The Electric Commentary

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Punting in the 3rd round.

Dan's comment in the previous post reminded me that I had not written anything analytical about football in quite some time. And, of course, I love punting. But even I, lover of all things related to punting, could not support the selection of BJ Sander, punter from the Ohio State University, by the Green Bay Packers, in the 3rd round. There are many, many reasons that this was a stupid idea. It looks even worse now that Sander wasn't even able to win the job, but it was stupid even at the time.

1. Even if he turns out to be the greatest punter in history, the Packers could have selected him with a lower pick. I have heard Mike Sherman, and many pundits justify the pick by stating that the Packers needed a punter. That is all well and good, but just because I need a haircut does not mean that I should give up going to a Packer game to get that haircut. The barber will still be there tomorrow, just as Sander would have been there in the 4th, 5th, and 6th rounds, and likely could have been signed as an undrafted free agent.

Just because you need something does not mean that you should needlessly overpay for it.

2. BJ is the "holder of a B.S. degree in turf grass science from Ohio State." Now that, my friends, is a BS degree.

3. Three picks after Sander was selected (87th overall), the Falcons took QB Matt Schaub (90th overall), who had a stellar preseason and has garnered rave reviews around the league. For a team that wasted time and money on Tim Couch and is still searching for the eventual Favre replacement. He could have been a valuable addition. Who knows what other gems were passed on to acquire a bad punter.

4. BJ did not kick off well. For a team with Ryan Longwell, an accurate but weak-legged place kicker, it was important to find a punter who could also kick off. Yet in every preseason game that I saw, Longwell was still the kick-off man. Opponents starting field position is an enormously important stat. The decision to not improve on Longwell will be costly. Don't believe me? The Outsiders, as always, have number to back me up.

Sander has been an unqualified disaster, not only failing to earn the starting job, but also costing the team a pick that could have gone into getting a pass rusher, another defensive back, or perhaps the QB of the future.

Even the Badgers managed to find a good punter. And he even kicks a mean "coffin corner."

Packer drafts of the Mike Sherman era can be optimistically described as "interesting." The Coach/GM combo has rarely worked in the NFL and it appears to be failing again. Sherman needs to give up his general manager position and focus on coaching, lest my team end up drafting a waterboy in the second round next year.

(Note: For a detailed analysis on why the coffin corner is nonexistent in the NFL, read this highly technical analysis by William Krasker.

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