The GM Search?

radsoxfan

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The actual draft picks are just a small sample of the team's overall draft board, so it's possible the last 5 years or so the player eval side of things isn't as bad as it looks.

Having said that, the data we have isn't great. Certainly it's possible the non-BB part of the equation already in place is very strong and he was dragging the entire operation down with his input, but unfortunately I'm not really counting on it.

I wish we were reaching out for some recently successful new blood at some of the upper levels of player eval, even if not the final say. I suppose we still might.
 

The Social Chair

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I guess this should come as no surprise. When the Krafts formulated the Mayo sucession plan they would have had to anticipate the vacuum this would cause at the GM level when BB was no longer there. RK is swinging the football ops pendulum from a highly centalized model (BB and no one else) to a more (much more) decentralized model with an empasis on collaboration among JK, Groh, Wolf and Mayo. It raises the question whether they will even name an OC /DC or just mimic the Mayo/Steve B collaboratively running the defense for both sides of the ball.
Can this mean anything but the Kraft's telling us that Belichick was almost solely responsible for the failure of the team over the last few years? This whole post-Belichick era will fail spectacularly if the Krafts think the same personnel will perform if you just remove Belichick from the equation.

Maybe Lincoln Riley can be Jonathan Kraft's Rick Pitino in a few years.
 

CoffeeNerdness

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If the Krafts ultimately stay in-house on the hires, it's likely a sign they thought the right people were in place all along but that Bill wasn't listening to them. There had been some noise in the media a couple of years ago about Kraft being unhappy Bill wasn't using the voices in the room (e.g. Harry selection), and based on Kraft's press conference this may well have been true. He did say allowing Bill full control of the team worked well for a while....until it didn't. He mentioned specifically the concept of "checks and balances" which he signaled had eroded under Bill.

So my guess is they do stay in-house on the hire and select Wolf. I'm not sure Wolf was ever used in the capacity the Krafts envisioned when he came over, and it seems as though he was potentially bypassed in the pecking order by Belichick when Groh was promoted over him:
This is from SI: "While Groh was unquestionably qualified for the position [Director of Player Personell], many had considered Wolf to be a potentially better fit, due to his experience in both collegiate and pro-level scouting."
That's funny because I remember reading something that sounds like the complete opposite of what you wrote in paragraph one. Apparently Bill wasn't sold on Devante Parker and one of the voices in the room convinced him to make the move and, well, yeah. Hopefully that person is not only not being elevated they're following Bill to wherever he ends up.
 

boca

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with the ESPHopefully the report that the ESPN
I just hope that JK recognizes his limitations here and does not assume that role.
I know some of the ESPN piece was sensationalist bullshit, but the insinuation that the Krafts wanted more input on the football side of things and now this report that no GM is going to be hired is worrying.

It’s a pivotal couple of months for the franchise and they’ve got to get these early decisions right.
 

jsinger121

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That's funny because I remember reading something that sounds like the complete opposite of what you wrote in paragraph one. Apparently Bill wasn't sold on Devante Parker and one of the voices in the room convinced him to make the move and, well, yeah. Hopefully that person is not only not being elevated they're following Bill to wherever he ends up.
I believe it was Patricia that was the voice for Parker. Yet they made the deal anyways and it was Bill that cluelessly gave him an extension.
 

Eddie Jurak

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LOL, no he doesn't. You're oversimplifying things. It's like saying the Patriots only had 2 issues this year, offense and defense.
Exactly. ST was also an issue. <ducks>
When Groh took over, they reportedly revamped a lot of the draft process. Adding more voices in the draft and having a more collaborative approach.
When did Groh take over?
 
Apr 7, 2006
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I wonder if an owner (Kraft or whoever) would ever quietly take aside a guy like Elliot Wolf and ask him to keep his own list of picks on draft night - a sort of "here's what I would have done if left to my own devices" document - just to have something to compare things to once a season (or two) had passed. Probably a silly idea, and one begging for organizational dysfunction, but I would definitely be interested in seeing how a scenario like that played out as a way of evaluating personnel evaluation.

edit: typos, always
 

Van Everyman

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I'm inclined to agree. I can't interpret the Mayo + in-house GM combo as anything other than "the system Bill put in place still works, Bill just had too much power, fucked up with personnel and was too much of a pain in the ass".
Or you could read it as “Bill assembled a super talented staff who made sound, solid recommendations about personnel. We want to give these guys an opportunity to be in charge with a coach they know and respect rather than make changes for the sake of change.”
 

