2010 NFL Draft enters the “Silly Season”

>> 4.12.2010

Graham Chapman as Colonel: 'Haynesworth to the Lions?  Too silly!'

Stop that! It's too silly.

Last Thursday marked the the endpoint of sanity in the NFL League Year, and the beginning of what Tom Kowalski calls “The Silly Season”.  Every NFL team employee either shuts their mouth tightly, or begins speaking out of both sides of it.  From now until April 26th, every statement a GM or Head Coach makes is at best a half-truth; at worse a vile lie.  You will encounter increasingly ridiculous trade chatter, mock drafts, hot rumors, late risers, and falling stocks, culminating in a fever pitch of ridiculous scenarios where black is white, up is down, and the Lions are locked on to Dez Bryant.

I've always used this rule of thumb: whatever the "consensus" is two weeks before the draft is most likely what will happen.  Therefore:

  • The Rams will rectify their smoking crater at quarterback, and draft Sam Bradford.
  • The Lions, despite clearly wanting to trade down, won't have a partner. They'll happily take Ndamukong Suh, they just won't be happy about his contract.
  • The Buccaneers will giddily take whichever of the DTs makes it out of the top 3.
  • The Redskins will draft Chris Samuels' eventual replacement, and Jon Jansen's next temporary replacement, at 1.4--either Okung or Williams, whomever they fancy.
  • The Chiefs will either continue rebuilding their incredible offensive line of the past decade with a left tackle, or address their odious secondary with Eric Berry.

. . . and on and on, throughout the rest of the first round.  There might be some tweaks—Washington could take a quarterback for the future, the Seahawks are probably hoping Trent Williams falls, etc.—but essentially, what most reasonable people think is the ‘standard take’ is what’s most likely to happen.  If you want to see a great example of what this two-weeks-out snapshot is, look at the beat writer mock draft that Sam Farmer of the L.A. Times put together.

Note: I am not talking about what each team’s fans want to have happen, I’m talking about the national football hivemind.  As an example, the national media wrote “Matthew Stafford” next to the Lions’ name, in ink, in January 2009.  All of us Lions fans spent five months ranting and raving and frothing at the mouth about Andre Smith, Jason Smith, Eugene Monroe, Aaron Curry, and everyone’s favorite player, ‘Trade Down’—but the national groupthink was right the whole time.

The Lions have already had a spate of the “silliness”.  As if on cue, word began to break on Thursday that Albert Haynesworth was interested in coming to Detroit—and according to Michael Schottey and several others, the interest was mutual.  Amist talk of the Redskins sending the 1.4 and Haynesworth to Detroit for the 1.2, I gleefully speculated that the Lions would then trade again with the Seahawks, in a spectacular double-move.  The Redskins would get Suh, the Seahawks would get Okung, and the Lions would get to pick from  Spiller, Haden, Williams, Morgan, or Bulaga—plus pick up some mid-round selections!  Everybody wins!

Though Neil from Armchair Linebacker's . . . eyes . . . engorged at the thought of Mayhew pulling it off, it's purest fantasy.  When was the last time a team moved down out of the top five, then again out of the pick they acquired?  Don’t say “last year”; the Browns don’t count.  Seriously, though: while the possibility of a double move is nonzero, there are way too many moving parts for me to consider this scenario likely.

For starters, the Redskins would be giving up on a pass-rushing 4-3 DT with a huge contract, why would they then take Suh, and get another one?  They’d more likely take Okung—but then, if the Lions are taking Suh, and the Bucs are sitting on McCoy, the ‘Skins don’t need to move up.  Even if we suppose that they’re just that desperate to get rid of Fat Albert, I’d think the Lions would be more interested in simply trading with Seattle, and getting a better pick package out of them, than taking on Haynesworth’s deal in addition to the 1.6 contract.

This feeds into my latest theory: with Bradford a clear-cut #1 overall, and Jimmy Clausen failing to push his stock up to match, the Lions are trying to get people to believe that they’re going to draft Russell Okung.  Just as Mayhew spent the two weeks prior to the draft trying to create leverage by negotiating a deal with Aaron Curry, I believe Mayhew is going to spend the days up to this draft convincing the hivemind that he’s going to take the best LT on the board off the board.

If Okung is gone, Washington will have to settle for Willams or Bulaga. If Okung and Williams are gone, Kansas City might go Berry—or, they might take Bulaga, and leave no tackles for Seattle.  Further, Seattle would vastly prefer the athletic  Williams to the powerful Bulaga—they’re implementing the zone blocking system, remember?—so if the Lions take Okung, they’ll likely lose out on their man either way.

Of course, the Lions might really be interested in taking Okung.  They might really be completely put off by spending $70M on a defensive tackle, regardless of how awesome he is or how desperately they might need him.  They might really be willing to elevate money over need, to take a lesser prospect who offers better positional “value”, and to pass on a smart, hardworking, once-in-five-years talent at the position around which Schwartz has built his defense and his reputation . . .

But that would be silly.


11 comments:

Isphet,  April 12, 2010 at 2:58 PM  

The Lions sure are spending a lot of time talking about "Not Suh." So they're probably attempting to keep his price low, like you mentioned.

They've done a pretty good job at keeping people guessing who they will take with their pick, eh?

Let us not go to Camelot. It is a silly place.

