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Matt Minich's BCT - with guest Mike Eayrs, retired Green Bay Packers Director of Research and Development


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You joke with coming to all right. Welcome to this week's addition of Matt Mimics bengals. Chalk talk here on. Orange and black insider Today I got a great guest Retired director of research and development for the Green Bay packers. Mike Ayers. How're you doing today? Masseurs doing fantastic Matt. All right. Great I really appreciate you coming on First off. I'm ready to ask for the abbreviated version because I'm sure director research and development for an NFL team You involves a lot but Just a real quick break down what What type of work were you doing for the packers On on an everyday basis well essentially my job was to incorporate a scientific viewpoint into football operations and what that entailed is just simply analyzing data trying to find out if there any significant trends in the information. And then using that and getting that information into the hands of our decision makers in whatever context and you'll play callers Scouts coaches players. Whatever so that essentially essentially it would improve the quality of the decisions they made to help. Our organization creates success. All right and so I think right now. We're kind of in a in a big phase kind of the dawn of analytics in the NFL But analysts become a becoming a much. More I don't want to see how much bigger part of the NFL. Because I think it's always been pretty big part of the NFL. But I think it's a lot more out there I think. More people are aware of it and And can kind of be a little bit more critical decisions based on research out there and known From from From different avenues different organizations. That are out there so You're you're kind of on the on the forefront of that and the NFL before the rest of us even even with that was they want him getting from you. That's correct basically. I was hired by the Vikings back in one thousand nine hundred eighty five to be a director of research and development and again. I was actually the third person that the vikings hired I had to predecessor says. He came into the building in the early eighties. I doing them in the mid eighty and you know analytics in one form or another has been around a long time simply because it had different names you know obviously research director and even when I was a player you know way back in the seventies we always talked about tendencies and probabilities and game plan. You know you could always kind of play a hunch if you watch a lot and I'm old enough to where I could even say when you're watching film rather than watching video but you would see things you know. And it's the most fundamental thing in human behavior that is whatever creates success is generally going to be replicated in future situations. So you know. Football's a great team to analyze. Because it's an here's great soundbite. Point football is a game of dependent decisions in other words almost every decision. That's made the course of a game or in the course of a draft choice or whatever he essentially is triggered by events that preceded. So if you can identify the chain you can probably often predict what's going to occur next and it works out real. Well it's a matter of fact there's only one true independent decision in entire on TV. Guess what it is because it's the only time yeah acquaintance from the time. The coin is tossed every decision following. That is actually a dependent decision and we used to analyze coin tosses. Believe it or not because we were talking you know some teams wanted a for some teams want to take the ball It varies whether your home or on the road at varies by environmental situations social so again you know which would analytics really is. It's a new word that basically describes the old word tendencies improbability. All you're trying to do is use. What's occurred previously to try to help you. Determine what's going to occur next absolutely and anybody. Anybody coach into any levels Been breaking down tendencies for years so now the the packers are are noted And for for being similar to the Bengals In the way they approach team building And you know being about building through the draft and drafting players Who you know the ultimate look to to bring in for a second contract So that is something that when the Bengals have had some bad years and You know in pets and bad draft which is you know obviously related there People have been critical of Can you talk a little bit about You know what? The connection is between the draft creativity in in trades In in overall process of of how to build a team sure well again when I was with the packers. We are a very much more so even than they are now very college draft. Reliant team and our reasoning for that was primarily to full number one. We fell more than anything. We're in the business of trying to create a culture and the best way to create a culture is to try to create stability and the best way to create stability is with the college draft because he essentially when you draft player or you sign a college free agent essentially retained the rights on that player for the first four years of their career. Or you have the option for the first five years if it's a first round draft pick so it gives you time to essentially develop talent and then the second reason why it becomes such a good thing is number one you want to create a culture that having the same players there regularly but secondly it's also a very economical way to build a team because again you retain the players players in their initial contract and even anytime soon their second contract. Are you know fairly reasonably priced relative to the CAP? The problem is when you go into unrestricted free agency. In Pro Free Agency is you're bidding against usually a nucleus of maybe a dozen other teams. That are trying to acquire the same player. And so you're subject to the laws of supply and demand it drives the salary upwards that you can use pro free agency to solve a need on your roster but the problem is almost always going to wind up paying more than if you were able to draft and develop to try to fill the same need and so it's just it just made economic sense because it allows you greater flexibility to resign. The players drafted if you got the original guys and you know you guessed right and signed him to their second contract. Basically you've created even more stability within your franchise and we felt. It was just the best way to build a team. We occasionally went into pro free agency to feel you know glaring immediate needs and the packers have gotten more aggressive in the last couple of years but I really believe the heart of it. All is the culture you create your locker room and the best way to create stability and culture is with the college draft. What do you say that You know from a front office standpoint you particularly the GM To to build a team like that get to have a lot of. Let's see honesty like being honest with yourself in your real you know truthful evaluation like Hey I want this guy to be successful. I want to think that we made the right choice in this guy And then two people to look at a guy for years later and be like no. This isn't a guy were given a second contract to you. I mean I is that something to kind of put Your Eagles Ego aside a little bit Face the facts unless things well. Honesty is a huge part of success. Probably in any organization. 