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Thread: My Life as a Draftnik, and What I Now Know To Be True.

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    Barry Waller is offline Registered User
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    My Life as a Draftnik, and What I Now Know To Be True.

    I should explain where I am coming from with some of my belief system when it comes to the NFL Draft.
    If they gave college credits for hours spent learning about this thing Howard Cosell called a non-event, and the time spent with H Balzer talking salary cap, and Rick vVnturi talking about coaching,player development, and system fit, I'd be a P.H.D.

    I haven't just been a fan of the draft, and even I think I am somehow damaged to do what I have done since 1970, before Kiper, before ESPN. It was me an Joel Buchsbaum, who was unable to do anything else in life, God rest his soul, so much that he started what has become a multi-billion dollar industry.

    I have every one of Joel's books from the late mid seventies until his death.

    When Buchsbaum was discovered in St louis by legendary Cardinals broadcaster Bill WIlkerson, on his KMOX sportsline show, the first of it's kind, He couldn't even pronounce Joel's name right, saying the "ch" sound like in "bush", rather than the correct hard "ch", as in "book".

    Buchsbaum never corrected WIlkerson once in all those years, shows I lived to listen to, to hear Joel speak about "Mirror and slide", and "knee bender" etc.

    I have not worked on one draft day since it has been on TV. I trake vacation days, till i was self employed, then I spent the last 17 drafts at Rams Park, really getting some insight, especially from the pre-draft luncheon Vermeil and Martz would do.

    It was informal, and you could eat lunch talking football with Jim Hanifan or Bill Kollar, two of the greatest position coaches and characters ever. You mention DOn Coryell or George Allen to Hanny, and you get a half hour of rolling on the floor stories.

    Even with all the stuff going on around me at Rams Park, I could not help doing what I did at home, tracking the draft, writing down picks, and being bummed I had to stop when a Rams pick was on the phone for a group Q &A.

    They do that after every pick, and I must say, it can be quite telling, when you hear the guy talk football and life for the first time.

    You hear a guy like Trung Canidate, Jacoby Sheppard, or Alex Barron for the first time, and you start thinking "Well it IS mostly about physical ability", and then see how that initial impr ession had validity.

    That's one thing I miss, to hear all the top plares talk, t hough the NFL Network makes it all easy now, as does ESPN, Pro Football Talk etc et c.

    When I started there was nearly no info on play er s, other t han the All-America team, and you had no undergrads in the draft.

    It was work, but now it's easy, and that's why it's exploded like it has.

    From guys like Vermeil, my favorite person I met in football, Armey, and now Fisher and Snead, I am now quite sure about some draft philosphies that are as revered and followed as the Ten Commandments.

    These are ideas that came originally from Tex Schramm in Dallas, who was the single biggest difference maker in how personnel was scouted and a team was built.

    In Dallas, they replaced pretty much any backup that had not competed for a starting job in three years with a young rookie. It was never about where they played in college, even if they played college football.

    It was about whether they had the physical tools and mental makeup and coachability to fit that rigid Dallas system under Landry.

    Now that they have a Combine, there are few secrets, even ones like London Fletcher in 1998.

    And it's the Dallas way of thinking from back then as well.

    That's why, when we do mock drafts, certain things should be adhered to, as far as choices

    1. In round one, upside RULES. You don't take good solid college players here that are 6 ft and run average forty times. Those guys are in round three.

    2. Reaching for need out of tier is a big no no in round one and two. If the need is great, trade down and get the guy at a value.

    3. The top 50 or 60 players are divided into tiers first, and some guys could move up a tier or down during the scouting process. The top tier is normally about 5 to 7 deep, and never more than 10.
    These are the ones that give you check marks for productivity, size/speed, durability, athleticism, smarts, intangibles, attitude. High in round one, a team should NEVER, EVER pass on a top tier player withoout significant additional picks by dealing down past 10, EXCEPT, when that target is a QB who at least is close to top tier. With QB you throw out the rules.

