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Why We Should Not Take A First Round DT

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by manxman2601, Feb 18, 2013.

  1. manxman2601

    manxman2601 On the Roster

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    Considering how popular an idea this is hereabouts, I'm sure this statement will be controversial. However, this topic is not meant to be inflammatory, this research bears out the fact that the value is not good at all. Before I attempt to prove this, I just want to get some things out of the way:

    1. I'm using ProFootballFocus to help me with the stats. I realise they are controversial amongst some on this board but I'm only using the raw stats, not their grading system.

    2. For the purposes of this research, I'm focusing on every down players and their ability to rush the QB. This is for obvious reasons: a) We're unlikely to draft a limited down role player in the first round and b)we don't have a problem stopping the run.

    3. I'm not saying that under no circumstance should we not draft a first round DT after all, where would we be without Vince? What I'm trying to do is dispel the notion that we should be drafting a pass rushing DT because it's a "position of need" or because we "should build through the trenches first". If a DT is an outstanding all round player or shows the upside to be so, I'm all in favour. This is merely an argument to demonstrate that drafting one because we need one would be a terrible value proposition.

    4. Nor is this about individuals available in this draft.


    So onto the workings.


    I used PFF to look at the draft positions of every DT who had more total QB pressures than Kyle Love last year. For me, this guarantees three things, firstly by using total pressures rather than a percentage, I'm looking at 3 down players, secondly that we are in fact improving on Love and thirdly by just using pressures, I'm only looking at pass rush ability. Now the one problem I see here is that judging "pushing the pocket" isn't something that can be assessed so isn't taken in to consideration. This is just about sacks, hits and hurries. For what it's worth, there were 33 DT's in 2012 who had more total QB pressures than Kyle Love.

    The Findings:

    I chose to breakdown those DT's with more pressures than Love into five draft categories. They were: 1. those picked in the Top 10 of their respective draft, 2. Picked in the 1st Round, 3. picked in the 2nd, 4. rounds 3-4 and 5. rounds 6-UDFA. This is how they broke down:

    Top 10 5 of the 33 (Suh, Mccoy, Dareus etc)

    1st Round 4

    2nd Round 7

    3-4 10

    5-UDFA 7


    The DT's picked in the first round outside the top 10 are as follows:

    Michael Brockers (14th overall)

    Fletcher Cox (12th overall)

    Nick Fairley (13th overall)

    Vince Wilfork (21rd)


    Conclusions:

    1. Three Down DT's that can get to the passer are found pretty much equally at every level of the draft.

    2. If you assume that Brockers, Fairley and Cox are classed as out of reach of where we usually pick then the only DT who might have been available as a first round pick for the Patriots that can get pressure is our own Big Vince. Other than him, no-one picked at a realistic Patriots first round pick got more QB pressure than Kyle Love.

    3. The value is clearly in the 2nd - 4th rounds. The choice is clear. Either pick up an elite DT near the top of the 1st, or wait until the 2nd round at least. But at the bottom of the first round, based on 2012 performances at least, the value is horrible (as in worse than Kyle Love horrible (literally) :) ).
  2. manxman2601

    manxman2601 On the Roster

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    Just one further point of order, I've not included players that play mainly 3-4 DE. That changes the dynamic slightly in that it adds the following to those picked in the first but outside the top 10:

    JJ Watt
    Haloti Ngata
    Muhammad Wilkerson
    Quinton Coples


    But again, only Wilkerson qualifies as one who would have been likely available to the Pats and a fit measurements wise.
  3. Wilfork#75

    Wilfork#75 Rookie

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    I think it all depends on individual evaluations of the player and drafting talent over need. In fact over the past 3 drafts there have really only been 2 pure DT's taken between picks 20-32 (2011- Phil Taylor 21st and 2010- Dan Williams 26th). There have been a few hybrid DE/DT's (Odrick, Wilkerson and Heyward), but it seems the elite DT's go high, then the 2nd tier fall. In 2012 the last DT in the 1st round was Brockers at 13, with the next not going until Derek Wolfe at 36. So it does seem the sweet spot for the 2nd tier DT's is the mid 2nd round.

    Having said that, this wouldn't stop me from drafting a guy there if I think its worth it. In this particular draft which is so deep, my preference would be to trade down, and there are really only 2 guys that would realistically be available at 29 that I would prefer to take over a trade down. One of those is Jonathan Hankins who I think would be a steal if he does fall that far. It might not fit the trend of previous drafts, but I view him as a top 15 talent.

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