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    NFL Redraft (12/13/13)

    Paul Bessire, General Manager
    By Paul Bessire
    What started as a debate over lunch between two analytically driven football fans, turned into this thorough project with a very simple premise... and, yes, it will likely lead to far more debate and future iterations of this premise.

    If you could draft anyone to build an NFL team for 2014 and beyond, who would you want?

    The question is simple and the answers are likely limited to a handful of relatively young quarterbacks currently in the NFL, but that's for the first pick. What about building an entire team? After meeting and talking with Chris Dole, who brought much of this conversation to the table (literally), an analytically minded, big picture thinking employee for big data company, Neumeric, we set out to start to answer some of those questions. What follows is an account of the process of strategizing and drafting six complete rosters all from individuals who appreciate digging deeper into the game and who are comfortable thinking about things outside the box of conventional wisdom. 

    Before we get into the meat of the project and analysis, let's discuss what we did. Six people whose opinions I trust on football, including two full time PredictionMachine.com employees - John Ewing and me, Paul Bessire - our NFL Draft guru Matt Richner, PredictionMachine.com product and testing adviser Seth Shankle, and two employees from the aforementioned, Ohio-based, big data company Neumeric, Dole and James McNally, took turns drafting 47 players from a pool that could literally include anyone on Earth for rosters in an NFL with six teams that would start play in 2014 (age and health do matter, but players are not eligible to play until they would be eligible in the current league). The draft took place in a snake fashion after a random drawing of the order. In other words, Chris had the first overall pick, but Seth had the last pick in Round 1 and the first pick in Round 2. 

    We ultimately chose 47 rounds, instead of 45 or 46, since the emergency quarterback no longer limits active rosters to 45 on game day and because a couple of guys forgot to draft kickers and punters (there is something to be learned from that fact alone, but I am one who believes in the value of such specialists). Six seemed like the right number of teams to keep the draft moving along and to keep the teams and players selected interesting (eventually, we expect to do this with 32 people in the offseason - volunteer in the comments below if you are interested).

    We intend to take these 47 man rosters and the depth charts that they include to simulate (both with PredictionMachine.com and, for fun, on Madden 25) the next ten years of such a league. While that endeavor will take place in the offseason, there is such a wealth of content here now that we wanted to share results and commentary as soon as possible. I asked everyone to weigh in on their rosters below. This was a fun, interesting and pretty thorough exercise. We would love to read your feedback in the (newly-added) comments section below. 

