Sunday, May 6, 2012

2 comments Mike Klis Thinks Winning Games Ruins Getting a Good Draft Pick and David Steele Finds the Draft Process Demeaning

I'm going to wrap up most of the discussions on this blog about the NFL Draft (hopefully) with a couple of articles that didn't deserve a full post, but I thought needed to be commented upon. Both deal with the NFL Draft.

Everyone knows I'm not a huge fan of QB Jets, well Mike Klis didn't seem to enjoy the Broncos success under QB Jets. In fact, he blames QB Jets for the Broncos not being able to draft sooner in the NFL Draft. Of course it is QB Jets' fault, but winning games isn't a bad thing. One of the dumbest things I hear in regard to sports is that idiot who says a team should not win games to get a better draft pick. Winning, and creating a culture of winning, is usually always more important than getting a good draft least in my mind.

If not for Tebow, the Broncos may have been picking in the top five for a second consecutive year.

Damn you, QB Jets! How dare you win a playoff game and ruin the Broncos chance at getting a high draft choice. If it weren't for some of your contributions, the Broncos would have had a worse team during 2011. Apparently having a bad team is now a good thing.

They may have been in position to draft another Von Miller.

They are drafting at #25. You can find a good player at that spot. Here are the players chosen at #25 since 2005:

Jason Campbell
Santonio Holmes
Jon Beason
Mike Jenkins
Vontae Davis
QB Jets
James Carpenter

So there are quality players that can be found at #25. On the Broncos current team Eric Decker, Eddie Royal, Zane Beadles, Orlando Franklin, and Elvis Dumervil are among the players who were drafted higher than #25. Winning games is more important than a good draft pick, unless you are the Charlotte Bobcats of course (relevant cheap shot!).

The Broncos were 1-4 through Week 5 of the 2011 season, seemingly headed for another high draft choice after finishing 4-12 the year before.

And apparently this would have been a preferable scenario to winning football games, at least in the eyes of Mike Klis.

Von Millers are available at No. 2. They're usually gone by No. 25.

Fine, I'll do research to show Mike Klis is being too much of a drama queen and good players can be found later in the draft. Blame QB Jets for a lot of things, but to blame for his part in the Broncos winning games so the Broncos don't get a better draft pick is ridiculous.

Since 2008, out of the top players in the NFL in sacks, I will list how many of these players were drafted at #25 or later in the draft:

2008: Six. (Porter, Harrison, Mathis, Allen, Tuck, Woodley)
2009: Four. (Woodley, Dumervil, Allen, Cole)
2010: Seven. (Allen, Umenyiora, Tuck, Johnson, Babin, Matthews, Wake)
2011: Three. (Allen, Babin, Barwin)

So it is possible to find a great pass rusher after the #25 pick. I don't think all the Von Miller-type players are gone by that time.

Then again, Broncos coach John Fox may be among the dreamers. He acquired linebacker Jon Beason with the No. 25 pick for Carolina in 2007.

It's not really dreaming. The really good teams know how to win games and still get great players later in the draft.

As for Friday, the Broncos will look at selecting a running back (Doug Martin, Chris Polk or Terrance Ganaway), quarterback (Nick Foles or Brock Osweiler), kick returner and either a cornerback or defensive tackle, depending on which position isn't addressed in the first round tonight.

That's more needs than picks, which is why trading back from the No. 25 slot for an additional draft choice or two also is a possibility.

Nearly every single NFL team has more needs than draft picks. This isn't something that is exclusive to the Broncos nor is this something a few less wins in November and December would have solved. Winning games is not a bad thing. Sure, when a team wins game in a weak division it can make that team seem better than they really are, but making the playoffs is never a bad thing.

Dang, that giggling Tebow.

I think the most offensive part of this column is Klis suggests QB Jets is mostly responsible for the Broncos winning "too many" games last year. He wasn't solely responsible for the Broncos winning games in 2011. I don't know how one can think winning football games is ever a bad thing.

The next article is David Steele bemoaning how the draft evaluation process is so demeaning. It's almost like he doesn't realize many of these teams are investing millions of dollars in these players. This doesn't give teams free reign to act like assholes to these players, but NFL teams will want to ensure the players they hire and invest money in are worth doing so.

Finally, the players get to be treated like actual people—instead of human dartboards.

Starting Thursday night in New York, we get to see the fruits of the NFL scouts, executives and evaluators’ labors.

