Whether it is parking, support for an idea, or some other gesture or gift validation can come in many shapes and forms. In this case, there are a couple of different points about free agency that I have been talking about over the past couple of months that received their own validation this week in different media outlets.
First off, in comparing building an NFL team to a souffle, I indicated that teams get in trouble when they let the combine affect their thinking about players they have been scouting for months. Peter King referenced this approach by some teams in his latest MMQB when he said that:
The Scouting Combine is coming … but I wish you wouldn’t get very excited about it.
In my calls around the league in the last few days, I spoke to one club architect who shall remain nameless at his request. He told me his team had changed its way of doing business in the scouting realm this year, and his team’s draft board is “90 percent set.”
Quoth this architect: “You know why it’s 90 percent set now? Because guys go to the Scouting Combine and they change their grade on a player based on things that have nothing to do with playing football. I’m convinced if you took the stopwatches away from a lot of these guys, most of ‘em would not be able to tell you whether they liked a player or not.
“These guys go out and watch players all fall, then we all watch the tape of all these guys, and we see what kind of football players they are. That’s scouting. Who plays good football in pads? That’s scouting. Now we need the combine for the medical evaluations and the personal baggage stuff. But don’t come in after the combine and tell me you want to change some guy and move him way up because he ran faster than you thought he would. That’s where you get in trouble, and that’s why our draft board is pretty well set.”
If I told you who this speaker was, you’d all say, “Whoa, we have to listen to this guy. We respect him.” Just take my word for it. He’s legit.
I enjoy the combine. It gives me the chance to meet a lot of players I’ll be covering in the future and to see people in the NFL and get team-by-team updates. It’s valuable. But it’s way overrated in terms of deciding who should get picked where in the draft, and it always will be.
Interesting thoughts, and confirmation of what I’ve been saying… Then, to top it off, Jim Schwartz recently came out giving interview answers that confirmed once again the Lions will be targeting talent vs “need” in the draft. This pretty much hits dead on with the BATFAN rating approach. Need will be addressed in Free Agency.
In other moves that peaked my interest, the Lions are shopping the #2 pick pretty hard, and Mayhew is getting other GM’s to react to his moves. (I even saw where, after the news about the Lions and potential partners came out, the other three teams in the top 4 pulled a weak “me too! me too!” It is obvious, though, that Washington may even be one of those teams that could move up…) If, as Mayock thinks, the Rams pick a QB due to the pressure of passing on too many signal callers already, that makes Clausen/Bradford (whoever doesn’t go) a hot commodity for QB needy teams near the top of the draft. Who knows — some team may even go for a Half-Ditka (No one is crazy enough to do a full Ditka) to get Suh. Any way you slice it, the Lions are sitting pretty right now and they and the rest of the league knows it.
Nice having a real GM instead of Matt Millen, isn’t it? Notice how the serious National media take is changing on the Lions and what they will do. (for the not so serious, insert tired Dez Bryant WR at #2 joke here)
Finally, on a note that both shows progress and disappointment, Jared DeVries was cut today. Now, he had a $400k roster bonus due and is coming off an awful injury missing all of last season on IR. In a sharp departure from the Matt Millen years, it sounds by all accounts as if the release was handled in a very classy manner by both the team and Jared — and there is still a chance he finishes his career as a Lion. While I really like Jared, I’m hoping the team is past needing him as a starter but he could still be one heck of a rotational player and would strengthen the depth on the D-Line considerably at the DE position if he can come back at 100%.
IF…always the big IF in the Ifseason, but I’m guessing we see him in camp with the Lions unless KVB and/or Kampman are signed to fill a veteran role at the DE spot. See you in camp, Mr. DeVries! As for the season, only time will tell…
I do have feelers out with other correspondents in regards to various trade rumors involving players and the draft — I’ll let you know what (if anything) I come up with.