As much excitement as last week’s first round of the NFL draft was, it still was mostly useless. The NFL’s decision to have the 1st round on a separate day than all the other rounds was a genius idea. For all intents and purposes the average football fan only knows about 10-15 college players, and the majority of those players were subject to incredible hype. In addition many of those players were college stars, but have very little shot at any professional success (ex. Kellen Moore, Case Keenum, and the “Honeybadger,”). In addition, GMs decided to display desperation, common sense, or some combination of both in managing countless high profile trading scenarios. All that being said, I had less interest in the draft this year compared to other years because now I realize that very little of it actually matters.
As Roger Goodell continues to turn the NFL into a live action version of Tecmo Bowl, style of play is more important than actual players in most instances. For those old enough to remember Tecmo Bowl, one could literally run the same play over and over continually with very little deterrent. Defenses were completely overmatched as the person playing essentially had to guard all five receivers on every play. The only way to stop an offense was to choose the same play as they did, which resulted in an all out blitz of every defender. This sounds a lot like professional football now. Defenders are completely outclassed, and the only way to stop an offense is to get considerable pressure on the quarterback. Look at the Green Bay Packers, New England Patriots, Detroit Lions, New Orleans Saints, and New York Giants. All those elite teams have unguardable offenses, but only the Giants get consistent pressure on the QB … that’s why they are Super Bowl champions. By the way, anyone who thinks that the Giants have a rugged rushing attack with Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs is sorely mistaken. This is mainly built on reputation other than production. The Giants were dead last in the NFL in total rushing yardage, yards per attempt, and rushing yards per game. They won because they were 5th in passing yardage and 3rd in defensive sacks.
This is significant for the NFL draft because we all know the NFL is a copy cat league. The only way to win is to pass a lot, run just enough to justify paying a running back, and get to the quarterback. The top 5 teams in passing yardage went a combined 60-20 last year! Yes, they actually won 75% of their games! The top 5 rushing teams went a combined 35-45. This amounts to a paltry 44% winning percentage. With that bit of knowledge it’s clear that the only positions that matter now on a football field are guys that can help a passing offense and guys that can get to the quarterback. Effectively only quarterbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive lineman, and defensive lineman have any real value. Any team that drafted a cornerback, safety, inside linebacker, or running back wasted their pick. Seattle was lambasted for reaching on Bruce Irvin with the 15th pick. If one considers that his one elite skill is sacking the QB, I’d say that it was a fantastic pick. Was it stupid for the Colts to draft all offensive players except for one defensive tackle? Absolutely not, they understand how to win in the Tecmo Football League. Hard-nosed, defensive minded San Francisco actually used their first three picks on offensive players … Jim Harbaugh gets it. People are demonizing Washington for drafting Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins in the same draft. Makes sense to me. It’s impossible to win the Super Bowl without a stud QB leading a stout offense. To sum things up, as much hype as the NFL Draft carries, a fair amount of it can be ignored. Teams with elite passing offenses win games, and teams with great offenses that can also hit the QB win Super Bowls. Welcome to the Tecmo Football League.