From the Coach’s Office: 2017 pre-NFL Draft notes

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NFL DraftFirst you make a roux.

Successful people and organizations review their principles before making any major decision.  They try not to leave those choices to feelings or whims but solid facts.  Here are some principles that the New Orleans Saints would do well to consider:

The main theme:  Accumulate & Don’t Overspend

  1. Need is a poor evaluator

Let other clubs needs help you get the player you want

Don’t pick someone higher because of your need

  1. Don’t fall in love with a player

Don’t pick someone higher than their ability because you love them

  1. Don’t rationalize

Don’t let a position of need trump facts; use common sense

You need to be Joe Friday from Dragnet:  The facts and nothing but the facts

  1. Let your Draft Board talk to you

Trust your research

Rank the prospects from top to bottom

Pick the best player available

If you go against your Board it means your research and pre-draft preparation is faulty

It is important that you draft a player in the right place – that you get the proper value for the pick

Round-by-Round Criteria:

1st round must be an impact player

2nd & 3rd round must contribute

4th & 5th has some short-coming but needs to regularly contribute by the second year

6th & 7th can be a project

You will ultimately judge a draft class by the number of players that make it to their second contract.  Two is average, three above average and four is a great draft class.

FYI:  There are actually eight rounds in the draft and not seven. 

This is due to the additional 32 selections that are added to the seven rounds to compensate teams for free agent loses.  Here is the raw draft selection data:

“Real” Draft Rounds & Selections









In fact, it is better to look at the overall selection as opposed to the round that pick is in.  That is except for the first round where you get a fifth year option on the player.  Rounds three through seven are skewed due to the addition to compensatory picks.

Potential Trades

Let me state an additional principle of trades with Bill Belichick or “The Hoodie.”  Take the trade terms and state them in reverse.  Would The Hoodie still take the deal?  If the answer is “No!” politely excuse yourself and walk away.

In fact that is a good tactic if NE even calls you to consider a trade.  Politely excuse yourself and hang up the phone.

Brandin Cooks and Malcolm Butler (maybe?) Trades

If the Saints trade pick #32 to the Patriots for Malcolm Butler and you include it in concert with the Brandin Cooks deal, the final tale-of-the-tape would look like this:

NO:  Butler and pick #103

NE:  Cooks and pick #118

New Orleans would have picked up 15 spots (BTW, both are actually 4th round selections in raw numbers) in the deal, lost a fifth year option on Cooks and gained a veteran market contract for a rookie deal with a fifth year option.

Malcolm ButlerLosing the fifth year option is huge.  There is a world of difference between pick #32 and #33 because of the fifth year option.

In this case, New Orleans would be a spender and not an accumulator.

As the great former NFL front office executive Bill Polian said, “Why give up a first round pick for a guy who is approaching free agency?”

Ask yourself, would the Hoodie do this deal in reverse?

The only way I would take Butler is with pick 42 and getting the Pats actual fifth round choice next year since they do not have one this year.

A Draft Board Is Not A Mock Draft

A team’s Draft Board is a ranking of players from top to bottom.  It only takes into consideration the skill of the player without regard to what team may or may not select them.  It puts into practical application the “best player available” paradigm.

This is not easy to do.  It is difficult to compare a defensive back to an offensive tackle, for instance.  This is what makes Jeff Ireland so important in the process.  He has demonstrated skill in evaluating players.  His skill this year will again be tested.

A Mock Draft is pairing a player with a team according to who they may select.  There are way too many of these, but there must be a market for them.  A team will have several rehearsals of these before the draft to prepare themselves for any possibility that may occur before they happen.

You want to be prepared with answers before the questions are presented.

Who Will Fall To The Saints?

With New Orleans picking at number 11, someone in the Top 10 will fall to them unexpectedly when someone violates my initial principles and reaches for a selection.

The same thing will happen at 32.  You will have the opportunity to select someone you had no idea would be available.

That is why you accumulate picks to take advantage of other teams making mistakes by reaching for need.

For example, someone is going to take a quarterback in the top 10 as well as someone like Christian McCaffrey or Derrick Barnett from Tennessee.  That brings an extraordinary player into the reach of the Saints.

In fact, every time someone chooses a QB in the first round a better player moves down to the Saints.  The highest rated quarterbacks are actually second round grades.  However, the position dictates that they be drafted higher than their grade.

There are just not enough quarterbacks on the planet to fill the need.  That is why we really need to appreciate Drew Brees and also Chase Daniel.  The re-acquisition of Daniel keeps New Orleans from having to draft a developmental signal-caller in this draft.

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Rick Gaille

Rick Gaille

sportsNOLA/WHNO/WGSO Analyst

Rick Gaille has been involved in athletics his entire life, first in the arena as a competitor, later on the sidelines as a coach and now analyzing sports for and WGSO-990AM. As a competitor in golf, Rick was LSUNO’s first athlete, first 1st team All-American (1970) and first three-time All-American (1970, 1971 and 1972). During those years, (LS)UNO won two Division II National Championship in ’71 and ’72 where he captained the 1972 team. As an individual competitor, Rick won the City High School Golf Championship in 1967, the Louisiana Open Golf Tournament in 1971 and the New Orleans…

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