    The Second tier of players are the sure first rounders, the guys that have the fewest non-checkmarks. The ones a team is willing to ignore or stress, like off-field issues, depends on the organization.
    However, two check marks that are a must in sure round one talent are size/speed and athleticism.
    Put durability up there as well, because of the money these guys will earn.

    That second tier is usually about 15-20 players, and you hope you get the one that fits a need when you pick from 8 to 25.

    Next you have a group where need might play a bigger factor, the guys who are late round one, but sure high round two guys. This year, that group isn't far from the second tier, and it is unusually large.

    Then you have a larger bunch from late round two through round four, where you do get your highly productive guys who lack something else, figuring at least they are decent risks not to bust, and can help on special teams too.

    Everyone else it's all about guys you just like, no matter the position. Talent wise, and chance wise, an undrafted FA has as good a shot as a sixth or seventh rounder to make it in the NFL.

    4. Teams don't trade with big rivals on draft day, and some old school teams hardly ever trade up OR down, while some do it every year, a bunch, like the Rams and New England these days. Look for deals between close buddies, like Vermeil and Parcells in 1997, like Snead and Dimitroff last year.

    5. Teams remain open to trades involving players as the draft unfolds, usually going into the draft with an idea who is expendable, usually guys in the last year of deals. For the Rams Kendricks or Pead or Pettis seems to be the most likely if any trade is made.

    6. Teams do not worry at all if they end the draft without filling a need, because of the way the draft feel. GMs and coaches know that they can acquire players untill the season, maybe even after, just like they do if a guy gets hurt in camp.

    Do not panic and just fill every need, and bypass possible stars. That may be wrong, and end up being a mistake at times, but it's just the way these guys think about the draft.
    The media in St Louis has gone nuts when RB and WR were ignored in drafts till 2012.
    Maybe Devaney was wrong, but I guarantee Fisher and Snead feel perrt much the same way as Bobby did philosophically. You just have to take the right guys, and Bobby reached a bit at times.

    7. The first round and now even the second, is about acquiring star players, guys ascending in their career, with a chance to really be great after some pro coaching. You might draft some busts, but teams will do that in preference to adding safe, but average upside players early.

    Barry Waller

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    Re: My Life as a Draftnik, and What I Now Know To Be True.

    With all the scouting and studying of the college players has the Draft become more of an exact science? I mean we know about the Ryan Leafs and Tom Brady being a 6th round pick. Have the NFL scouts, GM's, Headcoaches and anyone else involved in the selection process been able to minimize the chance of a bad pick? Or of guaranteeing a good pick?

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    Re: My Life as a Draftnik, and What I Now Know To Be True.

    This is a very interesting write-up, thanks for sharing.

    That said, I predict only reasonable, polite responses to this.

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    Re: My Life as a Draftnik, and What I Now Know To Be True.

    Quote Originally Posted by laram0 View Post
    With all the scouting and studying of the college players has the Draft become more of an exact science? I mean we know about the Ryan Leafs and Tom Brady being a 6th round pick. Have the NFL scouts, GM's, Headcoaches and anyone else involved in the selection process been able to minimize the chance of a bad pick? Or of guaranteeing a good pick?
    Clearly, it is an inexact science, at best.

    While NFL teams have far more tools at their disposal, there are simply too many variables to be able to predict which players will be able to handle being a professional football player and produce on the field consistently.

    No team is immune from this. Look at Seattle. Sure, they get a lot of credit for drafting key players like Earl Thomas, Richard Sherman and Russell Wilson. But, let's not forget, they also drafted James Carpenter and Aaron Curry. The key is to have a high enough "batting average" to maintain a roster of young talent.

    So, while there are clearly principles and items of "conventional wisdom" that, in the aggregate, tend to support quality draft decisions, at the end of the day, some players are still going to disappoint, and others will "come from nowhere."
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    Re: My Life as a Draftnik, and What I Now Know To Be True.

    Do you want me to pick them up for you? ???? ... all the names you just dropped .


    blah....the draft is great now because the game has changed and most players can contribute game 1 of season 1......This was not the case in the past.....

    There is still a disconnect between scouts and the media making the uncertainty of the draft so exciting....there is no clear formula when deciding between a WR vs. a CB ----- you must agree to make a prove and live in the hole you dig.....

