|05-04-2006, 09:37 AM|
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Rufus takes aim at Warpaint Illustrated
... and others
DAWES: SOS…Same Old Story
May 04, 2006, 3:15:00 AM by Rufus Dawes - FAQ
Is there some rule that requires blogger lovers like me to read, listen and complain about what we discover in the media? Apparently so and I hasten to adhere to Oscar Wilde’s advice on how to deal with such temptation: Succumb to it.
So, on the principle that some things can’t be said too often, let it be said once again: draft grades have no viability. There are plenty of plausible grounds for knocking this practice but the most important is most of the time they’re wrong.
Someone from Warpaint Illustrated, a publication with an accompanying web site I discovered, was on 610 Sports, a local Kansas City all-sports station, the night before the draft contending that the Chiefs, despite everything that head coach Herman Edwards had said up to that point about the team’s intentions, were surely going offense in the first round.
The Chiefs selected Penn State defensive end Tamba Hali.
Then, when discussion moved to the quarterback position, this same “insider” stated that he had it on good authority that the Chiefs were in love with Charlie Whitehurst, quarterback from Clemson.
The Chiefs selected quarterback Brodie Croyle in the third round.
By Sunday night, the “insider” had moved mediums to KSHB-TV where his TV host said that no mock draft in this town or the country had Tamba Hali as the Chiefs number one pick. As for Croyle, by Sunday following his selection, he had suddenly moved, in Warpaint’s eyes anyway, to the “fourth” best quarterback on the board.
Had I listened to this nonsense for a week prior to the draft I’m certain I would have had enough for a five-part series.
The Chiefs draft moves over two days elicited the usual response from many in the media and, to be fair, a populace of fans that have been weaned to accept that what they hear and read as always on target.
Warpaint and KSHB-TV weren’t alone in their surprise. The selection of Tamba Hali in the first round was seen as a “mildly stunning pick” and “met with a smattering of boos and shock,” so said a Kansas City Star report. (April 30, 2006) “Most were expecting a cornerback, or at least (Manny) Lawson, who was tabbed by some as the second best pass rusher in the draft. The puzzled looks continued a few hours later in the second round, when Kansas City picked Purdue safety Bernard Pollard.”
A story in the Topeka Capital-Journal said “most NFL draft analysts didn’t have (Hali) rated as high as the 20th pick of the first round.” (April 30, 2006) And the “experts” at Warpaint Illustrated countered in their “Scouting Report” that “Hali is the 27th rated player” on their “value board” and “carries a mid first-round grade.” (April 29, 2006)
A Star columnist believed the drafting of Hali was a sure signal that the team wouldn’t be “wasting any more picks on ‘potential’ stars with lots of upside and questions about their character.” (April 30, 2006)
“So much for the mock drafts,” noted a Star report.
So much indeed.
When the smoke cleared Sunday night, the local scribes were back on message talking about Ty Law, a much favored subject. For those who are as weary of that talk as I am, here’s how others in the media saw the two-day guess fest. You can draw your own conclusions.
As it turned out other “NFL analysts” did have Hali in the area of a top 20 pick, principally Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, whose draft reports rate as the most accurate of the draft prognosticators, according to www.thehuddlereport.com who tracks no less than 37 publications and sites that analyze and evaluate the draft. “Dr. Z,” Sports Illustrated’s Paul Zimmerman, also had Hali in the top 20. (April 27, 2006) Gosselin had Hali going to the Chiefs and so did CBS SportsLine.com’s Pete Prisco. (April 29, 2006) and Pat Kirwan of NFL.com (April 29, 2006)
As I noted in a column last week it’s a common practice for NFL teams to draft “measurables” in the first round, not productivity. (Myth, Exaggeration & Utter Nonsense) The Chiefs, in this instance, would appear to have stepped away from that practice even though Hali is the only top defensive end in this draft who already has the right size to play the position. Lawson, at 233 pounds, is more outside linebacker size. Can Lawson at that size play on the defensive line on first down? I don’t know. But Hali can.