Cellar-Door

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I do find the... The only problem was Bill? Posts funny.... He was literally in charge of basically everything, it's like a team firing the GM and HC, which is generally seen as a full reset even if they hire internally. They fired the people in charge of every high level decision on the football side
 

Van Everyman

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I do find the... The only problem was Bill? Posts funny.... He was literally in charge of basically everything, it's like a team firing the GM and HC, which is generally seen as a full reset even if they hire internally. They fired the people in charge of every high level decision on the football side
Yeah that’s more or less what I mean. I suspect some of what we learned about the offensive coaching staff will result in changes on that side of the organization. But culture is important to the Krafts and if they think Wolf and Groh were positive contributors to the culture and deserve the opportunity I can understand the thinking.
 

KingChre

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I understand the culture argument but I just want to go on the record by stating that I hate this plan. I think it's arrogant, and I think it's going to fail.

Ironically enough I would not feel this way if they went through a thorough search and interview process only to settle on these guys.

But they didn't. They are of the belief that their culture is paramount and wanted to maintain it.

I'm willing to give these guys a chance and I hope they succeed but as others have echoed, its difficult to look at Washington's process and not be a little jealous.
 

lexrageorge

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We need to keep in mind that we don’t know the exact inner workings of the organization. Even the plugged in reporters are usually forced to fill in a lot of gaps. It’s easy for us to say the entire player personnel department should be blown up and rebuilt, but that’s not how successful organizations work. If JK is taking a deliberate approach and is deciding who should stay and who should go after consulting with Groh, Mayo, and others, that seems like a sound process.

IIRC, a lot of Grier’s scouting staff stayed on until after the 2020 draft, and while the top of that draft was terrible, we did get one player to stick around for a bit.
 

Justthetippett

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I understand the culture argument but I just want to go on the record by stating that I hate this plan. I think it's arrogant, and I think it's going to fail.

Ironically enough I would not feel this way if they went through a thorough search and interview process only to settle on these guys.

But they didn't. They are of the belief that their culture is paramount and wanted to maintain it.

I'm willing to give these guys a chance and I hope they succeed but as others have echoed, its difficult to look at Washington's process and not be a little jealous.
Washington basically hired the consensus candidates that any knowledgeable fan would have picked. Maybe they will work out, but I'm not sure the process was so amazing (despite the outside experts they engaged etc.).

I do think this plan from the Pats is a bit bizarre. If you diagnose the issues with 4-13 as needing to fire the greatest HC in history, replace him with the youngest coach in the league and keep the rest the same that's...going to rightfully be questioned. We don't know all the moving parts, but it seems like this was the succession plan, only they assumed things would be in solid shape when the plan was activated. Now they are rebuilding, not maintaining. At least we don't have the "Mac is looking great in off-season workouts" piece yet.
 

lexrageorge

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I understand the culture argument but I just want to go on the record by stating that I hate this plan. I think it's arrogant, and I think it's going to fail.

Ironically enough I would not feel this way if they went through a thorough search and interview process only to settle on these guys.

But they didn't. They are of the belief that their culture is paramount and wanted to maintain it.

I'm willing to give these guys a chance and I hope they succeed but as others have echoed, its difficult to look at Washington's process and not be a little jealous.
Taking an approach that you don't agree with is neither arrogance nor hubris. We don't even know who is going to have what role yet, nor is there an immediate need to know the answer either. The Commanders were in a completely different situation than the Patriots with relatively new owners.
 
Apr 7, 2006
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Yes, Patricia championed acquiring Parker.
Do we know why Patricia having an opinion on DeVante Parker was a difference-maker? I get that he's a professional football mind, a respected voice in any room BB is in, etc..., so I don't mean this quiiiiiite as smarky as it sounds, but: Is there a reason Patricia claimed particularly canny insight on this player?
 
