The BPA Myth

Harry

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I keep seeing this pop up on boards as the mantra for many teams. The Cards claim its their philosophy. Let’s work with the Cards as our example. First comes defining BPA. Is it the best athlete? Since most positions require specific skills how do you decide which skills contribute to “best.” They do the 40 yd dash at the combine, but O-linemen never win and yet they often go in round 1. Have you watched all the receivers who can’t bench press? Is college productivity the standard? Also what role does attitiude and coachability play.

It’s not that the concept of BPA is ignored, but in the era of a cap team’s can’t ignore need. Was Humphries the BPA? Nkemdiche may have been the best athlete but his college productivity wouldn’t class him as the BPA. I think a modified BPA is a more accurate view. My experience is teams never ignore need. What they consider is among our needs, who is the top BPA? Some teams will ask how that player compares to the overall BPA, but more often than not they fill the need. Now after round 2, BPA becomes more important because it’s harder to find guys you’re certain can solve a need, so you have to be more flexible. Specialists like kickers & returners are still often drafted by need. Oddly the Cards are weird in this aspect. It’s hard to call Chad Williams the BPA. How about Brandon Williams the year before?

I know you can find some teams that emphasize BPA more. You might call Baker a BPA, but the Cards had lost both starting safeties and looking down the road he sure appeared to be a TM replacement. So you often have to look ahead a year on the likely roster to ID the need. I know people are criticizing mocks based on need, but try listing the players by BPA. McShay has a top 50 or so list. Rob Rang does one for CBS. Compare one of those to the actual drafts. My experience is that some need-based mocks turn out to be closer to the actual draft. I also guarantee you that if you put 10 scouts in a room and told them to do 50 BPA lists, they’d be radically different after the top 7. It’s a nice thing to say BPA, but it’s not reality. Sure there are BPA picks, but there are just as many need picks in the first couple of rounds.
 

WildBB

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No way it's Cards' philosophy. They fill out needs and for upcoming leverage in negotiations or outright replacements for the outgoing vets. It's pretty much reality league wide. That said they do attempt to fill needs with FA's to an extent, depending on said market.
 

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No way it's Cards' philosophy. They fill out needs and for upcoming leverage in negotiations or outright replacements for the outgoing vets. It's pretty much reality league wide. That said they do attempt to fill needs with FA's to an extent, depending on said market.

Steve Keim has said that they consider BPA with regard to need. In other words, if two players are at the top of their board and have similar grades, they may take the one who fills the stronger need.

BPA is subjective...and as we all know it is very difficult to compare positions with regard to BPA. Obviously, QBs are in their own category, especially as Steve Keim said, when there is a supply and demand factor.
 

oaken1

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what a team considers BPA will always be different since they all evaluate their own. IMO BPA only truly comes into play when a player slides. For example, if this year there are runs on OT's and WR's in the first round and somehow a guy like D'Ron Payne or Vita Vea managed to slip through the cracks and be on the board at pick 40...even if the team is stacked on their Dline...you pick that guy because he is clearly the best player available.

Then there are side issues, like, reuben Foster. Injuries and character concerns caused him to slide in the draft...was he the BPA at our pick? Maybe part of BPA is being able to depend on a guy to be on the field.

Gets sketchier when you look at locations. Consider Honey Badger, I was living outside Baton Rouge when he got in trouble... his biggest offense was selling weed on campus which in turn got him kicked off the LSU football team. Thats the south. Would selling weed on campus have gotten him kicked off the team at USC? CAL? Colorado? His offense was pretty juvenile,... but criminal?? marginal at best... but the south just doesnt tolerate weed right now...luckily for him Louisiana is more tolerant than most southern states. Had he been at Mississippi State he would have gone to prison. He was clearly the BPA when we picked him in the third round even with some maturity concerns.
 

JeffGollin

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The reason why they call it BPA is because the initials refer to best PLAYER available & not best ATHLETE available. (L Jackson might rank higher than J Allen as best athlete; whereas Allen might outrank Jackson as best player - i.e. we're talking football/not track & field).

The BPA index is used as a convenient way to rank prospects & lend some structure to the process of determining whom to draft.

