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 Post subject: NFR: See, I told you WRs don't matter that much
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 12:53 pm 
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Calvin Johnson is having one of the greatest seasons ever for an NFL wide receiver, and his team is 4-11 and likely to be picking in the Top 5. Adrian Peterson is having one of the greatest seasons ever for an NFL running back, and his team is 8-6 and in the playoff hunt.

RBs have been undervalued in recent years, but why not WRs?

As I've said in the past, skill position players (RBs, WRs, TEs) should be valued equally. Yet every year, teams will be quick to use a Top 10-15 pick on a WR, but is willing to wait until Rounds 2 & 3 before taking a TE or RB. It makes absolutely no sense.

It's interesting that of the Top 13 WRs in terms of DVOA this year, only 1 is a former 1st round pick. You look at the Top 32 WRs in terms of Expected Points Added this year, only 10 of them are former 1st round picks. 7 of them were either undrafted or taken in Rounds 6 or 7. Pretty much the remainder (about half) were taken in Rounds 2 thru 4.

Teams should have the exact same attitude with WRs (wait until Rounds 2 & 3) as they do with TEs and RBs. Instead, teams should be more willing to invest their high 1st round picks in QB, OL, DL, and CBs, where it's much more obvious the added value one gets from having an elite player at those positions.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: See, I told you WRs don't matter that much
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 1:25 pm 
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I see your point but circumstances alter cases. In the cas eof both AP and CJ they are the lone true weapon on their teams and their number smay be somewhat inflated by this. The Shiny Hood Ornament argument or overpaying for a "complimentary" WR like JJ could just as easily be shot down by looking at what has happened to the explosiveness of our O since his addition. When CJ was coming out of Tech there was an article by Terence Moore in the AJC that said we should do whatever we needed to do to get him. Seeing what we ultimately paid for JJ and how CJ has turned out it may havebeen good advice as I doubt he would have cost any more than JJ. OTOH, we don't know how good JJ will be down the road. He is pretty dang good now. Another case of the illusion of pure stats. It is all about what a player does for a specific team. You could say signing TO destroyed the Eagles or you could say that the only year they finally got to the SB was when they signed TO. I've heard more than once from people that all that matters is winning championships and in order to win championships you have to get to the championship game. We have put ourselves in position for a great shot.

I think the Lions are a poorly coached team. The rash of penalties, the dumb plays like taking the knee on the kick after the safety last night, etc. just point to this. The Matt Millen GM years were just laughably bad. Think of all the WR theywasted picks on.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: See, I told you WRs don't matter that much
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 2:31 pm 
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It's interesting that you bring up T.O.

The point I would raise is that Owens was the final piece of that puzzle in Philly. I think the mistake so many teams make is going the opposite way, and thinking that a WR can be one of the first pieces, i.e. a foundation piece to build around.

It's just interesting to me that we all are aware of the idea that having a great RB doesn't automatically lead to championships such as Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Tomlinson, and Peterson not having very many rings among them. But why isn't that same belief applied to WRs? Look at the 6 or so WRs that over the past decade most people would say are/were the elite and bonafide future HOFers: Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, and Andre Johnson. Not a whole lot more rings among them either? And for the latter 3, it may ultimately be that the majority of their careers, they played on teams with losing records. Does that apply to any of the top RBs in the league such as Peterson, Tomlinson, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, Arian Foster, etc.?

It's accepted that you don't need a great RB to compete at the highest levels, just a pretty good guy. And you don't have to bend over backwards to find that pretty good guy. The exact same should be said about the WR position.

I'm not saying you never use a Top 10 pick on a RB or WR such as Trent Richardson, Adrian Peterson, Julio Jones, or Calvin Johnson. But I think teams need to be a bit more discerning about drafting WRs like they tend to be with RB. We heard the conversations this past year, about "Why should I draft Richardson, if I can get Doug Martin or Robert Turbin later in the draft." Just more of those same thoughts should be had at WR, where you say, "Why should I draft Justin Blackmon or Julio Jones if I can get T.Y. Hilton or Denarius Moore later in the draft."

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: See, I told you WRs don't matter that much
PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2012 3:05 pm 
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backnblack wrote:
I see your point but circumstances alter cases. In the cas eof both AP and CJ they are the lone true weapon on their teams and their number smay be somewhat inflated by this. The Shiny Hood Ornament argument or overpaying for a "complimentary" WR like JJ could just as easily be shot down by looking at what has happened to the explosiveness of our O since his addition.

