Bach's rational approach to the draft

BACH

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The Cardinals are on the rise. I really like how Monti and Gannon has started the re-build of this roster and a solid foundation of the team.

I can not remember being this excited about the draft in years, and been listening to a lot of different podcasts and reading articles on prospects. I think the draft strategy should be obvious with the material I have read.

So let me start by sharing these assumptions before explaning. I been reading the Athletic, PFF, Walterfootball, podscasts from NFL media, Locked on and PFF. I will mostly be quoting PFF as they use metrics making argumentation easier.

- The 2024 draft is overall one of the best in years and especially the 2nd tier is much bigger than usual meaning that the talent level usually found from #6-ish to #20-ish is about twice the size with 25-30 players.
- The draft is heavy on clear 1st round grade QB (4) and there are more QB needy teams than perhaps ever before.
- The RB position lacks the Elite prospect this year but a good talent pool in the low 2nd/high 3rd tier.
- Perhaps the best WR pool ever. Not only are the top 3 the absolute best pool perhaps forever, but 15 WRs has the talent level to be drafted minimum mid 2nd round in any normal draft. MHJ is perhaps the highest rated WR ever, Nabers is the #2 best WR prospect since PFF started ratings. Odunze is the 4th best in their ratings (Only Ja'Marr Chase has been rated better than Odunze in previous drafts). Other draft expects see Odunze as better than MHJ (NFL's Daniel Jerimiah)
- Brock Bowers is the best pure TE prospect ever. Note that Pitts was a tweener between WR and TE. Bowers is a true TE capable of playing all aspects of the position and the best ever. After him, the position is not very deep.
- Joe Alt is the highest rated OT since Tunsil in 2016 and there are 7 players with a 1st round grade that in any other would have been clear 1st rounders.
- Interior OL is as any "normal" draft with a few elite prospects and a large pool of talent in the 4th tier usually drafted from low 2nd to high 4th round.
- No elite Edge rusher, but 3 clear 1st round talents (2nd tier) and a good 3rd tier group.
- DT is the same. 3 clear first rounders in 2nd tier with Murphy being a borderline 1st tier. Solid 3rd/4th tier group
- No elite LB. Large group of prospect in the 3rd & 4th tier and there seem to be no consistency in ranking among the group.
- CB lacks the elite prospect like a Sauce Gardner or Stingley, but is incredible deep in the 2nd tier with 5-7 CBs possibly drafted in the 1st round
- No Elite S prospect, but a solid group in especially the 3rd tier.

The team has the most draft capital in perhaps the best draft in the last 10-15 years. It's a perfect position to be in and the talent in this draft is an incredible match to position where the team could use top talent. This is how I would approach it if I was Monti:

#4
To trade down or not to trade down.
If staying at #4 the pick is easy. MHJ is the consensus best prospect at WR ever. Some might have Nabers or Odunze equal or perhaps better, but you take the safe choice in MHJ. Not taking MHJ and that player disappoints - you're fired.
That also mean that if I was to trade down, I would command a massive haul for the alternative cost on not drafting MHJ and with the added QB tax on trades. Trading down to #11 and out of the blue chippers would be minimum 3 1st rounders. As good as the 3 WRs are, nothing can justify not to take the additional draft capital. The superior (but not proven) talentlevel of MHJ cannot match the combined talent level e.g. a Brian Thomas and 2 other 1st rounders.
I would personally entertain any offers if I knew I was able to trade back up and still get one of the 3 WRs, because I really do not see the big difference in talent level between MHJ and Odunze (I think Odunze is a better fit than Nabers). All 3 WR are elite talents at the weakest position on the team. I would trade down with the Giants if they offer 2x2nd rounders or next year's 1st. I would also be happy to spend all the extra picks this year from a trade with the Vikings to trade back up with the Chargers getting MHJ and next year's 1st rounder. The leaked story about a 3 team trade clearly came from the Vikings. The trade value aligned almost perfectly, but it would cost more. Why would the Cardinals NOT demand a QB tax and why would the Chargers NOT command extra for trading away from the 3 WRs and Alt.

