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bloodsunday
04-21-2010, 11:14 AM
Maurice Pouncey.

http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?page=NextLevel7

The 2007 Miami Dolphins were -- by any measure -- one of the worst teams the NFL has seen. Ever. That's not an overstatement for effect. It's just a fact. Keep reading.

Saddled with the quarterbacking trio of Cleo Lemon, John Beck and a potentially over-concussed Trent Green, the team went 1-15 and only scraped out a win on a fluky 64-yard overtime touchdown pass from Lemon to Greg Camarillo. Worse, the Dolphins didn't appear to have a plan. They had a young Ted Ginn Jr., but nobody to throw to him; a young (and injured) Ronnie Brown, but nobody to block for him.

Bottom line: They were going nowhere.

On April 22, 2008, just over four months before Miami would lace it up for another season, the Dolphins sucked all suspense out of the first pick in the draft by signing Michigan offensive tackle Jake Long to a $57.75 million deal that effectively made him the highest-paid player at his position five days before the draft. Oddly, the deal was for $4 million less than the deal for the previous year's No. 1 pick, JaMarcus Russell. There was fair speculation, of course, that Miami had reached on Long, taking the safe route over the smart one. After all, Matt Ryan and Chris Long were available, each widely considered more talented options.

But Miami liked the pick: "Jake was our guy from the beginning," general manager Jeff Ireland said.

Good thing.

In the history of professional football, perhaps no team has seen such a massive change in fortunes. Sort through every draft, and you won't find a team that picked No. 1 overall that won 10 more games than the previous season. Not even the 1991 Colts, who had the first two picks (Steve Emtman and Quentin Coryatt) saw such a surge. But the 2008 Dolphins did. The year after the disaster of 2007 they went 11-5, including a 9-1 stretch in their final ten regular-season games.

By drafting Long, they didn't just get one player; they got two. The team switched struggling LT Vernon Carey to the right side after Long's arrival. Since the draft, Carey has started all 32 games at right tackle, and Long has started all 32 on the left.

But the Dolphins clearly saw the bigger picture. According to numbers collected by ESPN Stats & Information, it's nearly impossible to draft a bust on the offensive line.

How are we defining a "bust"? Simply put, a bust is a top-15 pick who, for his career, meets these three criteria:

1. Was never a Pro Bowler
2. Started less than two-thirds of his games
3. Has extraordinarily low stat totals

Top-15 picks since 1995
Since 1995, the safest place to spend a high pick has been on the offensive line:

Offense Picked Bust %
O-line 29 3.4%
QB 25 20.0%
Skill 60 18.3%

Defense Picked Bust %
D-line 55 21.8%
LB/DB 56 16.1%

Since 1995, among top-15 picks, quarterbacks are busts at nearly eight times the rate of offensive linemen. Skill position players like running backs and wide receivers are busts five times as often. Even seemingly stable positions, like defensive linemen, are busts nearly nine times more often than their offensive counterparts.

That might sound harsh, but it's not. Consider that among that bust rate for QBs, even David Carr and Tim Couch -- massive busts in the opinions of most observers -- aren't considered busts. (And consider that 80 percent of teams that drafted a "bust" QB had .500 or worse seasons for the next four years after that draft.)

But teams continue to take QBs and skill positions high and overlook offensive linemen. Just look at recent years:

In 2005, only one offensive lineman was taken in the top 15: Jammal Brown. He is now perhaps the second-most important member of the Saints, protecting the blind side for Drew Brees. He's a Pro Bowler.
In 2006, D'Brickashaw Ferguson was the only OL taken in the top 15. He's a Pro Bowler.
In 2007, Joe Thomas and Levi Brown were the only tackles taken inside the top 15. Thomas is already a Pro Bowler, and Brown has started 43 of 45 career games, including all 32 over the past two seasons.
In 2008, Jake Long and Ryan Clady cracked the top 15. Both are Pro Bowlers. So did Chris Williams at No. 14. He was injured as a rookie, but started every game last year.
The 2009 class is still too young to grade, but among the early picks, Jason Smith is now a starter, and Michael Oher (No. 23) started every game as a rookie, and could be a Pro Bowler at RT.
Over the past 15 years, offensive linemen drafted in the top 15 have started 90 percent of their games. The next-closest position group is linebackers at 70.8 percent.
Meet Mel Kiper in Baltimore!
Want to meet Mel? Join us at the ESPN Zone on Monday after the draft. Mel will take questions and discuss how teams did, while Insiders enjoy free food and beverages. Get answers from Mel himself: Click here for tickets!

