“I’ve Got A Fever…”

21

 
vaccaro

The Saints stand on the cusp of a great draft, and sending Chris Ivory to the Jets just might be the key to the whole thing. Here's how addition by subtraction could work out.

 

I have finally succumbed to draft fever. One of the major symptoms is the creation of mock drafts (so named for the reaction of readers); and I’ve just put together my first one this year. Just a Saints’ draft, mind; but that’s enough. I’m well and truly doomed now. Still, this one has a bit of a difference: it assumes that Chris Ivory is wearing green and white up in New York.

You may have heard that the Jets are interested in Ivory. He’s met with them, and according the New York Daily News they’re serious about adding him to their roster, now thin at running back. But they’re not second-round serious: rather than sign him to an offer sheet, which would require them to send the Saints the 39th pick in the draft, they want to trade for him. That would save them money on the contract, and also save a more valuable draft choice for their own team, and it’s completely reasonable. It’s also completely reasonable for Mickey to say, “You want him, but you don’t want to ship us your second-rounder? Fine: third- and fifth-rounders, then. Take it or leave it.”

(Rich Cimini of ESPN thinks the Saints will let Ivory go for a single 4th rounder. Maybe. But if so, Mickey deserves to be bitch-slapped. The Jets will fold. After all, they’re the Jets.)

Here’s how that would break down: according to the ubiquitous Draft Value Chart (hey, this isn’t my idea, GMs actualy use this), the Jets’ 39th pick in the second is worth 510 points. Their 3rd round (72nd) and 5th round (141st) picks are worth a combined 265.5 points. The Jets are getting off easy. The Saints could play more hard-nosed, but frankly I think this is about Ivory’s worth (after all, the Jets could probably get a serviceable running back with just one of those picks—maybe not as good as Ivory, but close, and maybe better).

So here’s the deal: two mock drafts, based on both Jets scenarios. Either we get their second, or we get their third and fifth. That would give us, in the first scenario, picks in each round except the 7th; and in the second scenario, one pick in the 1st, two in the 3rd, one in the 4th, two in the 5th, and one in the 6th.

That would call for different draft strategies, depending on who might be available at those spots, and what holes the team has. For those who might not know yet: I do not believe in following the “best player available” strategy except maybe in later rounds. When you draft, you’re trying to build a team, not impress Mel Kiper with your acumen. If you have a gaping hole, you draft to fill the hole. Taking the best player available is valid only when the talent is thin on the ground, when you have so many holes to fill that virtually any choice fills one of them, or when a once-in-a-generation player falls to your slot.

You do, of course, choose the best person at the position you’re filling (I’m not stupid).

This draft is also conditioned by my belief that we don’t need more linebackers. Everyone is mocking us Barkevious Mingo, and everyone who isn’t is mocking us Jarvis Jones, except for the few who are mocking us Mant’i Teo (?). But we now have Victor Butler, Martez Wilson, David Hawthorne, and Chris Chamberlain as outside linebackers, along with Junior Galette as a pass rush specialist; and we have Curtis Lofton, Jonathan Vilma, Hawthorne, and Ramon Humber on the inside. How many linebackers do you think we’re going to carry?

So, no. I’m going in a different direction entirely.

One last caveat: this mock is somewhat based on that done by Walter Cherepinsky at WalterFootball.com. This isn’t because I believe he’s the world’s greatest draft maven, but because he’s thorough: his current mock goes through six rounds, and it’s a good rough representation of who might be available at any point. I’ve limited myself to players who are still available, within a half-dozen or so spaces before our slots.

That said, here we go.

1st Round, Pick #15
Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
I mean, come on. Vaccaro is an instant starter. I don’t know whose job he takes, but most likely it’s Roman Harper’s. Drafting Vaccaro will probably turn Malcolm Jenkins’ hair grey, too.

2nd Round, Pick #39
Terron Armstead, OT, Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Armstead shows promise as an NFL tackle, maybe left tackle material. He’s the guy who ran a 4.71 at the Combine, and this is a person who happens to be 6’5″ and 306 pounds. But here’s where the fever deepens into delirium…just follow me here, and imagine Armstead as an H-back. Think of this formation: 5 interior linement, Brees (6), Darren Sproles (7), Jimmy Graham (8), Benjamin Watson (9), Marques Colston (10)…and Armstead playing fullback. Whom does the defense concentrate on? Armstead could blow a hole wide open for Sproles…or play action could leave Colston wide open on the outside. Or Jimmy Graham open across the middle. Or Armstead could go in motion (!), then cut across the middle, leaving Brees 2 potential mismatches: Armstead, or Graham. Or…wait, where’s Watson?

