Idiot's Guide to the NFL Draft:
Ten Rules to Avoid Making Your Team Worse
By Sim Lucien
April 19, 2007
Attention all NFL GMs, head coaches, player-personnel directors, and anyone else in the War Room. The days of loading free-agent talent to make a run at a title or retaining key players for their entire career are gone. If you want to win, you must build through the draft. On any given offseason, a lot of very bad personnel moves will be made (editor’s note: I think Sim is referring to Daniel Snyder. Just a hunch.) I'm here to help you, your teams, and your fans not get caught in a bad draft class.
"What we do echoes in eternity." – Gladiator
"Who you draft echoes in the league for 1-4 seasons." – Sim Lucien
Just as there are rules to successfully survive a scary movie, as pontiffied in the satire Scary Movie, there are certain rules to allow any team to successfully navigate the NFL Draft.
Rule #2: Don't mortgage an entire draft on one player, especially when your TEAM is flat out bad. The Ricky Williams and Michael Vick drafts come to mind here. The Saints were awful except for one season with Williams, and the Falcons have won just two playoff games with Vick.
The Chargers, who received LaDainian Tomlinson and Drew Brees resulting from the Vick deal are perennial playoff contenders.
Rule #3: Don't draft a kid high after a hype year. After one goes pro he will have a "contract year" in which his contract's buy-out or opt-out clause will be in effect. To make sure the athlete can get top dollar somewhere, that year will probably be one of his best. In college, a hype year is the equivalent. A player trying to make a big name for himself capitalizes on a projected weak draft at his position, or rides the momentum of his team reaching prominence the year before and attracting the attention of ESPN will play above and beyond his usual talents. Such recent hype-year products include: Jay Cutler, Mario Williams, Broderick Bunkley, Aaron Rodgers, Adam "Pac Man" Jones, and Robert Gallery.
They may have only played one year, but Mario Williams, Broderick Bunkley and Aaron Rodgers all struggled as rookies.
Rule #5: Don't draft Tedford quarterbacks. Jeff Tedford has produced a ton of good COLLEGE signal callers throughout the West Coast. They all are trash in the pros. Check the pedigree: Billy Volek, Trent Dilfer, David Carr, Joey Harrington, Aaron Rogers, Akili Smith, Andrew Walters, Kyle Boller, and Ryan Leaf.
Rule #6: Don't draft N.C. State defensive lineman. I know it’s early, but I proclaim Mario Williams, Manny Lawson and John McCargo will be adding to the “legacy” started by Patrick Thomas and Levar Fisher.
Rule #7: Don't draft wide receivers. Ok, this one is just for Detroit.
Rule #8: Don't fear "'tweeners." Demarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman, Adelius Thomas, Kordell Stewart, Michael Robinson, Reggie Bush, Terrell Suggs, Lawrence Taylor, and Antwaan Randle El are just a few guys who "we're weren't exactly one position, and were kinda sorta something else, but not really" that have made huge impacts. Well, maybe not Kordell.
Rule #9: Avoid "side kick" players. A side kick is a guy who may or may not be a solid player in his own right, but mainly looked good because of a stud guy next to him. AJ Hawk – stud player; Bobby Carpenter and Anthony Schlegel – side kicks. (Editor’s note: Also see Ryan Sims, who played next to Julius Peppers at North Carolina.)
Rule #10: Always draft players your fans will hate. This counts double for the New York Jets.
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