Three years ago, Mike Iupati wasn't sure if his future was as an offensive or defensive lineman. "I was pretty much begging to get him on offense," says Dan Fine, offensive line coach at Idaho. Fine prevailed, and Iupati is considered by many the most potentially dominating offensive lineman entering the draft. Of course, Iupati won't go in the top 10, because he projects as a guard. Guards, in dominant form, can be the key to a good running game. When Steve Hutchinson left Seattle for Minnesota, it literally shifted the fortunes of the running games of both teams the day he signed his deal.

But while Hutchinson might not be cut out to play tackle, a struggling left tackle can often do well as a right tackle or a guard. A player such as Trent Williams of Oklahoma could land in the top 10 of Thursday's draft because he could conceivably play everywhere on the offensive line.

Mike Iupati can play anywhere on the offensive line.
Bottom line: To "miss" on a tackle is hard to do, because he can usually play somewhere else and help. To "miss" on a QB is to merely waste a pick.

Why do offensive linemen do so much better on average? Fine and many others think they're easier to project.

If you're scouting them, "You can watch any play," Fine said. "They can never take a play off. A wideout, a running back, even a quarterback just handing off, they all don't have to be involved in every play. It's easier to track consistent dominance in offensive linemen."

You don't even have to fast-forward the tape.

Offensive linemen also "take pride in not being noticed," as Fine notes. In that sense, to notice them at all is to see either dominance or failure. Again, they can be easier to diagnose if you just watch.

The last debate on offensive linemen is the chicken-or-egg debate. For instance, in 2008, Miami also improved when it let Chad Pennington take the snaps behind that revamped offensive line. Sure, he was a big part of the success. But Pennington was also 32, had played a full season only once to that point, and had his best year, nearly winning the MVP award. He was sacked just 4.5 percent of the time (24 times), a huge decrease from the 42 sacks Miami had given up the year before. He was by no means great before that season. But behind a new offensive line, he was.

The point isn't whether Pennington was great. The point is, because the Dolphins drafted offensive linemen early, did he even have to be?

Kaylore
04-21-2010, 11:16 AM
Not if he's as dumb as is being rumored.

Dagmar
04-21-2010, 11:17 AM
Not if he's as dumb as is being rumored.

This.

Doggcow
04-21-2010, 11:18 AM
I really want Myron Rolle in the 2nd/3rd too.

Rohirrim
04-21-2010, 11:22 AM
The lines provide the fundamentals of victory but the QBs and WRs sell the tickets. ;D

Traveler
04-21-2010, 11:24 AM
Not if he's as dumb as is being rumored.

Guess I missed this rumor.

Link?

BowlenBall
04-21-2010, 11:33 AM
[QUOTE=bloodsunday;2813703]Maurice Pouncey.[QUOTE]

SOME people call him Maurice...

http://images4.cafepress.com/product/268919604v21_480x480_Front_Color-RedWhite.jpg

Kaylore
04-21-2010, 11:40 AM
Guess I missed this rumor.

Link?

He played at Florida, which is notorious for recruiting idiots. He played in a watered down spread offense. He didn't make any of his line calls and scored 14 on his wonderlic. That screams project unless he plays guard for a year or two and then slides over.

Br0nc0Buster
04-21-2010, 11:41 AM
screw Pouncey
there are so many better players we can get instead of him

s0phr0syne
04-21-2010, 11:43 AM
What would be thoughts on drafting Pouncey as guard for next year, and center of the future, while also drafting one of the more pro-ready centers in this draft like Tennant or Walton.

Would many people be against this? I see Pouncey as being a project with very high upside at center.

Rabb
04-21-2010, 11:47 AM
I am serious when I say that I think if we went BPA in the first we would be better off and then fill in needs later

there are so many difference making players in the first round this year that if we reach on someone at #11 I will be pissed

that is why we should trade out of the position if we are tempted to reach at 11

bloodsunday
04-21-2010, 11:50 AM
OK, so perhaps my point was lost here (I did post a multi-page article for a reason). I don't want the pick to be Bryant in particular or really any skilled player. Dez Bryant (even without his attitude problems) has a really small chance of coming in here and making people forget about Brandon Marshall. That's unrealistic. WR don't typically perform well as rookies and he hasn't played football in a long, long time.

