Monday, April 20, 2009

Draft in the Attic

Momentous events, like the signing of ex-Steeler safety Anthony Smith, the tendering of Atari "Sega" Bigby, and, yes, the blockbuster trade of triple J, aka JJ Jansen Golden Domer long-snapper extraordinaire, have passed without comment on this website. For that, I apologize fecitiously. I do somewhat regret letting the UW Spring Game and the build up to the NFL Draft (the best "watch while lifting weights" sporting event ever) go by without comment. But, what can you do? Life jumps up on you like a drooling, overeager Neapolitan Mastiff, and certain things fall by the wayside.

Anyhow, I'll try to make up for the hiatus by starting some discussion on the Spring Game, the general state of the UW football program and the NFL Draft over the next few weeks. I suppose I'll begin by being lazy and sharing what I'm reading and enjoying, these days.

To begin, I found this "scout's take" on the Packers and their draft needs, as related by Bob McGinn, to be quite fascinating. Whoever McGinn talked to didn't see a lot of holes in the team, which is encouraging. But at the same time, although this might not have been what McGinn asked him to do, he didn't ladle out strong praise for any Packer players. That seems to be the problem with this team. Solid, but lacking in the star/difference-maker department. Or maybe I'm wrong and Woodson, Collins, and Jennings are all legitimate stars, and A-Rodg is on his way? Hmmm.

I also stumbled across this fascinating piece in Football Outsiders, doing a full-on rehashing of the '03 draft, six years down the road. That was the draft where the Packers tabbed Nick Barnett at the end of the first round. Although they misstate Barnett's accomplishments slightly (he was not a Pro Bowl alternate this past season), they seem to think that the choice was a solid one. They also liked the Javon Walker pick in the '02 draft. I guess Sherman's picks weren't always so bad, eh? Anyhow, the analysis suffers a bit by only doing comparisons of picks within each position-- thus concluding that Barnett was a good pick for '03 linebackers, and Walker was the best of the '02 receiver class. A more critical look might redo the entire draft based on actual contributions, or, more harshly, show which players your team could have had at their spots instead of the guys they took. For example, instead of Barnett, Sherman could have drafted the league's current top corner Nnamdi Asomugha, current top tight end Jason Witten, or the agitating but fabulous wideout Anquan Boldin. Or, hell, even repeat Pro Bowl LB Lance "Rance" Briggs. (It looks like FO thinks Barnett's career has topped Rance's. I don't buy that one.)

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