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Unless you love Daryl Richardson or the potential of Hillman, there was MAYBE one heir apparent RB1 in dynasty fantasy football, and it was Hunter.

What about D. Wilson?
I don't think he's an heir apparent RB1 - at best an heir apparent RBBC. Bradshaw is still only 26 and is only one season removed from 1500+ total yard season. Sure, he gets dinged up, but this situation reminds me of F. Jackson/Spiller. For 3 years+ people thought Spiller was taking over - this year it finally seems to be happening - but Jackson is 31. Wilson might eventually be the lead dog - but I have a feeling it will be later (3-4 years) rather than sooner.
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What are that Quizz gets 60%+ of the teams RB touches next season? He seems to be a guy under the radar, in that regard. I wouldn't be shocked to see it happen, and the Falcons are becoming, if not already, one of the elite offenses in the NFL.

The Falcons have been leaning on him more and more, so now is the time to buy, if you like him.

Do not want.

Trent Richardson is 5'9.1" 229 pounds, making him one of the biggest running backs in the NFL in terms of weight per height. He is built similar to guys like Maurice Drew and Michael Turner, who have had tremendous durability. He is the embodiment of the prototypical high volume NFL RB.

Beanie Wells is 4 inches taller, but only 6 pounds heavier. Completely different body type. Not nearly as compact, which is the biggest problem. His ankles and lower body are much more exposed. Same deal with guys like McFadden, Lattimore, and Murray. It's not impossible for someone with this type of build to be a successful long term NFL RB, but it's a lot less likely than with the compact guys.

I posted a list of 15+ RB 6'0" or taller that had long healthy careers. I could put together a long list of guys shorter than that, who didn't.

Please tell me how Lattimore's height led to either of his injuries. Tell me how him being 5'10" or 5'11" would have prevented them.

It's not height as much as it's about body mass. Steven Jackson is tall, but he's not brittle because he's strong as hell throughout his lower body.

Imagine that you're an engineer building an athlete that needs to survive a lot of hits to the lower body.

Would you want someone who looks like this?

http://cache.deadspin.com/assets/images/11/2008/09/beanie_wells.jpg

http://i.cnn.net/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0708/top20.running.backs.cfb/images/darren.mcfadden.jpg

http://fitsnews.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/lattimore-surgery.jpg

http://www.vikingsgab.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/DeMarco-Murray.jpg

Or this?

http://cdn.everyjoe.com/files/2012/08/michael-turner-fantasy-football.jpg

http://www4.pictures.zimbio.com/gi/J+Williams+Maurice+Jones+Drew+Denver+Broncos+ufFrDZ3KFZWl.jpg

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_F2xmCQ3UB9Y/Rxw3tzmIIMI/AAAAAAAAA54/WKfSRfHM7Gg/s400/rayrice.jpg

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-C3lo7wAjraI/TwdRufuQbKI/AAAAAAAAAg8/vs6sMLS1OuQ/s1600/dyer.jpg

A more compact frame presents a smaller target. A thicker limb can withstand more force.

Considering how intuitive this is, I'm surprised that there's always so much resistance to it. Think of the legs as a tree trunk. I'm no expert in physics, but I'd venture to guess that a shorter, wider trunk is going to be a lot more resistant to cracking than a longer, thinner trunk. It's also going to do a better job of absorbing hits and reducing strain. It's the same reason why a baseball bat will crack if hit at the handle, but not if hit at the barrel.

Of course there are examples of thin backs who have been very durable (like Chris Johnson) and stocky backs who have had durability problems (like Rashard Mendenhall), but that's because there are a lot of variables involved. Running style is an important factor. So is luck. But I think it's pretty obvious that, all else being equal, a player with a strong frame is a lot more likely to survive the beating of life in the NFL trenches than a player who is stretched out and thin at the points where he is hit most often. It is no coincidence that guys like McFadden, Beanie, Murray, and Lattimore are always going down with foot/ankle/knee injuries. They don't have the anatomy to survive their own running styles.

I agree that it's intuitive. That doesn't make it right. Beware intuitive explanations, because our cognitive process is so riddled with bias that being obvious cannot be taken as a proxy for being right. It's intuitive that when you're in a lot of debt you should cut spending, yet applying that intuitive logic to the government leads to something called the fiscal cliff. It's intuitive that breaking a bone will weaken it and leave it more susceptible to further breaks, but the opposite is actually the case. It's intuitive that players listed on the injury report as questionable would be more limited and therefore score fewer points than average when they play, but the truth is that players score as many points in weeks where they are listed on the report as they do in weeks where they aren't. It's intuitive that a team that has come back from several scores down to tie the game would have "momentum" and therefore be more likely to earn the win, but the reality is that a tie game is a 50/50 affair, regardless of the order of the scoring.

I agree that you would think a shorter, thicker, more muscular leg would be less prone to injury, but it also occurs to me that most injury occurs at the joint, and I can't envision a clear mechanism that would cause different musculature to increase or reduce injury risk at the joint. I'd be really interested in seeing some sort of objective, rigorous, comprehensive, data-driven analysis of the subject. Absent that, I'll remain leery of plausible-sounding but wholly unsubstantiated (or purely anecdotal) explanations.

Last thing on the subject, and my apologies for beating a dead horse:

It seems like when Ingram and Richardson have knee issues, they just have them. Beanie does because he's tall. When Ingram gets turf toe, he just does. Beanie and McFadden get it because they are tall. When MJD sprains his foot, he just does. McFadden and Murray did because they are tall. When LeSean McCoy sprains his ankle, he just does. Beanie, McFadden, and Forte did because they were tall.

It simply doesn't add up to me. And I'm done.

I'm mostly with you on this one CC...but I wouldn't dismiss EBF's theory on it out of hand. I think there's a logic to it that lends it some credence. I believe he gives the idea too much weight in his evaluations...but it deserves some weight.
I agree it deserves some weight. I disagree that we are the ones to assign that weight. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is hugely performance based. I'm sure the thought that body type might be linked to injury risk has occurred to front offices. I'm sure they've invested resources into investigating that possibility. If they're investing heavy resources in a player, that should be all the reassurance we need that either (a) they have concluded he's not an undue risk for injury, or (b) they have concluded that he's such an obscene, league-altering talent that he was worth the risk. Yes, scouting departments get it wrong all the time. The question is who you place more trust in- the multi-million dollar scouting industry that is vetting, working out, and medically examining these players, or some guy on the Internet looking at how skinny a player's legs are.
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Last thing on the subject, and my apologies for beating a dead horse:

It seems like when Ingram and Richardson have knee issues, they just have them. Beanie does because he's tall. When Ingram gets turf toe, he just does. Beanie and McFadden get it because they are tall. When MJD sprains his foot, he just does. McFadden and Murray did because they are tall. When LeSean McCoy sprains his ankle, he just does. Beanie, McFadden, and Forte did because they were tall.

It simply doesn't add up to me. And I'm done.

I'm mostly with you on this one CC...but I wouldn't dismiss EBF's theory on it out of hand. I think there's a logic to it that lends it some credence. I believe he gives the idea too much weight in his evaluations...but it deserves some weight.
I don't mean to dismiss it all together. I think there is something to guys built like MJD and Rice being able to better handle the beating an NFL back takes. I do buy into that, some. I just don't feel that injuries not related to that beating, are more common in backs not fitting that mold. If McFadden was 5'9" 225, he'd still have sprained his foot and ankle, and still would have gotten turf toe. No way to prove that; just my thoughts.
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So Chud disclosed today that J Stew hasn't been 100% all season - ankles and toes issues. Figured that was the case all along, he's held back from a full load because he's brittle from the calves down and always has been.