One reason for picking according to best athlete rather than filling a position of greatest need is that, using the latter method, you end up gradually weakening your overall roster. Another reason is that, by filling a need, you may pass on a far better player at another position.

Consider: Coach Mac's strategy of (1) targeting certain players he liked and then (2) drafting them one round earlier than valued "in order to make sure he got them." Result: He got his guys but consistently overdrafted them so that his roster began to be filled by players who were worth grades of one-round later than they should have been valued.

Granted, various GM's weasel around the BPA strategy by building "position-need" into the BPA rating of each prospect so that each player's BPA rating # was weighted to include need. (SK is said to favor a need-weighted BPA strategy).

Only possible weakness I see in this is that BPA ignores supply & demand - i.e. why draft a highly rated athlete who fills a need in an early round if the depth of talent is so great that you can draft an athlete with similar talent 2 or 3 rounds later? (Of course the danger, here, is that there will be an unexpended run the position you were counting on for talent later on - & you would have effectively thought your way into a corner).
 
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Finito

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Steve Keim has said that they consider BPA with regard to need. In other words, if two players are at the top of their board and have similar grades, they may take the one who fills the stronger need.

BPA is subjective...and as we all know it is very difficult to compare positions with regard to BPA. Obviously, QBs are in their own category, especially as Steve Keim said, when there is a supply and demand factor.

Pretty much this.

It's never strictly draft on need or draft BPA it's a mixture of both
 

BW52

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The reason why they call it BPA is because the initials refer to best PLAYER available & not best ATHLETE available. (L Jackson might rank higher than J Allen as best athlete; whereas Allen might outrank Jackson as best player - i.e. we're talking football/not track & field).

The BPA index is used as a convenient way to rank prospects & lend some structure to the process of determining whom to draft.

One reason for picking according to best athlete rather than filling a position of greatest need is that, using the latter method, you end up gradually weakening your overall roster. Another reason is that, by filling a need, you may pass on a far better player at another position.

Consider: Coach Mac's strategy of (1) targeting certain players he liked and then (2) drafting them one round earlier than valued "in order to make sure he got them." Result: He got his guys but consistently overdrafted them so that his roster began to be filled by players who were worth grades of one-round later than they should have been valued.

Granted, various GM's weasel around the BPA strategy by building "position-need" into the BPA rating of each prospect so that each player's BPA rating # was weighted to include need. (SK is said to favor a need-weighted BPA strategy).

Only possible weakness I see in this is that BPA ignores supply & demand - i.e. why draft a highly rated athlete who fills a need in an early round if the depth of talent is so great that you can draft an athlete with similar talent 2 or 3 rounds later? (Of course the danger, here, is that there will be an unexpended run the position you were counting on for talent later on - & you would have effectively thought your way into a corner).

I will disagree about Josh Allen being a better football player than Lamar Jackson.Lamar Jackson did more with a average supporting cast in a much tougher conference than Wyoming played in.The main thing Josh Allen has over Lamar Jackson is size.Jackson has a great arm,tremendous Athletic ability and a ceiling thru the roof combined with a great work ethic and he is a humble guy with great character.Sure he needs Pro Coaching...so does every QB in the draft.People say LJ has accuracy problems...His accuracy increased every year.Allen has accuracy issues also.The main difference is Josh Allen is a big guy.Jackson is 6`2 and 216 so he is not a runt.might have a lanky build but i don`t recall him missing much time in College because of injuries.People see a big bodied QB and automatically think he is a better football player than the lanky speedier more agile QB.That is a assumption.
 

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I will disagree about Josh Allen being a better football player than Lamar Jackson.Lamar Jackson did more with a average supporting cast in a much tougher conference than Wyoming played in.The main thing Josh Allen has over Lamar Jackson is size.Jackson has a great arm,tremendous Athletic ability and a ceiling thru the roof combined with a great work ethic and he is a humble guy with great character.Sure he needs Pro Coaching...so does every QB in the draft.People say LJ has accuracy problems...His accuracy increased every year.Allen has accuracy issues also.The main difference is Josh Allen is a big guy.Jackson is 6`2 and 216 so he is not a runt.might have a lanky build but i don`t recall him missing much time in College because of injuries.People see a big bodied QB and automatically think he is a better football player than the lanky speedier more agile QB.That is a assumption.