    I also read your posts Barry, but it seems that you need to defend your points better and why you like certain players over others....

    Example. I think Hakeem Nicks isn't as good a Free Agent as Kenny Britt for the Rams.

    Why?

    1. Britt is better athlete
    2. Nicks injuries have really gotten to him
    3. Britt is cheaper
    4. Britt has succeeded with Fisher
    5. Britt never had a good QB
    6. Nicks had Eli and Cruz and is still struggling
    7. Britt's ceiling is higher....

    I would say that I disagree with AV probably more-so that almost any person on this board, but we both understand, respect, and try to see the others' point of view.......

    He is made me take another look at Mike Evans and I hope I get him to take another look at guys like Allen Robinson and Brandon Coleman.......

    You need to give us a reason,,,,,,a why.....and that way we know your reasoning and not just the results....

    Look forward to reading more....

    rt
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  6. #6
    Barry Waller is offline Registered User
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    Re: My Life as a Draftnik, and What I Now Know To Be True.

    WIth everyone pretty much scouting together now, the pool of top players gets pretty much set for every team, all being similar, though as I said, some guys red flag players for resons others would not.

    And no, you really cannot inimize risk, just like with yearling race horses.

    These are human beings, and you never know how young men will react when becoming multi millionaires.

    To be a STAR in the NFL, even a star college player must work his butt off, and be driven to being the best.

    Lots more distractions, and injuries are always the big wild card.

    Some GMS can see something in a player others don't, and that can top the scales their team's way, but even the best make terrible picks, like Bobby BEathard with Leaf.

    NO ONE seems to be able to pick QBs who are gonna be great, other than the obvious ones like Elway, Manning, or Luck.

    These guys trust their scouts, and by draft day, they have done all the homework to trust their board, and then you hope they got it right.

    First rounders overall have a pretty good shot at being on a roster, or even starting, in three years, the top guys a bit more. It's about 75%.

    Second round it goes down to about 50%, based on a study i did years ago.

    Third round it goes to about 25%

    Fourth round to about 15%

    And after that, it's less than 10% chance of making it.

    So it's never a sure thing, but you can help by taking guys who fit the locker room, the scheme, etc.

    In other words not a guy you will move to a new position, like Adam Carriker.
    You can't fall in love with speed alone either, like Tye Hill
    Barry Waller
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    Barry Waller

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    Re: My Life as a Draftnik, and What I Now Know To Be True.

    Quote Originally Posted by richtree View Post
    I would say that I disagree with AV probably more-so that almost any person on this board, but we both understand, respect, and try to see the others' point of view.......
    You are completely wrong about that. Now allow me to list all the reasons why...

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    Re: My Life as a Draftnik, and What I Now Know To Be True.

    It was supposed to be pronounced BUCKS-baum I believe.
    Dude had freakish amounts of football knowledge and he knew probably more about baseball than he did football.

    Seeing his picture the first time with his dog was something I'll never forget.

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    Re: My Life as a Draftnik, and What I Now Know To Be True.

    Quote Originally Posted by Waller
    Maybe Devaney was wrong, but I guarantee Fisher and Snead feel perrt much the same way as Bobby did philosophically. You just have to take the right guys, and Bobby reached a bit at times.
    Bobby?

    You mean Billy? Billy Devaney?
    "Before the gates of excellence the high gods have placed sweat; long is the road thereto and rough and steep at first; but when the heights are reached, then there is ease, though grievously hard in the winning." --- Hesiod

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    Barry Waller is offline Registered User
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    Re: My Life as a Draftnik, and What I Now Know To Be True.

    Sorry, Billy. I had his mentor Bobby Beathard on the brain
    Barry Waller

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    Re: My Life as a Draftnik, and What I Now Know To Be True.

    Really informative stuff on how teams rate prospects and ultimately decide on their selection. I was expecting you to mention the 2 scouting organizations that existed before there was a Combine, I recall 1 was called BLESTO and I forgot the other, but I think it rhymed with BLESTO.

    Good stuff, Barry always enjoy your insights.

    Go Rams!

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