:rolleyes:
Feel free to use the search function, I posted about this back in October or so and I'm sure during the offseason too. If there weren't an ongoing issue he'd be more heavily utilized.
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What kind of value do we think Danario Alexander has right now?I know he hasn't play a ton of games in his career, but he seems to almost always make plays when he's in there. Keyword being "when".

Depending on the league, maybe a mid-late 2nd rounder. That is all I would personally pay for him. Just too much risk involved for me to invest any more than that. If he stays healthy, I think he could keep this up. But I won't bet much on that happening.
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I agree that it's intuitive. That doesn't make it right. Beware intuitive explanations, because our cognitive process is so riddled with bias that being obvious cannot be taken as a proxy for being right.

Just because you read it in your psych 1 textbook doesn't mean it always applies. Plenty of intuitive beliefs happen to have merit. In the case of anatomy, it's clear to anyone who knows anything about the animal kingdom, architecture, or engineering that function follows form.

If people want to believe that this body will hold up as well to contact as this one, so be it. I think it's pretty clear that the job duties of an NFL featured back favor certain body types over others. I've missed one or two gems with this approach, but that number is far outweighed by the amount of scrubs and failures that I've completely avoided.

Edited by EBF
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What kind of value do we think Danario Alexander has right now?I know he hasn't play a ton of games in his career, but he seems to almost always make plays when he's in there. Keyword being "when".

Unless you're using him in a 2-for-1 deal to upgrade a position of need for the playoffs, hold. Hope he stays in one piece through the season then see if he gets a big contract somewhere in March a la Laurent Robinson last season. Hopefully he goes to a better location than Laurent and you can see about cashing in. His pricetag right now is probably equivalent to a WR in the 40-50 range, so given his weekly upside you'll get more with him on your roster than by moving him.
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I agree that it's intuitive. That doesn't make it right. Beware intuitive explanations, because our cognitive process is so riddled with bias that being obvious cannot be taken as a proxy for being right.

Just because you read it in your psych 1 textbook doesn't mean it always applies. Plenty of intuitive beliefs happen to have merit. In the case of anatomy, it's clear to anyone who knows anything about the animal kingdom, architecture, or engineering that function follows form.

If people want to believe that this body will hold up as well to contact as this one, so be it. I think it's pretty clear that the job duties of an NFL featured back favor certain body types over others. I've missed one or two gems with this approach, but that number is far outweighed by the amount of scrubs and failures that I've completely avoided.

Yes, plenty of intuitive beliefs have merit. I never claimed that there was a negative correlation between intuition and accuracy (I.e. intuitive beliefs are more likely to be wrong than counterintuitive beliefs). I would expect a positive correlation between "intuitiveness" and "accuracy", I'm just saying that that correlation will be many orders of magnitude weaker than the correlation between "substantiated by data" and "accuracy". Which is why I prefer theories that are actually supported by the data. I have, as of yet, not seen a single attempt to support your "non-ideal body types are more likely to sustain injury" with actual real-world data. I haven't even seen an attempt to strictly define non-ideal body types, which allows for a lot of goalpost moving. As a result, I treat your theory with extreme skepticism.

I'm also, by default, leery of any theory that suggests there is a very simple, intuitive, obvious heuristic to predict NFL success that has not yet occurred to and been accounted for by the results-driven, Multi-million dollar scouting industry.

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If people want to believe that this body will hold up as well to contact as this one, so be it. I think it's pretty clear that the job duties of an NFL featured back favor certain body types over others. I've missed one or two gems with this approach, but that number is far outweighed by the amount of scrubs and failures that I've completely avoided.

What about injuries not caused by contact, though, EBF? Do you think body type lends to foot sprains and turf toe?
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If people want to believe that this body will hold up as well to contact as this one, so be it. I think it's pretty clear that the job duties of an NFL featured back favor certain body types over others. I've missed one or two gems with this approach, but that number is far outweighed by the amount of scrubs and failures that I've completely avoided.

What about injuries not caused by contact, though, EBF? Do you think body type lends to foot sprains and turf toe?
Yes, without proper functional body strength when the body is over-stressed already weaker areas (relatively speaking) have a tendency to become issues. Some people it's their back, others it's the knee, some hips, and others feet. Usually one of those four. Athletes also tend to overcompensate or lose their form/technique as they fatigue, this can more easily lead to injuries, and especially if the athlete doesn't have the appropriate functional body strength to star with. All of these reasons are why you see more injuries later in the year than earlier. There's usually a rash of injuries in camp because bodies aren't up to speed yet, but I've noticed the quantity of injuries occurring between late August and mid October seem to be much lower than the beginning of camp and midseason-on. Logically, it makes sense.

There is no perfect formula, some injuries are just flukey and not avoidable. That said, there's a reason guys like Larry Fitzgerald don't miss games. He trains properly and has the appropriate strength levels throughout his body. A fluke injury could get him at any time like anyone else, but I think he's at much less risk of injury than other WR's. Similar story with the squatty runningbacks, it's why I was so high on Martin and Richardson coming out. I think you can separate players into risk categories - moderate, worried, high, and glass. Maybe more. I'll take glass and high risk players, but not at a premium price. Danario Alexander, Laurent Robinson, and Tony Moeaki? Sure, welcome aboard, lets see if the glue keeps you intact. Beanie, Demarco, and DMC? No thanks, I don't build my teams around players made of glass.

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If people want to believe that this body will hold up as well to contact as this one, so be it. I think it's pretty clear that the job duties of an NFL featured back favor certain body types over others. I've missed one or two gems with this approach, but that number is far outweighed by the amount of scrubs and failures that I've completely avoided.

What about injuries not caused by contact, though, EBF? Do you think body type lends to foot sprains and turf toe?
Yes, without proper functional body strength when the body is over-stressed already weaker areas (relatively speaking) have a tendency to become issues. Some people it's their back, others it's the knee, some hips, and others feet. Usually one of those four. Athletes also tend to overcompensate or lose their form/technique as they fatigue, this can more easily lead to injuries, and especially if the athlete doesn't have the appropriate functional body strength to star with. All of these reasons are why you see more injuries later in the year than earlier. There's usually a rash of injuries in camp because bodies aren't up to speed yet, but I've noticed the quantity of injuries occurring between late August and mid October seem to be much lower than the beginning of camp and midseason-on. Logically, it makes sense.

There is no perfect formula, some injuries are just flukey and not avoidable. That said, there's a reason guys like Larry Fitzgerald don't miss games. He trains properly and has the appropriate strength levels throughout his body. A fluke injury could get him at any time like anyone else, but I think he's at much less risk of injury than other WR's. Similar story with the squatty runningbacks, it's why I was so high on Martin and Richardson coming out. I think you can separate players into risk categories - moderate, worried, high, and glass. Maybe more. I'll take glass and high risk players, but not at a premium price. Danario Alexander, Laurent Robinson, and Tony Moeaki? Sure, welcome aboard, lets see if the glue keeps you intact. Beanie, Demarco, and DMC? No thanks, I don't build my teams around players made of glass.

