Cory's Corner: Forget About Draft Value

Don't overvalue Draft Value. 

How important is value in the NFL Draft?

How often do you hear this: “I liked that player, but I am not sure about where he was drafted.”

I’m starting to wonder if it really matters. If a team likes a player, they should go get him. Does it really matter if they got him at No. 29 or No. 45?

You didn’t start to hear about NFL Draft value until pundits like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay began to pontificate on ESPN and mock drafts began to fill the Interwebs. 

The NFL Draft is 16 days away. The Packers aren’t concerned about matching up the best value for the pick available as much as they are trying to assemble the best team. 

I have to admit that I have fallen into the value trap. And the best example of this is A.J. Hawk. The inside linebacker was a 9-year pro for the Packers. He is currently the No. 2 tackler in franchise history behind LeRoy Butler, but ahead of Clay Matthews. He averaged over 102 tackles a season as a Packer. Even with all that, many still think Hawk was a bust because of where he was drafted. 

Hawk was a very good player. With him, the Packers had an average ranking of  14 in defensive yards given up — and that includes being ranked 32nd in 2011. 

The Packers can go a lot of different ways with their No. 29 pick. They could opt to add more beef on the offensive or defensive line, add more depth at cornerback or even add more of a strike to the defensive pass rush with an edge rusher. 

I am firmly in the camp that thinks the Packers don’t need a wide receiver in the first round. Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith are easily the cream of the class but will likely go in the first 12 picks. 

But then again, that gets back to value. If the Packers like a guy like Minnesota wideout Rashod Bateman, who many have projected in the second round, Green Bay should go get him. He is listed as the 18th overall prospect on many big boards. He doesn’t have electrifying speed, but his first step is amazing and is still slippery enough to get behind defenses. 

If the Packers take the 6-foot Bateman, who has been compared to Keenan Allen, I know that many will complain.

But it gets back to the original question, what exactly is value? The NFL Draft is an inexact science in the first place. Every team makes mistakes. For example, I didn’t like the Drew Lock pick by the Broncos in 2019. The main reason that his awful footwork has been justified is because he was taken in the second round as the 42nd overall pick. 

Just because you take a guy later in the draft, doesn’t give you a pass on making a mistake. Find the guy you want and go get him. The Washington Football Team likes Trey Lance. The worst decision a general manager can make is not having the courage to get your guy. 

So on draft day, forget value. Just be happy that the Packers got their guy and then wait until he puts on an NFL helmet before making a judgment.

 

 

 

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Cory Jennerjohn is a graduate from UW-Oshkosh and has been in sports media for over 15 years. He was a co-host on "Clubhouse Live" and has also done various radio and TV work as well. He has written for newspapers, magazines and websites. He currently is a columnist for CHTV and also does various podcasts. He recently earned his Masters degree from the University of Iowa. He can be found on Twitter: @Coryjennerjohn

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Comments (97)

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 06:35 am

I like this philosophy A LOT. Get your guys. Players shift all over as the draft progresses, and in the end, the only thing that matters is how many dominant playmakers you’ve been able to land.

Some players have attributes that mesh perfectly for what your team wants to do, and the best ones may be in short supply. Others may be there in abundance. Get your guys.

The idea is to win Super Bowls, not drafts.

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Since'61's picture

April 13, 2021 at 09:01 am

Yes and totally agree. The concept of value for where and when a team drafts is yet another of those media driven concepts about the NFL which Corey has correctly noted. Get the guys who can contribute to the team during their their rookie season.

Yes, some of the later round picks will be development projects but the first 2-3 picks should be guys who can improve position groups and help move the team to the next level.

Over the last 15-20 years more and more players are entering the draft after their junior year in college. This has changed the dynamics of the NFL draft to some degree. When you take a player like Gary, who entered the draft as a junior, it is likely that he will need at least part of his rookie season to develop before he can take on a full time role. Entering the NFL at 20 and playing against 23 -27 year old veterans is a big difference than entering the league at 21 or 22 after a full 4 year college career, both physically and mentally.

In any case I agree with Corey's basic premise, get your guys first, their value will be determined by how well they play. Thanks, Since '61

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porupack's picture

April 13, 2021 at 06:50 am

Cory, nice reflection. The only real problem issue about "value" that you don't mention, is whether you could get the same guy in a later round, and get another "valuable" asset in that spot, so that you get better catchment of players at the end of the draft. That is what really is at the heart of the value question, so that you can plan and predict the whole catch, not just that one player.

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:26 am

It’s an interesting problem, porupack. The flipside is adding players who might be perceived improvements, carry a consensus on draft position amongst many, at a position of need, foregoing another that you hoped to land, but missed because he was in between selection spots.

Looking at GB, it is clear they need best fits on both sides of the ball, with many holes to fill. Get your guys.

What I’m trying to say without saying too much is GB has 5 position of great need, maybe 6, and hitting on all would help to realize a SB win. We are THAT close, and yet, that far away. WR, OT, CB, ILB, S, and DT all look to be equal needs more or less.

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dobber's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:29 am

Your point is a good one. Draft pundits generate their "big board", but can't answer the question "big board for whom?" Essentially, it's nobody, because their boards aren't generated with regard to scheme and fit, and never with regard to managing a 53-man roster.

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 09:01 am

dobber, for the win with that one!!! No shit. That's what kind of sets today's draft machine on its ear, and it is a very loud machine with all the money and outlets.

I know EXACTLY who I want the Packers to take, and this year, and there are a number of adjustments that they can make with so many needs calling out. All I know is that this could be super exciting for the Packers if they hit it right, one of those many combinations that include some/all of CB, WR, OT, DL, ILB, S, OLB, C, RB.... pretty funny listing all of that. I can see maybe 5 of those positions getting multiple players added in this draft.

We all know our needs on O, and some players may drop in our laps that are too good to pass up. I would not be surprised to see the first three picks be on one side of the ball or the other this year. There is that much talent for what the Packers need to really improve... Can't wait to see what Brian Gutekunst does.

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Since'61's picture

April 13, 2021 at 09:05 am

Cookie!!! Thanks, Since '61

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geronamaker's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:17 am

"Draft value" is a nice signifier for fans of how well the GM did in the draft....three years down the road.

