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View Full Version : Realistic expectations for first round pick?


Popps
04-25-2010, 04:22 PM
So, I've been thinking about the huge weight that seems to have been applied to this low first round pick. (Tebow) I can't recall a pick having such heavy scrutiny in a very long time. Jay Cutler was a #11 pick, and while Broncos fans were excited... I don't recall anyone claiming that Mike Shanahan was "forever tied" to the pick, etc. (Though, ultimately... there's an argument that the beginning of his end started with that pick.)

Also, when I look back over our drafts since the 1990s, it seems to me that not only are our lower 1st round picks batting a very low success rate, but our overall 1st round experience for two decades has been extremely inefficient.

In fact, when looking at every draft pick since 1990, I come up with 5 players that appear to be worth the pick we used to acquire them. (Last year graded a N/A at this point.)

Take it a step further, and only use lower 1st round picks...

In 20 years, we've selected only 2 players late in the first round who were significant contributers to the team...


91 4 Mike Croel Linebacker Nebraska
1992 25 Tommy Maddox Quarterback UCLA
1993 11 Dan Williams Defensive end Toledo [j]
1994 — No pick — — [k]
1995 — No pick — — [l]
1996 15 John Mobley Linebacker Kutztown
1997 28 Trevor Pryce Defensive tackle Clemson
1998 30 Marcus Nash Wide receiver Tennessee
1999 31 Al Wilson Linebacker Tennessee
2000 15 Deltha O'Neal Cornerback California [m]
2001 24 Willie Middlebrooks Cornerback Minnesota
2002 19 Ashley Lelie Wide receiver Hawaii
2003 20 George Foster Offensive tackle Georgia
2004 17 D. J. Williams Linebacker Miami (FL) [n]
2005 — No pick — — [o]
2006 11 Jay Cutler Quarterback Vanderbilt [p]
2007 17 Jarvis Moss Defensive end Florida [q]
2008 12 Ryan Clady Offensive tackle Boise State
2009 12 Knowshon Moreno Running back Georgia
18 Robert Ayers Defensive end Tennessee [r]
2010 22 Demaryius Thomas Wide receiver Georgia Tech
25 Tim Tebow Quarterback Florida

So, when we hear the "experts" attach such lofty and critical expectations to this pick, you have to wonder where thy these same experts aren't talking about Jarvis Moss, and how a 1st round pick from just three years ago is probably soon to be released.

How is it that we have outrage over the Tebow pick when he hasn't taken a single snap, and yet no mention of the time/money/pick invested in Jarvis Moss that will likely end with nothing.

Beyond that, given our (and likely most of the league's) track record in the first round... where do these demands of Tebow come from? Less than 30% of our 1st rounders have panned out, including higher choices. Why are the standards different for this one?

Now, we all expect writers to be pretty clueless... but maybe fans will put all of this in a bit more perspective, and have some fun with this pick, instead of expecting it to change the face of Colorado sports forever.

Think about it, if Tebow even developed into a part-time multi-weapon and a solid back-up, he'd be more valuable than 70% of our picks over the last 20 years, and only the 3rd lower 1st rounder in that span to serve the franchise productively.

Maybe if we fans keep a little reality check on this whole situation, we can better enjoy following... and rooting for his progress.

azbroncfan
04-25-2010, 04:31 PM
I have always said nothing in sports is more overrated than an NFL first round pick. In fact in my opinion is that the pick has more value in trading back and acquiring more picks than the actual player that is drafted. Good analysis Popps.

Popps
04-25-2010, 04:33 PM
"I've never heard more wasted conversation in my life..."

-Jon Gruden on where players are/should be selected.

Bronco Boy
04-25-2010, 04:50 PM
Uhh...Clady? Oh, I see. Late in the first round.

gunns
04-25-2010, 04:52 PM
Maybe if we fans keep a little reality check on this whole situation, we can better enjoy following... and rooting for his progress.


That was good, but revealing Shanahan's problems with the late 1st round doesn't equate to it being an overall problem. I would have liked to see late rounders, for that time period, overall success rate. That being said even if it's a majority of the late rounders, I don't need a reality check to better enjoy the following and root for his progress. I do that because I'm a Bronco fan.

