DC Times Blog
I’ve posted a few fantasy football articles in the last couple days. The first, published at rotoViz, is a look at why I much prefer Aaron Rodgers over Drew Brees.
I’m addicted to the Similarity Score Apps. There, I said it. If I had a set game plan detailing things I wanted to accomplish prior to fooling around with the apps for 60 minutes every day, I probably would have written way more than five articles so far. I feel like when someone says “Peyton Manning is such a risky pick” and you respond with “Well the difference between his high and low comps is just 2.7 points per game” despite the fact that you’re nowhere near a computer, it might be time to reassess your timemanagement.
So yeah, I like these things. The greatest contribution the apps can and will provide for me this season is a more fundamental understanding of risk and reward on an individual basis. I’ve long been a proponent of determining the potential distribution of outcomes for players because, aside from a median projection, it allows us to factor uncertainty into rankings. If you’re deciding between two second-round quarterbacks, both of whom you have projected at 18.0 points per game, it’s probably wise to go with the safest option due to the price of the pick.
That’s not always the case, though. Outside of the first few rounds, owners should seek more and more volatility as the cost of picks—and their expected return—declines. Why in the world would you draft Eli Manning in the ninth round when you can have Michael Vick a full round later? Think about it. In that range, you’re starting to get into backup quarterback territory; Manning and Vick are currently the 13th and 14th passers getting selected. If the hope is that you won’t need to start those players anyway, why not draft the one who has elite potential?
And what if you draft a backup quarterback as an insurance policy against a risky option? Let’s say it’s Russell Wilson. If Wilson goes down, the overall philosophy of your team should shift to take on more risk. When you’re an underdog seeking volatility, the last thing you want to see is Joe Flacco in your starting lineup.
Check out the quarterback volatility rankings right here. I also published two articles at RotoWire. The first proposes a new draft trade value chart.
For the purposes of creating the chart, I’ll use Pro Football Reference’s VBD calculations. VBD is a form of “value over replacement player” in which you subtract the points for a “baseline” player from each player’s total points. The baselines are the No. 12 quarterback, No. 24 running back, No. 30 wide receiver, and No. 12 tight end. There are probably issues with VBD like any other value metric, but it does a better job of capturing “usable” value for fantasy owners; the VBD for the No. 12 quarterback or No. 30 wide receiver would be 0. That seems about right considering those players – or the guys ranked behind them – really offer little worth to fantasy owners.
I graphed the VBD for all players chosen in the top 24 from 2008 to 2012.
The value of the top two overall selections has been higher than for any other picks. That fits well with my previous research and suggests that in most drafts, there are a handful of elite prospects and then a big drop to the second tier.
Still, the graph is a bit scattered and there doesn’t appear to be a major drop over the first two rounds. Below, I sorted the results into four-selection increments.
Here, you can see that the VBD drop is pretty linear. The average VBD for the top four picks has been close to 80 – around twice that for picks 21 through 24. As I mentioned, however, that doesn’t mean that two picks at the end of the second round are equivalent to one at the top of the first. Actually, we now have a foundation from which to begin to build our chart since we know that the No. 1 overall selection is worth more than the No. 23 and No. 24 picks combined.
More to come.
And the other article includes some of my 2013 breakout candidates. Here are the wide receivers:
• Darrius Heyward-Bey, Colts
Heyward-Bey is considered a bust because of his high draft slot, but he’s gotten better each year he’s been in the league. On a per-target basis, DHB has also shown great improvement in his fantasy numbers. He has some competition in Indianapolis, but he also has a quarterback who can propel him to WR2 status.
• Justin Blackmon, Jaguars
Blackmon’s suspension should be viewed as a blessing in disguise for fantasy owners. Instead of docking Blackmon four games worth of points when creating his projection, you should subtract four games of points and then add the points you’ll receive from a replacement receiver. Since his ADP has already dropped four rounds since getting suspended, that makes Blackmon perhaps the best value in the entire draft at this point. And the receiver’s 64/865/5 line from 2012 is actually really good for a rookie.