Myself, I pay zero attention to the mock draft sensory overload each year. Like fantasy football, I guess it provides entertainment for many fans otherwise it wouldn't be so popular. As my son enjoys telling me (quoting Butthead to Mr. Anderson): "You're old."

Rarely beyond the first handful of picks do the so-called experts get it right anyway and the draft lasts three days and hundreds of picks. The front office has definitely shifted towards players who they think fill specific roles within the scheme, instead of purely "best player available" seemingly favored by Ted Thompson so they are seldom going to be in synch with the endless number of sports bloviator's selections anyway. And when Thompson drafted for position need, such as at cornerback, he seldom got it right, so for him "BPA" was obviously the better approach.

And there is no universe in which anyone could tell me the Jordan Love pick didn't possess significant draft value since magically by coincidence Rodgers had his best season in several years, although he claimed to be unaffected one way or other by the pick. Right, and I have a bridge for sale over the mighty Root River just in case anyone wants to buy a bridge. However, at the end of the day if Love never starts a game here or doesn't measure up he will be widely considered a bust by everyone, including me. Go figure. Lol

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egbertsouse's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:34 am

If you need to burn a 1st round pick to get your QB to play to his potential, it sounds like you have the wrong QB unless you’re playing Pony League with a bunch of 9 year olds.

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geronamaker's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:44 am

So, just a coincidence then? I'm sure they drafted Love to replace Rodgers but I'm also sure they were aware that this move would inspire Rodgers. The whole world knows and appreciates how the Garappolo draft pick worked out for the Pats.

Call it "draft value-added."

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GatorJason's picture

April 15, 2021 at 07:06 pm

Not that it matters but Rodgers indicated his change in mindset happened well prior to the draft and his new attitude actually helped him cope with the surprising selection of Love. Love did help him with his transformation but it was not of the Jordan variety. Aaron exited personal relationships that were bringing him down and moved to a new mindset where he was determined not to allow external circumstances dictate his happiness. He knew what he wanted to accomplish and made a concerted effort to enjoy life, challenges and employ positive thinking in all that he did. Rodgers surrounded himself with a new cast of characters to share his thoughts and ideas. We saw his more carefree, spiritual attitude during preseason practices, interviews during the season and interactions with his teammates. He still kept his personal life private to the point where people were barely aware of his new girlfriend/life partner that by some accounts is already his wife. Aaron Rodgers' aggressive pursuit of becoming Jeopardy Host was done with both a fun loving attitude mixed with a seriously competitive edginess that reflected the same characteristics we witnessed all season with his football play, resulting in his 3rd MVP award and an unexpectedly great 14-4 team record.

Hey, if people want to attribute the selection of Jordan Love as a brilliant tactical ploy by management to motivate Rodgers to play better, I say "peace". It will lessen the pain of eventually realizing Love's Jr year statistics of 20 TD, 17 Interceptions and a mediocre 129 college QB efficiency rating more accurately projected his future being like Jameis Winston than Patrick Mahomes. Thank goodness the selection of "Love" also resulted in triggering one of the greatest seasons of Aaron Rodger's career. The question is, whose selection and what Love you are talking about.

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geronamaker's picture

April 13, 2021 at 11:43 pm

Hahaha. Nice comment. The zen master Rodgers narrative as told to Pat McAfee by...the zen master Rodgers himself.

Has he also rediscovered the spirituality of honoring his mother and father? Or at least speaking to them? Funny we never hear any insight into the Family Feud....oops wrong game show. Sorry.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 13, 2021 at 05:09 pm

G,
I enjoyed your comment above!

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nostradanus's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:22 am

Well said Cory, even I have fallen into the same trap from time to time. The DIC or draft industrial complex has each player labeled, boxed, wrapped and tied with a bow and we as fans gobble it all up. There are mock drafts, pundits, magazines, web sites, draft simulators all leading up to the big weekend and most of us draft geeks are armed with our pre-determined value on many players.

What many do not take into account are the teams front office, coaches and full time scouting department that have their own philosophy on how to work a draft board and how they actually value these prospects.

It is all good fun for us as fans but for the GM and scouting department there livelihood and reputation around league circles is on the line. Blow too many drafts and you may be unemployed sooner than later.

The Packers have 10 draft choices this year and I expect Brian G. to maneuver around the board and most likely end up with seven drafted players that he and his scouting department feel really good about.

I will be looking forward to draft weekend and will keep your advice in mind when they ultimately don't take my guys and I scratch my bald head in puzzlement.

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dobber's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:25 am

The question really becomes, "who is the arbiter of draft value?" Mostly, complaints about draft value come from those who have a monetary stake in their opinion on the draft...those who run draft sites or services, and need to have their opinions validated in order to keep the $$ flowing.

I think your article is pointing to the fact that BG really hasn't paid a lot of attention to those folks and their opinions in the past, but especially in the 2020 draft where they selected guys like Deguara and Dillon. In review, many pundits said those guys were overdrafted...apparently BG disagrees.

What it ultimately comes down to is that there's a significant draft-based machine out there, and there's a hungry audience for that information--especially once the regular season ends and large portions of the NFL crowd has nothing to satiate them. The machine needs the money...and they need you to think that their evaluations are worth the money. But the opinions that really matter are the opinions of GMs: they're making the picks and they're the ones dictating value. It's just that those outside the circle need to protect their industry.

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:39 am

dobs, you nailed it. A perfect pair of examples.

Anyone else out there hesitant to throw player lists out there like last year? Driving draft hype for players we need, needlessly through the roof?

I’m keeping my favorite top 5 picks on the QT this year.

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Leland's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:41 am

Value. If you pass on your guy and two picks later someone else picks him. What have you got? Nothing. Just because you were afraid someone would accuse you of taking him too early. How many teams thought that AR was a second round pick?

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:50 am

Another stellar example, Leland. Get your guys, and go win a Super Bowl. After throwing some big study into our needs and the talent available, there looks to be a number of pathways that could work. Top offensive players early, top defensive early, stagger picks O & D... a lot of the right talent exists. Just have to hit right at positions less deep.