Like it or not, teams have money tied up in these players. These teams want to make sure they know what kind of person they are drafting and presenting to their fan base as a first round pick. Teams are doing this for the same reason some employers will check out a potential employee's Facebook page or do an internet search for the potential employee. They want to see what kind of person he/she is.

We see exactly what was learned from allowing the players’ Wonderlic test scores to go public.

I don't advocate the Wonderlic scores from going public and the NFL doesn't want this to happen either. So I wouldn't include the leak of the Wonderlic scores as a normal part of the draft process. The Wonderlic is unfortunately part of the process, but the results shouldn't be leaked. I am all for getting rid of the Wonderlic altogether.

What was learned from leaking how poorly they answered questions in their individual interviews, and every other negative detail from their personal visits.

Honestly, the leak of negative information from personal interviews doesn't seem that great to me. Maybe you get a tidbit here and there about how a player answered a question, but unless he was fantastic or terrible or did something unusual you don't hear much about it.

If David Steele is wondering what can be gained from a person answering questions poorly or is wondering what can be learned by the player acting in a negative way during the personal visit...well, he can't be stupid. A player's answers and behavior during these personal interviews can give the team a glimpse as to how he will act when he is a member of the team. After all, these players will be interviewed after they are playing in the NFL and a team doesn't want a player who throws up red flags in the personal interview.

This exact same thing happens in the real world during an interview. If a person acts in a negative fashion or answers questions in a negative fashion, it can be a red flag to the potential employer.

Public humiliation, degradation, disrespectful and demeaning treatment that you’d never allow to be done to your own sons?

Fair game for the property you’re about to acquire.

I don't know if it is public humiliation or degradation in all cases. Most players go through the evaluation process without being demeaned in any way. And yes, the players are aware they are going to be poked and prodded to see if they are worth investing a high draft choice in. Teams believe they can tell a player's character on how he handles himself at the personal interview.

Morris Claiborne got his taste.

Earlier this month, the LSU cornerback’s Wonderlic score—reportedly the lowest ever recorded—became public knowledge.

And guess how this affected Claiborne's draft status? Not at all. I'm not for the Wonderlic nor do I believe the scores should be made public or the Wonderlic should even be a part of the process. Claiborne was projected to go in the Top 5 prior to the Wonderlic and he still was drafted in the Top 5.

This year, along with Claiborne, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, the sure top two picks, have had their scores passed around as if they were head shots at a Hollywood talent agency.

It’s appalling in its arrogance, self-servitude and insensitivity.

I agree, but this one instance doesn't mean every player suffers some degradation or public embarrassment during the process. I've noticed David Steele likes to make a mountain out of a molehill or at least write an article around an overblown issue. Whether it is talking about every way MLB has insulted African-Americans over the last 50 years as proof MLB runs away African-American players, putting Anthony Davis in the Hall of Fame before he is even drafted or taking the release of the Wonderlic scores as proof of the degrading and disrespectful treatment draft prospects receive. While at the core of the issue he can be correct, it tends to make a pattern of events out of that issue which cause the issue to be overblown.

So yes, the release of the Wonderlic scores is insensitive. Outside of this issue, there are usually very few incidents that can be deemed as insensitive towards the prospects during the draft process. Teams interview players, they work them out, and inspect their background. This is done to ensure players the team will be marketing the team around are people and athletes worthy of being marketed around.

Of course, the main reason the NFL does it? Because it can. Many rationalize it because of the financial investment at stake, which would float a lot better in a sport whose foundation wasn’t built on non-guaranteed contracts.

This isn't a rationalization. Like it or not, these players are public figures the represent the NFL team they play for. Just like a corporation inspects the background of any employees who will be representing the corporation in public, an NFL team wants to be sure they will be well-represented by the players on the roster. That's not a rationalization, that is good business. NFL teams don't want to be perceived negatively by the public because that perception can stick with a team. Think of the Bengals reputation for drafting players that get in trouble with the law. This perception isn't entirely true anymore, but it sticks with the Bengals in many ways. So some of these more invasive questions and probing into the player's answers during an interview is to ensure a public figure properly represents the franchise on and off the field.

Besides, it’s not as if the draft class has a choice of professional football leagues.

No one is forcing the players to join the NFL. These players could go to Canada and play or (gasp) choose not to play football after college. So yes, the players do have a choice.

