Let’s talk about a couple of things that jumped out to me – is that, and I’m not trying to be contrarian here, Atlanta gave 5 picks for 1 pick – and it’s more than I would be comfortable giving up. I would give up 5 picks for Drew Breese or Peyton Manning or Tom Brady, I’m not going to give up 5 picks for another pick, so it’s more than I would surrender, but you have to remember that different things have different values for different people.
If your 6’8 and you have to fly cross country, you’ll pay whatever it takes to get more leg room. First class, business class…whatever it takes, now that’s if your 6’8. If your 5’6, it just doesn’t matter…different values for different things. Atlanta believes that they are 2 players away from a Superbowl. They need another pass rusher and they need more pop on the outside, offensively, and they just got one of those two. Cleveland – who they made the deal with, they need players, and they’re not going to win the championship. But Atlanta feels “we’ve got the right coach” this really validated how much they like Matt Ryan, now we’ll get Julio Jones and with the new rules in the NFL – where you can’t touch the receivers, receivers now walk into this league – the good ones at least, they make 65 catches. 6 TD’s, Roddy White – you can’t double team him anymore, which opens up the middle of the field for Tony Gonzalez, it just really shows you how much they love Matt Ryan and how much they realize that “you don’t need a great defense” to win the Superbowl.
New Orleans won a Superbowl – they didn’t have a great defense, the Colts got to that Superbowl – they didn’t have a great defense either. Arizona got to a Superbowl – and was one great catch by Santonio Holmes away from winning it – they didn’t have a great defense. New England had no pass rush – they were 14-2 last year. In the new NFL, you can score your way to the Superbowl. We’ve seen New Orleans, Indianapolis and Arizona get there. They just picked up – in their mind, a huge playmaker. My understanding is that they like both Julio Jones and A.J. Green – no great difference between the two. They just felt that both made Roddy White better, Tony Gonzalez and Matt Ryan better.
So when you go look at the scores of the Atlanta Falcons “oh their defense, their defense needs major…” no no, not really. For example, in one game they gave up 10, 14, 18, 10, 24, 17, 17, 21, 21, 10, 14, 7 and 15…it’s not a terrible defense. They could definitely use a pass rush, but they have drafted in the last 2 years defensive linemen and they may feel the guys in the draft aren’t as good as the guys they’ve got in-house.
So its probably more than I’d be comfortable with – but when you’ve got the QB, I mean this league is pretty simple folks. Find the QB, protect the QB and get him assets! Somebody asked me last Wednesday “what do you think the Packers need?” and I said “I’d get another receiver…” “But Andrew…” heck, you’ve got Aaron Rogers, for the next 4 years, just keep getting him receivers – they’ve been doing this in Indianapolis for a decade!!
By the way, they got a Superbowl and they’ve been to two of them and have won their division a decade straight!! So I get what Atlanta is doing.
Now, the other thing that stuck out to me was how much people respect Nick Saben. Once again, not that getting Alabama players drafted, but their often getting traded for multiple players, they’re also getting drafted ahead of what they’re suppose to get drafted. Nick Saben may have bombed in the Miami Dolphins, but he’s been close to Belicheck for years, they coached together on that Cleveland staff years ago and the bottom line is that a lot of people respect Nick Saben. I mean Atlanta, Thomas Dimitrov, called Nick Saben to talk about Julio Jones – they trade 5 players for a wide receiver. Later, James Carpenter, who is at tackle, got drafted by the Seahawks and they’re going to be using him at guard, are you kidding me? You’re going to move a guy outta college to the pro’s and outta positions? I mean last year, they had a kid named Kareem Jackson who went higher than anticipated – Nick Saben talked him up, the year before Andre Smith was a physical disaster and he ended up going top 10…how? Cause Nick Saben talked him into it and the reality is, Nick Saben has got a little bit to gain out of this. He can go on the recruiting trail “look at how many 1st rounders!”
You don’t go on the recruiting trail and go “we’ve got a bunch of 2nd rounders” You got and you’ve got pelts on the board and you say ‘yeah, we’re recruiting against Auburn and LSU…we’ve got more 1st rounders…you notice that? Look at all of these Alabama guys that are getting drafted – often ahead of everyone where you think they are going to get drafted in – that’s Saben, the respect people have for him and potentially is working people a little.
The third thing that really jumps out at me – if you didn’t think the draft matters, Matt Maioceo of Comcast Sportsnet out West, did a 5 year study of the NFL drafts – they went to the last 5 years of the NFL drafts, teams that win lots of games, draft well. So they looked at a variety of factors such as where the team selected (i.e seeding in the draft), how many star players were acquired, booms, busts, late round gems, how the player selected contributed to wins and losses, the name of the guy who did all this at the firm is Mike Maioceo. I’m going to name for you – according to his study, the teams that have drafted best in the NFL, see if you find a trend.
#1 Green Bay, #2 New Orleans,# 3 Colts,# 4 Jets, #5 Falcons, #6 Ravens, # 8 Steelers, # 9 Patriots…see a trend? You sure as heck better draft well!! [Open in a new tab to read the entire article http://www.csnbayarea.com/04/04/11/Maiocco-Five-year-study-of-NFL-drafts/landing_maiocco_v3.html?blockID=496960&feedID=5936 ] Now we’ve got a salary cap since the mid 90’s, so getting guys 2 or 3 years on the cheap is absolutely huge in this league. So it’s incredible on how huge this draft has just become and its also unbelievable on how QB has become. The rule changes – it’s all about getting the QB, protecting him, getting him assets and then drafting guys who can get the other QB. So to me, this is what the new NFL looks like so I understand people looking at Atlanta and going “oh this is nuts” but they think they’re two players away and they just got one.
San Diego did this year’s ago, when they gave up 4 picks to get a safety from the University of Utah, Eric Weddle and I remember reading it in a Sports Illustrated article where AJ Smith the GM said, “we had 10 pro bowlers, none of these guys could make our team. We had all these draft picks, none of these draft picks could make our team…we had too many good players” That’s when they had Marty Schottenheimer, where they went out and found this all purpose safety kid, who could play in special teams, nickel packages, they knew he’d be able to start immediately. Atlanta doesn’t have 6 spots you can start in, they’ve got about 3 of them and they just solved one…I get it! It’s still too many picks for me, but I get it!