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dobber's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:55 am

I would argue that if you pass on "your guy" in that scenario, he wasn't really your guy. It's when GMs try to game the draft by trading down, expecting that their assessment of the field is that their guy will be there later, and it turns out they're wrong that they get into trouble. I think the majority of GMs aren't afraid to take the guy they really covet when the opportunity is there. In retrospect, when has a GM ever gone to the microphone and said they didn't draft a full slate of players that were "their guys"?

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 09:18 am

I don't know about that. After going through the players available through all 7 rounds and further, which I've done for more than 2 decades now as a fan of the draft, I've got "my" guys up and down the board at nearly every position, in just about every round. It is just that they may want some guys more in certain areas... and, there is always a team in front of you.

Look at last year, and how many teams gave GB the finger, going out of their way to take WRs immediately prior to our selections. THAT is why I don't want to share too much about specific players or needs this year. Why add to the national hype, in an out of control draft dollar market??? It just bounces players up the board, possibly out of reach. Saw that with Darnell Savage two years ago.

32 other teams are looking to do what the Packers are doing. Really glad we have the caliber of Brian Gutekunst and his staff making these decisions rather than that of Mike Sherman and his staff. Or Tom Bratz for that matter... FFS. woosh. Those were rough days.

There are many players who fit what the Packers are now wanting to do. Some of them definitely fit better than others. I'm glad they have 10 picks and that they can just work through without a trade if they choose, while landing quality starters & depth.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 13, 2021 at 05:21 pm

If a GM were to do what you suggested they have no right to be in the GM position in the first place, and obviously wont remain there long.

What I like about Gutey is he doesn't care what you and I say, or think. He does what he thinks is right and doesnt worry about what the Kippers, and us think and say.

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stockholder's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:47 am

I think your wrong. The Top 50 is about BPA. After that I agree. (Get your likes.) But- you never leave the better player for the enemy. You want a loser team. Take your Love. You want a All-pro. Take the BPA. The top 50 isn't about value or Need. It's about greatness. Hawk was never great. He was a starter. Nothing more. I can't go against the experts. You are. If Gute had his shot at a top 10 player. He'd take him. TT did with Rodgers. But if your going to play the guy routine. Don't dump Rodgers. You'll only get people that hold the clip board and end up with an AVERAGE TEAM.

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 09:31 am

I understand where you're going with level of talent, but, I can name 5-10 players outside the media's "Top 50" that have greatness written all over them, in the right situations.

You are absolutely right about AJ Hawk in this regard. He was just a solid player who should have been near the end of any "Top 100," or later...

The problem is giving too much weight to "the experts." The real "EXPERTS" are the GMs who are most successful in drafting players. Period.

Getting a "Top 10" player involves so much, and at what cost? Might as well give your entire draft away, ala Mike Ditka. What did Ricky Williams do for him? wow.

We saw very clearly how many great players we missed on last year between the Deguara and Martin picks. I believe these picks are more valuable than many might think. Always have to ask yourself, "at what cost?" when trading up or down, because you could potentially miss out on more "greatness."

I am not for trading at all this year. Too many needs calling out. I don't want to sacrifice one or two potential starters with a trade up or down. There is some big talent to be had with the 29, AND the 62, AND the 92...

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stockholder's picture

April 13, 2021 at 10:13 am

I wouldn't trade up unless you can afford the cost. I said the Packers should keep all their picks this year. But I do know the vikings pick in front of us in the forth rd. If Gute does trade up. He should use the 4s only. (Being the Vikings will grab any steal before the packers.) I believe Gute only should trade up for a starter. He failed with Burks, and Jackson. And with a second conference call to Samuel. Cb is his Target. Too bad because this draft is loaded @CB! And he'll avoid the True needs to go "all in". Could he change his mind. Of Course. But he now is a GM playing the Cap $ numbers. And Knows he can buy anything, instead of being committed to someone who ties his hands. My only trade up player is Barmore. I'd sit and let the draft come to him. Grabbing that BPA @29 or slight move up. Gute's mistake this year will not be trading up in the second rd. And if he dumps that third pick. He'll loose a CB that would be just as good as his first pick.

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baldski's picture

April 13, 2021 at 05:34 pm

TT did not go after Rodgers. He fell to him. He could not believe that he was still there when GB picked. SF passed on him because he was "too cocky". Other teams passed for other reasons, "formula quaterback", etc.

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PhantomII's picture

April 14, 2021 at 06:02 am

Hawk was a 4th RD Blake Martinez, nothing more.....in the first Round.

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Handsback's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:52 am

When teams do their draft prep and player ranking, they take into consideration their needs. We all assume that OT and CBs are the Packs weakness. Yet they may look at their roster and say...King is really good when healthy or their young tackles are ready for the next step. We have no idea, and can only guess. So if the first pick is between a ILB and a CB the LB is rated a first rounder, the CB is a 2nd round player. They pick the LB when everyone screams they should have gotten the CB.
Using the scenario above the team trades down to pick the CB. Well that actually happened and GB took King over Watt. There are always misses, but the board has the team’s need baked into the rankings.

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:03 am

Another perfect illustration Handsback

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:23 am

Agreed Handsback, but the Watt/King thing always annoys me. "I drafted" Watt that year, but I did it with a LOT of trepidation. I was EXTREMELY worried about his injury history. People forget how many games Watt missed in college. As it turns out, he's stayed pretty healthy. (as a side note, King was the one guy I said before the draft I hoped the Packers would NOT take with their pick...)

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RCPackerFan's picture

April 13, 2021 at 07:59 am

Draft value is all in the eye of the beholder. Something like that.

Its all about how you rate a player. If you consider a player a 2nd round player and you get him in the 4th round. That is value. If you rate a player as a 3rd round player and you take him in the 2nd. Thats not much value.

The basic point is, stick to your board, trust your board. They spend months building the board, they need to trust it.

Not everyone will rate a player the same. Some people see different things. It doesn't make one team better at it then others. But trust the board.

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Archie's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:46 am

Agree 100% RC.

"...If you rate a player as a 3rd round player and you take him in the 2nd...."

I would add here, that if you don't rate a player equal to or greater than your draft position, but you still want him more than anybody else that is available, you simply trade down to the top of the range that you believe is a fair price to pay. The same tactic would guide you in trading up for a player that you believe has fallen below his true value in your eyes.

