Simon Clancy: BBC/Sports Illustrated


Simon Clancy opts for Sam Bradford to lead his franchise. Photo by MustangMarkF

Simon Clancy opts for Sam Bradford to lead his franchise. Photo by MustangMarkF

Twitter: @siclancy

Pick Summary

  • Round 1: QB Sam Bradford
  • Round 2: CB Darrelle Revis
  • Round 3: DE Greg Hardy
  • Round 4: TE Jason Witten
  • Round 5: S Reshad Jones
  • Round 6: WR Jordy Nelson
  • Round 7: C Mike Pouncey
  • Round 8: RB Arian Foster
  • Round 9: LB Bruce Carter
  • Round 10: DE John Abraham
  • Round 11: LB Lance Briggs
  • Round 12: WR Golden Tate
  • Round 13: CB Trumaine Johnson
  • Round 14: DT Barry Cofield
  • Round 15: G Clint Boling
  • Round 16: LB Daryl Smith
  • Round 17:
  • Round 18:
  • Round 19:
  • Round 20:
  • Round 21:
  • Round 22:

Pick Details

Round 1, Pick 24: Sam Bradford, Quarterback

It’s a tough ask picking 24th because there’s real conflict over value. From early on you’re aware that the elite passers in the game will have consumed half a playbook for their new teams before you’re in the clock. That leaves you with a conundrum; there are elite level players on the board at a myriad of positions, but the quarterback well is running dry. I pick again in seventeen selections time and whilst I wanted to hold my nerve, I just didn’t think it would be possible. Therefore it ultimately came to a decision that’s fairly easy to reconcile for a Miami Dolphin fan of a quarter of a century; if things aren’t good under center,things aren’t good.

I was always picking from one of the four main food groups; QB, LT, pass rushing DE, CB. For me, value at tailback and receiver can wait. So it came down to a straight choice of BPA at 24 and a significantly flawed passer at 41 or a quarterback with tremendous upside and the ability to become truly elite who’s become something of a forgotten man three years into his career at 24 and the possibility of an elite, All Pro type 17 picks later. Bradford and Joe Thomas or Darrelle Revis and Mark Sanchez.

OK, so I jest.

No-ones taking Mark Sanchez.

But at least you can feel my pain.

So it was Bradford, who frankly I thought would never be here.

What’s not to love about the 2008 Heisman Trophy winner? He’s a former number one overall pick that has battled remarkable mediocrity at the skill positions and on the offensive line. When Danny Amendola is your premier wingman, you know you have some issues. And yet here’s a kid with a dearth of talent at his disposal who STILL threw more touchdowns in 2012 than Matthew Stafford – the 14th overall pick in our draft – despite Stafford throwing to the 18th pick – Calvin Johnson. He may not have made something out of nothing, but he’s done the next best thing. How many of our elite signal callers have relied on such NFL luminaries as Daniel Fells, Austin Pettis, Michael Hoomanawanui, Greg Salas and Keith Toston to get it done?

What’s that I hear you say? None?

He’s also played behind some pretty woeful offensive lines. Even in 2012 they only managed to limp their way to the 13th best unit in football according to PFF. This is also a kid who’s had more offensive co-ordinators than he’s had legitimate playmakers and because the league has been flooded with sexy young hipsters like Luck, Wilson, Tannehill and RG3, he’s become yesterday’s man. Well here’s why yesterday’s man is actually tomorrow’s star; he’s STILL only 25 years old, he’s become a significantly more accomplished passer who works his progressions better, who uses terrific eye manipulation and whose footwork has vastly improved year on year. He has uncanny poise and an arm that a former All Pro corner says is the quality of Aaron Rodgers. He can make every throw in the book. In fact, given the chance he can become the book.

I leave you with this; last year the Rams had the second overall pick in the draft. It meant the opportunity to select either the 4th overall pick in our draft, Andrew Luck, or the 6th in RG3 by trading him away. Except the Rams stayed put. They realised that in Sam Bradford they have a passer who has been criminally under supported and for whom the sky is the limit. And mark my words, his supporting cast here at RSPWP2 will be significantly stronger than Fells, Toston and Hoomanawanui.

Ladies and gentlemen I give you Sam Bradford.

Darrelle Revis was the most popular pick in the first RSP Writers Project. Simon Clancy targets the most important ACL of the offseason. Photo by Marianne O'Leary.

Darrelle Revis was the most popular pick in the first RSP Writers Project. Simon Clancy targets the most important ACL of the offseason. Photo by Marianne O’Leary.

Round 2, Pick 41: Darrelle Revis, Cornerback

Some of the player reviews I do will be longer. They will contain more information, statistics, even an argument or two when my back’s against the wall.

This one? Not so much.

I took the best cornerback of a generation, in a passing league, with the 41st overall pick.

The 41st.

Let that sink in for a while.

Now let this sink in; Darrelle Revis has given up eight touchdowns.

In FIVE seasons.

