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Warhorse

Discussing the overuse of the "bust" comment

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This subject has been a beef of mine for some time. It is about what actually causes the success/failure of a player in the NFL coming in from the college draft or as a rookie FA....and what a bust actually is.

 

Too often, I see commentary regarding a player being a "Bust", "Drafted too high", or "value pick". I absolutely loved how Chris Ballard, new GM for the Colts, responded to this line of thinking in a recent interview. His thoughts mirror my own. Watch the whole thing if you have the time, if not, watch between 6:20 and 7:00 minutes.

 

http://www.colts.com/videos/videos/Chris-Ballard-Full-Pre-Draft-Press-Conference/a087afb8-b066-4157-9e04-2fa9cedb89f4

 

So, here is what I am asking. Given these criteria, try and rate YOUR order of importance to the actual success of a player. Insert your number in the parenthesis:

 

() Talent

() Scheme after acquisition/Position placement

() Scheme before acquisition

() Player development in regards to technique and game skills

() Locker room environment/Team structure

() Outside influences/Support (family/nightlife/team city)

() Round drafted/rookie FA

() Good/bad luck on injuries/Conditioning staff

() In game coaching

() Work ethic/Drive/Character

 

I believe that player A could go to team A and be a failure while player B could go to team B and be a success....yet switch the teams that the players go to, and the one that succeeds could fail, and vice versa. Yet we put so much on when a player was drafted. It is my opinion that "round drafted/rookie FA" is the least affecting. But when a player fails, it is nearly always the first thing mentioned....especially in regards to the players drafting slot.

Edited by Warhorse

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I mashed some of your criteria together since they're virtually the same thing.



(1) Work ethic/Drive/Character


(2) Player development in regards to technique and game skills


(3) Good/bad luck on injuries / Condition Staff


(4) Locker room environment/Team structure


(5) In game coaching


(6) Scheme after acquisition/Position placement


(7) Outside influences/Support (family/nightlife/team city)


(8) Talent


(9) Round drafted/rookie FA


(10) Scheme before acquisition



Work Ethic and character is definitely the most important thing, you can be mildly successful even if you're misused, but no lazy player has ever been successful. You could argue for guys like Albert Haynesworth, but they knew how to work hard until they got paid. Character and Work Ethic basically go hand in hand so I mashed them together. Development is the next most important thing because the college game is so different from the pro game, it's like learning a whole new sport. Not to mention the level of talent you're up against, development and polish is a must.



I put injury luck and conditioning staff together because they do kind of go hand in hand, and a good conditioning staff keeps a team healthy, while a poor conditioning staff gives you the Chargers over the past five years. Availability is the best ability in the NFL so avoiding injury is vital to any player's success.



My 4 5 and 6 are all really close together and could go either way, but in the ultimate team sport, your individual success is blurred with the successes of the team, so if they don't play hard or aren't coached well, the individual player suffers for it. If any of those criteria are lacking, it's difficult to overcome, but it can be done.



7 kind of blurs together with 1, but it's distinctly different enough that I feel like it can be kept separate. If you can't kick marijuana you'll just be another Josh Gordon. The NFL policies are strict and draconian so keeping your nose clean is vital.



Talent is tough, because everyone in the NFL is among the most talented people in the country. It is exceedingly rare to find a guy who is so far head and shoulders above the rest, and even then, they need to put in the work to be the best, there aren't any shortcuts.



The last two are virtually irrelevant. With the way coaches change, and defenses change scheme beforehand isn't going to matter much when you're considering who to draft. it's how they fit into your future schemes that matter. Round is slightly important because if you're drafted late enough, even starting a game or two is enough to not make you a bust anymore. There are certain expectations to be had when you're taken early, but it's only important to your success in the sense that it forces your coaches to pay more attention t you since you're the new 20 million dollar cash cow as a first round guy.


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I mashed some of your criteria together since they're virtually the same thing.

