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NBC Article on Patriots Draft Strategy

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Sep 12th

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Ivan

Hall of Fame Poster
I think I just showed you that half the roster came through the draft, on their first contract.

You build through the draft, partly - because the Patriots cleared most of their dead cap, lost some expensive players, then lost another group, cap-wise, with opt-out...and because so many other teams got hammered when the cap dropped this year, the Patriots were able to rebuild their middle class overnight, with cap room left to spare.

So I ask again, what exactly has caught up to them? They've got a really damned good roster right now, with CAP to spare, and with a fantastic balance between the three age/experience levels of player: lots on rookie deals, a really talented middle class, and some true vet leadership.

QB is another story. That's the missing piece right now, which has nothing to do with their previous drafts.
Right on the money.
 

Sicilian

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
They are overcomplicating it.

Does this player fit a need?

Is he the best player available?

The bolded line is the reasoning behind all of the analysis though. If it were easy to determine who the best players coming out of college were every year, there wouldn't be so many first round busts or late round successes. If there were a universal ranking that everyone had access to, this would be a cake walk. What do we need and who is available? But since who is "best" is difficult to determine (and varies greatly due to what teams value and what system they run), the analysis is necessary. I'm sure teams overthink it sometimes, but that's the cost of being prepared.
 

Bill Lee

What, me worry?
I found this to be an excellent article. This enclosed link is one of the best articles I've read in awhile about the draft, after brdmaverick's draft value groupings CLASSIC post from probably 15 years ago at this point (it's spot-on).


Now the most recent Curran/Perry podcast does a deep dive on this article, starting with Lombardi's feedback on the previous Curran/Perry podcast, and moving into the interview Curran did with BB years ago on the whole vertical/horizontal board prep:


So it seems BB and Dave Ziegler (presumed head of player personnel) are the ones who can change the "horizontal board" to move players up based on positional need after they've sorted out the horizontal board (which is a sorted and reconciled result of merging the data from the vertical "stacks" of players sorted by first position then by score/rating).

Note the process does not include a step that brings in the data from draftniks like Mel Kuiper / Daniel Jeremiah / Todd McShay / ...

They point out this is why we get really unexpected picks, some good (Devin McCourty), some bad (Tavon Wilson).

I think we have to realize that all NFL teams and the Patriots in particular have a lot larger staff than any of the draftniks have, have more people dedicated to feeding data into the machine year round (i.e. scouts), have their own processes for coming up with a draft board, and have a much, much, much, much much clearer idea of what their scheme is and how players fit into that scheme.

A good point from the podcast is: We keep hearing about the five premium QBs in the draft, but even if you think all five of these guys are the top five in the Patriots "vertical stack" for the QB position (and someone we know little about hasn't moved into that top five based on the Patriots take on their fit in their system), do you think all five of them end up in the top fifteen of the Patriots "horizontal board"?

Isn't it more likely that the other QB needy teams are over-drafting QBs relative to ranking and this means other position players are now under-valued and available at #15 or at some other position we can move up into?
 

DropKickFlutie

Experienced Starter w/First Big Contract
Now the most recent Curran/Perry podcast does a deep dive on this article, starting with Lombardi's feedback on the previous Curran/Perry podcast, and moving into the interview Curran did with BB years ago on the whole vertical/horizontal board prep:


So it seems BB and Dave Ziegler (presumed head of player personnel) are the ones who can change the "horizontal board" to move players up based on positional need after they've sorted out the horizontal board (which is a sorted and reconciled result of merging the data from the vertical "stacks" of players sorted by first position then by score/rating).

Note the process does not include a step that brings in the data from draftniks like Mel Kuiper / Daniel Jeremiah / Todd McShay / ...

They point out this is why we get really unexpected picks, some good (Devin McCourty), some bad (Tavon Wilson).