Apr 7, 2006
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Even if they stick with Wolf or Groh as a more empowered GM, that doesn't mean that they're just keeping everything the same, or "running it back." It doesn't mean the culture isn't changing. It could mean the culture IS changing and will now be one that approaches the problem of building a championship team in a wholly different - or, at least, meaningfully different - way.
 

brendan f

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That's funny because I remember reading something that sounds like the complete opposite of what you wrote in paragraph one. Apparently Bill wasn't sold on Devante Parker and one of the voices in the room convinced him to make the move and, well, yeah.
Dunno about all of this. From what I found, Patricia understood the Fins were getting Hill and that that would likely make Parker expendable. Maybe he was pounding the table for him, or maybe he was simply excited to give the FO some intel. This is what Groh said:

“It got kick-started on their end with them adding a different player and then where they were at with their wide receiver room. And then having the opportunity to add a great player to our roster...They weren’t just going to be able to keep everybody, and when a player became available, I would say Matt Patricia did a great job of being on that early and kind of getting that information to us as quickly as he could. We were in on that early, and it really came together well for us.”
 

KingChre

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Taking an approach that you don't agree with is neither arrogance nor hubris. We don't even know who is going to have what role yet, nor is there an immediate need to know the answer either. The Commanders were in a completely different situation than the Patriots with relatively new owners.
I'm admittedly operating under the assumption that the reporting is correct, and they plan on going with some combination of Wolf/Groh. And they arent planning on hiring someone new.

In my view not bothering to speak to any other candidates from around the league because you view the best candidates to be unproven, in house guys is arrogant. They might be, but you have no way of knowing that without doing their due diligence, and they chose not to bother.

If you disagree that's your prerogative and I don't begrudge you that.
 

Cellar-Door

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I'm admittedly operating under the assumption that the reporting is correct, and they plan on going with some combination of Wolf/Groh. And they arent planning on hiring someone new.

In my view not bothering to speak to any other candidates from around the league because you view the best candidates to be unproven, in house guys is arrogant. They might be, but you have no way of knowing that without doing their due diligence, and they chose not to bother.

If you disagree that's your prerogative and I don't begrudge you that.
I mean... what do you think they would get in the interviews out of curiosity? I mean, most of the top candidates around the league were here before, they know who they are.

In particular there are rumors that Jon Robinson might be coming back in a non-GM role.

Also worth noting, there have been no official announcements, just a guess that they won't fill an actual GM role, and (separately) that Wolf and Groh will stay in senior roles (neither getting promoted to a sole top chair) I don;t read anything in that to imply that they aren't planning to bring in any new people, just that they aren't going to plop someone new on top of the mountain just yet.
That gives them plenty of flexibility to add to the front office whether it is eventually adding a GM, or just adding guys in other roles.

I know you mentioned earlier being jealous of WAS, but I really don't get why. They Put together their weird search crew, banged out 2 quick Rooney interviews then hired Peters, who is well regarded, but probably has less high level experience than Eliot Wolf for example.
Thing about WAS is... they have no reason to stay in house because their organization has been a tire fire for decades. The Patriots have one of the best regarded front office groups in the business, there's a reason so much of the league's execs can trace back to the Patriots.

I guess to me, WAS took just as much an unproven guy. It's not like these interviews are going to tell you much beyond if you like the guy and can work with him. He's not bringing the work he did for SF with him as samples, and the owners don't know enough to have any real insight into the minutiae that separates these guys.
 

Granite Sox

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Keeping the scouting guy (Wolf) makes sense to me; my understanding is that typically turnover in the scouting department takes place after the draft. My guess is that a lot of hay is in the barn regarding this year’s draft already.

However, keeping Groh in player personnel (roster management, free agency, etc.) scares the crap out of me. Been with the team since 2011, but the roster management the past 5+ years has been awful. This is where the Pats need outside help, imo.
 

Cellar-Door

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Keeping the scouting guy (Wolf) makes sense to me; my understanding is that typically turnover in the scouting department takes place after the draft. My guess is that a lot of hay is in the barn regarding this year’s draft already.

However, keeping Groh in player personnel (roster management, free agency, etc.) scares the crap out of me. Been with the team since 2011, but the roster management the past 5+ years has been awful. This is where the Pats need outside help, imo.
Groh was the director of college scouting until 2022 he got promoted to player personnel which is just the title that Bill gives whomever is the second guy in the group..
Wolf's history is mostly player personnel and pro scouting. His title in NE covers all scouting. Based on their backgrounds though Groh is more the college guy of the pair and Wolf the pro guy (but others involved too, and both recently moved up or in to their spots)

This is I believe the most current front office chart: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Template:New_England_Patriots_staff

Groh got the PP title when Ziegler left in 2022 to be the GM of the Raiders, he got it from Caserio who left to be GM of the Texans the year before. (Robinson and Ossenfort both got GM jobs without every getting the top title in NE).
 

rodderick

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Or you could read it as “Bill assembled a super talented staff who made sound, solid recommendations about personnel. We want to give these guys an opportunity to be in charge with a coach they know and respect rather than make changes for the sake of change.”
So he assembled a super talented staff who made solid recommendations about personnel... And the team was 4-13 and had three losing seasons out of the past four? Seems like a more roundabout way to say "yeah, Bill personally was the one fucking it up and we're good with the infrastructure".
 