• Josh Gordon, Browns
Wide receivers who stand 6-3, 225 pounds and possess sub-4.5 speed aren’t easy to find. Gordon showed flashes in his rookie year with numbers comparable to Blackmon’s – 50 receptions, 805 yards and five scores. Most important, the big-play threat just turned 22, meaning there’s a ton of room for development.
Gordon may or may not break out this year, but there’s little doubt that he’s a volcano waiting to erupt. The fact that he looked so polished at such a young age suggests 2013 could be the season, and I can’t think of a wide receiver who offers better value in dynasty leagues.
In case you didn’t notice those massive cover images I posted at the top of the blog, I published a few books this year. The first is an updated version of last year’s book Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft.
Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft offers in-depth fantasy football draft strategy. The aim of the book is to provide advanced material for experienced fantasy football owners and “bottom line” analysis for novices. The book is not a collection of player rankings or projections, but rather an assessment of various draft strategies and fantasy football tenants. It will provide a solid foundation from which you can improve as an owner to dominate your draft for a decade to come.
The second examines 25 fantasy football puzzles. It’s called Fantasy Football for Smart People: What the Experts Don’t Want You to Know.
Fantasy Football for Smart People: What the Experts Don’t Want You to Know contains solutions to 25 of fantasy football’s most pressing questions. What’s the best draft spot? Do running backs really break down after a lot of carries? How should you project rookies? What’s the best waiver wire strategy? What the Experts Don’t Want You to Know will answer these important questions—and give you a wealth of fantasy football knowledge along the way—to provide the edge you need to make the jump toward becoming an advanced fantasy football owner.
And the final book, Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Cash in on the Future of the Game, is a look into the world of weekly fantasy football.
Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Cash in on the Future of the Game is the first book of its kind to break down the actual strategies used by the top owners in the world of weekly fantasy football. With weekly fantasy football growing at an exponential rate, there’s a whole lot of money to be made, and advanced weekly owners are already cashing in to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars in profit. With input from one of the weekly fantasy football “sharks”—FFFC $150,000 winner Peter Jennings—How to Cash in on the Future of the Game will show you how to manage your money, select the perfect websites, make projections, and create lineups so that you can finally treat your hobby as you always wanted—as an investment.
All three books are available on Amazon in both paperback and Kindle form. You can buy PDFs of the book at FantasyFootballDrafting.com, where I’m also selling my 2013 draft package for just $4.99.
My latest “Running the Numbers” entry is a projection of the Cowboys’ skill position rookies. Here’s a preview on Williams:
WR Terrance Williams
The selection of Williams was intriguing for Dallas because his production will likely be inversely connected to that of Escobar in 2013. Since the two won’t be on the field together too often unless a starter gets injured, Williams’ production will increase as Escobar’s declines, and vice versa.
The ’Boys probably want to see Escobar on the field more than Williams simply because that would mean the team is winning more often. Last year, the Cowboys were forced into using at least three receivers on 56 percent of their snaps. That won’t happen again this year. Barring injury, it’s more likely that Williams will play around 45 percent of the Cowboys’ snaps. That would probably put him in the range of about 475 total plays.
Historically, Romo has targeted his No. 3 receiver on around 12 percent of snaps with at least three receivers on the field. There’s no reason to think that rate will change much in 2013, giving Williams 57 targets. No. 3 receivers often haul in a high percentage of their looks, usually around 65 percent. Williams’ rate could actually be a bit lower since he figures to see a lot of downfield targets. His catch rate will probably hover around 60 percent, but he could easily average 16.0 YPR. Those figures would give him 34 receptions for 544 yards. Like Escobar, Williams could help Dallas in the red zone as early as this year. With 34 catches, Williams should be able to find the end zone at least four times.
- Final Projection: 34 receptions, 544 yards, 4 TDs
To the guy who commented “I have cut and pasted this idiots projection numbers, and saved them on a word document, to later review after the season”….
Please do. Maybe you could submit your projections for the players and we’ll see who is closer at the end of the year. Sound good?
At Dallas News, I broke down how I think Morris Claiborne will perform in 2013.
