To suck or not to suck: The facts:
One of the big debates within the 12th man is whether or not the Hawks should tank games to obtain a higher draft choice, or if they should trade the house to move up in the draft should they win too many games. You can logically argue both sides of each argument, but we all know the average 12th man is too stubborn to budge their opinion on such a pivotal topic. My general attitude is that winning begets more winning, but that’s just me.
Lets take a look at some of the first round draft choice trades from the last three years and see how they helped their teams in the short term, because we all want this team to be good as soon as possible, right? Ok. I’m not going to go into what each trade was traded for and so on, just who was selected in that spot.
2009 #5: Cleveland >New York Jets. Cleveland traded its first-round selection (5th overall, used to select Mark Sanchez) to the Jets for the Jets’ first- and second-round selections (17th overall, traded to Tampa Bay, who selected Josh Freeman; and 52nd overall, used to select David Veikune), Kenyon Coleman, Brett Ratliff, and Abram Elam.
So which end of this trade would you rather the hawks are on? Would you rather have Mark Sanchez, or Josh Freeman, David Veikune, Kenyon Coleman, Brett Ratliff, and Abram Elam? In my opinion Josh Freeman is every bit as good as Mark Sanchez, costs less, and the Browns got 3 guys to provide depth. (After all we should know that other teams’ unwanted players can do with the right coaching.)
2010 #11: Chicago>Denver. Chicago traded this selection, a 2009 first-round selection (18th overall; Denver selected Robert Ayers) and a 2009 third-round selection (84th overall; traded to Pittsburgh, who selected Mike Wallace), and quarterback Kyle Orton to Denver for quarterback Jay Cutler and a 2009 fifth-round selection (140th overall, Chicago selected Johnny Knox).
#11: Denver >San Francisco (D). Denver traded this selection it acquired from Chicago to San Francisco for a first-round selection (13th overall; traded to Philadelphia, who selected Brandon Graham) and a fourth-round selection (113th overall; traded to New England, who selected Aaron Hernandez).
This is probably the easiest trade to evaluate. Would the Bears be better with Kyle Orton, Robert Ayers, Mike Wallace, Brandon Graham, and Aaron Hernandez?
Oakland >Cincinnati. Oakland traded this selection and a conditional 2013 second-round selection (that could increase to a first-rounder if Oakland makes either the 2011-12 or 2012-13 AFC title game) to Cincinnati for quarterback Carson Palmer. The jury is still out on this trade, but in my opinion a first round pick alone was too much for an aging, regressing quarterback, let alone another second round choice that could potentially be a first.
In the most recent draft the Atlanta Falcons felt they had a team ready to win a Super Bowl, with the exception of another big play receiver to pair with Roddy White, so they went out and got him.
2011 #6: Cleveland → Atlanta. Cleveland traded this pick to Atlanta for Atlanta’s first (27th overall, which later became #26, Jimmy Smith), second (59th, Greg Little) and fourth-rounder (124th, Owen Marecic) and also Atlanta’s first- and fourth-round selections in 2012.
Let’s see how it’s working out so far.
In 2010 The Falcons fielded the 16th ranked offense, averaging 341 yards per game. Through 10 games in 2011, they boast the 12th ranked offense, averaging 369 yards per game. That’s a 4 spot jump in the rankings. Is it enough to get them to the super bowl? Only time will tell.
#10: Washington>Jacksonville. Jacksonville acquired this pick from Washington for Jacksonville’s first- (16th overall, Ryan Kerrigan) and second-round (49th Ben Ijalana) selections, and selected Blaine Gabbert. In 2010 the Jaguars had the 15th overall offense, averaging 341 yards per game. Through ten games in 2011 they are dead last, averaging 249 yards per game. I realize that Blaine Gabbert is going to struggle as a rookie quarterback, and not be as efficient as Veteran David Gerrard was the year before. This is simply a look at the short term success of teams that trade up in the first round.
#17: Oakland >New England. Oakland traded this selection to New England (#17, Nate Solder) for defensive lineman Richard Seymour.
Since this trade occurred at the beginning of the 2009 season, I compared the Raiders 2008 overall defense to their mark in 2009. In 2008 The Raiders had the 27th overall defense allowing 360 YPG. In 2009 they moved up on spot to 26th, averaging 361 YPG. So even though they moved up one spot in the rankings, they actually got 1 yard per game worse, not the return you would like from a 1st round defensive tackle.
The numbers below reflect each team’s winning percentage and average draft position (ADP) in the first round for each teams last five first round picks. I did it this way to have an even number of choices to evaluate each team, as every team has not had first round picks every year.
Team Win % ADP
Patriots 0.725 20
Packers 0.625 21
Steelers 0.625 24
Colts 0.61 28
Saints 0.575 21
Giants 0.575 23
Cowboy 0.56 21
Charger 0.56 20
Ravens 0.55 21
Falcons 0.53 12
Eagles 0.525 20
Titans 0.525 19
Bears 0.51 18
Texans 0.475 16
Vikings 0.475 13
Jets 0.475 20
Cardinal 0.43 11
49ers 0.43 15
Bucs 0.43 13
Jaguars 0.425 11
Broncos 0.4 16
Panther 0.38 17
Bengals 0.38 11
Hawks 0.375 15
Redskins 0.375 10
Bills 0.36 12
Dolphins 0.36 16
Browns 0.35 14
Raiders 0.35 5
Chiefs 0.3 11
Lions 0.275 13
Rams 0.18 6
As you can see the teams with the highest win percentages also have a higher ADP. Atlanta is the only team in the top ten in win percentage with an ADP below 20. You can also argue that all those teams have a franchise quarterback. The average draft position for those qb’s is 9 overall, with Romo going undrafted.
I guess what I’m getting at is that there is talent to be had lower in the first round, and winning consistently is more important than draft position, in the short term and over at least a five year span. If the Seahawks end up at 8-8, they will be picking anywhere between # 12 and #24, assuming we miss the playoffs. , Aaron Rodgers-24, Drew Brees-32 and Joe Flacco-18, were all drafted in that range, with Tom Brady at 199, Tony Romo being undrafted and Ben Roethlisberger at #11. That’s 5 of the top ten drafted as low, or lower than we will most likely be drafting. Getting a qb is important, but you don’t necessarily have to have a top pick to find one.
So stop with all the “Suck for Luck” or “we need to trade up” baloney!!! The Hawks are exciting for the first time in three years (at least) and you fans wishing they would lose should go root for the Lambs; they have a #1 qb!