Cellar-Door

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So he assembled a super talented staff who made solid recommendations about personnel... And the team was 4-13 and had three losing seasons out of the past four? Seems like a more roundabout way to say "yeah, Bill personally was the one fucking it up and we're good with the infrastructure".
well the guy 2nd in command for 2 of those 4 years (and arguably the ones with the most negative impact on the roster) is already gone.
 
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So he assembled a super talented staff who made solid recommendations about personnel... And the team was 4-13 and had three losing seasons out of the past four? Seems like a more roundabout way to say "yeah, Bill personally was the one fucking it up and we're good with the infrastructure".
Yes, as I said before, what if wolf/groh were giving BB solid info and he was just ignoring it to go with his feelings.

There is already some chatter about him having trouble connecting with the younger players. Its not hard for me to imagine them pushing for a more modern style offense or players and bill vetoing their ideas and kinda doing things his way.
 

ZMart100

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I wonder if an owner (Kraft or whoever) would ever quietly take aside a guy like Elliot Wolf and ask him to keep his own list of picks on draft night - a sort of "here's what I would have done if left to my own devices" document - just to have something to compare things to once a season (or two) had passed. Probably a silly idea, and one begging for organizational dysfunction, but I would definitely be interested in seeing how a scenario like that played out as a way of evaluating personnel evaluation.

edit: typos, always
They should have the entire draft's grades (not just players they selected). I'm certain that they could review those to see how well they are doing at evaluation. I know BB specifically demanded a review to see why they failed on their evaluation of Edelman back in the day. It wouldn't be too hard for ownership to review those grades as well.

The draft is the least important part of a GM's duties. I don't think there is really an advantage to be had there over other teams. It's free agency- what players to target to fill a roster and how they structure contracts that differentiates a good GM from a bad one.
 

Eck'sSneakyCheese

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They should have the entire draft's grades (not just players they selected). I'm certain that they could review those to see how well they are doing at evaluation. I know BB specifically demanded a review to see why they failed on their evaluation of Edelman back in the day. It wouldn't be too hard for ownership to review those grades as well.

The draft is the least important part of a GM's duties. I don't think there is really an advantage to be had there over other teams. It's free agency- what players to target to fill a roster and how they structure contracts that differentiates a good GM from a bad one.
I’d say the draft is extremely important. You need low cost talent to succeed. The last GM had issues there.
 

KingChre

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I mean... what do you think they would get in the interviews out of curiosity? I mean, most of the top candidates around the league were here before, they know who they are.

In particular there are rumors that Jon Robinson might be coming back in a non-GM role.

Also worth noting, there have been no official announcements, just a guess that they won't fill an actual GM role, and (separately) that Wolf and Groh will stay in senior roles (neither getting promoted to a sole top chair) I don;t read anything in that to imply that they aren't planning to bring in any new people, just that they aren't going to plop someone new on top of the mountain just yet.
That gives them plenty of flexibility to add to the front office whether it is eventually adding a GM, or just adding guys in other roles.

I know you mentioned earlier being jealous of WAS, but I really don't get why. They Put together their weird search crew, banged out 2 quick Rooney interviews then hired Peters, who is well regarded, but probably has less high level experience than Eliot Wolf for example.
Thing about WAS is... they have no reason to stay in house because their organization has been a tire fire for decades. The Patriots have one of the best regarded front office groups in the business, there's a reason so much of the league's execs can trace back to the Patriots.

I guess to me, WAS took just as much an unproven guy. It's not like these interviews are going to tell you much beyond if you like the guy and can work with him. He's not bringing the work he did for SF with him as samples, and the owners don't know enough to have any real insight into the minutiae that separates these guys.
Why does any company ever bring in outside candidates for job openings? Alternative perspectives. I like the Washington hires because their "weird" committee is more effort than the Patriots put in, and they ended up with consensus top candidates. They may seem obvious to you, but its at the bare minimum a process.