    With the first overall pick in the 2013 NFL redraft, Chris Dole selects...
    Round Chris James John Matt Paul Seth
    1 Andrew Luck Calvin Johnson Aaron Rodgers Russell Wilson J.J. Watt Luke Kuechly
    2 Richard Sherman Patrick Willis Russell Okung Joe Thomas Von Miller Geno Atkins
    3 A.J. Green Aldon Smith Ndamukong Suh Jimmy Graham Darrelle Revis Duane Brown
    4 Rob Gronkowski Justin Smith Muhammad Wilkerson Robert Quinn Peyton Manning Dez Bryant
    5 Joe Haden Patrick Peterson NaVorro Bowman David DeCastro Lavonte David Jadeveon Clowney
    6 Justin Houston Adrian Peterson Casey Hayward Star Lotulelei Earl Thomas Jason Pierre-Paul
    7 Sean Lee Drew Brees Corey Liuget Aqib Talib Gerald McCoy Jamaal Charles
    8 Dontari Poe Mario Williams Bobby Wagner Tamba Hali Daryl Washington Alec Ogletree
    9 Ryan Kerrigan Bernard Pollard Nate Solder Marcell Dareus Eric Berry Brandon Flowers
    10 Joe Staley Haloti Ngata Mike Iupati Kam Chancellor Alterraun Verner T.J. Ward
    11 Tyron Smith Julio Jones Sheldon Richardson Clay Matthews Trent Williams Ryan Clady
    12 Devin McCourty Brandon Browner Alex Boone Eric Reid Anthony Barr Nick Fairley
    13 Brian Orakpo Mike Pouncey Dont'a Hightower Evan Mathis LeSean McCoy Marshal Yanda
    14 Alfred Morris Calais Campbell Chris Harris Jr D.J. Fluker Demaryius Thomas Josh Sitton
    15 Alex Mack Jake Long Max Unger Cameron Jordan Matt Kalil Jerod Mayo
    16 Phil Taylor Reshad Jones Jairus Byrd Janoris Jenkins Jurrell Casey Jason McCourty
    17 Louis Vasquez Jordan Cameron Chris Clemons Brandon Spikes Cam Newton Josh Gordon
    18 Chance Warmack Justin Pugh Randall Cobb Jordy Nelson Jordan Reed Jameis Winston
    19 Kenny Vaccaro Andy Levitre Brandon Marshall Larry Fitzgerald Cordy Glenn Alshon Jeffrey
    20 Victor Cruz Ray Rice Wes Welker Kiko Alonso Jabaal Sheard Matthew Stafford
    21 Dee Milliner Percy Harvin Marshawn Lynch Travis Frederick Larry Warford Travis Swanson
    22 Carlos Dunlap Carl Nicks Giovani Bernard Andre Ellington Antonio Brown Lardarius Webb
    23 Torrey Smith Desmond Bryant Ray McDonald Walter Thurmond III Sammy Watkins Eddie Lacy
    24 Jared Veldheer Anthony Davis Khalil Mack C.J. Mosley Louis Nix III Jake Matthews
    25 Doug Martin Paul Posluszny Henry Melton Austin Seferian-Jenkins Trey Millard Morgan Burnett
    26 Tyler Eifert Kareem Jackson Cyrus Kouandjio Aaron Murray De'Anthony Thomas Eric Ebron
    27 Ezekiel Ansah Justin Tuggle Charles Johnson (CAR) Gabe Jackson Greg Zuerlein Vontaze Burfict
    28 Brian Cushing DeSean Jackson David Yankey Todd Gurley Robert Nkemdiche Eric Weddle
    29 Vernon Davis Bruce Miller Ra'Shede Hageman Ha Ha Clinton-Dix Louchiez Purifoy Tavon Austin
    30 Tyrann Mathieu C.J. Fiedorowicz Sean Weatherspoon Daquan Jones Hroniss Grasu Fletcher Cox
    31 T.Y. Hilton Will Sutton Ifo Ekpre-Olomu Mike Evans Harrison Smith Danell Ellerbee
    32 Robert Griffin III Teddy Bridgewater Johnathan Joseph Chris Borland Golden Tate Chandler Jones
    33 Kevin Zeitler Kyle Rudolph Justin Blackmon James Hurst Julius Thomas Cyril Richardson
    34 Ben Grubbs Jahri Evans Rueben Randle Jonathan Cooper Lache Seastrunk Dwayne Allen
    35 Eric Fisher Jon Asamoah Shane Vereen Jason Verrett Jason Kelce Linval Joseph
    36 Barkevious Mingo Nick Foles Jason Witten B.J. Raji Stephen Tulloch Shariff Floyd
    37 Cordarrelle Patterson Trent Richardson Colin Kaepernick Jared Abbrederis Junior Gallette Danny Trevathan
    38 Darqueze Dennard Tyler Larsen Greg Olsen Bradley Roby Kyle Van Noy Johnny Manziel
    39 Melvin Gordon Allen Robinson Wesley Woodyard Carlos Hyde Anthony Castonzo Ben Tate
    40 Vontae Davis William Beatty Donte Whitner Terrance Williams Johnny Hekker Ryan Shazier
    41 Stephon Tuitt Branden Albert Darrel Young Nick Mangold Vernon Hargreaves III Jordan Matthews
    42 Christian Jones Adrian Hubbard Jared Cook Ed Reynolds Myles Jack DeMarco Murray
    43 Maurkice Pouncey Kyle Fuller Derrick Johnson Graham Gano Andrus Peat Stephon Gilmore
    44 Damon Harrison Dion Bailey Lawrence Timmons Jon Ryan Brent Grimes Martellus Bennett
    45 Christian Hackenberg Justin Gilbert Sebastian Janikowski Delanie Walker Marcus Mariota Michael Koenen
    46 Dan Bailey Justin Tucker Pat McAfee Brett Hundley Andre Johnson LeBron James
    47 Thomas Morstead Bryan Anger Usain Bolt Chris Jones (Miss St.) Glenn Gronkowski Antonio Cromartie

