Broncos Receive 7th Round Pick, Could Become 6th Rounder
It's being reported on several news outlets that the Broncos have traded Domonique Foxworth to the Atlanta Falcons for a 7th Round draft pick. Since Foxy is in the last year of his contract, the Broncos would receive a 6th Round pick should the Falcons resign him.
I know there is going to be a lot of disdain for this trade. My initial reaction was quite the same. I then took a few minutes to think about it. I looked at the stats, and I took a close look at Domonique Foxworth the player, and what I saw during the Pre-Season. What I found was a player that may not get much better than he already is.
First, let's do ourselves a favor and give Foxy the respect he deserves for what he has done off the football field. Foxworth is an awesome human being, first and foremost. His work to get the Darrent Williams Teen Center off the ground was selfless as has his increasing role in the NFLPA. Domonique Foxworth is the type of man anyone of us would be proud to have our kids idolize and is a wonderful member of the community. I bring this up right off the top because it is the most important, in the real world. Guys like Foxy are good for society and that is never a bad thing. That said, I wanted to get it out of the way, becuase I want this breakdown of the trade, and my feelings toward it to focus solely on football.
Now, in the field, let's breakdown what Foxworth is, and what he has the chance to become. To do that, we'll start off with a quick look at his career numbers --
A few things stick out right off the bat. First, Foxy's production has decreased each year. Tackles, passes defensed, turnovers created, all have been trending downward. Yes, alot of that could have to do with playing time, position, etc, but Foxworth was a part-time player in 2005 as well. I don't buy that argument as justification for a production decrease, especially in the area of tackles, where Foxy playing safety should have helped his numbers.
For one second, let's forget about tackles. That can fluctuate for a defensive back. The big one to me is turnovers, specifically interceptions. Some guys just have a nose for the ball. Champ Bailey does. Darrent Williams did. Jack Williams does. Domonique Foxworth does not. Only 3 interceptions in 3 seasons, zero last year, tell me that Foxworth, while steady, doesn't have a nose for the football. It also tells me he struggles in coverage when the ball is in the air. That was proven this pre-season with Foxworth being beaten several times on passes I would consider 50/50 when they left the Quarterback's hands. Guys like Bailey, or even Jack Williams, get to those balls. Foxworth simply does not.
Let's focus on Jack Williams for a moment. I've said over and over again that he reminds me of Darrent Williams in a lot of ways. He plays with a swagger, an attitude and isn't afraid to make mistakes or get beat. He has a penchent for being in the right place at the right time, and like I said, has a nose for the football. The play Williams made against the Cardinals seaed the deal. Shanahan wants playmakers on the field. Anyone thing Domonique Foxworth could have made the play Jack Williams did? Turning an "casual" interception into 7 points? Neither does Shanny, and in a sport where games are decided on 3 or 4 plays having playmakers with speed and skill on the field is very important.
What about Karl Paymah? Along with Williams, it was the play of Paymah this pre-season that allowed the Broncos to make this move, in reality. Look at his numbers over his career --
We all know Paymah hasn't had the same amount of opportunities the Foxworth has had, especially early in his career, but of late Paymah has come on strong. He is a more aggressive player, as a tackler and in coverage, and is pysically stronger than Foxworth, an important attribute if lined up against bigger Tight Ends the Broncos will face this season - Gates, Gonzalez, Shockey, et al. His numbers in 2007 were comparable to Foxworth's, showing that Paymah career is on the upswing, despite not getting alot of playing time.
Now let's look closer at Foxworth. I called him the best tackler on the defense, and he might be. That's great, if your job is to be a tackler. Foxworth is a defensive back, and while run support and tackling are crucial, you have to be able to cover guys and sometimes make a play on the ball, not the receiver. While Foxworth didn't give up alot of yards after the catch, it was the yards gained by the recpetions Foxworth allowed that cost him his job. Against inferior talent - Foxworth was getting alot of playing time against 2nd and 3rd string offenses - Foxworth was repeatedly beaten, especially on intermediate routes. Passes to the sideline are a quarterback's bread and butter, and any NFL quarterback can make them. While we know that Dre Bly has his issues, Foxworth hadn't proven he was a better option, especially in coverage.
IN the locker room, I won't say that Foxworth was a problem, but he had been vocal for awhile now about his desire to be a starting CB in the NFL. He said as much after last season. I can't blame him, but at times it seems Foxy's view of himself are a bit more positive than reality. He simply thinks he is better than he really is.
Reality. That is an important word as we head towards my thoughts on the trade. The Broncos will apparently receive a 7th round pick for Foxworth, a 6th rounder if he is resigned by the Falcons. On the surface, it looks like the Broncos got the shaft. Let's look at it closer. What are the Falcons getting? Foxworth had lost his job as the 3rd corner for the Broncos, and in the eyes of Broncos coaches Foxworth's hold on the 4th corner job was tenuous at best. Add in the fact the Jack Williams is much better when the ball is in the air, and his ability on Special Teams, and the Broncos felt Williams was the better option overall.
So, let's ask the questions again. What did the Falcons get and is the compensation fair? Put on your GM hat for a second. What would you trade in order to pick up another team's 5th corner who thinks he's a #1 or #2 and is on a contract year? Not much, right? Sure, Foxworth has alot of experience, and does have value in the League. If he is so damn good, however, why wouldn't the Cleveland Browns, a team starving for help in the secondary, make a play for Foxy? You know the answer. The Browns, like most teams, already have guys with Foxy's ability on the roster. He isn't a game changer, and he isn't the difference between winning and losing. Think about it. I mean really think hard. Domonique Foxworth was the 5th best DB on the Broncos. His talent and production have likely peaked. In a way the Broncos were lucky to get a draft pick at all!
It is always hard giving up young players, especially those with a lot of game experience. It's easier once you realize that player wasn't part of the long range plans, and you take into account of where this football team is at. It is getting younger at a rapid pace. It is getting faster at a rapid pace, and it is getting more talented. Perhaps the trade of Foxworth for a barrell of peanuts was a slight step back. But the Broncos are moving forward with players that have more upside, and in the end it could be two steps forward for the franchise.