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Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Mike Sherman's 'Targeting' in the Draft!

by Andy
for PackerChatters

I don't think the difference is between draft best available and draft for need. My concern with Sherman over the last few drafts is not that he drafts players at positions of need, but that he seems to target certain players who he absolutely "needs." Sometimes it leads to trading up, sometimes to picking players earlier than other team would.

Sometimes it works. He traded up for Walker, took Barnett a bit early, took Carroll a bit early, traded up for Williams. But I don't think he gives enough value to the picks he trades away.

He thinks of himself as a gambler, but he never gambles during the draft. He doesn't take any chances that players he "needs" will fall, and gives up valuable picks as a result.

I really hate to bring up the Sander pick again, because I don't think it was as horrible as everyone else, but I do think it is indicitative of the issue. (The Sander pick is just one example of this, not the biggest mistake of all time.) We needed a punter, but did the team really "need" Sander? If we missed out, would it have ruined the draft or the season? I don't think so. So why take him too early? And why trade up to do so?

Ozzie Newsome is considered -- I think rightly -- a very good drafter. The difference between Sherman's strategy and Newsome's is not best player available vrs drafting at positions where there is a need. The difference is that Newsome's mantra during the draft is "Don't take a player at a time that is higher than his value." That means even if you need a nose tackle and there may be only one left you like, don't take him too early. If you don't get him, fix the problem in free agency. Plus, he might not pan out anyway, so don't put all eggs in one basket. Make value picks in the draft, in positions you need. Sherman's motto appears to be "Target a few players you need and be sure you get them."

The fixation on players he "needs" may be the result of Sherman's belief that Bret has one or two years left, and we better get to the Super Bowl while we can. I hope he shifts his philosophy now that he has to build the post-Bret team.

I think Sherman has done a good job as a coach and a GM. I hope he keeps both roles. But I do hope he starts taking more risks during the draft.

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