Of course, maybe he has hands of stone. Or fumbleitis. We won’t know until we try. And if that all turns out to be a pipe dream…shit, all we got was a premier tackle.

3rd Round, Pick #72
Jordan Reed, TE, Florida
This is the Jets’ pick, the one we get if we don’t get their second-rounder. Needless to say, if Armstead is somehow available here, we snatch him up. If not, we choose the best tight end on the board, the foundation of Payton’s new 3-tight end formation, the one that will both put us in the Super Bowl and get us out of the Super Bowl, in winter conditions, with a Lombardi.

3rd Round, Pick #75
Chris Faulk, OT, LSU
And if we don’t get Armstead…voila, we wind up with two players instead of one. We still get a serviceable tackle, and create that 3-tight set. But if we do get Armstead, and Reed isn’t available here, we can take

3rd Round, Pick #75
Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Mississippi
For depth.

4th Round, Pick #109
Tyrann Matthieu, Honey Badger, LSU
Yeah, I’m a homer. So what? Besides, if Matthieu fell this far (and he might), and we didn’t snap him up, it would be criminal negligence. He can play special teams (returns, gunner), dime back, and all-purpose wild card on defense. Plus, he might actually turn into a decent NFL corner. It might be possible to get someone else useful in this position: for instance, Brandon Williams at nose tackle. But the Saints haven’t decided yet exactly how they’re going to use Akiem Hicks, and they don’t know if either Hicks of Bunkley will work out to their satisfaction yet. If the answer is “yes,” than Williams would be a waste of a pick. And Matthieu has the potential to be special. You don’t often get the chance in the fourth round to pick up a special player, and you shouldn’t pass up the chance if it comes.

5th Round, Pick #141
Jordan Mills, OT, Louisiana Tech
What, another tackle!? Yeah, why not? Can we really have too many good linemen? How comfortable did you really feel with Bushrod as a starter and nobody but Charles Brown between Drew Brees and his future as a talking head? Mills played well at the Senior Bowl against good competition. If he happens to drop this far, taking someone this good—even if you’ve already taken another tackle—is a no-brainer. Having Armstead/Strief/Mills or Faulk/Strief/Mills would go a long way toward re-solidifying a unit that used to be our main strength.

Now, this was the Jets’ pick, that we get for Ivory. But if we instead get their second-rounder, using our own pick we take:

5th Round, Pick #144
T.J. McDonald, S, USC
This is Walter’s actual pick, and I like it even though I give us Vaccaro in the first. Does anyone else remember the 49ers taking Ronnie Lott, Eric Wright, and Carlton Williamson in the first three rounds of the 1981 draft? That was the beginning of the defensive side of their dynasty.

6th Round, Pick #183
Sean Renfree, QB, Duke
I have two words that constitute a perfect defense of this choice: Josh McCown. No, wait, Luke McCown. Billy Joe McCown?

Come on, you know Payton needs a project. Chase got away from us, and Canfield is Canfield. That’s gotta chafe. Payton needs to recoup his pride, and so here’s Renfree, the most accurate quarterback in the draft. I think Payton likes accuracy. At least, he’s used to it now.

So: if we take the Jets’ second rounder, we harvest:

  • 1. Kenny Vaccaro
  • 2. Terron Armstead
  • 3. Jamie Collins
  • 4. Tyrann Matthieu
  • 5. T.J. McDonald
  • 6. Sean Renfree

And if we get their third and fifth rounders, we pick:

  • 1. Kenny Vaccaro
  • 3. Jordan Reed
  • 3. Chris Faulk
  • 4. Tyrann Matthieu
  • 5. Jordan Mills
  • 5. T.J. McDonald
  • 6. Sean Renfree

And that looks like a pretty decent haul to me. If we get anything like this much value, and don’t win the Super Bowl, I’m going to want an explanation, in person, from Sean Payton. And a magnum of Caymus Special Selection Cabernet.

