I was playing with draft data in response to posts in Ken's hypothetical query thread and noted that BB drafts three positions consistently, DL, TE, and RB/FB A question worth asking....
. My analysis looks at these three as "mismatch" positions; DL by forcing double-teams, TE & RB/FB by redirecting LBs, lead blocking, or freeing up an OL to shift power to the point of attack by blocking on the backside. The only non-mismatch position drafted in round one is Mankins, and if you credited him with being a OT then you also had a potential mismatch position.
First question, how does a player at a specific position create a mismatch? My thoughts:
DL - occupy two or more blockers.
TE - challenge LB and S in the passing game, serving as an extra blocker for run or pass.
RB/FB - challenge LB and S in the passing game, serving as an extra blocker for run or pass.
OT - blocking the edge rusher one-on-one to free up an interior OL for blitz pick-up and put the TE/RB into the pattern.
OC/OG - blocking DL one-on-one.
OLB - occupy two or more blockers.
ILB - fill rush lanes quickly, direct the defense.
QB - quick release, good field vision, good decisions.
WR - force double-teams in the secondary, block LB and S in the run game.
S - playing up in the box, or having the speed to come up quickly and fill rush lanes, directing the secondary.
CB - handle #1 WRs in man, filling rush lanes quickly.
BB drafts DL in rounds 1 & 2 29% of the time, he drafts WRs 21% and OT 21% A question worth asking....
. Overall, he drafts DL in 86% of his drafts, TE 86%, RB/FB 71%, DB 86% (CB & S). Each draft, he is looking to find players who can help create a mismatch at the line of scrimmage in the 1st round (Mankins being the anomoly, but you could call him a talent mismatch vice position), overall he is looking to create competition and depth in the secondary and backfield - presumably trying to find talent mismatches (Ty Law/Kevin Faulk) for further depth.
Second question: Does the mismatch apply more to the run game then the passing game? My thinking is it affects both, but shades toward the run game.
It would seem a first round draft pick would need to be a player who either through position or natural talent creates a mismatch at the line of scrimmage. When looking at first round prospects it would seem reasonable to target players who create talent mismatches, and do it at mismatch positions; I would define mismatch positions as DL, TE, RB/FB, and maybe OT. A WR or CB can create a mismatch through natural talent, but the position does not aid the run game as naturally as do mismatch positions.
Example: Who is more likely to win a battle at the line of scrimmage, OG or ILB? In the open field the LB has the edge, but the line of scrimmage is most often an enclosed space where the OG would have the edge. So if you were drafting in round one, you'd say that by position an OG creates more value through the mismatch advantage over an ILB.
Example: A real life example would be Greg Olsen, he's a TE which is a natural mismatch position, but he's a converted WR whose blocking will do little in the run game. Since he does not create a mismatch in the run game, he would grade out of the first round. Let's look at a similar case whom the Pats did draft, Ben Watson. Ben was drafted at #32 after
Vince Wilfork had been drafted at #21. The first player chosen was a natural mismatch and a talent mismatch, the second player was a natural mismatch with developmental talent taken at the very end of the round. Daniel Graham was taken at #21, he probably was considered a better blocker given how quickly he developed here.
So, does any of this make sense? If you had to weigh the relative value of say Brian Leonard and David Harris, which creates the greater mismatch at the line of scrimmage? Who is the better mismatch, Drew Stanton or John Beck? Reggie Nelson or Josh Gattis? I'm getting dizzy, must be time for more meds.