Friday, December 06, 2013

The Draft and Playing to Lose

The NFL has draft concept, shared with the other sports, that the worst teams of the previous year get to draft earliest.  Personally, I think the rule should be changed because it's very tempting to play to lose.  Players were kicked out of the last Olympics for doing this, yet it's an open secret that in the NBA (and possibly MLB) this can be done.  MLB has a bit of sense in that you can bring players up from the minors, and send others back, so at least you're actually developing talent... but it's disgusting.

The way to fix it is to give the top draft picks to the C teams not F teams, i.e. the middle of the record not the bottom feeders.  Why? Because C teams were at least trying.   The F teams are there, at least in the NFL, usually because of (a) key injuries, or (b) bad owners.  It's not even the bad coaches, because from what I've seen a "bad" coach is often just in the wrong system, and the only *really* bad coaches are hired by bad owners.

I've said in many occasions - and the standard caveat for all of this is that I only really know the NFL for now - that the worst teams are the ones doomed by bad ownership.  They consistently make bad decisions, throw money around, and kill good players.  Why keep throwing #1 picks into bad environments?

Bad teams have bad owners who then usually have terrible scouting departments and bad playing environments.  The middling teams are more likely to try harder and will be a quicker turn-around.

As it is, we keep throwing good picks into terrible environments and I think it's likely that bad teams don't have good scouts and in my idea they'll need to develop their scouting departments.

One illustrative case for my idea are the Cleveland Browns.  I think finally they may turn aronud and all because they changed owners.  When Paul Brown was fired by the skeevie Modell's, the team took a nose dive.  When they re-formed in 1999 they have remained a silly, childish team (see here for a video of their recent history (YT: Cleveland Browns 1999-2012: A Documentary)
).  A team with bad owners will just waste their draft picks!  Look at their 2012 draft.  They had 2 first rounders and they decided to draft for need - which everyone says not to do, but I wondered why because it sounded like a paradox.  You draft every player because you have a need!  What's the difference?  Again, look and learn from the doofus Browns.

To draft for need means you go for the best position candidate at your pick instead of the best player.  So the Browns, thinking they needed these 2 positions went for a Running Back and Quarterback in the first round.  Sadly, both turn out to be middling (Richardson, but there are reasons) or terrible (Wheeden).  [The opposite technique is - for lack of a better term - "draft against non-needs."  For example, the Steelers shouldn't draft in the first round a QB or center because those are non-needs.]   If the Browns had drafted the best players at their spot, then those positions would be stellar for a long time, and that will always help a team. 

Another example of draft dizziness are the Redskins.  While I like RGIII, his injuries demonstrate why you don't spend multiple draft picks on anybody.  Because everyone can get injured, and when you have a few 1st rounders on your roster, they can carry your team while the rest falls apart.  Their 4th rounder, Cousens, seems to be a fine QB - can you imagine DCs fate if they had more draft picks and a decent QB (Cousens) instead of what they face now?  Their terrible draft position is wasted because they threw it away to another team!

(always a sign of idiocy).  "Drafting for need"
in point for all of this On a related drafting note: if you ever want to know why you never draft for need, look at the 2013 Browns. In 2012 picked

No comments: