

        that’s not true at all… There are a BUNCH of teams that James Jones would be an immediate improvement to. He’s our #4 or 5 guy because we’re deep on WR. He could easily step onto half the teams in the league as their #2 guy and there’s maybe 2 or 3 teams that he would be their #1 reciever. Tell me that Miami or Cleveland wouldn’t LOVE to have James Jones step onto their squad. I don’t know why he re signed with us for 3 mil but that’s actually a larger number than you’re making it sound… He didn’t even test free agency we just offered him that number. Can you tell me a 2nd round reciever in this draft that you would rather have than James Jones? I looked at them and I can’t.

        As far as the whole some fans get a false sense of security from higher picks, it’s not really a false sense of security. Yeah it’s nice to hit a diamond in the rough but historically the higher picks have a better chance of performing well. I’m not saying that 1st round picks are a sure thing, don’t get me wrong, but I will say that I’d rather pick 2 1st or 2nd round pass rushers then cross my fingers and hope that we get lucky on a 5th round pick… especially if it came by trading a minimally used WR.

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        • Tarynfor12 Tarynfor 12 says:

          James Jones was a FA on the market with the chance for ANY team to match that number of $3 mil and he could have signed there easy.But,no team called him and after waiting and waiting,TT opened the door and he came home and was grateful as it was COLD outside.
          However,I do agree that JJ and DD would help as trade bait with a pick to move up but not in 1st rd…likely 2nd.I would trade our 1st and get another 2nd and 4th then package 3rd and 4ths for another 2nd.But no way I’m giving up 2nds,3rds to move in the 1st.

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        • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

          Considering the contract that Jones signed and the fact that it took Jones 2-3 weeks to sign implies no one wanted him. I would also have to agree with gman, if they wanted Jones they would have signed him last year and not had to give up a draft pick, especially considering Jones didn’t really do anything special this year.

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          • Zack says:

            Ok I’ll concede maybe no one made him a higher offer. I thought he signed pretty quick i didn’t know he sat around for 3 weeks. but I’ll still contend that he can step onto a squad like the dolphins and make an immediate difference. Dare I say he’d be their #1 reciever at this point? And I still haven’t heard of a 2nd round pick that is a better bet than James Jones.

            Plus you guys kind of missed the point. The point is that I don’t think that we could possibly trade our picks for value without coupling the picks with players, which if you read my disclaimer I don’t think that any of what I said will happen.

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            • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

              Isn’t the Miami #1 receiver Brandon Marshall? I’d be pretty surprised if Jones could outplay Marshall (when he wants to of course). As for the trade, involving players for trades when it comes to draft picks is actually pretty rare on draft day, and so is comboing picks and players overall. There have been a couple cases, like with the Kevin Kolb trade, but usually these are huge splash trades and not in the range of what Jones could expect to see.

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    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      I highly doubt anyone would give up a 2nd round pick for Jones, especially when packaged with Driver. If you were a team, would you want a 36 year old wide receiver whose definitely near the end of his career? Keep in mind you say that Driver is hindering the development of younger players on the roster, I could argue that he would be hindering the development younger players on the team he was traded to as well. Simply put, Drivers value is probably highest with Packers, where he knows the offense and has good rapport with the quarterback, would he be as good with a new scheme and new QB? Unlikely at this point.

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      • Zack says:

        Yes I would want DD if I was a team without any recievers… like miami or cleveland. No he wouldn’t hinder the developement of their young recievers. On the contrary he would help their developement because they could play the #3 or 4 reciever spot while learning the offense, developing their route running etc. while DD and James Jones took the 1 and 2 spots for a couple years. then DD retires and they have a developed hungry young reciever to take DD’s spot. The reason that DD hurts our developement is because there’s not enough roster room to fit our young guys from the practice squad on there and the young guys that are on the roster that are good enough to be starters are our # 6 or 7 WR because he and JJ are there. For teams with NO ONE he and JJ would be a god send.

        As far as the new system, for a WR it’s not as hard to convert to a new system… It’s more about route running than anything. If he was QB I’d say you have more of a point. plus, remember our OC from last year is the Dolphins new coach so there won’t be much to learn. Dare I say that it may be closer to what he’s used to than what our system will be next year.

        Imagine if the dolphins picked up Flynn and then did the trade for DD and JJ. They would have a core offense and head coach that has been working together for almost half a decade. Would be a good start to their new team.

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        • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

          Number one I wouldn’t claim that Miami has no receiving threats. They have Brandon Marshall, Davon Bess and Anthony Fasano, which makes a pretty good core. But that would actually be a very interesting experiment, would Flynn-Jones-Driver be able to operate as a poor man’s Rodgers-Jennings-Nelson? I’d be hesitant to assume that just because Philbin coached them in Green Bay would automatically make them successful in Miami; for one, Philbin will probably change the offense to what he wants and Miami has put way more focus on the running game with Thomas and Bush

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          • Zack says:

            not saying they’d be successful but it would give them better chance at success than the other options to me. the run game would only benefit the new coach qb and recievers by taking pressure off of the passing game. Yeah i’d give marshall #1 over jones. but these guys would add depth at very least and I still think JJ would be #2 WR. It would be fun to see if it worked.

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  9. Dan says:

    We desperately need an impact pass rusher, 2 would be better, if this happens, the Pack is back in the SB. A pass rush will take a lot of heat off the DBs and the whole D. TT needs to do what ever it takes to land some pass rush talent. I don’t care if its trades, FA , moving up in the draft or what ever, TTs job this off season is to find a pass rush if he doesn’t, then he will have failed, just like last year!

