I was thinking of Rod's vision of an energetic, hard hitting, rock pounding,smash mouth, team full of draft picks while hacking my lungs out and feeling like Ernie Simms just blindsided me from 15 yards out last night, when I had a thought.
How's it going so far with that build through the Draft thing, Rod? This is his third draft. I am of the mind that there are three draft evaluations: Right away, you can do the first two; the third you need to wait at least 3 full seasons for. So, you can't truly judge even his first draft yet.
It also needs to be taken into consideration that the first draft is generally fairly shaky for a new coach -- they do not have a good enough handle on the current players to know who is all going to work out, and who isn't. Who will buy in, who won't? The scouting department also needs to get a handle on what type of players the coach is looking for -- talent, type for each position, character, etc. The second year is a bit better, and the third draft on out is where you usually see the personality if the coach really imprinted throughout as the scouting department has also finally had time and practice at finding the players the coach wants. Generally, there are more good hits in later rounds the longer a coach is with a team, as the scouting department can find gems that fit in that coaches scheme and criteria that will be available in later rounds.
The first method is what I call the "Publication Method" -- this is based solely on how the players are ranked/rated, and how many good ones you got based on where you were picking, reach, value, et al. Also, is whether the team filled positions of need, built depth, etc. I don't like this method as half of the "highly rated" players bust every year, on average. I get disgusted every year when the 3rd or 4th OT, or even the top OT, is always said to "plug in and protect [QB's] blind side for ten years." Why not 9? or 7? or 15? Who knows! Robert Gallery was a top pick, best OT in that draft. Rated just as high as Joe Thomas was last year. Jake Long this year. And he is struggling at G right now. Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning were neck-and-neck. We all know how that turned out. It also punishes teams that actually do draft to fit their system! The highest rated CB's in this draft would be as useful to the Lions as Dre Bly -- they are the pure cover corners. The good cover corners who play the run better, essential to the T2, are generally to be found in rounds 2-3, sometimes 4. However, as none of those guys have played a down in the NFL, it is really the only way to look at success immediately after the draft.
The second judge of the draft is how pro-active the GM was in moving around the board. Many teams are content to always sit and see who falls to them, and almost never trade. Criteria include looking at what picks they started with and how many, and what they end up with. Did they give up too many picks to move up in a given round? Or did they parlay the often wasted 5-7th rounders into better picks higher up in the draft?
The third is what needs to wait three years, and that is how the players drafted worked out, whether they made the roster and contributed, at what level, did they leave and find success, etc. I don't say Pro-Bowls because that is a popularity contest that half of the people make on reputation, not current performance.
There are two types of GMs: Those who give their coaches what their philosophy will be, give them the players the GM wants, and then say go to it. (or the Owner telling the GM, in some cases.) Examples right now are San Diego, Oakland, and Miami. Then there are GM's that get whatever players their coach wants, such as Atlanta and the Jets. Most are a combination of the two - taking into consideration what the Coach would like, but also what is in the best interest of the franchise.
Millen with Morninwheg and Mariucci got them whatever players they wanted, at whatever price in FA, but also picked his own guys at QB, and other positions. In other instances, WCF made the call, for instance Joey or BMW. With Marinelli, it started out similar -- they gave him Simms and Bullocks in his first draft, but in the second went for CJ and Stanton (Stanton seems like a Marinelli type of guy, but was still, IMHO a Millen and/or Martz pick. CJ definitely Martz influence.) This off season, Millen has been signing the guys Rod wants, but they are not breaking the bank. They would have liked Duckett back, but only up to a certain price (which was exceeded.) Same for Woody, Julius Jones, et al. Marinelli also seems to have put his foot down in a guiding, teacher kind of way to maneuver how the Lions are drafting. While he may not be saying "draft him" -- it seems pretty darn close. WCF, and Millen - to a certain extent - never really had full confidence in Mornhinwhig and Mariucci -- he chose them because he went with what everyone else thought he needed. But it seemed they were on the hot seat from Day 1. Millen is more comfortable with Marinelli, and even WCF can see he is taking the Lions back to what they were traditionally in the 50's -- a blue collar, hard working, bring the hits to you team. He can also see that the Fans are resonating with this. Because of this comfort level, the longer Rod is here, the less they seem to be telling him who to play, and the more they are letting him build the team to fit his vision -- because it is one they (and the fans) share. I think he has also done the near impossible task of convincing the team that they really screwed up, and that fixing it would be painful, and would take a while.
Well, Lunch is over for me right now -- looking at the criteria I laid out, how would you rate Millen/Marinelli for their first two drafts? I'm going to use what we've seen of each player to rate them on all 3 criteria later hopefully today. In the meantime, give it some thought. I know that you will all have different, but equally valid and interesting ideas. Remember, this exercise is based on opinion, so is not the be-all-end-all fact of the issue.
Those of you home "sick" on the couch today, just hoping to find SOMETHING on TV...think of those of toiling away at work, and down a beer and some hot wings in our honor.