The first month of tracking the mocks is in the books, a little less than 3 more until Carolina goes on the clock.
Week 4's Results: (taken 1/28)
Positions: 30 OTs, 4 DTs (3 3-tech, 1 1-tech), 1 G, 1 OLB
Anthony Castonzo 11 picks
Derek Sherrod 10
Gabe Carimi 3
Nate Solder 3
Tyron Smith 3
Corey Liuget 3
Odd Ducks: Mike Pouncey (G, Florida), Stephen Paea (DT, Oregon St.) , Akeem Ayers (OLB, UCLA)
Experts vs Fans: Another week light on updates from the experts with Senior Bowl week in mid-swing. Only 5 mocks updated with a pretty representative breakdown. With a week of watching many of the top prospects in action up close, next week should see the experts with plenty to say.
Shake's Impact: OTs across the board at MtD this week. In regards to the choice of OTs rather than an effect on my part, there may be a Colts Homer effect. While Tyron Smith appears at the same rate between the groups (1 in 10 vs 2 in 20), Gabe Carimi, a man Colts Homer pines for in a way that can't be considered healthy appeared twice in the 10 MtD mocks versus only once in the 20 randomly drawn mocks.
Discussion: The disappointing weigh-in and serious knee injury suffered by Stephen Paea last week rippled through the mocks sending Paea from the most popular non-OT each of the previous 3 weeks, being slotted to Indy up to 7 times in a week to appearing just once as Indy's 1st round pick. The beneficiaries of that seem to be Castonzo and Sherrod who have became the clear favorites even before Nate Solder struggled at the Senior Bowl. Akeem Ayers is likely the worst pick I've seen so far. While the raw value is there for Ayers, positional value and need are not. Indy features it's deepest LB corps in a very long time and since the move to the Tampa-2 haven't spent a pick higher than the late 3rd on a OLB (if you consider the late 2nd round Angerer to be Brackett's successor at MLB who just happens to be starting at OLB for now, as I do). It's not nearly Terrence Cody to Indy as I saw from time to time last year (yuck), but shows a poor understanding of Indy's system, roster and recent history.
Shake's Pick: Anthony Castonzo, OT, Boston College
From my first mock draft of the year: A poor start to the Senior Bowl by Derek Sherrod (combined with some hesitancy to invest in another LT from a run-heavy, not especially pro-style offense) and a disastrous Senior Bowl for Stephen Paea (coming at 295 as opposed to his listed 311 and suffering a knee injury that will require surgery) leaves Castonzo my favorite on the board. While lanky and lacking strength in the running game, he has elite athleticism and excellent pass blocking skills. A 4 year starter at BC. Serious academic chops as biochemistry major and nominee for a Rhodes Scholarship.
Trends of January:
The OTs gained major ground over the DTs over the course of the mock going from a 28-12 split to this weeks 30-4 and while Derek Sherrod and Anthony Castonzo have remained popular, Nate Solder fell from the most popular individual player down to only appearing 3 times.
The first month of tracking the mocks is in the books, a little less than 3 more until Carolina goes on the clock.
So my defense of Peyton Manning's Hall of Fame candidacy...
While I'm not going to bore you with a long and passionate (oh, so passionate) defense of Peyton Manning's merit of being including in Canton, I did want to run ink tests on quarterbacks, just to get a feeling for where guys stood. I rank the ink on all the quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame, plus:
I also wanted to throw in a couple of 'control' cases. Vinny Testaverde and Drew Bledsoe had long, successful NFL careers, but are not Hall of Fame material, so I threw them in the mix too. I also tested Ken Anderson who has long been considered the best player not in Canton (excluding guys still going through the election process).
The categories I selected were yards, touchdowns, passer rating, YPA, completion percentage, and interception percentage. I figured that was a nice cross section of both counting and rate stats. Again, the idea is to see how often a player led the league (black ink) or finished in the top 5 in the league (grey ink) in a category. By adding those up, it gives you an idea of greatness of a player.
First the black ink. Like with the wideouts, for years in which there were multiple leagues, a player only got credit for leading BOTH leagues in the category. The number in the column is the number of times the player led football in the statistic for a season.
Click here for the charts and observations and the update!
Today's post is brought to you by Blue Blood. It's the best history of the Indianapolis Colts ever written. It's also the only one.
Yesterday, I examined Marvin Harrison's Hall of Fame case, which wasn't particularly challenging. Edgerrin James, however, is a tougher case. James is one of the great Colts ever, but does he have enough on the resume to make Canton? Let's look at his case:
- 2 rushing titles
- 11th all time in rushing yards
- 18th in rushing TDs
- 4 Pro Bowls
- 1 All Pro
James' career was altered by a severe knee injury after just two full seasons. Amazing as they were, Edge was never a spectacular player again. He crossed from the category of dominant to steady. My suspicion is that right now, he'll be viewed as more of a 'compiler' than a dominant running back. James' 'similarity score' lines up against six other Hall of Fame running backs, but I don't think most people 'feel' he is a Hall of Famer.
