In the third round of the 2012 draft, with the 82nd pick the Dallas Cowboys select:
Vontaze Burfict: Linebacker, Arizona State University.
[Note: this is probably a fanshot, however polls cannot be conducted in a fanshot, so here it is.]
Would you be happy with this as the 82nd pick in the 2012 draft? If this were to actually occur, as onset in the CBS big board, I would be ecstatic. A top 10 talent fell all the way to the 82nd pick. Now, unless he goes to the combine and has a Da'Quann Bowers-post knee op type showing, there is no way that this will actually happen... but I digress. Before we get to the arguments, lets take a look at the Cowboy's 3rd round picks over the last decade:
|2001||93||Willie Blade||Defensive T||Mississippi State|
|2002||75||Derek Ross||Cornerback||Ohio State|
|2003||69||Jason Witten||Tight End||Tennessee|
|2006||92||Jason Hatcher||Defensive End||Grambling State|
|2007||67||James Marten||Offensive T||Boston College|
|2009||69||Jason Williams||Linebacker||Western Illinois|
|2009||75||Robert Brewster||Offensive T||Ball State|
|2011||71||DeMarco Murray||Running Back||Oklahoma|
Excluding Jason Witten and Demarco Murray (we think), none of these players played much of a substantially successful role with our team (with the exception of one cameo appearance on King of the Hill by Willie Blade... and arguably Jason Hatcher, but man c'mon man! It took 5 years to even get serious rotation time?)
The question is, at pick 82, is Burfict worth the Risk? Let's look at the two sides of the coin.
Against: This all stems from a discussion with pjohn56 (and fyi- I do appreciate your stance and that you defend it with logic and reason as opposed to typical blog style fodder) , who sticks to his guns and vehemently contends that with the exception of a late round flyer, Burfict is too much of a head case and problem child to be considered with anything other than a fifth rounder or later. He contends that NFL teams are made of meat and potatoes picks, and that the 3rd round pick is needed to add a safer talent, one that has a much lower ceiling but is sans any other real issues. He put his position quite succinctly here:
I’m talking about simple ratios here, I’m not sure how that is confusing. You have more support players than you have superstars. You have more rounds to draft support players and better chances of finding them than you do superstars. A superstar at QB, one WR, and a RB coupled with good guys that have productive seasons but don’t make a Pro-Bowl that season can win and win consistently.
We have, what, 7 draft picks this year and more holes to fill than that. Meanwhile, we have Romo, Murray, Witten, Dez, Miles, Jenkins, Ratliff, and Ware, in superstar roles. Tyron Smith and Doug Free may be entering this realm as well.
We’re loaded on the offensive side and could use some more on the defensive side. However, we also have a lot more holes to fill and we can’t fill them all with an All-Pro. In the 3rd round, why not get a guy that has maybe a 70% chance of being a strong player for you at one of those holes as opposed to risking it on a potential superstar that has just as much chance to be out of the NFL in a few seasons?
We will be drafting next year also, save your superstar picks for the rounds you have much better chances of getting them, much beter players at that position, etc. NE can afford to draft like what is being suggested here, we can’t. We are behind the 8 ball talent wise and if we hit on Burfict it wouldn’t be as much of a plus as if we totally missed on him. Poorly spent draft choices is what has got us in this position.
Burfict is a different risk all together from a guy like Sean Lee or Bruce Carter. Physical injuries are much easier to check out and determine whether rehab will work or not. Inability to grasp defensive schemes, complete lack of discipline, and mental imbalance is something different altogether. This is the kind of risk that can have a domino like negative impact and hurt for years to come as we try to "salvage" the potential in this particular player. This guy is Pacman Jones all over again. Pacman had tons of talent coming out of college, but he didn’t last long, ran into all kinds of off the field trouble, and eventually lost his confidence.
For: I can appreciate where pjohn56 is coming from. We are all definitely tired of being burned by poor draft choices and project picks. However I feel that we are talking about a true blue chip talent here. The kind that only come in at about 7 deep per draft. Do you spend pick 14 on this kid? No probably not, you have to hit on pick 14 and Burfict has to much flame out potential. Do you take him at 45 then? Maybe... it depends on if you feel there is truly a better player available for your team at that point (doubtful), but at pick 82? I would break my neck running up to the podium on this one. Further arguments:
And more to the point, we will take your example of Demarco Murray. Why was he available in the 3rd? Mileage and medical issues. Otherwise, as the holder of quite a few of Oklahoma’s records, he would have been a much higher pick. We took a GAMBLE in the 3rd round on a player that had high boom/bust potential, and we came out ahead.
There have been several other 3rd round picks that were considered "safe" and have been complete misses as well (Marten, Brewester, etc).. in fact I would venture to say that the entire draft is a crapshoot, as even solid top picks bust all the time. Its simple risk/reward.
I won’t disagree with your assessment of him, and you don’t need to gamble needlessly with your 3rd rounder, however if you can get a top 10 talent with that pick, you do it, because the payoff at that point outweighs the risk. Which is what many teams will be looking at doing when the draft rolls around.
The team IS built on blue chippers.
Although you only have a few of them, the blue chippers (or superstar players as I like to call them) are what give the team its identity. If you have meat and potatoes QB, RB, WR, LB and CBs, then what kind of team are you? Defensive minded? Passing team? Running team?
The truth is, every team has lots of average to solid guys but they are there to SUPPORT the blue chippers in getting the job done. The Patriots are successful because of Brady, Welker and the TEs – not because of the average/meat and potato LBs or secondary.
At pick 82, the talent just far out weighs the risk. Bring him in, coach him up, and put him in a position to succeed. To get a true Blue Chip talent at pick 82 just far outweighs any risk... or am I just blinded by the blue light?
We are obviously diametrically opposed in this argument (and there are many others to make), so help us out BTB and join the discusion. There is no wrong answer, only highly opinionated stances! So what do you think?