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Old 04-25-2011   #1
Tx Longhorn
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Default "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

The two names at 11 that seem most commonly linked to the Texans are Prince Amukamara and Aldon Smith.

This poses a lead in to my question on drafting philosophy.

Amukamara at this point seems to be the "safe" pick. What you see is what you get. He is expected to step in and be an immediate solid contributor on the NFL level.

Smith on the other hand is an unfinished product. However, his upside seems to be a bit greater than Amukamara's. He also has limited experience.

The question posed is this.. Do you prefer to play safe with draft picks, or do you prefer going after an unfinished product with a big ceiling?

Thoughts?
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Old 04-25-2011   #2
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

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Originally Posted by Tx Longhorn View Post
The question posed is this.. Do you prefer to play safe with draft picks, or do you prefer going after an unfinished product with a big ceiling?
It all depends on what position you are speaking about in my opinion.

In Aldon Smith's case, I believe it's fine to go with a raw athletic freak for a pass-rusher. You can teach a player technique, but you can't teach their rare intangibles. Obviously you don't want to be stuck with a "workout warrior," but I don't see Aldon Smith falling under that label personally.

I think a cornerback's transition to the NFL is a lot harder to analyze. Most of the top cornerbacks in the league were highly regarded and first round picks in their draft class. (Obviously there are exceptions, but work with me here)

Charles Woodson: 4th overall in 1998
Champ Bailey: 7th overall in 1999
Nnamdi Asomugha: 31st overall in 2003
Johnathan Joseph: 24th overall in 2006
Darrelle Revis: 14th overall in 2007
Leon Hall: 18th overall in 2007
Aqib Talib: 20th overall in 2008 (He's a nutcase, but a damn good corner)
Brandon Flowers: 35th overall in 2008

These cornerbacks are the cream of the crop in the NFL today, and players of their caliber don't come around very often. So when it comes to the cornerback position I want someone who isn't going to be a project, and can jump on in Week 1 as if he's been a veteran of the game.

I think Prince Amukamara is a bit overrated as he's struggled against the top tier receivers, but overall he is a pretty safe pick along with Patrick Peterson who I think is going to definitely belong on the list I've put together above.

*Also I haven't given up on Kareem Jackson. I want to see how he plays without David Gibbs "coaching" him before I cast any stones his way.
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Old 04-25-2011   #3
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

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Originally Posted by Mari-OWNED! View Post
It all depends on what position you are speaking about in my opinion.

In Aldon Smith's case, I believe it's fine to go with a raw athletic freak for a pass-rusher. You can teach a player technique, but you can't teach their rare intangibles. Obviously you don't want to be stuck with a "workout warrior," but I don't see Aldon Smith falling under that label personally.

I think a cornerback's transition to the NFL is a lot harder to analyze. Most of the top cornerbacks in the league were highly regarded and first round picks in their draft class. (Obviously there are exceptions, but work with me here)

Charles Woodson: 4th overall in 1998
Champ Bailey: 7th overall in 1999
Nnamdi Asomugha: 31st overall in 2003
Johnathan Joseph: 24th overall in 2006
Darrelle Revis: 14th overall in 2007
Leon Hall: 18th overall in 2007
Aqib Talib: 20th overall in 2008 (He's a nutcase, but a damn good corner)
Brandon Flowers: 35th overall in 2008

These cornerbacks are the cream of the crop in the NFL today, and players of their caliber don't come around very often. So when it comes to the cornerback position I want someone who isn't going to be a project, and can jump on in Week 1 as if he's been a veteran of the game.

I think Prince Amukamara is a bit overrated as he's struggled against the top tier receivers, but overall he is a pretty safe pick along with Patrick Peterson who I think is going to definitely belong on the list I've put together above.

*Also I haven't given up on Kareem Jackson. I want to see how he plays without David Gibbs "coaching" him before I cast any stones his way.
Spot on.

rep sent!!!
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Old 04-25-2011   #4
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tx Longhorn View Post
The two names at 11 that seem most commonly linked to the Texans are Prince Amukamara and Aldon Smith.