ColoradoDarin
04-25-2010, 05:00 PM
You need a much bigger sample to mean anything (how many late 1st rounders we've had prior to this year - 6). Even if you take the full sample of first rounders in the last 20 years, it's still not enough. You are also talking about 3-4 different regimes of picking players with different criteria. I really don't know if this means anything.

Popps
04-25-2010, 05:18 PM
You need a much bigger sample to mean anything (how many late 1st rounders we've had prior to this year - 6). Even if you take the full sample of first rounders in the last 20 years, it's still not enough. You are also talking about 3-4 different regimes of picking players with different criteria. I really don't know if this means anything.

I think it does, and I think you just answered the question.

How many late first round picks have been "organization changers" for this team?

Really very few over the course of the franchise. Even our higher picks have had a very low success rate.

So, again... it's not that you don't hope for the best, here. But, if people are demanding that he's the savior of the franchise, simply because he was picked in the top 30 picks, I'd suggest they balance those demands by looking at the reality of 1st round pick success rate over the course of history.

Mogulseeker
04-25-2010, 05:25 PM
A lot of our best players were taken in the 4th.

extralife
04-25-2010, 05:26 PM
Don't be stupid. You miss with a first round QB, someone pays a price. When that first round QB is simultaneously the most known college player in the last fifty years AND a guy MOST people around the game of football think we significantly overpaid for, well, it ain't getting any easier. Don't be naive just to cover McD's ass before the kid ever puts on a Broncos uniform. That you already feel the need to try to soften the blow of a possible falls tells us you yourself believe what you appear to be railing against in this thread.

And lets go down the list anyway, just for kicks

91: serviceable
92: disastrous pick, but a serviceable player far down the road
93: got me
96: integral part of super bowl teams
97: almost a hall of fame kind of player
98: bust
99: great player, all pro, etc.
00: below average pick, had some high points and a pro bowl year, but way too inconsistent
01: bust
02: see 00
03: bust, but at least started for two teams
04: has played ever LB position for us, occasionally at a pro bowl level
06: not even touching this, but it ain't a bust
07: bust
08: baring something strange, this one looks like a home run

So it's almost 50/50 for the Broncos. I would say our first round picks over that period of time have probably been slightly below league average. Not that I know where you're even going with that.

bowtown
04-25-2010, 05:45 PM
Maybe if we fans keep a little reality check on this whole situation, we can better enjoy following... and rooting for his progress.

You must be new here.

gyldenlove
04-25-2010, 05:46 PM
A 1st round pick is a 50/50 proposition going around the league, about half the players will have solid careers at least and about half will last less than 5 years or ride the pine.

The real difference comes with QBs, there are no average QBs, if you are a lineman it is fine being the average guy next to the superstar, but if you are the QB if you are not good, you are bad. Almost every player can find a spot in the league as a backup or rotation guy but that doesn't happen with QBs, so QBs are always binary, 0 or 1.

Lets look at the 4 players we have drafted in the 1st round the last couple of years. Moreno, even if he doesn't become the pro bowl stud RB, he can still find a solid niche as a 15 carry guy who blocks and catches as well, you can make a very good career like that, just look at Westbrook. Ayers, even if he is not the next Demarcus Ware or Elvis Dumervil, he could be the next Mike Vrabel or Jarrett Johnson, that would be good, you need those guys to win super bowls - Thomas doesn't have to be the new Randy Moss, David Givens would do just fine. Tebow on the other hand will most likely never be a support player, if he is not Tom Brady or Ben Roethlisberger he might be Rex Grossman or Alex Smith, and that is just not enough.

gyldenlove
04-25-2010, 05:47 PM
Remember, there are only two kinds of teams in the NFL: Those who have a franchise QB and those who are looking for one.

listopencil
04-25-2010, 06:04 PM
Jay Cutler was a #11 pick, and while Broncos fans were excited... I don't recall anyone claiming that Mike Shanahan was "forever tied" to the pick, etc. (Though, ultimately... there's an argument that the beginning of his end started with that pick.)


So...those of us that were seriously PISSED THE **** OFF when Shanny picked Cutler were absolutely correct?

listopencil
04-25-2010, 06:08 PM
2000 15 Deltha O'Neal Cornerback California [m]
2001 24 Willie Middlebrooks Cornerback Minnesota
2002 19 Ashley Lelie Wide receiver Hawaii
2003 20 George Foster Offensive tackle Georgia


Wow. That is some depressing **** right there.

