Like most fans, I was at least underwhelmed by the pick at first. It was an anticlimactic end for the day, and the instant reactions of the guys on TV quickly colored our perception of him, or his value at least.
But the more I read about this guy and watch tape, the more I like him.
It’s one thing to argue "value" in terms of some mock drafts and experts, but if you listen to Broaddus for example, what he stresses it to trust your scouts, set your board and don’t "window dress" it, and then trust it and stick to it. You may try to draft for value overall, but you don’t skip the highest rated guy on your board just because some mockers have him going later and don’t think it’s good value. Apparently they had him ~22 on their board, and they said he was the highest player left on their board at 31. So Jerry trusted his scouts and coaches and the process. We always characterize Jerry as wanting to make a "splash" in the draft, but in this case, they did the exact opposite, trade back and take a guy who had some folks scratching their heads at least. But they seem quite happy about it, and felt like they accomplished what they wanted to do.
If there’s anything I would question about value, it’s going with the run instead of contrary to it. But the fact that he was ranked anywhere from late 1st to early 3rd just jibes with what everyone was saying, that there was a big plateau of not blue-chip but deep good quality starter talent from around the mid-first all the way into the 3rd.
But, we all wanted interior oline, remember? I personally believe that it’s the most important single way we can improve this offense and the whole team. Help the running lanes. Help the pocket depth. Skill players maximize talent. Offense scores more points. Team wins more games. I think that’s what most of us think and have been saying. Amazingly, they apparently think that, too!
The way this draft stacked up so far, and maybe because of the way the league is going, oline had more value than anyone predicted, including interior oline. Every single oline went at the very top end of their projected window, if not above it.
So we got by most the top rated Center at a place where a lot of reputable folks had him rated, but near the top of the window where he was rated.
We can argue the value, but if we believe what they say (and there's no reason not to), at 31 there was actually a convergence of need and value, in that the position they most wanted was the highest player on their board at the time. That’s what you hope for. We as fans just got caught off guard because he wasn’t someone most of us had our sights on, even though it was the position we all wanted (maybe because he’s C/G instead of G/C?).
Sure, I’m a homer, pollyanna, glass three-quarters full fan… But the more I read and watch and think about it, the more I like it.
Here’s what I gather so far…
The guy is smart. Very smart. And football smart. Very fast learner and very coachable. Behind QB, C may be the most important position for intelligence. In Callahan we trust.
"@PackerReport Great story on UW’s Frederick from scout. At Combine team gave him 20-some pass protections. Month later at visit, Frederick remembered all." (h/t to Coxford in comment on another thread)
Do we realize how important that is, right there? He makes the line calls. He deals with stunts and games. He makes the whole line better.
He’s a self-motivated, disciplined, mature, RKG to the max, the guy you want in the locker room that is integral part of Garrett’s process.
He’s versatile and experienced having started full seasons at C and G, makes adjusting to any injury issues easier, maybe one less oline you have to take to the game.
He has no health issues, consistent durable starter. Health was actually the biggest problem with our interior line last year.
He seems to be well-balanced in run and pass blocking, a solid technician, and very consistent. He can be a road grader, or turn his man and make lanes, or get to the second level with good balance despite his size. He can even pull some, and do (legal) cut blocks. And he’s the anchor to protect the depth of the pocket. He has the mass and technique to handle the biggest NTs, but he slides well to handle quicker guys.
He gives high effort, has good awareness, plays to the end of the play, and brings a mean attitude.
He gets knocked for his bad 40 time and low bench reps, but he’s actually very quick off the ball, agile in short areas and well balanced with good footwork and knee bend, meanwhile set Wisc. record for squats at 770 pounds, and max benches ~500 (arguably more important functional measurements for playing oline than 225 reps).
He comes from a school that is known for producing starting quality NFL offensive linemen.
I think there’s a few more good things about him I missed.
The bad things about him? That we took him a little bit higher than most of us expected he would be taken. And… uh… other people are criticizing us because of that perceived value. That’s about all I can figure.
Yes, I’m a homer fan optimist. But I really do like this pick!
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