The Green Bay Packers 2010 Draft Through the Evil Blue Eyes of a Cowboy

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by Guest Author, Thomas Hobbes

Packer fans, here’s a different way to look at the recent NFL Draft:

An interesting piece of information just came to my attention, namely a photo was recently leaked of Jerry Jones during the NFL draft in front of the Dallas’ Cowboys’ big board .

More importantly, Cowboy fans with no lives have spent hours working out the players listed in the majority of rounds one through four. I’m sure Jones is livid that his board was exposed (Luckily for the Cowboys it looks like the picture was taken while the draft was going on, so its unlikely that any other teams gained any unfair information).

Here is what Cowboys fans have been able to determine:

Round 1
1. Sam Bradford
2. Gerald McCoy
3. Ndamakong Suh
4. Russell Okung
5. Trent Williams
6. Eric Berry
7. Rolando McClain
8. Joe Haden
9. CJ Spiller
10. Mike Iupati
11. Dez Bryant
12. Earl Thomas
13. Bryan Bulaga
14. Sean Lee
15. Jared Odrick
16. Jason Pierre-Paul
17. Derrick Morgan
18. Kyle Wilson
19. MaurkicePouncey
20. Navorro Bowman
21. Jahvid Best
22. Tyson Alualu
23. Jermaine Gresham
________________________

Round 2
1. Devin McCourty
2. Demaryius Thomas
3. Koa Misi
4. Jerry Hughes
5. Brandon Graham
6. Nate Allen
7. Morgan Burnett
8. Taylor Mays
9. Dan Williams
10. (covered name)
11. Kareem Jackson
12. Ryan Matthews
13. Brian Price
14. Rob Gronkowski
15. Brandon Ghee
16. Jimmy Clausen
________________________

Round 3
1. Sergio Kindle
2. Anthony Davis
3. Corey Wooton
4. Patrick Robinson
5. Dexter McCluster
6. Joe McKnight
7. (covered name)
8. -
9. -
10. Colt McCoy
11. Taylor Price
12. Lamarr Houston
13. D’Anthony Smith
14. Damian Williams
15. Eric Decker
16. Thaddeus Gibson
17. Corey Peters
18. Rodger Saffold
19. Toby Gerhardt
20. Golden Tate
21. Brandon LeFell
22. Amari Spievey
23. Mike Neal
________________________

Round 4
1. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah
2. Javier Arenas
3. Vladimir Ducasse
4. Ed Dickson
5.
6. Clay Harbor
7. Perry Riley
8. (plate removed)
9. Torell Troup
10. Carlton Mitchell
11. Mike Johnson
12. John Jerry
13. Linval Joseph
14. Major Wright
15. Dominique Franks
16. Larry Asante
17. Tony Moeaki
18.
19. Ben Tate
20. Kam Chancellor
21. Andre Roberts
22. Myron Lewis
23.

One of the biggest problems with outsider mock drafts is predicting how teams value players.  Fans can pretty easily spot out positions of need on teams (like the Packers needing a left tackle to take over for Chad Clifton), but it is much harder for fans to assess the value of incoming players to NFL teams.

For instance, Jevan Snead and Ciron Black were both highly touted (both showing up in the first round on some occasions) on many mock drafts but ended up being undrafted (Interestingly enough, Ciron Black has not been signed anywhere as far as I can find out).

I believe this partially has to do with hype; some players are hyped out of popularity and some players drop into obscurity for the lack of popularity.

It’s interesting to see how an actual team values players. While there will obviously be some differences between different teams considering need and scheme, I believe that the Cowboy’s draft board offers the general population a more accurate assessment of the player values than some fan’s mock draft.  So, with the Cowboy’s draft board in hand, I think it is time to reassess and extrapolate the Packers draft.

 

Bryan Bulaga (actual pick: round 1, pick 23 overall/ Cowboys’ board: round 1, pick 13 overall)

Bulaga was an incredible value for the Packers, as he was ranked 13th overall by the Cowboys.  I’ve seen some analysts put him anywhere from the top five to the second round, but I think the consensus was top ten, which is slightly higher then the Cowboys had him (perhaps this is due to Bulaga being more of a ZBS lineman, which the Cowboys don’t use).

