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"First Round Picks are Over-rated": Discuss


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They are also destroying their cap by paying top dollar instead of paying for players on rookie contracts. It's why their cap situation is a disaster and doesn't look like it will be improving anytime

The Rams just traded their 1st round draft pick QB who helped them win 3 playoff games and make it to a SB in 3 years for a broken down former 1st round QB on his last legs who was 0-3 in playoff game

Well the Rams did apparently miss on their last 1st round pick.

The process is imperfect. I understand people want it to be as easy as “draft one of the best 32 players and have a good 1st round pick.”

 

There are so many factors that contribute to a guy not succeeding. Never been further than 50 miles away from home and how he’s on the other side of the country. Dad died. Another might believe in lizard people. These are people at the end of the day... nothing is going to be a science when it comes to selecting a player. You can do your best to mitigate risk and have success... but I’m not sure there’s one employer in the world that has a 100% hit rate on new hires. Some bust, you go back to the drawing board. 
 

The issue here is, it’s not a free market. You’re operating with a limited set of players and can’t “re-do” when a pick doesn’t work out. You can fix your process, but you’re subject to an entirely different pool of candidates to gather information from. 
 

There’s merit to what the Rams are doing, I’m not sure it’s sustainable unless they can continue to have a lot of success in the later rounds and UDFA. The value in the 1st round pick comes from the contract more than anything... it’s a cost controlled and you’re underpaying the player for their performance. Once that first contract is up, it doesn’t really matter anymore. 
 

If the Rams want proven, I don’t blame them. They just better have the ability to hit elsewhere. 

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44 minutes ago, FireChans said:

Bad premise. You don't know this about a rookie you've scouted either.

 

That's true, although young players are generally considered more flexible and coachable than older, established stars.

But the point is, especially under the rookie salary system, you're paying (relative) peanuts even for a 1st round pick.

 

If you trade your first round pick for a veteran, you're facing some of the same uncertainty (will he still be a star, here?) while paying him a substantial amount of your limited cap.

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

Discuss.

 

First we see that delightful shadowy figure, the anonymous NFL executive 🧛‍♀️

 

It's quite correct that there's a substantial whiff rate on first round draft choices.  On the other hand, there's an even more substantial whiff rate on second and third day draft choices.

 

I can see strategically trading a first round pick from time to time, as the Bills did with Stefon Diggs.  We wanted an established, "no question this guy can play" WR to ensure all the pieces were in place to help the Bills answer the question "is Josh Allen Our Guy, or No?" 

 

But now we're swapping players and multiple first round picks and it's rapidly approaching a sort of Tulip Mania

 

Yes, there's to some degree less risk trading a 1st for an established player with a track record.  You know the guy can play.  But there's a down-side too; you don't know if he'll adapt and play as well in your system, and of course you miss out on the benefit of the draft and rookie contract system, which is hopefully getting a good player at a bargain price for 4 years.

 

 

 

 

When you look at the Rams best players, most of them are first or second rounders from back when they used to use them. Aaron Donald and Brockers, for instance.

 

They do have a CB who's good and was ... a trade? Ramsey.

 

First rounders are overrated by anyone who thinks they're sure things. Otherwise, no.

 

FAs and trades can also be misses, and draft picks keep your team viable under the cap.

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7 minutes ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

That's true, although young players are generally considered more flexible and coachable than older, established stars.

But the point is, especially under the rookie salary system, you're paying (relative) peanuts even for a 1st round pick.

 

If you trade your first round pick for a veteran, you're facing some of the same uncertainty (will he still be a star, here?) while paying him a substantial amount of your limited cap.

 

 

 

That's a pretty slim distinction. 

 

Player A is a star at the highest level of sports.  Will he be a star here?

 

Player B is a star in college, plays for a big time program against a group of players that 99% of them will never be good enough to be in the NFL. Will he be a star here?

 

The risk is CLEARLY higher with player two. Like not even close. ~50% of first round picks bust. 

 

If you think that two late first round picks at CB had a lesser risk of being bums in LA than Jalen Ramsey, you are just incorrect.

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1 hour ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

I wondered if this was tongue-in-cheek, but it appears to be serious:

 

 

Discuss.