Claiborne will likely be in coverage about as often as he was in 2012, i.e. around 500 snaps. The cornerback will be targeted more often because of the nature of the Cowboys’ new defense, so 85 targets isn’t an unreasonable expectation. If Claiborne improves upon his 2012 mark and allows only 1.05 yards per coverage snap, we’re looking at 525 yards allowed on 85 passes—6.18 yards per target. Such an improvement fits well with how other top 10 cornerbacks have progressed in the past.
Playing near the line of scrimmage on a more frequent basis, there’s a good chance that Claiborne’s tackles will increase; he should be good for 70. And while interceptions are the most difficult stat to project, I’m confident that Claiborne will see a sizeable jump. With more targets and plenty of zone coverage, look for the second-year cornerback to bring in five picks on the season.
Here’s the full article.
I just published my take on the Cowboys’ play-calling situation.
While Romo has been provided more pre-snap freedom in recent years, he still doesn’t audible all that often. I track his checks each year, and he’s never called an audible on more than 10 percent of the Cowboys’ snaps in a single season.
More important, the majority of Romo’s audibles—traditionally around two-third of his checks—are “Kill” calls. Jason Garrett frequently calls two plays into Romo, who then says both of those plays in the huddle. The offense lines up and plans to run the first play called, but if Romo doesn’t like what he sees in the defense for that particular play, he has the freedom to “kill” the first play, alerting the offense to run the second. That’s what the quarterback is doing when you hear him yell “Kill, Kill, Kill” on television. So while Romo might check out of more plays in 2013, chances are most will still be “Kill” calls, meaning the new play will still be one given to him by the play-caller.
Shifting Odds Through Play-Calling
The goal for any play-caller is to maximize the offense’s chances for success in any given situation. While it’s always important for the offense to execute, sometimes it simply isn’t probable; if a play-caller dials up the worst possible play against a particular defense, it almost assuredly won’t work no matter how well the offense executes. Similarly, the perfect call in a certain situation decreases the number of things that need to go right for the play to be successful, ultimately leading to a higher expected success rate.
As a side note, that’s why it’s silly to automatically label a play that didn’t work as a poor call or one that did work as a great decision. If a play-caller puts his offense in an optimal situation in which they’ll convert a first down 99 percent of the time but it just happens to fail on one particular play, the call was still a good one, regardless of the outcome.
The idea that play-calling matters is based on the assumption that small advantages can add up over large sample sizes. If one play-caller dials up a play that has a 75 percent chance of working and another calls a play with an expected 65 percent success rate, that difference might not show up over one play, two, or even 10. Over the course of a season, however, that’s a massive advantage that can lead to a big jump in offensive production.
Read more of why I think the play-caller matters at Dallas News.
Jonathan Bales : May 2, 2013 11:48 am : All Draft, DC Times Blog, Draft, Miscellaneous, NBC, Recent
At NBC, I published scouting reports and what I like/dislike about Terrance Williams and J.J. Wilcox. On Williams:
What I Like
I don’t think you can emphasize Williams’ weight/speed combination enough; it’s vital. I also love how productive Williams was at Baylor in 2012, catching 97 passes for 1,832 yards and 12 touchdowns. Williams averaged 18.9 yards-per-catch, and that kind of production in the Big 12 is impressive. The best predictor of future performance is past success. So often we talk about a prospect’s film and his measurables, but we forget to look at how he’s produced against a high level of competition in the past. It’s also worth noting that Williams converted 13.4 percent of his career catches into touchdowns.
The whole Williams scouting report is at NBC.
What I Like
Wilcox is an athlete. Although he’s obviously raw and inexperienced at safety, I think that’s a good thing, for a few reasons. First, it means he hasn’t had as much time to pick up bad habits. The Cowboys’ coaches have a piece of clay that they can sculpt, and Wilcox is enough of an athlete to pick up the teaching right away. Second, I think it’s valuable for defensive players to understand offensive concepts. Wilcox has said he’s benefited from knowing how receivers will run their routes, how they’ll come out of their breaks, and so on; although he played at Georgia Southern, he’s a step ahead of the game in terms of the mental aspects of playing in the NFL.