'cause you you know you need to essentially keep your finger on the pulse of reality and I agree. I mean one of the things that we did as part of our culture is we had a relatively relatively the other NFL teams. You're in a year out. We were one of the youngest teams in the League in terms of the players on our roster and we really believed heavily in not just the draft but college free agents because one of the things that we did to help recruit college free agents to the packers is simply show them the numbers on our roster and that is every year we felt we were GONNA wind up keeping four or five college free agents guys that never got drafted but we're going to seriously evaluate and in some cases. We kept them instead of keeping draft choices. Because at the end of the day the culture we wanted to create is the best fifty three players are on your football team and then even to a degree transcends positions because we did not position differentiate our roster. We had years where we kept three fullbacks. We had a year where we kept five tight ends because essentially we were trying to fill all the rules to win a game and we felt like keeping those people. It simply gave us the best chance to win. Yeah I think there's probably divisions in the NFL right now that don't have three fullbacks but but again talking back now going to. I think it was the two thousand I believe. Two thousand six roster that might have had the threefold exponential. Yeah yeah the Larry Centers and Brian Mitchell type survived but you're not finding very many Moose. Johnston high everything is trend. Right it absence lawyer and the new trend based on how the forty niners used the fullback position is all of a sudden. It may come into a renaissance and people decide. Yeah your fullback probably would do more good on a roster than maybe a fourth died Internet even a third time. Yeah absolutely so now getting into the draft. Obviously that's the thing that's most pressing on people's minds right now and Win How how exactly do you put together a draft board and again? I know we're not GONNA be able to get into all the details today but you know kind of what the basic format and set up a of a of a draft for sure well draft board essentially is a table or a matrix that simply consists of columns and rows right and in the case of our draft board. It consisted of eight large roles where each will contain multiple players or could potentially contain multiple players and there was a role for each round of the draft and then there was a role for college free agents that we felt had a chance to make our roster and could fit into our system so role one is round one right and then essentially the most upper tier players in the entire draft class. Sit at the very top of the role and that was devoted to guys capable of controlling a game or projected to become very very dominant players. And then you know. It fell into line behind them then. There was a clear demarcation of players that were draftable in round two and this was a consensus greed based on the entire personnel and coaching staff and medical staff to. I don't WanNa undersell them because you see clearly. They durability becomes a huge factor in all this as well. But you know we'd have a series of draft meetings there would be a consensus It all started with a regional or area and would present a guy they would show highlight video and they would go into the process of discussing. Exactly how where he would sit into our roster which brings in the second part of the draft toward the calms the columns onto Matrix are all the different positions in our system. So you got the obvious ones like the quarterback in the fullback and tight end wide receiver so forth and same thing on defense. Your specialist your long snapping your punter and so forth and A. Maybe if you've got something unique to your system you know because at one time This transcends actually even the Ted Thompson era but when I first came to the packers one of the things that we did is we essentially had a hybrid defensive player that was part lion part linebacker and he was given actually comes from the old transfer. Cisco FORTY NINER system. He was called the elephant right and it was a guy that could play in coverage or rush the pass and he had a real unique role. We moved around the field and everything that becomes one of your columns is guys you think project into that and then based on the guys you project on that position if you feel a guy is worthy of navy a top five pick. He sits way up at the top of the list on the board for his physician. Because he's on the first role and if you feel worthy maybe of a pick in the twenties he sits down lower on that first role so that you have them great within the round as well as within the position and so you've gotTa Matrix and literally one of the things. They used to joke about the personnel staff. Is You do your research? And the board tells you whom the best player to draft is when you come around on the rotation but his imagined in your mind if you will a matrix of rows and columns where the roles are simply the rounds of the draft and college free agency and the columns are all positions that exist within your system of offense defense and special teams and one of the things again the matrix the matrix. Kinda unique is a lot of times in a given draft class. In a given position the round will be completely empty in other words and based on the evaluation of the personnel staff as they're looking at let's see Outside linebackers that's actually a pretty generic. Let's get real specific. Let's say nickel inside Slot Corner Right. Perhaps there won't be anybody in the fourth round right. 'cause basically they'll feel there'd be a big drop off talent in a certain area and you know. I think that'd be blank spots the other point is you know there's thirty two picks in the first round but I remember a lot of draft boards where our personnel staff would only rate same eighty twenty four or twenty five players as being essentially worthy of the first round. Pick so that tells you a little bit about how subjected the draft is too because different teams see players through different lenses each system and each team is unique in. Its own way that they're going about trying to win a game but you got the and if you build the board correctly essentially when your turn comes up on the draft board the Matrix tells you what's probably the best player and the best fit your teeth. Hi I'm David Fox senior vulture and host of the podcast. Good one a podcast. About every week I interview a comedian writer performer. About one of their jobs joke income their stand up special Saturday night live sketch or song or even a book breakdown. The joke and figure out how it works. What inspired it and what it says about their sense of humor for comedy fans. It's serious discussion about the craft of jobs for interview fans. It's a really funny conversation. Thing to people who have a lot about comedy Francis next advice podcast might not be exactly what you're looking for something to talk about after all that affects your new episodes a good one time on every Tuesday starting him credit for free on Apple. Podcast and your favorite podcast from culture and the box media podcast network. Have a good one. So if you're in that situation and and it's coming around and say as the packers often do in our this year You're picking towards the end of the first round and You don't have anybody in your board that evaluated as a first round talent It isn't that a time when you believe the best value is to treat out of the role round or or or. Do you still just take the best player on your board. Well you do it either way. You know number one. If there's a gap there obviously