How can NFL teams learn from the five Draft Day mistakes to avoid?


Alabama Crimson Tide running back Eddie Lacy (42) gets by Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker Manti Te’o.

I came across an interesting post by Tha Football Guru, a website that provides a simple list of five draft mistakes to avoid – mistakes that can be attributed to just about every team in the league, including the Green Bay Packers.

The list provided (by the site that claims, “If I don’t know nothing else … I know football”) is provided below.

Let’s take a look at this year’s draft and project a bit.

Combine hero: With this first “mistake” we look at this year’s combine hero – this is the player who is a superb athlete who doesn’t turn into football players when the pads and helmets go on.

This year’s potential mistake in this category? Tavon Austin. No question this guy has the speed, but his size brings durability into question, not only over a 16-game season, but over the course of a long career in the league. This guy is tiny – 5-9, 174 pounds. In my mind, he’s an injury waiting to happen. Will he be able to catch balls over the middle with linebackers and safeties waiting to take their shots? Questionable at best. My feeling is that Austin will be a great straight line threat on the outside and little else.

Nick Perry

Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Need: Even though he says he goes after the best athlete available, I feel Ted Thompson is as guilty as anyone. All we need to do is go back the past two years and the players drafted first by Thompson. Both players – Derek Sherrod and Nick Perry – were injured during their rookie seasons, so the jury is still out, but for Sherrod, it’s unclear if he’s going to be able and come back and be the player TT and Coach Mike McCarthy thought they had. He could be a bust. As for Perry, his injury is much less severe than was Sherrod’s broken leg, so he should be back ready to play in 2013.

Were these two players drafted for need or were they the best players on the board at the time? Only that can be answered by TT. In my mind, the Packers needed a left tackle to replace Chad Clifton who retired – thus the selection of Sherrod. Last year the Packers needed an outside linebacker to balance the side of the defensive line opposite Clay Matthews – thus the selection of Perry.

• Bad draft trades: Well, there have been plenty of these over the years, but today’s announcement that the New York Jets and Tampa Bay Buccaneers had consummated the trade for Derrelle Revis should give us a good idea on this “mistake.” Will the first round selection and two other draft picks given up by the Bucs be a good move? This could be a classic example of this particular category. Time will tell on this one.

Drafting history: This mistake category is somewhat puzzling. Here’s how it’s described –

"Some teams base their draft on their past draft history success. What I mean is just because they drafted a specific player at a specific position 20 years ago who turned out to be a star they believe the current player they draft will have the same success because they play the same position and can draft them in the same spot."

While this may actually take place in draft rooms, it’s difficult to quantify, so I’ll just leave it be and let the experts decipher this one.

Eddie Lacy

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Drafting a running back too high: Given that this has become a pass-happy league tinged by the evolution of the read-option, the drafting of a running back, especially one in the first round, has become circumspect.

While the position’s overall value probably doesn’t warrant a first round draft pick, clearly having running backs that can help balance a team’s offensive attack is important. But how high is too high? With the Packers for weeks linked to Eddie Lacy as a first round pick, it’s become more evident that the Packers won’t go that route. Couple that with the fact that TT has never drafted a running back in the first round and that brings that discussion to a quick end.

Our hope is that Thompson does draft a running back this year, but it won’t be until the second round at the earliest – and it most likely won’t be until the third or fourth round.

Will there be other teams that draft a running back in the second round? Yes. Will that be too high? We’ll see.

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