|Long may he reign!|
All hail our fearless leader! May he live forever!
By acquiring a 51% stake in our fictional franchise (for the low, low price of $3.50), Boss Hogg has become our new leader, and representative at league meetings. He promises to bring the swagger back to our humble organization, and should prove to be the equal of other cartoonish individuals such as Dan Snyder and Jerry Jones. He has also made a pledge not to move the team to Los Angeles, though he keeps bringing up some place called Hazzard County, wherever the hell that is. While I'm sure there might be some criticism about having the team run by a deranged and fictional character, portrayed by a now deceased actor, I do think Al Davis might have set a precedent here.
In death, members of Team Kangaroo have a name...
Normally, our primary focus is on trying to find interesting young prospects in the NFL Draft, but there is another side to this coin that is perhaps almost as vital. Sometimes you need to know when to let go, and cut your losses. Far too often, teams hold onto players for far too long, hoping that the light will eventually come on, and a previously incompetent player will begin to shine. The longer that teams wait to cut ties with these disappointments, the fewer opportunities they have to discover if someone better might be out there. We prefer to use maggot therapy, to eat away the dead flesh as soon as possible, so that the healthy areas remain uninfected.
We will now cast off those poor bastards who failed to set our world on fire, so that we can make room for new and future disappointment who will take their place. While I've been meaning to do this for a while, I kept forgetting to make these decisions official. Managing a non-existent team, and keeping up with the endless paper work, can be quite a burden. Still, most of these cuts should have been rather obvious from the beginning. We'll start things off with some of the selections from the 2013 Ozzie Newsome Challenge.
It's pretty clear that there is no longer any reason to hold out hope for our 7th round pick of offensive tackle Wade Jacobson, so onto the trash heap he goes. Admittedly, we picked him despite never having seen him play. That's just the sort of responsible scouting we do around here. Nonetheless, his physical attributes are so shockingly unusual that the odds of him being completely incapable of landing a roster spot struck me as incredibly unlikely. With a 1.788 Kangaroo Score and a 1.407 Agility Score, he was an absolute freak. The failure rate for people with this sort of athleticism is really remarkably low. Despite that, nobody seemed interested in giving him much of an opportunity, and yet the incomparably incompetent Oneil Cousins continues to be employed. It's really quite confusing. Oh well.
Likewise, we will also be discarding our 4th round pick of wide receiver Ryan Swope. In this case, I have to admit that we had a bit of a brain-fart. I knew that Swope had a serious history of concussions, but I must have been blocking this out when we chose him. Regardless, he retired before his first season even began, so as to preserve the integrity of his precious brain. Personally, I think he could have just rubbed some dirt on it, but that's not really my decision.
We also probably have to do something about Da'Rick Rogers. The sensible part of me says it is time to move on. On the other hand, I see that he has now been picked up by the Chiefs, a team that is clearly in need of some receiving talent. Honestly, I think he could end up being the most talented receiver on their team, not that this will probably have much effect on his ability to get playing time. It's really an odd situation. His most likely less gifted former Tennessee teammates Justin Hunter and Cordarelle Patterson are still sort of limping along, producing relatively little. Da'Rick, in his limited opportunities, has arguably provided more reasons for optimism than either of them, but without the draft status these other two carry, nobody seems too invested in seeing how far he can go, or how many DUIs he can acquire.
I've always thought Da'Rick had a lot in common with Mike "Not the fat one" Williams, who seems to be going through a similar spell of struggles related to his...umm...issues. Of course, neither one of them appears to have entered the Josh Gordon Zone of truly exceptional stupidity. I'm not sure when the NFL's concern with character became such a priority, but I find this new trend highly disturbing. The league was built on highly athletic and productive players, who frequently tended to be morons! It's almost as if nobody has any respect for tradition anymore. For now, I think we'll let Da'Rick hang around a tiny bit longer, though we might revisit this question after the upcoming draft, if we need to make room for someone else.
Now, we're gradually going to transition from our 2013 draft class to our group from 2014. There is a bit of overlap here when it comes to bad luck. From the 2013 class, we have offensive guard Dave Quessenberry, who appeared to be doing quite well, before being diagnosed with cancer. For the time being, we're going to hold onto him, and cross our fingers. Our fictional team now has a fictional injured reserve, just for him. Then in 2014, we selected offensive tackle Garrett Scott, who was promptly diagnosed with a previously unknown heart ailment, which forced his immediate retirement. I almost have to wonder if we are causing these things to happen to people, merely by selecting them. The odds of having two such extreme medical issues come up seems rather slim. Either way, we clearly have to call it quits with Garrett Scott.
I suspect our problems with identifying health/injury risks are Reilly's fault. When your expected lifespan is only 12 years (and you're already 12 years old!), your attitude towards long term risks can become quite warped. The way things are going, we'll be the first team to draft a player with polio in over fifty years.
Plans for the future...
We're working on some new ideas that we want to explore for the upcoming draft. We're kicking around some ideas about minimizing risks when selecting quarterbacks. We're also giving some serious thought to how we view the statistical production of defensive linemen and linebackers. Unfortunately, the results of some of these thoughts might not be entirely ready in time for this year's upcoming draft.
For the most part, the bulk of these new efforts will really focus on defensive players who line up in the front seven. We're leaving defensive backs out, for the moment, because we still think their output is too heavily influenced by the individuals who are in front of them. So far, it seems to be providing some interesting possible explanations for why some players who had exceptional athletic ability, and superficially good statistical production, have failed to succeed to the level that the computer might have expected.
While we're excited about some of these possibilities, it involves rebuilding some of our database of players from past drafts, and this will take some time. We probably won't have this finished before the upcoming draft, though we'll test it out on a limited basis with some of the more interesting prospects. Honestly, I have very mixed feelings about some of the ways that we are trying to reevaluate college statistics. On the one hand, some of these efforts will probably push us in a more intelligent direction, and help to eliminate some potential errors. On the other hand, I've rather enjoyed approaching the draft with no real intelligent thoughts in my head. It's sort of been our raison d'etre, to see how far we can go, while making almost no effort. It really would be a shame to give that up.