Welcome to this week’s special NFL Draft edition of Bump & Run where we will cover:
- Drafting Players with Criminal Records – Smart or Senseless?
- Who will have the better NFL career – Luck or RG3?
- Famous Draft Day Trades
Do the Crime – Get More Playing Time?
A recent study by Stephen Wu, economics professor from Hamilton College in New York, shows that it just might be worth it for teams to take a gamble on players with criminal records. Historically, players with criminal records get drafted about 15-20 spots lower than players with similar college football careers but squeaky clean criminal records. Dollar for dollar, these players are a better bargain, because of their lower draft position. While the practice of drafting players with criminal records might sound good on the outside, there are probably only a select few teams with the coach and system to completely negate the drawbacks of drafting a player with off-field issues. Try this approach in a place like Oakland or Cincinnati and the odds are high that the gamble will backfire.
Players usually go one of two directions when they reach the NFL, regardless of whether they have a criminal past or not. Some players see all the opportunity that the NFL brings and ensure that they work hard to make the most out of their chances. Others see the NFL as a way to fund a lifestyle that isn’t sustainable otherwise, and often miss out on a long, healthy career because of it. Rest assured, someone will take a risk on a player with a less-than-stellar past during the 2012 NFL draft. Let’s just hope it works out for everyone.
The Luck or The Draw?
The landscape of the NFL is changing in more ways than one. Stricter penalties for illegal hits, more protection for offensive players, and an evolving quarterback position have turned the NFL into an offensive league. The NFL, much like our lives, is going mobile. Throughout the game, there have always been mobile quarterbacks, but they typically were one-dimensional. You always feared their legs, but rarely feared their arms. Two seasons ago, Michael Vick made his return and showed the fans what a true multi-threat quarterback looked like. Last year, Vick didn’t put up the big numbers everyone expected, but rookie sensation Cam Newton outshined even the most optimistic projections. He threw with regularity and accuracy; he ran with speed and power. If it weren’t for his team’s terrible defense, Cam could have easily led his team to double digit wins – he played that well.
Both Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are going to put fans in the seats, which is great for the NFL and their respective teams. While I feel that RG3 might have the hotter, more dynamic start, Luck will have the better overall career. There is a reason why running backs have shorter careers than anyone else in the NFL and it’s because the body is not able to maintain top performance while getting tackled 30 times a game. The more hits a player takes, the shorter their career becomes.
Who would you take? Who would you rather see on the field? Your answers might not be the same for each question – ours certainly weren’t.
Draft Day Deals
Some NFL teams just can’t help but think that an available player in the draft is better than someone they have on their roster already (or in some cases, worth more than a couple of picks later on in the draft). Other teams feel like their hand is forced, especially when the team’s expected pick is adamant about not signing. Whatever the reasoning behind the trade, here are some of the most impactful draft day deals of the past 25 years.
- 1987 – The San Francisco 49ers, desperately trying to find a replacement for Joe Montana give up a second round pick and a fourth round pick to Tampa Bay in order to draft Steve Young. The two picks the Niners gave up were used to draft LB Winston Moss (425 Career Tackles & 20.5 Career Sacks) and WR Bruce Hill (190 Rec, 2,942 Yds, 23 TD’s). I think the numbers clearly show who came out on top with this draft-day deal.
- 1999 – New Orleans Saints, trade 8 picks for the chance to draft Ricky Williams. This is perhaps one of the boldest draft day trades ever, and unfortunately for the Saints, it didn’t work out in their favor. Ricky was a highly touted running back out of Texas who one day decided that he’d rather smoke pot than play in the NFL. He has since returned to be a quality #2 back, but hardly had the career you would expect someone to have based on what was spent to acquire him in the draft.
- 2004 – San Diego & New York (N) switch draft picks, after both players have been drafted. The Manning family made it clear that if San Diego drafted Eli, he wouldn’t sign with the team. So San Diego did the prudent thing and drafted him anyways. Three picks later, the New York Giants selected Philip Rivers. San Diego, knowing that Manning wouldn’t sign, got the Giants to take him off their hands in exchange for Rivers and a couple of draft picks. Manning has won two Super Bowls for the Giants, while Rivers has never even reached the Super Bowl, but you can argue that the Chargers would have been a lot worse off had they not been able to make a deal with the Giants.