Then there is the case of the player that you feel is perfect for your scheme/team but not many others and therefore you rate them higher than most other teams would. Do you rank him based on his value to your team or on his value to most teams? DeGuara would be the perfect example of this situation. I can live with taking a player based on his value to your team but I can't live with over-drafting a player - the latter wastes draft capital and salary cap. Two precious commodities that are the lifeblood of every team.

"...The basic point is, stick to your board, trust your board. They spend months building the board, they need to trust it...."

Amen.

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Coldworld's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:40 am

Value is in the eye of the beholder, which is driven by the perceived career curve and the margin of improvement that a given player is believed to represent to the team. If that calculation is accurate then the pick is a good one.

Of course when that value kicks in is also a factor. GMs typically aren’t always focused on this year and later in the draft there may not be a ready option and the need may be for future years (pipeline restocking). So the risk of the player ascending includes non physical assessments and factors we may not see.

It all boils down to team valuation of a player in the context of who is available. Nothing new. Highly subjective despite all the scouting and analysis and based in part on things that are not always visible on tape or revealed by the team.

BPA is largely a myth. It is not an empirical measure, it is someone else’s assessment of relative merit made without reference to the circumstances of a particular team.

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 09:50 am

TOTALLY agree. BPA? For WHO???

This whole draft business is just that. To me, haggling over R2 vs. R3 value is without much merit. Each team has different agendas with regards to what they want to do. Some are looking to rebuild a team. Some are looking to add the missing pieces for a run. Others are looking to fill multiple needs, immediate and future.

A prominent sportswriter friend of mine told me last year that the Dillon and especially Deguara picks were typically the kind of picks teams at the top make to take them all the way. Found that interesting. Essentially, luxury picks. I think that proved out, with Dillon and Deguara both missing extensive parts/all of the season, and we were one play away from the Super Bowl.

One team's board may be completely different from another's, and neither could be right, neither could be wrong. That's the beauty of drafting, as I see it. I like what Gutekunst and his staff have done, for the most part, and look forward to him dialing it in proper this year. I believe he's getting better at drafting, but it is still too early to tell with certainty.

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MarkinMadison's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:12 am

There is truth in all sides of this debate. It just depends on whether you take an argument to its logical extreme end point. Randy Moss was such an obvious talent, but many teams passed on him because of "character" issues. Should someone have "gone and got him" because they knew how good he was going to be? Do you trade into the top-10 to make sure you get him? Everyone knew he was a top-5 talent (the other two from that first round who actually panned out - Manning and Woodson, both went in the top 5). Or do you wait for him to fall to you at #21? The Packers went after their guy that year - they traded up to make sure that they got Vonnie Holliday at #19 - they gave up a first and a second to get him. So the Packers "went and got their guy" and got a serviceable starter. The Vikings waited for Moss to fall to them (even though they already had two quality starting wideouts) and got a Hall of Famer. Give me any draft philosophy and someone on this site can come up with a real world example that makes it look silly. This isn't a science any more than betting on horses is a science.

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murf7777's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:13 am

What also is interesting about value is looking at Mock drafts done in January, those projections were mainly completed by players performance on the field. Than in April,, except for the top 10 or so you see a lot of movement due to the combine or pro days results in addition to hyped players on another mock draft which influences others. First rounders become third and third rounders become first. What is their tru value? Only time will tell.

Does Gutey put too much emphasis towards the RAS system? Hard to know, but what I think is a bigger reasons for success, is what the individual possesses inside, meaning their heart, soul and mind. How they play on the field and their desire to play the game. How quickly they process information. Will they out work others. Do they care about their teammates or in it for themselves.

Of course, you must be athletic, but I’ll take a mid to high range athletic player with the above attributes over an Uber athletic player without those attributes.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:18 am

I agree Murf, but some of the above posters act like RAS is the opposite of good drafting. In reality, you want to do the combination of course: a great RAS and a great resume.
(PEO plugs again for Creed Humphrey :-D)

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Leatherhead's picture

April 13, 2021 at 04:38 pm

I’ll take tough, smart football players over a bunch of athletes. It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.

And I’m officially on the Creed Humphrey bandwagon.

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PackEyedOptimist's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:16 am

Basically I agree with Cory and what many have said, with one major difference: Cory says, "Find the guy you want and go get him." I say, "Know who you want and take him."
"Go get" implies trade up, and I HATE when GMs trade up. Now it's POSSIBLE that they have very good intel that another team is almost certainly going to take the desired player before their turn, but that is a huge gamble, as misinformation is surely a big part of the draft.
There have been many times when my most desired pick went just a couple slots before our selection, and that stings, but I've also seen us trade up, lose a 4th round pick, and have great options at our original spot plus great options when that 4th rounder rolled around. That stings MORE.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 13, 2021 at 05:40 pm

Last year, I very much wanted Jefferson (WR) with our 1st Rd pick, but knew he was unlikely to get by the Vikings with their two first round selections. Once he was off the board with the Vikes 1st round pick Love was my choice. When I heard the Packers made a trade to move up I knew they were moving up for Love. He was the only player left on the board that in my humble opinion warranted a move up for. A great choice by the way!

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rigit's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:18 am

I thought the Packers already proved that by taking the TE, and RB last year. Neither were to be drafted that high

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murf7777's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:26 am

That’s true they weren’t going to be taken that high, but what is unknown is whether they would be available when their next pick comes around. Whether it works out or not I give Gutey credit for going after what he and MLF wanted to run their team.

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Coldworld's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:50 am

And Deguara was taken in large part because he was a rare, experienced college H Back. Just because the nomenclature doesn’t generally acknowledge that role doesn’t make it irrelevant or the fact that there were few candidates and scouting appraisals don’t couch players within the H Back framework. A classic example of team perceived value based on fit and rarity.

Dillon may be a great example of a player the Packers just rated highly from scouting. Based on Tennessee, they may have been right. Looks like a ball player to me. Real value can only be judged in hindsight, every steal (Bakh, Jones, Adams, Rodgers) is potentially 31 other GM’s mis-valuation.

