Rockstar or Pub Singer?

I've seen a lot of post recently that have been extremely critical of Mark Dominik's performance as GM, particularly regarding his drafting ability.

With that in mind I thought I'd have a look at who he's drafted where in his first 2 drafts (last year being too early to evaluate), what impact they have made so far on the team and compare that to the performance of the GMs of the other 3 NFC South teams over the same period.

I also noted alternative players that were selected between that pick and the Bucs next pick that have had an impact on their teams. I did this out of interest, not to criticise the Bucs picks, especially as some may have been in positions of relative strength at the time of the Bucs pick or may have been considered major reaches at the time (it's easy to scream that Jimmy Graham was on the board when we took Myron Lewis, but we had a decent TE group at the time).

I worked on the following expectation to determine if a pick was a hit or miss (in some cases the jury is still out):

  • 1 - 10 Expected to be a game changer
  • 11 - 50 Expected to be a quality starter
  • 51-100 Expected to be a rotational player, developing into s starter over time
  • 101-150 Expected to be a quality backup and contribute on special teams
  • 151-200 Expected to contribute to special teams, anything more is a bonus
  • 200+ Camp body, anything more is a bonus

Using NFL.COM's stats for each player (starts, games played) as a crude gauge of a player's contribution (I know this is not a professional evaluation by any means), gave me a measuring stick. To find out how good, bad or ugly Dom's been, hit the jump.

Dom's first draft for the Bucs was 2009 where we had an overriding need for a Quarterback

Pick Player Impact Hit/Miss

17 Josh Freeman (QB) Took over as starter after 8 games, never looked back. Hit

81 Roy Miller (DT) Has been a rotational player, nothing more. Miss

117 Kyle Moore (DE) Never been more than depth. Miss

155 Xavier Fulton (OT) Showed nothing and is currently without a team Miss

217 E.J. Biggers (CB) Developed into a rotational player and (poor) starter Hit

233 Sammie Stroughter Quality PR/KR and slot receiver Hit

Alternatives for Freeman included Clay Matthews & Vontae davis, for Miller included Mike Wallace and Jared Cook, for Moore included Austin Collie and for Fulton included Zach Miller, Matt Slauson & Jason McCourty.

Whilst I've called Miller a miss I think he's borderline, he just hasn't developed into a starter. Doesn't look like a good draft at first glance, major misses in rounds 4 & 5 and the draft really saved by 2 7th round diamonds. Again, it's worth noting that we had just had a late season collapse under coach Gruden where we couldn't stop the run, so with no 2nd round pick it's no surprise the Bucs went after a run stuffer rather than a WR or TE (Wallace was taken 3 picks later).

Now, let's see how the other teams fared:

New Orleans had picks at 14 (Malcolm Jenkins CB/S), 116 (Chip Vaughn S), 118 (Stanley Arnoux ILB) and 164 (Thomas Morstead P). Vaughn and Arnoux are both major misses (no stats on either, both appear to be out of the NFL), Jenkins and Morstead are hits, although one may expect more from a no14 overall pick that the Saints have had thus far.

Atlanta had 24 (Peria Jerry DT), 55 (William Moore S), 90 (Christopher Owens DB), 125 (Lawrence Sidbury DE), 156 (Garrett Reynolds OT), 176 (Spencer Adkins ILB), 210 (Vance Walker DT). Jerry has been a huge miss (one wonders if his injuries have left their mark on him ever being able to get on track), but the rest of the draft were all hits and the late round picks are all rotational or depth players.

Carolina had picks 43 (Everette Brown DE), 59 (Sherrod Martin DB), 93 (Corvey Irvin DT), 111 (Mike Goodson RB), 128 (Tony Fiammetta FB), 163 (Duke Robinson OG), 216 (Captain Munnerlynn DB). Brown, Irvin & Fiammetta are all struggling to make the squads of other teams, awful picks when they were all taken in rounds 2-4, Robinson is also struggling to make another team's squad, but at least he was a later round (5) pick. Which leaves Martin and Munnerlynn as hits (much as I hate praising anything to do with Munnerlynn after that hit on Peanut).