He shadows the games best receiver on every snap from the boundary to the slot and back again. He has no equal. Not Richard Sherman, not Joe Haden, not anyone. In 2009 he had no equal in the history of the game at the cornerback position. He wasn’t far off that mark again in 2011. Yeah so he tore his ACL last season, but this isn’t ten years ago or even five years ago when it comes to knee surgery and rehabilitation. Adrian Peterson proved it a year ago. Marcus Lattimore proves it every single day. Antonio Cromartie is living proof that corners can regain the ability to twist, turn and click and close after an ACL injury and return to the top of the game.

Darrelle Revis is twenty seven years old. His injury was clean, there was no other damage and he is someway ahead of schedule in his recovery. Yet this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. He’ll line up in week one of the 2013 season against the Calvin Johnsons and the Demaryius Thomas’s of this world and he’ll go back to doing what he does best which is destroying game plans, shutting down one side of the field, with glove like coverage.

On his island.

Just like always.

A former study with injury issues at Ole Miss who dropped in the NFL Draft, the Panther has shown enough to catch the eye of Clancy on the other side of the pond. Photo by Parker Anderson.

A former study with injury issues at Ole Miss who dropped in the NFL Draft, the Panther has shown enough to catch the eye of Clancy on the other side of the pond. Photo by Parker Anderson.

Round 3, Pick 73: Greg Hardy, Defensive End

A few years ago, a colleague and I were watching tape of Greg Hardy, a defensive end we were both extremely high on out of Ole Miss.  What we were watching on a consistent basis during his career was a physical freak, a manchild at defensive end. A cat quick, aggressive playmaker with outstanding athletic ability at 6’4 and 281lbs. Problem was neither of us could work out a key factor; essentially, how much of a head case was he? Because there were plenty of stories circulating about some less than desirable off field habits. Then we flipped on some cellphone filmed tape of Hardy playing receiver in practice at Ole Miss. I know what you’re thinking: ‘big guy runs down field, drops ball, falls over, laughs’? Uh huh. Not even close. How about ‘big guy runs down field, cuts, goes up like Bill Russell, plucks it down with one hand, stands there like he does it week in and week out on Sundays’. A one off? Not even close. Up and down, up and down he runs routes and catches balls like he’s Jerry Rice. We’d already been sold. This was the clincher. We had no horse in the 2010 NFL Draft race but if we did, it’d be called Greg Hardy.

What does that have to do with the here and now? Nothing much beyond it’s a great story and underlines what an athlete he is, what a force. After the 2011 season, my learned friends at Pro Football Focus presented an article called: ‘Greg Hardy-Secret Superstar’. They argued that in his 904 snaps he showed “flashes of brilliance”, “a phenomenal display against the Vikings in Week 8” and that he was “primed to explode as a superstar defensive end, not only in his division, but league wide.” And that’s what happened in 2012, to the tune of 61 tackles, 11 sacks and two forced fumbles. It’s no secret anymore.

When you’re building a defense, it’s becoming a little more rare to find a complete player on the right side that can consistently make plays against left tackles. This was the first year Carolina really had him working exclusively right side, and he balled out. Highest pass rush efficiency from the right side of anyone not called Aldon Smith. Highest Pass Rush Production number from the right side in the entire NFL amongst defensive ends. He also balled out from a run stop standpoint. And yet he’s always gotten high marks in these areas with Carolina, he just hasn’t necessarily gotten tons of playing time.

And he’s twenty four years old!!

So he has the ability to be the front seven cornerstone for my team moving forwards. Especially with Darrelle Revis already patrolling the secondary, allowing Hardy to pin his ears back in my attacking 43 defense. What’s scariest about Hardy is that he has the ability, if push comes to shove, to play the Elephant position in a 3-4 giving me versatility like you never believed. Watch his game and watch that route running and tell me it isn’t so.

Simon Clancy is still counting on Witten to have some prime years left. Photo by Ladybugbkt.

Simon Clancy is still counting on Witten to have some prime years left. Photo by Ladybugbkt.

Round 4, Pick 117: Jason Witten, Tight End

Truth be known, I looked at my picks page and saw the write up under the photo of Jason Witten and my nose was somewhat put out of joint:

“Simon Clancy is still counting on Witten to have some prime years left”

What’s up for debate? Witten is walking into Canton at the first time of asking. An EIGHT time Pro Bowler, a SIX time All Pro, THREE times the NFL Tight end of the year, the NFL record holder for most catches in a game, the NFL record holder for most catches in a season, third most receiving yards by a TE in NFL history, third most receptions in a career by a TE in NFL history and he’s only THIRTY and likely to retire number one in both categories and out of sight. Two time Walter Payton man of the year, Witten is NEVER injured because he an iron man. Which is something else he’s won (2009 NFL Iron Man). In fact Witten has started 132 of 133 games in his career. Drafting him gives Sam Bradford a better receiver than he’s had in three seasons as a Ram.

My man has nothing to prove. He can block, he’s always open and he has great hands. He is an elite talent who looks like he’s getting better rather than worse, if that were possible.

What’s not to love about this?

