Contrarian Draft Investor
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Author:  Yorick [ April 12th, 2005, 7:39 am ]
Post subject:  Contrarian Draft Investor

On the front page I wrote a piece on the "contrarian" draft investor citing New England as an example.

http://www.lionbacker.com/?id=articles& ... contrarian

Do you think that this is viable alternative to the "need" based approach? Also, would using this system change your Lions' draftboard? Who would grade out higher and who would fall under the auspices of this system?

Author:  bsand2053 [ April 12th, 2005, 3:15 pm ]
Post subject: 

I thought your name was Rick. :shock:

I like the article and thought that the New England Model with role players and character evals. is probably the best model yet.

Author:  Honolulu_Blue [ April 13th, 2005, 6:21 pm ]
Post subject: 

Excellent Article Yorick! As someone who dabbles in the market I found the parallels convincing.

You give me an idea of what kind of draft strategy I follow. But what's ironic is that I'm very much the optimist regarding prospects but I would be considered contrarian based on how much stock and emphasis I place a prospects character. I do look for the 'superstar' players but they need good character by my estimation. So an anti-pessimistic contrarian?

It follows a three point weighted equilibrium between Performance, Athleticism, and Character. Off the top of my head probably 40% Performance, 30% Athleticism and 30% Character... which I know isn't the norm. It's unique in that I place just as much emphasis on Character as I do Athleticism. Let me define each just a bit.

Performance - This consists of a prospects resume be it college or whatever league prior to entering the nfl. Whatever stats, awards, accomplishments in season play, postseason play, and any bowl games. What they've done on the field is the most important measure of how they will perform at the next level.

Athleticism - this is all the measurables taken at the Scouting Combine and the pro days.

Character - this consists of any leadership skills during game time, and off the field behavior.

Taking these into account you can see how the Browns failed miserably at least in two cases.

Couch: While performance is the most important measure of judgement regarding prospects, Couch's case goes to show that you simply cannot ignore the other two areas. Couch had neither the nfl Athleticism, nor the character necessary to survive as an nfl QB.

Gerrard Warren: It was odd that during practices he was a player that barely broke a sweat. There are players that say, "I save it for the game... I leave it all on the field..." and there are players that are like that and can get away with it. Randy Moss comes to mind... however the contrarian philosophy would avoid the situation altogether... this probably explains why I'm not a big fan of the Barron pick.

Brown is a tougher case. He was a great college player, had great workouts, and had no major character concerns. I suppose they put too much stock in his primary workout numbers. eg. 40 time and ignored more telling numbers like a cone drill and other measures of agility. At any rate it was a tough call and you can hardly fault the team for this pick... it was a subtle thing to overlook. Pollack comes to mind here: his cone and change of direction skill might make him the best DE in this class... at the same time... his arms might be the downfall of him translating to the nfl level. It is these type of prospects that make the draft simply a crapshoot.

This philosophy would explain why my choice is Derrick Johnson and the same reason why Roy Williams was the clear cut no.1 on my draft board last year. The fact that these guys would go back to school for one more year when they were already first round status as juniors pushed them over the top for me. It was the lack of character concerns that has made Roy Williams an easy choice for me over Sean Taylor and Kellen Winslow... same deal with DJ.

Regarding DJ's combine experience he spoke of his character:

?I'm a pretty laid-back guy, so a lot of the teams asked me about that. They were saying 'you seem so relaxed and we?re used to linebackers being kind of fidgety and on edge.' I found myself having to convince them that I had a mean streak on the field ... that when I put that uniform, it?s a different story. But I pride myself in being a nice, respectful guy off the field, so I'm not going to change that.?

It's the deal breaker for me when all else is equal.

Author:  Yorick [ April 13th, 2005, 7:10 pm ]
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Your evaluation system sounds something like the Magic Formula Nuff and I made last year. I think we also put in some other variables like a historical bust quotient for positions and an impact figure according to how much the position can impact the game: DE and QB scored highest there. Maybe there was a developmental component too, like how long to reach peak performance, but the details are fuzzy.

"Character" is a pretty nebulous concept. I do not think laid back off the field is anymore of a problem than Pollack's rat symptons. Character is hard to define: not only desire (Claiborne had that on the field but not off), and work ethic (some players work hard and are great practice players but are too dumb), and game smarts. I think if you go in any sport the players that have game smarts and outstanding athletic ability are the superstars. That is what makes me so excited about RW. I do not think he has skratched the surface yet.

Author:  Honolulu_Blue [ April 13th, 2005, 10:12 pm ]
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The disagreement point between nuff and I is the 'Athleticism' aspect. I think if he were to look at the three points he would put great emphasis on athleticism... I would say as much as 60%. I think he ignores the performance and character aspects too much. You could give him a scouting combine and he'd be happy. Player runs a 4.3 40 bench presses the strenght bar 45 times, and has a 48" verticle... but don't know a lick about how to play football because he's maybe mentally deficient or something... and he would take that player first overall.

We were in agreement regarding Roy Williams. RW satisfied each of my criteria fantastically. RW was a workout warrior and that was what made him nuff's choice.

We were in disagreement regarding Kevin Jones. KJ satisfied the performance and character criteria fantasically and the athleticism didn't quite check. Nuff basically just wrote him off and still believes KJ won't cut it in this league. From my perspective... KJ's performance and any video was too much for me to just write him off. His character profile projected him as a high work ethic guy, on the confident side. His workout wasn't spectacular... but it wasn't enough for me to just blow him off just yet. Rather it docked his value a bit. I had some suspicions he could fall to the 2nd round because of the national perception... but in my mind he was still no less than tied for 1st with Steven Jackson as the top runner in the draft.


Character is a nebulous concept... but then again the other two categories have many components as well. For example the different stats recorded and the subjective and various opinions, quality of competition, weight of a match make performance just as if not more nebulous than 'character.'

Athleticism is one that is more tangible but it still is a very comprehensive category.

And no category can be completely separated. Obviously a players 'game smarts' would be evident in his performance and his 'character' on the field.

I agree with you on RW and am pleased with his progress. It not only benefits the team... but for me personally it's a sort of validation for my draft strategy when it comes to scouting. Some big time media people were dangerously close to annointing him the nfl's best receiver in only his rookie season.

Author:  Yorick [ April 13th, 2005, 11:00 pm ]
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I'll see if I can dig up an article I have on this guru that maps the brain. It is quite interesting, because it suggests that one can measure character something akin to physical measurables.

From what I recall Nuff was pretty high on character. However, I also seem to recall that weightlifting revealed work ethic which signified character and I thought that a bit imprecise as you say. The very best athletes have what I call genius. Like Roy WIlliams their brain takes so many more frames per second that time moves slow. That is what enables those spectacular catches.

Author:  LionsInsider [ April 14th, 2005, 12:35 pm ]
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ON KJ..... what he accomplished last year, especially in the second half of the year was pretty incredible. I dont think anybody could say he wont cut it in this league anymore. Millen said he went by his film speed, what a concept, watch any of his NFL runs in the archives and watch him run away from everyone like he has eyes in the back of his head...

On the article.. Kudos, great article I thought. you elaborated very well on the concept of a value pick and changed my perception about needs as a primary source of importance. I look for the lions to take the best player "DJ" as opposed to my primary choice of Alex Barron.

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