(1) Work ethic/Drive/Character

(2) Player development in regards to technique and game skills

(3) Good/bad luck on injuries / Condition Staff

(4) Locker room environment/Team structure

(5) In game coaching

(6) Scheme after acquisition/Position placement

(7) Outside influences/Support (family/nightlife/team city)

(8) Talent

(9) Round drafted/rookie FA

(10) Scheme before acquisition

Work Ethic and character is definitely the most important thing, you can be mildly successful even if you're misused, but no lazy player has ever been successful. You could argue for guys like Albert Haynesworth, but they knew how to work hard until they got paid. Character and Work Ethic basically go hand in hand so I mashed them together. Development is the next most important thing because the college game is so different from the pro game, it's like learning a whole new sport. Not to mention the level of talent you're up against, development and polish is a must.

I put injury luck and conditioning staff together because they do kind of go hand in hand, and a good conditioning staff keeps a team healthy, while a poor conditioning staff gives you the Chargers over the past five years. Availability is the best ability in the NFL so avoiding injury is vital to any player's success.

My 4 5 and 6 are all really close together and could go either way, but in the ultimate team sport, your individual success is blurred with the successes of the team, so if they don't play hard or aren't coached well, the individual player suffers for it. If any of those criteria are lacking, it's difficult to overcome, but it can be done.

7 kind of blurs together with 1, but it's distinctly different enough that I feel like it can be kept separate. If you can't kick marijuana you'll just be another Josh Gordon. The NFL policies are strict and draconian so keeping your nose clean is vital.

Talent is tough, because everyone in the NFL is among the most talented people in the country. It is exceedingly rare to find a guy who is so far head and shoulders above the rest, and even then, they need to put in the work to be the best, there aren't any shortcuts.

The last two are virtually irrelevant. With the way coaches change, and defenses change scheme beforehand isn't going to matter much when you're considering who to draft. it's how they fit into your future schemes that matter. Round is slightly important because if you're drafted late enough, even starting a game or two is enough to not make you a bust anymore. There are certain expectations to be had when you're taken early, but it's only important to your success in the sense that it forces your coaches to pay more attention t you since you're the new 20 million dollar cash cow as a first round guy.

 

I like your combining of the categories...was just typing off the top of my head. I'll edit mine. Good response. The stuff in red is QFT.

Edited by Warhorse

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Mine is very similar to yours, Razor.



(1) Work ethic/Drive/Character


(2) Player development in regards to technique and game skills


(3) Good/bad luck on injuries / Condition Staff


(4) Locker room environment/Team structure


(5) Scheme after acquisition/Position placement


(6) In game coaching


(7) Outside influences/Support (family/nightlife/team city)


(8) Talent


(9) Scheme before acquisition


(10) Round drafted/rookie FA

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(1) Talent



True talents shine regardless of scheme. Look at Jadaveon Clowney. He's arguably most effective as a 5-tech with his hand in the dirt. But he has played both standing up and as a 3-tech for the Texans. I consider talent to be including game intelligence and ability to learn. That opens the door for ability to develop after that fact.



(2) In game coaching



Coaching is the key to the production a guy has. Look at a guy like Jeff Fisher who constantly abuses talent through poor coaching and terrible usage of his players. This is why the Patriots are succeeding with guys who are mid-level talent and why the Jags were failing with good talent.



(3) Scheme after acquisition/Position placement



If you're not a scheme ascending talent, you need to be put in a position that works well for your natural skills. You don't put a natural 4-3 OLB as a pass-rusher. You don't put a natural safety as a cornerback.



(4) Work ethic/Drive/Character



This is one of the big things that really defines not who succeeds, but who fails. You can see obvious times where talented guys don't make it due to lack of work ethic and drive, but a lot of these guys in the league are very driven. If we're talking about what leads to success, this isn't as high as pure talent or scheming. If we're talking about failure, this is one of the largest factors for guys that are taken early who "bust".



(5) Locker room environment/Team structure



This is somewhat similar to the situation with coaching. If the organization isn't set up properly, it will be very difficult to consistently get success. Compare the locker room of a winner like New England compared to Richie Incognito era of Miami. It's drastically different how these teams operate.