    Draft Recaps (written by each respective participant - and do not necessarily reflect the views of PredictionMachine.com):

    Chris Dole

    Who are you and why were you interested in this: I am responsible for Business Development for Neumeric Technologies, a Multi-National Data Science and Software Engineering Company. I have purchased every Madden for the last ~10 years. Since the Fantasy Draft became a part of it, I find myself spending more time researching and drafting players than actually playing the game.

    What was your general drafting strategy:  On offense, I was looking for high-percentage plays to TEs and power football (above average number of two TE sets, although I am not a big fan of the FB position). On defense, I was looking for shutdown corners and blitzers from every angle.

    Which of your picks is your favorite: Andrew Luck – QB is the most important position in sports, and I was able to draft the best young one. He does more with less than any other QB. He is very mobile, but has the size to stave off serious injury.

    What is your most regrettable move: Forgetting to draft a FB, although I would rather have Tyler Eifert on the field than any FB in the league.

    Who had the biggest draft steal (besides you): James – Nick Foles in Round 36 looks like it could be the steal of the century.

    Who had the biggest reach: James – Justin Smith in Round 4 was a huge reach, since he is already 34 years old.

    Other feedback/comments on this exercise: With my offense:
    • Andrew Luck has the most potential of any young QB, and has done the most with the least. I drafted him first because I expect him to be the best QB in the league within the next four years.
    • Since I run a very Patriots-like offense, drafting stud TEs was a priority. I ended up with two of the three best in the league in Rob Gronkowski and Vernon Davis.
    • Because I run a Deep-Threat WR/2-TE set as the foundation of most of my plays, I also needed a top receiver, so I drafted A.J. Green, who should be the top receiver in the league within the next 2-3 years. T.Y. Hilton should quickly rise through the ranks and also become one of the top receivers in the league.
    • I have two of the three best young RBs and arguably the best college RB prospect.
    • My O-Line consists of nothing but monsters. They are all among the best at their position, and all of my backups project to be top players at their position within the next couple of years – I ended up with the best LG, RG, and T from last year’s draft.
    And with my Defense:
    • My goal was to get two shutdown corners very quick, hence the use of two of my first five picks. I have two of the four best CBs in Richard Sherman and Joe Haden and I have extremely talented young depth.
    • The entire draft, I considered front seven players who could play in either a 3-4 or a 4-3, although 4-3 will be more prevalent, due to the depth of my OLB/DE corps.
    • Dontari Poe & Phil Taylor can clog the middle in either scheme, and Stephon Tuitt projects to be a beast.
    • My LB corps has excellent depth.
    • All of the OLBs are big and athletic and have the ability to play each OLB position in either a 3-4 or 4-3 and can play a DE in a 4-3.
    • All of my MLBs are good in both run stopping and coverage, and both rank among the top seven MLBs in the league.
    • Devin McCourty is the best man coverage safety in the league, and he is also excellent at zone coverage. Tyrann Mathieu and Kenny Vaccaro are the best safeties from last year’s draft class.
    James McNally

    Who are you and why were you interested in this: I am responsible for Business Development for Neumeric Technologies, a Multi-National Data Science and Software Engineering Company. I am a big sports fan who was blessed/cursed to be born and raised near Philadelphia.  

    What was your general drafting strategy:  I am not a huge college fan and don’t know the players as well, so I focused mainly on trying to get top-tier current players. My goal was to get a solid defense with premiere offensive threats, which I think I accomplished.  I am not excited about the look of my team 10 years from now.

    Which of your picks is your favorite: If the magic that is Nick Foles continues, thenI think that was a steal. To be safe, I’ll say Calvin Johnson as Nick might get a case of Eagle-itis.

