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Steelers Drafting Prowess or lack there-of

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by fester, Oct 5, 2011.

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  1. fester

    fester On the Game Day Roster

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    I'm a Patriots fan living in Pittsburgh, so I have had a good decade as my #1 and #2 teams have won half the Super Bowls and been in 70% of them. One of the common themes I see on the Patsfans draft board is the wish that the Patriots drafted like the Steelers. The Steelers evidently have a pipeline for excellent defensive and offensive talent that the Patriots don't have and the Pats are saved only by the brilliance of TFB.

    I don't think the evidence really supports this view. Looking back at the Steelers draft since 2007 does not support this view. 18 of the 42 Steelers' draft picks are not on the 2011 team. One of those players (TE Spaeth) was a valuable 2nd TE who signed a FA contract elsewhere after his rookie deal was up. There was one notable 2nd round bust (WR Sweed) and another questionable second round pick (OLB Worilds).

    The Steelers found two elite players (Wallace and Woodley) and three significantly above league average players (Mendenhall, Timmons and Pouncey). Beyond that, there are a lot of rotation players and injury replacement starters as well as 2011 rookies who have not yet cast their long term role. One first rounder (Hood) is in a prove-it year as he had not been able to displace the two old vets from their starting roles in his first two years.

    Compared to the Pats, the Steelers look like they concentrate their draft ammo elsewhere (LB and D-line most ntoably) while ignoring their O-line. Both teams take multiple swings and mostly miss on drafting secondary players. The Steelers are better at drafting wide receivers (Wallace, Sanders and Brown are all legit NFL receivers or better). The Pats draft O-line more frequently and seemingly better than the Steelers, and have invested more TE resources.

    The big difference is the sheer number of top picks. The Steelers drafted in this period 9 first or second rounders. That is the same number of Top-64 picks as the Patriots drafted in the past two years.
     

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  2. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    I think the fact that the Steelers have drafted well with players like Woodley at exactly the positions the Pats haven't developed makes their drafts look rosier to Pats fans. And truly, given that they always draft late, they've done very well indeed.

    But one guy I've never understood the excitement about is Mendenhall. I don't see him as "significantly above league average," either with my own eyes or via his 4.1 career ypc (lower than Green-Ellis). As an opponent, he doesn't scare me. IMO that's a mediocre #23 overall pick. (BTW, the next RB selected: Chris Johnson.)
     
  3. Ron Sellers

    Ron Sellers 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    I'm going to plagiarize myself by copying and pasting a response to somebody overreacting after the loss to the Bills a week ago.

    --------------------

    The quantity or percentage of draft pick 'busts' is irrelevant because every team starts with the same number of draft picks (seven). What the team does with those draft picks matters; that also includes both good trades of picks (Wes Welker, Randy Moss) and bad trades of picks (Burgess, Alex Smith, Greg Lewis).

    Positive Draft Picks:
    2001: Casey Hampton, Kendrell Bell
    2002: Chris Hope, Larry Foote, Brett Keisel
    2003: Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor
    2004: Ben Roethlisberger
    2005: Heath Miller, Chris Kemoeatu
    2006: Santonio Holmes, Willie Colon
    2007: Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley, Matt Spaeth
    2008: Rashard Mendenhall
    2009: Evander Hood, Mike Wallace
    2010: Maurkice Pouncey

    Many of those on the above list such as Spaeth, Colon and several others would merit derision as a bust if they played for the Patriots, but I'm trying to be objective here.

    Other Draft Picks:
    2000: Kendrick Clancy, Hank Poteat, Danny Farmer, Tee Martin, Chris Combs, Jason Gavadza
    4 years combined as starters in the NFL

    2001: Mathias Nkwenti, Chukky Okobi, Rodney Bailey, Roger Knight, Chris Taylor
    0 years combined as NFL starters

    2002: Kendall Simmons, Antwaan Randle El, Verron Haynes, Lee Mays, LaVar Glover
    5 years combined as NFL starters

    2003: Alonzo Jackson, Brian St Pierre, JT Wall
    0 years combined as NFL starters

    2004: Ricardo Colclough, Nathaniel Adibi, Bo Lacy, Matt Kranchik, Drew Caylor, Eric Taylor
    0 years combined as NFL starters

    2005: Bryant McFadden, Trai Essex, Fred Gibson, Rian Wallace, Shaun Nua, Noah Herron
    1 year combined as NFL starters

    2006: Anthony Smith, Willie Reid, Orien Harris, Omar Jacobs, Charles Davis, Marvin Philip, Cedic Humes
    1 year combined as a starter (by the fondly remembered Smith)

    2007: Ryan McBean, Cameron Stephenson, William Gay, Dallas Baker
    2 combined years as an NFL starter

    2008: Limas Sweed, Bruce Davis, Tony Hills, Dennis Dixon, Mike Humpal, Ryan Mundy
    0 combined years as an NFL starter

    2009: Kraig Urbik, Keenan Lewis, Joe Burnett, Frank Summers, RaShon Harris, AQ Shipley, David Johnson
    1 combined year as an NFL starter

    2010: Jason Worilds, Emmanuel Sanders, Thaddeus Gibson, Chris Scott, Crezdon Butler, Stevenson Sylvester, Jonathan Dwyer, Antonio Brown, Doug Worthington
    0 combined years as an NFL starter

    2011: one starter; four on roster; two released


    ------------------------


    It is universally accepted that the Steelers do a very good job of drafting players. But once you look at how they have done, the alleged horrible drafting by the Patriots doesn't look quite so bad.
     