I think we have to realize that all NFL teams and the Patriots in particular have a lot larger staff than any of the draftniks have, have more people dedicated to feeding data into the machine year round (i.e. scouts), have their own processes for coming up with a draft board, and have a much, much, much, much much clearer idea of what their scheme is and how players fit into that scheme.

A good point from the podcast is: We keep hearing about the five premium QBs in the draft, but even if you think all five of these guys are the top five in the Patriots "vertical stack" for the QB position (and someone we know little about hasn't moved into that top five based on the Patriots take on their fit in their system), do you think all five of them end up in the top fifteen of the Patriots "horizontal board"?

Isn't it more likely that the other QB needy teams are over-drafting QBs relative to ranking and this means other position players are now under-valued and available at #15 or at some other position we can move up into?

Spectacular post. Excellent work.

Yes. 5 QBs in the first 15 picks is insane when you have multiple #1 at their position guys elsewhere. This is why I think it's insane to trade up and lose a future 1st rounder to go for a 4th QB. And for the record Devin was part of the 09-12 staff, not the sh-tty John Carroll staff we've had since 2013.
 

jmt57

Moderator
Staff member
Who is "great" besides Brady in the last 20 years?
Against my better judgement I'll take the bait, even though I feel like I am getting suckered into something stupid here.

Matt Light
Logan Mankins
Richard Seymour
Vince Wilfork
Gronk
Julian Edelman


Some other draftees to consider; not 'great' but perhaps 'good/very good':
Asante Samuel
Chandler Jones
Nate Solder
Stephen Gostkowski
James White
Dan Koppen
Devin McCourty
Dont'a Hightower
Jamie Collins
Sebastian Vollmer
Jerod Mayo
Deion Branch
Ty Warren
Joe Thuney
Shaq Mason
Patrick Chung
Logan Ryan
Ellis Hobbs


How does that compare to any other team?
 

TheRainMaker

I'm getting my res at Dorsia
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2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
Against my better judgement I'll take the bait, even though I feel like I am getting suckered into something stupid here.

Matt Light
Logan Mankins
Richard Seymour
Vince Wilfork
Gronk
Julian Edelman


Some other draftees to consider; not 'great' but perhaps 'good/very good':
Asante Samuel
Chandler Jones
Nate Solder
Stephen Gostkowski
James White
Dan Koppen
Devin McCourty
Dont'a Hightower
Jamie Collins
Sebastian Vollmer
Jerod Mayo
Deion Branch
Ty Warren
Joe Thuney
Shaq Mason
Patrick Chung
Logan Ryan
Ellis Hobbs


How does that compare to any other team?
You misread my question. And there was no bait given as I’m not asking about Patriots draftees.

The poster said “successful GM’s have great QB’s”. So I asked, what QB’s have been great besides Brady in the last 20 years?
 

Bill Lee

What, me worry?
Spectacular post. Excellent work.

Yes. 5 QBs in the first 15 picks is insane when you have multiple #1 at their position guys elsewhere. This is why I think it's insane to trade up and lose a future 1st rounder to go for a 4th QB. And for the record Devin was part of the 09-12 staff, not the sh-tty John Carroll staff we've had since 2013.
Thanks for the kind words. I agree with your post.

One area I'd like them to get into is, what role does intelligence gathering and disinformation spreading play in the Pats system?

I don't think they give a rats arse about the media stuff in general, but they really do need to get a feel for what other teams prioritize so they know if they really need to trade up to get something they want.

There have been at least a few insider reports about the Pats moving up when they hear some other team is about to draft a player they want, how do they learn that?

While BB and others have contacts in the league, I bet it's hard to not take in some of the stuff being spread by the media.

We've also had insiders say, yes, we do engage in disinformation and outright deception.

I guess we're lucky we have the description of how they set up the board and who can decide about draft day decisions that overrule the board.

Maybe it's too much to ask for learning about espionage and counter-espionage, but I'd like to know more.
 

scout

Veteran Starter w/Big Long Term Deal
You misread my question. And there was no bait given as I’m not asking about Patriots draftees.