    What is your most regrettable move: Picking too old is going to really hurt me in the future seasons.  Justin Smith was a mistake that early, CJ Fiedorowicz was a mistake also, should have been paying more attention.

    Who had the biggest draft steal (besides you): Without a doubt, John with Usain Bolt – who’s faster than Usain Bolt?

    Who had the biggest reach: LeBron James (Seth) was the worst decision since the decision.

    Other feedback/comments on this exercise: I thought the process was great.  I would have liked to spend more time researching the picks, a lot of them were made while other things were going on, and since my college knowledge isn’t very deep I think that hurt me.  

    John Ewing

    Who are you and why were you interested in this: My boss made me participate (Editor's Note: John is Director of Research and Analytics - I am his boss and he didn't have to do this)… Mock drafts/fantasy football are awesome. I can pretty much be talked into participating in any fantasy related endeavor. I’m in a Real World The Challenge league. 

    What was your general drafting strategy:  After taking Rodgers with my first pick, I wanted to build from the lines out but with a heavy focus on the defense.  I didn’t take an offensive skill position until the 18th round.

    Which of your picks is your favorite: Shane Vereen in the 34th round. He is a monster receiving the ball out of the backfield, paired with Marshawn Lynch/Giovani Bernard and my team has a pretty solid group of runners.

    What is your most regrettable move: Getting caught up in drafting rookies. I didn’t take as many as some other teams but given how much talent was available that had proven itself at the NFL level it seems a little silly to draft any collegiate players. 

    Who had the biggest draft steal (besides you): Seth got Vontaze Burfict in the 27th round, I took Khalil Mack three rounds earlier, I’m an idiot!

    Who had the biggest reach: James, when he took Calvin Johnson with the 2nd overall pick. I love Megatron but you can’t pass on Aaron Rodgers or another top flight QB. 

    Matt Richner

    Who are you and why were you interested in this: I’m an NFL Draft writer for predicitionmachine.com. I first heard about this draft from Paul asking if I would be interested in participating in a full NFL team format draft of 47 roster spots. I didn’t really finish reading the rest of the email before I quickly responded with a reply that I would love to be part of this experiment. I have had numerous conversations with scouts, coaches and NFL general managers about position groups and players that should be taken to build an NFL roster. I was excited to see just what strategy or philosophy other people would take in building their roster.

    What was your general drafting strategy:  For my first pick I either wanted Aaron Rodgers, Russell Wilson or J.J. Watt. Once Rodgers was taken, I knew that Wilson was the last young, established quarterback in the league that I wanted. His mobility, and accuracy along with hisage helps establish my offense identity for years to come. I focused a lot of attention on youth along the offensive line. I wanted players who have shown the physical prowess to be run maulers and man-handle their opponents. Players like David DeCastro, D.J. Fluker, Travis Frederick, Gabe Jackson, and Joe Thomas provide a mammoth offensive line that will surely open up holes and protect the quarterback. On the outside I wanted taller wide receivers and tight ends. An offense of two or three tight end formations is going to be a matchup nightmare for any opponent. 

    On defense, I wanted to build a roster that could stop opponent’s ability to run the football. The selection of Star Lotulelei, Marcell Dareus, Cameron Jordan, Brandon Spikes, and Kiko Alonso give me the flexibility and strength to go from sideline to sideline and hold the point of attack at the line of scrimmage. On the back end I wanted some size at the defensive back position. The selection of Aqib Talib and Kam Chancellor will help solidify the secondary f the defense.

    My roster isn’t built to win this year or next year, while it would be nice, the plan is to build a roster of youth that can grow with one another. I wanted a roster where players could develop into specific roles and responsibilities in the first couple of years and over time slowly take on more of a leadership role. I wanted to create a team that is built for a “title” run for the next 3-7 years. The back end of my roster is filled with college players who have shown potential but give them a few years to into top tier NFL talent. 

