*** Welcome to the next installment of our rebuild case study. Those of you just joining in should consult the last four columns wherein you’ll find the roster and league rules for this case study, as well as the operative principles guiding our statistical analysis. If you’re planning on following the column, I’d recommend printing the roster and rules out, as otherwise there might be too much information to keep in your head. Also, as this column is intended to be interactive, so please, respond with your input. ***
PLANNING OUR DRAFT
What are the 1.01, 1.07, 2.01, 2.07, 2.12, and 3.01 picks in the 2013 rookie draft worth? Our ability to get the most out of the picks depends on our ability to put a value on them, so lets see what we can do.
One way to go about evaluating the worth of a draft pick is to start by putting a face on each of the picks. The picks we have equate to those in the 2012 draft as follows (I’m listing three players in order to reflect the variation one sees in the existent pool of representative drafts):
1.01-Trent Richardson/Doug Martin/RG3
1.07- Justin Blackmon/Michael Floyd/Kendall Wright
2.01-Ronnie Hillman/Brian Quick/Stephen Hill
2.07-Ryan Tannehill/LaMichael James/Robert Turbin
2.12-Bernard Pierce/Ryan Broyles/Marvin Jones
3.01-Chris Rainey/Juron Criner/Tommy Streeter
Keeping in mind that the 2013 draft class is not the 2012 draft class (nor was the 2011 draft class), this much is obvious: the 1.01 is a sexy, sexy slot. It gives you the pick of the litter, so to speak. But you didn’t need to be told that, did you? I’m guessing not.
What might not have been as immediately obvious is just how much of a crapshoot middle of the first round picks are. While the books on Blackmon, Floyd, and Wright are by no means closed, I can just about guarantee you that no one who took them would refuse the chance to go back and take Russell Wilson (33rd pick), T.Y. Hilton (47th pick), or Albert Morris (undrafted) instead.
My point is not that the 1.07 has no value, but rather that one should hold the pick with his eyes open; if someone dials your number on draft day and offers you the 1.10 and the 2.06 for it, you might want to give the offer some thought. A team like ours needs a lot to change in order to get back on top, so we’re going to have to take some chances—calculated risks, not stupid ones—if we’re going to be able to make enough happen to make a difference.
The key is to choose the risks you take as intelligently as possible: three solid chances (2nds, e.g., Hillman, Tannehill, and James) are, in my opinion, better for a team in our situation than one above-average chance (the 1.07), but fifteen lotto tickets (4ths and 5ths) aren’t equal to one above-average chance in any situation. We could try to turn out three seconds into another first, but given the extreme rebuild situation our team is facing, I think the second round represents our best chance. If we could turn the three seconds into a top-4 pick, that’d be one thing, but realistically, the three seconds would only get us into the middle of the round where we’d be looking at a Blackmon/ Floyd/ Wright type player, which wouldn’t do much to change our fortunes. The 1.07 needs to become multiple picks for us, or a young veteran and a pick, because turning the 1.07 into a couple of high seconds and a third round pick would give us a few more quality shots at improving our team.
Assuming we identify a top target in the 2013 draft, we can hang onto the 1.01, however, my personal opinion at this juncture is that there isn’t a clear 1.01, so my preference would be to try to trade the 1.01 in order to either a) move down in the round and acquire another first or a proven player, or b) acquire multiple 1sts in the 2013 and 2014 drafts.
By the end of the second round we’re up against the increased statistical probability that our picks will bust, which is why—though it might seem counter-intuitive to the logic I’ve spelled out thus far—I would try to package the 2.12 and the 3.01 to move up into the upper third of the second round. Yes, more chances are better, but only if they’re high quality chances. Normally, I consider anything in the lower half of the second or below a lotto ticket, though given the state of our team, I’ve proposed a plan that amends that perspective slightly, keeping the 2.07.
That’s all I’ve got for today. Let me know what you’re thoughts are, Quinnians.