What I Don’t Like
It’s obviously not ideal for a prospect to play against inferior competition because it becomes really difficult to grade him. While I think Wilcox’s background allowed the Cowboys to acquire value on him in the third round, he has some hurdles he’ll need to overcome to play under the bright lights of the NFL. With any small-school prospect, it’s so important to make sure they’re confident and mentally tough enough to play with the best of the best.
Check out the rest at NBC.
Jonathan Bales : April 30, 2013 3:38 pm : All Draft, All Film/Stats, Dallas Morning News, DallasCowboys.com, DC Times Blog, Draft, Film/Stat Analysis, Miscellaneous, NBC, Recent
I’ve published a bunch of Cowboys draft content over the past two days. Here are a few links and previews.
A statistical view of Travis Frederick and Gavin Escobar at DallasCowboys.com
From a numbers standpoint, what we know about Frederick is that he’s 6-4, 312 pounds with 33-inch arms, which is right around average and certainly adequate for a center. Arm length is a good predictor of offensive tackle success. I haven’t seen any analytics on arm length for interior linemen, but I’d assume the correlation extends inside. Frederick ran a 5.58 40-yard dash, jumped 28.5 inches, and recorded 21 reps on the bench press. He’s not an explosive athlete, but you don’t need to be to play well at center in the NFL. You simply need to possess a baseline level of athleticism. Frederick isn’t so athletic that you automatically know that’s the case, such as with a guy like Eagles first-rounder Lane Johnson, but his quality game tape suggests he can play with the big boys.
TE Gavin Escobar
Although it’s “blasphemous” in some circles to use a player’s college stats to help grade him, I think it’s one of the most overlooked aspects of scouting. Simply put, if a guy played well against a high level of competition in college, he has a good chance to do it in the pros.
Escobar didn’t play in a major conference, but it’s still important to look at numbers for small-school players. We’d expect exceptional small-school athletes to dominate inferior competition; if they don’t, that might be a sign that something is amiss.
During his three-year career, Escobar’s personal bests in catches, yards and touchdowns all came in 2011, when he turned in a 51/780/7 season. That’s hardly dominant, but don’t forget that tight ends aren’t typically utilized in the same way in college as in the NFL, and there were some concerns that Escobar was actually misused as an in-line tight end at San Diego State.
More on Escobar at NBC
More on Frederick at NBC
What I Like
Obviously, Frederick has some really good tape out there. He plays with awesome technique, and you can tell just how cerebral he is on the field. After hearing him in his first press conference in Dallas, you can tell he’s a really intelligent kid. That’s important, especially for a player who will be making the line calls.
From all accounts, Frederick is also a natural leader. He seems confident in himself—which will be vital for someone the fans already dislike because of his draft spot—and he seems to be very focused on improving his game.
What I Don’t Like
Again, I question if Frederick has enough athleticism to really thrive in the NFL. You don’t need to be a freak athlete to play center, but I watched more tape of Frederick struggling with speed at the college level. I think he has the determination and work ethic to improve, but it won’t matter if he’s not athletic enough to play with NFL talent.
I also don’t like that Frederick is a low-ceiling player. I really doubt that he can ever play at an All-Pro level, even if he maxes out on his potential. It’s smart to invest in safe players in the first round, but the Cowboys probably could have drafted a safe player with more upside.
My initial reaction to the Cowboys’ first four picks
A look back at the Cowboys’ 2010 big board at Dallas News
1. Sam Bradford
2. Gerald McCoy
3. Ndamukong Suh
4. Russell Okung
5. Trent Williams
6. Eric Berry
7. Rolando McClain
8. Joe Haden
9. CJ Spiller
10. Mike Iupati
11. Blocked by Jerry’s arm, but likely Earl Thomas or Dez Bryant
12. Blocked by Jerry’s arm, but likely Earl Thomas or Dez Bryant
13. Bryan Bulaga
14. Sean Lee
15. Jared Odrick
16. Jason Pierre-Paul
17. Derrick Morgan
18. Kyle Wilson
19. Maurkice Pouncey
20. Navarro Bowman
21. Jahvid Best
22. Tyson Alualu
23. Jermaine Gresham
I wrote a buttload of content throughout the draft. Here are some links. Check ‘em out to read the entire articles.