So not a good draft for Dom, Atlanta getting role players at least that have stuck with the team, but by no means bad when compared to New Orleans and Carolina. Moving on to 2010...

Pick Player Impact Hit/Miss

3 Gerald McCoy (DT) Game changer when healthy (only 2 half seasons though) Hit*

35 Brian Price (DT) Another injury plagued career, solid when played Hit*

39 Arrelious Benn (WR) Under utilised by previous regime, hard to evaluate Miss

67 Myron Lewis (CB) Not lived up to potential, in great danger of missing squad Miss

101 Mike Williams (WR) Quality starter Hit

172 Brent Bowden (P) Was Matt Millen evaluating punters that year? Miss

210 Cody Grimm (S) Has become a serviceable starter that also hits IR annually Hit

217 Dekoda Watson (OLB) Rotational player Hit

253 Erik Lorig (DE) Appeared in every game as RB last year Hit

Alternative picks we could have made include: for McCoy we could have had Jason Pierre-Paul (tagged boom or bust) or Maurkice Pouncey, in Benn's place we could have taken Rob Gronkowski, for Lewis it could have been Tony Moeaki, Jimmy Graham or Major Wright, and instead of Bowden we could have taken Dezmon Briscoe or Myron Rolle.

I've asterisked the 2 DT picks because they've been hampered by injuries, but when they've been on the field they have lived up to expectations. You can't blame the GM for injuries, especially if, like McCoy & Grimm, there were no red flags about durability prior to the draft. How much of the injury issues are down to coaching staff too (in terms of conditioning and teaching technique)?

Anyway time to look at how our rivals did:

New Orleans had picks 32 (Patrick Robinson, DB), 64 (Charles Brown, OT), 95 (Jimmy Graham, TE), 123 (Al Woods, DT), 158 (Matt Tennant, C) and 239 (Sean Canfield, QB). Graham makes this draft, they hit that one out of the park. Robinson has taken time, but is still a hit for now, I think this season will tell for him, Brown is a miss, appearing in < half their games and not starting, Woods is a miss too, disappearing from their roster and providing depth for Bucs, Seahawks and now Steelers, but Tennant was a hit. Mixed bag, but Graham was a steal.

Atlanta had picks 19 (Sean Wetherspoon, OLB), 83 (Corey Peters, DT), 98 (Mike Johnson, OG), 117 (Joseph Hawley, OG), 165 (Kerry Meier, WR) and 171 (Shann Schillinger, S). The only miss in this group Johnson, a 3rd round pick that is struggling to make game day squads and has only appeared in 2 games.Wetherspoon, Peters and Hawley are all starters.

Finally the Panthers had picks 48 (Jimmy Clausen, QB), 78 (Brandon LaFell, WR), 89 (Armanti Edwards, WR), 124 (Eric Norwood, OLB), 175 (Greg Hardy, DE), 198 (David Gettis, WR), 202 (Jordon Pugh, DB), 223 (RJ Stanford, DB) and 249 (Robert McClain, DB). The first 3 players were all misses. Whether Clausen could have improved, given a chance, with Newton around we'll never know. LaFell has improved over time and taken a starters role for the last 6 games, he could go from miss to hit depending on how he plays this year. The late round picks, with the exception of McClain, have all contributed as rotational/special teams players or starters.

I think it's too soon to do the exercise on last year's drafts. I think Atlanta have drafted better than anyone else in the division over that time period in terms of improving their team. The whole rationale (which I admit is deficient) is based on playing time - if a pick gets playing time, especially starts, he must be an improvement over what the team had previously (unless he's sleeping with the coach). By that yardstick I think Dom has done better than New Orleans and Carolina and has shown improvement. I think it shows that we could do a lot worse and that fans of every team get given cause to criticise their respective front offices.

Apologies for the ramble :)

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