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Thread: Most Important Positions / Building a Team

  1. #1

    Most Important Positions / Building a Team

    It's a constant source of debate in the various sites I visit, am posting a debate between others below from another site that is always interesting reading...

    Ask the 49ers how important KR is. They just lost a Super Bowl to an elite kick returner, and lost last years Conference championship due to having a low-end, plug and fill punt returner.
    *******************
    -49ers have the best OL in the NFL, and they lost to a team that has better skill players (QB, WRs, KR, etc…)
    -2 teams won 4 SBs without investing a lot in their OL.
    Great OLs are overrated in today’s game.
    *******************
    The browns and eagles invested a lot in their OLs, so did that help them win a SB?
    They pick 4th and 6th in this draft.
    *******************
    It was very comforting to know that with a lead and four minutes left the game it was usually over with a wall of Shell, Upshaw, Dalby/Otto, Marvin and Lawrence/Vella.
    *******************
    Different game today man.
    4 minutes means 2 possessions left.
    Teams only need about 30 seconds to go 25-30 yards, and kickers are making 54 yard game-winning FG’s no prob, which they wouldn’t even have tried in the 70’s.
    *******************
    Some teams don’t even have a FB.
    It is a different game.
    Steelers won 2 SBs with one of the worst OL in the league.
    *******************
    What did the Falcons go, 35 yards in 25 seconds or something against Seattle?
    Same thing against us, and kicked a 55 yard FG to win it.
    If a kicker made a 55 yard game-winning FG in the 70’s, they would have put him on the cover of SI.
    Now, it is old hat.
    *******************
    From 1967 to 1975, Blanda was 1 of 10 on 50+ yard FG’s.
    That has completely changed the landscape of end of game situations, with kickers routinely making 53+ yard FG’s.
    *******************
    You can not run OR pass efectively without a good Oline.
    **************************
    You know, it obviously helps, but I just don’t buy that every “effective” running or passing team has a good O-line.
    The Ravens got some shoddy LT play all season and seemed fine. Bears have some of the worst O-line play ever in the history of football, and can run and fling it most weeks.
    Colts O-line graded out as 2nd worst in football, but everytime they needed a score with 3 minutes to go, they got it.
    **************************
    Yep, great OLs are overrated in today’s game.
    We don’t have a great OL, and we still managed to throw for 4000+ yards.

    =========



    Most important positions imo, even with the game changing…


    OL > QB > DL/LB > HB > WR > CB/SS/FS > TE > KI > KR/PR > FB > PU > LS


    Or more detailed…


    LT > QB > C > RDE > NT > UT > LDE > RT > LG/RG > MLB/ILB > OLB > HB > FL > SE > SL > LCB > RCB > NB > SS > FS > TE > KI > KR > FB > PR > PU > LS

    Imo, you must build inside-out first, when you have a top 15 or better ranked OL then upgrade the play-making positions (RB/WR/CB)....not the other way around.

    The OL vs Front 7 (DL/LB) is fundamental to football, every play is based on the win-loss of the trenches.

    ———


    Some points other people made elsewhere…


    “ravens OL most of the season was troublesome, but when they sorted it out pre-playoffs, it was playing at an elite caliber, flacco oodles of time, big contributor to his success too”


    “A star QB will always overcome shoddy Oline play, but for 80% of the league, it’s pretty key.”


    “teams running balanced or smash-mouth football especially require a dominant OL to be effective in that”


    ========

    Keen to read all your thoughts/opinions on this sort of debate.
    Kilroy was here

  2. #2
    a good comment....

    Anyone that says that about line play does not understand the game.


    Ray Lewis made the point best:

    Ray Lewis made his point clear. Ten days before Saturday’s NFL Draft, he went on ESPN and said his Baltimore Ravens needed to draft a run-stuffing nose tackle in the first round. His former teammate, Maake Kemoeatu, a 350-pound nose tackle, had signed as a free agent with Carolina.

    Without a big man in front of him, Lewis complained, he could not make plays. “If I’m not being used right,” he said, “you might as well let me go.”


    9 of your starting 22 (41%) plays exclusively in the box.

    OLines create time and space. Dlines destroy time and space.