One thing that worries me about Terrance Williams
I really liked the Cowboys’ third-round selection of Baylor wide receiver Terrance Williams. Although wide receiver wasn’t considered a major need, I’ve suggested for a few months that the Cowboys could be in major trouble if Miles Austin or Dez Bryant got injured; until the selection of Williams—6-2, 208 pounds—the Cowboys really didn’t have another option to play on the outside.
In addition to his size, Williams adds 4.52 speed. That size/speed combination helped Williams explode for 97 receptions, 1,832 yards, and 12 touchdowns last year at Baylor. The numbers on Williams are very impressive, and the ‘Boys surely found value on the star receiver.
But there’s one issue to monitor: Williams’ age. When the 2013 season begins, Williams will already be 24. He’ll be older than some receivers who were drafted two years ago. And historically, older players have performed better in college—and subsequently worse in the pros—than younger ones. How many current NFL wideouts could potentially dominate the college ranks if they stayed until age 23?
Again, I really like Williams’ skill set. Examining his closest comps, we see some impressive names. Take a look:
Terrance Williams: 6-2, 208 pounds, 4.52 40-yard dash, 42 percent of Baylor’s receiving yards, 0.92 TD/game
Hakeem Nicks: 6-1, 212 pounds, 4.51 40-yard dash, 49 percent of UNC’s receiving yards, 0.92 TD/game
Jordy Nelson: 6-3, 217 pounds, 4.51 40-yard dash, 48 percent of Kansas State’s receiving yards, 0.92 TD/game
The primary difference is that Nicks and Nelson were 21 and 22 years old, respectively, when drafted. That’s important.
Tight end Gavin Escobar’s fit in Dallas
The biggest positive for Escobar, in my estimation, is that he’s a big-time threat in the red zone. He converted 13.9 percent of his college receptions into touchdowns—a fairly high rate—and that’s a trait the Cowboys covet. Witten has traditionally been subpar inside the opponent’s 20-yard line, and it isn’t as if the running backs are pounding it in for touchdowns.
Escobar is a really talented athlete—not as explosive as you might like with only 4.78 speed—but a player with tremendous ball skills. He can certainly add something as a receiver, but as I mentioned in my immediate reaction of the pick, the Cowboys don’t necessarily need that. They have Miles Austin and Dez Bryant on the outside, and second-year man James Hanna showed some things last year.
The Cowboys obviously think they’ll be able to fix Escobar’s blocking. As it stands now, I see Escobar putting himself in a poor position and frequently lunging at defenders.
Safety J.J. Wilcox’s fit in Dallas
One of the reasons Wilcox is so intriguing is his upside. People often view a “raw” prospect negatively, but Wilcox’s lack of experience just means he has tons of room to improve on an already impressive 2012 season.
Plus, the third round is a good time to begin seeking upside over safety. Mid-round picks don’t work out as much as people think they do, so it’s often better to swing for the fences than to land a “safe” player who won’t contribute much anyway. While I don’t view Wilcox as a major risk, there was no player on the board with more upside.
Fit in Dallas
It will be interesting to see where Monte Kiffin plays Wilcox—as a free or strong safety. I think he can play either position, continuing the Cowboys’ trend of seeking versatility.
Wilcox will get a fair shot to win a starting job in training camp, and I tentatively expect him to beat out Johnson and Will Allen for that job. If that happens, I think you’ll see Wilcox as a free safety, patrolling the deep half with Barry Church and deep middle when Church plays in the box.
The Cowboys figure to play a whole lot more Cover 3 this year than people anticipate, so whoever plays free safety for them will be in the middle of the field quite often.
Cornerback B.W. Webb’s fit in Dallas
Scouting Report on B.W. Webb
Webb is a 5-10, 184-pound cornerback, so it’s unlikely that he’ll play on the outside. That means he’ll most likely strictly be a nickel back in the NFL, playing in the slot. He certainly has the skill set to thrive in there; he’s one of the quickest players in this draft.
When you watch tape of Webb, that suddenness stands out, and it’s confirmed in hismeasurables. He recorded a 4.46 40-yard dash, but more impressive were his 40.5-inch vertical, 11-0 broad jump and insane 3.84 short shuttle.
