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BigBuff423 posted a topic in The Stadium WallBen Volin of the Boston Globe writes an interesting piece, found here: https://www.bostonglobe.com/sports/patriots/2018/04/18/why-nfl-draft-isn-important-used/9Tk5GkUu82JtyBX2hItrsI/story.html The impetus of the article is that due to the new CBA and the lack of time a team can spend in practice, it is so much harder and with so many more obstacles to truly develop a player. Consider these quotes: "The problem, the Rams found out, was that they didn’t have enough time to develop their young players, thanks to the new practice rules established by the 2011 collective bargaining agreement." "The biggest change in today’s NFL: Time, not money, is the scarce resource." "The biggest reason has been the reduction in practice time. Teams used to hold full-contact practices in the offseason, two-a-days during training camp, and had no limitations on full-contact practices during the regular season.....But under the new CBA, spring practices are strictly regulated with no contact, no pads, and only four hours per day at the facility. Two-a-days in training camp have been eliminated, and teams can hold only 14 padded practices throughout the entire regular season" "These restrictions are great for the players’ health and safety, but terrible for developing young players — especially those that play in college offenses that don’t translate to the NFL." I thought this quote was truly revealing: "Demoff said that the Rams ran a study, and concluded that it now takes players about three years to have the same amount of practice time they would have gotten in one year under the old CBA." I just thought this type of information is truly relevant given where the Bills are and what they're trying to accomplish. If you read the article, the Rams reference how they learned this was by getting so many picks in the RGIII trade and learning that despite all of this young, promising talent - very few panned out. You can make an argument either way for what the best way to operate the Draft would be, as the article states Demoff still believes building through the Draft is still "the best way to go", but it shows just how much the NFL has changed. It also means, projecting these young guys has been even harder than first realized (edit: under the new CBA).
Feel free to criticize anything I'm about to type here, but I implore you to read the entire post first because I simply don't understand why more Bills fans refuse to jump on the Lamar Jackson train. He threw for more one more touchdown than Rosen and Darnold in a much tougher conference on a less talented team. (this is coming from a Louisville fan so please, call me biased, I'll be the first to admit it) He ran for 50 touchdowns in his career. He threw for 27 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in his last year while rushing for 18 touchdowns. This is following a year in which he won the Heisman trophy and every coach is keying in on stopping him more than any other single player. He had the same amount of interceptions as Rosen last year, yet Rosen is consistently crowned by "experts" as the most polished, accurate, NFL ready QB in the draft, while Jackson is considered the most innacurate QB in the draft...WHAT?? Experts praise Allen for his arm strength and how much zip he can put on the ball, he's also praised for his big frame. Meanwhile Jackson is only 2 inches shorter than Allen...oh and here's a video of Lamar throwing a football 95 yards in high school: If that video is too low quality for you I understand. Here's a video of Jackson nearly breaking dude's fingers in 2014: The receivers' reactions say it all. Lamar Jackson had the highest receiver drop rate in the country last year. Why is this? Because he has an absolute ROCKET of an arm. One of the main criticisms of Jackson is his poor completion percentage. Here are the completion stats for each of the top QB prospects last year per sports-reference.com. Darnold: 64.9% Mayfield: 70.5% Rosen: 62.6% Allen: 56.2% Jackson: 57% With the highest receiver drop rate in the country He's consistently had a laxkluster offensive line during his tenure while going up against some of the best defensive lines in the country in the ACC. His running back was a quarterback converted to receiver (with the emergence of Jackson) converted again to running back in Jackson's final year. With this being said Jackson's statistics are absolutely unprecedented. Michael Vick has gone on record several times saying Jackson is better than he was at that age, which for whatever reason seems to mean nothing to anybody. 