You don't really address my point, directly. I am talking stictly body type or BMI, or however you want to define it. Is a 6' 220 RB more likely to get turf toe than a 5'10 220 RB? How about foot sprain? Ankle Sprain?

That is what needs to be answered. I'm not interested in who you have decided is glass or moderate, or anything else. I am talking strictly body type, and it's relation to injuries that don't come from a collection of hits.

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If people want to believe that this body will hold up as well to contact as this one, so be it. I think it's pretty clear that the job duties of an NFL featured back favor certain body types over others. I've missed one or two gems with this approach, but that number is far outweighed by the amount of scrubs and failures that I've completely avoided.

What about injuries not caused by contact, though, EBF? Do you think body type lends to foot sprains and turf toe?
Yes, without proper functional body strength when the body is over-stressed already weaker areas (relatively speaking) have a tendency to become issues. Some people it's their back, others it's the knee, some hips, and others feet. Usually one of those four. Athletes also tend to overcompensate or lose their form/technique as they fatigue, this can more easily lead to injuries, and especially if the athlete doesn't have the appropriate functional body strength to star with. All of these reasons are why you see more injuries later in the year than earlier. There's usually a rash of injuries in camp because bodies aren't up to speed yet, but I've noticed the quantity of injuries occurring between late August and mid October seem to be much lower than the beginning of camp and midseason-on. Logically, it makes sense.

There is no perfect formula, some injuries are just flukey and not avoidable. That said, there's a reason guys like Larry Fitzgerald don't miss games. He trains properly and has the appropriate strength levels throughout his body. A fluke injury could get him at any time like anyone else, but I think he's at much less risk of injury than other WR's. Similar story with the squatty runningbacks, it's why I was so high on Martin and Richardson coming out. I think you can separate players into risk categories - moderate, worried, high, and glass. Maybe more. I'll take glass and high risk players, but not at a premium price. Danario Alexander, Laurent Robinson, and Tony Moeaki? Sure, welcome aboard, lets see if the glue keeps you intact. Beanie, Demarco, and DMC? No thanks, I don't build my teams around players made of glass.

You don't really address my point, directly. I am talking stictly body type or BMI, or however you want to define it. Is a 6' 220 RB more likely to get turf toe than a 5'10 220 RB? How about foot sprain? Ankle Sprain?

That is what needs to be answered. I'm not interested in who you have decided is glass or moderate, or anything else. I am talking strictly body type, and it's relation to injuries that don't come from a collection of hits.

As I have said all along I don't think there is an easy answer, from your posts I think this is what you're looking for and I don't think you will get it. If someone wants to take the time to do the research and there is an answer, have at it, I would be willing to bet the statistical answer is inconclusive so I'm not going to take the time to do it. Overall, I think each player is a puzzle, how those pieces get put together vary player to player - not speaking just from how they're physically built either. Put all the pieces together, make a valuation, then match it with how they're viewed by the consensus. Injury risk is a part of it and I think you can learn a lot about it by following college ball, so that's what I do. I think I saw the red flags in guys like Beanie, DMC, and Demarco long before others just by watching them in school. How they run, technique in traffic/in space, how they're built, how often they pull themselves from games, what causes them to be pulled from games, consistently be able to practice, ability to play hurt, etc. I saw too many issues with all of the above to covet any of them.

The one mistake in these three cases is that I let this perception and my being right about Beanie and DMC deter me away from Demarco despite not demanding much of a price draft day. Liked the talent, didn't think he could survive in a feature role. That's definitely worth a 2nd or 3rd round rookie pick, should have pounced. Lesson learned, don't repeat the mistake again. But also don't compound it by trying to buy him after his value explodes, that's why I didn't try to trade for him anytime after that Rams game last year.

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As I have said all along I don't think there is an easy answer, from your posts I think this is what you're looking for and I don't think you will get it. If someone wants to take the time to do the research and there is an answer, have at it, I would be willing to bet the statistical answer is inconclusive so I'm not going to take the time to do it. Overall, I think each player is a puzzle, how those pieces get put together vary player to player - not speaking just from how they're physically built either. to buy him after his value explodes, that's why I didn't try to trade for him anytime after that Rams game last year.

I don't have much to counter here. I think it is way too soon to say Murray is in the Wells, McFadden catagory. But that is a personal call. I don't disagree with much that you said, beyond that.
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Here is a question I'd like to further discuss.....

How do you gauge value of draft picks (whether it be 1st-2nd-3rd)? And how do they measure up in year such as 2013 (potential down year) and a stronger year like 2014. With there being no clear top players in the 2013 draft, would it be better to acquire 2nd round picks as opposed to 1st given the difference in trade value?

I always have a hard time determining what picks are really worth. I get offers for various picks, whether they are thrown in on top of a deal, or a pick-for-player, and I have a hard time determining the return value.

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I'm also, by default, leery of any theory that suggests there is a very simple, intuitive, obvious heuristic to predict NFL success that has not yet occurred to and been accounted for by the results-driven, Multi-million dollar scouting industry.

Unless you have an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of every personnel department in the league, I don't think you're qualified to say what they have and haven't accounted for. I'd venture to guess that quite a few teams have looked at the kind of things I'm talking about.

I have, as of yet, not seen a single attempt to support your "non-ideal body types are more likely to sustain injury" with actual real-world data. I haven't even seen an attempt to strictly define non-ideal body types, which allows for a lot of goalpost moving. As a result, I treat your theory with extreme skepticism.

You're not going to find an objective measure. Durability is a combination of luck, toughness, running style, usage, and body type. BMI is a pretty good starting point for determining body type, but it's flawed because it doesn't provide any information about the distribution of a player's weight, which is important. All else being equal, a top-heavy back is going to be less durable than a back who carries his weight in his lower body. The best support for the "ideal body type" argument is the fact most of the RBs who have had great careers in recent history have fit the mold pretty well. Guys like Ricky Williams, LaDainain Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk, Barry Sanders, Clinton Portis, Shaun Alexander, Jamal Lewis, Frank Gore, and Edgerrin James are all built more or less the same. It's probably not a coincidence that Trent Richardson and Doug Martin are physically cut from this same cloth as well. Those guys are actually the exact same height (5'9.1"), and their weight is only separated by 5 pounds. The NFL clearly has a preference for a certain type of RB. It drafts more of them in the first round. More of them go on to great careers.To be fair, we've also seen some thinner backs like Darren McFadden and CJ Spiller earn very high draft slots in recent years, but neither has yet demonstrated the ability to accumulate a Tomlinson/Edge/Ricky workload over multiple seasons. The same goes for Reggie Bush, who has a career high of 216 carries after 8 years in the league. Jamaal Charles is hovering around the same territory right now. Chris Johnson is really the only guy with a non-traditional build who has shown the ability to handle a high volume of carries over multiple seasons, and he has a few subjective factors working in his favor (running style, distribution of weight, super freak athlete). I don't think BMI is a perfect indicator of body type, but I'd be interested in seeing a study that tracks all backs who were drafted within the past ten years and determines the average workload as it relates to body type, factoring in draft position (because a non-ideal first round RB is probably going to have a higher expected amount of touches than an ideal seventh rounder due to differences in talent). I'd venture to guess that a study like this might corroborate some of what I'm saying.
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Here is a question I'd like to further discuss.....How do you gauge value of draft picks (whether it be 1st-2nd-3rd)? And how do they measure up in year such as 2013 (potential down year) and a stronger year like 2014. With there being no clear top players in the 2013 draft, would it be better to acquire 2nd round picks as opposed to 1st given the difference in trade value?I always have a hard time determining what picks are really worth. I get offers for various picks, whether they are thrown in on top of a deal, or a pick-for-player, and I have a hard time determining the return value.

