Following a link posted elsewhere on BTSC I had some fun, and learned a bit, messing with a draft simulator at fanspeak.com. I’d really encourage all to go there and mess with it a bit. Yes I know, this means clicking over somewhere else, but then come back to BTSC and talk about it! In the first posting of this simulator I saw it was noted that the lack of compensatory picks is a weakness. I’ll second that given the strength that can be added to your draft class by picking more players. Still it was fun, and helped eliminate bias from my drafts, because I couldn’t hold a player I wanted to draft later, essentially forcing him to fall down the board, and right into my lap.
My first go at a draft on the simulator:
1:Mosley ILB 2:Hageman DT/DE 4:McGill CB/S 5:Hubbard OLB 6:Huff S 7:L.Washington WR (@MO)
I had shots (but passed) at McCarron in the 4th or 5th, and Dion Bailey in the 4th. It was harder than I expected to make some choices, and I frequently found myself going more PBA because positions of need were reaching. I found this aspect quite interesting because I approached it from the start with a mindset of filling needs, with DB the greatest need. I could have had Amaro or ASJ in the 2nd, but given the talk that Hageman could be "special" I took him. All told, I think this group could really bring something to the Steelers. Huff might not amount to anything, but could maybe bring some real speed to the secondary and Washington has size and straight line speed you just can’t teach/coach. I knew nothing about Hubbard going into this simulation, but some quick research in the moment deemed him about the best I could do on a BPA front. It was also this 5th round that drove home my fundamental questioning of the "reaching" concept. I would see a player on the ‘big board’ remaining that I liked, one list more that 40 spots below where I was picking, and I’d pass thinking, "I will get him next round". But he’d be gone, some other ‘computer GM’ would make a 20+ spot "reach" to draft him. So absent the ability to trade back, if you want somebody, you’ve got to draft them when you’re ‘on the clock’. So to some degree, at least within the range of a draft round (15-32 spots), there might not be so much this thing called reaching. This also highlighted, for me at least, the conflict between and incompatibility of drafting BPA and for needs.
I then had a second go at it, where I indulged my personal desire for the Steelers to get a top CB, even if a reach according to some.
1st: J. Gilbert CB – I like him for his potential to be a top flight, even ‘lock down’, corner; plus his return skills give him an additional avenue to contribute early.
2nd: ASJ TE – I’m convinced on the possibilities of a 2 TE formation when you’ve got 2 serious TEs, so with his hype and still being on the board in this simulation I grabbed him.
4th: J.Jeffcoat – as described above, an in the moment very quickly researched selection trying to make a BPA selection that still fit with needs now or down the road.
5th: K. Ladler FS – there has been good talk of this kid, making him seem a good value at a position we have need to bolster.
6th: DA Thomas – several have commented that he’ll never last this late, but the models driving this simulation tool have him on the board late repeatedly. I liked him for the excitement and return skills.
7th: D. Kennard OLB – I’d spotted him initially as a guy that might have the size and training right away as an OLB, even if not skilled enough to be a early draft choice, what sold me was his history as a team captain which I hoped would bring football IQ/sense and leadership. I’m not expecting a 1st year starter, but a guy to put in the developmental pipeline.
Then finally, I wanted to see what the simulator would do for the Steelers free of my "mad skills" (emphasis on mad). So I had a third go at it, drafting as the Rams, whom I know little about, but thought it might be fun given the ‘extra’ picks from the Griffin trade: http://fanspeak.com/ontheclock/draft.php?d=gpgsas
I was able to draft: Clowney DE, G. Robinson OT, ASJ TE, E. Reynolds S, P. Desir CB, AJ McCarron QB, DA Thomas RB, and C. Latimer WR. I think it is quite the lesson in how drafting early and often can lead to a nice draft class for your team!
However, in this simulation it is revealed how weak the calculations for the "other" GMs are. For example, when I’m the Rams getting that stacked group, the "Steelers" (controlled by the website) are drafting:
1st: T. Lewan OT
2nd: S. Tuitt DE – at this point not looking terrible, while Lewan isn’t popular with all on this board, he’s been mocked to the Steelers by others, and there are worse places to draft depth than OL
4th: A. Johnson DT – with this selection the ‘computer GM’ passes on Dion Bailey, Dan McCullers, and Keith McGill. On the surface I don’t like passing on these guys for this pick, but admit I didn’t do much research after the fact.
5th: L. Barrow ILB – this pick leaves K Ladler and T. Boston (both safeties) on the board, which I wouldn’t have minded as much if Bailey or McGill (I now more of a hybrid) had been taken in the 4th. Moreover, how does this not just add to the log jam at ILB – Williams, Garvin, Spence, etc.?
6th: M. Davis WR – here Joe Don Duncan TE and R. Carrethers DT are still on the board. Sure there is a domino effect, making the "what if" permutations multiplicative at this point, but the ‘computer GM’ has now only one pick left and has not selected a CB, a position of great need, or an OLB.
7th: H. Josey RB – I’ll admit, I gave up at this point and did no research. I sure hope he is an amazing return specialist, because I just didn’t expect a RB.
I hope my education wasn't already obvious to everyone else and that this can stimulate some new/further conversation.