by Michael Lombardi
March 29, 02010
QUOTE: “The principal goal of education in the schools should be creating men and women who are capable of doing new things, not simply repeating what other generations have done; men and women who are creative, inventive and discoverers, who can be critical and verify, and not accept, everything they are offered.” -- Jean Piaget
Who had Butler, West Virginia, Michigan State and Duke in their final fours? If anyone did, congratulations on the great foresight. I’m sure you’ll win your office pool.
Sam Bradford working out today
The draft will take shape after today, assuming Sam Bradford throws the ball with good velocity and power. The Rams have said they’re going to enter into negotiations with several top players, but if Bradford throws well, he’ll be the first pick in the draft. This negotiation strategy of the team with the first pick talking/negotiating with several top picks hasn’t worked well in terms of the teams getting the best deal, or the team really being open-minded on whom it will pick. And typically, there are just one or two agents representing several of the top picks, so teams lose their strength in negotiations.
Back to Bradford. He has center stage today and clearly controls his own fate since most NFL teams have him as the best quarterback in the draft. With the Redskins and Browns also interested in him, the Rams must know that they either pick him at one or run the risk of losing him. Trading down is something that fans love to do, but it only works when you don’t have a specific player in mind. You must be willing to select from a group of candidates, not just one. Teams that trade down must be willing to let the board dictate whom they pick and how far they can trade down. Teams cannot trade below their level of grading of the board or they’ll end up with more picks but not the best player.
Once Bradford throws today, the draft picture will get a little clearer.
More Donovan, and a convenient truth
A report surfaced today that the Bills are not interested in Donovan McNabb and are focusing on the draft. Tim Tebow? I do know the Bills are concerned about McNabb’s contract past this season, and that might be keeping their interest at a lower level.
From a football standpoint, the Bills, Raiders and 49ers should be beating down the door to acquire McNabb. The 49ers’ recent endorsement of Alex Smith is a nice gesture, but do they really think he can lead them to the playoffs?
More mistakes are made by organizations incorrectly evaluating their own teams and counting on the wrong players. This is called a “convenient truth” that allows teams to believe something is true and failing to address the problem. Ask any quality NFL talent evaluator about the 49ers and he’ll tell you they need offensive line help and a quarterback. But the 49ers don’t see QB as a need, which is convenient for them.
Horizontal board, vertical board and more convenience
As we enter the final phase of draft preparation, all teams must make sure they have someone who can make an actual determination of the position board and the value board. For example, if a team has a cornerback rated the same as an offensive tackle, it will always take the position of need. But are the players really the same value? If the corner was graded by different scouts and coaches than the tackle, who makes the call on who is actually the better player? This is the reason teams say they go with their board and not their needs, but in reality, the board is rigged to fill their needs.
It takes one or more evaluators in the organization who know their own team really well and can apply the horizontal and vertical boards to their team. The draft is about improving, and improvement can only happen when you focus on the real areas that need improvement. It might be convenient to believe that your team is solidified in a certain area, but is it actually true? And it might be convenient to believe the corner and the tackle are the same grade, but it might not be true.
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For a look at the Mike Holmgren effect in Cleveland, check out this article from Bleacher Report.