I think this is a good point. It is worth asking ourselves how much better Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Sam Rosen, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph would have done in Wyoming than Josh Allen under the same circumstances.
 

THESMEL

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Each team spends a lot of effort on their board - Keim's board seems warped when compared to mainstream BPA talent grades. I remember Smoky Brown drafted over Everson Griffin - I think it was Keims first GM draft. I did my own talent grades for years and was tarred and feathered every year. Dennis Green was the best drafter by far that we have experienced - Whiz did well with Green drafted talent than went to crap. BA was a good player developer the QB whisperer - So why don't we have one? His investment was in Stanton, Gabbert and Barkley? I don't know what Wilkes can or can't do on offense or player development, but do not think Cam Newton was/is developed to his fullest potential?

I hope we get Foles or Bradford and best available rookie QB at 15 in this deep draft- invest in the run game as stated, to optimize their QB and the team's talent. The reality is we should miss out on a franchise QB for awhile before settling on one, as there are not 32 in the world and we already lost at musical chairs, as NFL competition schemes expects. Foles and Bradford are really really good proven veteran gettable options - Bridgewater and Cousins may be even better! I would like to see Gabbert become comfortable with McCoy running the ball balanced and see if Gabbert can produce to his talent potential. completion between Bradford, Bridgewater and Gabbert as former 1st round picks available! Yea we are blessed this year - I think McCoy should have a lot of say in the QB.
 

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I think this is a good point. It is worth asking ourselves how much better Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Sam Rosen, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph would have done in Wyoming than Josh Allen under the same circumstances.

This is what NFL people are saying. They understand that Allen isn't getting major college coaching either. He played with borderline talent all over his team, even for the conference he plays in. Allen is also extremely coachable; read how everyone is saying that he took the coaching he received at the Senior Bowl and has started implementing it into his game. That takes 1000s of reps to do that, so it means that Allen is putting in the work to fix his flaws.

People keep saying that sub 60% passers don't get better in the pros. What about Josh McCown? He became substantially better over the course of his career, and McCown has always come off as lacking the brains department. I'm not saying he is stupid, he just comes off as not the sharpest tool in the shed.
 

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Everyone's Big Board is different. When the Cardinals say that they picked the BPA, it means the BPA on the Cardinals Board. They are not talking about Mel Kipers Big Board or some other teams board. They are talking about the Cardinals Big Board.

There is a ton that goes into putting together your Big Board. If you looked at the Boards around the league not even one would be close to being similar.
 

Shane

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BPA is the dumbest term thrown out every year around this board and everywhere else where there is draft talk.... The term is entirely to subjective and your BPA is different from everyone else’s... The term should be done away with.
 

pinetopred

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Haven't had time to be around here much wanted to reply to this topic. Keim gets alot of grief for his early round misses, right fully so, why does he miss? JMO he values athletic ability over production. He drafts for need just like every team does he just values athletic ability more then most GMs. BPA is subjective for sure Keim always drafts the better athlete at position of need and hopes to coach that up. JMO
 

Frank The Fixer

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I think this is a good point. It is worth asking ourselves how much better Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, Sam Rosen, Lamar Jackson and Mason Rudolph would have done in Wyoming than Josh Allen under the same circumstances.

I'm curious what kind of numbers Allen would have put up in Oklahoma
 

oaken1

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Haven't had time to be around here much wanted to reply to this topic. Keim gets alot of grief for his early round misses, right fully so, why does he miss? JMO he values athletic ability over production. He drafts for need just like every team does he just values athletic ability more then most GMs. BPA is subjective for sure Keim always drafts the better athlete at position of need and hopes to coach that up. JMO

he does. Keim thinks he is slicker than every other GM in the league and is going to get an all pro that "just hasnt put it together yet"...

athletes are fine... but football players are better.
 