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PhantomII's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:56 pm

And neither were needed.

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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

April 13, 2021 at 08:28 am

Value is all about what you pay vs. what you get. When you draft a player in a spot there is an opportunity cost, but you don’t really spend cash. Draft position turns into cash when the contracts are handed out. With the CBA, this kind of aligns with draft position. The way you win is to have a majority of your people outplay their contracts. Rookie contracts are the easiest to out-perform in general (baked in to the CBA). It is also why GB doesn’t love 3rd contracts. By then you know what you have and you pay market value. The chances of someone out-performing their 3rd contract is less likely. (But it does happen...see AR)

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Archie's picture

April 13, 2021 at 05:06 pm

GMs should be guided by the difference between the player's "expected value" and his actual cost at the time of acquisition. And, yes, it is certainly fair to factor in character, heart, desire etc. into the expected value calculation. For these reasons and others, the concept of expected value is subjective.

My definition of BPA:

If I expect a player value of 10 and I am paying only 9, the pick has an expected surplus value = 1 and I could assume I have made a good pick. But have I made the best possible pick? Maybe not. For example, if there is a player with an expected surplus value > 1, would he not be the better pick?

It is conceivable that a CB could provide the greatest surplus value every time you are ready to pick. Of course, nobody drafts 10 CBs in the same year. Thus, having all bases covered, at least to some degree, has its own value that must be factored in as well.

The above approach outlines the basic thought process that a GM must go through in order to arrive at a result. In the end, each selection is then a complex judgment/weighing of all these factors.

Ideally, I'd look for a player that in my opinion, has a high floor and high ceiling and an expected surplus expected value > 0 and as great or greater than any other player.

Injury history is a factor as well. Landon Dickerson might be a great pick at 29 this year except for his injury history. Caleb Farley might have been a great pick at 10 this year except for his two back surgeries. The added risk may cause Farley to fall into the 20s before his preceived expected value equals his actual cost.

What made Ron Wolf a great GM was not his top selections, it was his lower selections i.e., he possessed a really good radar for finding surplus value in the middle and later rounds but no so much in the first couple of rounds - exception being Brett Favre of course.

Ted Thompson did a better overall job than Wolf at finding surplus at the top of the draft (in his early years). Thompson was OK in the later rounds but no match for Wolf. The jury is still out on Gutey. Except for missing on his R2 and R3 picks in year 1, he did a nice job drafting in his first 2 years. However, that is a big "except for". Year 3 was a head scratcher in terms of perceived surplus value unless you factor in that he and MLF were anxious to tool up for the full version of MLF's offense combined with wanting to create the flexibility to be able to get out from under AR's contract as soon as AR's perceived surplus value (based on his salary) became a negative. Gutey also picked up some nice players in 2020 late in the draft and in UDFA e.g., J Runyan, D Dafney, K Martin, V Scott, K Barnes, H Black, J Garvin and R Ramsey. So maybe in the end, Gutey will give us the best of both Wolf & Thompson.

So if Love pans out, the 2020 draft and UDFA will be judged a stellar class. If he doesn't, fair or unfair, it will be what that draft will be most remembered for.

I think Love has a high ceiling and I think we paid fair value for him but many of worry about two things with that pick:

1 - Even if the pick proves to be a good one, was the opportunity cost too high i.e., Love was a pick for the future - what we could have added to the 2020 team had we used those picks on players that actually had a chance of playing in 2020. In retrospect, It could have made the difference between Super Bowl and no Super Bowl.

2 - Some also worry about Love's floor i.e., could he bust? He could. One could easily argue that picking Love was ill timed and it constituted an unnecessary risk. Time will tell.

The upcoming draft will provide another basis for further evaluation of Gutey's draft skills. Two weeks out the possibilities are many. Is it best to trade up/down or exercise the pick? And whatever he does, who does he select? CB/OT/DT seem like the logical needs but a WR who could triple as a gadget and return guy wouldn't shock me (Elijah Moore?) nor would a ILB (Jamin Davis?) or even S (Javon Holland?) if Gutey sees max surplus value in that player.

My expectation is he trades up to grab Farley or Newsome. If he stays pat, Toney, Moore, Bateman or Baremore at 29 wouldn't shock me. A trade down would only open things up even further.

Buckle up and enjoy the ride.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

April 13, 2021 at 03:34 pm

An upvote for the time and effort you have taken to clearly put your point across. Good points too.

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Since'61's picture

April 13, 2021 at 09:19 am

This is a good discussion but ultimately proves that there is no reason to pay attention to the alleged pundits, pre-draft hype and mock drafts.

Just use the CHTV draft guide and wake me when it's over. Thanks, Since '61

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Archie's picture

April 13, 2021 at 09:51 am

Shameless! :):):)

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Since'61's picture

April 13, 2021 at 12:44 pm

Thanks Archie, One of my favorite TV shows just had their series finale on Sunday evening. Thanks, Since ‘61

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 10:00 am

Perfect. Succinct. Cheers, Since!!!

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Since'61's picture

April 13, 2021 at 12:49 pm

greengold, I’m no draftnik but I enjoy your comments about the draft and definitely agree that it’s just a ratings game for the media.

I know very little about the players and who the Packers should take but I philosophically agree with your approach and I respect your knowledge of the draft.

I will be looking forward to reading your comments after the Packers make their picks. Stay well. Thanks, Since’ 61

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 04:49 pm

You too, man! We’re on the same page.

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flackcatcher's picture

April 13, 2021 at 10:35 am

Well, I enjoyed last year's Packer draft night. For the endless hair on fire grinding of teeth cries of Gute sending the Packers into some sort of eternal Pro Football Hell. My popcorn's ready. heh heh heh heh ....

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Coldworld's picture

April 13, 2021 at 11:01 am

As a pillow?

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

April 13, 2021 at 03:36 pm

He probably means to make a book of it and then bonk him on his head.

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Packers0808's picture

April 13, 2021 at 11:04 am

Draft value is fiction, until sometime later when you actually find out what the guy is capable of and what he does on the field! Mandarich is all you need to know and remember!