Neil April 12, 2010 at 3:16 PM  

Man, really, the whole offseason leading up to the draft could be called the Silly Season, but yeah, the last couple weeks are when it tends to get intensely ridiculous.

Also, just as a public service announcement, if your eyes remain engorged for longer than four hours, seek medical help immediately. The more you know.

Rob Davies,  April 12, 2010 at 3:38 PM  

We read and read, consider this pundit or that, taking into account a supertanker full of scenarios (as though we can trust other teams' smoke-blowing any more than we can trust our own in Draft season), yet two central themes have floated to the top, in my view:

1) Mayhew is a very clever sod -- I used to wonder, back in the immediately post-Millen days, but I wonder no more. The man is sharp. Until he goofs something up, I will go on trusting his judgment.

2) Money is key, but not when a Kraken-like defensive difference maker stands before us, ready to consume the entrails of those who've tortured us (read Frett Barfe and A.D.).

Bring up the Holy Hand Grenade -- we're taking Suh...

(you can't go wrong when the Grail is evoked -- most excellent, Ty)

Rob davies,  April 12, 2010 at 4:20 PM  

"A.P.," not "A.D." Me mind is goin'...

Notsince57,  April 12, 2010 at 5:10 PM  

You were fine. A.P. = A.D.(i.e. All Day) in my book.

My only regret through all of this is that the NFL is robbing us of our weekend draft parties with their stupid prime time ratings grab. Other than that, I'm excited to see how this one ends. Hopefully the good guys in Honolulu Blue win out. The best thing about the whole process is that we can all relax knowing that the franchise is in good hands. Thank you MM/JS.

NorthLeft12,  April 13, 2010 at 7:36 AM  

Putting the wailing of the fan base aside, the Lions really can't lose in this scenario. Drafting any of Suh, Okung, McCoy, or Berry can only make this team a lot better.

Although us Lions fans, being who we are, will be sure to remind each other that they were never really happy with the pick if it flops or were 100% behind it if it turns out good.

Flash forward......five years from now; Lions web sites are covered with posts about 2010: Who We should have Drafted.

Joe Willy April 13, 2010 at 9:03 AM  

All along I've been sure it would be Suh if they can't trade down and maybe I'm losing my gut instinct in the fog of pre-draft smokescreens but lately I've been pretty sure they'd go for a LT (hoping they'd wait and grab Veldheer in the 2nd if possible and get BOTH a DT and LT).

While I disagree with the people who call to draft Berry at #2, I could see them doing it in recent days. The secondary remains a gaping would and in a deep draft Schwartz probably thinks he can find a gem with a later pick instead of overpaying a DT at #2. And the one guy who's name I'm not hearing is Berry so maybe that means everybody wants him.

I agree with those who say they've got an amazing number of options that would be acceptable. If they could stay in the top 5-10 and pick up just one more pick in the top 2 or 3 rounds and then maybe another in rounds 5-6 I'd be fine with it. They will get tons of offers to move from the second pick on day 2 but that's the one they might get the most value with definite first round talent sitting there, but beware someone moving right in front and getting the guy the Lions want (RB?).

Ty April 13, 2010 at 11:29 AM  

Isphet--

Honestly, they have. I really do think that they'd rather move down than take Suh, as much as they (presumably) like Suh. I still think trading up to 1.2 is too hard, and the Lions aren't going to get the value they want to move down.

However, if some team falls in head-over-heels in love with Okung--game on.

Peace
Ty

Ty April 13, 2010 at 11:32 AM  

Neil--

Yeah, the year it catalyzed for me was the Aaron Rodgers/Alex Smith year, where mock drafts were going completely haywire, and every draftnik predicting a bazillion trades because the top of the draft was so weak . . .

And there were, like, no trades. Straight down the board consensus, as it was two weeks before. Ever since then I've been tracking it, and that's really when the silliness takes over.

PrEYEapism?

Peace
Ty

Rob Davies,  April 13, 2010 at 11:42 AM  

I'm sure most of the troops will have already seen this, but check A Boy Named Suh's performance for the Sports Science geek: http://espn.go.com/video/clip?id=5073955&categoryid=2378529

Impressive kid, Suh is, but NorthLeft12 gave me the willies with his "five years from now" observation. He hits very close to the heart because we are just like that.

Remember when you thought it was a stone groove to get Charles "I think my collar is too tight" Rogers, and Mike "I don't need no steenkin' degree" Williams?

Pancho Smith,  April 13, 2010 at 4:55 PM  

The Lions are likely to draft Suh at 1.2. The magic might occur in the second round where the Lions hold the second pick and Tampa holds the third and tenth. Both teams could help each other a lot if:

Tampa would trade their 2.3 pick to the Lions for the Lions 3.2 pick and 7.6 pick (still leaving Tampa with its 2.10 pick and giving Tampa two consecutive very high 3rd round picks and two high 7th round picks).

Or

The Lions would trade their 2.2 pick for Tampa’s 2.10 and 3.3 picks (still leaving Detroit with a high 2nd round pick and two very high consecutive third round picks).

Obviously, these trades would depend on how the players that fall in the 1st round affect the draft boards of both the Lions and Tampa, and might involve other sweeteners, but having two consecutive high round draft choices in either round 2 or 3 would give both teams a considerable advantage in the draft.

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