Round 5, Pick 139: Reshad Jones, Safety

Round 6, Pick 184: Jordy Nelson, Wide Receiver

Round 7, Pick 201: Mike Pouncey, Center

Round 8, Pick 248: Arian Foster, Running Back

Round 9, Pick 265: Bruce Carter, Linebacker

Round 10, Pick 311: John Abraham Defensive End

Round 11, Pick 328: Lance Briggs, Linebacker

The RSP Writers project is brought to you by the 2013 Rookie Scouting Portfolio. Learn more about the 2013 RSP Writers Project and check out the completed 2012 RSP Writers Project where we built teams under a realistic salary cap. You can try it yourself.

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3 comments

  1. Are you a quarterback scout? I honestly don’t mean that as a snipe at you, I’m just asking what makes you think Bradford is good because in 3 years he’s never had a top 20 PFF season. I know he doesn’t have great receivers but the 13th best offensive line is above average and he’s just shown nothing statistically to suggest he’s good at football. For instance Jay Cutler (who’s still on the board) is still on the right side of 30 and he’s finished higher than Bradford according to PFF every year Bradford’s been in the league and before this year had a similarly barren supporting cast. Jake Locker is only 24 and finished above Bradford on PFF too and he’s pretty much a lock to be there in round 2. If you really believe Bradford has potential to evolve into a top 10 guy then its a good pick but I’d be interested in seeing some scouting breakdowns to support it.

  2. I’m not entirely sure what you mean by “quarterback scout”, suffice to say this isn’t my first trip to the rodeo.

    But just so you know where I’m coming from, here are a couple of articles on Cam Newton and Ryan Mallett respectively. Michael Lombardi so loved the Mallett piece that he couldn’t stop talking it up on radio and the NFL Network and so Chris, my co-author, went on to the show to talk with Paul Burmeister about it.

    http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports/columnists/hyde/blog/2011/02/draft_winds_a_thorough_breakdo.html

    http://weblogs.sun-sentinel.com/sports/columnists/hyde/blog/2011/03/draft_winds_lies_damn_lies_and_1.html

    As for what I think makes Bradford good……well, I thought I explained it fairly well up above. Suffice to say that he’s been in the league for three seasons and has been surrounded by mediocre talent at the WR and TE spots and on the OL the entire way. In his first season he was NFL Rookie of the Year on a team that was coming off a 1-15 campaign. His top receiver was the undrafted Danny Amendola. His number one TE was another street free agent, Daniel Fells. He had a rookie left tackle and his back up running backs were Kenneth Darby and Keith Toston.
    In 2011, he had an ankle injury that limited him all year and Amendola missed almost all of the season on IR. Saffold, Jason Smith, Danario Alexander, Greg Salas, Steven Jackson, Cadillac Williams, Jerious Norwood and Michael Hoomanawanui also missed some, much or all of the season with injury. And he was significantly better last year with rookie receivers, an underperforming tight and a middle of the road offensive line. He upped his completion percentage by a full six points, posted his career best touchdown percentage and dramatically bettered his touchdown to interception ratio. He also improved considerably with completions under pressure, on deep balls and in the 4th quarter, leading four 4Q comebacks, tying for second in the league. To put that into perspective, Tom Brady has never bettered that number and Aaron Rodgers has never had more than two in one year.
    As I said, he hasn’t made something out of nothing, but it’s about as close as you can get.

    As for comparisons with Cutler, Sam is younger and when you say a Cutler has had a ‘similarly barren supporting cast’ I can only assume you mean OTHER than Brandon Marshall (in both Denver and Chicago), Javon Walker, Rod Smith, Tony Scheffler, Brandon Stokely, Eddie Royal, Daniel Graham, Peyton Hillis, Matt Forte, Devin Hester, Greg Olsen, Earl Bennett, Johnnie Knox and Alshon Jeffrey and their combined 11 Pro Bowls, 8 All Pro awards and six Superbowl rings.

    I don’t think there’s any comparison whatsoever between Jake Locker and Sam Bradford. There’s nothing I see in Jake Locker’s game that makes me think he has the ability to become an elite quarterback. Les Snead and Jeff Fisher have the Rams positioned to make a big impact in the draft and if they can bolster the offensive line and add some quality to the wide receiver corps then Bradford, who retains an offensive co-ordinator for the second year running since being drafted, should flourish.

    In terms of value, given how much upside there is, he could be the best value selection in round one.

    • Thank you for responding, those two links you posted were good reads. Perhaps I wasn’t clear about cutler, I was referring to his time in Chicago before they got Marshall when it was Hester and Knox, neither of whom are close to as good as Amendola on offense. His offensive line was also bottom 5 in the league during this time, so I think the two players situations were similar.
      The reality is you can cherry pick stats all you want, but by any good performance based metric (PFF, Advanced NFL stats) Bradford wasn’t a top 20 QB last year. That said, if your view is “I’m very good at scouting quarterbacks and I’ve watched Bradford extensively and he’s much better than those stats show” then it could be a fine pick and you very well could be right.

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