I acquire as many early picks as I can during the season then as the draft nears re-evaluate since you usually get the most return for picks right before the draft. Sometimes if I'm not liking what I'm seeing where I am picking I will bail (1.7, 2011), other times I will package them together to move up (Richardson), or sometimes I'll stay put and take what falls to me (RG3). This is why I just take the volume approach with picks so I have the flexibility come May and June to do what I want to do. There isn't always a willing buyer or seller (i.e. I tried to trade down from the middle of the 2nd last year because I thought I could get the top guy on my board - AJ Jenkins - a half dozen picks later and there were others I'd be happy with if someone sniped me, so may as well try to add more value and move back but I had no takers), but more often than not there is someone looking to move.
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Here is a question I'd like to further discuss.....How do you gauge value of draft picks (whether it be 1st-2nd-3rd)? And how do they measure up in year such as 2013 (potential down year) and a stronger year like 2014. With there being no clear top players in the 2013 draft, would it be better to acquire 2nd round picks as opposed to 1st given the difference in trade value?I always have a hard time determining what picks are really worth. I get offers for various picks, whether they are thrown in on top of a deal, or a pick-for-player, and I have a hard time determining the return value.

It's really hard to explain, I think. It is kind of something you pick up naturally. It took me a few years, and every league is different. So is every team. One thing I have picked up on, is the value of the top 3-4 picks in relation to the 5-8 and 9-12/14. The top pick in most drafts is usually a 2nd or 3rd round pick in a startup draft. While picks 5-8 go MUCH later. Looking at startup drafts that include rookies will give you a good idea. You can search for the startup thread in this forum and take a look at some. You'll always have guys that under value picks, and guys that over value them. Take advantage of both. Roster size is the biggest indicator of how valuable 2nd and 3rd rounders will be. The more shallow the roster, the less valuable they are; you can't afford to wait for guys to pan out, often. In bigger leagues, you can wait for guys like Shorts and Kaepernick to pan out, so the picks you would typically use on such guys are more valuable. Hope this helps some.
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I'm also, by default, leery of any theory that suggests there is a very simple, intuitive, obvious heuristic to predict NFL success that has not yet occurred to and been accounted for by the results-driven, Multi-million dollar scouting industry.

Unless you have an intimate knowledge of the inner workings of every personnel department in the league, I don't think you're qualified to say what they have and haven't accounted for. I'd venture to guess that quite a few teams have looked at the kind of things I'm talking about.
I agree. I think it's a virtual certainty that all teams have looked into the link between size and injury risk. Which is why when someone like Chris Johnson or Adrian Peterson, who is not the ideal shape, goes in the first round, I don't hold his size against him. After all, NFL teams, who have done a lot more research on the subject and have a lot more data on the players, sure didn't.

I have, as of yet, not seen a single attempt to support your "non-ideal body types are more likely to sustain injury" with actual real-world data. I haven't even seen an attempt to strictly define non-ideal body types, which allows for a lot of goalpost moving. As a result, I treat your theory with extreme skepticism.

You're not going to find an objective measure. Durability is a combination of luck, toughness, running style, usage, and body type. BMI is a pretty good starting point for determining body type, but it's flawed because it doesn't provide any information about the distribution of a player's weight, which is important. All else being equal, a top-heavy back is going to be less durable than a back who carries his weight in his lower body. The best support for the "ideal body type" argument is the fact most of the RBs who have had great careers in recent history have fit the mold pretty well. Guys like Ricky Williams, LaDainain Tomlinson, Marshall Faulk, Barry Sanders, Clinton Portis, Shaun Alexander, Jamal Lewis, Frank Gore, and Edgerrin James are all built more or less the same. It's probably not a coincidence that Trent Richardson and Doug Martin are physically cut from this same cloth as well. Those guys are actually the exact same height (5'9.1"), and their weight is only separated by 5 pounds. The NFL clearly has a preference for a certain type of RB. It drafts more of them in the first round. More of them go on to great careers.To be fair, we've also seen some thinner backs like Darren McFadden and CJ Spiller earn very high draft slots in recent years, but neither has yet demonstrated the ability to accumulate a Tomlinson/Edge/Ricky workload over multiple seasons. The same goes for Reggie Bush, who has a career high of 216 carries after 8 years in the league. Jamaal Charles is hovering around the same territory right now. Chris Johnson is really the only guy with a non-traditional build who has shown the ability to handle a high volume of carries over multiple seasons, and he has a few subjective factors working in his favor (running style, distribution of weight, super freak athlete). I don't think BMI is a perfect indicator of body type, but I'd be interested in seeing a study that tracks all backs who were drafted within the past ten years and determines the average workload as it relates to body type, factoring in draft position (because a non-ideal first round RB is probably going to have a higher expected amount of touches than an ideal seventh rounder due to differences in talent). I'd venture to guess that a study like this might corroborate some of what I'm saying.
The problem I have with "I'll know it when I see it" as a rule for which backs are injury prone is that it very quickly morphs into "I'll see it once I know it". Absent objective criteria, the entire practice quickly devolves into a giant Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. It's the same problem I have with the Lewin Career Forecast or Sackseer or any other formula or rule that purports to separate the busts from the steals. Even if the formula does manage to identify a genuine inefficiency in the market, the market is extremely efficient and will incorporate that information to correct the inefficiency as soon as it's discovered. A decade ago, the As made a killing because the market undervalued OBP. The market quickly realized its error and corrected, to the point that OBP is no longer undervalued. Pitt used to be able to make a killing gobbling up tweeter LB/DEs that nobody else wanted for artificially low prices. Now we get guys like Von and Aldon going in the top 10 picks, where they belong. Tedford QBs were overvalued, the market reacted, and Rodgers almost fell out of the first entirely. By the time you identify an inefficiency, it's already being corrected for. If non-ideal guys really were enhanced risks, the market would have realized it, and guys like Bush, Peterson, Johnson, Spiller, and Charles wouldn't be so routinely getting taken with premium picks. The market is aware of your theory, and the market has roundly rejected it.
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Here is a question I'd like to further discuss.....How do you gauge value of draft picks (whether it be 1st-2nd-3rd)? And how do they measure up in year such as 2013 (potential down year) and a stronger year like 2014. With there being no clear top players in the 2013 draft, would it be better to acquire 2nd round picks as opposed to 1st given the difference in trade value?I always have a hard time determining what picks are really worth. I get offers for various picks, whether they are thrown in on top of a deal, or a pick-for-player, and I have a hard time determining the return value.

For what it's worth, I've been doing all I can to acquire 2014 1st round picks. I currently have 4 of them (in a 10 team league), as well as a likely early 2nd. I would gladly trade a "random" 2013 1st for a 2014 1st, though, and have done so. What's great is that the other guy thinks he's "fast forwarding" his pick a full year, so I've been able to get a little bit of a kicker on top of the 2014 pick (a third or a mid level IDP player).
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If non-ideal guys really were enhanced risks, the market would have realized it, and guys like Bush, Peterson, Johnson, Spiller, and Charles wouldn't be so routinely getting taken with premium picks. The market is aware of your theory, and the market has roundly rejected it.

