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View Full Version : Physical tools vs. Polished in the first round


Jericho@SC
01-05-2008, 03:32 AM
To what extent are physical tools and measurables valued over being polished (mental understanding, technique, instincts) in the first round, if at all?

I know that ideally, a sound balance of physical tools combined with being polished at you your position is desired.

But what about raw players such as Rey Maualuga and Frank Okam (and in years past, Ted Ginn)? Players that are very good athletes but not as good of football players at their position that they can be? Do these guys generally make it in the first round?

Would GMs rather have elite athletes that need considerable coaching vs. lesser athletes that have mastered their position (Sam Baker for example)

Basically, what I'm asking is, is the first round based more on potential, or do teams for the most part avoid "project" type players in the first.

Sportsfan486
01-05-2008, 03:52 AM
Basically, what I'm asking is, is the first round based more on potential, or do teams for the most part avoid "project" type players in the first.

For the MOST part they avoid project players in the first; they're looking for impact players.

THAT SAID, unusual cases come up each year with players that just have too much potential to pass up. QBs, for example, are often taken based as much on potential as current skillset because they are considered to have a 3 year period before they really start balling.

Most other positions, however, are drafted in the 1st to come in and start from day 1. This means they have to be pretty polished. But you also weigh potential against polish to determine the overall player value.

For example, a team might consider one player extremely polished and a definite starter from day 1, but probably never a pro-bowler. Another player might grade out as fairly polished and someone who will have to fight for a starting job, but definitely possesses the potential to be a pro-bowl impact sort of player down the road. Depending on the team, situation and player they could go either way.

SOMETIMES, although this is rare, a player is chosen in the 1st who has little to no polish but HUGE potential ie; Ted Ginn Jr. last year. I'd even name Reggie Bush in that category as I never believed he was anything of a polished running back.

So the answer is a complicated one. GMs have to weigh polish versus potential when selecting prospects.

d34ng3l021
01-05-2008, 04:30 AM
I think alot of the first round has to do with potential. There are so many players that are chosen because of their raw potential and athleticism, but are not polished. Antonio Cromartie was out for a season, and still declared for the draft. He had like 1-2 seasons as a CB in college because he became pro. He still went in the first round. Jamaal Anderson had 1 good year in college, and he was picked top 10. Russell had amazing athleticism but got picked over Quinn, the 4 (i think) year starter.

There are your safe picks, but more than any other rounds, players in round 1 are players who have potential to be great, as oppose to quality players for sure.

Caddy
01-05-2008, 04:46 AM
Potential is a huge draw card for teams picking in the first round. A lot of the time that is when your raw guys are taken purely based on academic ability. Matt Jones is a prime example. He was drafted in the first round because of the numbers he posted at the combine despite the fact that he would play a position in the pros he has never played before.

I think that teams try to weigh up the risk and benefits of taking a player and sometimes they make poor decision ala Matt Jones, but teams can snag gems like Antonio Cromartie who was a brilliant athlete yet raw player.

dRaFtDoRk
01-05-2008, 08:15 AM
To me, it's mostly potential, just look at JaMarcus Russell from last year, Ted Ginn Jr., and most unique pick that was made basely on potential is Amobi Okoye. There is no way that Okoye had his position down at 19 years old.

There are a couple picks every round that are based on technique and awareness.

Here's the order of last years first round, with a potential or polished:

1.JaMarcus Russell-Potential
2.Calvin Johnson-A little bit of both, But I would say potential
3. Joe Thomas-Polished
4. Gaines Adams-Tough call, but I'll say Polished
5. Levi Brown-Based on how the Cardinals picked him that high, you have to say Potential
6. LaRon Landry-Polished
7. Adrian Peterson-I'm going to say Potential, due to the fact that they took him by BPA
8. Jammal Anderson-Potential
9. Ted Ginn Jr.- Potential
10. Amobi Okoye -Potential
11. Patrick Willis -Polished
12. Marshawn Lynch-I'm going to say Potential...

I'm too lazy to go to 32, but I'm going to say that at least 80% of last years first round picks were made based on potential.

gangGREENinsider
01-05-2008, 08:54 AM
1st rounders are usually both but if I had to pick one or the other, it'd definitely be the upside players.

Even the "Polished" guys in draftdork's post had tremendous athleticism and upside.

Jakey
01-05-2008, 09:05 AM
Steelers: Lawrence Timmons was definately drafted for 'potential' ... he only started one year of college, but he had all the natural skills to 'potentialy' be a superstar. On the other hand, we passed up on more 'polished' players like Paul Posluzney...due to the fact that they havnt got a great deal if upside. So i'd say potntial plays a big part in the 1st round.

Matthew Jones
01-05-2008, 10:39 AM
Personally, I think it depends on the team and the coach. A team that has contended recently such as San Diego would probably look to a more polished player to try and put them over the top before their window of opportunity closes. Also, I think the quality of your coach affects the choice a lot as well. A team with a good coach is probably more likely to take a project because there's more confidence that they can develop them right.

derza222
01-05-2008, 11:16 AM
I think generally in the first round teams look for guys with both polish and potential. Most first rounders, especially at the top, have elite physical tools for their position. Some are able to step in and play immediately, and some aren't. A lot of that depends on position as someone said, quarterbacks generally sit and receivers at times don't break out till the third year so those are positions where physical tools are very important. I think they way to look at it is that typically teams will go for a polished player with potential to improve and be a very good player, but in the first if they have to choose between potential and polish they usually go for potential. Polished guys will fall to the second round, and sometimes end up being steals like a DeMeco Ryans who had elite instincts but not great tools and ended up being a great player but slipped to the second because he didn't have great tools. Obviously there are exceptions but I think potential is more important. Times you'd generally see polish be more important are if a team sees a polished player who can step in now at a position of need and thinks they will allow them to take that next step next year. But I do think potential is generally more important, though in a perfect world you'd like both.