  4. fester

    fester On the Game Day Roster

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    I'll concede the underexcitement about Mendenhall --- so let's downgrade him to Meh/average league starter.

    I completely agree with your first paragraph, and I think you hit the player on the head that anchors Pat's fans rosy expectations/comparisons of the Steelers --- Woodley. The Steelers hit on an elite pass-rushing OLB with a second round pick, and the Patriots have not. More importantly, the Steelers keep on spending very valuable draft resources on DE/OLB conversion projections. The Steelers have spent 2 seconds (Woodley, Worilds) a 3rd (B. Davis [who spent some time on the Pats PS]) and 3 more 4th/5th rounders on this position. With those resources, they have one mega hit, one question mark (Worilds) and a bunch of MEH/JAGs/Out of the League guys. The Pats have spent 1 2nd rounder and a mid-3rd in the same time frame.

    Remove Woodley from comparison and replace him with a league average starter, and I don't think the Patriots fans expectations would be the same.
     
  5. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Great point. And I have to admit, I wasn't a huge Woodley fan on draft day -- he just didn't have the look or measurables of an impact pass rusher. Terrific football player.
     
  6. RIpats88

    RIpats88 2nd Team Getting Their First Start

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    i never really understood pats fans saying our drafts have been "busts" overall, i think we've had pretty good drafts..especially the last 2 years...the 09 and 10 teams are light years away due to our 2010 draft/free agent signings imo

    fact is, the draft is a crapshoot for the most part, and about half of the picks probably turn out to be busts for most teams....i mean brady was a round 6 pick, while sanchez goes in the first round, welker goes undrafted and ends up being one of the best wr's...

    I mean who wouldve thought our 2 rookie tight ends would change the dynamic of our offense?
     
  7. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    #50 Jersey

    I like that approach -- focus on the total value realized, rather than counting up the disappointments (which penalizes teams for acquiring extra draft picks). So let's do the same exercise for the Pats:

    Positive Draft Picks (including vets acquired for picks with >1 contract year remaining:
    2001: Richard Seymour, Matt Light
    2002: Daniel Graham, Deion Branch, David Givens
    2003: Ty Warren, Eugene Wilson, Asante Samuel, Dan Koppen
    2004: Vince Wilfork, Benjamin Watson
    2005: Logan Mankins, Ellis Hobbs, Nick Kaczur, James Sanders, Matt Cassel
    2006: Stephen Gostkowski
    2007: Brandon Meriwether, Wes Welker
    2008: Jarod Mayo
    2009: Pat Chung, Sebastian Vollmer
    2010: Devin McCourty, Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Spikes, Aaron Hernandez, Zoltan Mesko

    (Valuable day-3 picks who don't pass the "starter test" include Jarvis Green, Matt Slater, Myron Pryor & Julian Edelman.)

    It looks to me like the Steelers clearly out-drafted the Patriots in 2006 & 2007, but the Pats were even or (most often) better in all the other years.
     
    Last edited: Oct 6, 2011
  8. fester

    fester On the Game Day Roster

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    Yeah, most of the league out-drafted the Patriots in 2006/2007. I would say Maroney should be at least a push for 2006 as he did start for a couple of years here. If he was a 3rd rounder, that would be a "success."

    Onto the greater point, it seems like good teams will find one elite player every two or three drafts and a couple of solid or beter starters per draft.


     
  9. fester

    fester On the Game Day Roster

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    Easy, there are at least half a dozen posters who are convinced that they should be NFL GMs and can do the job better than any currently employed GM. These posters are convinced that they should hit 100% on every draft pick but have a tendency to throw out 6 names that they like at a slot and claim that name #5 was a great success.

    Throw in binkie love and the disregard for system, needs and future contract cycles, and you get those posters.
     
  10. patchick

    patchick Moderatrix Staff Member PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Good point, it's hard to know how to factor in draft status. For instance, Cassel only started 1 year, but I couldn't see leaving him off when absolutely everybody would agree that he was a hugely successful 7th round pick.
     
  11. fester

    fester On the Game Day Roster

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    In an analysis like this --- can Team X find NFL competent players in the draft, the criteria I use is binary: Drafted/Not drafted as my initial screen and then an analysis of what that player actually did. Regarding Cassel or any other late round pick, one year of starting and then being traded at a Franchise tag salary level means he was a good pick.

    On a different analysis -- how efficient is Team X drafting, then using draft slotting of some sort to weigh contributions makes a lot of sense. If a team is consistently busting in the first round but is hitting multiple Pro-Bowlers in the 5th round, then that is not efficient and most likely a matter of luck.
     
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