#27 and #35
I bundle these two picks, because of the quality of this year's draft. The line between the 2nd and 3rd tier of prospect is usually in the 20-25 range, but much lower in this draft. If you look at the consensus board and compare to all the experts the line this year is somewhere around the #37-#38 range. That makes it easy - simply let the draft fall to you. The needs of the teams matches very well with the positions of quality of the draft. AND we have 3x 3rd rounders. I would keep #66 but #71 should make it posible to move 5-7 spots up and #90 3-4 spots up. Use it if there is a team willing to trade or take the players that falls to you. At #27 there will be one player available from the 4 bests CBs, 3 best DT or 3 best Edge players. I do not care which position. If you love a player. trade up to get him. At #35 it's very unlikely that there will not be a player from the 2nd tier at a position where it would make sense to draft that position. (The unlikely scenario being that all the other 1st round graded WRs falls out of the 1st and all sit there at #35). The position could be DT, Edge, CB, OT or IOL.

3rd rounders.
Draft value instead of need. The 2nd tier is deep, so the value of a 3rd rounder this year is equvilant of a pick 15 picks higher in a normally talented draft, so in theory at least #66 &#71 would have as much talent value as a mid-low 2nd rounder any other year. Take the value!
I have no issue double dipping at WR if a talented player drops. Take one of the RB if the value is there. Take one of the many IOL rated a low 2nd to low 3rd round. This is the spot where drafting a LB value would be if one that fits the scheme falls. If a S falls, why not draft Budda's successor?

.
 

Ouchie-Z-Clown

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I appreciate your well-thought out post. I’m going to repeat what I said in another thread . . .

We are a talent deprived team. We lack both high end playmakers as well as talented starters. We have gotten better building baseline nfl players. If what you say is accurate about the depth of this draft then the likely optimal course of action is to plan to stick and draft. We need both quality and quantity. We are uniquely set up for both:

4 should net us the best player on our team. You just shouldn’t pass that up.

Due to how talent deprived we are, we have tremendous flexibility with where we go with both the 27 and 35 picks. We can draft virtually any position at both and be filling a needed slot. That means we can wait for whomever inexplicably slides to either spot - and a few players always do - and walk away with two more quality guys. That’s 3 likely “quality” picks. And because we have 3 thirds (and our fourth is the 104th pick) we are assured of “quantity” in a strong draft. We will have 7 of the first 104 players drafted.

In other words there’s no need sacrifice “quality” by trading down to increase our “quantity” because we already have quantity. And likewise there’s no need to sacrifice our “quantity” because we are in a rare situation where we can simultaneously come away with 3 “quality” players without having to trade up.

Sometimes trading is just worthless movement. I believe that likely in this draft with our fact set.

So say it with me, people: STICK AND PICK, QUALITY AND QUANTITY
 

oaken1

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I appreciate your well-thought out post. I’m going to repeat what I said in another thread . . .

We are a talent deprived team. We lack both high end playmakers as well as talented starters. We have gotten better building baseline nfl players. If what you say is accurate about the depth of this draft then the likely optimal course of action is to plan to stick and draft. We need both quality and quantity. We are uniquely set up for both:

4 should net us the best player on our team. You just shouldn’t pass that up.

Due to how talent deprived we are, we have tremendous flexibility with where we go with both the 27 and 35 picks. We can draft virtually any position at both and be filling a needed slot. That means we can wait for whomever inexplicably slides to either spot - and a few players always do - and walk away with two more quality guys. That’s 3 likely “quality” picks. And because we have 3 thirds (and our fourth is the 104th pick) we are assured of “quantity” in a strong draft. We will have 7 of the first 104 players drafted.