 

First we see that delightful shadowy figure, the anonymous NFL executive 🧛‍♀️

 

It's quite correct that there's a substantial whiff rate on first round draft choices.  On the other hand, there's an even more substantial whiff rate on second and third day draft choices.

 

I can see strategically trading a first round pick from time to time, as the Bills did with Stefon Diggs.  We wanted an established, "no question this guy can play" WR to ensure all the pieces were in place to help the Bills answer the question "is Josh Allen Our Guy, or No?" 

 

But now we're swapping players and multiple first round picks and it's rapidly approaching a sort of Tulip Mania

 

Yes, there's to some degree less risk trading a 1st for an established player with a track record.  You know the guy can play.  But there's a down-side too; you don't know if he'll adapt and play as well in your system, and of course you miss out on the benefit of the draft and rookie contract system, which is hopefully getting a good player at a bargain price for 4 years.

 

 

 

Couple of things:

  1. Its true, first round picks are grossly over valued by just about everyone, especially around here.  In every draft, more than half the picks will most likely miss and its not uncommon to see 2/3rds or more miss.  
  2. However, grossly missing from the above argument is cap implications between a first round pick and an established star worthy of a first round pick or more.
    1. Rookie deals are going to be substantially cheaper for the first 4 to 5 years on those picks.  Where as an established player worthy of a first round pick is either going to be nearing a new expensive deal or already in one and take up much more cap space.  
  3. Established stars are not a lock to equal their production on the new team either yet come with a substantial bigger hit.  
    1. Stafford for example...this guy has never proven to be an Elite QB.  He very well could enter that conversation and be the best version of himself with the Rams, but there is no guarantee of that.  While I will concede that Stafford is better than Goff, there is a legit question about whether or not he is enough of an upgrade to shed 2 firsts and a third from a team already with cap issues.  There are plenty of times big name players got traded for a lot and then never lived up to that compensation.  

All that being said, 2 obvious things stand out for me in this trade:  Lions got about as good a package possible for Stafford landing 3 quality picks including 2 firsts along with a young QB whose at least been to a SB and put up some stats previously for the Rams.  And the Rams are all in for trying to win in the next 2 years a Super Bowl and are gambling their future to do so.  

 

The question is, will it work for the Rams...and its not really been a winning approach for teams in the past to essentially try and buy a Super Bowl by spending big on FA's and trading away all their premium picks for players.  

 

For me, the biggest concern for the Rams is their forward looking cap issues and not having quality draft assets to try and land talent on cheaper rookie deals.  If Stafford ends up being the missing piece and enough of an upgrade to get them a SB, then its all worth it.  If not, then the Rams may flail in that "SB contender...but not really" category every year for the foreseeable future.  

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I think there is inherent risk in either approach. While 1st round picks are not a sure hit, a lot of free agents look to sign their big contract and then their performance does not match the contract. They may not fit the system of their new team, they may not fit the culture, or their effort may wane since they got their payday. By far the best approach is to hit on your first round picks as best you can. Misses should be few, outside of QB, which no one can predict well.

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1 minute ago, Alphadawg7 said:

 

Couple of things:

  1. Its true, first round picks are grossly over valued by just about everyone, especially around here.  In every draft, more than half the picks will most likely miss and its not uncommon to see 2/3rds or more miss.  
  2. However, grossly missing from the above argument is cap implications between a first round pick and an established star worthy of a first round pick or more.
    1. Rookie deals are going to be substantially cheaper for the first 4 to 5 years on those picks.  Where as an established player worthy of a first round pick is either going to be nearing a new expensive deal or already in one and take up much more cap space.  
  3. Established stars are not a lock to equal their production on the new team either yet come with a substantial bigger hit.  
    1. Stafford for example...this guy has never proven to be an Elite QB.  He very well could enter that conversation and be the best version of himself with the Rams, but there is no guarantee of that.  While I will concede that Stafford is better than Goff, there is a legit question about whether or not he is enough of an upgrade to shed 2 firsts and a third from a team already with cap issues.  There are plenty of times big name players got traded for a lot and then never lived up to that compensation.  

All that being said, 2 obvious things stand out for me in this trade:  Lions got about as good a package possible for Stafford landing 3 quality picks including 2 firsts along with a young QB whose at least been to a SB and put up some stats previously for the Rams.  And the Rams are all in for trying to win in the next 2 years a Super Bowl and are gambling their future to do so.  

