2012 NFL Draft-or-Bust-Off: Value Versus Need

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Semi-relevant football information is about to occur, as we all tighten our sweat pants strings and prepare for the NFL Draft on April 26. As we get closer and closer not only to the combine but also the draft itself, the average dirtbag fan starts to learn more and more about the draft process. How does my favorite team of bumble-fucks rank players? How important are the team needs when they draft? Who the hell is keeping draft time for these morons? These are all important factors that we don’t tend to usually consider, but which may help enlighten us all in realizing who exactly the Minnesota Vikings draft pick will be well before the actual choice is announced.

Today, we look at the juncture of value versus need for a team, particularly a team like the Vikings, when it comes to their draft strategy.

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DETERMINING NEED: The Vikings are clearly a team that has more broken parts than a Ford product. The casual viewer would point to the cornerbacks, interior defensive line play, the offensive line, wide receiver, safety play, quarterback, coaching, and stadium as major issues which need to be addressed during the draft. We unfortunately can’t draft a new coaching staff, GM, or stadium, but the team CAN look at addressing several of these other positions.

When determining need, it’s important to look at several issues. Personally, I break them down like this:

  1. Lack of production from an given player or position (Both statistical analysis and eye tests)
  2. From the current players at the position, consider their age and contract cost
  3. Possible available depth in free agency for position of need and talent which may fit system

Now, our coaching staff sucks gravel, so they would never consider these options. They think starting Marcus Sherels is OK to do. It is not, and they should be burned like Salem witches for these evil thoughts.

However, looks can be deceiving. With my beady and bloodshot eyes, I would freely skewer the cornerbacks and safeties for playing like lesbians all season and ruining this team. I would say, easily, that a shutdown corner or impact safety should be one of the top priorities to upgrade this offseason. Now, the Vikings statistically weren’t GOOD at these positions in 2011. They were 7th worst. But who topped that? The Packers, and number one. Now, a lot of that likely had to do with the Vikings raking up 50 sacks on the season, tied for the NFL lead in 2011 with the Eagles. More pressure on the QB leads to worse throws leads to your cornerbacks looking better than they are. So, we still need the eye test here, and my eyes told me that Cedric Griffin has legs of clay, Marcus Sherels is a teenage boy, and we signed Benny Sapp to play. WHAT THE HELL.

So what about offensively? The eye test also tells us that the offensive line sucked big time. Marcus Johnson was every bit as bad as we thought he’d be, and players like Steve Hutchinson and Anthony Herrera may have crossed that threshhold into not producing based on their age and contract number. However, the Vikings were 4th in the league in rushing yards (“but how many times did they rush it?!” Nerds), second in yards per attempt with 5.2, 24th in passing attempts, but 6th in number of sacks given up. Is it bothering you yet how I keep switching between numbers and written numbers? It bothers me but I’m too lazy to do anything about it. Again, in an area of apparent need, the numbers tell a slightly different story. It says we need an offensive linemen, but more so one who can pass block and not give up sacks (or a QB who can scramble, JOE WEBB), rather than just a run gouger.

With all of these factors in mind, it helps a team like the Vikings determined their need come draft day. But what happens if this need doesn’t match up with the value of your pick?

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DETERMINING VALUE: Then you end up like the Browns!! Hahaha, just kidding.

Value of a draft pick is different than value of a player. Currently on Ugly Hair Guys’ Big Board from ESPN (Insider needed; not worth it), he has the top five rated players on his board as Andrew Luck, Matt Kalil, Trent Richardson, Morris Claiborne, and Justin Blackmon. Does anyone think that’s the order in how those players will be drafted? Of course you do. If you’re a WOMAN. There’s no way Trent Richardson gets taken this high, nor Blackmon, nor I bet even Claiborne. The guy just got arressted for human trafficking or something (no he didn’t, it was drugs). No team is going to gamble on him that high.

The value determined here isn’t necessarily the player; it’s the pick. The Vikings have the third pick in the draft. That doesn’t mean they have “Trent Richardson Value.” It means that they have every player not yet selected that every other team wants at that point. The Vikings (if they were smart, but they are not) have so many needs, they could mind fuck every team in the league and reap a huge reward for the value of their pick. What about that team that determines their need for a quarterback is so high they trade up to number three and draft RGIII? But what if they Vikings decide that their cornerback position is so bereft of talent that it looks like the judges on The Voice?

Ultimately, the real value will be determined when the team realizes what others will give up to achieve their need in the Vikings draft slot. If what other teams are giving up (a middle first round pick and another high second round pick? I’d probably trade) ends up canceling out the need of the Vikings in their draft slot (or it doesn’t …), the team will have successfully determined the value of the pick and can make an educated move based on this information.

These are hefty decisions Spielman and Co. will have to make, but luckily our coaches are the best in the business. Naturally, I’m lying, and that’s my way of telling you we’re going to try to draft Jeremy Lin.

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WHAT DO, GAIS?! Amazingly for the Vikings, team need and draft value line up in such a way that not even our squealing group of fireflies can screw this up. Almost everywhere you look at a mock draft, player rankings, or couch potato forums, you see Matt Kalil’s name come up time and time again. As previously referenced, Mel Kiper’s Big Board on ESPN has him ranked as the second best player in the draft, yet still falling to the Vikings with the number three pick in his mock draft. These comments follow:

The Vikings need to upgrade at left tackle, and Kalil is the rare one who could step into that position right away at the NFL level. Great feet, arm length, athleticism and finishing skills as a run-blocker make him a very complete prospect. I can see the Vikings tempted if Blackmon is around here, which he very well could be, because they’re also lacking weapons in the passing game. They could also go for a cornerback. It’ll be one of three, all top needs.

OK. Let’s back up this gravy train. Kiper kind of “gets it” when it comes to draft talk. His force-fed partner, Todd McShitSnack is a total gash trap, but Kiper is a smart man. He know the Vikings are weak across the board, but places the top needs as offensive line, defensive back, and wide receiver (or offensive play-maker, really). That’s the team need. However, based on draft position and value, the best selection for our team is going to be Matt Kalil. No question. Kalil will be a franchise left tackle for SOME team in the league for years to come. I know this because I read a paragraph about him once. But really, anyone could probably guess this to be true.

Because of this, it make sme nervous to say, but you can almost get away with exclaiming that not even our inbred franchise decision makers could screw this one up. It makes too much sense. It’s the perfect marriage of need and value, Matt Kalil, and is simply something the Vikings must do. No trades, no reaches, no gimics. Just a nice, boring, solid, reliable, draft pick.

That’s how you build a team I don’t hate.

PJD

About PJD

I once saw Paul Edinger kick a 56-yard field goal for the Minnesota Vikings against the Green Bay Packers to win a game in the Metrodome. It was exhilarating.

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