it's advantageous to trade and acquire more picks for later in the draft right but if you can't the green partner you know I guess you could just sit tight and let somebody pick ahead of you which actually has happened a couple of times draft but you use it on again. The board will tell you the best player available at that time and that pick by you know for by position and you if you take the board is rarely missed in the time that I was around but it answer your question yes. We often traded down when there is a gap in the board to acquire multiple piss. And do that. Because you have a lot of confidence in user staff's ability to evaluate the class you know conversely If you got four or five guys there That you think are worthy of pick At that slot or are you thinking? I'm GONNA take the one who's top even though there might not be that much difference or is that a situation where you're trying to three down three slots and get some value to it becomes very intuitive. You know because because essentially it's nice to see it's a matrix it's nice to essentially say we WANNA get value. It's nice to us all the great buzzwords but at the end of the day it's about acquiring players. They're going to help you win and so you know it becomes a judgment call or an intuitive call. I think where you try to decide you know about and I'll give you a really good example right. Basically we analyzed a lot of traits and analyzing trades is actually part of. My job is Obviously we had trade charts. We had other systems of evaluation that we use to try to determine how players when and how they were drafted. You know did. They live up to their expectation and we valuated specifically just trains and we found that essentially one out of three was what we called an imbalanced trade in other words. The team that traded up or the team that trade a down got essentially tremendous value. Right and I can. I can give you two specific stories right and they both turned out well for the packers so this is kind of a bias but essentially We had clay matthews rated very highly as a pass rush as a player because we felt he could do a lot of things but obviously as an edge pass rusher and that's a hard position to fill on a roster and Essentially the packers started trying to create up to get him because they figure in order getting it was gonna be vulnerable after anytime after slot. Seventeen in the selection numbers so we started trying to trade up seventeen to pick him up and we couldn't find a partner. People Seventeen had a guy they wanted. They didn't want to trade out then. The same thing happens in slot eighteen. Same thing happens and sought ninety then. We started getting worried that somebody's going to trade up because they knew we had a specific player in mine etc etc. The whole thing on hold we wind up taking him in the early twenties and we were looking at the time we were heavily criticized by NFL network. Espn because they thought we drastically overpaid to get him and we had because we rated as one of the top fifteen players in that draft class. But you know as Ted Thompson said when he was addressing the media and when he was addressing the room if we felt he was good enough to trade up the slot seventeen floor and we wound up essentially you know overpaying to get him at twenty. I can't remember twenty one. Twenty two or twenty three but it was in the early twenties. The whole point was we've had these good enough for the teens then overpaying for him in the twenties he still was agreed he became a great player so it worked out and worked out really well. And you know we had another situation where we're coming around and We have a player that we really liked right. And all of a sudden out of the blue we have another team call us and the team's GonNa remain nameless but they offered us an absolute boatload of picks to acquire because they had a specific player. They wanted they wanted to trade up to getting and obviously wanted to treat up very bad to the point that they essentially were offering us on a draft chart about six hundred points greater on a three thousand point scale then the pick was actually worth all right so we had a chance it in effect if this is a black decking. It's a chance to double down right. And the general manager passed right. 'cause he said we really like the player that's on our board. It's a great deal you know all of our analytics numbers tell us that we should go ahead and make deal because it's going to be advantageous us the right now or in the business of trying to choir players we have a player we really like. We took them and I'm not going to let the player Relieve Nan. This but the player turned out to be a tremendous success. And you know had we traded down and not had him in our locker room it would have been really difficult to believe that we would have gotten the same value by taking the boatload of pits. Yeah so so when you have that That player Targeted in a identified. The player. That's going to make a difference for you Even even if it doesn't seem to be you know correct value wise. You GotTa do what you gotTa do to get that guy. Yeah they'll get them greg because at the end of the day like I say it isn't about charts and it isn't about selection numbers and all those things it's about improving your football team and if you really believe that you've got a player on your board that's GonNa make us significant positive difference by all means bring them in. Gosh you know yeah absolutely coming to the Tashaun with with position thinking about you know. Different conditions and You know how it's broken down deeply differently than we think of You know obviously nobody. Sitting talking about the draft in near net is talking about the best elephant the draft. But when you're looking at in in that way Do you ever slot players into multiple roles You know for for instance. You mentioned a nickel corner before. Let's say you had a guy. And you think is best positioned is is Nichole corner and maybe maybe you slide them as a fourth round. Pick a nickel corner and a fifth or sixth round. Pick outside corner But now you know now as you go through the draft. Maybe got a nickel corner before you got to him. You're not gonNA take to nickel cores. Maybe you'd want an outside guy. Do you cross evaluate look at guys in multiple roles and that SORTA way you try to acquire an I can here Ted Thompson telling the entire room this over and over again you twidle acquired the best football players they can't you can try right and You know regard and believe it or not. This is probably gonNA shock your audience but regardless of position. 