Popps
04-25-2010, 06:17 PM
So...those of us that were seriously PISSED THE **** OFF when Shanny picked Cutler were absolutely correct?

In retrospect? Sure. ;)

listopencil
04-25-2010, 06:25 PM
In retrospect? Sure. ;)

I almost always get pissed ahead of time or blow up instantly. Rarely do I get angry in retrospect. :wiggle:

extralife
04-25-2010, 06:30 PM
The real difference comes with QBs, there are no average QBs

This is probably the most true thing on this board in the last god knows how long. At that position, you're either a superstar or you're gone. There's nothing inbetween. No one would complain about having the Kyle Orton of left guards, but the Kyle Orton of QBs is a point of contention, and it's made that guy's career extremely unstable. If Tim Tebow isn't a superstar, it's a problem, and that problem will extend beyond himself.

Rohirrim
04-25-2010, 07:18 PM
You must not have been here when Reeves selected Maddox. That was a **** storm. I sometimes wonder how crazy it would have been if we had the interwebs back then.

Oh, and that pick got Reeves fired.

FireFly
04-25-2010, 07:23 PM
I have always said nothing in sports is more overrated than an NFL first round pick. In fact in my opinion is that the pick has more value in trading back and acquiring more picks than the actual player that is drafted. Good analysis Popps.

QFT

I would almost always trade back or trade for vets the premium placed on 1st is crazy - you're paying for HOPE not production

bloodsunday
04-25-2010, 07:37 PM
Man there are some picks on that list I would like to forget!

At the end of the day a draft pick is a draft pick. Where he was drafted doesn't matter beyond draft day. (I would say perhaps the lone exception is teams inside the top 10 because of the money involved -- especially for QBs). Even though everyone assumes he "projects" better to the NFL, I would argue Bradford is the biggest risk because they are going to have to give him $80M.

But I digress....

If we get a Pro Bowler and a couple of quality starters out of this draft, then it was a success. Period. It won't matter if Tebow is one of those guys are not. Winning and Losing is all you are judged on in the NFL. People that assume our whole draft is with Tebow are just stupid. If Tebow "busts", but Thomas, Beadles and Walton become staples of our new offense, who cares?

bloodsunday
04-25-2010, 07:38 PM
In general if you go into a draft assuming your first round picks are going to play HUGE roles for your organization, you probably don't have a huge ceiling for the following season anyway.

Popps
04-25-2010, 07:49 PM
In general if you go into a draft assuming your first round picks are going to play HUGE roles for your organization, you probably don't have a huge ceiling for the following season anyway.

Certainly it's reasonable to expect a return on your investment.

But, look... if you play poker, and you get your money in with 88 against AA, you've got about a 20% chance of winning.

Are you going to be surprised or upset when those odds hold?

We've hit on about 30% of our 1st round draft picks, most of those being higher selections. I'm sure the league average for lower 1st round picks is close to ours over 20 years.


So, again... it's great to hope for the best. As fans, that's our job. But, if you want to get down to the math of this thing... Tebow has around a 30% chance of working out, if he's lucky. Same as any other #25 pick in the history of the league.

bloodsunday
04-25-2010, 07:57 PM
Certainly it's reasonable to expect a return on your investment.

But, look... if you play poker, and you get your money in with 88 against AA, you've got about a 20% chance of winning.

Are you going to be surprised or upset when those odds hold?

We've hit on about 30% of our 1st round draft picks, most of those being higher selections. I'm sure the league average for lower 1st round picks is close to ours over 20 years.


So, again... it's great to hope for the best. As fans, that's our job. But, if you want to get down to the math of this thing... Tebow has around a 30% chance of working out, if he's lucky. Same as any other #25 pick in the history of the league.

First of all, I think the league average is probably higher than ours -- there were some miserable picks there. I think that's ultimately why Shanahan couldn't get it together after after 1998. It also depends on how you define working out. Gerrard Warren was a disaster for Cleveland but has had a serviceable NFL career. All that said, I get your point.

But, since you brought up odds. If the the odds of every pick "working out" are 50/50 (theoretically), then the real problem with the Tebow picks is that we gave up 2 others to get it. We'd theoretically have odds that 1.5 of those guys "worked out" where right now our theoretical value is only .5.