Just how “potential” applies or doesn’t apply to Hali, who can say? But in the case of a Ryan Sims, who the local columnist lumped into a group of recent Chiefs first round picks he alleged were selected for their “potential,” the supposed move should have brought cheers not jeers, as he seems to suggest. Still, it seems mildly confusing that Sims of all people would be characterized as having been tagged for “potential.” At the time of his selection he was seen as a top ten pick in the 2002.NFL draft. In fact, this same columnist called him “Kansas City’s most important draft choice since Derrick Thomas” (Kansas City Star, August 29, 2002) and in only his first full year of play wrote that Sims’ “teammates feed off his attitude” and he compared him to Derrick Thomas and Neil Smith. (Kansas City Star, September 15, 2003)
In truth, all the “experts” were hot for Sims sending two teams racing to the front of the NFL’s New York draft room to grab him. Who can forget the celebrated story about Chiefs and Vikings reps sprinting to the head of the line on draft day to turn in their card with Sims’ name on it? Potential, according to reports at the time, was far from anyone’s mind, most especially the media and more than a few NFL teams who actually had a shot to land the guy.
Now, to Croyle and what the Chiefs thought or didn’t think of him. For starters, according to Chiefs personnel who can speak with the knowledge of “insiders” and did so publicly moments following his selection, the team had worked him out, seen his stock rise at the Senior Bowl – a fact confirmed by scouts and other sources that were there and stated on ESPN the first day of the draft – and played in a pro-style offense coached by a former pro coach and colleague of Herman Edwards. Edwards had coached with Alabama head coach Mike Shula at the Tampa Bay Bucs. Besides, the team confirmed that it had conducted an earlier private workout and follow-up. The team’s flirtation with Croyle hardly sounds minimal or anything approaching a surprise.
Meanwhile, scrambling no doubt to save face, Warpaint, who has kept up the drum beat that Joey Harrington was coming to Kansas City, tried to wrap up this very confusing scenario (to them apparently) this way: “When talks broke down between the Chiefs and Lions on the availability of Joey Harrington and the San Diego Chargers took Charlie Whitehurst four picks in front of Kansas City, the Chiefs had to get the best arm on the board.” (April 29, 2006)
Peterson admitted Sunday that Lions GM Matt Millen had been talking to him about compensation for Harrington. But then again an examination of any newspaper in Detroit and around the country for the last month confirmed that Millen was talking to anyone in the NFL who would listen to his pitch for his former number one quarterback. Talk is cheap, as you can surely see, and how close to the truth Harrington-to-the-Chiefs was, fortunately for Warpaint, is no more than speculation or just idle talk.
Across the draft obsessed nation the reviews are still coming in and they’re the usual smattering of good, average and bad. USA Today saw the Chiefs draft as something like “an open casting audition,” indicating, I suppose, that there is little to be gained from this class (May 1, 2006). Gosselin gave Kansas City a “C” largely on the basis of the second round pick who he thought was a reach based on off-the-field issues not on where he has drawn comparisons to Roy Williams; but he saw most of the second day selections – almost entirely ignored in our local paper as they harped on about Ty Law – as rated exactly where they should have been. Other publications evaluated it this way.
“Hali and Pollard could contribute right away in Herm Edwards’ system. But whether Maxey, who was inconsistent at Miami, can be seen as an NFL corner might tell the tale of this draft.“
- Kansas City Star, May 1, 2006
“We’ll leave it to the draftniks to grade the Chiefs draft. Most seem to give it a C, which seems about right. I’m still not prepared to say with certainty that the Chiefs got great value in drafting…Tamba Hali. I’m sure he’s better than the No. 47 rank USA Today’s Sports Weekly gave him. I’m not sure he merited the No. 20 rank the Chiefs put on him“
- Topeka Capital-Journal, May 26, 2006
“The draft produced a “B” grade. Only one player – defensive end Tamba Hali – is a legitimate rookie starter. The rest provide competition in the present. In three years, that grade could move up or down.“
- St. Joseph’s News-Press, May 2, 2006
“Herman Edwards wound up with some really fine people. Oh yes, they can all play, too. B-.“
- SI.com, May 3, 2006
“The defensive revolution continues in KC….Hali was likely too good for them to pass. He’s the type of player who will make the other players around him better, and along with super-soph Derrick Johnson he should give Kansas City a stout core of defensive dominators for the next decade. The Chiefs reached at least a round for Pollard in the second but rebounded to grab their quarterback of the future in the third. Grade: C.