The poster said “successful GM’s have great QB’s”. So I asked, what QB’s have been great besides Brady in the last 20 years?
You did not create the question correctly. I too was puzzled.
 

captain stone

Hall of Fame Poster
...I have a minor gripe that I think Lombardi gives a little bit too much away in terms of how the Patriots think. But I think this article and explanation is extremely rationale, a great explanation of how to draft, and also how teams stack their board across a 2x2 Matrix (Horizontal all positions, vertically within positions)...

I don't think he gave away anything, because it's very likely that every other teams does the very same thing to create their own boards...I mean, how else are you going to be able to prioritize one player over the other once external factors such as your team's needs and other teams' needs are factored-in?
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
So they can draw both vertical and horizontal lines on a board, whereas most teams can only draw a circle? What an article.

I could make them a Macro-based Excel sheet that's 10X more effective than this, if they're looking to get a better visual idea of overall value and positional value, etc. Sorry but this just not anything close to an edge or even something unique to them.
 
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Bill Lee

What, me worry?
I don't think he gave away anything, because it's very likely that every other teams does the very same thing to create their own boards...I mean, how else are you going to be able to prioritize one player over the other once external factors such as your team's needs and other teams' needs are factored-in?
If I'm understanding the article correctly the horizontal/vertical boards are done without regard to team need, but are done solely on scouting evaluation, and the scouting evaluation is based on how they project the player will fit into the Pats system. Then, once the horizontal board is in place, BB and Ziegler are the only ones who can adjust according to team need, player availability (i.e. move down if needs says you need a slot receiver the most and plenty are available), lack of player availability (you really need a big physical WR and none are available), etc.
 

BaconGrundleCandy

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PatsFans.com Supporter
So they can draw both vertical and horizontal lines on a board, wheras most teams can only draw a circle? What an article.

I could make them a Macro-based Excel sheet that's 10X more effective than this, if they're looking to get a better visual idea of overall value and positional value, etc. Sorry but this just not anything close to an edge or even something unique to them.
I agree but lol'd first so that's how I went. People must think other teams are using crayons and construction paper.

Most teams have small boards. Not just NE. I've heard Seattle & Chicago have unique boards but again I'd bet money most teams have no more than 75-125 prospects.

Im also interested in how you'd express different value on a sheet. What did you have in mind.

Also, unless @brdmaverick is @rookBoston let's give credit to the right poster for the "value groupings" post.
 

Ice_Ice_Brady

Team Bill's Worst Nightmare
I agree but lol'd first so that's how I went. People must think other teams are using crayons and construction paper.

Most teams have small boards. Not just NE. I've heard Seattle & Chicago have unique boards but again I'd bet money most teams have no more than 75-125 prospects.

Im also interested in how you'd express different value on a sheet. What did you have in mind.

Also, unless @brdmaverick is @rookBoston let's give credit to the right poster for the "value groupings" post.

It sounds like they're talking about a pre-computer approach to updating in real-time which players are available. I don't think I'd offer too much that's unique because the networks themselves have real-time updates where they remove players from the Availabile list and then show the overall grades and also the positional grades for the remaining players. The only difference in that case is the grades themselves are from Mel Kiper and company rather than the team.

But here's what I think would be helpful, if it isn't already in use (I can't imagine it isn't in use, though.)

Included in the point grades would also be a gap between the available player(s) and perhaps the next 5 on their board at that position. So, for example, if there's one WR who has an 8.2 score and the next 5 WRs have only an average of 6.8 score, that sounds like a better value than an OT who has an 8.4 score with the next five OTs averaging a 7.8 score.

You could easily make some Excel formulas/macros that auto-update in real-time as players come off the board. You can also weight a team's needs into the formula as well and give some multiplier or to a player's grade based on the positional need or perhaps if a player of that same position was already taken in the same draft.

