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 offensive tackles 
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Post offensive tackles
Read the following article today, regarding highly drafted OT's. While I'm a proponent of investing picks to solidify and hopefully upgrade our O-line, I'm somewhat skeptical in placing significantly higher value on players that are rated as high to mid-first round picks. I realize the draft is a crap-shoot and there are no guarantees, but think that maybe waiting till the 2nd-3rd rounds to draft an OT to develop and possibly another later in the draft. Good chance he doesn't start in year one anyway.


http://www.footballperspective.com/thou ... rst-round/


Thoughts on Drafting Offensive Tackles High In The First Round
by Chase Stuart on April 25, 2015
in Draft

Read one profile of an offensive lineman projected to go in the top ten of the draft and you’ve read them all. You’ll hear that the player is “one of the safest picks in the draft,” a future Pro Bowler, and someone “you can pencil into your starting lineup for the next decade and forget about.”

We know that quarterbacks are tough to project coming out of college: it’s the most challenging position to evaluate, so we’re told, and quarterback production is so dependent on things like system and teammates. Wide receivers are notoriously risky, too, while running backs have become devalued in recent years.

So the default safe offensive pick high in the draft is at tackle. But that hasn’t been working out so well in recent years. Not only have there been a number of underachievers, but top picks have produced some of the league’s worst starting linemen.

In 2014, Greg Robinson was the second pick in the draft. The Rams tackle rated as one of the worst offensive tackles last season according to Pro Football Focus.

The sixth pick last year was Jake Matthews, and the Atlanta linemen had the distinction of being PFF’s lowest-rated offensive tackle of 2014.

Taylor Lewan was the 11th pick to the Titans. He began the season on the bench, first starting in week 6 against the Jaguars. Lewan started for six games, but missed the remainder of the season with an ankle injury.

In 2013, offensive tackles went in three of the first four picks! Eric Fisher was the first overall pick in the draft but has been a disastrous pick. Fisher was terrible at right tackle as a rookie, and no better as a left tackle last season. The Chiefs have been successful over this time period, limiting the media blowback, but the pick has been horrendous by first overall selection standards.

The second pick in ’13 was Luke Joeckel, who has been just as bad, with the added bonus of having missed most of his rookie year due to injury. Like Fisher, the media hasn’t focused on how bad of a pick this had been but for the opposite reason: Jacksonville has been so unsuccessful that Joeckel’s failures are lost in the haystack.

The fourth pick in that draft was Lane Johnson, and that’s a pick that’s mostly worked out for the Eagles. He played decently enough as a rookie and was an above-average player last year (after missing the first four games of the season due to suspension).

After Johnson, a pair of guards were drafted in the top ten. Guards are never highly drafted, but these two were such safe blue-chippers that they went in the top ten anyway! As it turns out, neither the Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper picks has worked out. Warmack has been a nondescript guard (who could have guessed?!) on a bad team, while Cooper has been limited to just 189 snaps in two years. Arizona has clearly soured on Cooper, one of the few setbacks of the fabulous Arians/Keim regime.

San Diego took D.J. Fluker with the 11th pick in the 2013 draft. Some thought Fluker would be a guard in the pros, and after two years at tackle in the pros, it appears as though that’s where he’ll play in 2015. That’s a pretty good hint as to how he played at tackle.

In 2012, Matt Kalil was the 4th overall pick. The Vikings left tackle was disastrous last season, allowing a league-high 12 sacks and ranking as the fourth worst offensive tackle according to Pro Football Focus. Kalil played well as a rookie but has regressed since; his future is uncertain, but based on his play last season, the only reason he’s going to be on an NFL roster in 2015 is because he was the 4th overall pick in the 2012 draft.

In 2011, Kalil’s USC teammate, Tyron Smith, was the only tackle to go high in the draft. Smith, of course, has been a star for the Cowboys, and was a first-team All-Pro for the first time in his career in 2014.

In 2010, it was Trent Williams (4th), Russell Okung (6th), and Anthony Davis (11th) going at the top of the draft. All three have had their good years, and Williams has lived up to his pre-draft hype. Okung and Davis are solid players, but I’m not sure either have quite lived up to expectations. Still, compared to the recent tackles taken at the top of the draft, Okung and Davis look like stars.

The 2009 draft produced another disaster. St. Louis selected Jason Smith with the second overall pick, and he is one of the biggest busts in draft history. With the sixth selection, Cincinnati drafted Andre Smith, who was actually one of the “riskier” tackles drafted in recent memory. Smith struggled with weight issues, but he’s turned out to be a very good pro. Two picks later, the Jaguars selected Eugene Monroe. Monroe’s career has been up-and-down, but Jacksonville certainly wasn’t thrilled with the pick: the Jaguars dealt Monroe to Baltimore in 2013 for a fourth and a fifth round pick. After an initial good performance with the Ravens, Monroe was one of the league’s poorer offensive tackles in 2014.