WildBB

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Each team spends a lot of effort on their board - Keim's board seems warped when compared to mainstream BPA talent grades. I remember Smoky Brown drafted over Everson Griffin - I think it was Keims first GM draft. I did my own talent grades for years and was tarred and feathered every year. Dennis Green was the best drafter by far that we have experienced - Whiz did well with Green drafted talent than went to crap. BA was a good player developer the QB whisperer - So why don't we have one? His investment was in Stanton, Gabbert and Barkley? I don't know what Wilkes can or can't do on offense or player development, but do not think Cam Newton was/is developed to his fullest potential?

I hope we get Foles or Bradford and best available rookie QB at 15 in this deep draft- invest in the run game as stated, to optimize their QB and the team's talent. The reality is we should miss out on a franchise QB for awhile before settling on one, as there are not 32 in the world and we already lost at musical chairs, as NFL competition schemes expects. Foles and Bradford are really really good proven veteran gettable options - Bridgewater and Cousins may be even better! I would like to see Gabbert become comfortable with McCoy running the ball balanced and see if Gabbert can produce to his talent potential. completion between Bradford, Bridgewater and Gabbert as former 1st round picks available! Yea we are blessed this year - I think McCoy should have a lot of say in the QB.
Denny Green had some mixed results as well, and he had the luxury of picking high in drafts. He did a good job for the most part in judging character, but he knew Larry from way back also.
 

AZCrazy

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Please don't waste our third round pick on some small school never-will-be who's a team captain and beat the heck out of the local community colleges for a season.
 

Arz101

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Please don't waste our third round pick on some small school never-will-be who's a team captain and beat the heck out of the local community colleges for a season.

You will be taught a lesson when Cards draft a DE converted to a kicker, who is a team captain at American Samoan Islands Community College Football program, is drafted in round 3
 

AZCrazy

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Well, Keim will reach for him if he hears a rumor about a tweet that the Ravens really want him next.
 

Gandhi

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I keep seeing this pop up on boards as the mantra for many teams. The Cards claim its their philosophy. Let’s work with the Cards as our example. First comes defining BPA. Is it the best athlete? Since most positions require specific skills how do you decide which skills contribute to “best.” They do the 40 yd dash at the combine, but O-linemen never win and yet they often go in round 1. Have you watched all the receivers who can’t bench press? Is college productivity the standard? Also what role does attitiude and coachability play.

It’s not that the concept of BPA is ignored, but in the era of a cap team’s can’t ignore need. Was Humphries the BPA? Nkemdiche may have been the best athlete but his college productivity wouldn’t class him as the BPA. I think a modified BPA is a more accurate view. My experience is teams never ignore need. What they consider is among our needs, who is the top BPA? Some teams will ask how that player compares to the overall BPA, but more often than not they fill the need. Now after round 2, BPA becomes more important because it’s harder to find guys you’re certain can solve a need, so you have to be more flexible. Specialists like kickers & returners are still often drafted by need. Oddly the Cards are weird in this aspect. It’s hard to call Chad Williams the BPA. How about Brandon Williams the year before?

I know you can find some teams that emphasize BPA more. You might call Baker a BPA, but the Cards had lost both starting safeties and looking down the road he sure appeared to be a TM replacement. So you often have to look ahead a year on the likely roster to ID the need. I know people are criticizing mocks based on need, but try listing the players by BPA. McShay has a top 50 or so list. Rob Rang does one for CBS. Compare one of those to the actual drafts. My experience is that some need-based mocks turn out to be closer to the actual draft. I also guarantee you that if you put 10 scouts in a room and told them to do 50 BPA lists, they’d be radically different after the top 7. It’s a nice thing to say BPA, but it’s not reality. Sure there are BPA picks, but there are just as many need picks in the first couple of rounds.

Thanks for making this thread, Harry. The topic is kind of a pet peeve to me.

Like you wrote, it can mean a lot of different things when you talk about the best player available. That is also why I don’t really understand it when posters on this board or elsewhere writes something to the extent of a team not picking the best player on the board. How do we know? In fact, Brandon Williams or Chad Williams could easily have been the highest rated player on the Cardinals’ board, either because of their ability or because of something completely else. We don’t know the Cardinals’ board.