Actually, that short shuttle time was the fastest for any single player at the 2013 Scouting Combine. The vertical and broad jump both ranked him third.
Webb was a play-maker at William & Mary, picking off eight passes and returning two for touchdowns as a redshirt freshman. Webb also displayed big-time return ability, which is where he’ll be able to immediately make an impact.
Webb excels in man coverage. He won’t be able to consistently press—especially with his 30-inch arms—but he actually plays well from a press position where he can mirror receivers. He’s got some of the quickest feet in this draft.
Despite his small stature, Webb isn’t afraid to help out against the run. That’s a primary weakness for current nickel back Orlando Scandrick.
Running back Joseph Randle’s fit in Dallas
Is He Explosive?
Randle isn’t explosive from a straight-line speed standpoint, but oddly, he measured pretty well in the vertical jump (35 inches) and broad jump (10-3)—two measurables that are strongly correlated with the 40. He also recorded a 4.25 short shuttle, which has to make you at least wonder if his 40 time was an aberration.
Even though I would have drafted a different running back at this point, I love the idea of waiting to secure a runner. Since 2000, first- and second-round backs have totaled 4.23 YPC. Compare that to 4.25 YPC for backs drafted in the third, fourth or fifth round. There’s actually no correlation between draft spot and NFL efficiency for running backs, meaning there’s also little reason to draft one early.
Like I said, Randle will step in as Murray’s backup. The way things have gone with Murray, there’s a good chance that Randle could take over as the starter at some point in 2013 if Murray gets hurt. Assuming Murray stays healthy, though, I’d expect Randle to eat up about 30 percent of the carries and take over the majority of third-down work. That works out to 107 carries, and, say, 30 receptions.
A look back at my original Randle scouting report
Randle is a natural pass-catcher. When combined with his willingness to protect the quarterback, you have the makings of a potentially successful third-down back.
Despite all of his success in college, you have to wonder if Randle can overcome his lack of long speed. He ran a 4.63 40-yard dash at the Combine and then followed that up with times between 4.54 and 4.63 at his Pro Day. Simply put, he’s not a burner.
We can discuss the importance of lateral quickness all day, but you can’t overlook the fact that running backs who have clocked in around Randle’s time have recorded about one-sixth the NFL production of those who ran as fast as Murray (4.41). That doesn’t mean Randle can’t possible succeed in the NFL, but the odds are against him. If the job of NFL teams is to maximize their chances of hitting on any given pick, it’s hard to justify using a mid-round selection on a lean running back with sub-par speed.
Linebacker DeVonte Holloman’s fit in Dallas
It’s worth noting that Holloman actually played the first three years of his South Carolina career as a safety. He was a highly recruited prep player who started for the Gamecocks as a freshman. That sort of hybrid player is exactly what you’d expect new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin to target at the outside linebacker position.
Holloman never totaled more than 69 tackles in any season, and that came in 2010 as a sophomore. When Holloman moved to outside linebacker as a senior, he recorded 59 tackles, but he also added eight tackles-for-loss—a career-high—and two sacks. Holloman ended his South Carolina career with seven interceptions.
At 6’2″, 243 pounds, Holloman is a prototypical 4-3 outside linebacker. He’s limited in what he can do; he’ll probably be best suited playing as a weak-side backer, although I have a feeling the Cowboys will give him a shot at the Sam spot to start. For the most part, Holloman turned in subpar measurables: a 4.71 40-yard dash, 33-inch vertical and 9’5″ broad jump. However, he also interestingly recorded a 4.26 short shuttle; that’s a really fast time for someone his size and could indicate some short-area quickness.
Grades for some of the notable second-round picks
Just participated in a chat at Dallas News. Here’s a portion:
Hey what’s up guys? I’m here and all set to take your questions.