    Which of your picks is your favorite: On offense I like Mike Evans in the later rounds. He is a big, physical wide receiver who should develop into an elite wide receiver in the NFL. Combining his athletic ability along with fellow tight ends Jimmy Graham and Austin Seferian-Jenkins helps lay the foundation for an unstoppable offense. On defense I really like the selection of Cameron Jordan. He can play the DE position in the 3-4, on passing downs or sub-packages and he can slide inside allowing my team to bring in another pass rusher on the outside. He is a versatile player who you can line up almost anywhere along the defensive line and be productive.

    What is your most regrettable move: The selection of Tamba Hali in the 8th round. While he is great pass rusher and can be productive for the next few years he is still 30 years old. I should have gone with a younger safety or defensive back who can contribute for a longer period of time than Hali.

    Who had the biggest draft steal (besides you): Each person in the draft had a player or two that I wished I had taken. In no particular order I liked Chris’s selection of T.Y. Hilton (31st round), Melvin Gordon (39th Round) and Christian Hackenberg (45th round). Hackenberg is going to be next Tom Brady, he has his quarterback of the future for 10 or more years. James did well selecting offensive linemen later in the draft with Mike Pouncey (13th round), Justin Pugh (18th round) and Jon Asamoah (35th round). John had the best three picks in a row for anyone in the entire draft process with the selection of Ndamukong Suh, Muhammad Wilkerson, and NaVorro Bowman. All three players are young, talented and will be at the top of their position group for the next five to eight seasons. Paul had a great draft in adding speed and playmakers to his offense in the later rounds. De’Anthony Thomas, and Lache Seastrunk can be used on offense and special teams. With their speed similar to a Tavon Austin they should be offensive weapons for a long time. Last but not least Seth’s selection of Luke Kuechly will bring instant credibility and a leadership to his whole defense. I was hoping to get him in the early part of the draft.

    Who had the biggest reach: James’s selection of Justin Smith, and Bernard Pollard. Both players are older and on the downside of their careers. I don’t think either of them would have been selected till the later rounds.

    Other feedback/comments on this exercise: I would do this again in a heartbeat. I would either like to keep the same roster but make a limited number of adjustments (cuts, and additions). If there were to be any additional members and a draft redo I would like to add in a salary cap. This way we could build a “true” team and make us make decisions on how we allocate our resources to specific players and position groups. Overall, this whole exercise challenges one’s ability to create a game plan, and stick to it. So often I found myself wanting to go away from my plan, and start choosing picks on emotions. 

    Seth Shankle

    Who are you and why were you interested in this: I was interested in this because I love sports, numbers, football, and am a nerd. Paul and I have been friends for a while and share similar beliefs on player and team evaluations. As a core user of the product, I help Paul and his team with testing and feedback on new products.

    What was your general drafting strategy:  Guys to fit my offensive and defensive strategies outlined above. Going in, I figured I would start off with defense or offensive line unless Aaron Rodgers was there (I would have taken him first overall). When he was gone and four of the first five picks were offense I decided to go defense. I was deciding between Watt and Kuechly and then Watt went right before me. I thought about Von Miller here (who went right after) and he does play in a 4-3, but I wanted to keep with building up the middle on defense and went with my top, young DT. My main strategy early was to take young players already in the NFL. I didn’t want to reach on any college kids yet. Then Clowney was there and I couldn’t pass him up. Same thing happened with Winston in round 18. Which, by the way, happened about 20 minutes before ESPN first reported he was being investigated for a possible felony. On the whole, I mostly did “best available” in terms of filling a position. This led to me missing out on some guys I wanted, but then I generally would take two guys at that position in close proximity to reinforce that position.

    Which of your picks is your favorite: For the offense I had in mind and with the players I had already drafted, I was very happy to get Matthew Stafford in round 20. He’s still young (25), already run and offense similar to the one I envisioned, and has experience throwing to big WRs which I drafted before him. I was also happy with Eric Weddle where I got him. I know he is an “old” 28, but I think he has 3-5 more solid years in him.

    What is your most regrettable move: In hindsight, I think I took Alec Ogletree a bit early. His career has started well, but I think there were better values after him.