 

The question is, will it work for the Rams...and its not really been a winning approach for teams in the past to essentially try and buy a Super Bowl by spending big on FA's and trading away all their premium picks for players.  

 

For me, the biggest concern for the Rams is their forward looking cap issues and not having quality draft assets to try and land talent on cheaper rookie deals.  If Stafford ends up being the missing piece and enough of an upgrade to get them a SB, then its all worth it.  If not, then the Rams may flail in that "SB contender...but not really" category every year for the foreseeable future.  

But they were already there, weren't they?

 

I mean, what QB they could draft in the late 25's was going to put them over the hump with their short window?

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I’m far more inclined to believe it this year than I was this time last year.... it worked well for us.

 

That being said - first round picks don’t have value because they produce a blue chip talent (read talent, not product- anyone drafted top 32 is blue chip talent wise), but because they produce a blue chip talent at a cost controlled rate. If the talent turns into a stud player, you’re better off than if you trade the talent for the established player and a big dollar contract. But that “if” makes and (more often) breaks careers. 
 

Which LA team scenario do you prefer? 
 

Draft blue chip talent and he turns into stud QB and you have a high pick this year to build around him?

 

trade for stud QB and have no picks plus pay him a hefty contract.

 

Clearly the Chargers have the better setup, but the Rams got to their situation cause they tried point A and failed. Drafting poorly leads to desperation and a belief that the draft isn’t worth much.

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4 minutes ago, FireChans said:

But they were already there, weren't they?

 

I mean, what QB they could draft in the late 25's was going to put them over the hump with their short window?

 

I didn't say they would have had to target a QB.  I mean they reached the SB with Goff already once before.  And this year Goff was hurt and played hurt in the playoffs too.  With a healthy Goff next year and some focus on improving the OL in the draft and FA, they could have got right back into the SB hunt again.  

 

Don't get me wrong, I am not defending Goff here, I have long said I don't believe in him and think he is soft.  So I get Stafford is an upgrade over him and agree with that.  The question is, will Stafford be enough of an upgrade to have paid that much.  And Stafford has his owns risks...dealt with some injury issues, his not far from his mid 30's, and under his time in Detroit they haven't won a lot, even when Detroit had good defenses.  They also frequently blew games where they had 2 score leads, etc.  Not all of that is on Stafford by any means, the point is this isn't a slam dunk, and if he turns out to not be enough, Rams are going to be one of those poser contenders at best for the next several years as they have a tough cap situation moving forward.  

 

Don't forget, the Rams OL isn't great and part of the reason Goff regressed some from those first 2 break out years that led to a SB birth.  

 

I am not condemning Stafford, as a Rams fan (my 2nd team...albeit a distant second) I would love to see this work for them.  And it very well could work out great.  Just saying they mortgaged their future for the next 2 years...how many times has that worked in the past for teams in the NFL?  Not often, so it was a big gamble still.

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I don’t agree that they are overvalued mainly because of the 5 years of cost control. I don’t disagree that trading the pick here and there to get a proven player can be wise depending on the circumstance (ie Stefon Diggs) but to use it as a general practice like the Rams  is not a model I personally believe in. 

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One thing this year has taught me ( in respect to JA) is that you are absolutely nothing without a Top 10 ( Top 5 even? ) QB and you really should be giving up a lot to acquire one or the chance to draft one... 

 

Now.. giving up 2 No 1's and change for Ramsay or Adams.. thats a different story in my view...

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Since this conversation is going there, I’ll also say that cap problems are highly over-rated.  Seems like every year, people go crazy over the Rams cap problems and every year they find a way to get under the cap and still be a contender.  And their cap problems stemmed from bad contracts to their own players (Goff and Gurley), and they were still able to unload those contracts and remain a contender.   Unlike the NBA and MLB, football contracts are very club friendly and generally easy to get out of.  Heck, you could cut $30m pretty easily from the bills roster before you start impacting wins and losses.  

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1 hour ago, CincyBillsFan said:

I think there is merit in this position.  Tua was the 5th player taken in the 1st round last year and now he is at the epicenter of a possible trade for Watson.