'cause like I say we entered seasons thin at some positions and really deep it others. But you don't always even to sell out by the time we got into October. You know because obviously it's a game of attrition. You never going to be able to predict who you're going to lose and disaster lists and bring guys in on waiver wires and everything else so you try to use every avenue possible to build a good football team but regardless of position if you have a chance to pick up a guy who's a great player and a great locker room presence because again. I'm going back to the culture. You know you want somebody that's going to essentially be positive in meetings practice and essentially elevate the people around and one of the things that I felt so neat about during my time with the packers is we had a fantastic locker room meeting room practice field and Game Day Group of people to work with you know they were just honest to gosh guys that you enjoy being around. They enjoy being together and it just helps make the whole process more synergistic. And so we really you know we had pretty good ideas of what people are. GonNa Project but again you know. It's an inexact science because you know I can remember. And this goes back to my vikings knees now but I remember the Vikings. We drafted a guy. One time that we thought was going to rule. The world has nose tackle and wound up essentially going to the pro bowl as a defensive end. So I mean that tells you just how much things can change you know because all of a sudden the guy got slimmer? The Guy got quicker and he became a great edge rush and the either we are ready to the ground. Because we thought he'd be run stuff you know so it's an inexact science you know. Yeah in India. You know these are. The days of the tackle was was a three hundred fifty pound guy. They're a little bit leaner now but yeah Now so you know what I'm getting from this is is that it's much more heavily Based on the best available player You know concept of grafting who's at the top of the board rather than going in and trying to fill specific slots in the roster position to need things like that correct. By the end of the day you know. Depth becomes a factor in decisions. All right because But I remember you know I remember one time we looked at our roster and Lo and behold we were looking at the. There's is anybody. Have any ideas you know is to you know where we might want to try to find a guy in pro free agency and essentially every guard that was on our roster at the time had three years or less experienced in the NFL. And I remember one person in the room suggested you know. Maybe we should try to find veteran to kind of try to teach these young guys a little bit about the game and so forth and You know the feeling was by. Our management is no. I don't think we're going to do that. Because the fastest way for guys to give better is to play and if we bring in seven or eight year guy and essentially. The young guys are going to lean on him. We're going to feel a responsibility to put him on the field and he's going to delay the development of the younger players so essentially believe it or not. We went to camp with four rookie guards. And you know a guy a practice squad guy but anyways it worked out really well God offensive. Line coach is pleased with we had in the room. We wound up starting young guys. We struggled early in the year. Also I tour three games because obviously it's a steep learning curve but keys by game five and gained six. These young guys were playing really well and it was a year that we qualified for the playoffs. So I mean we wound up with a pretty decent team. Besides you know so yeah. I definitely think it's not talking about your team development to and team building so. I'm sorry go ahead right but you know even though the roster may look a little suspect like you say there's a lot of things going on and the other point is we had a very aggressive management in terms of player for player veteran traits from time to time too because we made a number of try again because we believe that we could develop talent. We believe we had a coaching staff. That had a lot of good teachers on it. We essentially took the lead would make trades for guys in September and October after a lot of teams would kind of say. Okay this is the roster we're going to set and we're going to kind of develop with that and you know every once in a while. I really compliment our PRO personnel off. Because they would keep calling and find out if there's anybody that somebody was willing to part with and again if our management felt they could upgrade our team and bringing in good person and a good player into the locker room we'd go ahead and make those deals and we made a number of September and October deals that again you know by November December meter very positive addition to our teeth and they were can't friendly because the nice thing is you know at that time of year if a guy is a bubble guy and he's worried about being on his current team the next week and all of a sudden another team is willing to trade for him you know. What kind of a confidence boost does that? Give you know these guys believing me enough that they were willing to give up either another player or draft choice to bring me here and normally those later in the season trades wound up essentially turning out really well for us because it was a great show of confidence in an individual player. Yeah I think I think any aspect of life. When you're when you're having a rough time you know sometimes a change of venue can just do you get change attitudes so absolutely now talking about positions You know one thing that Talked about a lot. Nowadays is position value And in particular with the draft. I think a lot of analysts are are very critical of teams Specifically with the running back for this should probably the most obvious when when those guys are taken Highly in the draft Is Position Value? Something that's factored into you. Know original rankings. Or is it not something that that was really thought about to her How does that come into play when when constructing draft board here? Well the best answer to that goes back to my vikings dates because I remember one time essentially when I worked for the Minnesota. Vikings are player Personnel Department. Believed that there are about five physicians on the field where it was capable for a player to take over and dominated game and the most obvious one is quarterback you know because this is touching the ball and doing more with it than anybody else and you know a marquee running back can do it. A pass rusher can do it A shutdown secondary man can do it but only for part of the field but you know so essentially the thinking there was we had a special designation for those types of players and they are type position because obviously there's some positions where it's almost impossible for a guy to dominate a game. I mean you know an offensive lineman while he can lock out somebody. It's going to be rare for him to get two blocks on a play or something where he just totally takes a game all right but there are positions where it can occur and so we had a color coding system. Where essentially we would code the players capable that were evaluated is capable of dominating game and we made every effort to acquire them regardless of their position. But like say you're typing into a number of positions because not every position can do that on the field but there are some linebackers that are literally unblock. Couple you know. I've seen safeties it. Nobody could block. You know that all of a sudden they become a tremendous factor running game They're great litters and that they can still play in coverage you know and those guys are really premium to have because it gives you flexibility to do other things with the other players Hawaiian so you know there are positions. Running back is the one that gets beat up because of the de emphasis on the running game and the relatively short careers of players at the position. But I still go back and a great example I use is Chicago embark. I mean if you have a chance to pick up a guy that you believe from his position can control the game which on occasion see has done. Then go for it would be. My state is basically bringing them into your locker room getting into your organization and cut him loose and see what he can do. Yeah absolutely and we talked to a little bit about trades We and you mentioned You know the The trade value chart Are you and I've talked a little bit about this in the past that you can't can you talk a little bit about where that came from a House? In what is relevant is today with with the currency. Cba