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    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      The moment you think a team is “a player away from the SB” is the moment that team will fail to make the playoffs. In fact if you look at the Eagles, even being 4-5-6 players away from a SB still doesn’t mean you’ll be any good. Even drafting an OLB in the first round doesn’t guarantee he will light it up his rookie year. Even Clay Matthews really took a year to become a star and I’d argue it took him a lot less time than most players.

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  10. [...] All Green Bay Packers decides to play Devil’s Advocate: Quality vs. Quantity in the NFL Draft. [...]

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  11. Ron LC says:

    The conversation above verifies my stance on player decision making by fans. Anything goes. I’m glad TT and MM don’t listen to us when it becomes time to make those decisions.

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    • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

      Actually I would be quite horrified if TT or MM actually listened to us

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    • Zack says:

      LOL, Ron if you’re referring to what I said please read my disclaimer. I more than agree with you. I was trying to apply the trade for quality over quantity theory to getting an elite pass rusher and I said several times “I know/ don’t think that these things will happen.”

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      • Zack says:

        and on top of that the point I was getting to is yeah what I proposed isn’t something that would/ should happen and yet no one else has even attempted to offer an explanation as to how quality over quantity may actually apply to the draft, why you may ask? because it’s nice in theory but not in practice. Except in rare cases TT tends to take what the draft gives him or trade back way more often than he trades up. So unless someone can offer a better way that this article can apply to the draft I think the case is closed for me. We’ll mostly keep our draft picks or trade back… and also if we do trade up we don’t have the picks to trade up very far unless coupled with picks and players.

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        • gman says:

          Zach I just don’t remember many times in Packers history they came out like roses with 5 picks instead of 10. Clay being the main exception, but we don’t have a high 2nd and 2 high 3rd’s to get a 1st. As for trading players and picks it doesnt’ happen for a reason, teams don’t want the big contract even if its 3mil in jones case. Is there a better rec in the second round who knows, but we do know that Jones has definite limitations and he doesn’t play ST’s at all and his salary would be approx 3 times a second rnd rookie(who will be on the team for 4 yrs , Jones 2 more, and most imporantly that rookie as of draft day has a chance to be a star).Another good reason in my opinion to think quantity over quality is UDFA’s, how in the world do so many UFDA’s turn into players if the draft process can be whittled down to trading a couple picks to move up 20 spots in the 4th.

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          • Zack says:

            The funny thing to me is that you and I agree that this wouldn’t happen and yet we took up half the board arguing points/ counter points. The plausibility of trading up just isn’t there for me this year considering our pick placement. maybe through some crazy scouting techniques which are completely impossible for us to predict, he’ll come to the conclusion that it’s better to trade his 6th and 7th for a 5th to get a specific player or something unremarkable like that but nothing like trading up in the 1st or 2nd.

            I still contend that JJ is valuable to other teams… Who says that JJ didn’t get offers from other teams? It’s very possible that he went to FA got offers and the packers matched/ exceeded those offers. It’s easy to see why JJ would want to stay with the pack… who wouldn’t want another ring? The whole “let the market determine his value thing” very well may have happenned and our organization decided he was worth market value. I don’t know for sure but some think that JJ is over paid and that could be why we offered him that number. I do know that he would be an improvement to a lot of teams. a few years ago some thought he was going to be a top 2 packers reciever…

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            • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

              No one is arguing that Jones didn’t get any offers from any other team, but the fact that he came back at such a small contract would seem to indicate that other teams were trying to low ball him as well. Comparing his contract to other receivers that year totally puts him in the 3rd tier, as I mentioned in a previous article. I would say that the Packers probably didn’t initially offer Jones a deal but when they saw what other teams were trying to sign him for, they jumped at the opportunity. As for Jones himself, you have to weigh between having a good chance to win another superbowl/having a great quarterback/ playing in a receiver friendly system vs. becoming a true #1 wide receiver/getting the recognition and money that comes with being a #1 etc.

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              • Zack says:

                Thomas Hobbes-
                “Considering the contract that Jones signed and the fact that it took Jones 2-3 weeks to sign implies no one wanted him.”

                Tarynfor 12-
                “James Jones was a FA on the market with the chance for ANY team to match that number of $3 mil and he could have signed there easy.But,no team called him and after waiting and waiting,TT opened the door and he came home and was grateful as it was COLD outside.”

                gman-
                “If any team wanted James Jones, we would not have signed him for 3 mil a year.”

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              • Zack says:

                those quotes were in response to
                Thomas Hobbes- “No one is arguing that Jones didn’t get any offers from any other team…”

                Perhaps you guys were using hyperbolic responses but they sure didn’t come accross that way. maybe you disagree with the concept that JJ would be worth a decent pick even when coupled with draft picks and DD but you guys were making it sound like JJ can’t find a job outside of GB. That’s a major exageration.

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              • Thomas Hobbes Thomas Hobbes says:

                I should have been more clear on my wording, I meant no teams really wanted him (like wanting him for $5-6 million a year). My feeling is that other teams probably tried to low-ball Jones as well, because I highly doubt Jones got no play at all during free agency, but probably got teams interested at adding depth in their lineup as opposed to looks for starters. Maybe some teams even offered him a little more, like $3.5 million, but at that difference, being able to stay put was probably more attractive.

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  12. Mark says:

    I agree that GB would be well-served to get quality players, rather than just deFying. Bunch of guys with potential and seeing which ones stick. I would go about doing this in a totally different manner however.

    I would like to see GB trade down, out of the 1st round if no real impact players are available, and into the very early 2nd round with St. Louis or Cleveland. GB could send a 1st, late 3rd and late 4th to either team for an early 2nd and early 3rd. This way, GB could nab at least a rotational player in the early 3rd round (ronnel Lewis type) and still get two starters with the top 2 picks.

    Compensatory picks should be awarded to GB in either the 3rd to 4th rounds (2 picks) so they should still be able to fill their roster with players that they like.

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