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Anatomy of a UDFA success story

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by patchick, Jan 12, 2009.

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  1. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Just a little grist for the mill on a cold January Monday!

    What do these players have in common? Mike Wright, Pierre Woods, Gary Guyton. Well, they're all Pats UDFAs who have done well on the field -- often better than players the Pats spent draft picks on around the same time. They all play in the defensive front 7. And...they all had fabulous pre-draft measurables.

    I'm going to pair the numbers for those 3 players with players at the same position whom the Pats drafted on day 2 closest to them. I've only used those numbers that are available for all players at the position; combine numbers when possible, otherwise pro day.

    A. Mike Wright, B. LeKevin Smith, C. Kareem Brown
    Height Weight 40 VJ BJ
    A. 6'4" 295 4.81 35 10'0"
    B. 6'3" 316 4.97 30.5 9'1"
    C. 6'4" 290 5.32 28 8'5"

    A. Pierre Woods, B. Justin Rogers, C. Jeremy Mincey
    Height Weight 40 VJ BJ Shuttle Cone
    A. 6'4" 249 4.75 33 9'11" 4.19 6.87
    B. 6'3" 252 4.76 34 9'9" 4.28 7.32
    C. 6'3" 259 4.76 33.5 9'08" 4.25 7.01

    A. Gary Guyton, B. Bo Ruud, C. Oscar Lua
    Height Weight 40 10 Bench VJ BJ Shuttle Cone
    A. 6'2" 245 4.47 1.46 15 36.5 10'6" 4.42 7.07
    B. 6'4" 234 4.60 1.53 18 32.5 9'10" 4.71 7.30
    C. 6'1" 236 4.81 1.63 22 33.0 9'6" 4.43 7.22

    Yes, it's post-hoc cherry picking of UDFAs. But that's the whole idea -- trying to find patters in what worked. I'll throw in another UDFA who's still very much a work in progress but looks promising, Vince Redd:
    Height Weight 40 VJ BJ Shuttle Cone
    6'5" 263 4.56 39 9'10" N/A 7.30
    Those are Vernon Gholston-type numbers.

    So time to over-reach with a conclusion! In the front 7, you have your day-one guys who combine college production, experience and knowledge with prototype measurables. Day two, everybody has major question marks. You have to compromise on something. But given the above, maybe the last thing to compromise on is measurables?
  2. BradyManny

    BradyManny Rookie

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    That's a great point. I was just thinking about that when I posted a thread about Brinkley. When it comes to early picks, "costly" picks, I think you have to look for character, personality, a passion for the game, work ethic, talent, smarts, etc. Intangibles. But sometimes, on day 2, you can draft a guy for being a physical specimen and try and mold him into a player. Not to say that Guyton or Woods or Wright weren't players, but just to say that, for instance, Guyton seems like he was really overlooked given he's 245 lbs and can run a 4.47. Now its up to the Pats to teach him to play in their system, so far, so good.
  3. ctpatsfan77

    ctpatsfan77 PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I can see the likely reasons why Guyton (15 reps on bench press) and Woods (being inexplicably benched by Lloyd Carr) went undrafted, but I'm still trying to figure out/remember why Wright went undrafted. . . .
  4. fester

    fester Rookie

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    I think the proviso should be added --- 'NOT COMPLETELY CRAZY OR CANCEROUS..." but I agree, day 2 and especially rounds 6 and 7 which basically are the restricted portions of the UDFA grab bag given the probabilities of intermediate term success, the Pats should be looking at high pay-off picks as the opportunity cost is fairly low. There is a low probability that the Pats will find competent players in the 7th round that can stick on the roster no matter what the drafting strategy is, so why not draft for potential greatness as either way, the player is most likely a cut or PS material anyways.
  5. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    I think Mike just kind of came out of nowhere, the opposite of a blue-chipper. He was a walk-on at Cincinnati when that program was lower profile than it is now.

    BTW, I'm not sure that I'd advocate the "err on the side of measurables" rule of thumb for other positions. For some positions measurables don't matter as much in the Pats system, or they value different measurables than most teams do, or mental attributes play a particularly big part. But looking at the successes and failure in the front 7, I lean toward the prototype athletes.
  6. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Oh man, now I have to redo my whole draft board. :)

    Clearly, you can't just ignore intangibles or on-field performance. But the bigger risk, IMO, is in the opposite direction, falling for those "blue-collar, lunchpail guys" who just don't have the bodies to succeed in the NFL. We draftniks do it all the time -- especially at ILB which is the collegiate dumping ground for team leaders with blue-chip attitudes and little more.
  7. tanked_as_usual

    tanked_as_usual Banned

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    the rap against guyton coming out of college was that he supposedly had zero capacity to read offensive plays
  8. VJCPatriot

    VJCPatriot Rookie

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    I think it just reminds you that prototypes are prototypes for a reason. Ideal size/speed isn't everything but it certainly doesn't hurt you to have em. The success of Guyton/Redd shows us that prototype linebackers, given time to develop can contribute if they can pick up the system. BJGE also arguably has prototypical size for an NFL RB at 5-11 225 lbs.
  9. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Uncle Heatster may recall better than I, but I believe Mike had an owie and loss of playing time + low profile program = whodat? Thank the good Lord that most teams in this league prefer to economize by subscribing to one of the major scouting services.
  10. WhiZa

    WhiZa Rookie

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    Great analysis patchick. If a UDFA can't at least run with the NFL caliber players they won't be able to make it no matter how smart they are. If someone is athletic enough there will always be a role for them no matter how small to start off. If they are able to keep it simple and do their job they can continue to grow on the team.
  11. Ochmed Jones

    Ochmed Jones Rookie

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    #12 Jersey

    I saw several GT games and that may be a fairly accurate statement. Add that to the fact, that in the games I saw, he did next to nothing and you have the makings of a UDFA.

    His biggest post season success was in running the forty.
  12. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    The other rap was that he couldn't play in front of a college player, so how could he make the NFL? Phillip Wheeler had the MLB position locked up; so they tried to use him as an OLB. As even BB found out, he just is NOT an OLB, despite the clock speed.

    BTW, Wheeler was drafted by the Colts in the third round as a MLB...
  13. AzPatsFan

    AzPatsFan Rookie

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    Every one of the UDFAs has a story associated with him, that helps explain the drop in the Draft ratings.

    Mike Wright was a walk-on on a low rated program. Presumably RAW.

    Vince Redd left a big time school for a tiny Div III program; presumably he couldn't cut it, at a Div IAA. How can he make the NFL? Besides he's RAW.

    Pierre Woods ended up in Carr's doghouse; and was probably bad-mouthed as well, even though he went to Michigan.

    Gary Guyton was stuck behind an All-American MLB. And was force to play out of position.

    PS Where did you get those numbers.? Also LeKevin Smith's triangle is actually pretty good, too.
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