Furthermore, this shows that Ted Thompson made the right move by not moving around at pick 23 and grabbing Bulaga.  It took Dez Bryant falling 13 spots in order for Jones to trade up to get him. With Bulaga falling 10 spots already when the Packer took him, if he had fallen any lower, the Cowboys might have moved up to take him instead.

Add to the fact that the Cowboys were in the market for a starting tackle after releasing Flozell Adams in early April, and I believe the Packers grabbed Bulaga at optimal value, meaning at the absolutely last moment available.

 

Mike Neal (actual pick: round 2, pick 56 overall/ Cowboys’ board: round 3, pick 86 overall)

According to the Cowboys, only one DT was ranked higher than Mike Neal when he was drafted by the Packers: Corey Peters, who was taken round three, pick 83 overall. This means the Packers would not have had a chance to grab him in the third unless they traded up, so Neal had to be the highest DT on the Packers board.

This is actually quite elucidating since the Cowboys are also a 3-4 team and they therefore are also projecting 4-3 DTs as 3-4 DEs.  Most people who complained about this pick rationalized that most mock boards had Mike Neal as a fourth to fifth round prospect, but the Cowboys had him as a late third rounder.

Most likely, the Packers ranked him higher or projected him higher as a 3-4 DE, so picking Neal late in the second isn’t as much of a reach as initially thought.

 

Morgan Burnett (actual pick: round 3, pick 71 overall/Cowboys’ board: round 2, pick 39 overall)

Again an absolute steal in terms of value with Burnett falling 32 picks before the Packers traded up to grab him.  The Cowboys had him rated one spot higher than Taylor Mays who went round two, pick 49 overall. So even when considering his value in terms of May, Burnett was a value of +22.

Again, it seems like the Packers drafted Burnett at optimal value; there has been a rumor that the Bears were actually quite interested in Burnett and since they were not going to trade any picks to move up, the Packers were ecstatic when they saw him fall to the third round—the first round that the Bears had a pick.

Then, the Packers moved up only four spots ahead of the Bears to grab him, so on a personal note I’m sure that the Packers are gleeful about stealing the player that the Bears wanted from under their noses, but on the economic side, they waited just long enough before making the moves to acquire Burnett.
Unfortunately, none of the other players that the Packers selected make it onto the Cowboys Board photo, probably due to the fact that some of the names are written on pieces of paper which are too small to read, coupled with the fact that Jerry Jones has his arm blocking some of the picks (In fact, the only reason we can tell that Bryan Bulaga is 13th overall is because the 13th rated player was selected in the 1st round at pick 23).

Furthermore, no round has a full 32 players (though you can assume that round one has 32 players, but the photo did not capture it all), so there is some vagueness there as well.

So what does this all mean?

Assuming that the Cowboys’ draft board is basically similar to other teams’ draft boards (even if you don’t believe that it’s definitely closer in accuracy than any fan or analyst made draft board), it shows that Ted Thompson is not actually lying when he says that he is drafting the best players available, especially considering the value that the Packers got from Bryan Bulaga and Morgan Burnett.

One of the golden rules of the draft is to select a player right before other teams are going to, since you pay the minimal amount of money for a player, and it looks like the Packers did exactly that in the case of Bryan Bulaga and Morgan Burnett.

Furthermore, we can assume that Mike Neal was higher on many NFL team’s draft boards than most people had predicted, and add to the fact that different teams will project differently when looking at a player who will switch from 4-3 DT to 3-4 DE, and you can assume that the Packers did indeed have Neal ranked that high.

The three most important words in a Ted Thompson Draft: Value, Value and Value…

  • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

    Will be at a Penn State Graduation ceremony this weekend (my son’s), so I probably won’t be here much, if at all. Hold down the fort, folks…

    • Ron LC

      Congrats to your son Al. Sounds like you’ll have some more discresionary income this coming year. That is, unless he’s headed to Grad School. Have a great time!

      • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

        Snuck on to the hotel computer for a few minutes.