- Dallas Morning News
“First-round DE Tamba Hali is a high-character player who could provide immediate pass-rush help, and getting QB Brodie Croyle in the third round was a shrewd move.“
- Washington Post, May 1, 2006
“The defensive rebuilding continues….-B“
- The Sporting News, May 1, 2006
“It seemed a bit too soon to take DE Tamba Hali in the 20th spot in Round 1, but coach Herm Edwards needs to improve his pass rush. Getting QB Brodie Croyle in Round 3 was an excellent move.“
- Newark Star-Ledger, May 1, 2006
“DE Tamba Hali brings intensity and passion, but may be the only immediate help.“
- Baltimore Sun, May 1, 2006
“The Chiefs took some great character players in Penn State defensive end Tamba Hali, Purdue safety Bernard Pollard and Alabama quarterback Brodie Croyle, but the general consensus is that they reached on all three of these players.“
- FoxSports.com, May 2, 2006
“Overall grade C: Taking Tamba Hali with the 20th pick in the first round might have been a reach.“
- CBS SportsLine.com, May 2, 2006
“I thought the Chiefs would go with a cornerback, but you can’t argue the pick of DE Tamba Hali.“
- ESPN (as reported in the Kansas City Star, May 2, 2006)
“LDE Tamba Hali, the choice over Lawson, challenges Eric Hicks and bolsters pass rush. But no corner…“
- New York Post, May 1, 2006
“The defensive rebuilding continues, but the offense might be starting to crumble soon. That’s why the Chiefs took QB Brodie Croyle in the third round.” Overall grade: B.
- Chicago Tribune (as reported in the Kansas City Star, May 2, 2006)
After reviewing the compendium of media draft reports you would have to say that the quality of thought and argument in most of them is astonishingly shallow, the evaluation process crude, except since draft predictions and analysis came into vogue, generalities and cliches seem to have become common ingredients in most of them.
In the final analysis it always fleshes out this way: the teams defend their picks as exactly what they wanted, the media search their respective draft books that they, not professional scouts, have put together and if they don’t see a name familiar to them they usually shrug off selections as reaches or mistakes. No follow-up comes and the whole matter is dismissed until about two weeks prior to the draft the next year when it starts all over again.
Take the time: In contrast to a lack of follow-up in most of the mainstream media here’s a suggestion for readers: read the following series that appeared on this site beginning early last month and see just exactly what happened to last year’s draft picks and how the Chiefs measured up. Gretz: Draft Review 2005-Part 1; Gretz: Draft Review 2005-Part 2; Gretz: NFL’s Best Defenses-Part 1; Gretz: NFL’s Best Defenses-Part 2; Gretz: NFL’s Best Defenses-Part 3; Gretz: NFL’s Best Defenses-Part 4; Gretz: NFL’s Best Defenses-Part 5; Gretz: Draft week-Finale on NFL Best Defenses; Gretz: Draft Week-The Chiefs & Carl in the 1st Round. Gretz: Draft Week-The Quarterback Myth. I see no reason to object to opinions. But opinions should be built on a foundation of information and fact. Read the columns above and if you still want to argue let’s hear your facts.
|05-04-2006, 09:43 AM||#3|
My work speaks for itself!!!
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Just go away Rufus......just go.
You're opinions and "inside" information mean nothing to us. I'd rather read Nick Athan or Pete Prisco if that tells you something Rufus.
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|05-04-2006, 09:44 AM||#4|
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I thought they didn't listen to the media? Carl is obsessed and it's funny.
A 35 year drought can make you thirsty.
|05-04-2006, 09:49 AM||#6|
Welcome, Eric Fisher & Friends
Wow. He sank their battleship.
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|05-04-2006, 09:50 AM||#8|
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SI had Hali going to us at 20. Do the WPI people know how to read (or research)?
That rabbit is crazy; I'm Brian Waters!
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|05-04-2006, 09:54 AM||#9|
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LOL...it appears that bagging on the incessantly wrong Warpaint crew is the sole property of the planet posters.
Rufus is right, here, but dont let that get in the way of a good 'Damnit Rufus' post.
Anything you post on this BB can and will be used against you...
|05-04-2006, 09:59 AM||#11|
Time For Your Wake Up Call !!!
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|05-04-2006, 10:22 AM||#15|
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Prodigiously well-researched my ass.