sure well. Originally the chart was developed by the Dallas Cowboys. Obviously Jimmy Johnson really made famous because number. One he's the one that essentially leaked it out to other people which was a good thing to do as well. Because essentially it establishes a value for current but the original tarn ironically was developed within the management side of their front office and it was based on compensation to sign so that hopefully they were essentially receiving or getting better value coming to the cowboys than they were giving up and going out and the whole idea was. It became a standard to where you have a norm table. Now for what the Fifteenth Pick in the first round is worth versus the twentieth pick versus the Fifteenth. Pick of the second round all the way through the entire draft order and you know essentially the fact that is based on compensation as it existed in the one thousand nine hundred ninety s makes technically invalid model in two thousand twenty great because subsequent studies the deal that actual player performance show essentially the Johnson Trade Chart overvalues first round picks and especially picks in the top fifteen and undervalues picks that are coming in the third and fourth round significant and so essentially we had. We actually had to charts right because we have. The chart was based on player performance. And then we had the original cowboys chart because for a lot of teams. That was the standard they use. And that was the expectation is basically if this is the one everybody's used you know you gotTa make sure that when you're because again it takes two teams to trade so the people on the other line end of the line mistrust that you're trying to essentially take advantage of them. They're not going to want to do a deal. And the the Johnson. Trade Chart was a great instrument in that it gave people the confidence to trade. And so you know yeah. Go ahead finish by leaking it. He did it. He himself a favorite. Because now people know they're getting completely worked over by and those deals and the amazing thing is roughly two in the time. I was in the NFL. Now I haven't been in a drafter for four C.'s. So basically it could have changed giving but when I was in the NFL essentially two out of every three trades almost exactly mirrored the values on the Dallas trait chart and subsequently the Miami traitor. You know because people still used it and accepted it right and again you know it gives you essentially a denominator and a consensus of agreement. That hey you know. We're not trying to take advantage of you. And again you know we had proprietary chart that the teams that we did a lot of deals with we actually share it with so that they could look at it and say well even on their own chart. Yeah this is a fair and other believe it or not other teams sent us their charts. So that as the draft is unfolding. We could see their decision making logic as to what they were proposing. And why are they were proposing it? Yeah I mean it's interesting. I think it's it's going to be difficult to adjust for you know for the win. The chart is off because human nature. I think we're always going to look at the top fifteen picks we're ruining naturally Elevate those cakes because those are the name's GonNa talk about you know the guys that That are that are making a newspaper. Ads The draft so Well human crush not gonNA make it right because again we've essentially would do a study. We did a series of studies each year that followed player tracking for six seasons and it was a little bit subject even bias because we used our own pro personnel grades. They determine the level of success that occurred league-wide in the college draft right but essentially what it revealed to us is what premiums those early Pixar. Because if you players drafted in selection numbers one through five right. Essentially out of forty percent probability that essentially at some point in their career. They're going to be named all pro at some point. In their first three seasons they were going to be voted to the first team of a pro bowl roster and so forth and and again. I mean basically they were given high enough pro personnel grades that they were capable of dominating again. So if you're drafting in the top five you got a forty percent probability you're gonNA take a great player you know. And that's one of the things. We always used to joke about right. Here's the top five slots these guys are taking which two are going to be the great ones you know and unfortunately which is going to be the guy that you think might underachieve. Whatever there's a whole wide range of variables that determine how it all comes out but the whole point is as you go further down in the draft that probability of finding a great player get slimmer and sliver in slim right. 'cause by the time you get to the selection one fifty seven right which. I think falls about to about round somewhere around six. You know you're to the point. Where essentially there's only one player that's GonNa come out of the whole rest of the draft. That's going to emerge as being a guy capable of controlling so obviously it gets harder and harder to find. So let's make the money right. That's right and again. I mean the idea is if you can find some of those guys you know if you 'cause I've always thought the secret to success in the NFL was your ability to locate players either through college free agency or on the final day of the draft and again I ve very fortunate the apart of a draft and develop organization. You know we were able to find a lot of players. Collar player personnel department are general managers. Ron woolfe Mike Sherman and Ted Thompson all and now Brian Kitts all did an outstanding job of essentially having great staff doing a great job with devaluation and as with the packers. We were very aggressive. Trade team we traded both up and down in the order to acquire specific talent that we thought was going to make a difference both in our locker room and then on the field as well and it worked and worked well got. We are in the playoffs. I think we ought to run going up about eight consecutive seasons at one point including the Super Bowl forty five so now. We talked about reasons why he might trade back when from. There's nobody there they valued to. There's a bunch of guys they value You know I know there's team like a New England. Patriots have some of needs and don't have a second round pick The forty niners have a first round pick and then don't pick again until Believe Fifth Round You know teams that find themselves due to trades and things like that with a deficit of picks are they are they more motivated to trade back and acquire a larger tool of picks correct. You want multiple picks because again basically the draft in college free agency is your most economical way to build a roster because the contracts are very easy to negotiate. They're very cap friendly. And you know you've got this young person coming in. Who's excited to be there in? Many cases has really good upside so you get them in the right culture and essentially playing within their abilities. Gosh it winds up being a win win situation but one of the trade scenarios you neglected dimension. When you're going over you know kind of choir. Multiple ticks is and it's happened it actually. It doesn't happen often. 