Gene Smith's history has been recounted over and over lately, and it left me wondering: what exactly was available when he made his draft selections? How often did he miss someone much better at a position of need, particularly positions he had targeted that year and even players of the same position drafted near the same time? I decided I would take a look at the "best case scenario" in the draft for the last 4 years, and build a super team.
Please understand, there are hundreds of possibilities with this, so not everyone may agree with what I came up with as the "best case scenario", particularly at QB. Truth be told, I don't like any of the QBs we had a shot at through the entire draft. Also, it would be UNREASONABLE TO EXPECT ANY GM to hit this much and this often, but that's not the point. The point is to see how often our GM missed. But in order to do this with the most sincere accuracy, I had to make some rules:
-I could only sign Free Agents or Undrafted Free Agents that we we actually signed in the period (though more may have been available). This is to minimize assumptions and keep the research based on draft choices.
-I could only use trades we actually traded for, though I could choose not to make that trade. This was to again, minimize assumptions.
-I had to try and draft the same positions near the same spots if possible to have as many players comparable to Gene's as I could.
-I could only take someone available at that spot. This part was hard to stick to and isn't bullet proof (not taking Gabbert might have Freed up Christian Ponder or Mike Pouncey in 2011, for example) but was as close as I could get to "realistic."
1.8. Eugene Monroe (OT)- While there were other obvious candidates such as BJ Raji, Brian Orakpo, Percy Harvin and Josh Freeman (not to Mention Clay Matthews and Brian Cushing left), I stick with Monroe. Realistically speaking, there's no way LT was not our biggest need, and with Monroe we have one of the best young Offensive tackles in the league.
Eben Britten (OL) - Sebastion Vollmer (OT) - Direct Compare Mega-Fail
Terrance Knighton (DL) - Mike Wallace (WR)
Trade for Derek Cox (CB)
Mike Thomas (WR) - Brian Hartline (WR) - Direct Compare Semi-Fail
Jarett Dillard (WR) - James Casey (TE/H-Back) - (to Miller) Direct Compare Fail
Zach Miller (TE) - Jason Mccourtney (CB) - (to Cox) Direct Compare Value Fail
Rashad Jennings (RB) - Arian Foster (RB) - Direct Compare Fail
Tiquan Underwood (WR) - Kevin Ogletree (WR) - Direct Compare Semi-Fail
(Sign) Russel Allen
-1 DT (Compared to Gene Smith's 2009 Draft)
In what was Gene's best draft, when compared to other strategies/players available, this draft looks really disappointing. I definitely feel that Gene benefited from an overall strong draft that featured a couple slips and above average players in the 3rd round.
Tyson Alualu (DT) - Jason Pierre-Paul (DE)- Most massive-fail of Gene's career, IMO.
Oakland Raiders - Sean Lee (LB) - Ohhhh the irony of Gene trying to trade in for him. Cancels Morrison Acquisition.
D'Anthony Smith (DT) - Geno Atkins (DT) - Direct Compare Mega-Fail
Trades with Oakland: Larry Hart (DE) and Kirk Morrison (LB) - Kam Chancellor (S)
5.153. Austen Lane (DE)
Deji Karim (RB/KR) - J'Marcus Webb (OT)
Scotty McGee (KR/PR) - Victor Cruz (WR/KR/PR) - Ohhhhh what could have been. Direct compare Mega-Fail.
+ 1 Safety, OL
- 1 DT, -1 RB
In what was the worst draft Gene's tenure so far, the possibility existed of having the best draft. We were in position to get a lot of talent in a mostly talentless 2010 draft.
(Sign) Paul Posluszny
(Sign) Dawan Landry
(trade) Dwight Lowery
(Sign) CJ Mosley
(Sign) John Chick
Trade for Blaine Gabbert (QB) - Ryan Kerrigan (DE) - This was the hardest pick to figure out. I'm sure a lot of people will look at a lot of different ways to handle this pick (say, JJ Watt?).
Colts - Stephen Paea (DT)
Will Rackley (OG) - Jurrell Casey (DT)
4.114. Cecil Shorts III (WR)
Chris Prosinski (S) - TJ Yates (QB)
Rod Isaac (CB) - Richard Sherman (CB), Direct Compare Mega-Fail
(Sign) Cameron Bradfield
+ 2 DTs
, 1 DE
-1 S, 1 OL
Justin Blackmon (WR) - Morris Claibourne (CB) - St. Louis selects Blackmon and Tampa still takes Barron. This is the only exception to the "must be available rule" considering I really, really think it would have unfolded like this had we not traded up for Blackmon.
Andre Branch (DE) Bobby Wagoner (OLB)
Bryan Anger (P) - Russel Wilson (QB)
Denver - Kirk Cousins (QB)
Brandon Marshall (LB) - Chris Rainey (RB)
6.176. Mike Harris (CB)
Jeris Pendleton (DT) - Shawn Powell (P) - (To Anger) Direct Compare Value-Fail
(Sign) Mike Brewster
(Sign) Julien Stanford
(Sign) Keith Tosten
+ 1 RB, 2 QBs, 1 CB
- DE 1, 1 DT, 1 WR
In this draft, we get a solid but hopefully short term starter at QB with Russel Wilson. The thought is that between Wilson, Cousins and Yates, a true starter will emerge and I think it would have made all 3 of these guys even better.
Also, we can see that the direct compares have started running out in the last two drafts, but that's because since we already took care of positions Gene had to address, the strategies changed slightly (cough - wide receiver).
In the end, I ended up spending the same amount of draft picks on the same positions (many/most in the same year). The only exceptions are, I spent one less on a DT and one less on a WR and I drafted a couple extra QBs and an extra CB. After all was drafted, this is the team I put together:
QB: Wilson, Yates, Cousins
RB: (MJD), Foster, Rainey, Tosten
FB: (Jones), (Owens)
OT: *Monroe*, Vollmer, Webb, *Bradfield*
OG:, (Nwarni), *Brewster*
WR: Wallace, Cruz, Brown, Hartline, *Shorts*, Ogletree,
TE: (Lewis), Casey
DE: Pierre-Paul, Kerrigan, (Mincey), *Lane*, *Chick*
DT: Atkins, Paea, Casey, *Mosley*
LB: (Smith), *Pos*, Lee, Wagoner, *Allen*, *Stanford*
CB: Sherman, Claibourne, McCourtney, (Mathis), *Harris*
S: Chancellor, *Landry*, *Lowery*
SPT: Scobee, Powell, Cain
Bold = Among best at position; 13 New (Holy crap more than Gene)
(Player) = Leftover from Shack Harris; 9
*Player* = Selections that Match Gene's; 4 Draft Picks (only 1 first rounder), 9 Acquisitions (only 2 big contracts)
Overall, Gene had at least 10 comparable failures, many of them big time fails.
When I started on this project, I didn't expect to see that Gene has done so bad, but everything good he's done could have been better and everything bad he's done should have been better. IMO, only Eugene Monroe stands as a draft pick that was unarguably the best choice available.
I have stood in Gene's corner for a long time, even when my eyes popped out in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft. Consider me to be officially on the fire Gene Smith train going forward.