 

Darnold was the 3rd pick and Rosen was the 10th pick in 2018 and one is a bust and the other is on the brink of being a bust.

 

Goff was the 1st pick in the draft not that long ago and now he got swapped for Stafford.

 

I could fill this page with more examples of this. 

 

 

You could. But I could fill this page with examples of free agents and trades that also didn't work out or busted.

 

Remember when the Dolphins got Mike Wallace?

Albert Haynesworth?

Neil O'Donnell after he left the Steelers?

Dana Stubblefield?

David Boston.

Rosen is on your list. He's on mine too.

Is Kirk Cousins living up to his contract? He's a good player but not worth what they paid.

Case Keenum's second FA contract?

Michael Crabtree?

Sam Bradford?

Peerless Price?

Trent Murphy?

Vanderjagt?

LaVar Arrington?

Deion Sanders in D.C.?

Fred Smoot?

Two 1sts for Sean Gilbert?

Nate Clements in SF?

Derrick Dockery? It hurt me to even type his name.

Langston Walker, who fits the other side of the story? They signed him as an RT and it was a solid signing, then they moved him to LT and it was a disaster.

Larry Triplett?

 

I mean, I could go on and on as well.

 

It always makes me laugh when people talk about signing a "proven vet," like there's no way anything could ever go wrong.

 

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Just now, Alphadawg7 said:

 

I didn't say they would have had to target a QB.  I mean they reached the SB with Goff already once before.  And this year Goff was hurt and played hurt in the playoffs too.  With a healthy Goff next year and some focus on improving the OL in the draft and FA, they could have got right back into the SB hunt again.  

 

Don't get me wrong, I am not defending Goff here, I have long said I don't believe in him and think he is soft.  So I get Stafford is an upgrade over him and agree with that.  The question is, will Stafford be enough of an upgrade to have paid that much.  And Stafford has his owns risks...dealt with some injury issues, his not far from his mid 30's, and under his time in Detroit they haven't won a lot, even when Detroit had good defenses.  They also frequently blew games where they had 2 score leads, etc.  Not all of that is on Stafford by any means, the point is this isn't a slam dunk, and if he turns out to not be enough, Rams are going to be one of those poser contenders at best for the next several years as they have a tough cap situation moving forward.  

 

Don't forget, the Rams OL isn't great and part of the reason Goff regressed some from those first 2 break out years that led to a SB birth.  

 

I am not condemning Stafford, as a Rams fan (my 2nd team...albeit a distant second) I would love to see this work for them.  And it very well could work out great.  Just saying they mortgaged their future for the next 2 years...how many times has that worked in the past for teams in the NFL?  Not often, so it was a big gamble still.

I think the answer is that the Rams don't care.

 

You are ABSOLUTELY correct that they are gambling on this team in the next 2 years. But they don't care.

 

McVay lost confidence in Goff's ability to get that team where they wanted to be. I think we all agree that on paper, Stafford is an upgrade. 

 

So they rolled the dice on the dude. They think Stafford, in McVay's system, with that roster currently, is one of the best teams in football and better than the 2020 team. We all agree they could be right.

 

The risk of being a poser contender was already there with Goff at the helm. Their SB odds have gotten better. Their division winning odds have gotten better.

 

At a certain point, you have to double down. You have to say, "we have to risk a few painful years in the future to win the big one." The Chiefs have done that and the pain will come. The Eagles did that and they won, they re going through it now. The Falcons did that, lost in the SB but the pain arrived. Hell, the Pats most recently did that.

 

I would LOVE for the Bills to go all in and put their chips on the table. That's how you give yourself the best chance to win. Your goal shouldn't be winning 10+ games every year but not being good enough. I'll take a few 9 win or 8 win seasons to win the big one. Everyone would.

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2 minutes ago, BuffaloRebound said:

Since this conversation is going there, I’ll also say that cap problems are highly over-rated.  Seems like every year, people go crazy over the Rams cap problems and every year they find a way to get under the cap and still be a contender.  And their cap problems stemmed from bad contracts to their own players (Goff and Gurley), and they were still able to unload those contracts and remain a contender.   Unlike the NBA and MLB, football contracts are very club friendly and generally to get out of.  Heck, you could cut $30m pretty easily from the bills roster before you start impacting wins and losses.  