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Archie's picture

April 13, 2021 at 09:54 am

Mandarich was 100% synthetic drugs and the Packer GM never figured it out. He should have followed Lindy's advice and drafted Barry Sanders.

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stockholder's picture

April 13, 2021 at 10:32 am

Barry said before the draft he didn't want to play for the packers. The fact that they choose Mandrich. Showed why.

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Archie's picture

April 13, 2021 at 05:10 pm

Yes he did. Didn't Mandarich say the same thing? Thank god those days are over.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 13, 2021 at 05:57 pm

Rich Campbell

Derrick Sherrod

HaHa

Datone Jones

Justin Harrell

Ahmed Carroll

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LambeauPlain's picture

April 13, 2021 at 09:23 am

Hawk was the highest player Ted drafted and was solid his first few years...but he was not among the best players Ted drafted that kept the Packers playoff bound:

Rodgers, CMIII, Nelson, Bakhtiari, Collins, Adams, Jennings, TJ Lang, Sitton, Finley, Crosby, Clark, A Jones, Hayward, Cobb, J Jones, Linsley, Burnett, Daniels...and Rodgers, CMIII and Clark were late first rounders.

Ted could find talent, including his personnel team. His scouts were pretty good. Many are in the front offices around the NFL. Even Ted was a road warrior constantly watching players practice, on game days and talking with college coaches to ensure players good on, and off the field.

I expect Gutey has adopted Ted's insistence on scouting excellence and trust what they say, not draft gurus pigeon holing players' "value" based on expected draft slot.

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Archie's picture

April 13, 2021 at 09:57 am

Unfortunately, Ted's last 5 years were a disaster due to his declining mental health. I blame Mark Murphy for not figuring that out sooner. Apparently, he was too busy with planning Titletown to notice.

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LambeauPlain's picture

April 13, 2021 at 10:57 am

He was better early in his tenure, for certain. However his 2014 (Adams draft) and 2016 (Clark draft) were pretty good and had players that played a lot of snaps...but his worst by far was 2015.

I recall at the time, many sports writers were lauding the 2015 draft...Randall, Rollins, Montgomery, Jake Ryan, Hundley... It just goes to show, the time to grade a draft class is 2-3 years afterwards.

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 10:16 am

The last point I'll add here is "Get your guy," doesn't necessarily mean "trade up to get your guy." There has to be acknowledgements as a GM that YOU WILL MISS OUT on players you want and possibly need. Trading an R1, an R2 plus an R4 means you are potentially missing out on 3 or more of your guys to take one player higher than your assigned slot.

In terms of value? THIS YEAR? The Packers are NOT one or two players away. I'd sit tight, keep my powder dry, and take my best shots with 10 picks in a very talented field of players - all the way through 7 rounds.

"Get your guy," can mean take the player you want, need, or feel will give you the greatest positive impact on your team, even if he is graded 20, 30 or more slots behind your pick. Another team is quite possibly looking to do the same, because they have a similar system, similar hole in their roster, or the player is that freaking good to warrant being aggressive in addressing the position.

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stockholder's picture

April 13, 2021 at 10:25 am

Jackson , burks, and Jmon Moore. Do you really want to belief in Gute over BPA?

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Coldworld's picture

April 13, 2021 at 11:07 am

You do know that all GMs fail with 50 percent of their picks?

Been a few gems and I think there will be more. Biggest Gute foot in mouth was trading up for Burks. Shining moment may be between Jenkins and Alexander thus far, though Savage may yet pull into contention.

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 11:36 am

Funny you mention Josh Jackson, a much improved player when he did see the field in his year 2, after fighting through injury both years. He is a player who can benefit immensely from a scheme change to zone coverage. Maybe this year he turns out to be the steal we thought he was.

Yeah, GMs miss on players. BPA is BS. Gutekunst has had his misses that concern me. Of course. But, I do trust him, as it appears his drafts are improving. Will have to wait out the next year or two to really see.

Day 3 hits are big. Gutekunst had two of them in MVS and EQ 2018, Hollman and Keke look to have potential from 2019 as do all 6 from 2020. I see that as marked improvement. Yes, I believe in Gutekunst.

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flackcatcher's picture

April 13, 2021 at 10:23 am

This is one of best articles I've read all year about the draft. Short, concise and well thought out. If I could, I would stick Cory's article next to every draft nick article and post for the next two weeks. Just so we could have some sanity from all the BS and hype that coming. Thanks, Cory.

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 13, 2021 at 10:52 am

The value should be based on how quickly that player will contribute starting with Day One. The longer it takes the larger and quicker the loss of its value placed. The Packers have lost a lot of value with too many of their 1st and 2nd selections, and more so with those selected to be 2nd stringers with possible starter ability. This puts an even bigger burden on them to use FA, which is already a huge burden they cannot manipulate.

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Coldworld's picture

April 13, 2021 at 11:12 am

I disagree. Adams was a great value pick for the Packers, as was Driver, not to mention Rodgers. AH. Hawk wasn’t really.

Sure, immediate starting is a factor, but it’s overall value to the Franchise over time is really the key. The exact balance depends on the circumstances in any given year and may vary by pick in the same draft. This year, I’d say starting is a bigger factor than it usually is, at least on day one and two.

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TarynsEyes's picture

April 13, 2021 at 12:00 pm

I didn't say immediate, but how quick relative to starting day one. The first two round selections need to have a high priority to this value.

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 12:17 pm

I do agree adding instant starters is a very high priority at 2 to 3 different positions on this Packers team. I hope Gutekunst and his staff can pull that tall order off. It would be epic... adding 3 starters this draft. I can see it happening though. There is a lot to like in this draft.

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Archie's picture

April 13, 2021 at 05:23 pm

I think most teams move players up/down the board based on perceived development time. I'm not sure the Packers do. Gary is the perfect example. Going into his 3rd season he is still not a full time starter yet he is one of the better defensive players we have at this time. Quite perplexing. They even tried holding Jenkins from starting his rookie year. Whereas Savage was put on the field day one. Last year they took it slow with Dillon but DeGuara played a big role immediately. Love obviously had no role. Williams and Rodgers meant no rush for their understudies whereas DeGuara was a unicorn. By translation, Preston Smith is blocking Gary and we had starting G until the injury whereas the cupboard was bare at S. So maybe there is more logic to how these guys are brought up to speed than I thought.

