I know, I know…not another post bashing Alphonso Smith. No worries - not going to happen here. Actually, this post is in response to MGM’s post earlier today on the wisdom of trading down with our 1st round draft picks to get players at better $$$ value. I want to focus on one trade in particular: the trade that became Alphonso Smith.
Let me start by stating I LOVE how McX manipulated the draft this year, trading down and around to gain more value picks and to target specific players. This wheeling and dealing makes sense to me, even if there is an occasional "swing and a miss" pick. Overall, I am pleased with the direction McD is taking this team.
However…with that said… I disagree completely with the everything about the trade that became the Alphonso Smith pick. Remember, I’m bashing Team McX in this post, not Alphonso. McX absolutely flubbed trying to execute their draft strategy with this one. Even if Alphonso had turned out to be a serviceable DB, this still would have been a horrible trade imho.
Team McX should have NEVER traded away our first round pick of the 2010 draft for 2nd round talent. I remember when the trade went down, one sports writer (who??) wrote McX was like a "kid in the candy store" with those picks, eager to spend the picks without applying proper long-term strategy. I think that is a fairly accurate description of what happened with trade for the Alphonso pick. McX essentially made a critical rookie mistake by mortgaging the future on a risky bet without thinking it through properly.
I understand trading away future late round picks for a specific player you had targeted on your board (like we did for Syd’quan this year). But trading away a future 1st round pick for a current 2nd rounder? I just can’t think of a reason to justify it – EVER! McX made a HUGE mistake in the trade for Alphonso.
The trade for the Alphonso pick was a spectacularly bad decision last year because:
- Team McX did know that the 2010 draft was going to be deep, significantly deeper than the usual draft. This was common knowledge. The first round of this year’s draft was loaded with talented, difference-making football players. On the flip side, 2009 was considered a weak draft. There are no "sure things", but first round players in 2010 were without question a much safer bet than 2nd rounders from the 2009 draft.
- The Bronco’s war room was hastily assembled and did not have enough time for proper analysis of the draft. Both McD and Xanders have admitted as much. So this begs the question again: why throw your most valuable commodity –a future 1st round pick - why throw it away on a player you are not sure has been thoroughly analyzed? A player that 31 other teams did not want in the first round nor at the start of the 2nd round. McX was nuts to even consider that trade with limited information available.
- McX could not have with any degree of accuracy forecasted where that 1st pick would end up in the 2010 draft. (see first bullet above) Why trade such a valuable commodity (future 1st round pick) without having any idea of it’s true worth??? The only time you do that is if you have a mandate to "win now – at any cost". However, there certainly weren’t high expectations going into 2009. And even if there was pressure to "win now", a rookie DB named Alphonso wasn’t going to help McX sleep any better at night.
- The most important point of all: because of so much uncertainty regarding this team in 2009 where not enough information was available for anyone to accurately predict greatness or miserable failure in 2009, why trade away the future fix to whatever the year might hold? What I mean is that after a year with the team, McX could have then accurately identified where the needs were (which they did, btw). As has been discussed ad nauseum, that extra 1st round pick could have been used in so many ways in this year’s draft to improve this team. The 14th pick in the 1st round is a sweet spot in the draft. Many solid and even spectacular players were available with that pick, and many teams would have been willing to trade up. McX irresponsibly threw away a golden opportunity to jump-start this football team with their rash decision to trade the pick last year.
Ok, this post ended up longer than I expected. In summary, I agree with the overall strategy of trading down. However, it was a mistake last year and I believe will always be a mistake to trade a future 1st round pick. Even if Alphonso had performed better it would have still be a very bad decision in my opinion.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it…until you change my mind. Can anyone think of a circumstance(s) that would justify trading a future 1st round pick for a later round pick in the current draft? I'm not talking about trading picks for veteran players. I get that. I'm essentially asking is it ever OK to trade a future 1st for a current 2nd round player? Me thinks not.