Plus, by its very definition, the draft itself means that within this league, hundreds of players have no choice.

Well, they do have a choice to an extent. If Morris Claiborne wants to play for an NFL team then he has to go through the draft process. If he doesn't want to go through the process, then he shouldn't be an NFL player. I know that sounds pretty hard line, but that's life. It's a very public profession, so the draft process is something the players have to go through.

So Claiborne can’t say, “The hell with you, NFL, I’m not working for a league that disrespectful to me.”

Yes, he can. He can go to Canada to play football or go back to LSU, get a degree and try to get a lower paying job in the real world. Claiborne can say "The hell with you, I'm not working for a league that is disrespectful to me." He just would not be able to play in the NFL.

Dez Bryant was unable to say it two years ago, when he angrily spilled the news that the Miami Dolphins had infamously asked the pre-draft interview question about whether his mother had been a prostitute.

This is an example of David Steele taking one incident and turning it into a full blown problem. The questions asked to Bryant were widely derided in the NFL community for how invasive and improper they were. We don't hear many instances of players being asked these questions during the draft process.

Matt Kalil can’t say it, either. Within the past week, a scouting report surfaced on the USC offensive lineman, vaguely questioning his “character” and “sense of entitlement,” based on something that may or may not have happened in some interview or visit somewhere that might have been open to subjective judgment.

Oh my God, someone said something negative about him? That will never happen in the NFL!

Big shock: talk of Kalil’s stock slipping began immediately afterward.

Small shock: Kalil was projected to go #3 overall before his character was questioned and he ended up going #3 overall anyway. Also, the talk of Kalil's stock slipping was a product of the Vikings desperately trying to get a team to trade up (by making a team think the Vikings weren't taking Kalil) so they could move back and get a couple of draft picks out of the deal.

To think this was not done on purpose, for someone’s specific benefit, is to be painfully na├»ve.

It is also naive to not understand why teams take stock in personal interviews and how a player's misconduct can negatively reflect on an NFL team.

Think you’ve sacrificed your body over the years to get here? Think you’ve sacrificed your basic rights just to play in college?

You can go straight to hell for this comment. Yes, college players should probably receive some sort of stipend for playing. But saying they "sacrifice your basic rights" just to play in college is taking it nine steps too far. If David Steele thinks receiving a full ride to college or even getting the fucking opportunity to go to college because of sports is sacrificing basic rights then he needs a reality check.

Has it really come to this that some sportswriter will claim going to college without being paid for it is sacrificing basic rights? This a comment only a fat, happy, completely out of touch American could make. Only a person who has never even had to worry about being arrested for something he has said the government didn't agree with, never had to worry about where the next meal is coming from or has visited any area of the world where there are real basic rights being sacrificed could make this comment. I don't know David Steele, and I don't know if this describes him, but a college player not being paid for playing football in college is not sacrificing basic rights. What a farce.

Good thing you hung onto your dignity—now, hand that over, too.

The "loss" of that dignity also comes with achieving a lifelong dream these athletes have of playing in the NFL. I am sure they see it as a small price to pay, not equivalent to the horrors of human trafficking.

Goodell greets them on stage with so much love. If he respects them just as much, he’ll hit teams that wallow in this practice with something a lot stronger than a memo.

Get rid of the Wonderlic. That's fine. I haven't heard many stories of players being demeaned by the evaluation process. This does happen, but it is the outlier, not the norm.

I'm going to go complain to my boss about being denied basic rights by having to do my job.


sptrfn said...

As a Bronco fan, I am glad they played Tebow. They needed to see what they had.

And, it doesn't make them look too bad. They gave him a chance, and he wasn't for them. They wanted a traditional QB like Manning and Brock Osweiler. They were going to trade Tebow if they got Manning or not, but I think that they would have waited until after the draft if they didn't get Peyton.

Bengoodfella said...

Sptrfn, one of the dumbest things you hear in sports is when a person says a team needs to lose in order to get a better draft pick. A team needs to set a culture of winning and success. This is more important than a good draft pick. So playing Tebow was the right move.

I was shocked at how badly the team played with Orton at QB. I thought Orton deserved the job at the beginning of the year, but it was tough to say he deserved it at the end of the year. The defense played better w/ Tebow as the QB and even if they won games, it wasn't a bad thing. No way. Winning games is always a good thing.