Did the cowboys not take Elam due the fact the tampa 2 doesn’t need great safeties to work
A few points: first, Monte Kiffin will run some Cover 2, but there’s going to be a whole lot of different looks, including more Cover 3 with Barry Church in the box. This isn’t going to mirror everything he did in Tampa a decade ago. Having said that, there’s no doubt that he wants and needs a play-making safety in the back end. I don’t know if he has that in Matt Johnson, but I still think the Cowboys want a safety. They didn’t take Elam (or another safety) because, as I’ve mentioned before, the position isn’t scarce in this draft. If they like Elam, Cyprien, Thomas, and Wilcox all around the same, it wouldn’t make much sense to take one of them early when you could grab one in the second or third. I still think that they’ll address the position in those rounds.
Cowboys’ offensive lineman had many injuries last year switching to Bill Callihan’s technique. what are the chances that the same happens to Frederick? Also, should he lose weight?
I don’t think the injuries had anything to do with Callahan’s zone blocking scheme; they just got unlucky. The chances of Frederick getting injured under Callahan are the same as they’d be under any other coach. I don’t think he necessarily needs to lose weight, even if the Cowboys will be zone blocking, because that’s not his game. He’s not Jonathan Cooper, so there’s no sense in trying to become that. Plus, the Cowboys really need guys who can win at the point in short-yardage situations when they run up the middle. I don’t know if Frederick can do that, but losing weight wouldn’t help his cause.
If San Francisco wanted the Cowboys 18th pick so bad, why didnt the Cowboys hold out until San Fran gave up their 2nd round pick?
I just posted an article on the trade, but I’m really not sure. I’m sure the Cowboys tried to get the second; it’s unlikely Jerry would just immediately accept a third, but I still think they could have gotten better compensation. It’s not that the deal is inherently poor for the Cowboys, because it’s not. What they got back is actually fair for the move down, but the point is that if they could have gotten more, they should have. It doesn’t really matter what the picks are “worth” outside of what the Niners perceived them to be worth, and if the Cowboys could have gotten more, it was a sub-optimal trade. I have a difficult time believing they couldn’t have at least gotten another late-round pick out of a team that was obviously desperate to trade up.
Why is Ratliff still on this team? Isn’t Floyd better (and much cheaper) than Ratliff is right now?
I don’t know if Floyd is a better player than Ratliff right now. He will be in a few years, obviously, but the Cowboys obviously felt as though they have bigger needs. And although Floyd was hyped up like crazy heading into the draft, I guarantee you he wasn’t as high on most teams’ boards as he was in the media. Before the draft, I had Floyd as a borderline first-round value, and I didn’t think he was the best player available when the Cowboys were on the clock. I actually think Dallas made the right move in trading down, but they needed to get more in return and, perhaps, a different player. In hindsight, I’d probably take Floyd at 18 over Frederick at 31 and a third-rounder, but that doesn’t mean the trade wasn’t smart at the time.
So, which DT with long arms and a quick twitch are the Cowboys going to be able to find in today’s rounds?
For me, that player has to be Kawann Short. Actually, when the Cowboys were on the clock at 31, I thought that would be their guy. He’s the top defensive tackle remaining on my board by a long shot. He’s actually so scarce at this point that I’d strongly consider moving up for him. The Cowboys have extra ammo now, and I see the drop from Short to the next tier of defensive tackles as being a big one.
wouldn’t Sly Williams have been a better pick at 18 rather than trading down?
Yes, probably, but the Cowboys had to take on the uncertainty of not knowing who would be available when they made the deal. No matter what they tell you, I don’t think they’re happy to have Frederick at 31 and if they could replay the draft and they knew what would happen, I think they’d stay at 18. Not sure if Williams would have been their guy there, but Frederick was low enough on my board that I would take Williams over Frederick and a third. Again, that doesn’t mean the trade was a poor one when the Cowboys made it because they had to take on that uncertainty. It just didn’t work out for them.
How important are things like short arms, slow 40, (and slow in shuttle I think)? I watched some tape and to my untrained eye, he looked good.
If you mean for Frederick, I think the most important trait is arm length. You’d like to see more athleticism out of him, but he just needs to surpass a certain baseline to be able to play center in the NFL. The Cowboys obviously believe he’s athletic enough. I have my doubts, but it’s not due entirely to his measurables. You’re right that on tape he looks good, but my problem is that he might have maxed out his potential. He plays intelligently and with great angles, but how much better is he going to get? I think it’s smart for teams to emphasize safety in the first round, but you can probably find a guy just as safe as Frederick with a much higher ceiling.