2001 Michael Vick: 6'0 210lbs 2018 Lamar Jackson: 6'3 200lbs Experts also question his football IQ...take away your bias if who he is as a man, if you don't think Bobby Petrino runs one of the more complicated offensive systems in football then I have to question whether you actually watch both college and professional football or if you just allow yourself to be spoon-fed whatever NFL Network and ESPN tells you. During Jackson's freshman year when he came in and dominated Bobby Petrino went on record as saying Jackson didn't even know the majority of the plays yet when he got his first start. The next year he had one of the best statistical season in history and won the Heisman trophy over Deshaun Watson who probably would have won it almost any other year with his 2016-17 stats and is currently looking like the best QB from last years draft. Football IQ can be taught, talent cannot. I'm not going to sully this post by trying to make the case for Jackson being the victim of some systemic racial QB bias, but the case these so-called experts make for the rest of the quarterbacks in this draft being a better prospect than Jackson just do not make any sense to me. The only quarterback I think who may be a better prospect than Jackson is Mayfield. There are holes all over this roster despite our lucking into the playoffs last year on a miracle throw/upset. Trading up into the top 5 to take a Rosen or Allen would be a huge mistake IMO when we can draft Jackson at either 12 or 22 and use our other 5 picks in the top 3 rounds to take franchise players who will KEEP us in the playoffs. Thanks for reading. Feel free to make a counter argument, but I'm going to finish this post with his highlights from last year and I just want you to imagine a backfield with Lamar Jackson and Shady McCoy and tell me that wouldn't be a fun time to be a Bills fan.
This has almost become my yearly pre-draft post (like Just Jack's preseason post, only less exciting and more informational) The source is Pro Football Reference Draft Finder, coped into Excel for better slicing and dicing. In previous years, I've used the 'eyeball test', this year I used hard numeric cutoffs. Shout-out to Shady Bills Fan for help with the Excel files. He's a Right Guy! Looking at the first 5 rounds of QB drafted in prev. 20 years (2017 omitted for insufficient data, and didn't go back further due to arguments about rule changes) I calculated three statistics I consider important for QB e v a l: completion percentage, YPA, and TD/INT ratio. My sort criteria were: Greater than 59% completion, Greater than 6.5 YPA, Greater than 1.5 TD/INT (practically speaking, that means if a guy throws 3 TD in a game, he throws 1 and not 2 INTs) Here's what the summarized data look like for success rate in picking a QB who can do these things, by draft round. 1st round broken down further. Bottom line: even at the top of the 1st round, the odds of getting a good QB are something like 50-50. At the bottom of the 1st round, it falls to about 20%, which is the same as the 2nd round. If you play with the criteria a bit, it may rise to 1 out of 3 (30-33%) at the bottom of the 1st round. I'll include the names of the QB these three criteria sorted below, not sure it will be legible: the bottom line is you can nitpick names and cutoffs, but the "song remains the same" overall. Surprises to me: criteria excluded 1st round QB Eli Manning, Cutler, Culpepper, Bridgewater, Campbell. In the later round the surprise exclusion was Schaub (likely be included without his final year). If you add the criterion of averaging >220 ypg, you exclude Kaepernick and Tannehill The data suggest a couple things. Not shown, but with 2 exceptions, all the successful high 1st round QB were pick 1 or 2. Therefore, it may be unwise to mortgage too much of the draft to get to the 1st round 3-5 picks: Go Hard, or stay home. The success rate in picks 6-10 is no higher than the success rate in the 2nd round. It rises from pick 11-20, so if we're going to trade up, trading up a few picks may be the value strategy vs trading up to pick 3-10. After the 3rd round, it's basically throwing darts. This is why letting someone else throw the dart, and trying to pluck the bulls eye off the dartboard is a popular choice. If you start writing a response, "You need to look at this that or the other data or recalculate everything with the moon over the formahaut and X set to Malignify", please save us all time and dial 1-800-Bite-Mee - No seriously, check your personal vals, bro. You're welcome to take and massage the data for yourself. If you message politely I'll even get you my excel file.