Thursday, April 14, 2011

Memo to Billy Devaney: OYE! Let’s get up the board!


Did you happen to see Charley Casserley’s ranking of the major wide receivers from the past several drafts? The ultimate objective was to rank candidate A.J. Green versus some of the best we have seen in recent years. How did Green do on this list? Check it out:

  1. Andre Johnson (2003) Houston Texans
  2. Calvin Johnson (2007) Detroit Lions
  3. A.J. Green (2011) ???
  4. Dez Bryant (2010) Dallas Cowboys
  5. Larry Fitzgerald (2004) Arizona Cardinals
  6. Michael Crabtree (2009) San Francisco 49ers

Most experts will object to placing Dez Bryant ahead of Larry Fitzgerald. Charlie would defend himself by saying that this is a ranking of prospects as prospects when they came out of college. Even so, most will complain about that ranking. I would.

Some would complain about ranking A.J. Green ahead of Larry Fitzgerald. Would I? Maybe, maybe not. I can see his point here. I am inclined to go along with it.

A few great receivers were shorted here. Julio Jones and Brandon Marshall are the two guys I have in mind here. Naturally, Brandon is one of the most devastating receivers in the league, but he was famously drafted in the 4th round (119), so folks didn’t think much of him. The more fool they. I don’t like the fact that Julio was left off the list.

Warnings about Julio Jones

I’m not saying I buy into his line of reasoning, but guest member Tom Waddle expressed concerns about whether Julio Jones would be able to separate cleanly from veteran corners in the NFL. Quickness, not speed, is king says Waddle. He believes Julio’s big body is a big target for veteran corners to hit and jam.

My Points

I want to go through a quick list of briefing points for you:

  • A.J. Green ranks only behind the two most beastly receivers in the entire league.
  • The Cardinals have one of the guys on this list
  • The 49ers have one of the guys on the list
  • We don’t have anybody on this list.
  • We don’t have much of anybody at all
  • A.J. ranks higher on the chart than two guys our top competitors have in the NFC West.
  • We got the quarterback and they don’t.
  • They got the receivers and we don’t.
  • If we want a decisive competitive advantage on our opponents we need to put both halves of the equation together.

The Conclusion

I think the conclusion is brutally simple: We gotta get up that board and get A.J.. Would you scupper the rest of the draft to do so? Yep! You damn betcha I would. You would put all your eggs in one basket here? This one time, I would. You would mortgage the franchise to get this kid? Absolutely.

I would let every team in the top 5 know that if they are selling, I am buying. If any of the top 5 teams get cold feet, can’t pull the trigger and want to trade down, I would do the deal in a heart beat.

Understand that this kid’s worth is far greater than giving Sam a great target to throw to. His contribution will be larger than the passes he catches, the yards he racks up, and the touchdowns he scores. When you put a serious threat receiver in front of a deadly accurate passer, you create sleepless nights for enemy DCs.

When you make a DC go without sleep, he usually responds by double-teaming your receiver threat. They will scheme to take A.J. away. That is exactly the way we want it. By getting a receiver who commands a double team on every play, you will free Mark Clayton and Danny Amendola to run around free and move the chains.

We have to get serious about doing this deal.