The Cardinals’ decision makers will always say prior to a draft that they want to draft the best player available, and after the draft they will always say that they did just that. No one can argue with them, simply because no one knows.

In a related topic, I don’t understand why anyone would rate a draft class or even a team’s rankings based on what Mike Mayock, Mel Kiper or someone else in the media says. Their rankings are general. Their rankings are supposed to include every team in the league. Well, every team in the league don’t play the same way, don’t value a players’ personality the same, and thus don’t look for the same in players. That will inevitably reflect their draft boards. For instance, why would the Cardinals rate a defensive tackle, that are extremely good as a two-gap tackle, over a defensive tackle that is very good in a one-gap scheme, when they want to use the latter? Why would the Cardinals rank a cornerback who excels in zone coverage the highest if they want to play press man-coverage? The talking heads don’t need to distinguish between things like that.

The same goes for when posters for instance writes that if some team pick a quarterback at, say, #10, then they will get the 3rd best or 3rd ranked quarterback. How does anyone know that? Maybe the assertion is correct, and maybe it is not, but I highly doubt anyone on this board knows.

If people actually wanted to have at least somewhat accurate draft rankings they would have to make 32 different draft boards.
 

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BPA is something you tell the mass fans because it's pretty simple and defendable, the draft is very fluid, so there is obviously a penalty placed on a BPA that doesn't fit a need.

This is why you have trade downs and Kiem does this, so he won't just pick the next BPA, he will evaluate the needs vs the BPA and see if he can get the best draft trade available.

Nothing is simple in this process, it's just what they tell the fans.

It's like Hockey guys, all they talk about is how much they love the fans and appreciate the fans and love the fans and I just play for the fans, it's a marketing formula. It works.
 

THESMEL

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Thanks for making this thread, Harry. The topic is kind of a pet peeve to me.

Like you wrote, it can mean a lot of different things when you talk about the best player available. That is also why I don’t really understand it when posters on this board or elsewhere writes something to the extent of a team not picking the best player on the board. How do we know? In fact, Brandon Williams or Chad Williams could easily have been the highest rated player on the Cardinals’ board, either because of their ability or because of something completely else. We don’t know the Cardinals’ board.

The Cardinals’ decision makers will always say prior to a draft that they want to draft the best player available, and after the draft they will always say that they did just that. No one can argue with them, simply because no one knows.

In a related topic, I don’t understand why anyone would rate a draft class or even a team’s rankings based on what Mike Mayock, Mel Kiper or someone else in the media says. Their rankings are general. Their rankings are supposed to include every team in the league. Well, every team in the league don’t play the same way, don’t value a players’ personality the same, and thus don’t look for the same in players. That will inevitably reflect their draft boards. For instance, why would the Cardinals rate a defensive tackle, that are extremely good as a two-gap tackle, over a defensive tackle that is very good in a one-gap scheme, when they want to use the latter? Why would the Cardinals rank a cornerback who excels in zone coverage the highest if they want to play press man-coverage? The talking heads don’t need to distinguish between things like that.

The same goes for when posters for instance writes that if some team pick a quarterback at, say, #10, then they will get the 3rd best or 3rd ranked quarterback. How does anyone know that? Maybe the assertion is correct, and maybe it is not, but I highly doubt anyone on this board knows.

If people actually wanted to have at least somewhat accurate draft rankings they would have to make 32 different draft boards.

I think if you followed any draft experts board you would do good, average of the top draft experts boards is even better - its when GM's get cute and think they are smarter than everybody else by 3-4-5 rounds like logan Thomas that it pisses me off. so I agree to a point - BPA can be different by scheme, priority skill sets, philosophy- but Gm's please don't feed me crap and call it honey.
 

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I think if you followed any draft experts board you would do good, average of the top draft experts boards is even better - its when GM's get cute and think they are smarter than everybody else by 3-4-5 rounds like logan Thomas that it pisses me off. so I agree to a point - BPA can be different by scheme, priority skill sets, philosophy- but Gm's please don't feed me crap and call it honey.

As the saying goes, drafting is projecting.

