DE Matt Broha
FB Joe Martinek
WR David Douglas
WR Julian Talley
DE Adewale Ojomo
S Jojo Nicolas
S Janzen Jackson
RB Joe Martinek
WR Damien Davis
OL Stephen Goodwin
G D'Angelo McCray
Of those mentioned, Wonder had Janzen Jackson rated 135th in the draft.
Here is the NFL transaction tracker for keeping tabs on these UFA signings.
How do gems get bypassed draft day? Worth revisiting this 2004 post from Fantasy Football Today on Brian Westbrook and drafting by committee or as a corporate decision. Excerpt:
So why didn’t teams draft Westbrook earlier if he has top ten talent? A quick reminder we’re talking about 32 mega-million dollar corporations. The scouts report to personnel men such as Brandt, and realistically what do most managers do in the corporate world? That’s correct, they make decisions they can justify—or as we all know it to be in the real world—covering one’s ass!
Managers aren’t going to invest top ten dollars on an employee that doesn’t fit all the prerequisites they use to indicate the highest percentage of success.
For an NFL running back we already know these prerequisites include things such as size, speed, and success at a big-time college program. Based on the prerequisites for an RB, Westbrook only has the prototypical speed. The Gil Brandt’s of the NFL won’t be able to justify top-10 money for someone who doesn’t fit the recruiting formula. It’s just a reality of any marketplace. Who gets the job more often, the Harvard graduate with a 4.0 GPA and a transcript filled with academic rewards or the state college graduate with a 3.0 and had to spend his spare time working his way through school? It doesn’t matter if the state college grad turns out to be the better employee or if the high school drop-out winds up chairing a multi-billion dollar corporation: The guy with the best looking credentials has the best chance of getting an initial opportunity.
Try to place yourself in Gil Brandt’s shoes when he managed the Cowboy organization. You’re running a high-risk, high-reward business that requires huge monetary investments into individual players. If just a few of these players don’t perform to expectations, you’ve likely set back the team’s chances for success for several more years. Meanwhile, dozens of other proven managers are a phone call away if you keep making bad moves.
Since top ten draft picks make significantly more coin than the rest of the draft pool, the best way to avoid others second guessing your decisions is to evaluate these guys just like you would if you were recruiting candidates for upper management positions in the corporate world:
Good School High Performance Meets the minimum grades on all the tools you use to measure his skills to perform the job. Proven reliability to consistently report to work.
So here you are, Gil Brandt, evaluating a player like Brian Westbrook. Are you going walk into Tex Schramm’s office and recommend the company pay a top ten salary to a guy from Villanova with previous ACL tears, not to mention the fact he’s 5’9” and 205? If you want to keep your job through draft day, Westbrook and 1st round probably won’t be coming out of your mouth during the same sentence.