This poses a lead in to my question on drafting philosophy.

Amukamara at this point seems to be the "safe" pick. What you see is what you get. He is expected to step in and be an immediate solid contributor on the NFL level.

Smith on the other hand is an unfinished product. However, his upside seems to be a bit greater than Amukamara's. He also has limited experience.

The question posed is this.. Do you prefer to play safe with draft picks, or do you prefer going after an unfinished product with a big ceiling?

Thoughts?
If I'm one of the top 5-10 teams in the league, I can afford to go with raw talent and upside. Bottom 5-10 teams don't have that luxery. They need solid, dependable players. They don't always draft accordingly, which is why some are perennially at the bottom and someare perennially at the top.
IMO, Amukamara is only a "safe" pick because everyone knows we need CB help. That's drafting for need and that is what netted us Travis Johnson.
In this draft, the Texans should be able to draft BPA at #11 and not reach for Amukamara while still filling a need position.
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Old 04-25-2011   #5
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

I agree that top level teams can afford to gamble a bit more. At this point, on D, we need solid guys that can play. I'd almost say safer is better, I think I'd favor Kerrigan over Smith at this point. His work ethic, motor, and collegiate production are off the charts. Smith feels a lot like Okoye to me. Young, raw with alot of upside. At this point, most fans are ready to run Amobi out of town.
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Old 04-25-2011   #6
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

The more I see of Aaron Williams the more I think he and Amukamara need to swap draft positions.
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Old 04-25-2011   #7
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

I think in the first round (especially the top 10) you have to get a guy who is both polished and has potential to grow into the best at his position in the NFL. I've pretty much got it in my head that the Texans are going to pick a defensive player in the first round and I'm probably not going to be upset at who it is or where he plays because we pretty much need help everywhere. I think the only way I get really pissed off Thursday night is if we take an offensive player at 11 or we (god forbid) trade up for one.

I will be a little surprised if we do pick Amukamara just because we have yet to take 2 guys that play the exact same position in the first round in back to back years. I won't hate the pick though because at the end of the day we still need a bunch of help in the secondary and I don't think that particular player is going to make the unit look worse (because that seems like it'd be really hard to do).
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Old 04-25-2011   #8
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

We seem to do a lot of raw talent picks that don't seem to work out for us ~ Okoye, Jackson, Barwin (2nd rnd). Of the six 1st and 2nd rounders we've picked since 2008, only 2 are have been solid starters.

2007 Amobi Okoye
2008 Duane Brown
2009 Brian Cushing; Connor Barwin
2010 Karim Jackson; Ben Tate

Of this group, only Brown and Cushing have contributed and Cushing looked like crap coming off suspension. We must do a better job with our top 2 picks. At this point, I think we need a solid player in the early rounds and should save the speculation to later rounds.
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Old 04-25-2011   #9
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

Risk assessment seems to be what most here are describing as "Safe" or "Raw" draft prospect evaluation. Then weight risk w/skill for each position. QB trumps all so naturally teams needing QB help are willing to assume more risk. Next it's real close value wise between a pass rusher in this case DE/OLB, CB & LT.

If that isn't confusing then each team has their own draft board based off scouting departments work sometimes covering one particular player/prospect 2/3 years. Then comes the coordinators with their position coaches who run a specific scheme. As a draft nick, I like to project based off historical data & use comps to current players successful in the NFL comparing their draft stock ratings when they came out.

Picking early but not too early in the first, the Texans really have no idea who will be available #11 when they go on the clock. I think there is a better chance that Prince Amukamara is off the board rather than Aldon Smith. So if Prince is there do the Texans automatically take him? What if another team is on the phone & wants to trade up, offering their 2nd round pick? You must assess the risk of losing one of your top rated prospects vs the next level of players with adding a player who could start @ another position of need.

Pause for effect.....