In other words there’s no need sacrifice “quality” by trading down to increase our “quantity” because we already have quantity. And likewise there’s no need to sacrifice our “quantity” because we are in a rare situation where we can simultaneously come away with 3 “quality” players without having to trade up.

Sometimes trading is just worthless movement. I believe that likely in this draft with our fact set.

So say it with me, people: STICK AND PICK, QUALITY AND QUANTITY
I tend to agree. If the draft falls right for us IMO we can come away with six players who either start or get heavy rotation time.

If anything I would package our late picks and maybe next years second to get another top 50 picks... somewhere around 45 or so.

We have the opportunity to complete our offense. Lock in long term quality talent. WR, OT in the first three picks. OG, RB in the third round...then an additional WR in the second or third.

Then we can fill in some foundational front seven guys .. if say Murphy or Newton drop to us in the first..then again if Sweat falls to us in the third... Or maybe even Jenkins at 35.

Our defense would still be weak this year but IDL takes time to develop...when we plug in a higher tier edge next year he will benefit from their experience...then we will be ready for defensive backs.

If we draft Jenkins .. I'm going to make an audio clip and send it to the announcer at SDS... So every time Jenkins gets a hit on the QB he can blast it on the PA
LEROOOY JENKINS!!!

If you ever played WoW you get the reference
 

Krangodnzr

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Agree with most of your observations. I would say that Megatron and Fitzgerald were clearly better WR prospects coming out. Megatron was just an absolute freak of nature and Fitzgerald had pedigree and was extremely productive.

This draft is extremely deep. I think the marginal expectations is that the Cardinals should be able to add 4 solid NFL starters at a minimum. I agree that the difference between pick #27 and #35 is marginal because of the overall depth of the class. When you feel that way, it usually means there is a good trade down opportunity, but I do think #27 still should have a player or two from the previous tier.

Round One should have a run on QBs, then receivers, then OT/Edge with a few DBs sprinkled in. This belief can guide how you draft. I think the Cardinals either have to go CB and front seven or vice versa.
 

Krangodnzr

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I appreciate your well-thought out post. I’m going to repeat what I said in another thread . . .

We are a talent deprived team. We lack both high end playmakers as well as talented starters. We have gotten better building baseline nfl players. If what you say is accurate about the depth of this draft then the likely optimal course of action is to plan to stick and draft. We need both quality and quantity. We are uniquely set up for both:

4 should net us the best player on our team. You just shouldn’t pass that up.

Due to how talent deprived we are, we have tremendous flexibility with where we go with both the 27 and 35 picks. We can draft virtually any position at both and be filling a needed slot. That means we can wait for whomever inexplicably slides to either spot - and a few players always do - and walk away with two more quality guys. That’s 3 likely “quality” picks. And because we have 3 thirds (and our fourth is the 104th pick) we are assured of “quantity” in a strong draft. We will have 7 of the first 104 players drafted.

In other words there’s no need sacrifice “quality” by trading down to increase our “quantity” because we already have quantity. And likewise there’s no need to sacrifice our “quantity” because we are in a rare situation where we can simultaneously come away with 3 “quality” players without having to trade up.

Sometimes trading is just worthless movement. I believe that likely in this draft with our fact set.

So say it with me, people: STICK AND PICK, QUALITY AND QUANTITY
The more mock simulators I run, the more I realize that trading makes little sense unless you add future picks.
 

Shane

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The more mock simulators I run, the more I realize that trading makes little sense unless you add future picks.
Not sure I understand this line of reasoning when most people are saying this draft is the deepest and best it’s been in like 10 years… future pics could end up being in a drafted is deemed horrible?? No?
 

Krangodnzr

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Not sure I understand this line of reasoning when most people are saying this draft is the deepest and best it’s been in like 10 years… future pics could end up being in a drafted is deemed horrible?? No?
My point is that the Cardinals have more than enough picks for this year. They can fill most of the roster needs this year, and least from a depth standpoint.

Moar picks! Naw, we have enough.
 

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