The cap and free agency make it more essential than it used to be for 1st round draft picks to make significant contributions early in their careers. The draft isn't exclusively about finding immediate contributors but teams that are so deep and well-established across the board that they have the luxury of simply selecting a first round player they like and ignoring immediate needs are rare and nobody stays in that position long.VikingLord wrote:Because, as we all know, the draft is about finding *immediate* contributors who will, in turn, step on the field and propel their teams to newfound heights solely by their presence on the field.
Some of these draft discussions remind me of that math question where someone is asked whether they want $100 straight-up, or to start with a penny and double it every day for 30 days. We all know the answer to that question (and if you don't, do the math).
The draft, especially at the top, is about finding talent and depth. It's not generally about finding a guy who can step into a spot and be better than anyone the team has at that spot right out of the gate. In fact, teams that are in the situation where they constantly rely on the draft to fill critical, immediate needs, have probably done a pretty crappy overall job of drafting, especially in the middle rounds.
Maybe... but how long will it take him to learn the position? Devin Hester has fantastic physical abilities and great instincts with the ball in his hands too. Like Patterson, he's a terrific returner (perhaps the best ever) but the Bears finally gave up on trying to turn him into more than an adequate WR after years of effort because his skills just never developed sufficiently. That may not happen with Patterson but just as immediate need shouldn't completely trump raw talent, the latter shouldn't automatically trump immediate need. As I've said before, swinging for the fences is fine but a batter who tries to hit a home run every time is probably going to have a high strikeout percentage. A smart team will weigh all of the variables, not just draft the most explosive player or the guy who looks best running a 40 yard dash. In the NFL, more than at any other level of football, skill counts.I've read the discussions about Patterson, and all I can say is that any team that passes on this guy is going to wish they had not. As Craig (losperros) pointed out, the guy was perhaps the best offensive player for the Vols despite his single year with them being his only year playing at that level in that conference. While he may be raw, I think he's also clearly demonstrated he can learn and he can have success against talented opponents. His physical abilities are off the charts, his instincts impressive, and while he might not be an instant impact WR, he will certainly make people forget about Harvin when it comes to returning kicks while he learns the WR position.
It's really not. He has route-running issues, catching issues, issues using his hands against coverage... Patterson is a player who could come in, have an immediate impact and be a superstar or he could struggle to live up to his athletic potential for years and be a serious disappointment. That's not a no-brainer. Kalil was a no-brainer because he had the skills and talent to excel and excel immediately. Consequently, he was a top 5 pick. If Patterson was the same kind of no-brainer that's where he'd be projected to go: the top 5. He's not and that's because there's considerable risk involved with drafting such a raw talent. He's a boom or bust player. Kalil wasn't...This is about as close to a no-brainer as Spielman will ever see short of taking Kalil last year should Patterson fall to #23.
Just to be clear, I'm not opposed to drafting him. He can be electrifying on the field and that kind of talent is always useful. I just think there's more risk involved than you're implying. The rewards could be high though...