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 Post subject: Strategic drafting GBN looks ahead to the 2006 draft
PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 12:23 am 
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This is a very good article on draft strategy.for example off line is weak this year does a team hold off till next year where there are better prospects and more depth or do they go ahead and draft a player at a weak position?Same thing holds true those positions that are strong in the 2005 draft but are weaker in 2006 do you draft that position now?
Some teams don't care just draft the best player available either to fill an immediate need or secondary need in the future.I wonder what the falcon's philosphy is? I would think they would take this into account when drafting but for the most part draft the best player to fill a need . I would also imagine they take some players knowing a certain postiion will be weaker the next draft.Something to think about when your team picks a player and you wonder what the crap were they thinking.

PEEKIN' DOWN THE ROAD: WHO'S HOT; WHO'S NOT FOR 2006
by Colin Lindsay, Editor, GBN

Long-time readers of the GBN will know that we are proponents of the notion of strategic drafting. By strategic drafting we mean taking a look down the road at the following year's draft so as not to reach for a player at a position of need one year when that position is potentially loaded the next. And in what looks like a rather weak draft year at a number of positions in 2005, the concept may have greater import this coming April. Teams which are looking to upgrade at OT, for example, may want to consider passing on a player at the position this year when it looks to be a real down year for OTs - unless, of course, that one special player is available - and instead waiting until next year's draft when OT will be one of the strengths. This is not to say there are inherent dangers in this process, in particular, that a class that looks to be star-studded today can literally fall apart because of injuries and the like, while others can be bolstered by emerging stars. And, of course, the ultimate strength of many draft classes often turns on which juniors elect to leave school early, something that just can't be predicted. That said, the following is a quick run down on how the potential strengths and weaknesses of the 2006 draft...

Plus here's a very preliminary listing of some of the top prospects for the 2006 draft, although before we are deluged with e-mails, players listed haven't necessarily been ranked by grade!

Revenge of the big uglies.... As noted in yesterday's overview of the 2005 draft (see below), at one time, this year's draft was supposed to be the 'year of the offensive linemen'. That assessment, though, was based in large part on the assumption that most of this year's top juniors at the position would opt to enter the draft. Instead, a ton - both literally and figuratively - of junior OTs including Eric Winston of Miami, Winston Justice of Southern Cal, Marcus McNeill of Auburn, Andrew Whitworth of LSU, D'Brickshaw Ferguson of Virginia, Daryn Colledge of Boise State, Max Jean-Gilles of Georgia, Jon Brown of Texas, and Zach Strief of Northwestern ALL opted to return to school for their senior seasons this coming fall. Next spring, though, they'll all be draft eligible in what should be a rich year for OTs.

The 2006 draft could also be the place teams add a quality C as there will be a number of top pivots available including Mike DeGory of Florida, super-quick Greg Eslinger of Minnesota and 340-pound Ryan Cook of New Mexico. The best of the bunch at C, though, could be 320-pound Kyle Young of Fresno State. On the other hand, the theme at this year's draft could be 'get your guards while they're hot!' as the 2005 OG class is the strength of a weak offensive line picture this year, whereas the position could be a weak link next April..

Linebackers come in pairs... There is something of a similar story at LB, where a talented group of underclassmen had been expected to give a real boost to the position at this year's draft. Like the situation along the offensive line, however, more opted to stay in school than turned pro, meaning next year's LB corps could be one of the best in awhile. Indeed, there are a half dozen or so schools out there which could ultimately have more than one LB go high at next year's draft. Ohio State OLB A.J. Hawk, for example, could end up being one of the highest rated LBs at next year's draft where he'll be joined by talented Buckeyes' MLB Anthony Schlegel. Same story across the conference at Iowa which will send ILB Abdul Hodge and OLB Chad Greenaway to the 2006 draft, while Michigan has OLB Pierre Woods. Other teams with a couple of top LB pairings include Alabama which features ILB Fred Roach and OLB DeMarco Ryans and UCLA with its twin MLBs Spencer Havner and Justin London. The prize of the 2006 LB corps, though, could be 250-pound junior Virginia MLB Ahmad Brooks, who many felt could have been a top 10 pick had he entered this year's draft as a sophomore. Meanwhile, other top senior-to-be LBs around the country include Will Derting of Washington State, D'Qwell Jackson of Maryland, and A.J. Nicholson of Florida State.

No bonanza at skill positions... Even with the return to school of Heisman Trophy winning Southern Cal QB Matt Leinart, don't expect a bonaza at the skill positions at next year's draft. It could be a particularly thin year at QB, despite the presence of Leinart, although the 2006 QB class could get a boost if Bowling Green QB Omar Jacobs, arguably the most talented QB in the country this year, continues to develop and opts to leave school early. The rest of the QB class, though, looks like largely fringe material, although pro scouts are hoping for bounce back years from Charlie Whitehurst of Clemson and Fresno State's Paul Pinegar.