Texans are changing defensive scheme, new DC, too many needs to trade up or stand pat. Trade down is risky if there is a specific player they covet, but if I can give up my man crush (Cameron Jordan) then they can to, take the best offer (there will be teams wanting to trade up) & address as many defensive needs as possible to help transition back to the 3-4 in Wade Phillips new D.
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Last edited by beerlover; 04-25-2011 at 09:44 AM.
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Old 04-25-2011   #10
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

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Originally Posted by beerlover View Post
Risk assessment seems to be what most here are describing as "Safe" or "Raw" draft prospect evaluation. Then weight risk w/skill for each position. QB trumps all so naturally teams needing QB help are willing to assume more risk. Next it's real close value wise between a pass rusher in this case DE/OLB, CB & LT.
Hard to argue this. I tried, but failed and deleted.

If that isn't confusing then each team has their own draft board based off scouting departments work sometimes covering one particular player/prospect 2/3 years. Then comes the coordinators with their position coaches who run a specific scheme. As a draft nick, I like to project based off historical data & use comps to current players successful in the NFL comparing their draft stock ratings when they came out. I have a problem with this, because that's a lot of perspective based extrapolation. I will see a player differently than you, so it all becomes "an eye of the beerholder" case of mental masturbation. I prefer to use stats and film and base a rating on how they play football. Just MHO.
Picking early but not too early in the first, the Texans really have no idea who will be available #11 when they go on the clock. I think there is a better chance that Prince Amukamara is off the board rather than Aldon Smith. So if Prince is there do the Texans automatically take him? What if another team is on the phone & wants to trade up, offering their 2nd round pick? You must assess the risk of losing one of your top rated prospects vs the next level of players with adding a player who could start @ another position of need.
If the Texans take Akumamara at #11, the FO has proven it has no idea what it's doing. It is a proven fact that he can't cover top NCAA receivers, so why would one expect him to be able to cover ANY NFL receiver? In the NFL, all the players are All-Americans. This is why BPA wins hands down in my opinion. You're spot on as far as noone having an idea of who will be left at #11. Only Narolina has a good idea of who will be left at #2.
Pause for effect.....

Texans are changing defensive scheme, new DC, too many needs to trade up or stand pat. Trade down is risky if there is a specific player they covet, but if I can give up my man crush (Cameron Jordan) then they can to, take the best offer (there will be teams wanting to trade up) & address as many defensive needs as possible to help transition back to the 3-4 in Wade Phillips new D.
That must be a very dynamic and fluid process. It all depends on who's on the board and what the team needs are for the teams between your spot and where you would trade up or down to. Personally, I'd rather have one top talent in the hand than 2 or 3 lesser talented maybe's in the condition the Texans are in. I think it's been proven that trading down and picking up quality players on D is beyond this front office.
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Old 04-25-2011   #11
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

in regards to historical stats, records & making comps these are just few of the tools I use along with watching College Football, game film/clips off internet, visiting various draft sites, listening on the radio, watching network television (NFL Network, ESPN etc...) reading the paper & blogs. subscribing to paid scouting services, this board, including breakfast of champions & the ghost of Joel Buchsbaum
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Old 04-25-2011   #12
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

Well, Aaron Curry was a "safe" pick

But usually its the raw guys that flop in epic fashion.

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Old 04-25-2011   #13
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

I think it would be cool to do both a Texan "Safe Mock" & Texan "High Risk Mock" then compare the two in 2-3 years
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Old 04-27-2011   #14
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Default Re: "Safe Picks" vs. "Raw, with Major Upside"

The top draft picks are generally guys who produced in college and don't have glaring athletic limitations. Patrick Peterson is going to be one of the most athletic CBs in the league, and he has production that backs it up as well. A guy like Jake Locker doesn't have athletic limitations but hasn't proven anything. Those are the guys to avoid. I put Newton, Gabbert, and A. Smith in the same group. Robert Quinn is on the edge of that group as well because of the year off and who his production prior did come against.
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