I'd also disagree that Peters/Johnson are so obvious. I think you might be overrating the average fan's knowledge of NFL assistant coaches and FO staff. You, myself and the rest of this board are probably not indicative of how most people look at that, but I could be wrong.

The worst part of this Patriots team is their roster construction. I'm not sure I get the argument in keeping anyone that has had anything to do with building this roster. Your point that nothing has been announced is fair, and one that I covered by admitting my operating assumptions.

To reiterate, I like Mayo and im cautiously optimistic on him, but i would have preferred a better search process. Regarding the GM search, i think staying in house and not blowing it up when you have the chance, is not a good plan. Ill love to be wrong, but i just think we are going to be having this same conversation in 3 years.

I hadn't heard any rumors regarding Robinson, only his named mentioned speculatively, but i would be in favor of that move in theory.
 

jacklamabe65

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From Reiss today:
  • In 30 years of ownership, Robert Kraft and Jonathan Kraft have never hired a general manager. Bobby Grier and Scott Pioli held the title of vice president of player personnel, while Nick Caserio and Matt Groh assumed the of director of player personnel title. That history suggests that any hire is unlikely to be a GM who is given authority to run the entire football operation. Instead, the Krafts will be looking for someone to oversee personnel and work in concert with new head coach Jerod Mayo.
  • Director of scouting Eliot Wolf, the son of Pro Football Hall of Fame executive Ron Wolf, is viewed by some in the organization as well-positioned to be the choice for more responsibility and to possibly lead personnel efforts. He was an assistant general manager for the Browns (2018-19) before joining New England. The past four years have, in some respects, been an extended job interview for him. The Krafts' familiarity with him likely works in his favor.
 
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Devizier

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I’d say the draft is extremely important. You need low cost talent to succeed. The last GM had issues there.
Of course the draft is important. That’s not what he was arguing — the point is that it’s hard to gain a meaningful advantage in the draft, which is a pretty reasonable take and one supported by years of evidence.
 

Eck'sSneakyCheese

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Of course the draft is important. That’s not what he was arguing — the point is that it’s hard to gain a meaningful advantage in the draft, which is a pretty reasonable take and one supported by years of evidence.
It’s difficult to do so it’s less meaningful?
 

Eddie Jurak

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So he assembled a super talented staff who made solid recommendations about personnel... And the team was 4-13 and had three losing seasons out of the past four? Seems like a more roundabout way to say "yeah, Bill personally was the one fucking it up and we're good with the infrastructure".
That's at least partly right (I mean, as the underlying motivation here, not as known fact).

Of course it is always hard to know what goes on behind closed doors, but there a few things worth considering:
  • Bill was pretty well known for having his fingerprints all over all aspects of the organization. He's not a delegate and trust his subordinate to get things right kind of guy.
  • Bill generally kept the organization lean, having fewer coaches, etc., than most teams.
  • Bill spectacularly fucked up his coaching staff in 2022 in a way that hurt the team.
  • Apparently Bill limited the number of guys BOB could bring in as coaches.
  • There are stories of Bill overriding his scouting staff during drafts, etc.
  • For all of his accomplishments (and I would call him the best coach ever), his coaching tree has been at best unimpressive. Has his GM tree been better?
There is a pretty reasonable case that Bill's MO was to micromanage but that in his 70s he can't do it all himself anymore, and that the mediocre performance over the past 4.5 seasons reflects his failings rather than the organizations.

But there is an obvious caveat here: If Bill was a "do it all himself" micromanager type who can no longer succed that way, then why should his football operation, minus him, be expected to succeed? Why would we expect Mayo to succeed where McDaniels, O'Brien, Crenell, Mangini, Flores, Patricia, Judge, Daboll didn't or haven't yet?

I hope Mayo succeeds, and maybe him getting the job despite quite limited coaching experience is an indication of how impressive he is (as it was in the case of Joe Mazzulla). I voted optimistic in the poll. But I think all of the concerns are well founded.
 

RedOctober3829

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I don't mind if Eliot Wolf is the person heading things up in the personnel department. He is known to be more analytically-driven and has a lot of outside perspectives having served on staffs in Green Bay and Cleveland. I tend to think Matt Groh isn't long for Foxboro as he's a Bill guy so the likelihood of Groh leaving after the draft to follow Bill is pretty high. I also would not be surprised to see more than a few other personnel guys leave to join Bill as well. The FO staff you see for now until the draft will be different after the draft. That's usually how these things work. This will give Mayo time to line up new additions.
 