Again, I'd be surprised if teams aren't already using something like this, but who knows...it's the NFL, and there's always some combination of cave man thinking and Deep Blue thinking that goes into decisions. But you're talking about millions of dollars for these players and these teams are worth billions. To me, it's baffling that teams aren't using every imaginable resource to turn the DRAFTING process into a science; I'm not saying that scouting and evaluating players is a science, but how to utilize the available picks based on the pre-assigned grades really shouldn't come down to a few guys debating in their final three minutes before the pick which player they want.
 

Bill Lee

What, me worry?
More info on draft strategy in the BB School of Drafting, this time a dump from Lombardi's pod that dropped yesterday:


Lombardi is reading from the guidance he gave scouts on QB in Cleveland in '91, based on stuff he learned from BB in his run in Cleveland:

A quick sample:

We will never take a quarterback with a low (Wonderlic cognitive) test score who plays at a poor level of competition and is not capable of leading the team. Those three areas are vital to us when we’re looking for a quarterback.

Some of the specifics seems a bit dated, but the general philosophy still stands.
 

borg

PatsFans.com Supporter
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2020 Weekly NFL Picks Winner
I have a minor gripe that I think Lombardi gives a little bit too much away in terms of how the Patriots think.
What was the title of the thread you started?

And the title of the Curran article you linked?

This place cracks me up
 

BaconGrundleCandy

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
It sounds like they're talking about a pre-computer approach to updating in real-time which players are available. I don't think I'd offer too much that's unique because the networks themselves have real-time updates where they remove players from the Availabile list and then show the overall grades and also the positional grades for the remaining players. The only difference in that case is the grades themselves are from Mel Kiper and company rather than the team.

But here's what I think would be helpful, if it isn't already in use (I can't imagine it isn't in use, though.)

Included in the point grades would also be a gap between the available player(s) and perhaps the next 5 on their board at that position. So, for example, if there's one WR who has an 8.2 score and the next 5 WRs have only an average of 6.8 score, that sounds like a better value than an OT who has an 8.4 score with the next five OTs averaging a 7.8 score.

You could easily make some Excel formulas/macros that auto-update in real-time as players come off the board. You can also weight a team's needs into the formula as well and give some multiplier or to a player's grade based on the positional need or perhaps if a player of that same position was already taken in the same draft.

Again, I'd be surprised if teams aren't already using something like this, but who knows...it's the NFL, and there's always some combination of cave man thinking and Deep Blue thinking that goes into decisions. But you're talking about millions of dollars for these players and these teams are worth billions. To me, it's baffling that teams aren't using every imaginable resource to turn the DRAFTING process into a science; I'm not saying that scouting and evaluating players is a science, but how to utilize the available picks based on the pre-assigned grades really shouldn't come down to a few guys debating in their final three minutes before the pick which player they want.
Ok now I get what you're saying.

Believe it or not a few teams, very few. Have like 2-3 scouts. They don't even bother when it comes to the draft. Some bright, bright minds but a few window lickers in charge of scouting for a billion dollar franchise.

This belongs in a museum

*edit* I've seen a few resumes, qualifications for scouts to interns and you'd think you would have to be a genius to scout football players. They want multiple degrees, not just 1 or 2 but things pertaining to business, sports, psychology ... Such a weird dichotomy. Like you said old school, rigid, good ole boy cavemen on one hand but 20-30 something's that are borderline geniuses.
 
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betterthanthealternative

PatsFans.com Supporter
PatsFans.com Supporter
I agree but lol'd first so that's how I went. People must think other teams are using crayons and construction paper.

Most teams have small boards. Not just NE. I've heard Seattle & Chicago have unique boards but again I'd bet money most teams have no more than 75-125 prospects.

Im also interested in how you'd express different value on a sheet. What did you have in mind.

Also, unless @brdmaverick is @rookBoston let's give credit to the right poster for the "value groupings" post.

@BaconGrundleCandy I'm curious about these numbers. Over 230 players are taken. A team could go in with only 75 players on its board? What happens if they are all taken by the end of round 5? That doesn't seem out of the question at all.
 

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