The best way to judge James is to place him in context. Currently, 11 of the top 20 runners on the all time yards list are in the Hall of Fame. Two more are finalists this year (Faulk and Bettis). Six are not eligible. One, Ricky Watters, has not (and will not) be inducted. Let's compare Edge to the other guys in the top 20, and other contemporary players.
I'm working on a longer article for later today, but first this brief missive from regular contributor Nick Pease. This story is nearly as exciting as the time Luke met Joe Addai or I met Jeff Saturday. We are always looking for your stories of random encounters with Colts players. Hey, it's the offseason. Why not?
I'm a manager at a new restaurant on Indianapolis' north side. I have a communications degree along with two minors, and yes, I work in the food service industry. Hey you gotta pay the bills right?
It's not my dream job by any means, but I can't complain, the job has its perks. I get to eat a free lunch everyday and since we're the new place in town, some notable folks have come in to eat.
Former Colts players Jeff Burris and Ken Dilger have both come in for lunch. Mike Pollak came in for dinner one evening and last week I served Austin Collie his lunch. (And yes I was nervous like a little school girl.) The other night also provided a rather exciting, if not brief, Colts related moment.
Last Saturday was actually a very busy night for us, but by 8:00 we had really started to slow down and by 9:00 we were all but dead, minus a few lingering tables and a few folks straggling in here and there. I was roaming around and found myself near the front of the store, checking on cleaning and what not, as an older gentleman walked in. He was wearing a long and heavy black overcoat and what looked like a brand new Yankees baseball cap.
He started to walk up to the counter and stopped in line right behind me as I continued to face out the front windows. And then I took a second look. I flipped back around and took an astonished breath. Upon my second glance I realized I was standing no less than three feet from Mr. Bill Polian.
I turned to face him and said, as I had to most of our guests that night, "How are you tonight sir?' He mumbled something to the nature of, "I'm doing Ok." It was clear Bill was either living up to his grumpy reputation or was simply not in the mood for conversation.
I turned back and thought to myself: "Ok, Ok think of an insightful question. Think you idiot. Think. Ask him something only the most in depth Colts fan would ask. Come on Nick, think you idiot!"
My mind was racing. I wanted desperately to have a conversation with him. Do I ask him what the thinks about Sherrod and the other tackles? Do I ask him about the Senior Bowl? Do I mention Collie came in earlier in the week? As my mind continued to race, I turned around. As I did, my jaw dropped. At the very same moment I saw Mr. Polian turn away from the counter ... and walk right out the door.
I started to flip out. Why was he leaving? Where was he going? What just happened?
I spun over to my 17 year old employee working the counter and asked frantically, "What just happened with that guy? Why is he walking out?"
My employee responded, "He asked if we had chicken noodle soup, and I said no, so he said bye and walked away."
Dang it Bill! Chicken noodle soup is our soup of the day on Sunday and Monday!
Mr. Polian if I would have known you were coming in, and presumably feeling under the weather, I would have had a bowl of chicken noodle ready for you, piping hot.
Next time Bill. Next time.
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I shouldn't have to make a case for Marvin Harrison for the Hall of Fame.
It shouldn't be necessary.
Harrison's ticket to Canton on the first ballot should be a foregone conclusion thanks to 1,102 catches for 14,580 yards and 128 touchdowns. I shouldn't have to defend an 8 time Pro Bowler and 3 time All Pro.
Unfortunately, a Hall of Fame voter, and an influential one, publicly doubts Harrison's inclusion. I've written about Peter King's ill-informed assault on Harrison on multiple occasions, but today I want to address a specific complaint he has.
He has argued Harrison is too similar to Chris Carter, Tim Brown, and Andre Reed to be a lock for inclusion. There are many ways that King misses the boat on this point, but let's start by comparing the raw career numbers for the men.
|Games||Rec||Yards||TD||YPR||Pro Bowls||All Pro|
On the surface, King has a point. Carter and Harrison's numbers are virtually indistinguishable. All four men have a lot in common. The major difference comes from the games played column. Harrison had a much shorter career than the other three. He played 44 fewer games than Carter or Reed. That's the equivalent of more than two and half full seasons. He played 65 fewer games than Tim Brown, which means he put up more catches and touchdowns and almost the same number of yards in FOUR fewer seasons worth of games.
Harrison was more intensely productive than any of these other three players, and there's a great way to prove it. The 'black and grey ink tests" have been around for a long time, especially in baseball. The idea is to count up how many times a player lead the league in key statistical categories. This is known as the 'black ink test'. The grey ink test does the same thing, but counts players' rank in the top 5 or 10 in key categories. These tests are a great way to find out which players were truly dominant and which players merely compiled stats thanks to long careers.