ZMart100

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It’s difficult to do so it’s less meaningful?
Even if there were such a thing as a college player talent evaluation edge, I'm not sure you could figure who had it based on a small number of picks over 3 or 4 drafts. Yet, some people seem to be pointing to an organization's draft record and suggesting that we sign the assistant GM in the org because of it. Choosing the last person (or assistant to the last person) to place a winning bet at a roulette wheel is not a good way to hire a GM. I am saying you should look for a more identifiable skill.
 

Eck'sSneakyCheese

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Even if there were such a thing as a college player talent evaluation edge, I'm not sure you could figure who had it based on a small number of picks over 3 or 4 drafts. Yet, some people seem to be pointing to an organization's draft record and suggesting that we sign the assistant GM in the org because of it. Choosing the last person (or assistant to the last person) to place a winning bet at a roulette wheel is not a good way to hire a GM. I am saying you should look for a more identifiable skill.
The draft is not a crapshoot. Treating it as such has been an Achilles heel for this organization for years.
 

tims4wins

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It’s pretty well documented that draft success is more tied to taking more shots - having more picks - than anything else.
 

Silverdude2167

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The draft is not a crapshoot. Treating it as such has been an Achilles heel for this organization for years.
Lol, the draft is a crapshoot.

From 2010 - 2017 31% of first-round draft picks signed a second contract with the team that drafted them. Round ~23%, Round 3 ~18%.

Look at those #'s and tell me the draft isn't a crapshoot.

Source
 

Eck'sSneakyCheese

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Wow. Ok. I get it. From my perspective asking why this team has been bad evaluating and developing offense then saying well the drafts a crapshoot gives no ownership to the previous failings. Tyquan Thornton was a good pick because fuck it, right? Our upcoming #3 pick could go either way but let’s not try to put an emphasis on finding the right one because it’s been proven really hard to do. Thats what this sounds like.
 

j44thor

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Lol, the draft is a crapshoot.

From 2010 - 2017 31% of first-round draft picks signed a second contract with the team that drafted them. Round ~23%, Round 3 ~18%.

Look at those #'s and tell me the draft isn't a crapshoot.

Source
Second contracts are a terrible way to judge a draft as has been rehashed many times. You get 5yrs control on a 1st rd pick plus franchise opportunities before you would have to give them a second contract. You also can't resign every good player due to the cap. Tee Higgins is unlikely to get a second contract with CIN, does that mean he was a bad draft pick? We should look at what you get out of those picks value wise while they are under contract. You couldn't resign all your drafted players even if you wanted to due to the cap.

I'd suggest looking at which players got a second contract from any team though even that is somewhat flawed. Games started perhaps combined with production is probably the most effective way to judge a draft.

The draft is by far the easiest way to acquire an advantage on the salary cap, it is a fools errand to argue against that as when you sign a FA you are almost always paying for past production.
 

j44thor

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Wow. Ok. I get it. From my perspective asking why this team has been bad evaluating and developing offense then saying well the drafts a crapshoot gives no ownership to the previous failings. Tyquan Thornton was a good pick because fuck it, right? Our upcoming #3 pick could go either way but let’s not try to put an emphasis on finding the right one because it’s been proven really hard to do. Thats what this sounds like.
Basically that is what the argument always delves into. Specifically WRs are a crapshoot so NE is absolved from never drafting a productive one in rounds 1-5 under BB since Deion Branch over 20yrs ago. They also get a pass because they don't draft as many.
 

Silverdude2167

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Amstredam
Second contracts are a terrible way to judge a draft as has been rehashed many times. You get 5yrs control on a 1st rd pick plus franchise opportunities before you would have to give them a second contract. You also can't resign every good player due to the cap. Tee Higgins is unlikely to get a second contract with CIN, does that mean he was a bad draft pick? We should look at what you get out of those picks value wise while they are under contract. You couldn't resign all your drafted players even if you wanted to due to the cap.

I'd suggest looking at which players got a second contract from any team though even that is somewhat flawed. Games started perhaps combined with production is probably the most effective way to judge a draft.

The draft is by far the easiest way to acquire an advantage on the salary cap, it is a fools errand to argue against that as when you sign a FA you are almost always paying for past production.
All valid, and nailing the draft is the key to long-term success in the league.

But to prove if the draft is an exact science or more throwing darts at a board, second contracts is an easy enough way to judge that.