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Running the Numbers: Breaking Down the Morris Claiborne Trade

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Jonathan Bales

The second post for my “Running the Numbers” blog at DallasCowboys.com is up, and it deals with the Morris Claiborne trade.  Click here to take a gander.  The article takes a look at the success (or lack thereof) NFL teams have had when trading up in the draft.  Actually, of all 59 first-round trades from 2000 to 2010, the team that has moved down has acquired the best player (per career Approximate Value) over 50% of the time.

For the record, I don’t think the Cowboys necessarily made a mistake in trading up for Claiborne.  He is the best defensive player in the draft and shouldn’t have fallen to No. 6.  My point, though, is that “sure things” often turn into “oh craps,” so as a general rule of thumb, trading up in the draft isn’t beneficial, especially in the first round.

Again, head over to DallasCowboys.com for the post.  Feel free to leave some comments there.

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17 Responses to Running the Numbers: Breaking Down the Morris Claiborne Trade

  1. john coleman says:

    Congrats on the publication on the mothership. I would be faninva over there.

    Let’s hope this one works out. If so we have one of the top CB duos in the league. Either way we are surely better than last year.

  2. Thanks JC. Thanks for the kind words there as well. I think people feel as though I don’t appreciate Claiborne’s talent, when in reality I rated him as the draft’s top defensive player. He’s a unique talent, and the ‘Boys are a MUCH better team with him.

  3. Roose Bolton says:

    I actually stopped visiting dallascowboys.com for a long time. The blog pages would never load, and in re-visiting in light of your recent gig over there, I determined that an IP-blocker I run has a list called “Ads, Spyware, Bogon, etc.”, and only by disabling that am I able to view the content. This does not reflect positively on their site, in my eyes at least.

    Also, I hope you don’t waste time reading the comments there, since they mostly consist of uneducated fools accusing you of hating the Cowboys and telling you how wrong you are.

    Anyway, my point is, I love your writing and that’s why I’ve been a near-daily visitor since I found this place sometime in… 2010 maybe? At this point though, I don’t think I’ll be returning to dallascowboys.com, even if you were to move full-time over there. Nonetheless, thanks for this piece, all the other that have come before it, and all the others that will follow.

  4. Roose–Thanks a lot for the support. I appreciate you visiting the site. I learned a long time ago to not worry too much about the comments I get in forums and larger sites..that’s just part of writing, especially when you have unconventional views.

  5. I will still be posting unique content here, though.

  6. Mark Watkins says:

    Interesting breakdown JB. I do wonder whether they would have been better off trading up to snatch Fletcher Cox by surrendering a late round pick, and then taking a center or O-lineman in the second round. But it is exciting to have Claiborne and he plays a premium position. He will definitely help shut down teams like the Giants, although maybe not this year as much as in future years. Time will tell on the trade of course. Anyway, be prepared for some unwarranted bashing on dc.com. The quality of comments on there (and maturity of those commenting) is much different than on your site.

  7. moses says:

    I tend to agree with the analysis.

    I think that you have to have a solid scouting dept to become and stay successful. You also need good coaches that know how to adjust their schemes to the personnel that they have.

    Given that I think that the Cowboy scouts do an average job, the trade should work out OK.

    I tend to think that the Cowboys like to get too cute and make a lot of surprise picks. It gets a lot of attention at the draft but a few years later the misses are evident.

    Being the cynic that I am, I think that the Cowboys would have wasted their 2nd pick anyway.

    We need to see how the Steelers, Ravens and Patriots do it. They are perennial contenders and always seem to have a competitive team

  8. Mark–I’m prepared for plenty of bashing. The funny thing is I love Claiborne.

  9. Moses–I think a big reason those teams do well is they stockpile picks. Drafting well is sometimes just about drafting OFTEN. You can make up for poor talent evaluation relatively, in some cases, by selecting a lot of players.

  10. Jonny Danger says:

    I myself already jumped om other to the site and had to post a few replies in your defense (not that you need me to). I just get offended to see my fellow fans being such morons and/or attacking an article that in no way demeans or is against the team or the players mentioned within the article.

    The stuff that comes out of those peoples heads is unbelievable. I sometimes love their blind ambition to support the team but good lord those fans can be the most absolute foolish people on the planet haha anyways rant over.

    Congratulations on the transition over to DC.com. I remember finding this site randomly maybe a year or two ago and have been very impressed with the articles and analysis. My favorite site for the Cowboys by far. So its great to see you are getting recognized. Way to go brother

  11. Travis says:

    Thought I’d also throw in a couple compliments for ya Jonathan. Big fan of your analysis. I’d also stopped going to dc.com a couple years ago because of the absolutely ridiculous and infuriating comments that the readers post on all the articles, but I guess that seems to be everywhere on the internet nowadays.

    This has been my favorite cowboys site I’ve found and I guess I’ll have a reason to spend some time on DC now. Congrats on the new gig and best of luck in the future.

  12. john coleman says:

    In talking about how others draft, especially the Patriots, we need to realize one key component. Belicheck does not mind letting go of stars with a year or two left and snagging some picks. In our recent history we ride them until they are worthless. To name a few, Brooking, James, Newman, Barber, Roy Williams(he was worthless from the beginning), Columbo, Kosier, Davis and most of them are/were either not picked up or did very little.

    The good news is that the trash seems to be getting taken out now.

  13. Mark Watkins says:

    Yes, I guess some people either just take pieces out of the article and post asinine comments based on what they read, or they just don’t comprehend what you’re trying to say JB. Like the other readers, I usually can’t stand to read the comments on that site, but I thought I’d take a gander at what people were posting and how you were being received. Oh well, can’t please everyone and if you did, you’d be doing something wrong anyway (like pandering to the Cowboys and the crowd, like so many other writers do already).

  14. JD–I saw your replies, and thanks so much for the congrats. I still have some control over the stuff I write there (and here, obviously), so if you have a study you want to see completed, just send it my way.

    Travis–Thanks a lot. I really appreciate all the support from all you guys. Again..anything you want to see me write about, just shoot me an email (jonathan@thedctimes.com).

  15. JC–That’s a good point. I calculated value throughout a player’s career (regardless of his team), but obviously the team is a factor.

    Mark–I kind of anticipated a harsh welcoming to the site. It will take some time to get some people on my side, and chances are the nature of the content I write will always preclude me from being a really popular writer. Luckily, that isn’t my goal. Thanks for the support through.

  16. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    AGain, congrats on the mothership article. as I’m sure you can see from the comments, the audience is a lot less forgiving (and not trying to sound elitist, but a lot less football knowledgeable than here). But, I’m sure you knew that…

  17. Yes, a lot less forgiving, but very fun to read anyway.

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