Peterson probably doesn't belong in the conversation. He is a touch light for his height, but overall pretty close to the ideal range. And, to be subjective for a minute, I don't think anyone who has ever watched him run would say he's undersized or lacking power. As for light backs in general, I think most teams know what they're getting. Guys like Bush and Spiller probably aren't going to be your 300 carry bell cow, but that's not what they're drafted for. They're drafted for their ability to make game-changing big plays. This is a rare skill and it can absolutely be worth a first round pick in NFL terms, but that doesn't change the fact that these types rarely become every down players. Chris Johnson is doing it. Jamaal Charles, Reggie Bush, and CJ Spiller aren't. Their own teams have generally limited their touches to below Ricky/Edge/LT levels, which actually corroborates what I'm saying about this type of back. In general, they aren't fit to carry a full load. The fact that their own teams are seemingly aware of this kind of punches a hole in your assertion that the NFL has rejected what I'm saying. If anything, it's demonstrating quite the opposite. Teams don't trust thin backs to carry a full load (and when they do, the back usually gets injured). The NFL views players like Bush and Spiller as dynamic committee backs, which is also how I view them. Useful players in FF. So explosive that they can still put up RB1 numbers for stretches of time without the high volume of touches. But ultimately, they're not as valuable as true bell cows of equivalent talent.

The problem I have with "I'll know it when I see it" as a rule for which backs are injury prone is that it very quickly morphs into "I'll see it once I know it". Absent objective criteria, the entire practice quickly devolves into a giant Texas Sharpshooter fallacy. It's the same problem I have with the Lewin Career Forecast or Sackseer or any other formula or rule that purports to separate the busts from the steals. Even if the formula does manage to identify a genuine inefficiency in the market, the market is extremely efficient and will incorporate that information to correct the inefficiency as soon as it's discovered. A decade ago, the As made a killing because the market undervalued OBP. The market quickly realized its error and corrected, to the point that OBP is no longer undervalued. Pitt used to be able to make a killing gobbling up tweeter LB/DEs that nobody else wanted for artificially low prices. Now we get guys like Von and Aldon going in the top 10 picks, where they belong. Tedford QBs were overvalued, the market reacted, and Rodgers almost fell out of the first entirely. By the time you identify an inefficiency, it's already being corrected for. If non-ideal guys really were enhanced risks, the market would have realized it, and guys like Bush, Peterson, Johnson, Spiller, and Charles wouldn't be so routinely getting taken with premium picks. The market is aware of your theory, and the market has roundly rejected it.

There are 32 teams in the NFL and they all do things differently. This makes it difficult to speak of the market as a single entity. The Raiders spent a top 4 pick on McFadden. Was that reflective of the market or the lunacy of one rudderless franchise? Bear in mind that this is the same team that took JaMarcus Russell with the first pick and Darrius Heyward-Bey as the first WR in a draft that included Crabtree, Maclin, Harvin, and Nicks. Trends are valuable, but the market is ultimately a collection of individual agents who all have their own modus operandi. Something like the draft is not going to offer a perfect reflection of what the league in general is doing. It's just going to provide partial evidence about individual philosophies and approaches.
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I agree that it's intuitive. That doesn't make it right. Beware intuitive explanations, because our cognitive process is so riddled with bias that being obvious cannot be taken as a proxy for being right.

Just because you read it in your psych 1 textbook doesn't mean it always applies. Plenty of intuitive beliefs happen to have merit.
:yes:

For more on this read Gladwell's Blink. Gut reactions aren't invalid because they're based on simple intuition.

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I think the pictures make it pretty clear that they don't belong in the conversation with the likes of Turner, Martin, Richardson, MJD, etc.

Those aren't the only body types to have long, healthy careers. Richardson already has red flags, and Martin has played 11 NFL games.

If you are trying to argue physics in suggesting that Beanie Wells wasn't "built" to be an NFL RB, but LaDanian Tomlinson was, I don't know what to say to you. Beanie Well has bad knees; he very clearly has a frame to take a beating.

Only...he doesn't. Too stretched out. Too thin in the lower body. Blatantly obvious in any picture:

http://www.waitingfornextyear.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/beanie.jpg

http://l3.yimg.com/bt/api/res/1.2/cgD3K_qgp7kSkh8Au6z4wA--/YXBwaWQ9eW5ld3M7cT04NQ--/http://media.zenfs.com/en/blogs/sptusfantasyexperts/Beanie-Wells-victim-of-the-turf-toe-US-Presswire.jpg

http://i.cdn.turner.com/si/multimedia/photo_gallery/0902/nfl.combine.2009/images/chris-Beanie-Wells_TK5_589.jpg

Combine that body type with the inability to avoid collisions and you have the recipe for an injury prone back. He has always been like this and always will be. Has very little to do with luck and a lot to do with running style and anatomy.

I actually agree with your main point 100%. I always go after RBs with those tree trunks for legs. In addition to durability, it allows them to run through shots to their lower body without losing acceleration. Doug Martin doesn't keep breaking off long runs because he's fast. He keeps breaking off long runs because those lower body shots just glance off him and don't slow him down, whereas a guy like Reggie Bush is much faster but has to slow down a lot more when shedding a tackle, allowing people to gang up on him.

However, I think you're being a bit disingenuous with your examples. You're taking pictures of a guy like Beanie Wells when he was 18 and comparing him to the other guys when they were 25. Beanie actually has pretty hefty legs now.

http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/Sv6LSNWSV7e/St+Louis+Rams+v+Arizona+Cardinals/brvjhucLKEJ/Beanie+Wells

http://www.zimbio.com/photos/Beanie+Wells/Arizona+Cardinals+v+Seattle+Seahawks/EITH1HSag8d

http://www.cardinalsgab.com/2010/10/29/beanie-wells-will-start-in-place-of-hightower-this-sunday/

Likewise, you've done the opposite with Steven Jackson. Not great size on those legs, especially in his college pictures which you had no problem using for the guys you're arguing against: https://www.bestsportsphotos.com/files/t_33547.jpg. He's one of the exceptions here, not one of the examples.

I agree with you on the other guys, and your point in general though. Guys that run like a 235 pounder but aren't actually 235 pounds are always going to have problems staying healthy, especially if they're small in the lower body. This (along with some really unfortunate luck) was one of the problems Cadillac Williams had. In college I used to marvel at how such a small guy would run over linebackers. In the NFL it just landed him on the sidelines quickly.

Edited by FreeBaGeL
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I agree it deserves some weight. I disagree that we are the ones to assign that weight. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is hugely performance based. I'm sure the thought that body type might be linked to injury risk has occurred to front offices. I'm sure they've invested resources into investigating that possibility. If they're investing heavy resources in a player, that should be all the reassurance we need that either (a) they have concluded he's not an undue risk for injury, or (b) they have concluded that he's such an obscene, league-altering talent that he was worth the risk. Yes, scouting departments get it wrong all the time. The question is who you place more trust in- the multi-million dollar scouting industry that is vetting, working out, and medically examining these players, or some guy on the Internet looking at how skinny a player's legs are.

