Tyson Jackson stunned a lot of people by being the third player taken in the NFL draft. Many said that this was, in part, because of the laws of scarcity – there were few true 5-technique defensive ends in this year’s draft, making the ones that were there more valuable. The 5-technique DE lines up on the outside shoulder of the offensive tackles, giving them a chance to stack the line, stuff the outside run or rush the passer with equal verve. It’s a staple of the modern 3-4 defense, which the Denver Broncos will be switching to from their traditional 4-3 as quickly as circumstances permit.
A lie can run around the world twice while the truth is still getting its shoes on. - Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens)
Like all college players whose names weren't called on Draft Day, Chris Baker knows that he has something to prove. He's heard all the opinions - "Boom or Bust," "Must be in the right system," "Left school too early," "Character concerns abound," "Troublemaker," "Takes plays off."
After going with focused and snark-free on Wednesday, I'm back with what everybody is more used-to from me. Meandering and snark... it must be ST&NO. Ready... BEGIN!!!!!
In a previous post, I wrote about the important of drafting to improve special teams and field position. So until the Kahlua runs dry, I'm going to continue to beat this drum.
The Dude wasn't so good in school, but it's time for a history lesson, man. And yeah, that's right. Certain things have come to light.
Simply put, I wanted to look at the Denver's win/loss record since 1998 and see if there was a correlation to wins/losses and field position differential. In other words, does field position matter? This is a question that I return to again and again. And admittedly, I have a huge biased towards thinking that it matters...with a vengeance.
The results were enlightening, although not surprising to the Dude. We begin with 1998, Elway's last season, when it really was in fashion to drink Orange and Predominately Blue Kool-Aid.
In the wake of this year's draft, as plays out every year, we have those folks who knew, thought they knew, wished they knew and know they didn't. But on the SunnySide, I've got the advantage of knowing that my guys are probably going to be drafted, and it adds a little spice to the days as I watch them going to different teams and wishing them well. It's kind of a small rite of passage.
The weekend of the draft is past, the main part of free agency as well as undrafted free agency is behind us and now we have to long opportunity to consider, in some detail just what it is that the Broncos brain trust has done in terms of making over this team. The Broncos are a team whose record was 8-8. This was a team who made history by being three games up with three to go and dropping them all, including the tiebreaker. It was historically bad on defense and special teams, but not as much better on offense as some have held. Passing yards are a poor measure of a team - red-zone percentage, points scored and similar measures mean far more. Weaknesses abounded, as statistics and analysis made clear. It was a team whose record was mediocre, but whose framework was as flimsy as cheap wicker.
I'm not really a contrarian. In fact, I think people who are contrary just to be contrary are typically worthless to an intelligent discussion. Incessant devil's advocacy just gets in the way of progress. Actually, if you ask some people who've begun frequenting this site recently, I am a big homer, and all I do is write happy, sunshiny stuff about how the Broncos can do no wrong. Of course, that doesn't take into account the fact that I was the first person to criticize Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders for misplaying the initial Cassel trade discussions, but that's neither here nor there, I suppose.
As I mentioned yesterday, we as football fans LOVE to read draft grades. It provides validation on so many levels - if we are pleased with our team's draft, we enjoy the confirmation of a positive grade from Mel Kiper or Clark Judge. On the other hand, a negative review from Dr. Z or Todd McShay obviously means they have no clue what they're talking about.
Of course, the same applies to those of us who dislike our own team's results - although a glowing draft grade may temper our feelings a bit, a negative one will just send our blood boiling - "The Broncos totally screwed up the draft - I was saying it all weekend. Peter King says the same thing, so obviously I WAS RIGHT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"
I don't drink Kool-Aid. But recent things have come to light, man.
First, I could care less about flashy draft picks or whether or not Denver's draft grades are high or low. Steve Young can have his opinion (totally biased). Jamie Dukes can have his (totally ignorant). And Kiper can have his (with a little hairspray for good measure). Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, your opinion, man.
But acting as if this draft was without direction is both rash and without merit. This, I mind. The Dude minds. This will not stand, you know, this aggression will not stand, man.
Draftivus Weekend 2009 may be over, but it seems to me that the only draft-related activity as fun as predicting the outcome is in sifting through the results and grading them. Sure, it's a little early to do so; but we all do it, and I'm pretty sure we all seek out what the "experts" have to say in order to validate our own opinions (or cast them aside as idiots). Here are some of the reactions I've seen over the past 24 hours on MHR and across the web, and I paraphrase...