(6) Player development in regards to technique and game skills



Players don't typically develop in terms of actual physical talent once they reach the NFL level. Most of it is development of technique. I think that typically when a guy has played one position for most of his football career, technique is typically as good as it gets. If you can't be coached to do things right in college, what are the odds you can be coached right at the next level?



(7) Good/bad luck on injuries/Conditioning staff



With the development of better medical technology, this is a lot lower. Most injuries are ones that guys can come back from and be successful. Look at the Jaylon Smith situation, and the direction he is currently trending.



(8) Outside influences/Support (family/nightlife/team city)



This definitely plays a role in the long-term stress of these players and the desire to get paid big. However, I don't think it's as impactful as people would like to hype it up to be.



(9) Scheme before acquisition



This is mostly about familiarity, but guys can play wherever they are naturally fitting. If you have a guy who slots in best as a 5-tech but played mostly as a 3-tech in college, it won't matter as long as you're correct in projecting it properly.



(10) Round drafted/rookie FA



Guys are going to be successful from any area of the draft. Talent is hidden a lot of times, and good coaching can bring it out.


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1 Talent

 

2 Good/bad luck on injuries/Conditioning staff

3 Player development in regards to technique and game skills

4 Work ethic/Drive/Character

5 Scheme before acquisition

6 Scheme after acquisition/Position placement

7 Locker room environment/Team structure

8 Outside influences/Support (family/nightlife/team city)

9 In game coaching

10 Round drafted/rookie FA

 

Feel like these all build off of each other right?

Talent, Work ethic & development can make scheme a lesser factor. I have injury history second because you want your guy to actually play but also less risk.

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Scheme also needs to be accounted a lot at certain positions, but not others. Having a free safety playing in a primarily cover 3 defense rather than cover 2 has much less of an difference than trying to play an interior defensive lineman on the edge.

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To me you have to look at the organization. Do you really think the Browns are just consistently wrong about so many payers in the talent evaluation process over the last few years? It's not. For one, they've had so many coaching changes, so many scheme changes that players drafted to fit one scheme aren't a fit for the incoming coach and in some cases I just think that the coaching staff just wasn't good enough to develop the talent that they did have, but in some cases you stick with a coach for at least 2-3 years. Give them time to pick their guys, run their scheme and just develop some consistency. It's a big reason why having a franchise QB is so important. It just gives you a whole other level of consistency.

 

I mean, compare the Browns to their division rival, the Steelers. In the last like 40+ years they've had 3 coaches. A good organization with stable personnel is the most important thing

 

I agree that work ethic is pretty damn important. All the greats have it.

 

The next would be talent, pretty self explanatory. and that can be either athletic or just some sort of football talent that's hard to quantify. Preferably, a combination of both.

 

then I would say it has to be coaching and not just the head coach but coordinators and position coaches too.

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Scheme also needs to be accounted a lot at certain positions, but not others. Having a free safety playing in a primarily cover 3 defense rather than cover 2 has much less of an difference than trying to play an interior defensive lineman on the edge.

Yes....and a guy who never rarely defense with his hand in the dirt might not have as hard of a transition as a QB that plays primarily shotgun.....so for some positions....Scheme before acquisition is quite important.

Edited by Warhorse

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I disagree with the notion that spread QBs can't translate because of scheme. It all depends on their ability to move through their progressions quickly and to make decisions under pressure. Look at DeShone Kizer compared to Deshaun Watson in terms of the ability to make plays as the rep progresses. Watson will way too often get locked onto a single man and force bad passes. Kizer can consistently move onto his next option. Both are arguably spread quarterbacks. Some guys have that talent coming out. Some don't.

For a better comparison, Mariota came from one of the worst teams in college for utilizing a college style offense, and Jameis Winston came from a pro style offense. Winston isn't nearly as safe with the football as Mariota, and I'd argue isn't as good as Mariota overall.

Edited by Chernobyl420

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Didn't say they couldn't transition...merely pointed out that by position....scheme before draft can have varying degrees of difficulty.