My desired point was that denver needs to continue to build this team with "core" players. I want to see them go OL, LB, or even DL (if the right guy remains). I raised Pouncey's name mostly because he seems to be the most likely candidate based on position. Kaylore's criticism aside, he's the highest rated interior OL. I was just ddding that to the fact that OL is the safest place from which to build the core of your team. I think moving back and getting more picks is the best option.

broncosteven
04-21-2010, 11:51 AM
I just want them to get the best C on the Bronco's board I don't care what his name is.

cmhargrove
04-21-2010, 11:55 AM
[QUOTE=bloodsunday;2813703]Maurice Pouncey.[QUOTE]

SOME people call him Maurice...

http://images4.cafepress.com/product/268919604v21_480x480_Front_Color-RedWhite.jpg

:~ohyah!:

Durango
04-21-2010, 11:55 AM
He played at Florida, which is notorious for recruiting idiots. He played in a watered down spread offense. He didn't make any of his line calls and scored 14 on his wonderlic. That screams project unless he plays guard for a year or two and then slides over.

Oh no. I didn't know this. Just on this fact alone, McDaniels would be going against his own fundamental tenants of seeking out smart football players.

I was pretty worried the Broncos might take Pouncey at 11. Now, not so much.

Kaylore
04-21-2010, 11:58 AM
OK, so perhaps my point was lost here (I did post a multi-page article for a reason). I don't want the pick to be Bryant in particular or really any skilled player. Dez Bryant (even without his attitude problems) has a really small chance of coming in here and making people forget about Brandon Marshall. That's unrealistic. WR don't typically perform well as rookies and he hasn't played football in a long, long time.

My desired point was that denver needs to continue to build this team with "core" players. I want to see them go OL, LB, or even DL (if the right guy remains). I raised Pouncey's name mostly because he seems to be the most likely candidate based on position. Kaylore's criticism aside, he's the highest rated interior OL. I was just ddding that to the fact that OL is the safest place from which to build the core of your team. I think moving back and getting more picks is the best option.
I agree with your overall philosophy. I think either front line would be the place to put your early picks into. I think first rounds on O-line should be reserved for tackles, particularly of the left variety unless they can start right away and are complete freaks of nature. Pouncey is the latter but lacks the former and by your own admission we need someone to play sooner rather than later.

I would only be ok with Pouncey if it was later in the draft and he was the BPA and the Broncos FO felt he had the football IQ to hang in there. They put a higher premium on that than I do, so if they say it's ok, then it probably will be.

What would be thoughts on drafting Pouncey as guard for next year, and center of the future, while also drafting one of the more pro-ready centers in this draft like Tennant or Walton.
That just seems odd unless both can be awesome guards. But why draft two centers and then switch them around a few years later? It messes with continuity. I suppose if you could have them play multiple positions and then battle it out in camp, but then you've got issues developing rhythm in the QB exchange and those problems could manifest themselves down the road.

I say pick a center and let him go to work.

DHallblows
04-21-2010, 12:01 PM
You aware you did this?
http://www.orangemane.com/BB/showthread.php?t=90949

TheDave
04-21-2010, 12:01 PM
From all the info I can gather... Pouncey would be considered the 3rd or 4th best center in last years draft.

Traditionally centers don't get drafted in the 1st round.

No way he is worth the #11


Why the love fest for this guy?

SonOfLe-loLang
04-21-2010, 12:01 PM
We should draft him just so the Mane can consistently spell his name incorrectly.

bloodsunday
04-21-2010, 12:02 PM
I would only be ok with Pouncey if it was later in the draft and he was the BPA and the Broncos FO felt he had the football IQ to hang in there. They put a higher premium on that than I do, so if they say it's ok, then it probably will be.

I'm assuming they would move down if they draft him. I would likely not be enthusiastic about him at 11. I really, really home they move down no matter who they take.

bloodsunday
04-21-2010, 12:03 PM
You aware you did this?
http://www.orangemane.com/BB/showthread.php?t=90949

No. Sorry, having browser trouble.

bloodsunday
04-21-2010, 12:08 PM
From all the info I can gather... Pouncey would be considered the 3rd or 4th best center in last years draft.

