Tag Archives: NFL Draft

Contact High

by Nick Wershing

Here we are, just a few weeks removed from the 2012 NFL Draft, and the hype all the rookies are creating continues to increase. Teams are saying how good their rookies look and how they will be competing for starting spots in the upcoming season. But what are they basing their opinions on? These players are just going through OTAs right now. It’s all the guys vying for the last spots on the roster playing in no pads. No one will actually know who is going to compete for playing time this year until they are up against the best players, playing at full speed, and playing with full contact.

Yes, certain players were brought in to be the starter in the near future, if not now. Luck, RG3, Tannehill, maybe even Weeden, were all brought in to compete for the starting job now. But teams like the Seahawks, who are saying their 3rd round, undersized QB is competing for the starting job are jumping the gun a little too early. I’m sure that Russell Wilson is making all the throws right now. But I am also sure that B.J. Coleman (7th round pick from Chattanooga), is looking pretty good too. And I don’t hear anyone saying he is going to compete with Aaron Rodgers this year. Don’t get me wrong; I am not saying that Matt Flynn and Tavaris Jackson are on Rodgers’ level, nor am I saying that Wilson is not a great talent. All I am saying is that it is far too early for coaches, teams, and fans to be proclaiming their new draft picks, especially ones after the first two rounds, a key component in their offense. Quarterback may be the hardest position to adapt to in the NFL. How can someone expect a late round QB to immediately make an impact?

These coaches, teams, and fans are suffering from what I am going to call a contact high. For months now, they have heard great things about what these kids (or grown men in Weeden’s case) did in college. Now they expect that to directly transfer into the NFL. Does anyone really expect Luck to come in and have a 3.7 touchdown to interception ration? Is Luke Kuechly going to average close to 16 tackles a game for the Panthers? These are elite talent players, who looked even better due to the competition they faced in college. Now everyone they face is close to the same talent level as they are, if not better. I caution everyone to give their rookies time to develop, learn the system, and grow accustomed to the NFL. Alex Smith was said to be the answer for the 49ers when he was taken with the first pick in the 2005 draft. Well, he seems to be now, having led them to the NFC Championship last year, but it took him 6 or 7 years to get there. Teams need to relax and stop putting so much pressure on these kids. And everyone needs to ignore the contact high they are receiving from the hype of the draft. Remember, for every Peyton Manning and Ben Roethlisberger, there is a Jamarcus Russell and Aklili Smith.

Follow Nick Wershing on Twitter: @n_shing


Draft Ramblings

Drafting based on need sounds like it makes a lot of sense.  Instead of overpaying a free agent to come in and fill a hole, you bring in a young, raw athlete with boatloads of potential and shape him however you choose. Sounds simple enough, but I have some problems with that school of thought. Don’t get me wrong, I still believe that great teams build through the draft.  I just don’t buy into the idea of bringing in a rookie and then trying to turn them into the player that your team needs rather than helping them progress and further developing their skill set that made them special in the first place.  There are exceptions, but for the most part, a great player is great because they are allowed to play to their strengths.

This is especially true with quarterbacks.  How many times have you seen a QB overdrafted because the team didn’t have a quality starter and needed immediate help?  Of course this is a quarterback-driven league, and it’s nearly impossible to win nowadays without someone special under center.  NFL teams know this, but it seems like they panic under the gun and reach for something that isn’t there.  There is no other explanation that I can come up with for the Vikings choosing Christian Ponder with the 12th overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft.  Drafting him with such a high pick doesn’t mean that he is going to play up to that level, it just means that the Vikings didnt get their moneys worth with that pick.

What I’m saying is that drafting a guy like Ponder just to fill a hole makes no sense.  In my opinion, he is not the same caliber player as guys like Mike Pouncey or Nick Fairley, who were both available when Minnesota was on the clock.  Teams need to learn to take a step back and realize that when the special QB – or whatever other position the team needs – isn’t there, use the pick to its full potential by choosing someone who is just plain better.

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