'cause I can probably Count The Times on my hands that it occurred during my time in the NFL but the scenario is a team calls you because you're sitting at the slot where they think they need to take the guy and they literally say we. I talked about walking away from him. But they literally offer you the deal of the century in terms of acquiring picks. You know they're offering you their first round pick in future drafts and multiple picks in this year's draft and everything else and holy smokes. You know what I mean you look at that thing and you think well you know there isn't any one player that stands out above a bunch of other guys and with the picks we're going to acquire a maybe acquiring more swings at the bad is going to help us out at this point and so you agree the deal and like. I say you know the other point is like everything else because everything comes full circle right. What did we talk about when we started out we talked about tenants? And how essentially probability research has always been a part of the NFL. Well the same thing is true undrafted because our research when I was with the packers showed that essentially eight teams were a party that was involved in almost seventy percent of the trees right. So what you have. Is You have a quarter of the teams that are very aggressive about moving up and down to the draft order to acquire specific people or to acquire multiple picks. And you know the rest of the teams i. There were three teams in particular. They're hardly ever did deals. They just waited for their time to come up on the rotation and one thing we always got a kick out is when they came onto the clock. They almost always made their pick within the first minute because they knew who they wanted they were going to trade and you know frankly. I'm those three teams two of them. One Super Bowl so I mean there's more than one way to build a house you know and that's part of the beauty of football is you can develop a culture and a system and there are multiple roads here that lead role so. I mean if there was one way that was so much better than any other way. All thirty two teams would be copying that strategy but the reality is people have made a variety of strategies work and work well and like I say teams that essentially the Patriots for example are probably involved in more trades patron heels when I was in the lever involved more trades in any teams in the League. And you know you had other teams that you could count the trades. They made in multiple years. You know maybe a five year span on one hand and yet both were able to experience success. One waited for their turn to come took the best guy on the board and they found a way to build a team that won the superbowl another one. Essentially worked aboard flipped up down every direction you know and they found a way to win the super bowl so it as as we mentioned earlier. It's an inexact science but anyways if you WANNA work a deal. Essentially there were seven numbers. He wanted on speed dial because in touch with them. First because they're the ones that were both receptive to an idea. So we can. We can talk about You know the Ricky Williams deal the. Somebody caused the ridiculous offer but but at the end of the day you know. I think people mentioned as possibly for something that could happen to the Bengals who are we're definitely taking Joe Borough But at the end of the day. It's the Bengals in people. Probably know that the bengals they'll move around very much address also but one of the less likely. Take that deal. But that road is gonNA take you to the super bowl as often as the opposite path. You know because you know the one thing that I would do is again. You know I would sit there and I would say two of the teams involved in the fewest draft day trades in the NFL. Right have both won super bowls since two thousand ten so on the one hand you got the wild traders like the Eagles and the Patriots. As what and again they can be very successful but on the other side of the coin. You've got teams that have built their roster exact opposite way you know. They sign a handful of pro free agents. They wait their turn the draft and take the best guy available rarely manipulating the order at all and they've won the super bowl so you know the whole point is it's more important as to whom you're bringing in your locker room then your overall strategy of how you know you're going to run the draft because some people wanna have a draft class of fifteen guys and other people are content. Hey you know we're going to settle on are seven. Picks and baby got a compensatory pick in there and or maybe they don't have a compensatory pick because essentially they signed more pro free agents than essentially left their roster. But the point being both philosophies have won super bowls so like I say you know you just essentially play the cards. You're dealt as well as you can. Yeah I think too. Often people get caught up in. Well this is what this team is dealing with. You know we've done this for a couple of years. This isn't working. People trying really shift momentum shifts decision making me things but yeah the day. There's definitely multiple ways to to get things done You know you look at how the extreme example in football sense but you know look at how the Baltimore. Ravens are winning games this year. I definitely not how other teams who were winning. Football Games and So I'm absolutely absolutely with you on that now we're talking about trade value And is there a bump you know a little bit a little bit of a bump giving maybe to Picking I on a given day You know for the point is it and it end with I on a given day I reject that there's a premium if you're sitting anywhere in the first five or six slots on a given day and the reasoning. The rationale behind it is because people have time to formulate a decision and a strategy. And as you know given time study their own draft for all of a sudden they start thinking you know. This person at this slot is a tremendous value. And you know. Let's say that you're picking number twenty in the second round and there's a player you really liked you think can make a difference and you know there's no way in the world he's GonNa make it pass election number four five. Gosh rate becomes a tremendously positive strategy. And you know in your life where you were talking about where you have a huge gap in the draft and you're living in the first round and somebody in to wants to move up and they're offering you a whole bunch of multiple picks that becomes a good idea at the time one of the things that I used to preach all the time as a director of research is when you're making decisions understand the context of the decision. You're trying to make and the kings the forty niners. The context is well. We WanNa try to acquire more picks. So we don't have huge gaps between our selections and we lose players that we repeal could contribute positively to our locker room and our team and on the other side of the coin. You're sitting there saying well. We hold twelve fix. There's no way that many guys are GonNa make our roster and we're going to get them through waivers to put him on our practice squad all of a sudden it becomes a good context jewel decision. Let's bundle some of these picks and move up to the slots where we can ap- choir players that we have the evaluated especially high so again the context becomes a factor that drives the decision. Yeah and you're in a ton of sense to me too because when you talk about the The value in certain positions the likelihood of finding that that future all pro You know when you're after the first round you only have one pick until you know until the All of a sudden you're hoping to find one all pro guy in early and draft. You're hoping that that first round hits 'cause you know you know what the numbers Look Lake When you when you get in there at around five All right yes it. Do a really interesting stuff there and you know. Obviously the bengals are holding the first overall selection there also holding the thirty third And I and I think one way to look at that is that hey this is the thirty third. Pick you know contractually. It's not but it's essentially a first round. 