Really, here's one take:

http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/front-office-total-access-stats.html&position=c


Scouting Report:
Maurkice Pouncey: No. 56, C, 6-5, 318

A massive center prospect who showcases impressive bend and initial quickness off the snap for his size, Pouncey does a great job of keeping his base low and gaining initial leverage on contact. He possesses a powerful lower body and does a great job of getting his hands inside opposing defenders and driving them off the ball. He's a gifted in-line run blocker and has the ability to consistently push at the point of attack. Pouncey snaps and steps quickly in the pass game and has the fluidity and balance to slide laterally in space and mirror opposing linemen in pass protection. He's fluid for his size with the anchor strength to sit into his stance and keep the pocket clean. One of the best centers to come along in years, Pouncey's combination of size, power and athleticism will likely make him one of the top players at his position in the NFL for years to come.

Grade: 7.5


National Football Post gave him the highest grade of any OL (tied with Okung). In fact, Pouncey, Berry, Okung, Suh, and McCoy were the only players they gave a 7.5 grade in the entire draft. Those other 4 are expected to be in the top 5 picks in the draft.

crush17
04-21-2010, 12:09 PM
I was on the Pouncey bandwagon for a long time, but I've since changed my perspective.

I agree with people saying he should be nowhere near an 11 pick, or even in the teens for that matter.

Play2win
04-21-2010, 12:10 PM
Here's hoping the draft pick will be...

CJ Spiller

GAMECHANGER

bloodsunday
04-21-2010, 12:11 PM
Here's hoping the draft pick will be...

CJ Spiller

GAMECHANGER

Sweet, so we can have the next Reggie Bush or Darren McFadden?

s0phr0syne
04-21-2010, 12:25 PM
There's a big diff between taking a Bush-type player at #2 overall and getting him later. Bush hasn't been the epic fail most people consider him to be. Just hasn't justified being #2 overall. If Spiller contributes by adding 5-10 touches as RB and giving us the big yardage plays, plus starting our offense off with awesome field position consistently as a KR/PR, he's well worth the #11.

If McD can make Spiller become something in between Chris Johnson and Percy Harvin, he'd be a valuable asset.

Traveler
04-21-2010, 12:31 PM
He played at Florida, which is notorious for recruiting idiots. He played in a watered down spread offense. He didn't make any of his line calls and scored 14 on his wonderlic. That screams project unless he plays guard for a year or two and then slides over.

I get what you are suggesting. Guess my view is that since we are also running a spread type of offense, his transition wouldn't as difficult.

Hell, some of the same things were said about Clady when he came out. IIRC, Clady scored one point lower than Pouncey on his wonderlic.

Guess this precludes the possible acquisition of Pouncey or Tebow.

Just messin' with you Kaylore.:thumbs:

OBF1
04-21-2010, 12:39 PM
He played at Florida, which is notorious for recruiting idiots. He played in a watered down spread offense. He didn't make any of his line calls and scored 14 on his wonderlic. That screams project unless he plays guard for a year or two and then slides over.

Damn.... next thing you know someone will say that BYU players are all known for having more than 1 wife. Serious Khan, I am suprised by your comment.

PS: I did not know you are personal friends with Urban Meyer or Steve Addazio to know what Pouncey's responsibilities were.

Play2win
04-21-2010, 12:51 PM
Sweet, so we can have the next Reggie Bush or Darren McFadden?

You couldn't be further from the truth. Spiller could singlehandedly make our offense dynamic (again).

Play2win
04-21-2010, 12:52 PM
there's a big diff between taking a bush-type player at #2 overall and getting him later. Bush hasn't been the epic fail most people consider him to be. Just hasn't justified being #2 overall. If spiller contributes by adding 5-10 touches as rb and giving us the big yardage plays, plus starting our offense off with awesome field position consistently as a kr/pr, he's well worth the #11.

If mcd can make spiller become something in between chris johnson and percy harvin, he'd be a valuable asset.

ftw

Rabb
04-21-2010, 12:55 PM
Sweet, so we can have the next Reggie Bush or Darren McFadden?

IMO, more like Chris Johnson

bloodsunday
04-21-2010, 12:56 PM
NFP's grading scale: http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/NFP-Grading-Scale.html

Pouncey was one of 5 players to receive a 7.5, no player was higher.

Play2win
04-21-2010, 01:05 PM
A center not making the line calls does raise some concerns.

Rugby7
04-21-2010, 01:15 PM
Maybe they should draft Myron Rolle, because apparently you guys think it takes a Rhodes Scholar to tell each other who to block.

Kaylore
04-21-2010, 01:19 PM
PS: I did not know you are personal friends with Urban Meyer or Steve Addazio to know what Pouncey's responsibilities were.

This is common knowledge. It's not some kind of secret scoop.