Four Downs makes its debut appearance on Bucs Central. The column will be used to give opinions, analysis or too answer questions on the latest happenings surrounding the team each week or when warranted. In this weeks edition Bucs Central newest contributor The White Tiger – takes a look at building a winner in the NFL.
Four downs to building a winner in the NFL:
I’m not sure there is a SINGLE way, but while doing some research on the topic recently I found a very interesting formula and support data. It’s pretty simple, it goes something like this (by order): 1) Quarterback, 2) Left Tackle, to protect that quarterback, 3) and a defensive player to chase the other teams quarterback.
See what I mean? Simple.
Look at the teams that selected QB’s between 2007 and 2008. Notice they also targeted – and more often than not – got a guy to protect their quarterbacks in that same draft?
QB JaMarcus Russell 1st pick/1st rd – LT Mario Henderson selected 3rd Rd.
LT Joe Thomas 1st rd/3rd pick – QB Brady Quinn 1st rd/22nd pick.
QB Matt Ryan 1st rd/1st pick – LT Sam Baker 1st rd/21st pick.
QB Joe Flacco 1st rd/18th pick.
Anything jump out at you about Baltimore’s 1st round selection of Joe Flacco (I mean besides most “experts” thinking it was a reach)? Right, the Ravens didn’t get a guy to protect their 1st round franchise QB in the same draft. So, let’s take a look at the next season’s selections. Did the Ravens stay with the theory/strategy and protect their former 1st round, current franchise, signal-caller’s blind side?
Lets take a look:
1) QB Matt Stafford 1st rd/1st pick (no NFL caliber LT on roster).
2) St Louis
LT Jason Smith 1st rd/2nd pick (QB Bulger current rostered starter).
3) New York Jets
QB Mark Sanchez 1st rd/5th pick (LT D’Brickashaw NFL Caliber starter).
LT Andre Smith 1st rd/6th pick (Carson Palmer NFL Caliber starter).
LT Michael Oher 1st rd/23rd pick (QB Joe Flacco current starter).
LT Eugene Monroe 1st rd/8th pick (QB Garrard current rostered starter).
You can see that not only does the theory hold true, but if a team finds the best talent at a particular position (either QB or LT) to fit their desired system, but aren’t able to fill the other position with at least equal competency in that same year – they don’t reach – they wait. The target of the next season becomes the position they didn’t fill from the prior year. If we use the theory, the history, and the data above – you could make a case that 3 teams need to fill either the 1st or 2nd condition in the formula for building a winner in the NFL.
So many of you may be saying, “cool theory, nice data, but what has it got to do with the Bucs?” Some may even have concluded that the Bucs will target a LT in the 2010 draft – and maybe the front office will do just that – but I don’t think so. The point is that St Louis and Jacksonville need to get a QB, Detroit still needs to protect their QB.
Now factor into the equation that St Louis has spent 2 out of their last 3 first rounds picks on guys that chase the opposing QB. When you realize that the Rams have passed on the likes of the following QB’s: Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Mark Sanchez and Josh Freeman. All of whom saw a lot of success in their first years as starting QB’s – maybe you’re beginning to see what I see.
St Louis has to be considering Clausen, Bradford or McCoy. Personally, I’m going with Clausen. He was taught the pro game by Weis, his arm strength and footwork are said to be perfect. Others may think the Rams will take a QB, but they think it will be the more accurate Bradford – with thatfirst pick.
Detroit desperately needs to protect their 1st round, 1st overall, franchise QB from last year. He’s the first of his kind in a long time in Motown: a legitimate star – and they watched as he was hammered onto the IR last season. For this reason, I have to think that the Lions are seriously considering Russell Okung, whom Matt McGuire of WalterFootball.com has compared to Joe Thomas.
This all leads to the end-zone, pay dirt: While I remain unconvinced that both St Louis and Detroit will bypass the two best DT’s to come out in a long time – I think one of them will.
That means the Bucs should get a great Defensive Tackle in this draft. I can’t imagine anyone passing on Suh, so my guess is we’ll be welcoming Gerald McCoy as our 1st round draft pick in 2010!
I’m interested to hear what you guys think about this analysis – don’t be afraid of the Tiger – it’s rare that anyone ever sees him pounce…