'cause you know the way different people. Draft boards volume. You think a decent likelihood even if you only have twenty first round grades you know decent likelihood that they're the draft is personnel. Evaluation is highly subjective. And it's based on culture. It's based on system so that a person you know essentially from time to time We would have somebody rated in the first round and obviously other teams and organizations would find out about it in conversation. It's Kinda cheer. I don't think he's nearly that good. And conversely the reverse was true. You know One of the things. I always got a big kick out of in the drafter is And Ted Topsoil is very mature because it was a consensus as we move forward and Inevitably we'd be sitting there and we'd be in the first round and all of a sudden somebody would draft player that might have been second or third round rated on our board and as the guy would be pulled off the draft Matrix and put under the team. That drafted him in their roster. Ted Thompson was always kind of making the remark. I tried to tell you guys that was a good player. But you just don't even listen. I'm going to get drafted higher. You know but anyway it was a little drafter hoover there no other sound. But it's about the drafter it's your listeners. Probably Unaware of one of the things. That's a really neat thing to alleviate boredom with the scouts and the coaches and the support staff is all of a sudden site that start to go down as to which teams they're gonNa take which guys and the side that's artsy giving an amount of money normally their dollar five dollars and it was only deep to watch that action as the draft unfold. Because essentially there'd be a number times where all of a sudden the name goes off the board on the Matrix and you see scallops and coaches passing dollar bills back and forth. Do we all right well. You know what I'm I'm I'M GONNA change my My angle here. 'cause it seems like a pervert tend to bring up this question What was that draft room? Like as you wash Aaron Rodgers Fall. I imagine a lot of people were for a while. There's probably money going around and then people probably probably get scared of it and stop betting but What was that like Watching routers fall in. I mean did you. Did you know that you know that? That was the next decade of the franchise fallen into your lap. Well at the time essentially it was kind of a mixed bag because obviously there is a lot talk that he was going to be selected first overall and I think he's even admitted he was a little disappointed when a forty niners took Alex Smith instead of him and all of a sudden has a slide started. You know you kept looking at our slot and again you know. The player personnel staff in the scouts and so forth. They'd worked phones well and so they were saying you know blank isn't GonNa take him and they literally with name the guy that they liked and they were going to take and You know the slide kept occurring and when we got about four away. Essentially each of the teams ahead us were essentially stocked with quarterbacks so it looked like he was gonna make it through unless somebody traded up at the last minute and jumping ahead of us which is always thought but the excitement just kept building and building and building over and over and You know honestly. His name was so far above everybody else that it became one. You know I remember talking to Ted Thompson about it. He said it was one of the two easiest draft day decisions ever made. He actually had a decision that when he was with the seahawks that he thought was even easier to me because there was one guy so far above everybody else and frankly he's in the pro. He's in the hall of fame but anyways he said that he can fight it. That was the easiest decision. You ever but drafting Erin at the slot. Guide him. He thought was really close. Because you know like you say there wasn't a name anywhere ear that level of ability on the board and so you know there was quite a tear in the room. I remember everybody was excited. Yeah that was a that was an unbelievable one to to to see on TV and yeah we say that played out and what he has become his his career That was that was incredible So now you talked about the draft board is set up In terms of a draft rankings. Do you do change Do you alter how how that's done as you get deeper into the draft Meaning more value go-to player. Who has a ton of raw talent? But maybe he needs to develop. Maybe it's a triple action quarterback who needs to make a position change or just somebody who just never really got it in college but it seems to have everything all the tools really there. Are those guys favor to over more the hamburgers we were just kind of limited physically Or guys who you project as you know potential long term potential you know multiple special teams roles guys who might not be you. Know a star on offense or defense for you man. That's a fantastic question and You know the answer that I'm going to give you is essentially part of talk. The Ted Thompson gave the personnel staff at the beginning of each year. And that is you know. Our goal here is to put together a football team and in order to do that. You've got to have a harmonious locker room. You know you've got essentially have a bunch of guys willing to go out and practice work through. Fatigue worked through physical discomfort and so forth and You know which essentially brings us back to the point that essentially let's primarily base our evaluation What we've seen in football environments. Let's not get caught up in the underwear. Olympics or eye-popping. Physical statistics are all these things. Let's ask ourselves. What did he show on the practice field because obviously our area national scholar out watching guys you know and this is something I think again. A lot of the General Fan base may be unaware of but essentially they're evaluating practice habits. They're evaluating beating room habits. They're evaluating as well as game performance. What is he actually putting on the videotape of the Games? And let's make sure that we're making and this is how always tied it together but let's make sure we're making a football based decision because we're trying to build a football. We're not putting together a four. Forty relay team. So we're GONNA go out and draft all SAS guys all. We're not trying to put together an Olympic weightlifting. Deep where we want to bring in weight room wonders that can bench press four hundred pounds and everything else you know. Let's talk about how good of football player this guy is. And how much of a ceiling exists given the context of our team? Our competition and our culture always thought. That was a great. You know that was a great speech. Gosh you know Ted Thompson lead or not I think is really gifted guy and I. I don't think he enjoyed getting up and talking in front of groups but he did a really good job when he spoke very passionately from his hard. And I always thought. Gosh what a great tone. The set for your entire staff yeah. Let's make sure we're finding football players and not becoming inam rated by other things. That can be a distraction when when you get late in the draft so you know we're looking at seven round pick you know maybe even a seventh-round compensatory so really getting toward the very bottom You mentioned the importance of undrafted free agents and trying to find those