One of the earlier posts at Football Perspective was titled: Investing heavily in a Left Tackle is a luxury bad teams can not afford. Upon further review, I believe even more strongly in that analysis because drafting tackles appears to be pretty risky on top of everything else.

Of course, the anecdotes above are just some examples, and there’s no control group: i.e., I didn’t go through that same process for other positions. But I did look at all draft picks from 1990 to 2009 a couple of years ago. At the time, offensive linemen looked somewhat safe, although I’m skeptical that such analysis would hold up if we included data from the last five years.

Perhaps the best question is why aren’t offensive tackles easier to project? But whatever the answer to that question is, there’s no doubt that taking an offensive lineman at the top of the draft is a lot riskier than most teams think it is.


April 13th, 2016, 6:43 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
good article a lot of the top o lineman recently have been less than expected. i think the article is a year old bc eric fisher is coming around and played some good football a year ago.


April 16th, 2016, 10:46 am
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Post Re: offensive tackles
The Legend wrote:
good article a lot of the top o lineman recently have been less than expected. i think the article is a year old bc eric fisher is coming around and played some good football a year ago.



Yes the article is from last April, thought it was relevant as so many are pounding the table for the Lions to select an OT at 16.


April 16th, 2016, 2:59 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
If the right guy is there at 16...


bang bang bang bang...

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April 16th, 2016, 6:41 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
Team focus on big $ positions in round one (QB, LT, DE). Part of it makes sense, if you can get a good player at one of those positions on a rookie contract you have done yourself a big favor.

I think a smart GM would draft early on which positions pan out the best when drafted in round one and what are the attributes associated with those players that work out. You miss in round one and you really hurt your team. In fact, a smart GM should build a team building strategy based on "moneyball" statistics to maximize limited dollars to spend. Strategy should also apply to FA pickups, what positions transfer well to other teams.

If I'm a GM, I do like long term strategies like BPA which I know most fans don't like because they want to plug holes. But building up talent is the name of the game. I like New Engalnd's long term approach, especially how they trade back for extra future picks - hopefully our GM brought that with him.

The Lions aren't winning the SB next year, let's not plug holes to incrementally improve year-over-year, let build a deep talented roster over the next few years.

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April 18th, 2016, 2:12 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
Daniel Jeremiah had a mock with the Lions taking Ryan Kelly at 16. PoD had an article showing how centers that were drafted in the 1st round have a very good rate of success. If Kelly really is getting 1st round grades from scouts then he would be a very smart pick. With the decent OTs that should be available after the first round, I wouldn't mind seeing the Lions go OC first and an OT a little later to really build a nice young Oline.


April 18th, 2016, 3:18 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
Pablo wrote:
Team focus on big $ positions in round one (QB, LT, DE). Part of it makes sense, if you can get a good player at one of those positions on a rookie contract you have done yourself a big favor.

I think a smart GM would draft early on which positions pan out the best when drafted in round one and what are the attributes associated with those players that work out. You miss in round one and you really hurt your team. In fact, a smart GM should build a team building strategy based on "moneyball" statistics to maximize limited dollars to spend. Strategy should also apply to FA pickups, what positions transfer well to other teams.

If I'm a GM, I do like long term strategies like BPA which I know most fans don't like because they want to plug holes. But building up talent is the name of the game. I like New Engalnd's long term approach, especially how they trade back for extra future picks - hopefully our GM brought that with him.

The Lions aren't winning the SB next year, let's not plug holes to incrementally improve year-over-year, let build a deep talented roster over the next few years.



Agree! Can't wait to see what our roster looks like three years from now.


April 18th, 2016, 4:58 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
rao wrote:
Daniel Jeremiah had a mock with the Lions taking Ryan Kelly at 16. PoD had an article showing how centers that were drafted in the 1st round have a very good rate of success. If Kelly really is getting 1st round grades from scouts then he would be a very smart pick. With the decent OTs that should be available after the first round, I wouldn't mind seeing the Lions go OC first and an OT a little later to really build a nice young Oline.



I'm all for taking a center, seeing how we don't have one, and to me is currently the biggest deficiency on the O-line, but I'm against taking one at 16.


April 18th, 2016, 5:01 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
liontrax wrote:
rao wrote:
Daniel Jeremiah had a mock with the Lions taking Ryan Kelly at 16. PoD had an article showing how centers that were drafted in the 1st round have a very good rate of success. If Kelly really is getting 1st round grades from scouts then he would be a very smart pick. With the decent OTs that should be available after the first round, I wouldn't mind seeing the Lions go OC first and an OT a little later to really build a nice young Oline.