Do you think the Cowboys panic’d a little as some of the OL’s and safeties went off the board right before pick 31?
I do. I think what they did in trading down in the first round and then selecting an interior lineman is smart on paper, but it wasn’t the right move in this particular draft. Historically, the area to where the Cowboys traded provides an amazing return on investment relative to the cost of the pick, but they didn’t get great compensation in the trade. They also probably knew that first-round interior linemen have generally been among the most successful of any first-round position, but we’ve also never seen a run on linemen like we saw this year. So instead of getting a guy like Warmack at 18, the Cowboys were forced into a much worse option: good in theory, but probably not so valuable in reality because of the nature of this draft.
If Tyrann Mathieu is available at the beginning of the 3rd round, do you see Jerry trading both his 3rd picks to get him?
No. Mathieu probably isn’t on the Cowboys’ board, and that trade would never happen for any player. Even if Mathieu were squeaky clean off of the field, he’s not an elite player. He might not even get a third-round grade from the Cowboys in any situation because he’s 5-9 with average speed. Where do short nickel backs with return ability typically get selected? Maybe the third or fourth round. So factor in Mathieu’s off-field issues, and I think he’s borderline undraftable.
There was a historic run on OL in the 1st round. Seems like Dallas got caught up in it and drafted a lesser player instead of BPA. Your thoughts?
They say they drafted the highest-rated player on their board. I don’t think teams need to draft the highest-rated player in all situations, but obviously it’s ideal to get the best player available at the position of top need. Apparently the Cowboys did that (assuming Frederick can play guard), but it’s just not the player we thought it might be.
Don’t they still need at least 2 more starters on the OL: RT and another interior O-Lineman?
Depending where they play Frederick, we might be looking at Smith/Livings/Costa/Frederick/Parnell right now. Parnell showed some good things last year, but I don’t think Dallas is counting on him to start and excel. I’d say that four of the Cowboys’ five starting offensive linemen are currently on the roster.
Here’s the full chat.
Jonathan Bales : April 26, 2013 11:49 am : "Potential Draft Picks" Series, All Draft, Cowboys Photos, Dallas Morning News, DC Times Blog, Draft, Miscellaneous, Mock Drafts, NBC, New York Times, News & Notes, Recent
Okay, so I’ve been late updating the site because I’ve been busy as shit. Can I just say ‘shit’ like that? Yes, this is my blog. Anyway, here are some recent articles/blogs I’ve been working on. Check them out.
Live Draft Blog at New York Times
My Photos from Radio City
That slideshow above contains this photo I took at 2:30 am after everyone except the janitors and I had left. We had some good laughs about the Frederick pick.
Cowboys’ Day 2/3 Mock Draft
Travis Frederick Pick Analysis
Travis Frederick’s Fit in Dallas
Thoughts on “The Trade”
There are two ways to look at the Cowboys’ deal. The first is that they received poor compensation for moving down 13 spots in the first round because they could have gotten a better haul. I think that’s true, and in many ways it’s all that matters. But what about the actual value of the selections based on historic value? Below, I charted the historic value of every single pick since 1990 based on the trade chart and players’ approximate value.
If there’s one thing the Cowboy did well, it was get to an area of the draft where the actual value of picks tends to exceed their perceived worth. That’s always a smart move, but only if you receive the right compensation; it would be foolish to move down simply for the sake of moving down.
Based on historic NFL production, the No. 18 overall pick has traditionally compiled 1.5 percent of the total approximate value for the entire draft class. Meanwhile, the No. 31 overall selection has been around 1.1 percent, with the No. 74 pick checking in at 0.6 percent. So based on actual on-field play, the Cowboys did indeed get value. That’s especially true in a draft class that’s weak at the top but deep in the middle.
Having said that, you can’t tell me the Niners wouldn’t have given up another pick, even if late, to move up for their guy. Despite the fact that the Cowboys acquired actual value in their trade-down, it was the wrong move from the standpoint that they could have gotten more.