Nonetheless, you shouldn't expect first round picks to contribute right away, ironically (because they are paid so much), quarterbacks in particular. If Tebow is our 2011 starter we'll have done well.

Tombstone RJ
04-25-2010, 08:08 PM
Certainly it's reasonable to expect a return on your investment.

But, look... if you play poker, and you get your money in with 88 against AA, you've got about a 20% chance of winning.

Are you going to be surprised or upset when those odds hold?

We've hit on about 30% of our 1st round draft picks, most of those being higher selections. I'm sure the league average for lower 1st round picks is close to ours over 20 years.


So, again... it's great to hope for the best. As fans, that's our job. But, if you want to get down to the math of this thing... Tebow has around a 30% chance of working out, if he's lucky. Same as any other #25 pick in the history of the league.

Your sample base is way too small to make that claim. Your using the Broncos first round picks since 1990 which is not representative of the other 31 teams in the NFL.

The only way you make that kind of claim is by comparing the Broncos success rate with the success rate of the 31 other members of the NFL. I'm thinking it's closer to 50%.

broncosteven
04-25-2010, 08:22 PM
Certainly it's reasonable to expect a return on your investment.

But, look... if you play poker, and you get your money in with 88 against AA, you've got about a 20% chance of winning.

Are you going to be surprised or upset when those odds hold?

We've hit on about 30% of our 1st round draft picks, most of those being higher selections. I'm sure the league average for lower 1st round picks is close to ours over 20 years.


So, again... it's great to hope for the best. As fans, that's our job. But, if you want to get down to the math of this thing... Tebow has around a 30% chance of working out, if he's lucky. Same as any other #25 pick in the history of the league.

This is why when you hit on a 4th rounder who becomes a top 3-5 player at his position I prefer to keep him around rather than trade for picks that MAY work out.

BTW does your point go for Thomas who was picked at 22 or just TT?

spdirty
04-25-2010, 08:38 PM
Tebow is going to work out. I have a gut feeling about this guy. Just trust me on this.

Its all about the work ethic.

gyldenlove
04-25-2010, 09:13 PM
Tebow is going to work out. I have a gut feeling about this guy. Just trust me on this.

Its all about the work ethic.

So that is why Roethlisberger has two rings, work ethic, he must work super hard because he is the last one in and first one to leave.

Popps
04-25-2010, 09:14 PM
This is why when you hit on a 4th rounder who becomes a top 3-5 player at his position I prefer to keep him around rather than trade for picks that MAY work out.?

Absolutely agree, and I'm sure that's the plan for every player who makes it possible.

BTW does your point go for Thomas who was picked at 22 or just TT?

Sure. Though, I haven't heard nearly the rhetoric about how he'll lose McDaniels his job if he doesn't pan out, etc. But, yea... Thomas has about a 30% chance of working out, by our historical standards... and probably only slightly higher by league standards.


Like BloodySunday said... you come away with maybe one starter or two and a few contributors from each draft, and you've done well. This non-stop hand-wringing about how we took one guy 3 slots lower than he should have been is just lunacy. It's not remotely based on any logical historical data.

Every draft in history would be radically revised if rated by value in hindsight.

Taco John
04-25-2010, 09:15 PM
So, I've been thinking about the huge weight that seems to have been applied to this low first round pick. (Tebow) I can't recall a pick having such heavy scrutiny in a very long time. Jay Cutler was a #11 pick, and while Broncos fans were excited... I don't recall anyone claiming that Mike Shanahan was "forever tied" to the pick, etc. (Though, ultimately... there's an argument that the beginning of his end started with that pick.)



Oh absolutely they did. Similar statements were made about Shanahan and Plummer, though I thought that was tenuous because Plummer was the best of a bad crop of FAs that year.

theAPAOps5
04-25-2010, 09:17 PM
Is this another Taco vs Popps thread? Man you guys are like a married couple!

SportinOne
04-25-2010, 09:26 PM
So, I've been thinking

Putting your patented Popps Spin on a given topic is one thing, but flat out lying to us is quite another.

SportinOne
04-25-2010, 09:39 PM
How is it that we have outrage over the Tebow pick when he hasn't taken a single snap, and yet no mention of the time/money/pick invested in Jarvis Moss that will likely end with nothing.