I do agree to some degree, Thesmel. I am sure you would do well by following the overall rankings in the top 10 or maybe 15 since those players are so good that the scheme, calls and stuff like that might not matter that much. After that, I think you would be in trouble. Not to toot my own horn, I have in the last few years been able to predict that the Cardinals would pick players like David Johnson, Robert Nkemdiche and Deone Bucannon because I have centered my thinking around the Cardinals and not in general. I could easily be wrong, but I don’t remember seeing any mock drafts leading up to the draft connecting those players with the Cardinals.

Now, my rankings are general as well since I don’t know all the other team’s preferences, but when I do my annual Cardinals mock draft I think I have to try to narrow down the prospect to a pool that specifically fit the Cardinals.

As to the selection of Logan Thomas, I don’t think it is that farfetched to think that he actually was the highest rated player on their board at that time. Given Bruce Arians’ preferences in a quarterback, I could see that being the case. I wouldn’t have picked him, and certainly not in the fourth round, but that obviously doesn’t matter one bit. I guess that by your definition of trying to outsmart everyone else the selections of Tyrann Mathieu, John Brown, David Johnson and Markus Golden falls into that category as well. Personally, I have been happy with those picks.
 

THESMEL

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As the saying goes, drafting is projecting.

I do agree to some degree, Thesmel. I am sure you would do well by following the overall rankings in the top 10 or maybe 15 since those players are so good that the scheme, calls and stuff like that might not matter that much. After that, I think you would be in trouble. Not to toot my own horn, I have in the last few years been able to predict that the Cardinals would pick players like David Johnson, Robert Nkemdiche and Deone Bucannon because I have centered my thinking around the Cardinals and not in general. I could easily be wrong, but I don’t remember seeing any mock drafts leading up to the draft connecting those players with the Cardinals.

Now, my rankings are general as well since I don’t know all the other team’s preferences, but when I do my annual Cardinals mock draft I think I have to try to narrow down the prospect to a pool that specifically fit the Cardinals.

As to the selection of Logan Thomas, I don’t think it is that farfetched to think that he actually was the highest rated player on their board at that time. Given Bruce Arians’ preferences in a quarterback, I could see that being the case. I wouldn’t have picked him, and certainly not in the fourth round, but that obviously doesn’t matter one bit. I guess that by your definition of trying to outsmart everyone else the selections of Tyrann Mathieu, John Brown, David Johnson and Markus Golden falls into that category as well. Personally, I have been happy with those picks.

Logan was not draftable on some boards - but no the others you mentioned were 3-5 rounds "smarter" than the rest of the NFL - Everson Griffin fell more than a round off his predicted draft position - We had a need - and we moved up to chose John Brown about 2 rounds early - I'm ok with that but- I think we are on the same page - Badger had the talent, but his risk was off the board! that could have went either way but am happy for him and us. Dwash showed no signs - until he blew up his talented life. I'm still pissed over Eric Green- we needed him in the SB in 08- He was our guy that could cover Steve Smith, Antonio Brown type players - and he had turn into some kind of a superfreak with some multi sexual implications and get benched for life- Whiz kept it secret - never did get a full story on Green- it was bad for the NFL Shield.

found more on the freak show - but hard to stomach- maybe he cleared his name
http://insidejamarifox.com/arizona-cardinals-eric-green-has-an-explained-penis-leakage/
 

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I will disagree about Josh Allen being a better football player than Lamar Jackson.Lamar Jackson did more with a average supporting cast in a much tougher conference than Wyoming played in.The main thing Josh Allen has over Lamar Jackson is size.Jackson has a great arm,tremendous Athletic ability and a ceiling thru the roof combined with a great work ethic and he is a humble guy with great character.Sure he needs Pro Coaching...so does every QB in the draft.People say LJ has accuracy problems...His accuracy increased every year.Allen has accuracy issues also.The main difference is Josh Allen is a big guy.Jackson is 6`2 and 216 so he is not a runt.might have a lanky build but i don`t recall him missing much time in College because of injuries.People see a big bodied QB and automatically think he is a better football player than the lanky speedier more agile QB.That is a assumption.
I wasn't claiming that Jackson was more athletic than Allen/I was setting up a hypothetical example. In fact, drawing a comparison between the two is pretty much apples to cranberries.
 

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