There is another major advantage to the tests: they allow us to compare players from different eras. We know that the NFL passing game has changed dramatically. It's impossible to compare John Stallworth to Marvin Harrison based on receiving numbers. However, the black and grey ink tests show us how dominant a player was compared to his peers. No matter how many games were in a season or what rules were in place, leading the league in receiving is an accomplishment. Being consistently in the top 5 in touchdowns or catches is an accomplishment. These tests show us how dominant a player was in relation to the other players they played against.
With the close of the 2010 NFL fiscal year, the Colts have some tough choices to make at nearly every spot on the roster. Let's go through the top of the Colts' roster player by player with an eye on what it might cost (or save) to bring them back for 2011.
In doing this exercise we have to take for granted some presuppositions:
1. There will be a full season in 2011. This is a big one, but if there's no season, there's NOTHING to talk about, so let's stay positive for the moment.
2. The new CBA will have roughly comparable salary rules to the old CBA. It seems to me that the battle lines are being drawn around how much money the owners and players will split, and not around the way contracts are structured. For the purposes of this article, we are assuming the old salary cap rules will be in place in the new CBA. This is a big assumption, I know, but I haven't heard any suggestions or alternative plans, so for now, we'll stick with what we know.
Finally, there is one more major assumption that isn't quite the given the other two are. For now, I'm assuming that players cut before the end of the 2010 year are cut in an uncapped year. That means that their entire unaccounted for bonus money can be written off without penalty going forward. In the old days under a cap, a player who was cut had to have all his bonus money accounted for in the next season. This created the so called 'dead money' effect. However, because there is no cap in 2010, it is unclear how players cut now will affect future cap calculations. While it is possible the new CBA could retroactively charge teams for players cut in 2010 going forward, it seems more likely that there is a short window in which teams can essentially erase past mistakes, flooding the market with over-priced veterans.
Now, let's look at the roster by salary and consider what will become of the key names. Most salary information comes from Coltscap.net, which hasn't been updated in a while, but the numbers still hold for most of the players in question. Even when they are off by small amounts, in most cases the general principles will hold true. Remember that in most cases 'bonus money' must be paid to the player no matter, but salary does not.
It's good to be back from vacation. I had a nice time, and I'm ready to roll with some good articles this week.
Tomorrow, I'll be looking over the Colts' roster and examining the salary implications of cutting...everyone. Then we'll start looking at Hall of Fame cases for Marvin Harrison and Edge James based on black and gray ink tests (how often a guy lead the league or ranked in the top 5 in key categories compared with other players). I'll also be working on updating the fixtures articles on the right side bar.
If you have any nominations for Classic Colts, Greatest Games, or Toughest Losses, please stick them in the comments. I'm especially interested where you all think the Super Bowl loss and this playoff game loss should rank. There's a lot of work to do, because I didn't update any of them last off-season. I was working on Blue Blood instead.
I'll also be checking in on the Pro Bowl tonight on Twitter. I'm just a handful of followers from 1,000, so do me a favor and follow me today. For times like last week when I was on vacation, I was still on Twitter. It's like bonus coverage from 18to88.
UPDATE: Here's the interview. You can also listen in the embedded player below. You can subscribe to all 18to88 podcasts on ITunes
With the draft order nearly set and college all-star games in full swing it's time to take the leap from only tracking/criticizing mock drafts to making one of my own.
1. Carolina (2-14): Nick Fairley, DT, Auburn
A breakout year from DE Charles Johnson and signs of life from young DEs Everette Brown and Greg Hardy puts Carolina in great position to build a very dangerous DL for new head coach Ron Rivera.
2. Denver (4-12): Patrick Peterson, CB/FS, LSU
With Champ Bailey possibly on the way out of Denver and talking about a position change even if he does stay an elite, versatile DB like Peterson is exactly what Denver needs behind what should be a much improved pass rush with the return of Elvis Dumervil.
3. Buffalo (4-12): Marcel Dareus, DE, Alabama
Buffalo ranked dead last in adjusted line yards, last in % of runs stuffed, 31st in 2nd level yards, but 13th in open field yards. The back 7 can bring a runner down, but the DL is getting blown off the ball so badly by the time they can do so, the damage is already done.
4. Cincinnati (4-12): A.J. Green, WR, Georgia
Maybe a young, sane, stud WR will stop Carson Palmer from running away from this team screaming as he seems set to do. At the least it'll make it less likely his replacement quickly follows Palmer out the door.
5. Arizona (5-11): Prince Amukamara, CB, Nebraska
Prince should round out a pretty nice secondary with DRC, Adrian Wilson and Kerry Rhodes. The QB spot will still be a disaster barring a move for a veteran FA, but none of the highly touted QBs are all that Pro-ready.