    Who had the biggest draft steal (besides you): Here’s one for everyone else. Chris – Alex Mack in round 15 (I hoped to take him when it got to me), James – Teddy Bridgewater in round 32, John – Nate Solder in round 9, Matt – Kiko Alonso in round 20, and Paul – LeSean McCoy in round 13. McCoy probably my favorite based on where other RBs went before and after him.

    Who had the biggest reach: Matt with Russell Wilson fourth overall. I just don’t see him having that successful of a career. For this exercise I had him seventh on my QB chart.

    Other feedback/comments on this exercise: I am glad I got to partake in this. It was very interesting to see where mostly similarly-minded people valued players. I would love to do an expanded one any time.

    Paul Bessire

    Who are you and why were you interested in this: I am General Manager and Co-Founder of PredictionMachine.com (the site you are reading). I was interested in this for the same reason that I am interested in my job, specifically the process of leveraging information (and technology) to eschew conventional wisdom and really understand how good, in this case, players truly are. Plus, and this goes hand-in-hand with the premise of our site, I love to compete and use my knowledge and thought process to gain an edge. 

    What was your general drafting strategy:  In an annual draft, I am a huge proponent of taking the best player available. While that works for about two rounds in a draft like this, it is tough to sustain that mantra when building a roster. Instead, I tried to anticipate value and exploit it with a plan built around getting the best players at their positions, who check all appropriate athletic AND productivity boxes, who bring specialization to the roster and that, overall, give me about a 3:1 mix of younger to older players.

    In the early rounds, given that I was unable to take one of the clear QB choices (Rodgers, Wilson or Luck), I really focused on building the best defense that I possibly could right now. Anticipating that some would draft closer to a fantasy football draft than an experience in building the best overall team, I waited until the later rounds to fill in my skill position players (and even my quarterback). Though I did not want to force any formation on defense, the final roster fits in line with my general preference that includes pass rushers from every position (I would rarely send more than four because my pass rush would be so ridiculous) in the front seven, shutdown, man-to-man corners and play-making young safeties. Though a 3-4 is the clear base defense of this team, I don't have a true nose tackle. I prefer my players to play in space more than to simply take on blockers. I'd much rather have 305 lbs Jurrell Casey in the middle than a 350 lbs player that can't move. 

    Once I started to make the transition from drafting elite defensive players to looking for skill positions, versatility was important to me. I love how teams like the Packers and Texans have built rosters loaded with tight ends and h-backs to aid with versatility on offense (slot, in-line, run-blocking, coming out of the backfield - my TE/FBs will do it all well) and with special teams. Guys like Jordan Reed, Julius Thomas and Trey Millard all have immediate roles on the roster, while home run threats Lache Seastrunk, De'Anthony Thomas, Golden Tate and Sammy Watkins are young, fast players that will be weapons in many different capacities for years to come. Of course, having the greatest quarterback in the history of the NFL fall to me in the fourth round allowed me to be flexible with basically one core group of players that should win the Super Bowl in the first two seasons and mostly separate a group of players to hit their primes in about three years. 

    And, lastly, with it clear that everyone else was going to wait on punters and kickers, I wanted the best. There is value in having the best any position, especially for years to come (part of this strategy was founded on my trust that I could out-draft most others in the last few rounds as well). St. Louis has the best kicker and punter, especially when accounting for age, so they made the squad. 

    Which of your picks is your favorite: Adding Anthony Barr to a defense that already included J.J. Watt and Von Miller was my favorite pick in general and it started a string of three straight picks with dynamic, young players (with LeSean McCoy and Demaryius Thomas) that will help me bridge the gap from my veteran players to my more collegiate-oriented roster. Barr has made a strong case to us with his productivity over two years starting at UCLA that he should be the first player taken overall in the upcoming draft. Barr, Watt and Miller is not just exciting to think about on the same field, two-thirds of that could actually happen. (You hear that Houston? More specifically, I am of the belief that adding Barr to stack behind/next to or on even opposite of Watt brings in more collective value than any quarterback in the 2014 draft class.)