The top RBs in college football should also be juniors with Southern Cal's multi-talented Reggie Bush and explosive Laurence Maroney of Minnesota leading the way. Neither is very big, however. Meanwhile, the quality of the senior RBs available next April will depend to a large degree on how well players like DeAngelo Williams of Memphis and DonTrell Moore of New Mexico bounce back from late season injuries. Pro scouts, though, are also looking for some breakout type years from players like Gerald Riggs of Tennessee and rugged Mike Bell of Arizona.

And after two outstanding draft years at WR, look for something of a drop-off in 2006, although there are some good receivers out there including Mike Hass of Oregon State, Martin Nance of Miami of Ohio, if he is fully healed from a leg injury, Jason Avent of Michigan, Derek Hagen of Arizona State and explosive Skyler Green of LSU, who also is looking to bounce back from an injury-plagued year. On the other hand, it could be a decent year at TE with the likes of Matt Herian of Nebraska, Joel Klopfenstein of Colorado, Tim Maasaquoi of Michigan and Mercedes Lewis of UCLA leading the way.

Back to normal along the DL... After dominating the draft through the early part of the decade, the 2005 draft represented a bit of a drop-off at DT, however, the position should be back on top next April with a strong contingent led by Rod Wright of Texas, who could have been a top 10 pick had he entered this year's draft, along with Orrien Harris of Miami, Gabe Watson of Michigan, LeKevin Smith of Nebraska, Anthony Montgomery of Minnesota, and possibly Oregon junior Haloti Ngata. Plus there is some depth at the position. The DEs won't be quite as strong in 2006, but the position does feature a couple of potential #1 pick overall prospects in 6-8 Mathias Kiwanuka of Boston College and 6-7 North Carolina State junior Mario Williams. There are, in fact, some other useful players at the position, but much sorting out to do before next year's draft.

Covering the bases...sort of.... Like both the offensive line and linebacker positions, a number of quality CBs opted to return to school for their senior seasons rather than enter the 2005 draft, meaning almost be definition that there will be some talent at the position next year, although nothing like the upcoming draft. Indeed, players like Jimmy Williams of Virginia Tech, Will Blackmon of Boston College and Jason Allen of Tennessee all look like solid first-round prospects, while Michael Huff of Texas and Alan Zemaitis of Penn State are decent second-tier prospects. Sadly, though, it looks like it could be another quiet year at safety in 2006, although Nate Salley of Ohio State is an exciting prospect at FS, while Southern Cal junior Darnell Bing is an emerging star at SS.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 2:46 am 
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Seems like guards and wide receivers will be weak in 2006 and as we expect the falcon's to win alot both positions may need to be addressed in the 2005 draft.Off tackle,centers,def linemen and corners plus linebackers look to be above average to good which bodes well for the falcon's since we need help at all positions.Safety will be weak and I think the falcon's need to address this with a high pick in 2005.I wanted Nugent as the kicker but watching the super bowl I wonder if field goal kickers are as important as every down players.Brodney Pool I have seen 2 mocks from rob rang's at NFLDraft Scout.com and NFL countdown have the falcon's drafting this safety.Unless he has Ed Reed instincts for interceptions may be better to pass till the 2nd or 3rd round.Also read that the falcon's may make a major change at receiver and want Finneran and Price to improve that may be asking to much.It would not shock me to see a recevier taken in the 2nd or 3rd round if the right player is there regardless of the needs at other positions and the fact price is making big money and jemkins was a 1st rounder.Not sure if fred gibson will be around but maybe falcon brass believes the off line is good enough they and with a weak receiver draft in 2006 may take a stab at a receiver.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 3:19 am 
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It's a very risky draft strategy, and personally I don't advocate it. Because when these guys are judging future years, they are looking only at what is available at the very top.

If there are 3 very very good OTs, but a huge dropoff to the point that nobody else really looks like premium starting material, then they will say its a very strong OT draft, only because the top looks good, doesn't make the rest look good.

And if the Falcons are again picking late next year, they may again miss out on a top OT.

I always say you should not worry about next year when making drafts this year. Only when trades are being discussed should the 2006 draft class ever enter the minds of McKay & Co.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 10, 2005 9:03 pm 
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Look for the same strategy every year as long as McKay and Ruskell are here.

They stick to their "big board." If two players are equal then need would probably determine the pick to break the tie but they definitely believe in sticking to the board...


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