You give NFL management far too much credit. This is a league full of guys that still make decisions that are obviously statistically poor because that's the way people were doing it 50 years ago.

Most of the NFL can barely keep up with blatant in your face statistics. If you think they're doing any kind of advanced statistics on some of these things to read between the lines then I think you're misplacing how they spend their time. Jim Brown was tall and didn't have particularly bulky legs. That's probably enough for them to ignore looking into how body type relates to RB injuries for at least another 100 years.

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Here is a question I'd like to further discuss.....How do you gauge value of draft picks (whether it be 1st-2nd-3rd)? And how do they measure up in year such as 2013 (potential down year) and a stronger year like 2014. With there being no clear top players in the 2013 draft, would it be better to acquire 2nd round picks as opposed to 1st given the difference in trade value?I always have a hard time determining what picks are really worth. I get offers for various picks, whether they are thrown in on top of a deal, or a pick-for-player, and I have a hard time determining the return value.

For what it's worth, I've been doing all I can to acquire 2014 1st round picks. I currently have 4 of them (in a 10 team league), as well as a likely early 2nd. I would gladly trade a "random" 2013 1st for a 2014 1st, though, and have done so. What's great is that the other guy thinks he's "fast forwarding" his pick a full year, so I've been able to get a little bit of a kicker on top of the 2014 pick (a third or a mid level IDP player).
Me too, owners seem less attached to #1's more than a year out and are more willing to part with those now to fix current issues. I realized around October that the 2013 class may leave some to be desired so I made targeting 2014 picks instead a priority. That said, I have noticed others realizing the 14 class looks stronger than the 13 class so it may be more difficult to pull this off now vs. a month ago. I have three 2014 #1's and what should be an early 2 in my hip pocket so far, betting I flip one of my 2013 #1's into another 2014 #1 too once the draft gets closer. Fingers crossed...
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I agree it deserves some weight. I disagree that we are the ones to assign that weight. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is hugely performance based. I'm sure the thought that body type might be linked to injury risk has occurred to front offices. I'm sure they've invested resources into investigating that possibility. If they're investing heavy resources in a player, that should be all the reassurance we need that either (a) they have concluded he's not an undue risk for injury, or (b) they have concluded that he's such an obscene, league-altering talent that he was worth the risk. Yes, scouting departments get it wrong all the time. The question is who you place more trust in- the multi-million dollar scouting industry that is vetting, working out, and medically examining these players, or some guy on the Internet looking at how skinny a player's legs are.

You give NFL management far too much credit. This is a league full of guys that still make decisions that are obviously statistically poor because that's the way people were doing it 50 years ago.

Most of the NFL can barely keep up with blatant in your face statistics. If you think they're doing any kind of advanced statistics on some of these things to read between the lines then I think you're misplacing how they spend their time. Jim Brown was tall and didn't have particularly bulky legs. That's probably enough for them to ignore looking into how body type relates to RB injuries for at least another 100 years.

I respect your opinion, but I must say: I was surprised to read this from you. You honestly think random people on the internet invest more time or thought into pretend draft picks than NFL franchises? I think you give NFL franchises far too little credit.

I find it nearly impossible to think that there is proof to be found and documented, but NFL teams are too lazy or dumb to pay someone to do it.

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NFL franchises are similar to FF franchises in the sense that some of them are run very well and some very poorly.

Teams like Pittsburgh, New England, and Green Bay seem to know what they're doing.

Teams like Kansas City, Oakland, and Jacksonville don't.

So while I generally subscribe to the "the professionals know best" philosophy, it would be pretty foolish to assume that all of these teams are implementing optimal strategy at every turn. I'm sure there is some pretty impressive analysis going on behind the scenes at some of these organizations. On the other hand, I'm also sure that some of these teams are completely inept.

The Raiders gave Javon Walker $55 million in guaranteed money. They spent top 10 picks on JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Should we give them the benefit of the doubt because they're professionals? Certainly not. I couldn't have done any worse with their last five drafts than their own front office and I'm just a guy on a couch. There aren't many fields where being a "professional" means you are automatically awesome at your job and never make mistakes. The football business isn't any different. Some owners, coaches, and personnel people are extremely competent. Some aren't.

I'm sure Belichick and his cronies laugh at Oakland and Jacksonville in the same way that you might laugh at your buddy who takes Tony Romo in the first round of your redraft. Just because you've weaseled your way into a decision making position with a valuable company doesn't mean your judgment is infallible.

Edited by EBF
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I agree it deserves some weight. I disagree that we are the ones to assign that weight. The NFL is a multi-billion dollar industry. It is hugely performance based. I'm sure the thought that body type might be linked to injury risk has occurred to front offices. I'm sure they've invested resources into investigating that possibility. If they're investing heavy resources in a player, that should be all the reassurance we need that either (a) they have concluded he's not an undue risk for injury, or (b) they have concluded that he's such an obscene, league-altering talent that he was worth the risk. Yes, scouting departments get it wrong all the time. The question is who you place more trust in- the multi-million dollar scouting industry that is vetting, working out, and medically examining these players, or some guy on the Internet looking at how skinny a player's legs are.

You give NFL management far too much credit. This is a league full of guys that still make decisions that are obviously statistically poor because that's the way people were doing it 50 years ago.

Most of the NFL can barely keep up with blatant in your face statistics. If you think they're doing any kind of advanced statistics on some of these things to read between the lines then I think you're misplacing how they spend their time. Jim Brown was tall and didn't have particularly bulky legs. That's probably enough for them to ignore looking into how body type relates to RB injuries for at least another 100 years.

I respect your opinion, but I must say: I was surprised to read this from you. You honestly think random people on the internet invest more time or thought into pretend draft picks than NFL franchises? I think you give NFL franchises far too little credit.

I find it nearly impossible to think that there is proof to be found and documented, but NFL teams are too lazy or dumb to pay someone to do it.

Explain the Raiders recent draft choices.

:popcorn:

Kidding - to a point. The fact is that if you look at NFL drafts they are littered with many outright disasterous picks - even in the early rounds. That's not to say that all of the teams have poor scouting skills or even that some teams are always bad (although that does seem to be the case - look at the Bears first round OL picks, or the afore mentioned Raiders). The fact is, there are a non-significant number of misses - and quite a few complete busts. I think the point is that scouting is far of an exact science - and many "experts" (both NFL and FF) seem to have some real doozies.

If that is the case (which it clearly is) - then it stands to reason that it is far from an exact science. It could be called more of an "art" than a science. Many people can be good at artistic endeavors without much formal training. Without taking the analogy too far, that would point to the possibility that many "non-experts" could do a fairly decent job themselves.

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Explain the Raiders recent draft choices. :popcorn:

Al Davis

Kidding - to a point. The fact is that if you look at NFL drafts they are littered with many outright disasterous picks - even in the early rounds. That's not to say that all of the teams have poor scouting skills or even that some teams are always bad (although that does seem to be the case - look at the Bears first round OL picks, or the afore mentioned Raiders). The fact is, there are a non-significant number of misses - and quite a few complete busts. I think the point is that scouting is far of an exact science - and many "experts" (both NFL and FF) seem to have some real doozies. If that is the case (which it clearly is) - then it stands to reason that it is far from an exact science. It could be called more of an "art" than a science. Many people can be good at artistic endeavors without much formal training. Without taking the analogy too far, that would point to the possibility that many "non-experts" could do a fairly decent job themselves.