You answered your own question days ago...

McD has polarized his own situation. He's not afraid of anything. I like that. But, from a perception standpoint... he's made bold moves that are going to gain him immense praise or criticism. No in between.

But, the wild card? Pat Bowlen believes in him, and won't pull the trigger on replacing him to quickly. That's why I think he'll wind up being a success in Denver.

About this: I have no idea whether or not McDaniels will be successful in Denver but i do agree in that Bowlen is going to have to believe in him if he is to be successful.

However, if he pulls the plug too early it's really going to be a mess. This is what i most fear. I saw flashes of great things from McDaniels last year and i really hope that all this change develops into progress and not just a bunch of blind juggling. In the back of my mind, though, i feel like Bowlen will panic one day and end it prematurely.

Popps
04-26-2010, 01:24 AM
Oh absolutely they did. Similar statements were made about Shanahan and Plummer, though I thought that was tenuous because Plummer was the best of a bad crop of FAs that year.

Actually, you're correct... there was controversy, but I don't remember the media pressure so much as a divided fan-base.

In other words, I don't think it was about demands that Jay pan out or it was a disaster so much as... should he have made other moves to improve the team.

It wasn't like the media was saying... "wow, this Cutler hasn't won anything in his life, and Shanahan is using a #11 pick on him, etc." They just accepted that it was a pick that would either work out or it wouldn't.


My point isn't about any specific QB, so much as how ridiculous it is to pretend as if 1st round picks WERE a sure thing until we took Tebow and screwed it all up.

It's a ****ing crap-shoot. 70% of ours have been busts. I'll bet more than half of ALL 1st round picks are busts or close to it.

McDaniels took a calculated risk on Tebow. We'll see if it works out. Personally, it think it will... if only as a multi-purpose weapon and solid back-up. Again, even that would be better than 70% of our picks over a 20 year period.

Popps
04-26-2010, 01:28 AM
Is this another Taco vs Popps thread? Man you guys are like a married couple!

Actually, not at all.

I think Taco and I both are on the same page with Orton. (Liked him, but see the limitations.)

I also think we're both on the same page with Tebow. (Excited as hell to see what he can do.)


So, unless someone wants to bring up Griese or Plummer, Taco and I are probably done with our QB wars for a while.


In fact, you may see us teaming up on Tebow bashers together. Imagine the global impact such a turn of events could have.

Bronco Yoda
04-26-2010, 01:28 AM
All draft picks are gambles. That's why I usually prefer keeping the bird in hand over draft picks.

Lomax
04-26-2010, 01:41 AM
This is probably the most true thing on this board in the last god knows how long. At that position, you're either a superstar or you're gone. There's nothing inbetween. No one would complain about having the Kyle Orton of left guards, but the Kyle Orton of QBs is a point of contention, and it's made that guy's career extremely unstable. If Tim Tebow isn't a superstar, it's a problem, and that problem will extend beyond himself.

The statement is true, but with the understanding that you're only as good as your last season. Orton was widely considered a bum as of last season. We were going nowhere fast with him. We were supposed to have a bottom 5 offense because of his incompetence. Now he's widely considered a solid short-term option. One season. Bum to solid, but not franchise, starting QB.

If Orton puts up a 112 QBR and we win the Superbowl this year, he's suddenly viewed as a franchise QB, despite anything that has taken place up to this point.

Point being, who is average and who is franchise changes from season to season. Very few QBs actually remain "franchise" through their careers. Probably about 98% of starting QBs have at one point or another not been viewed as "the answer". Everybody hopes that their QB will be the next All-Pro, but the reality is, very very few actually are.

bloodsunday
04-26-2010, 09:54 AM
This is why when you hit on a 4th rounder who becomes a top 3-5 player at his position I prefer to keep him around rather than trade for picks that MAY work out.

In general I think you are right. But I would make several points that are mitigating circumstances here:
1) Marshall has legal troubles that could lead to a lengthy suspension in the future if he slips up again
2) Marshall wants a new contract. It's very common for teams to get rid of players that they think they have gotten the most out of around contract time.
3) Marshall didn't really want to be here. He's hated this town since the Darrent Williams incident

Look at it this way. If he hadn't been eligible to be a RFA this year, Marshall likely would have left town and Denver would have nothing to show for it.