    The rest of the pieces fill in the gaps.

    A team will never be a consistently, strong, winning franchise building the lines with low round draft picks or free agents.

    Taken to another extreme, a team will not be able to beat their division/conference competition when they consistently use high picks to build this part of their team.

    These are typically 270-320 pound athletes that need to have the agility and quickness of college level skill players. You are not likely to find premier or at least very good lineman in the fifth to seventh round or packing out at Wal Mart THAT ARE BETTER THAN WHAT OTHER NFL TEAMS HAVE.

    A team needs to build their CORE through the draft and expend enough high round draft picks on lineman to ensure superior line play. You build the core of your team through the draft especially with the rookie cap in place. You use FA’s for niche pieces to buy time or plug a hole.
    Then the inevitable rebuttal, it's a never-ending circle...

    After Ray Lewis made that quote…..they kept the same NT for the next 5 years.
    His name was Kelly Gregg.
    Ngata played DE and they went 5-11 his second year.
    Why? No QB.
    Drafted Flacco and they have taken off.
    And the circle again...

    And more rebuttals...


    GIANTS/STEELERS DRAFT HISTORY FOR THE PAST TEN YEARS REVEALS THE FOLLOWING:


    The Giants drafted 8 “in the box” type players with first or second round picks during the past decade.
    What is misleading is when you go back a bit further you find:

    STRAHAN #1
    PETITGOUT #1
    GRAGG #2

    The Giants had the good fortune of getting unusual longevity out of VERY HIGH DRAFT PICKS. AS A RESULT THEY HAD A CORE THAT ALLOWED THEM TO FOCUS ON SKILL GUYS WITH HIGH PICKS BECAUSE THEY HAD BUILT THE CORE OF THEIR LINES IN THE LATE 90’S.


    The Steelers drafted 12 “in the box” type players with first or second round picks during the last decade.


    BY CONTRAST THE RAIDERS DRAFTED 7 IN THE BOX TYPE PLAYERS WITH HIGH ROUND PICKS. THEY ALSO TRADED AWAY THREE OF THEIR 20 HIGH ROUND PICKS DURING THAT TIME. MOST WERE ALL AVERAGE TO POOR PICKS. BRAYTON,HOWARD,GALLERY,GROVE,McCLAIN. WE CAN BE GENEROUS AND SAY THAT HOUSTON AND WIZ II WERE SUCCESSFUL.


    THE MORAL OF THE STORY IS THAT SUCCESSFUL WINNING FRANCHISES BUILD THE CORE OF THEIR LINES WITH FIRST AND SECOND ROUND PICKS. IF THEY MISS THEY KEEP DOING IT TILL THEY GET IT RIGHT.


    THAT IS WHAT THE RAIDERS USED TO DO AND THEY GOT AWAY FROM IT FOR THE LAST DECADE.

    ANYONE SAYING THAT IT IS UNWISE TO USE TOP PICKS ON “IN THE BOX TALENT” IS NOT KNOWLEDGABLE ABOUT RAIDER HISTORY OR THE GAME:

    Conners #2 Schuh #2 Upshaw #1 Thoms #1 Buehler #2 Villapianao #2 Korver #2 Johnson#2 Lawrence #2 Millen #2 Mosebar #1 Pickell #2
    Last edited by GGEden; 02-16-2013 at 08:02 PM.
    Kilroy was here

  3. #3
       
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    For me, it's QB, OL, front 7 on defense. If you can throw the ball, protect the QB, open holes for backs, stop the run and rush the passer, you'll win a lot of games.

    Used to be middle linebacker was the key defender. But those days are gone, since they made pass defense harder and running became less critical.

    The first point you quoted, that the 49ers OL didn't help them, is missing two important points. One, it got them to the Super Bowl. Two, Baltimore's o-line was also playing at a very high level in the playoffs. There wasn't much between them.

  4. #4
    Yep, spot on with your last point wxwax.

    The problem with this debate is both sides of it make so many good points that it goes round and round endlessly...even if you or I or others do believe you build the core first and inside-out, can still see examples where teams didn't succeed with that, and where other teams succeed building outside-in.

