Monday, May 03, 2010

Colbert vs. Donahoe

Here's the Colbert vs. Donahoe breakdown Early Like Sunday Morning worked up back in 2007. He e-mailed it to me late last week but because I'm unfathomably lazy, I'm not posting it until now. It's a good read and if nothing else, it'll distract us from the latest bad news concerning Limas. Poor guy.

Thanks to ELSM for digging this up:

"Randy Steele, thanks for sharing the Stillers piece. While I enjoy reading any analysis of the Steelers’ draft performance, I found their analysis to be limited on a number of levels. To be brief, the fact that it doesn’t take into account the contributions of the players seems to be a major limitation (for analysis geeks, they include no qualitative analysis and do insufficient quantitative analysis). If I understand their methodology, Troy Edwards and Plaxico Burress would be equally successful picks for the Steelers. Obviously, this isn’t the case.

Rather than solely criticize, I’ll try to contribute something. I used a little judgment to compare Colbert’s seven-year era (2000-2006) to the previous Donahoe era’s final seven years (1993-1999). I picked this because it seemed like a fair comparison. Also, even if I had the time to do a cross-franchise comparison, I don’t know enough about all the other teams and players to make these kinds of judgments. To make broad comparisons, I’ve put players into three buckets: starters, useful back-ups and busts. Since this is a draft performance evaluation and not an overall front office evaluation, I did not make a distinction between whether a player was a starter (or back-up) on the Steelers or on another team, but rather what his overall career role was. My dividing line between these categories is debatable (such as putting Kendrick Clancy as a back-up); but I’ve shown where I’ve placed them, so if anyone wants to put them in different buckets, you can move them around on your own. After putting them in these buckets I’ve applied broad judgments about their overall contributions as NFL players.

One small caveat: making judgments about Colbert’s picks might be a little early, but overall I think there’s been enough time to make good comparisons. One big caveat: these are my top-line thoughts based on overall contribution of the players, but others should look at the drafts for their own judgments. Also, I’ve referred to Colbert and Donahoe making the picks, although obviously lots of other people contributed to the scouting and decision-making.

First round picks under Colbert: all 7 drafted players are starters (Santonio Holmes, Heath Miller, Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polomalu, Kendall Simmons, Casey Hampton, Plaxico Burress), and none have been back-ups or busts. At least 6 are borderline Pro Bowl caliber-players or better. Kendall Simmons is debatable, but I think he was an emerging force before his various injuries and is still a decent player.

First round picks under Donahoe: 5 starters (Troy Edwards, Alan Faneca, Chad Scott, Mark Bruener, Charles Johnson), one backup (Deon Figures), and 1 bust (Jamain Stephens). The production of at least 3 of these players production did not match a first round selection (Edwards, Figures and Stephens). Only 3 players became borderline Pro Bowl caliber players or better (Faneca, Bruener and Johnson). Chad Scott could be argued either way; overall, I think he was a good but not elite player.

First round comparison: Personally, I think it is very clear that the Steelers have gotten much more out of Round 1 under Colbert than Donahoe. Colbert has drafted the core of an excellent team in the first round.

Other Day One picks (rounds 2-3) under Colbert: 7 starters / soon-to-be starters (Marvel Smith, Kendrell Bell, Antwaan Randle El, Chris Hope, Max Starks, Bryant McFadden, Anthony Smith), 5 (useful back-ups (Kendrick Clancy, Hank Poteat, Ricardo Colclough, Trai Essex, hopefully Willie Reed), and had 1 bust (Alonzo Jackson).

Other Day One picks under Donahoe: 11 starters (Andre Hastings, Chad Brown, Brentson Buckner, Jason Gildon, Bam Morris, Kordell Stewart, Brenden Stai, Jon Witman, Mike Vrabel, Hines Ward, Joey Porter), 3 useful back-ups (Paul Wiggins, Will Blackwell, Amos Zereoue) and had 5 busts (Steven Conley, Jeremy Staat, Chris Conrad, Scott Shields, Kris Farris).

Other Day One picks comparison: I think this is pretty close and I could see the argument for Colbert, but I’d give a slight nod to Donahoe. This is partially because I’d value the 4 additional starters more than the 4 more busts. But roughly one good starter and one decent back up per year is a strong performance from Colbert, too. The Steelers did very well in rounds 2-3 under both Donahoe and Colbert in the last 14 years.

Day Two picks (rounds 4-7) under Colbert: 4 starters (Clark Haggans, Brett Keisel, Larry Foote and Ike Taylor) and 8 useful back-ups (Chukky Okobi, Rodney Bailey, Verron Haynes, Lee Mays, Brian St. Pierre, Rian Wallace, Chris Kemoeatu, Marvin Phillip).

Day Two picks (rounds 4-7) under Donahoe: the Steelers picked 10 starters (Willie Williams, Kevin Henry, Oliver Gibson, Lee Flowers, Earl Holmes, Orpheus Roye, Carlos Emmons, Deshea Townsend, Aaron Smith and Kris Brown) and 5 useful back-ups (Myron Bell, Jim Miller, Jason Simmons, Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, Jerame Tuman).

Day Two picks comparison: Looking at these groups, it seems to me that Donahoe did a better job on Day Two than Colbert, with 6 more starters and several other clearly useful pieces. Even giving the benefit of the doubt to Colbert for backup guys like Mays, St. Pierre, Wallace and Phillip, Donahoe comes out clearly ahead on Day Two.

Summary: I think it is clear that Colbert did a much better job than Donahoe in round one, with 6-7 Pro Bowl caliber players and no misfires. Both Colbert and Donahoe had strong performances in rounds 2 and 3, with the slight overall edge going to Donahoe. And Donahoe did a better job on day 2."