My counter to this is, and will continue to be, we weren't really more explosive last year than we were the year before. We are much more explosive this year because we have a different guy calling the plays. If we still had Michael Jenkins, I doubt that Jenkins would be a 1000 yard receiver, but I'd bet that Gonzo would be. And I'd bet that Harry Douglas would have more than he has. I'd also wager that our OL and DL would be better, as those were the glaring areas of need when we moved up to get Julio.


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 Post subject: Re: NFR: See, I told you WRs don't matter that much
PostPosted: Mon Dec 24, 2012 4:10 am 
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Hard to argue this too much. If you have a good QB, and you spend your 1sts on the OL and DL and your 2nd and 3rds on WRs, RBs, TE (and LBs, S)...you'll end up with a pretty good team with a very diverse offense.

Spend the occasional first on a WR or TE, even less often on a back. Same song of it's more important to have 5 matchup beaters (2nd and 3rd round Randall Cobb types) than 2 "greats." Combined with strong interior OL play, you'll always have a very good offense.


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 Post subject: Re: NFR: See, I told you WRs don't matter that much
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 2:06 pm 
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Pudge wrote:
It's interesting that you bring up T.O.

The point I would raise is that Owens was the final piece of that puzzle in Philly. I think the mistake so many teams make is going the opposite way, and thinking that a WR can be one of the first pieces, i.e. a foundation piece to build around.

It's just interesting to me that we all are aware of the idea that having a great RB doesn't automatically lead to championships such as Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Tomlinson, and Peterson not having very many rings among them. But why isn't that same belief applied to WRs? Look at the 6 or so WRs that over the past decade most people would say are/were the elite and bonafide future HOFers: Marvin Harrison, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Larry Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, and Andre Johnson. Not a whole lot more rings among them either? And for the latter 3, it may ultimately be that the majority of their careers, they played on teams with losing records. Does that apply to any of the top RBs in the league such as Peterson, Tomlinson, Ray Rice, Chris Johnson, Arian Foster, etc.?

It's accepted that you don't need a great RB to compete at the highest levels, just a pretty good guy. And you don't have to bend over backwards to find that pretty good guy. The exact same should be said about the WR position.

I'm not saying you never use a Top 10 pick on a RB or WR such as Trent Richardson, Adrian Peterson, Julio Jones, or Calvin Johnson. But I think teams need to be a bit more discerning about drafting WRs like they tend to be with RB. We heard the conversations this past year, about "Why should I draft Richardson, if I can get Doug Martin or Robert Turbin later in the draft." Just more of those same thoughts should be had at WR, where you say, "Why should I draft Justin Blackmon or Julio Jones if I can get T.Y. Hilton or Denarius Moore later in the draft."

So, really the argument about drafting the superfluous WR would be Roddy back when as JJ would much more accurately represent a "final piece" type of players than Roddy at the time he was selected and if we make it to the SB Td's move might largely be validated. For that matter, finishing the season with the best record in the league might already validate it. There are so many variables. Paying a big contract to a single player can be just as paralyzing as spending a bunch of picks on one. It's just harder to quantify. While CJ has won nothing in Detroit--just like everyone else who has played there since the invention of chewing gum--can you imagine what kind of s*** sandwich offense they would have without him?

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: See, I told you WRs don't matter that much
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:40 pm 
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Yep, Jones was viewed as the final piece. But that wax the problem, the Falcons were several pieces from being in that position. Unlike the Eagles, who had a top defense, it made sense because their top 3 WRs were James Thrash, Todd Pinkston, and FredEx. It was obvious how much value a player like Owens would add. It'd be like the Browns getting Roddy White.

But the Falcons had an average defense, and already had Roddy and Gonzo. You say Julio may have validated the trade due to the Falcons having the best record. Guess what, they had the best record the year before getting Jones. You traded all that to essentially maintain the status quo.

If you're in a situation like Philly (then) or Detroit or Jacksonville or Cleveland or Minnesota, and utterly devoid of offensive talent especially at WR then certainly pull the trigger on a big time WR. But if you're just looking for a complementary guy that can make some big plays because defenses are already focused on Roddy and Gonzo, then a 2nd or 3rd round pick would do just fine.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: See, I told you WRs don't matter that much
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 4:43 pm 
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PS You're right Detroit would be terrible without Megatron. But is that because he's so great or because their running game is average, they have a below average OL, an erratic and undisciplined QB, and/or a secondary that is a sieve?