Posted by Himself in 2013 Draft, Silly Shit | 21 comments

21 Comments

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  • Dave CarielloApril 13, 2013 at 11:07 pm

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    You know I love you, but I’m just gonna come out and say it. That’s probably one of your worst photoshop jobs to date.

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    • HimselfApril 14, 2013 at 10:02 am

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      The draft, Dave, the draft. Concentrate on the draft. Ignore the attempted shininess and bow before the awesome awesomeness of my 2013 draft class. If only it could work out like this.

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  • AcadieApril 14, 2013 at 8:30 am

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    Dave, you gotta look at it with 3-D glasses, man.

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    • GSO Saints FanApril 14, 2013 at 12:06 pm

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      If you don’t wear your 3D glasses, you’ll only be seeing it in one half D!

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  • GSO Saints FanApril 14, 2013 at 12:12 pm

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    Oh, by the way, Himself, in you description of Terron Armstead, what exactly is “5 interior linement”? And just how is interior linement applied?

    Wait, nevermind, I’d rathe not know….

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  • cc58April 14, 2013 at 4:42 pm

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    5. Jordan Mills, I’ve mocked him twice…you know at that other blog you never visit anymore.

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    • HimselfApril 14, 2013 at 6:23 pm

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      I go there frequently, actually. But the comments won’t load for me, so I can’t read them or respond.

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      • Rob Ryan's VanApril 14, 2013 at 8:13 pm

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        Same here. All the redesigned SB Nation sites attack my browser and work less than optimally.

        I’m sure my antiquated devices contribute to that, though.

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      • cc58April 15, 2013 at 11:19 am

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        Have you tried the chrome browser? I finally had to switch from firefox, because I was having too many issues, and not just with SB Nation.

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        • HimselfApril 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm

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          I use Safari 3…which is an obsolete browser, but which allows me to use an ad-blocking program that will block just about anything (ads, photos, javascripts, entire domains), and also allows me to EASILY use a custom stylesheet, which sits on my desktop. Firefox also allows you to use a custom stylesheet, which is buried about ten folders deep and only works from that location.

          I don’t know what Chrome might do, but I can’t use the most recent versions, because they won’t work on my system.

          The only browser that ever got everything right from a usability standpoint was, wonder of wonders, Internet Explorer 5 for Mac. That’s not to say that it was a good browser, just that the controls allowed you to turn off or on just about anything.

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  • aryanspecialApril 14, 2013 at 9:13 pm

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    Two linemen, two safeties. I love it. Not only are you drafting positions of need, but you’re also helping yourself in 2014. Strief, de la Puente, and Brown are all UFAs after this season and there’s no way the Saints should pay Harper over $8 mil next season.

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  • Doc BoudinApril 14, 2013 at 10:46 pm

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    I choose to accept this as the way things will be. If reality is unkind enough not to agree, I say it can go fuck itself.

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    • HimselfApril 15, 2013 at 7:18 am

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      That’s the spirit. Would you like to see Atlanta’s draft?

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      • Doc BoudinApril 15, 2013 at 8:39 pm

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        I already know it. They trade everything they have (including Julio Jones and Matt Ryan) to draft first. They then pick a cornerback, who turns out to be a fictional character created by Ronaiah Tuiasosopo.

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        • HimselfApril 15, 2013 at 9:34 pm

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          It’s like he’s inside my head…

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  • HimselfApril 15, 2013 at 7:45 am

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    Jason Bernos at Canal Street Chronicles has a post about Ivory’s value. Since I can’t even see replies at Da Chronic anymore (why do programmers think that hiding them is a good idea?), let alone add one, I’ll just do that here.

    Bernos says “the only reason the words ‘second round’ and ‘Chris Ivory’ are even in the same breath right now” is that the Saints put a second-round tender on him…the implication being he isn’t, and never would have been, worthy of a second-round pick. And maybe that’s true, and maybe it’s not. The reality, though, is that he does carry a second-round tender, so if the Jets–or anyone else–wants to sign him, that’s what they pay.

    And that, of course, is why the Jets haven’t signed him, but are angling for a trade instead. Bernos suggests a trade for a player, and that may be exactly the Jets’ intention. They have a lot of holes, and need all the draft choices they can keep. But that brings up an even more complicated question: what is Ivory’s value expressed in terms of a player from a different position?

