A lot of noise has been made in regards to one single, solitary draft pick made by the Denver Broncos organization this year. That pick was the second pick over all, and the second pick in the second round of this years draft. That's right, pick #57 Brock Osweiller. We have people who say that it was a great pick for the future.
We have others who are convinced that the selection was the wrong one. Still others have said that since the Broncos made that pick, at that particular place, at that particular reach, that this draft is already a bust! WOW! That is a pretty good mix of contradictions. That definitely goes from black to white quicker than a first and second car finish in a NASCAR race!
The only way that we can actually determine who is right in this issue, is to look at the draft record of the top 5 teams in the last decade. Now you must understand the depth of the research involved with this. You can't just look at these obvious top 5 teams and simply say that they have a great front office. It's a lot more complicated than that. We are, after all, looking at the drafts.
What did they do that helped the team? Did one of the picks they made hurt their team? How many of their picks are still with them, and how many never even made the cut? I did a similar analysis of the Broncos picks in an article called "John saw it, he knows, and he remembers." In that article I looked at the same basic issues. Did any of these picks make a solid contribution 'to the team' that picked them?
These five teams are arguably the best, of the best, in the last twelve years, and are the ones that I have chosen for this comparison.
Since 2000, there have been 8 different teams who have won the Super Bowl. Twelve years, but only 8 teams. The winners are: Patriots, 3 wins and 2 losses, 5 shows. New York Giants, 2 wins, 1 loss, 3 shows. Pittsburgh Steelers, 2 wins, 1 loss, 3 shows. Indianapolis Colts, 1 win, 1 loss, 2 shows.
Now it's a toss up. The Packers, Saints, Buccaneers and the Ravens all won a Super Bowl during this time frame, but non of them appeared in any other Super Bowl during this period. I chose the Packers since they were the latest to win as a '1 show' candidate. Lets take it from the top.
What's wrong with that Patriot team? Don't they realize that all they had to do is to show up at one more SB "to get even odds to show" by the Vegas Odds Makers? (No way! Vegas always wins and will never give up that kind of a deal!)
Here is what happened in Boston during 10 of those12 years of drafts. We will not be including 2010 or 2011, since I don't happen to be one of those people who think a player (or a draft for that matter,) can be graded that early in his pro career.
2009: Patrick Chung DB, Ron Brace DT, Darius Butler DB, Sebastian Vollmer T, Brandon Tate WR, Tyrone McKenzie LB, Rich Ohrnberger G, George Bussey T, Jake Ingram LS, Myron Pryor DT, Julian Edelman WR, Darryl Richard DT. (12 picks in seven rounds)
2008: Jerod Mayo LB, Terrence Wheatley DB, Shawn Crable LB, Kevin O'Connell QB, Jonathan Wilhite DB, Matt Slater WR, Bo Ruud LB. (7 picks)
2007: Brandon Meriweather DB, Kareem Brown DT, Clint Oldenburg T, Justin Rogers LB, Mike Richardson DB, Justise Hairston RB, Corey Hilliard T, Oscar Lua LB, Mike Elgin G (9 picks)
2006: Laurence Maroney RB, Chad Jackson WR, David Thomas TE, Garrett Mills FB, Stephen Gostkowski K, Ryan O'Callaghan T, Jeremy Mincey DE, Dan Stevenson G, LeKevin Smith DT, Willie Andrews DB (10 picks)
2005: Logan Mankins G, Ellis Hobb DB, Nick Kaczur T, James Sanders DB, Ryan Claridge LB, Matt Cassel QB, Andy Stokes TE. (7 picks)
2004: Vince Wilfork NT, Ben Watson TE, Marquise Hill DE, Guss Scott DB, Dexter Reid DB, Cedric Cobbs RB, P.K. Sam WR, Christian Morton DB (8 picks)
2003: Ty Warren DT, Eugene Wilson DB, Bethel Johnson WR, Dan Klecko DT, Asante Samuel DB, Dan Koppen C, Kliff Kingsbur QB, Spencer Nead FB, Tully Banta-Cain LB, Ethan Kelley DT (10 picks)
2002: Daniel Graham TE, Deion Branch WR, Rohan Davey QB, Jarvis Green DE, Antwoine Womack RB, David Givens WR (6 picks)
2001: Richard Seymour DE, Matt Light T, Brock Williams DB, Kenyatta Jones T, Jabari Holloway TE, Hakim Akbar DB, Arther Love TE, Leonard Myers DB, Owen Pochman K, T.J. Turner LB (10 picks)
2000: Adrian Klemm G, J.R. Redmond RB, Greg Randall T, Dave Stachelski TE, Jeff Marriott DT, Antwan Harris DB, Tom Brady QB, David Nugent DE, Casey Tisdale LB, Patrick Pass FB (10 picks)
Wow! 87 picks in ten years! Thats 17 extras. Not bad, but what did that do for the team?
