The Tale of Dustin Fry

We've been talking for weeks now about the nose tackles in this league, on this team and in this draft. It seems that every time I turn around, some other NFL team has decided that the intelligent answer to the short passing-based attack that has been sweeping the NFL is to move to the versatility of the 3-4 formation. As more and more teams use this attack as their primary or secondary weapon (in the case of some of the hybrids formations, another commonality in the NFL right now), there is a growing demand for nose tackles. Big ones and shorter ones, faster and slower ones, nose tackles are becoming one of the talks of the league.

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The NFL Draft: A little less crapshoot, a little more blackjack

Several weeks ago, I compared the draft to a crapshoot, in which luck was as important as skill in determining success in the NFL draft.  While I still believe this to be the case, I also believe there are teams that do gamble better than others. So maybe I should change my analogy to Blackjack.  Even though you might demonstrate more skill than the other guys, it doesn't necessarily mean you're going to win.

Part of this change in perspective is due to a recent study by Pro Football Weekly (PFW).  In their 2010 Draft Guide, the magazine took at look at each team's drafts during the 5-year period of 2004-2008.  It looked at several benchmarks for success, but the benchmark that was the most interesting and useful was each team's breakdown for all 7 rounds of the draft in the following 3 categories:

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Analyzing nose tackles

Perusing the list of offerings from this past week, I particularly liked the article Trends that Ivan put together, and I want to compliment him on that great effort. It was a very nice job of organizing a lot of disparate information in a way that brought out and clarified many of the concepts that were within its scope. As good articles tend to do, I found that I did have a couple of questions and thoughts from it. I thought they would fit best in an article rather than a comment - I try not to write a 'War and Peace' comment more than once a month...wink. After the response to the historical retrospective on choosing a quarterback, it brought me to the understanding that it will take a little time to cover the issues that have to be considered when choosing a nose tackle for a 3-4 defense. Much of this originally came up in regard to T. Cody, but this is equally important regardless of which NT you decide to draft for your team.

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The Dude’s Mail Sack: A cage match between Jarvis Moss and Marcus Nash!

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.

TJ, I know I said last week that I thought Kyle Orton's neckbeard was sexy, but that's until we signed Brady Quinn. He's absolutely dreamy.  Have you seen his pecks?  His biceps?  Everyone wants to know, is he going to start in 2010?

--Charlie, Colorado Springs, Colorado

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Draft Dez Bryant - only if you’re playing Monopoly

"The process was really thorough. We took our time. It was important for me to get the right fit for our football team."

--Matt Millen, Former General Manager, Detroit Lions

Matt McGuire, over at Walter Football, is probably best known for his mock drafts.  But it's his blog that I enjoy more. Recently, he had a blog entry entitled, NFL Draft Picks Are Business Investments.   He wrote something that I think deserves a lot more attention:

If I gave you $4 million to invest, would you invest that money into a company that didn't care very much about what they were doing? Would you be confident about investing in a business that didn't care about customer service, their product, employee relations, employee performance and leadership?

I doubt you would - you might as well throw the $4 million into a fire.

But what if this company had a lot of upside? Would you still be willing to lose the $4 million if you could get a large return in a couple years? It's a massive risk.

How can a company that doesn't care become profitable? It's almost impossible for that to happen.

So why should we evaluate NFL Draft prospects any differently? In translation: How can an NFL player be successful if he has a very mediocre work ethic, doesn't love the game, doesn't take the process seriously, and is immature?

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The Dude’s Mail Sack: Is Kyle Orton eye candy?

Fat Man blogger TJ “The Dude” Johnson posts The Dude’s Mail Revue on Thursdays, in which he takes your questions about the state of the Denver Broncos. Got a titillating question? Put a dollar bill into the Dude’s G-String and he might answer it—after bowling practice.

Hey, TJ, just give me the stats! I've noticed that with the signings of Jamal Williams, Jarvis Green, and Justin Bannan, the Broncos are getting a little long in the tooth on the defensive line.   Are these guys really the answer?   I mean they are really really old.

---Mike, Norman, Oklahoma

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The Loser’s Curse and the NFL Draft

In 2005, Cade Massey and Richard Thayer, two academics from Duke and the University of Chicago, authored a fascinating and statistically-heavy paper entitled The Loser's Curse: Overconfidence vs. Market Efficiency in the National Football League Draft.  While the paper is dated, and while it has received its fair share of criticism and analysis itself, I think the most fascinating sentence from the entire 59-page paper is the biggest and most overlooked truth from the modern-day NFL:

Buying expensive players, even if they turn out to be great performers, imposes opportunity costs elsewhere on the roster.

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Visions of sugar plums: the value of Brandon Marshall

Christmas comes only once a year.  And Pete Carroll isn't donning a santa costume.

While we all might have believed last week that Brandon Marshall was worth a 1st and a 3rd round pick,  two things happened in the last two days that say otherwise:

  1. The Denver Broncos themselves placed only a 1st round tender on Marshall
  2. The Anquan Boldin trade

The Boldin trade, in particular, dealt what could have been a giant blow to the idea that the Broncos will be getting what we as fans hope is a fair value for the player known as The Beast.   

After the jump, we'll look at the Boldin deal, it's consequences for Marshall, and what both Seattle and Denver might be considering as they discuss what Bradon Marshall is worth.

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Understanding drafting at the quarterback position

One of the most important abilities as a general manager, a coach or a scout is the ability to analyze talent. Each of these professions needs to understand what a players strengths are, what their weaknesses are, and what they will and won't be expected to be able to do. It's particularly important - and difficult - when it comes to talking about quarterbacks. What is it that makes a quarterback successful? How can you structure an understanding of how effective a player will be in 1, 2, 3 and 5 or more years from when they will be drafted? Why is it, historically, that so many quarterbacks have failed to make the leap from college to the NFL? There have been many quarterbacks who we can look at, to try to discover why it's such a difficult decision.

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Shake Me: How turnovers and penalties shook the 2009 Denver Broncos

Penalties and turnovers hurt, like a kick to the groin.  Every coach will tell you that they can kill a drive faster than a Darrius Heyward-Bey crossing route (the groin of the Oakland Raiders).  In fact, you hear about penalties and turnovers so often in post-game press conferences, you would think that play calling had little do do with the results of the game.  

And often this is the case.  The team that does the best job executing its own individual game plan is usually the winner. Penalties and turnovers are simply markers along the way.

But when you chart every offensive play in a given season, you tend to only focus on the big picture (trends, downs and distances, player values) and forget about just how large a role penalties and turnovers really play.  Each holding call, each interception and fumble, each turnover on downs, and each missed field goal--each one of them were a piece of what became the 2009 Broncos offense.  So I thought that I'd take a brief moment this week in the middle of all of the draft analysis, to explore, using expected points value, penalties and turnovers. 

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