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stockholder's picture

April 13, 2021 at 05:35 pm

Adams wasn't a value pick. Jones wanted money. And TT couldn't trade up for a TE. He was Blocked. He took Adams over Cody Latimer. And every draft guy said he needed to attach himself to Rodgers. Thats if he wanted to be a star. Well he did everything the announcers said he had to do. But his character was better then Cody latimer.

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LambeauPlain's picture

April 13, 2021 at 11:13 am

I would argue first and second rounders that do not start on Day One can mean the team already has a pretty good starting roster and/or have a BPA drafting strategy.

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greengold's picture

April 13, 2021 at 12:01 pm

Much depends on where you are selecting from in a draft. Getting "Day One" starters is not always a measure of a GM. Look at Kamal Martin, who from all camp reports was LIGHTING IT UP in TC prior to injury before the start of the season. That is an R5 player who would have been a Day 1 starter... it's certainly not BG's fault he didn't start.

I think that "value" doesn't always show itself on the field Day 1, especially with OL, DL and WR. There are issues of development, both physically and mentally that come into play. Davante Adams took 3 solid years to develop.

It just doesn't work the way you are describing. 3 years of very poor drafting on defense, save for Kenny Clark, is what forced Gutekunst to take that massive FA plunge in 2019.

Elgton Jenkins, Jaire Alexander, Kenny Clark and David Bakhtiari are the only 4 players from the last 8 drafts proven to have been effective starters from Day 1. Gutekunst got two of them in 3 years...

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 14, 2021 at 03:20 am

Add Linsley (1,050 rookie snaps), Eddie Lacey (15 starts), Savage (865 snaps - missed 2 games due to injury - really 3), arguably HHCD (63 pff grade, 942 snaps), and in more of a stretch, MVS (10 starts and 691 snaps - highest career grade from PFF).

There's some wiggle room since you used "effective" as a qualifier, but Linsley, Lacey and probably Savage imo opinion qualify as effective rookie starters.

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HankScorpio's picture

April 14, 2021 at 05:59 am

"Elgton Jenkins, Jaire Alexander, Kenny Clark and David Bakhtiari are the only 4 players from the last 8 drafts proven to have been effective starters from Day 1. Gutekunst got two of them in 3 years.."

Not Kenny Clark. He stunk as a rook. 2 starts. No sacks. 1 TFL. The instant gratification crowd labeled him a bust, once again proving how silly they are in rushing to judgement.

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HankScorpio's picture

April 13, 2021 at 05:48 pm

"The value should be based on how quickly that player will contribute starting with Day One."

By that standard, Aaron Rodgers was a bad value. Jordy Nelson, too. But Damarious Randall was good value.

Which makes it a poor standard.

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KnockTheSnotOutOfYou's picture

April 13, 2021 at 06:02 pm

If drafting a CB to replace King that isnt wasted. Drafting a WR to replace a WR who wont be with the team next year that isnt wasted. Selecting Dillon to replace William's that wasnt wasted. It is called planning. Drafting Love was planning ahead.

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HankScorpio's picture

April 14, 2021 at 05:49 am

Very few players that are worth a darn show their best in yr 1. I continue to be baffled why so many people think yr 1 is so important. It's not.

Kenny Clark sucked in year 1. So did Savage and Gary. Jordy Nelson and Davante Adams took until year 4 and 5 respectively to really show what they could do. Casey Hayward took so long they gave up on him. And, of course, the current QB has rewarded patience with an MVP season for each of the 3 years he sat the bench.

It works the other way, too. Damarious Randall and Quentin Rollins were promising once upon a time. Josh Jones had one shining moment where he played the kind of game that got you expecting big things. They ended up flopping hard.

It.takes.three.years. And anybody that thinks they can forecast needs in the NFL 3 years out is wrong. So take BPA and let the coaches sort out the snap count with the highest level of talent that can be provided. The guy picked directly after Josh Jones was JuJu Smith-Schuster. Not a "need" at the time but there is no possible defense for Jones over him, now that Father Time has shown his cards.

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PewAuKeeFan's picture

April 13, 2021 at 03:28 pm

Spot on Cory!

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Archie's picture

April 13, 2021 at 05:33 pm

What concerns me most these days is how our cap is more & more concentrated in fewer and fewer players. We now spend about 80% of the cap on 15% of our players (8). That seems way too top heavy to me.

It would make for an interesting study to compare this figure across teams as well as over time for each team. I would think the concentration should be correlated with the team's win percentage and as it gets high, the win percentage better remain high as well or it is time to jettison the high priced (over priced?) players and start over. This may be why we drafted Love. The day of reckoning could be near. One 8-8 season and Gutey will be forced to blow it up.

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stockholder's picture

April 13, 2021 at 06:33 pm

According to sports Daily. Larry McCarron posted that Gute will trade up in 1. His 4th straight time. So now Gute won't be judged on that traded pick. Such a waste. The Rams are favored to beat the Bucs. Not the Packers. Wonder why? Just look at the DL.

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croatpackfan's picture

April 14, 2021 at 02:42 am

Cory, I agree with you completely.

The proof how those "draft gurus" are good (or even excellent) you can find on Packers (and many other teams rosters) roster: David Bakhtiari, Corey Linsley, Aaron Jones just to named some. Should we say Tom Brady (6th rounder - oh my, oh my!). Every draft contains many players under drafted because some "guru" said they have no value. As I said, different position is when you lives from evaluating players or when you make salary from reading many opinions and creating yours based on what you read. This is mock drafts. Sorry - no value. And this draft dear Trevor Lawrence was awful in his last loss. That awful playing came at colleague level, so I doubt he is so big talent as many predicts.

But, I'm even larger (by far) amateur that many. So, what I know? Nothing, as many mock drafters. The only good advice is: Draft the player your board says he is your top choice when you come to the clock. I believe Packers personnel department doing just that!

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

April 14, 2021 at 03:54 am

A few thoughts:

1. Probably a majority of GMs think longer term, but quite a few don't have that luxury. Fans in GB have had two entrenched GMs in Wolf and TT who really could think long term.