Babylon
01-05-2008, 11:21 AM
I think in this day and age you are expected to play earlier, you need to have guys in round one that can come in and make an impact except maybe the QB position and there isnt the patience with that position that there used to be either. If i have two guys at the WR postion to choose from and one is running a 4.4 and the other is running a 4.5 but the second guy is more proven and has better technique i'm not hesitating a second to take the 4.5 guy. I'll take a flier on the 4.4 guy in round 3 or 4.

Jakey
01-05-2008, 11:27 AM
I think in this day and age you are expected to play earlier, you need to have guys in round one that can come in and make an impact except maybe the QB position and there isnt the patience with that position that there used to be either. If i have two guys at the WR postion to choose from and one is running a 4.4 and the other is running a 4.5 but the second guy is more proven and has better technique i'm not hesitating a second to take the 4.5 guy. I'll take a flier on the 4.4 guy in round 3 or 4.

but thats not allways the case...see Ted Ginn Jr + Dwayne Jarrett.

energizerbunny
01-05-2008, 11:46 AM
but thats not allways the case...see Ted Ginn Jr + Dwayne Jarrett.

Dwayne Jarrett was by no means a polished WR

dRaFtDoRk
01-05-2008, 11:57 AM
Personally, I think it depends on the team and the coach. A team that has contended recently such as San Diego would probably look to a more polished player to try and put them over the top before their window of opportunity closes. Also, I think the quality of your coach affects the choice a lot as well. A team with a good coach is probably more likely to take a project because there's more confidence that they can develop them right.

Yea, thats the most important factor when picking a player, or predicting a teams pick. I'll use Oakland as an example. Last year, they had the #1 overall selection. They would take JaMarcus Russell, but they also had the choice of taking Brady Quinn. A big reason was because of Al Davis, who has been known to take freak athletes that have a lot of upside ahead of them(Kirk Morrison, Fabian Washington). So if Oakland is up and they have a choice of taking a good defensive end, chances are, they might take Vernon Gholston over say Derrick Harvey or Lawerence Jackson(just saying they might rise that high). I doubt Davis would take Gholston over Chris Long(due to Howies relationships).

Babylon
01-05-2008, 12:54 PM
but thats not allways the case...see Ted Ginn Jr + Dwayne Jarrett.


I think i would respond that Miami should have taken Dwayne Bowe who was probably a tick slower than Ginn.

Paranoidmoonduck
01-05-2008, 03:25 PM
They would take JaMarcus Russell, but they also had the choice of taking Brady Quinn. A big reason was because of Al Davis, who has been known to take freak athletes that have a lot of upside ahead of them(Kirk Morrison, Fabian Washington).

Since people like posturing about what Al Davis does and doesn't like to do, I'll say this. By draft day, Russell was the better quarterback prospect in almost every team's mind, and he was my a fair margin. I don't think his tools were any more enticing to Davis than they were to the other teams who needed a quarterback.

adamprez2003
01-05-2008, 03:54 PM
I think the first two rounds are generally based on physical traits. The thinking being that you can coach them up. A team will interview a potential physical beast and if they think they can coach him will draft him. After the first two rounds, its a combination of physical and polished

adamprez2003
01-05-2008, 03:57 PM
I think i would respond that Miami should have taken Dwayne Bowe who was probably a tick slower than Ginn.

Nah. The Dolphins needed pure speed at receiver. They didnt need a receiver, they needed a receiver who could stretch the field. Ginn was the right pick for that. Remember they had Chambers at the beginning of the year

Iamcanadian
01-05-2008, 06:52 PM
I think alot of the first round has to do with potential. There are so many players that are chosen because of their raw potential and athleticism, but are not polished. Antonio Cromartie was out for a season, and still declared for the draft. He had like 1-2 seasons as a CB in college because he became pro. He still went in the first round. Jamaal Anderson had 1 good year in college, and he was picked top 10. Russell had amazing athleticism but got picked over Quinn, the 4 (i think) year starter.

There are your safe picks, but more than any other rounds, players in round 1 are players who have potential to be great, as oppose to quality players for sure.

I agree, round 1 has a lot to do with ceiling or upside. Players are pretty well broken down by the rankings based on :
1) future star - there can still be some flops but ceiling is amazing and they are already quite polished
2) all pro potential - rawer than the above group so flops occur but have a high ceiling but will have to work to get there
3) starter potential - fairly polished but have a lower ceiling
4) could be a starter after a few years on the job - good measurables but raw and will need a lot of work
5) could make your squad - polished or raw, you'll find both types
6) pactice squad player who has a chance to develop - usually players who obviously need a lot of work on their game.

The terminology may vary but the catagories are about the same. No team will draft a all pro potential over a future star, however within the potential pro group you will find variances in polish vs raw and each team will have a decision to make but they will not draft a player with starter potential over a potential All pro player. The exception is the QB position where need may tempt teams to vary the general rule. Simularily, within the #4 group, 'could be a starter in a few years', it will be a decision between raw vs polish but never would they draft a 'could make your roster player' over a 'starter potential' player. etc. etc.
In very, very general terms because the # varies every year, the #1 catagory is usually your top 5, the #2 catagory is usually your top 6-18, the #3 group is probably 18- 35 and the #4 group is 36-85, #5 86-100. Of course some years the #1 group can go much higher etc. etc., it all depends on the strength of that particular draft. I've seen drafts where there are 12 catagory #1's, 13 -30 #2's and 31-50 #3's. So there really is no yearly rule only one that the talent available sets, I've also seen drafts where there are only 2 or 3 #1's, maybe 10 #2's and 5 or 6 #3's with the rest of round 1 made up of #4's. Every draft is different.