General managers get excited about second-round picks.
“I love second rounders,” 49ers G.M. Scot McCloughan says.
Second-round picks have become the new first-round picks — the most coveted selections of all.
The teams sitting in the catbird seat for the draft aren’t the Lions, Rams and Chiefs, who pick first, second and third overall. In fact, no team wants to be sitting where those teams are. Those teams will be forced to pay players more than what's deserved, which will raise expectations for those players so high that they may be perceived as busts no matter what they do.
The teams sitting in the catbird seat are the teams with multiple second rounders — the Patriots, who have three, and the Browns, Dolphins and Giants, who have two apiece.
Second-round picks constitute the wisest investments. They are low risk gambles that can pay high end rewards.
“The talent level of players between the first and second round doesn’t fall off as much as the money for them does,” McCloughan said. “Historically, people have been more successful with seconds than ones in terms of money invested and what they are getting for it.”
Some general managers, meanwhile, are questioning if they have been putting too much stock in first-round picks. Bears general manager Jerry Angelo never blinked when he heard the asking price for quarterback Jay Cutler would include two first-round picks.
“I have rethought the value of first-round picks,” Angelo said. “I don’t want to say I am undervaluing them. But I’m not overvaluing them as well. You still want first-round picks, you love to have them. But I’m trying to be more realistic about them.”
This year, players in that pool include Tennessee defensive end Robert Ayers, Cincinnati defensive end Connor Barwin, Connecticut offensive tackle William Beatty, Rutgers wide receiver Kenny Britt, Arizona offensive tackle Ebon Britton, Connecticut running back Donald Brown, Connecticut cornerback Darius Butler, Western Michigan safety Louis Delmas, Florida wide receiver Percy Harvin, Ohio State linebacker James Laurinaitis, California center Alex Mack, North Carolina wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, Oklahoma State tight end Brandon Pettigrew, Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie and Oregon center Max Unger.
The problem with first-round picks is they are not the sure things they are supposed to be. “Close to 50 percent of the picks in the first round are busts, and of those who are not, about half of them become rank and file players,” Angelo said.
Even if first-round picks do pan out, it sometimes takes an uncomfortably long time before they start justifying where they were picked. One reason for this is a large percentage of first rounders are juniors, and many of them are not ready to play in the NFL. This year, as many as 17 underclassmen could be taken in the first round — more than half of the selections.
With the way coaches and schemes change so frequently, first-round picks often are obsolete by the time they figure out what they are doing. So even if a first-round pick has the talent to justify where he was picked does not mean he will be developed and utilized properly.
Of course, second-round picks can step on the same landmines that first-round picks can.
But if they do, it isn’t as big a deal.
PFT: Jets RB Mike Goodson was charged with five gun and drug counts Friday morning, after New Jersey State Police found the car he was riding in parked in the middle of Route 80 in Denville, N.J.
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