    Ultimately, it all comes down to draft choice value. You weigh a trade’s value against the value of the draft choice you would use to take a player of comparable worth. If New York is unwilling to give up any draft picks at all, that says something about how they view Chris Ivory, and young master Chris had better do some hard thinking about scuttling off to a dysfunctional team that shows him disrespect from the very beginning (especially considering that it does nothing to increase the value of his contract).

    If, on the other hand, they’re willing to part with picks, that returns us to the original question: what is he worth? Well, what value would you put on a player who has a solid 5.1 average? In the NFL. Not against college-level competition. Point out all you want to that he’s been “little used” by the Saints; that’s a three-year average, in which he’s rushed for over 1300 yards. In a modern, two-back system, that’s a couple good years’ worth.

    If that’s what the Jets are hoping to gain, they need to pay for it. I don’t blame them for seeking some way to reduce their liability, and I think my suggestion of a 3rd and a 5th is reasonable. If they think they can snap up a running back in the draft who’s a sure-fire 5-yards-per-carry NFL back, good luck to them. Ivory has proven he is, and his peers in the NFL over the same period include precisely nobody. (Well, that’s an assumption on my part: I don’t know of a site that includes three-year stats. But I bet there aren’t any running backs available in free agency with a better average.)

    Is it a crap shoot? Could the trade go bad for them? Of course. Is the draft a sure thing? It comes down to this: one option has proven he can function at a reasonably high level in the NFL. The other options are unknown. If the Saints want anything out of Ivory, they need to get it now; but if all they can get is a back-up to a back-up, I say keep Ivory and see how things play out. You can always pick up the guy the Jets would have traded to us after they cut him.

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    • Rob Ryan's VanApril 15, 2013 at 8:14 am

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      Here’s my question about a potential Ivory trade: why would a team surrender anything less than a low-round pick for a player (Ivory) who will only be committed to them for one season?

      For Ivory to be traded, he needs to sign his one-year tender. So unless the team trading for Ivory decides to negotiate a new contract with him (is that a likelihood? I don’t really know), Ivory is basically a one-year rental.

      Surrendering multiple picks doesn’t seem all that realistic to me in the trade scenario.

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      • HimselfApril 15, 2013 at 9:05 am

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        It all depends on how much the Jets think he’s worth. And that depends on what they think their present running backs are worth, how (and how much) they intend to use them, who they think they might be able to pick up in the draft instead of Ivory, and how much that player would be worth. I have no idea, really, what the Jets are thinking.

        But there’s nothing preventing the Jets, and Ivory, from renegotiating his contract. I believe that’s what happened when we traded Bush to Miami. The Jets could simply say to Chris, “Look, we want to sign you to a 3-year contract for X amount with Y guaranteed. Is it a deal? Good, then sign your tender and let’s get this done.” Ivory signs his tender, the Saints ship him off to NY, and the first thing he does when he enters the facility is sit down with the GM and sign his new contract.

        The second thing he does is regret doing it, but that comes later, and he’ll have plenty of time to think about it.

        Whatever. My main point here is that I can’t think of anyone on the Jets’ roster I’d want in exchange, who is likely to be offered. If they want us to treat a proven player as though he’s a still-unproven free agent, my advice would be they go fuck a safety cone.

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        • FriarBobApril 15, 2013 at 6:10 pm

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          More than that, a trade can be literally written in that the contract MUST be renegotiated or the trade reverts. So if the Jests (or anybody) actually really wants him badly enough to trade for him — which is debatable, though I think if they are smart they should, heck I think WE should want him more than we do — then they can still protect themselves from the “one-year rental” scenario by just requiring that he sign a new contract.

          Of course, in theory that should up the price a bit…

          Quite frankly, as dumb as is seems to be, I think we’re going to be very lucky to get even a 4th for him right now before the draft. But in September when some team realizes their current RBs suck, we could actually get a 2nd or at least a 3rd for him… because that’s for NEXT year’s draft, instead of the one taking place in a few weeks.

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          • HimselfApril 15, 2013 at 7:00 pm

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            Good point. Another reason to tell the Jets to stuff it if they try to lowball us.

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  • FriarBobApril 25, 2013 at 10:12 pm

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    Well Vacarro was who I wanted. Now we just have to hope he’s a LOT better than the last safety we drafted in the first round.

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