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: See, I told you WRs don't matter that much
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 7:18 pm 
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Good point on 2010 and 2012 being the same thing. I guess it will come down to going to and or winning the big one. As we have all stated our cases before it is of little note that I did not really approve of the JJ trade--or drafting Ryan. The team is fluid. MT is clearly not the back he was in 2010 so without JJ it is quite arguable we don't hold fast. Also, he is a good bet that we maintain an elite WR corps deep into the future even as Roddy may wane. BTW, I finally watched a full game with Tory Smith in BALT this weekend. Pretty awesome player. Not sure JJ is any better. And FWIW, I am a huge fan of JJ..from skill set to mindset. He fits the team well.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: See, I told you WRs don't matter that much
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 8:09 pm 
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Look, I love having Julio on the team. Besides Ryan and Babineaux, he's my favorite player on the team. I'd rather have him than not have him.

But that's my heart making that decision, not really my brain. My brain tells me that if the team had kept those picks and drafted well with them, then they would/should be in a better position than they are today. You're right about Turner falling off since then. Had we had those picks, maybe we could have drafted Mark Ingram or Doug Martin with one of those 1st round picks we gave away. Ingram would have been the perfect replacement for Turner, because similarly he's a "high volume" RB, but unlike Turner, is a very good receiver as well. Would have been a great fit in Mularkey's offense.

I don't want to get too involved in the Jones trade argument/debate again, because we've discussed it ad nauseum. We've all made our views on it very clear. He's an excellent player, but as you noted about Torrey Smith, probably not all that different. Smith is dynamic, and arguably one of the 10 most explosive WRs in the NFL as far as acceleration goes. Julio is also in that conversation as well. For the record, I was high on Smith (graded him as a late 1st rounder), but I thought it would take him some time to develop similar to Roddy. But he's really hit the ground running.

The Lions gave Megatron a $150 million contract ($60M guaranteed) at the outset of free agency this past year. There is no better WR in the league than him, and he may very well go down as the best WR to ever play the game. The talk about him being a once in a generation WR seems to prove true. But that is a ridiculous contract to give a WR. Like the Cards, who gave Fitz $125 million ($50M gtd.), they would probably be better off trading either guy for a bunch of picks (say 2 1sts, a 2nd, and 2 4ths :ninja: ), and using those picks to bolster other areas of the roster.

When you get a good QB, you hang onto that guy with all you might. Despite the fact that players like Stafford, Cutler, Romo, etc. have their issues, the Lions, Bears, Cowboys would be stupid to let them go. They may not be the best QBs in the league, but they are better than most, and as you look around the NFL landscape, a third (if not over half) the teams in the NFL would murder their grandmothers with a wooden spoon to get their hands on a guy like that. That's why any talk of the Falcons letting Ryan go (even if he blows in the playoffs) is retarded.

But WRs are a dime a dozen. Megatron maybe once in a generation, but Andre Johnson, Roddy White, Marques Colston, Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald, Julio Jones, A.J. Green, Santonio HOlmes, DeSean Jackson, Wes Welker, Dez Bryant, etc. are part of that same generation.

Robert Woods, Keenan Allen, Marqise Lee, Sammy Watkins are all coming out this year or next year. I have this rule where unless it's a rare specimen (like Adrian Peterson rare), you don't pay big money to a RB once he turns 27, because that player is on the downside of his career. I think the same should ring true for WRs as well. Not in the way that you don't pay them after 27 because WRs can play well up until they are 32-35 years old. But in the idea that they are expendable.

Had it been me, guys like Johnson and Fitzgerald, instead of giving them those huge contracts, I would have just let their deals expire, and "Walter Jones" them, tagging them until I felt like I found a suitable replacement.

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 Post subject: Re: NFR: See, I told you WRs don't matter that much
PostPosted: Wed Dec 26, 2012 9:36 pm 
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I can't argue with any of that, really. It might be accurate to say that if your QB isn't your "best" player you are in trouble. Someone will always toss out Dilfer or Jim McMahon but as i said the other day if a CB is your best player you have problems...no matter how good he is.

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