I don't get what you're saying here. I understand it, but I don't see an argument for the entire NFL missing out on the fact that taller human beings sprain their feet or get turf toe more often that shorter human beings. Name me a quality franchise and I will show you a RB they drafted that doesn't fit the MJD mold. Give me a BMI and I'll do the same, for any team in the league.
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The Raiders gave Javon Walker $55 million in guaranteed money. They spent top 10 picks on JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Should we give them the benefit of the doubt because they're professionals? Certainly not. I couldn't have done any worse with their last five drafts than their own front office and I'm just a guy on a couch. There aren't many fields where being a "professional" means you are automatically awesome at your job and never make mistakes. The football business isn't any different. Some owners, coaches, and personnel people are extremely competent. Some aren't.

Everyone had Russell as a top pick. Name me a person you repsect and lets see where they ranked Russell. McFadden got hurt. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Al Davis. Edited by Concept Coop
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The Raiders gave Javon Walker $55 million in guaranteed money. They spent top 10 picks on JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Should we give them the benefit of the doubt because they're professionals? Certainly not. I couldn't have done any worse with their last five drafts than their own front office and I'm just a guy on a couch. There aren't many fields where being a "professional" means you are automatically awesome at your job and never make mistakes. The football business isn't any different. Some owners, coaches, and personnel people are extremely competent. Some aren't.

Everyone had Russell as a top pick. Name me a person you repsect and lets see where they ranked Russell. McFadden got hurt. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Al Davis.
I thought they were all lousy picks at the time they were made.
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It's utterly laughable to believe that we, as random dudes behind a computer screen, can judge football talent better than people who invest millions of dollars in the process and are among the best 32 people on the planet at it. Totally and absolutely absurd.

I would confidently take several people on this board before the Jacksonville front office. Several others too, but that one especially sticks out.
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NFL franchises are similar to FF franchises in the sense that some of them are run very well and some very poorly. Teams like Pittsburgh, New England, and Green Bay seem to know what they're doing. Teams like Kansas City, Oakland, and Jacksonville don't. So while I generally subscribe to the "the professionals know best" philosophy, it would be pretty foolish to assume that all of these teams are implementing optimal strategy at every turn. I'm sure there is some pretty impressive analysis going on behind the scenes at some of these organizations. On the other hand, I'm also sure that some of these teams are completely inept. The Raiders gave Javon Walker $55 million in guaranteed money. They spent top 10 picks on JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Should we give them the benefit of the doubt because they're professionals? Certainly not. I couldn't have done any worse with their last five drafts than their own front office and I'm just a guy on a couch. There aren't many fields where being a "professional" means you are automatically awesome at your job and never make mistakes. The football business isn't any different. Some owners, coaches, and personnel people are extremely competent. Some aren't. I'm sure Belichick and his cronies laugh at Oakland and Jacksonville in the same way that you might laugh at your buddy who takes Tony Romo in the first round of your redraft. Just because you've weaseled your way into a decision making position with a valuable company doesn't mean your judgment is infallible.

:goodposting:
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It's utterly laughable to believe that we, as random dudes behind a computer screen, can judge football talent better than people who invest millions of dollars in the process and are among the best 32 people on the planet at it. Totally and absolutely absurd.

In a hypothetical world where every organization is run perfectly, you would be right.

But that's not reality.

Plenty of massive corporations are dysfunctional. Sports teams are no different. As a Golden State Warriors, I had to sit back and watch the team make horrible decisions for 15+ years before the inept owner finally sold the team. The team made the playoffs once during that time. Once. In the NBA. Where something like half the teams make the playoffs in a given year. I would actually venture to guess that a random intelligent NBA fan who invested time and energy into evaluating players would've been more successful at building a winning franchise if given total control over draft/trade/free agency decisions.

If it can happen in the NBA, it can happen in the NFL. The league is littered with dysfunctional franchises. When was the last time Oakland or Jacksonville fielded a winning team? I'm sure even the crap franchises like the Raiders and Jaguars have some great talent evaluators among the ranks of their scouting and personnel staff, but there are probably other variables preventing those people from exerting influence. All the great scouting reports in the world won't save a team's draft if the guy with his finger on the button is a clueless fool who got his job because he interviews well and is affable on the golf circuit with the billionaire owner. If you think the hiring process is based entirely on merit, you don't understand how business works.

You have to be pretty naive to think that all of these teams are run well when the results on the field clearly indicate otherwise. A team's performance is basically a reflection of the decision making prowess of the organization responsible for constructing it. Clearly there is something very wrong with how franchises like the Chiefs, Raiders, Jaguars, and Browns have been making decisions. I'm sure a lot of scouts and GMs have amazing football knowledge. Here's the thing though...I'm also sure that some of them don't. There's nothing magical about the ability to watch a player and gauge his ability. It's something that can be readily learned, not an innate gift like the capacity for a 40 inch vertical leap or a 4.3 40. And one buffoon with power can undo the work of an entire competent scouting department.

Along these lines, this is pretty good food for thought:

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8609918/jacksonville-done-much-help-itself

Edited by EBF
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The Raiders gave Javon Walker $55 million in guaranteed money. They spent top 10 picks on JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Should we give them the benefit of the doubt because they're professionals? Certainly not. I couldn't have done any worse with their last five drafts than their own front office and I'm just a guy on a couch. There aren't many fields where being a "professional" means you are automatically awesome at your job and never make mistakes. The football business isn't any different. Some owners, coaches, and personnel people are extremely competent. Some aren't.

Everyone had Russell as a top pick. Name me a person you repsect and lets see where they ranked Russell. McFadden got hurt. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Al Davis.
Jamarcus was far from a consensus #1 pick until the last few weeks or so. Brady Quinn was right up there. Edited by wiscstlatlmia
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That draft also had Calvin Johnson, who was about as close to a slam-dunk star as you're ever going to get in the draft.

Taking Russell over Johnson pretty much encapsulates everything that was wrong with the Raiders during that time period, and I say that as a guy who definitely subscribes to the "get a franchise QB at all costs" approach to building an NFL franchise.

The Steelers have the right approach when it comes to the draft. They don't reach much. They don't swing for the fences. They don't really draft for need. They just take a safe prospect who's likely to develop into a quality starter. I can't remember the last time one of their first rounders was an outright bust. I think you have to go back to Troy Edwards.

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The Raiders gave Javon Walker $55 million in guaranteed money. They spent top 10 picks on JaMarcus Russell, Darren McFadden, and Darrius Heyward-Bey. Should we give them the benefit of the doubt because they're professionals? Certainly not. I couldn't have done any worse with their last five drafts than their own front office and I'm just a guy on a couch. There aren't many fields where being a "professional" means you are automatically awesome at your job and never make mistakes. The football business isn't any different. Some owners, coaches, and personnel people are extremely competent. Some aren't.

