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Why Some Picks Are Worth Top 10 Money And Others NOT!

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  • #31
    c. Contract length is a key also, as alluded to before. Under the current collective bargaining agreement, (whose terms I mostly expect to continue into the foreseeable future once a new deal is reached,) a player on a 5- or 6-year contract hits unrestricted free agency after their rookie contract. A second-rounder on a 4-year deal is a restricted free agent at the end of his. That means that the team can control him cheaply for a fifth year too. So say Alphonso Smith plays great and completes his 4-year deal, and earns $4.8 Million (assuming a 5 percent raise over Curtis Lofton's deal last season, which is probably reasonable). The Broncos could tender him with a first- and third-round tender, which nobody will want to pay. The cost, in today's dollars, would be an incremental $2.562 million, so let's say it's $3.27 Million five years from now. (That number was extrapolated by running a 5% annual raise out 5 years, or mathematically, 2.562 X 1.055).

    That brings the 5-year total to $8.07 Million, or $1.61 Million per year. Compare that to the contract that CB Domonique Foxworth just signed with Baltimore. He got $28 Million for four years, with $16.5 Million guaranteed. Foxworth improved in Atlanta, and got to the level of a completely average player. This is simple math, folks. A better player can be had for a quarter of the price of a lesser player. You take that deal every time. It's exactly the reason that you want to build through the Draft.

    d. Time for more fun with charts, with a derivative of the above chart, this time projecting slot costs for players drafted in 2009.

    We're making a couple of important assumptions here.

    i.'s Scouts Inc. knows what they're doing in valuing prospects, and their 1-100 grading scale is linear in nature, by which I mean, a one-point difference between 90 and 91 is the same as a one-point difference between 66 and 67 or 30 and 31. Each unit must represent the same amount of value on a scale of 1 to 100. (This entire assumption is somewhat dubious, but it's what we have to work with.)

    ii. All slots will get a 5% raise this season, which again, is probably reasonable, if not slightly optimistic for the players, given the weak economy.

    So, with those assumptions in mind, notice how little relative value you get out of the top 7 picks. Compare that with how much relative value you get from lower picks. This indicates what I have been saying (and I am definitely not the first person to do so), that the second round is the sweet spot for value.

    Our five Day One picks from this Draft will cost a total of about $9.5 million per year over the next 4-5 years, or about three-quarters of a million dollars less than Darrius Heyward-Bey, the second coming of Ashley Lelie. That is value maximization.

    2. As for the MSM's incessant howling about Alphonso Smith being too short, people ought to read this excellent FanPost from gnarlybroncodude. Now, I personally tend to be a guy who favors taller CBs, all things being equal, because I favor man-to-man press coverage. (Hence my love-fest for Sean Smith).

    Josh McDaniels made clear the other day that he favors shorter, more fluid CBs. To paraphrase him, he said that the jump-ball situations where shorter guys are at a disadvantage happen too infrequently in a season to be very worried about, when compared to the quickness benefit you can get all the time. I think that makes a good deal of sense, and in any case, Alphonso Smith was one of my Players I Love a few weeks before the Draft. I value ball skills in a DB over any other factor. I was, and am, thrilled with this pick.

    3. One of the fundamental rules of Finance is that sunk costs become irrelevant once they are incurred. I just spent $2,000 getting the engine of my car fixed, because the #4 rod bearing failed due to a manufacturing defect, and I was past the power-train warranty by a year and 20,000 miles. If something else major goes next year, the two grand I spent this weekend is not germane to next year's fix-or-junk decision. It must be evaluated independently, because paying the two grand was judged to be the right call in the spring of 2009, and that's that.

    By the same token, watching the Broncos record this season through the prism of the traded first-round pick is a waste of time, and an exercise for the unintelligent. It doesn't matter, because the decision was deemed to be the right one in the spring of 2009. Sportswriters like to second-guess, and root for their instant "analysis" to have been correct. I consider that to be pandering to (and encouraging) foolishness from the consumers of their content.