    And as someone else said elsewhere...the amount of short passing, quick slants, 3 step drops, spread, having a killer OL isn't so weighted anymore.

    Will add that the way the NFL is in danger of heading towards CFL....in the CFL OL/DL is almost irrelevant. They stand a yard apart, big difference, they're more light small agile, it's all about passing, they have the running in-motion player, wider field, three downs.

    The OL is becoming less crucial if the NFL continues down this path + increase of Spread offense and No Huddle and Up-Tempo Chip Kelly-like.

    If the NFL tries to ensure a BALANCE between run/pass and between Offense/Defense is kept...then OL/DL importance will still be paramount.
    Kilroy was here

  5. #5
       
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    Another issue is time. You are trying to build a team OVER multiple years of drafting.

    Different positions have different lifespans. And some positions take time to mature into their max value, which also means that they take time to measure if successful or need to be jettisoned.

    So to get your team to max out together, you need to get the long life span premium positions first, and the ones not yet ripe next, then the ones that age fast and are Plug and Play last.

    Using QB/OL/D7 (i.e. 13 positions) as premium, and assuming you get 80% HIT rate on 1st and 2nd picks, 40% on 3-5th, and 10% thereafter. You get that you need to draft at this high level for about 4 years to build a team, and you need to get your slow maturing picks (QB?) in the 2nd or 3rd year.

    I wonder if we took the good teams and went the 4 years prior to when they got good and see how they drafted and whether a model like this matched reality much of the time.

  6. #6
       
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    Are you sure you want everyone to max at the same time? That means they'll all decline at the same time, too. Anyway, that's an impossible goal, no?

    The best teams have the most potent mix of coming, there and going players. Doubtful there's a single or best formula.

  7. #7
       
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    But you don't want to draft a RB 3 years before you draft your OL, unless he's Barry Sanders. You need them all to BE in their prime years together.

    So draft strength, then brains, then speed.

  8. #8
       
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    Take a look at that formula for 49ers:

    The Golden 13 (D7,OL, QB)

    Kaepernick 2nd/2011/49ers
    A.Davis 1st/2010/49ers
    Boone UFA 2009
    Goodwin 5th/2002
    Iupati 1st/2010/49ers
    Staley 1st/2007/49ers
    McDonald 3rd/2007/49ers
    Sopoaga 4th/2004/49ers
    J.Smith 1st/2001/bengals
    Brooks 3rd/2006/bengals
    Bowman 3rd/2010/49ers
    Willis 1st/2007/49ers
    ASmith 1st/2011/49ers

    That's 7 of 13 1st or 2nd round.
    Draft year: strength (OL except center and NT/DT and DE in 3-4) 10,09,10,07,07, 04, 01 AVG '06.875
    Brains (QB, Center, MLB/ILB) 11, 02, 10, 07 AVG '07.5 Speed (DE in 4-3, OLB) 06, 11. AVG '08.5 Matching my theorem.

    When 49ers got good in 2011, going back 5 drafts, they had 10 1st and 2nd round picks. Of those 10, 6 are starting in the Golden 13.

    And 1 of the missing 4 does start, but not in the Golden 13. So 70% are starters, 60% in Golden 13.

    Maybe that's a good way to eval a club.

  9. #9
    Very good points by the both of you. Always love reading intelligent analysis discussion.
    Kilroy was here

  10. #10
       
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    Same analysis Lions.

    Stafford 1st/2009/det
    Cherilus 1st/2008/det
    Peterman 3rd/2004/dal
    Riola 2nd/2001/det
    Sims 4th/2006/sea
    Backus 1st/2001/det
    Avril 3rd/2008/det
    Fairley 1st/2011/det
    Suh 1st/2010/det
    VanderBosch 2nd/2001/ari
    Levy 3rd/2009/det
    Tulloch 4th/2006/ten
    Durant 2nd/2007/jax

    8 of 13 1st or 2nd round. But only 8 of 13 homebrew (see Millen).

    5 years of drafts prior to 2011 when turned good (if they are).

    14 picks in the 1st or 2nd rounds. Only 3 starters in Golden 13. and only 4 other starters. 7 of 14.

    Conclusion: Need more 1st and 2nd drafts in Golden 13.

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