I'm all for taking a center, seeing how we don't have one, and to me is currently the biggest deficiency on the O-line, but I'm against taking one at 16.


There a reason why? I think positional value in the draft is dead with slotted money, outside of the obvious QB and K/P.

Get the best player to help your team.


April 19th, 2016, 3:06 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
dr1249 wrote:
liontrax wrote:
rao wrote:
Daniel Jeremiah had a mock with the Lions taking Ryan Kelly at 16. PoD had an article showing how centers that were drafted in the 1st round have a very good rate of success. If Kelly really is getting 1st round grades from scouts then he would be a very smart pick. With the decent OTs that should be available after the first round, I wouldn't mind seeing the Lions go OC first and an OT a little later to really build a nice young Oline.



I'm all for taking a center, seeing how we don't have one, and to me is currently the biggest deficiency on the O-line, but I'm against taking one at 16.


There a reason why? I think positional value in the draft is dead with slotted money, outside of the obvious QB and K/P.

Get the best player to help your team.



I believe it would be a mistake to over draft a center at 16. I like Kelly just fine and if he slips to 46 then I'd be interested. Do I think he's Alex Mack or Nick Mangold? No. He's rated on some of the talent boards as high as late first round. Mid twenty's at best. If we trade back, then fine. Last year the Lions (idiot Mayhew) over drafted a mid to late 2nd round Guard with our first pick. I'm hoping Quinn is smarter than that.


April 19th, 2016, 6:02 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
liontrax wrote:
dr1249 wrote:
liontrax wrote:
rao wrote:
Daniel Jeremiah had a mock with the Lions taking Ryan Kelly at 16. PoD had an article showing how centers that were drafted in the 1st round have a very good rate of success. If Kelly really is getting 1st round grades from scouts then he would be a very smart pick. With the decent OTs that should be available after the first round, I wouldn't mind seeing the Lions go OC first and an OT a little later to really build a nice young Oline.



I'm all for taking a center, seeing how we don't have one, and to me is currently the biggest deficiency on the O-line, but I'm against taking one at 16.


There a reason why? I think positional value in the draft is dead with slotted money, outside of the obvious QB and K/P.

Get the best player to help your team.



I believe it would be a mistake to over draft a center at 16. I like Kelly just fine and if he slips to 46 then I'd be interested. Do I think he's Alex Mack or Nick Mangold? No. He's rated on some of the talent boards as high as late first round. Mid twenty's at best. If we trade back, then fine. Last year the Lions (idiot Mayhew) over drafted a mid to late 2nd round Guard with our first pick. I'm hoping Quinn is smarter than that.


Kelly has been moving up draft boards all offseason. He's getting projected to go at 18 to the Colts or 21 to the Redskins and now Daniel Jeremiah mocked him to the Lions. He's pretty comparable to Alex Mack physically and played in the SEC. Given the recent history of 1st round rated OCs, Kelly has a very good chance to be a multi time pro bowl player. I'm not sure if it's the best move for the Lions to make, but it isn't comparable to the pick last year. Tomlinson had more concerns about his success in the NFL and whether he was all in on football with his future goals outside of football.

My look on the idea is Kelly has a much better chance of being Alex Mack than any of the other options I've seen projected to the Lions becoming like a top 3 guy at their positions.


April 19th, 2016, 11:44 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
liontrax wrote:
dr1249 wrote:
liontrax wrote:
rao wrote:
Daniel Jeremiah had a mock with the Lions taking Ryan Kelly at 16. PoD had an article showing how centers that were drafted in the 1st round have a very good rate of success. If Kelly really is getting 1st round grades from scouts then he would be a very smart pick. With the decent OTs that should be available after the first round, I wouldn't mind seeing the Lions go OC first and an OT a little later to really build a nice young Oline.



I'm all for taking a center, seeing how we don't have one, and to me is currently the biggest deficiency on the O-line, but I'm against taking one at 16.


There a reason why? I think positional value in the draft is dead with slotted money, outside of the obvious QB and K/P.

Get the best player to help your team.



I believe it would be a mistake to over draft a center at 16. I like Kelly just fine and if he slips to 46 then I'd be interested. Do I think he's Alex Mack or Nick Mangold? No. He's rated on some of the talent boards as high as late first round. Mid twenty's at best. If we trade back, then fine. Last year the Lions (idiot Mayhew) over drafted a mid to late 2nd round Guard with our first pick. I'm hoping Quinn is smarter than that.


