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Old 28.03.2013, 12:34 PM
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Default A Few Questions About the Draft

I have always been a keen North American sports fan, but traditionally baseball more so than others. However, last season, I was transformed from an interested NFL onlooker to a full-on fan. I just fell in love with the sport, and the Seahawks!

Now, as a baseball fan, I have a decent understanding of drafts in US sports, but I gather that the NFL differs greatly. Whereas players are drafted in MLB and then sent to the minors to develop, sometimes for three or four years, this is not the case with NFL?

Obviously, I have noticed that guys like Russell Wilson and RGIII starred for their organisations in the same year they got drafted. How typical is this? Do teams use the draft as a recruitment tool for each season? Are players drafted with the intention of playing a crucial role for the club during that season, or is it a more long-term view? Will the players drafted next month be stars in the forthcoming NFL season?

I appreciate the patience of guys on this forum, and hope you can enlighten me on a rusty area of my NFL knowledge.

Thanks
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Old 28.03.2013, 03:05 PM
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It really depends on the player, the round and the team.

The default for a rookie non-QB is probably: play special teams, backup at your eventual position with some spot playing time (pass-rush specialists, rookie RBs get spot duty or 3rd down, receivers are the 4th WR etc). Moving up to starter within 3 years if they are good enough. A high pick may jump to starting right away (but may be subbed in certain spots), for both skill and cost reasons. Some high picks are picked on potential (freakish strength length and/or speed), and won't get much more playing time than the late picks for a while.

Throwing a rookie QB out has been done for years, but most teams like to sit a new QB for at least one year to learn their system and adapt. Modern college offenses are complicated enough, that learning a system is rarely the hurdle (adjusting to EVERYONE being good is). The flip side is that starting a a QB too early can ruin them (David Carr and Tim Couch), or stunt them (Alex Smith had 4 offensive coaches his first 4 years). Some of the worry about RGIII is that they were leaning the team on him before he had learned enough to protect himself (knowing WHEN to kill yourself for 3 extra yards, and when to get down before you get clobbered). It's also harder for rookies to lead (some QBs have it, a few can learn it, some just don't).
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Old 29.03.2013, 02:16 PM
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First round guys (i.e. the top 32 rookies) should be expecting to start from day 1, along with some of the better second round guys who go to teams with a drastic need in that position. Players in rounds 2-3 should develop into handy starters for their teams. Players in rounds 4-7 are generally fighting to win a spot on the final roster of 53.

But those rounds are obviously only a rough guideline. There are guys that went top ten (even #1) who turned out to be awful. There are guys drafted late (or even not at all) who are perennial pro bowlers. It's a bit like an educated crap-shoot.
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Old 29.03.2013, 03:32 PM
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Since you're a baseball fan think Strasburg. His brief stint in the minors was just to get his bearings before being moved up to the show. If Strassburg were a football player - he would have had fall camp to get his bearings and a few preseason games but been declared the starter on opening day. There's no minor league to coddle so 1st round NFL players are expected to come in and star immediately - it's why they get the big bucks.

2nd round - expected to play/contribute for starting job.

3rd round - expected to compete for some playing time...

4th round - expected to compete for a roster spot...

And so on.
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Old 02.04.2013, 12:56 PM
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This was a great help, and brought a lot of clarity to my understanding of the Draft.

I appreciate the comments, and look forward to watching the event with greater meaning later this month.

Thanks again.
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