It's not so much the scheme as it is the traits. Guys have a natural base of skills that match up with certain schemes. You could have a pro-style QB in college who would be suited to a spread offense due to inability to make decisions beyond his first man. You could have a spread QB in college who would be suited to a pro-style offense because he's a smart decision-maker and doesn't get hung up throughout the play.

 

Look at Haason Reddick. He was used at times as an edge rusher at Temple, but his overall game is built to play ILB. It doesn't matter if some other coach jammed a square peg into a round hole. It matters whether or not you can find that perfect place where the skills match the scheme.

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Winston is better than Mariota. It's a two man show in Tampa Bay or was last year anyway. Mariota is asked to do much less than Winston ia. The offenses they run are completely different. Not saying Mariota is a bum but it's much easier to complete the safe throws and not turn the ball over with a running game like Tennessee has. Winston on the other hand has to carry that offense with 1 good receiver.

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Any Titans fan can tell you that Mariota hasn't exactly had a great receiving group. I think they're comparable in that each group has one legit target. Winston has Evans and Mariota has Walker. I think just in the amount of mistakes Winston makes I'd go Mariota > Winston. He's a better scrambler​. He's smarter with the ball. He's typically more accurate in general.

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Well I mean, it's hard to say Mariota is so much smarter with the football when 1, he throws a lot less and 2. his attempts down the field are a lot less than Winston. their options in the passing game are comparable. I'd be fine with even giving Winston the slight edge because Evans is so much better than anyone the Titans have as a receiving option with all due respect to Delanie Walker. If the Titans had to start Mettenberger or some shit how big a drop off would they really see with that running game? Take Winston away from the Bucs though and put say, Mettenberger in as the starter there so you can call everything even steven and I really don't see how the Bucs win more than 4 games tbh.

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Do shots down the field really many anything if they're ineffective shots and result in turnovers? Tom Brady rarely goes down the field, but he's arguably the best quarterback in the league. Brees can go down the field, but he is way more likely to play the short game to move the ball. Mariota doesn't throw as much as Winston because he doesn't have to thanks to a good running game. Winston would be doing that exact same thing as Mariota if he played in Tennessee. He wouldn't be going down the field and risking turning over the ball with Murray and Henry in the backfield.

 

Starting Mettenberger would make the Titans a 4-win team as well, in all likelihood. With Matt Cassel in the Titans went from averaging like 275 passing yards a game to about 145.

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I think what annoys me the most in terms of overusing the "bust" label is when it's applied to players who suffered substantial injuries. The one that comes to mind immediately is Tyrone Calico, he was a speedy receiver the Titans drafted in the second round in 2003. He went into his second season looking ready to make a big jump, then he was taken down by Roy Williams in a disgusting horse-collar tackle, tore both ACLs, and was never the same. He ended up getting cut in 2005 and regularly makes appearances on lists of draft busts.

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Do shots down the field really many anything if they're ineffective shots and result in turnovers? Tom Brady rarely goes down the field, but he's arguably the best quarterback in the league. Brees can go down the field, but he is way more likely to play the short game to move the ball. Mariota doesn't throw as much as Winston because he doesn't have to thanks to a good running game. Winston would be doing that exact same thing as Mariota if he played in Tennessee. He wouldn't be going down the field and risking turning over the ball with Murray and Henry in the backfield.

 

Starting Mettenberger would make the Titans a 4-win team as well, in all likelihood. With Matt Cassel in the Titans went from averaging like 275 passing yards a game to about 145.

He'd probably look a lot smarter with the ball then wouldn't he? i think both a very good young QB's with a lot of room to grow and I think you're original point about spread offense QB's translating their collegiate success to the pro's is proven by Mariota, but to say he's better than Winston is a bit of a stretch in my eyes.

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I disagree that he'd look smarter with the ball. Doug Martin was good in Jameis' rookie year and it didn't change much. Winston has proven he's not trustworthy with the football since his final season in college. He was a turnover machine that year.

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