Saints have been in cap hell for years it seems.

 

The better question is if the Bills adapted the Rams strategy this offseason and won a Super Bowl next year but had to blow it up 3 years from now with minimal draft picks would it be worth it? I think the answer is clearly yes. 

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2 hours ago, BillsRdue said:

Truth is that no one should miss on a first round pick, but they often do. Maybe even 50% of the time. That's insane. I think some of it is overvaluing QB's and teams being desperate for their franchise guy. This is the most often miss.  

 

If a scouting department can't find one of the 32 best players in college and develop them, then you have a serious problem. Don't draft for need. Draft for value and find great players regardless of position. This is the key to success. You can always trade value for value. But reaching to fill a need with the 5th, 6th, 7th, or even lower ranked player at a position in the first round is a recipe for disaster.  22 positions (no K/P) and 32 teams. If you aren't finding the #1 or #2  or even #3 guy at a position who is a sure thing, then you need to reevaluate the way you are building your team 

I agree there’s always a stud in the first but like you say teams draft for need to much I would take best player in first round then for need in the other rounds. I would rather have a all pro running back scoring me points then a bust D tackle because I reached 

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3 minutes ago, FireChans said:

I think the answer is that the Rams don't care.

 

You are ABSOLUTELY correct that they are gambling on this team in the next 2 years. But they don't care.

 

McVay lost confidence in Goff's ability to get that team where they wanted to be. I think we all agree that on paper, Stafford is an upgrade. 

 

So they rolled the dice on the dude. They think Stafford, in McVay's system, with that roster currently, is one of the best teams in football and better than the 2020 team. We all agree they could be right.

 

The risk of being a poser contender was already there with Goff at the helm. Their SB odds have gotten better. Their division winning odds have gotten better.

 

At a certain point, you have to double down. You have to say, "we have to risk a few painful years in the future to win the big one." The Chiefs have done that and the pain will come. The Eagles did that and they won, they re going through it now. The Falcons did that, lost in the SB but the pain arrived. Hell, the Pats most recently did that.

 

I would LOVE for the Bills to go all in and put their chips on the table. That's how you give yourself the best chance to win. Your goal shouldn't be winning 10+ games every year but not being good enough. I'll take a few 9 win or 8 win seasons to win the big one. Everyone would.

Agree....not sure McBeane have that in them though. 

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27 minutes ago, FireChans said:

If you think that two late first round picks at CB had a lesser risk of being stars in LA than Jalen Ramsey, you are just incorrect.

 

Is that what you believe I said?

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1 minute ago, Thurman#1 said:

 

 

You could. But I could fill this page with examples of free agents and trades that also didn't work out or busted.

 

Remember when the Dolphins got Mike Wallace?

Albert Haynesworth?

Neil O'Donnell after he left the Steelers?

Dana Stubblefield?

David Boston.

Rosen is on your list. He's on mine too.

Is Kirk Cousins living up to his contract? He's a good player but not worth what they paid.

Case Keenum's second FA contract?

Michael Crabtree?

Sam Bradford?

Peerless Price?

Trent Murphy?

Vanderjagt?

LaVar Arrington?

Deion Sanders in D.C.?

Fred Smoot?

Two 1sts for Sean Gilbert?

Nate Clements in SF?

Derrick Dockery? It hurt me to even type his name.

Langston Walker, who fits the other side of the story? They signed him as an RT and it was a solid signing, then they moved him to LT and it was a disaster.

Larry Triplett?

 

I mean, I could go on and on as well.

 

It always makes me laugh when people talk about signing a "proven vet," like there's no way anything could ever go wrong.

 

Haha 90% of these names are old as dirt. And they aren't all even good examples.

 

Rosen was a proven vet?


Case Keenum signing a front-loaded prove it deal after a miracle year was a big gamble?

 

Deion retired and was off the books in one season.

 

Like what are we even talking about here?  Maybe redo your list a bit.

1 minute ago, Hapless Bills Fan said:

 

Is that what you believe I said?

I believe it is the logical conclusion of the "what if they aren't a star in your system" argument that you could make for every player acquisition ever.

 

Acquiring a ProBowl level player for a later first is safer in terms of playing ability than acquiring a late first round rookie. Point blank. Period.

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