The New England Patriots 2010 roster still had 7 players on it from the 2009 draft. That isn't that unusual. The ones that are in bold in the above list, are those that have remained on the list through the 2010 season.
The players above who are in Italics, are the ones who actually made the roster the year they were drafted. Obviously those who are in bold are super picks, if they were picked 5 years ago or more.! They actually made the team and are continuing to contribute to the teams success! The others have moved on to other teams, and the rest simply didn't make the cut.
As I continued this study it didn't take long for me to realize that this is the norm in the NFL! As a matter of fact, it got worse as I went along. Not that much worse, and my educated guess is that the teams that are the worst, the ones who are in a rebuilding mode, will end up keeping more players from each draft than the better teams who have fewer areas of need.
I decided at that point that there was little need to continue with a detailed display of all of the drafts of the top five teams, as they all indicate the same thing. (Although if I had, it would have illustrated my point a whole lot better than the Patriots drafts did!)
Let's just take the Patriots and break it down.
In ten years, with 87 picks, the Patriots still had 21 of them left on their 2010 roster. They had a very tough time trying to find DB's. 14 of those 87 picks were DB's and Patrick Chung, Darius Butler and Jonathan Wilhite who remain, were all picked in 08 & 09. Most of the DB picks never made the cut. Their 03 pick Asante Samuel left for the Egals in 08 and is now with the Falcons.
Bill Belichick is no dummy! He never make the mistake that Dan Reeves made in 1994 when the Broncos had first, second and third round picks that failed to even make the roster! Belichick has been certain to retain the majority of his picks every year (for at least a year) except 07 when first round pick Brandon Meriweather was the only pick to make the cut.
Tom Brady is the only pick left from the 2000 class, but Bill Belichick was certain to sign 56 of his 87 picks even though most of them didn't stick around very long.
As I looked at these teams the same thing showed up in every one. After the first round picks there was rarely a second rounder that stuck for long. I say rarely? Yup. Only Deion Branch and Matt Light did during this ten years of drafts for the Pat's. There is a better chance that an odd pick you don't expect to stick, will.
Like Tom Brady, Stephen Gostkowski, Jarvis Green, James Sanders, Tully Banta-Cain and the Rod Smith's of the world. Hard working guys that just keep doing their jobs and don't complain.
The point is that it simply does not matter which pick you make in the draft that doesn't make the cut. There will be more of those every year then those that make the grade. Very few of any years draft picks will still be with the team 3 - 5 years later. But there will be UDFA's like Rod Smith who just show us where the true value is!
Let's see, the back up QB's for the Patriots are Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett? Anyone heard of those guys? If Brady goes down they aught to be pretty good right? Neither of those two guys were picked before 2010. I'm betting that Brock Osweiler will out last both those guys in this league!
So much for the reach, and so much for the value pick. Who was it again that we were supposed to pick at that spot that you are guaranteeing me will be here in ten years?