The General’s “How To Draft A Game-Changer”
I’ve never been one for mock drafts and I’m not about to start now. I did mention a few “needs” that teams had a few weeks back, but now we’re getting into new territory.
With all the upheaval that comes with the offseason everyone starts looking for the “new thing”. To quote my favorite band, Fuel, “It’s the new thing I desire, not the old thing, but it’s for me”.
Essentially, that’s code for, “I’ll take anybody with a pulse if I think they’re worth a win or a big play”.
They’ll sleep on a cot in their office so they can work 20 hour days—at the expense of their families. They’ll even draft guys they don’t need because that player MIGHT equal more wins.
Notice I said MIGHT. No player is a proven commodity in the draft, but coaches convince themselves otherwise. We always here things like:
“If Player X goes to Team Y that’ll be worth 5 more wins.” Do these people really believe that?
Teams makes changes all offseason in the hopes of getting better, but they’ll rest their hopes for improvement on a college kid? Game-changers don’t just fall out of the sky and they certainly don’t always come from “pedigree”.
If you look at the top 15 picks in the draft every single one of those teams needs a game-changer. Some of them will win and others will lose. However, there are 5 names that everyone thinks will change games, but I beg to differ.
My hope is that no team will fall victim to thinking they can get a game-changer in these 5 guys in the 1st Round. I’m not saying they suck—but I AM saying that they can’t make the difference everyone is expecting.
C.J. Spiller holds the record for just about every offensive statistic you can imagine in the ACC. Plus, he scores touchdowns in multiple consecutive games and runs for major yardage in multiple consecutive games.
So, on paper he looks like someone who could change games. He could equal more wins for your team, but what if he gets incorrectly utilized?
If you take C.J. Spiller and change his name to Dante Hall or Devin Hester you’ve already pretty much ruined his career. Hester and Hall had one good year each and they got steamrolled by the overactive imaginations of Offensive Coordinators.
Hester and Hall both became phenoms in the “return game” and their respective teams decided it would be fun to insert them into the offense. Do you remember where Dante Hall even went after Kansas City? Do you remember Devin Hester making a difference on offense for the Bears?
I didn’t think so.
For every supreme offensive talent there’s a team willing to use and abuse him. When I saw Dante Hall explaining K.C.’s return plays on NFL Live I knew there was a problem. The Chiefs made Hall into their PR bitch.
As soon as the bitchness wore off–and he didn’t run back a thousand kicks for TDs–it was over. He was playing receiver in the offense and trying to return kicks. Not everyone can do that.
If someone takes Spiller in the 2nd Round to run the ball a little and play special teams he’ll be fine. If he gets pushed too hard in both directions he’ll crumble under the unreasonable expectations.
Nobody is Superman–even if they have the tattoo.
His name means “House of Spears”. He played for Nebraska. He could have easily won the Heisman Trophy if it weren’t for Mark Ingram. However, he doesn’t get the ball.
Ndamukong Suh could have 30 sacks in a season, but he’ll still never get the ball with the game on the line. Everyone is thinking that the team who gets Suh can have a “Green Bay-style” rebirth. We’re forgetting some things.
The team that drafts Suh will not have Mike Holmgren coaching. They will not have Brett Favre at Quarterback. They will not have a Antonio Freeman catching passes.
They will NOT have Desmond Howard–the Super Bowl MVP. And they will not have Mark Chmura running out at Tight End.
that, my friends, is a “House of Spears”!
The team that gets Suh will have an instantly improved defense. They will have a greater morale and certainly have a greater motivation to succeed.
Just don’t forget that the teams who lead the league in defense don’t always make the playoffs. Those guys on defense are great, but they don’t handle the ball every down.
Sam Bradford is supposedly “back”. He had a great pro day and now the Rams look like the front-runners to select him. They hold the first pick in the draft and they’ve been on the clock since the end of the regular season.
As many times as I said the Rams needed to move on from Marc Bulger, I never said that changing Quarterbacks alone would fix everything. It’s one thing to view a QB as a piece and it’s another to view them as “it”.
Sam Bradford may well become a Hall of Famer, but he isn’t one right now. He will get the ball virtually every snap of St. Louis’ games, but he’ll still have to be good. You can’t go out there and win in the NFL based on potential.
Bradford won the Heisman Trophy. Heisman winners don’t typically pan out in the NFL–see Gino Torretta, Andre Ware, Chris Weinke, etc. He played at Oklahoma. Oklahoma’s a great program. That’s meaningless.
Jerry Rice went to Mississippi Valley State University.
When the Rams–most likely–take Bradford I HOPE that Steve Spagnoulo has a plan to surround Bradford with everything he needs.
Give him a veteran receiver to teach him how to read routes. Give him a veteran backup to teach him how to read defenses. Give him MORe than a Left Tackle so he isn’t killed on the field.
Sure, he may put up a game-winning TD pass or run for a 1st Down on 4th and 1. He may do all of those things and win 5 Super Bowls.
He hasn’t yet.
You MUST select him if you think he’s the future, but he isn’t a game-changer. He’s part of the game changing.
Tim Tebow changed games in college all the time. Tim Tebow won the Heisman as a sophomore and won a National Title the year after.
He was playing against inferior athletes too. The kids in college were no match for him in most instances and he could just do as he willed. The NFL is altogether different.
Every guy in the league is an elite athlete. Every guy in the league–except Jamarcus Russell–is as well-conditioned as they can be. Every guy in the league can tackle Tim Tebow. Every guy in the league can read his eyes and jump one of his passes.
Tim Tebow can be a game-changer only if his physical talents are used in a way that actually compliments the pro game. Just looking at him isn’t enough. You have to do something with him.
So, when I read this report from the Boston Herald I was intrigued. The Patriots used an “in house” visit on Tebow–they only get 30–and that says alot considering that they have Tom Brady.
This situation says only one thing to me: Bill Belichick actually sat down and thought about what he could do with Tebow. He’s not taking a “flyer” on him. He’d actually be prepared to maximize Tebow’s talents.
Organizationally they think they might be able to do something with Tebow. They aren’t jumping at every hot talent. They aren’t running after Tebow like a sad puppy.
It’s no wonder that the Patriots are lauded for their handling of their business.
That is game-changing.