Everyone had Russell as a top pick. Name me a person you repsect and lets see where they ranked Russell. McFadden got hurt. Darrius Heyward-Bey, Al Davis.
Jamarcus was far from a consensus #1 pick until the last few weeks or so. Brady Quinn was right up there.
I wanted nothing to do with either of them, but I am mildly curious if someone held a gun to my head which one I would have said then. Trying to remember if I liked any QB in that class. Come to think of it, I have hated each of the last 3 QB picks by the Browns. Maybe this is why all the Browns homers on this board always get on my case, I haven't had any hope since 08! Definitely dropped the ball on Frye though :bag:
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That draft also had Calvin Johnson, who was about as close to a slam-dunk star as you're ever going to get in the draft. Taking Russell over Johnson pretty much encapsulates everything that was wrong with the Raiders during that time period, and I say that as a guy who definitely subscribes to the "get a franchise QB at all costs" approach to building an NFL franchise. The Steelers have the right approach when it comes to the draft. They don't reach much. They don't swing for the fences. They don't really draft for need. They just take a safe prospect who's likely to develop into a quality starter. I can't remember the last time one of their first rounders was an outright bust. I think you have to go back to Troy Edwards.

Off the top of my head I don't think Ziggy Hood has done much since he got there, I think he was their #1 pick the year after they won the Super Bowl vs. Arizona? Not a round 1 pick, but as a draft guy I thought the Mike Adams pick was monumentally bad...but as a Browns fan was happy to see. Didn't question the Ziggy pick at the time, didn't know enough about him, but I've seen enough of Adams to comfortably say he'll be out of the league quickly.
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I would've taken Quinn no question if I had to pick one of the two. JMarc always had the bust vibe. I thought Quinn would be decent. He somehow lost the will to throw the ball more than three yards downfield though.

He never had the right approach. His greatest focus was on the weight room, felt the rest would follow suit, and the locker room never bought in. Most pegged it as a Browns issue, but the rumors I read from Denver after he wasn't brought back were hilarious. He just didn't care enough about football, he didn't care to be great, and to be a franchise QB in the NFL you have to. He flamed out so quickly because he didn't have the necessary football skills, if he could throw a deep ball that didn't look like a wounded duck it may have bought him another year or two but that's probably it.
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That draft also had Calvin Johnson, who was about as close to a slam-dunk star as you're ever going to get in the draft. Taking Russell over Johnson pretty much encapsulates everything that was wrong with the Raiders during that time period, and I say that as a guy who definitely subscribes to the "get a franchise QB at all costs" approach to building an NFL franchise. The Steelers have the right approach when it comes to the draft. They don't reach much. They don't swing for the fences. They don't really draft for need. They just take a safe prospect who's likely to develop into a quality starter. I can't remember the last time one of their first rounders was an outright bust. I think you have to go back to Troy Edwards.

Off the top of my head I don't think Ziggy Hood has done much since he got there, I think he was their #1 pick the year after they won the Super Bowl vs. Arizona? Not a round 1 pick, but as a draft guy I thought the Mike Adams pick was monumentally bad...but as a Browns fan was happy to see. Didn't question the Ziggy pick at the time, didn't know enough about him, but I've seen enough of Adams to comfortably say he'll be out of the league quickly.
Hey, nobody's perfect. The Patriots drafted Chad Jackson in the 2nd round.I'll see your Ziggy Hood and raise you Plaxico Burress, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Santonio Holmes, Troy Polamalu, Rashard Mendenhall, Kendall Simmons, and Lawrence Timmons.
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It's utterly laughable to believe that we, as random dudes behind a computer screen, can judge football talent better than people who invest millions of dollars in the process and are among the best 32 people on the planet at it. Totally and absolutely absurd.

In a hypothetical world where every organization is run perfectly, you would be right.

But that's not reality.

Plenty of massive corporations are dysfunctional. Sports teams are no different. As a Golden State Warriors, I had to sit back and watch the team make horrible decisions for 15+ years before the inept owner finally sold the team. The team made the playoffs once during that time. Once. In the NBA. Where something like half the teams make the playoffs in a given year. I would actually venture to guess that a random intelligent NBA fan who invested time and energy into evaluating players would've been more successful at building a winning franchise if given total control over draft/trade/free agency decisions.

If it can happen in the NBA, it can happen in the NFL. The league is littered with dysfunctional franchises. When was the last time Oakland or Jacksonville fielded a winning team? I'm sure even the crap franchises like the Raiders and Jaguars have some great talent evaluators among the ranks of their scouting and personnel staff, but there are probably other variables preventing those people from exerting influence. All the great scouting reports in the world won't save a team's draft if the guy with his finger on the button is a clueless fool who got his job because he interviews well and is affable on the golf circuit with the billionaire owner. If you think the hiring process is based entirely on merit, you don't understand how business works.

You have to be pretty naive to think that all of these teams are run well when the results on the field clearly indicate otherwise. A team's performance is basically a reflection of the decision making prowess of the organization responsible for constructing it. Clearly there is something very wrong with how franchises like the Chiefs, Raiders, Jaguars, and Browns have been making decisions. I'm sure a lot of scouts and GMs have amazing football knowledge. Here's the thing though...I'm also sure that some of them don't. There's nothing magical about the ability to watch a player and gauge his ability. It's something that can be readily learned, not an innate gift like the capacity for a 40 inch vertical leap or a 4.3 40. And one buffoon with power can undo the work of an entire competent scouting department.

Along these lines, this is pretty good food for thought:

http://www.grantland.com/story/_/id/8609918/jacksonville-done-much-help-itself

Yep - this is pretty much was I was trying to say. :goodposting:

I don't agree with EBF often - but I'm right along side him on this point.

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That draft also had Calvin Johnson, who was about as close to a slam-dunk star as you're ever going to get in the draft. Taking Russell over Johnson pretty much encapsulates everything that was wrong with the Raiders during that time period, and I say that as a guy who definitely subscribes to the "get a franchise QB at all costs" approach to building an NFL franchise. The Steelers have the right approach when it comes to the draft. They don't reach much. They don't swing for the fences. They don't really draft for need. They just take a safe prospect who's likely to develop into a quality starter. I can't remember the last time one of their first rounders was an outright bust. I think you have to go back to Troy Edwards.

Off the top of my head I don't think Ziggy Hood has done much since he got there, I think he was their #1 pick the year after they won the Super Bowl vs. Arizona? Not a round 1 pick, but as a draft guy I thought the Mike Adams pick was monumentally bad...but as a Browns fan was happy to see. Didn't question the Ziggy pick at the time, didn't know enough about him, but I've seen enough of Adams to comfortably say he'll be out of the league quickly.
Hey, nobody's perfect. The Patriots drafted Chad Jackson in the 2nd round.I'll see your Ziggy Hood and raise you Plaxico Burress, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller, Santonio Holmes, Troy Polamalu, Rashard Mendenhall, Kendall Simmons, and Lawrence Timmons.
I fold.
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Anybody look at New England's recent drafts? Not great. Anyone think they're better equipped than them?

They have not had great drafts, but they have added a few core pieces (Gronk, Hernandez, Chandler Jones, Mayo), mixed in role players behind them (Spikes, Hightower, Ridley), still have some unproven commodities that could develop into mainstays (Dennard, Solder), and most importantly do a very good job picking up other teams garbage.I have less doubts about them surviving without Brady than I do the Steelers without Ben. The last 2 1/2 games showed what I think many thought in that the defense is old and outside of speed at WR and Heath Miller they're below average or bad everywhere on offense. They really need to nail the next couple of drafts or else when Big Ben's time comes up salary cap hell will probably force them to blow it all up.
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