Catching up on a weekend's worth of observations, questions, and theories...
- I was relieved this week not to read any stupid articles about how pointless the combine is. It seems like every year, someone makes cracks about guys 'running in their underwear' and how that doesn't translate to football. Such articles completely miss the point. The combine is designed to help teams get accurate baselines on players and conduct interviews. It was never meant to be some kind of end all, be all test of football skill. Accurate data is important in making decisions. The Combine is what it is. When you look at a chart of how value correlates to draft position, you realize that over time the scouting process works. No, it's not a perfect science, but as much as people want to throw Tom Brady and Ryan Leaf in the faces of scouts and GMs, in general top picks have incredible value over time, and it falls off dramatically by the end of the first round. Scouts do a pretty good job, so you have to figure that tools like the combine work to some degree. You just have to be disciplined not to take it for more than it's worth.
- It was a weekend of outstanding coverage by the boys over at Stampede Blue. Collin McCollough and Matt Grecco brought lots of great insights and interviews.
- I absolutely do not see the case for Cam Newton. This is a guy with MASSIVE character flaws (he stole a lap top, people) and who didn't play in a pro-style offense. When was the last time that a guy with that kind of resume became a top flight NFL QB? Apparently he 'won interview day' by managing to distance himself from the 'icon and entertainer' comment. What kind of standard is this? First impressions of QBs shouldn't matter much, and apparently, the hype over Newton calmed down once people actually saw him throw. Cam Newton could come to the league and rewrite the record books, but I wouldn't touch a one year college starter with a history of committing crimes, cheating on tests, whose family has no regard for rules, wants to be an icon/entertainer, didn't play in a pro-style offense, went against his coaches in the National Championship Game, and who has accuracy issues in drills. If my team needed a QB and took that guy, I'd go ahead and cancel the season tickets. I'm calling it now: Cam Newton is going to be an abject disaster in the NFL.
- My dream scenario for the Colts: DT Stephen Paea and S Tyler Sash. Of course, I only know about 5 or 6 names. I just don't follow this stuff. I don't find it interesting, honestly. Last year, I knew exactly who the Colts would draft and why, and was thrilled. Then Jerry Hughes had a bad rookie year. Go figure. I'm just not going to get worked up about the draft. It'll all work out in the end. This draft apathy is why Shake and Jesse write for this site. They care, as do most of you, so I don't have to. I love it. Continue directing all draft questions to those guys. Don't ask me what I think of player X. I never saw him play even one time. I probably have no idea who he is and would have to look him up. I'm a best available player (BAP) guy. You take who is there to take. There's not much decision to it. You scout and rank, then take whoever is there. Need just doesn't enter into it.
- One more follow up note to my piece on Friday: right now if you could add the best left tackle in the NFL or the best safety in the NFL to the Colts, which would have a greater impact on the record of the team? There's only one way to answer that question: safety. Troy Polamalu would make a way bigger difference than Joe Thomas to the Colts. I'm convinced that left tackle is becoming overvalued in the modern NFL.
- We answered the question for the Colts, but what about for the Titans? Are divisional games harder for them? Tom Gower uses DVOA and came up with a similar theme: division games are about like all games.
- There is a lot of insanity about to break over the CBA. The Union will likely decertify before the end of the week, and the players will then sue the owners to prevent a lockout. The 1994 baseball strike was not resolved until the courts finally stepped it. Frankly, I would much rather have the courts involved, because I'm convinced the owners have been conspiring to destroy the union. Nothing they've done in the past two years has been about preserving labor peace. It's all been about preparing for war. They are terrified of the courts because they won't win there. This is about to get ugly fast.
- We're still waiting on the Colts to cut players like Diem and Hayden. Here's my guess: once the lockout hits, players can't negotiate with teams. The Colts want to cut these guys as late in the game as possible, hoping that there is no free agency at all in 2011. If the season starts late, and there is no free agency, it could really put guys like Hayden and Diem in a bind. Perhaps Indy is trying to leverage them into accepting new, shorter deals, I don't know. I still don't expect either one to be with the team come Friday.