If he slips to 46 you better be a lot more than interested. Whether Tomlinson was overdrafted or not, jury is still out. Far too early, considering the blocking scheme Lombardi was running, to make judgements.

And I'd put Kelly in the Mack/Mangold class. I'd argue he's a top 10-15 player. He's been flying up the boards over the last few weeks, which goes to tell you teams have him highly rated because as teams set their draft boards and guys begin to "rise" or "fall", it just means media is finding out how teams view players.


April 20th, 2016, 3:36 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
Pablo wrote:
Team focus on big $ positions in round one (QB, LT, DE). Part of it makes sense, if you can get a good player at one of those positions on a rookie contract you have done yourself a big favor.

This is mostly PR. The assertion is you must have a 'Franchise' quarterback. After that you have to protect him and after that you have to pressure the opposing 'Franchise' quarterback. This is what fans are told because it is a simple answer and it matches up with their focus, which is always on the ball and mostly on the quarterback. The truth is that it is much more complicated, but because this is what fans are told and they are the costumers, you cater to them if the perception is these are areas of need.

This doesn't mean you don't need quality players at these positions and you make a very good point about getting quality at bargain prices via the draft. The trouble is that teams will reach on these positions to cater to the fans.

Pablo wrote:
If I'm a GM, I do like long term strategies like BPA which I know most fans don't like because they want to plug holes. But building up talent is the name of the game. I like New Engalnd's long term approach, especially how they trade back for extra future picks - hopefully our GM brought that with him.


I don't have a problem with the BPA approach as long team need is included in the equation. Define the Best Player Available. You really can't anymore than you can define 'fair'. It is subjective. Besides, we really don't seek the Best Player Available so much as the best VALUE available. And that is as subjective as the best PLAYER. You only need so many players at a given position, after that you are letting your subjective reasoning run away with your common sense. And have you noticed that the most valuable position in all of football is never included in the BPA unless it is the first round and a need?

The issue I have with BPA was demonstrated by Mayhew when he drafted Fairley. Mayhew contended he was too great a talent to pass up regardless of team needs. When you ignore a need that you can adequately address you push that need back to where other needs are going to compete with it or to where you cannot adequately address it. At the time of the Fairley draft we needed a guard and were going to need a center. There was a top rated guard/center available if I recall. We didn't take him, we took Fairley, we lost out on both DT in free agency and look at how the O-line struggled last year. Choices have consequences.


April 23rd, 2016, 2:06 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
Here's what I've found in watching the draft for years.....DO NOT take players that make late season rises up draft boards. Make no mistake, there are those players who have been late risers that have worked out pretty well. Kuechly comes to mind for Carolina. But what I've seen is that players who were highly ranked at the beginning of a college season, and then drop somewhat have actually had better success. Of course, that all depends on what caused their drop. Multiple red flags (like on Johnny Manziel or Justin Blackmon) should not be ignored. But if a player has a small altercation or some misunderstanding that gets blown up in the media, he may fall and end up being a pretty solid football player.

Sometimes personality issues are more easily resolved than injury issues. But a player who falls down in the draft, particularly because of a poor Combine or pro day workout.....I'd draft them quicker than anticipated. What they put on tape is what should count the most.

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April 25th, 2016, 7:07 pm
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Post Re: offensive tackles
For me it isn't so much the late season bloomer as the final season bloomer. But I will agree that this becomes a bigger red flag if he is a final season and late season bloomer.

There is no doubt that what a player has consistently put on tape in games should make up the bulk of your football ability evaluation. The Combine is a Dog and Pony Show. Yet, you will invariably have some GM fall in love with a player because of a workout number.

Right now fans are kind of up in arms to get another LT and move Reiff to RT. It is the same complaint they had for Backus. Personally, I thought Backus was better than Reiff has been, but at the same time I don't think Reiff is as bad as so many fans believe. I felt the same way about Backus. I haven't paid as much attention to the O-line as I have in the past. Truth be told, I became quite fed up with the Lions when they hired the guys that ran the team 0-12 after firing Millen. With that said, I don't think LT is as large a need as some.

The offensive line struggled. It was painfully obvious, but what isn't as obvious is how much of that struggle was due to poor play by the LT. It is one thing if you look at the film and he is out of position consistently or using poor technique consistently or something that you can definitively say was his fault and his fault alone. Things were such a mess last year I don't think you can do that. At best we can say we need to upgrade the RT spot, but drafting a LT to move the current LT to RT isn't a good move unless the drafted LT is a clear upgrade. I am not that sure any LT that falls to the Lions would be that big of an upgrade. I'm more inclined to pass on a LT in the first round, at #16, unless that is the best value on the board and we can't trade back.


April 26th, 2016, 4:23 pm
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