        Thanks Ron. It was a good feeling making that last payment to Penn State – like paying off your mortgage. Grad school, if he’s interested is on him.

    • PackersRS

      Congrats to him, and, why not, to you too Al! After all, your son didn’t raise himself…

      • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

        Thanks RS – what do you think of Dunga choices for Brazil?

        • PackersRS

          Oh, don’t get me started! Taking Kleberson and Doni, both backups at their respective clubs, and leaving out Victor and Paulo Henrique Ganso is ludicrous!

          But, in the end, his work speaks for himself. Truth is, he has assembled a team that has won everything it has played…

          If he wins the World Cup, only the “purists” won’t celebrate…

          (Be it registered that it wasn’t I who brought up soccer! lol)

          • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

            it shall be noted – you didn’t bring it up. But even if you do, it’s OK here…

  • Ron LC

    Thomas, Very interesting! I have all along contended that GB made a mistake taking Neal in round 2. Had they selected the Safety in 2 it is highly likely that neal would have been there in 3 and GB would have kept their 4. That could have generated a CB or OLB.

    Oh well, I just have to remember this coming from JJ. On of the world’s biggest Asses.

    • http://bleacherreport.com/users/266621-thomas-hobbes Thomas Hobbes

      Well I think in hindsight that makes a lot of sense. Obviously the Packers liked Neal better than Burnett, and to an extent I can see why, if it came down to it, it would be much cheaper to keep Bigby than to keep Jenkins, who might require the franchise tag next year. Yes, I’m sure they would have liked to keep their 4th rounder and swapped Neal and Burnett in the draft, but that’s really only something you can evaluate after the draft is done.

  • PackersRS

    That’s a great article, Mr. Hobbes. Really great. Haven’t seen anything like it in the web…

    May I just say, lucky me I have green eyes… Which, actually, are considered dubious, evil, while blue ones are considered pure…

    But I digress. It puts things in perspective to know that Bulaga and specially Burnett were rated so much higher than we picked them. And it’s a fair assessment to say that Neal was rated differently because 3-4 teams evaluated him differently.

    I still think it was a reach, and Jones’ board attests to that.

    Not a bad pick. It doesn’t matter where players are picked (for the most part), it only matters how they play. But still, a reach.

    • Ron LC

      I was at the Brewer game Friday. Got there early and saw Bulaga hitting Dale Suem in batting practise. He hit 14 out of the park. The guy has a great swaing. TT better keep an eye on Doug Melvin. The way things are going for the Brewers who knows what he is likely to do.

      • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

        Do the Brewers have anyone that can rush the passer? maybe an exchange program can be worked out…

  • Yoop

    I have also read where Miami, another 3-4 team were going to pick Neal with the #73 pick.

    Reach not to a 3-4 team, and not to the Packers, EVERY team has players ranked differently to FIT there own system and what attributes they covet to fit there system.

    When you compare Neals physical abilites with the TOP 3-4 DE Prospects in the draft his numbers are better then Suh, McCoy and Odrick.

    Neal had a 4.87 40 time the next closest of those 3 was 5.03, Neal had a 1.60 ten yard time the next closest of those 3 was 1.68, Neal had 31 reps @225# only Suh had more with 32 reps. The other two had 23 and 26 reps.
    Short shuttle and 3 cone times were so close it does not matter.

    Those other 3 prospects all went in the first round. Two of them in the first 3 picks. And yet Neal was a reach at the end of the second?

    The ONLY other 3-4 DE prospect that came close to Neal, Suh, McCoy and Odrick was Lamar Houston who was drafted in beginning of the second round.

    Houston is 6-3 305 ran a 4.83 40 but had a 1.68 ten yard time and WAY slower short shuttle and 3 cone drill times.

    • PackersRS

      Daryus Heyward-Bay… Such a great player… must draft him…
      -
      I’m a numbers guy, I didn’t know that, and am more excited after hearing them… But really, combine numbers don’t show how good a player is…

    • http://allgbp.com Jersey Al

      Yoop – you are an encyclopedia of Combine numbers, but they only count for so much. Neal will still have to make the transition to DE and who knows wheteher it will feel natural to him or not…