those guys they could stick around and having a reputation for that actually Did you look at you? Know the sign ability of those guys you know. Would you Let's say a Green Bay. You've got to You know there's a there's a linebacker from University of Wisconsin And you don't think he's GonNa get draft you sitting there. Maybe the top of your board. But you're like Easter Madison. We'll be able to get him over here. I'll definitely sang with us. After so you you know you send you send you drastic guy from Hawaii instead because you. It's GonNa be a tough conversation to get into Green Bay. I'd there's any kind of gamesmanship coming to play with that staff or is it just no good. The Best Guy could get to the top of the board. The board generally pointed in the direction but there were a couple of exceptions and the exception were essentially we would occasionally and it's rarely but occasionally pass a guy to essentially draft a player that was going to be more difficult to sign in college. You know an answer your question. It does occur because essentially you believe that if you're on a level field for college free agency you know the agent has because one thing we haven't even touched on is who re whom represents the player in terms of their age because some agents are much more preferable to work with than others right and you know so whom a player chooses to represent him a lot of times helps them either get drafted by a team or for sure gives him the inside track on college free agency because like again. It's a human business and just like you have friends and people you prefer to work with. Essentially our negotiators and personnel staff had people within the agent community that they through third and frankly they had people whenever possible. They preferred to avoid because their agent was a difficult person dealing and I can't say that's endemic to the packers because it occurred when I was with the Vikings as well you know so essentially that can become a fact because basically it's something you have to acknowledge because I can think of specific situations where it indeed did occur. You know where we took player x over player. Why because we honestly felt we could get player. Y In college free agency and we didn't think we were going to be able to get it and I agree. That's very commonly done. Actually as early as the sixth round in some cases if you talk with people that are football executives and they got really candid about you know where it might be one of these things. Well now. You're speaking off the record. They they would probably acknowledge it. But I don't think you're ever going to get anybody at a press conference is GONNA get up and announce it to the world. You know it's one of those things that exists but is rarely spoken of outside of selected circles. And the other point I might have had here is recruiting for college. Free agents actually begins on the third day of the draft. You know and sometimes even before you know you've got people calling and saying you know and again they're not being deceptive. We like you as a player. You know you're currently being considered as a possible you know one of three. We're looking at in the seventh round or whatever and you know keep us in mind you know we really believe you got a great chance to make our roster. This is our situation at your position. And then a Lotta Times. The scout maybe visited with him in his region will put the position coach on and he'll make a strong pitch and from time to time they'll even put the head coach for the coordinator. The general manager a chief Scout. You know I mean I think about it if you're twenty one years old and you're sitting in a college dorm room or parents house or whatever and all of a sudden you have five people from the same organization all come on a phone line and tell you how much they would like to. Have you join their organization? You think that's going to make an impression. Oh absolutely take take you right back to recruiting you know. Furious previous recruiting it absolutely shooting pure and simple and again. I mean Both in my time with the Vikings and time with the packers. Hey you know we were talking to agents and we were talking to players long before the draft physically ended about whom exactly we wanted to target in free agency. All right. Well I I really appreciate your time. talking today and. I think it's very interesting when we talked about analytics And then bring stuff at the time but You know I was A. I was a psychology professor on top of being football coach for eight years So When you talk about You know dependent variables In in every aspect of the game. You're you're speaking my language From background and and and I think that that's That's something that gets a little bit overlooked Because I think a lot of times we we look at it licks and we try and look for universal answers and and there are There there really are. Because you've got every every single thing that happens field Is is is changing. What the situation is it's because you have a distinct started the action which is the snap and then stopping the action. Which obviously is the whistle? And then you essentially that stands as a unit now we move to the next situation with the next formation with the next defensive alignment with the next Defensive Secondary Contour. I mean there's all kinds of you know We had an assistant coach one time that I had a fantastic cool. 'cause he was always trying to get players to watch more videos and he goes. If you watch the video it will tell you the story of the opponent. You're and honest to God if you watch enough video and really become a student of the game. You'll be amazed at how much you can anticipate about what's going to happen and I. I really believe that's true because human behavior is as a psychology major. You have to probably agree. It's somewhat predictable and especially the more critical. The situation becomes the more. Reliant people become on trying to repeat things that have been successful in the past so we can identify that pattern. You know we can help our players to play more effectively to play after to react quicker and you know. Hey that's what the whole process is about absolutely. Yeah absolutely and you know the more things you can break down You know when you look at teams running multiple multiple formations in different motions. Things like that. It's all it's all a bunch of movements all of which things to make things look different but You know making things different and breaking down different areas Just creates more opportunities for tendencies with you hundred percent on that Appreciate you joining me. Great conversation I think everybody for for Tune into day if you go over to the orange and black insider youtube page This not appearing on the on the download This week but On a youtube page I I have broken down Patrick. Queen and Kenneth Murray You know to linebacker pro prospects coming up in this year's draft possibilities for the Bengals at thirty three if they make it that far specifically broke them down in terms of how they would fit into the bengals system with what Coastal in Aruba was doing last year defensively With linebacker so definitely check out the orange and black insider youtube page and that video For information on linebacker but Again thank you to my guess Mike Ayers from formerly of the of the Green Bay packers and I keep tuning back here every week throughout the off season and we will be continuing to have draft coverage and Soon to come free agency Covered as we As we get and deeper into offseason would.

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