2. Positional value is still a thing in the NFL.

3. Each team's board is different. Part of that is just different opinions about the prospects, and a lot of it is whether that player can do what GB will ask versus what some other team will ask them to do on the field. The 3-4 DE vs. 4-3 DE, the zone versus man corner, the zone blocking versus power blocking OL.

4. The NFL pretty much is a results driven business. GMs probably should take the guy they like: it is their job and reputation on the line. That doesn't mean they should make a habit of trading up for said player or players, nor should they fall in love with players too often.

Gute is doing very well in rounds one and two (where trading up might give one more bang for the buck), but isn't doing nearly as well in rounds 3-7. That's to be expected, and later rounds often need a year or two to develop so it is also too early to reach any conclusions. Still, GMs should remember that the draft is a bit of a crap shoot.

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HankScorpio's picture

April 14, 2021 at 05:50 am

"2. Positional value is still a thing in the NFL."

This is the only place "value" should be mentioned in the draft. Using the term to desribe the impact that certain positions have over other positions is a legit thing. CB is more valuable than FB. Plain and simple and pretty obvious. It's why CBs go in droves on days 1-2 and FBs don't.

Using the term to dress up the judgement of the Draft Industrial Complex as economics is giving the DIC too much credit. Or maybe it would be better to say it is not giving enough deference to the randomness of the draft. There is a reason that people say a draft should not be judged for 3 years. It's because nobody has the market cornered on which picks will turn into players, how good those players will turn out and which players will bust. Father Time is the only one that holds those answers.

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flackcatcher's picture

April 14, 2021 at 08:38 pm

Well said Hank.

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NickPerry's picture

April 14, 2021 at 05:39 am

I knw this isn't popular but if the Packers drafted Bateman I'd be one HAPPY camper. CB Newsome is probably the smarter choice and I wouldn't be mad at that either, but Bateman IS a Allen/Adams clone.

The Packers NEED a CB, (probably 2), a RT, and IMO a WR. Those who don't think they do go look at OTC or Sportac and let me know how many WR the Packers have under contract in 2022 and THEN tell me they don't need one. When you consider the Packers cap issues coming up next year WR may not be a bad pick at all.

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PhantomII's picture

April 14, 2021 at 06:07 am

I want Gute to draft players he actually needs NOW, not in 2-3 years. DL, CB, #2 WR, OT, ILB, ST returner and Punter who plays like he's not in H.S. anymore.

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HankScorpio's picture

April 14, 2021 at 06:26 am

Like Damarious Randall and Quinten Rollins? They sure were needed before they were drafted. And it was still a need after they were drafted.

I'll take the Aaron Rodgers and Jordy Nelson types.

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PhantomII's picture

April 14, 2021 at 08:58 pm

I put a lot of needs out there. Gute needs to pick one in round 1, or another unneeded QB, if that makes you happy. Rodgers does not have 3 plus years for a Jordy Nelson type WR to develop. Might be okay for Love though.

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CoachDino's picture

April 14, 2021 at 06:26 pm

I learned so much from PFF on Value. It gets a bit complicated. I
It starts with positional value. There's no doubt that each position has a different impact. The best LG will not impact a game nearly as much as an Avg QB. General Position Value rankings
QB
OT
Edge
CB
WR
DL
TE
RB
Guard
Safety
ILB
C

Then Position Scarcity - How difficult is it to find avg/good/Great players at the position
Finding a QB or OT outside the first round or two is much more difficult than finding a running back (all of similar rating at their position) or G in the later rounds.

Scheme plays into it as well - How a specific team values something due to the scheme they use may be different than another team using a different scheme.

There's more but the last one that I just heard of and bought into: $ and how it translates into Cap Space management
Eg - Value is derived from having a position on a rookie contract vs having to sign one vi FA.
WR from the draft will run you 1-5 mil depending on draft position 20M over 4 years - WR from Fa (Good to great) will run you 12 to 24M. So 20M vs 100M over 4 years. thats huge.

Corey L was the best center in the game and signed for around 11M. DAK the 8th or so QB signed for 40M.

Hence Centers, Safeties, Guards, ILB aren't valued high in the draft. Now when you can get a guy at ILB that is "generational" or "scarce" like D White in TB its certainly something to consider as his scarcity could outweigh the positional value.

positional Value is critical and the packers have been onto it for years.

Like all stats it comes down to using the right ones, the right way, at the right times to get the most out of them. Same goes for stats in drafting, the #'s are pretty clear and established, there isn't much of an argument that can be made. Stats are just a tool, not the end all, plenty of other variables go into it beyond stats, the key is knowing when to "Go Against the Odds" but remember, there's a reason the House always wins in the end.

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PhantomII's picture

April 14, 2021 at 08:44 pm

AAAHHHHH, that's why we have so many UDFA's. Ultra cheap stocking stuffers and it isn't even Christmas.

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CoachDino's picture

April 14, 2021 at 06:33 pm

AJ Hawk is actually a great example of a plus player taken at a minus positional Value.

As good as AJ Hawk at was ILB, there's only so much the ILB can impact a game vs a QB/Pass Rusher/OT. So though he played well fans intuitively knew that he wasn't a good value for a #5 overall pick. Now if he was taken in the 2nd rd or later like he would be in today's game he would be considered a good value.

Other than Qb in football just think of LH Pitchers. The just avg ones can still stick in the League for years and get paid. Why because of positional Value - pitcher in Baseball and Scarcity - Amt of Good LH Pitchers.

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BruceIrons's picture

April 15, 2021 at 06:48 am

I think value is the reason you draft - get as much talent on your team as possible.

Using your AJ Hawk example: people don't dislike the pick because he was a good player who went high, they dislike the pick because there were over a dozen other players taken after him in the 1st round that made a Pro Bowl (something Hawk never did). Hawk was the first linebacker selected, but 3 other linebackers from that draft became Pro Bowlers.

There were 36 players drafted after Hawk that made the Pro Bowl, not including 6 undrafted players who made the Pro Bowl.

The Packers passed on a lot of talent to take him.

That's why value is important in the draft.

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PhantomII's picture

April 15, 2021 at 10:06 pm

That's why getting a good GM is important.

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