There’s a simple equation to the NFL Draft that often is overlooked, "Is the talent you are looking to draft exceedingly better than talent that can be had a round later?"
Now, you may be saying, "Well if a guy is drafted 10th overall, yes, he obviously is better than a player at the similar position drafted 133rd overall," but in many cases you would be wrong.
One of the things the New England Patriots do is identify talent at their draft slot and if one of those players does not make it to their draft position they bail.
Now, that’s easier said than done, because there has to be someone wanting to move up in order for your team to move down, and there also is the argument of making sure you procure the talent available versus waiting and possibly missing in later rounds, but for the most part there are always alternatives to who you drafted.
Let’s take a look at some of the past Cardinals draft for instance:
This one isn’t fair because we know how great the guys the Cardinals passed on are, and we have yet to see Cooper or Minter make a case for themselves yet, but you get the idea.
In this little game we are going to decide between two players, a potential first round pick and someone of the same position who can be had later in the draft, and let’s show our work in the comments section.
Would you rather Dee Ford in Round 1 or Christian Jones in Round 2?
In this instance the Cardinals would have to decide between proven production, and elite, untapped potential.
When it comes down to it, production always wins to me, and despite Jones’ natural abilities, Ford is the more instinctive pass rusher and player.
Seth’s Vote: Dee Ford
Would you rather Zack Martin in Round 1 or Joel Bitonio in Round 2?
You have the smooth, technician in Martin, and the wild animal in Bitonio.
Martin was a four year starter and held down the left tackle position well, but he has shorter than wanted arms, and isn’t an explosive athlete.
Bitonio is the same height as Martin, but measure in with an inch longer arms and blew the combine up athletically, finishing in the top five in all of the agility measurables.
Martin looks like a decade long starter on the inside, Bitonio is at worst the same, but with his added length and athleticism, could be a left tackle or right tackle as well.
For this one, give me the guy who has the higher ceiling, even if his floor is slightly lower.
Seth’s Vote: Joel Bitionio
Would you rather Eric Ebron in Round 1 or CJ Fiedorowicz in Round 3?
Ebron ran… well at the Combine, but tweaked something and was done working out.
Meanwhile Fiedorowicz did all the workouts and ended the agility section in the top five of each, quelling some concerns about his athleticism.
Ebron is the more explosive player, with the bigger upside potential there’s no doubt, but he only lined up inline 21% of his snaps at North Carolina and dropped a staggering 11% of catchable passes thrown to him.
Fiedorowicz reminds many of Heath Miller, and with Arians penchant to love blocking from his tight ends, Fiedorowicz seems like the better "fit" for the Cardinals.
The last piece of this is can you invest another first round pick on a "WR", which is where Ebron is at his best?
Was the tight end position, in the passing game, a reason for losses last year?
Seth’s Vote: CJ Fiedorowicz
Would you rather Kony Ealy in Round 1 or Kelcy Quarles in Round 3?
This is an interesting one, as Ealy isn’t listed as a 3-4 defensive end, but that’s where he should line up in the NFL if the Cardinals draft him.
He has the size, length, and speed, not too mention the ability add some weight, to be a dominant one gapping defensive end in the 3-4.
Quarles is already at the size to be a fit as a defensive end in the Cardinals 3-4, he moves well for his size, and putting him in a one gapping scheme would accentuate his ability to take advantage of his consistent winning of one on one situations.
The question becomes, will Ealy be able to dominate, like many other Mizzou defenders have, once he gets to the NFL, or would his "tweener" game not translate?
Seth’s Vote: Kelcy Quarles
This was the hardest one thus far because Ealy is the better talent, but would he ever be a fit in the Cardinals defense? Thus the Quarles pick… begrudgingly.
Would you rather Zack Mettenberger in Round 2 or Logan Thomas in Round 4?
There’s going to be a small group that understands that this is a real question, there will be a smaller group that understands that there’s a real possibility that Thomas is gone in round two before Mettenberger, but for now, and this scenario, we’ll use it as a discussion point.
Mettenberger didn’t hurt himself at all at The Combine in his team intreviews, but from people around the web, he didn’t exactly blow anyone away either.
The consensus was he was coached very well on how to address all the questions he would be asked, and he did that.
The concerns with Mettenberger as a "fit" in Bruce Arians offense, and really any offense, is how SLOW HE IS AT EVERYTHING.
Honestly, Mettenberger has an elongated delivery, is sluggish sliding his feet in the pocket, and if he’s moved off his spot, isn’t nearly as effective as a passer.
On the plus side, he understands pro passing concepts, he wins with his arm, that allows him to attack all levels and quadrants on the field, and is fearless in the pocket and taking chances with his arm.
Thomas has just as much arm, is probably the most athletic quarterback in the draft, and can make plays with his feet when need be, but he doesn’t make those plays, or any plays for that matter, often enough.
Thomas’ upside is that of Ben Rothelisberger, the question is can he ever reach it.
Mettenberger’s upside is that of Drew Bledsoe, but much like Thomas, he has a lot of work to do to make it to that level.
There is one extra thing that plays towards Thomas’ advantage, and that is the fact he’s already been asked by numerous teams if he’d be willing to make a move back to tight end.
Thomas is the prototypical size/speed combo of the modern tight ends, and if he fails as a quarterback, there is some solace that can be taken in moving him to tight end.
The question becomes, who is more fixable, and what upside do you find more appealing?
Seth Vote: Logan Thomas
This is just the first of many would you rather scenarios, as there is still the question of CB, SS, WR, and more tight ends, defensive ends, outside linebackers and quarterbacks to discuss.
Leave your votes in the comments.
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