    Think about it like this. You're playing Texas Hold-em, and sitting on pocket aces, and after slow-playing it pre-flop, the flop comes out Ace, 7, 10, rainbow. You go all-in with a set of Aces, heads-up against a guy with a bigger stack than you, who has King-8 of clubs. The other guy catches running clubs on the turn and the river, for a flush, and you bust out. Was going all-in a bad decision? Of course it wasn't. At the time you made the decision, it was clearly the right call, at more than 9-to-1 odds. You go get a stiff drink and try again tomorrow, and do exactly the same thing the next time you're faced with the same situation. The end.

    By the way, if the naysayers are correct, and the Broncos' pick is in next year's top 10, I bet the Seahawks try like crazy to get out of it. (Political messaging time.) Top-10 picks provide extremely low relative value vis-a-vis the money you have to spend on them. Remember when the Patriots had San Francisco's 7th choice in 2008, from the Joe Staley deal the year before? They wanted OUT of that pick, and only could get down to #10, where they took Jerod Mayo. They thought they could get him in the late teens, but couldn't find a taker for the 10th pick.

    4. I talk about pundits a lot, and there is always a negative connotation to that word when I use it. The reason is that I associate the word with political talking heads, and I think that virtuall all of those people do society a great injustice by focusing on the wrong things. In this time of 24-hour news cycles and instant analysis, the pundits focus on process and horse race, rather than on policies which affect people's lives down the line. It's always "What does he have to do to get elected?" rather than "Are his policy proposals good for America?" This is how tens of millions of Americans can get a tax cut without fully understanding that they got one, for example. The media is more concerned with the politics than the policy.

    I think football pundits do the same thing, especially around draft time. They're more worried about the process of it all, than with how the results translate to the field. Because they can read a value chart and a few scouting reports, they can pass themselves off as process experts.

    Adam Schein can rip the Broncos for taking Knowshon Moreno, and it is (arguably) pertinent content today. When Knowshon rushes for 1,500 yards this season and helps the Broncos win games, Schein's rant will be a distant memory, from many news-cycles past. I remember when Schein brutally ripped the Packers for hiring Mike McCarthy. Before I got rid of Sirius, he had him as a regular guest on his radio show, and Schein couldn't get enough of kissing up to "Michael J. McCarthy."

    Rick "Mr. Puff-Piece" Reilly also goes the shrill route, and calls Josh McDaniels Boy Blunder, and claims that it's arrogant that McDaniels takes a different approach to draft board construction than "most boards." He incorrectly states that McDaniels traded a #1 to "move up" in the second round. He goes on to tell us, as Broncos fans, that we're screwed. It seems to me that he ought to be posting on the DPO message board, with moral clarity like that, to go with such a weak grasp of the facts.

    As a person who is strictly an opinion writer/analyst myself, I try to be careful to be measured and consider all sides, because being wrong always comes back on you when your work is archived. I expect to be wrong sometimes, but I think that being reasonable in your original presentation, and making transparent acknowledgment of the fact that you could be wrong goes a long way.
    And goes on...


    • #32
      5. The flip side is that my opinions are completely independent of anybody else's, and not very subject to change at all. In a forum like MHR, I am happy to read other people's opinions, and I think it's great that we can all discuss football, and share thoughts, and have our opinions evolve from the discourse. If somebody wants to tell me that the Alphonso Smith trade was dumb, I'll never agree with that, no matter what they say, so there's no point in me arguing with them. I think what I think, and they're free to think what they think. That's what I mean when I say I am not in the arguing business, I am in the saying-what-I-think business.

      I relate this to Josh McDaniels' comments about how he doesn't care what anybody else's evaluations were. That's definitely the right attitude, in my opinion. I am solely responsible for the content of this column, so the only things which matter to it are what and how I think. When I spend 4-5 hours every Sunday writing it, I don't think for one second about how anybody else is going to take it. I am solely focused on writing value-adding content that MHR readers will want to read.

      Josh McDaniels and Brian Xanders are responsible for selecting the personnel for the Broncos, so the only things which matter to that process are what and how they think. They have to produce a winning team, so their focus is solely on that.

      Disagreement and criticism are fine, in both arenas, but at the end of the day, only results matter. McDaniels and Xanders don't care, just like I don't care. There's no room for hurt feelings, only for production and results.
      I think there are some good points.