    What is your most regrettable move: John has a great point above. Even though I love my Barr pick, he is the only one of the 13 current collegiate players on my roster that I would likely even consider starting next season (unless Revis gets hurt and I have to start Purifoy). I immediately got hooked on this concept and created lists of players by position in the NFL, Freshmen - Seniors and, somewhat embarrassingly, high school players. It took me until three quarters of the draft to realize that I should not want to load up on 19 year olds (or younger). This led to some value plays like Andre Johnson in the 46th round and Brent Grimes in the 44th round. I essentially got their replacements before I got them. 

    Who had the biggest draft steal (besides you): I liked the diplomatic approach of Seth and Matt. Plus, since I will be simulating this in the offseason, I'll let those numbers eventually speak for themselves. Here are steals from each person:
    • Chris had many great value selections like Vernon Davis and Tyrann Mathieu (pre-injury), but I personally kicked myself the most when he took Carlos Dunlap in Round 22. Though a huge fan of Dunlap's talent, I had totally missed him once my team went 3-4. On my defense, though, he would be athletic enough to play several different positions.
    • As has been noted, James may end up with the most obvious steal on this list if Nick Foles continue to do what he's been doing.
    • I like the players that John took that have flown under the radar this season like Justin Blackmon and Colin Kaepernick, but Shane Vereen is the exact kind of player I would want on my roster so kudos to him.
    • Matt and I share the same viewpoints on most players and prospects, which led to several instances where he drafted the player I was going to take next after him. In most of those cases though, I saw his picks coming and knew I wouldn't have the best steals (in odd number rounds) slide to me. Overall, I LOVE what he did with his offensive line. One of the big takeaways for me when researching for this draft is how deep the tackle position is on the offensive line in the league right now, but Matt getting elite guards Evan Mathis and (likely) Jonathan Cooper as well as the smartest choice (by far) for this exercise at center (Travis Frederick) was huge for him. Those were the kind of moves I wanted to make.
    • Whether it was strategy or otherwise, Seth had many instances of getting the next best type of player long after the best went off the board. He would wait out a run on a position a take value players much later when similar players were going (which is, I guess, the definition of a draft steal). His best move was getting Josh Gordon in Round 17 (Round 17 occurred about five weeks ago).
    • In order, I would rank these steals (starting with the best): Gordon, Foles, Dunlap, Vereen, Cooper.
    Who had the biggest reach: Similarly, I will discuss a reach for each...
    • Chris and I had quite the debate about Tyler Eifert and his tight ends (he called Gronkowski and Davis the "best two tight ends in the league" and Eifert the "best young tight end"), but I don't think his draft of Eifert in Round 26 was bad. For me, the picks of three players that our draft analysis did not like - Milliner, Mingo and Poe - seems off.
    • James drafted Jesse Tuggle.
    • The left tackle position is incredibly deep in the NFL right now (and I would suggest that it is also incredibly overrated), so taking the oft-injured Russell Okung in the second round seemed like a big reach. John also has some players who, to me, appear to be on the brink of a dramatic downturn in productivity (Welker, Lynch, Witten and Whitner) as well as some major injury question marks (Cobb, Melton, Vereen, Weatherspoon and Okung).
    • I really wanted David DeCastro, but Round 5 was very high for a guard that has not even played in 40% of his team's games since being drafted in 2011. I'm also not as firm a believer in Kiko Alonso as Matt seems to be.
    • Seth wanted to save a roster spot (later used on LeBron James) by having Michael Koenen kick and punt. While I'm not opposed to the concept, Koenen is not above average at either. Of course, as Seth told me, he does not anticipate ever having to punt. Getting Matthew Stafford in the 20th Round is a similar approach to what I just lauded from Seth above. However, I do not view Stafford as a top six quarterback in this exercise. 
    • In order, I would rank these reaches (starting with the biggest reach): Tuggle, Okung, Milliner, DeCastro, Koenen.
    Other feedback/comments on this exercise: I have found myself rooting for my players while watching games since we started this draft. When I cheer for a specific player, my wife has been asking me whether that is for my real fantasy team or my "fake fantasy team." Fake fantasy. Whatever, I think it's cool ... Now let's hear from you. Who did the best? What are your thoughts on the rosters and the process? Answer below. 
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