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Versatility vs Dominance

The Rules For Winning in the NFL was originally posted July 4, 2007.  Some modifications have been made over the years, as a few rules have been added and deleted.  The league has changed.  But the lion’s share have stood the test of time.

We are days away from the Draft, and there are more than a few “Rules” which are centered on this important part of competitiveness in the NFL.  One only need to look at the Giants poor drafting and allocation of resources at OL over the last number of years to see how critical this is to the lifeblood of a team.

The acute need of the team to rebuild its OL has given way to speculation on Zack Martin.  It is expected that Matthews and Robinson will be gone before the Gmen pick at 12.  Lewan may or may not be there.  Hence, the mock drafts and other talk center on the next OT available, Martin.  Our draft analyst Wonder has stated that there is a gap in talent between Matthews/Robinson/Lewan and Martin.  What is confusing to more is when Mike Mayock of NFL.com starts talking about how excited  he is about Martin as a Pro, coloring his enthusiasm with ideas of him being selected in the Top 10 of the Draft.  It almost feels like the hype of the discussion about him “moving up” in the draft elevates his value further.  That is where we strongly disagree with Mayock.  We have commented here on this NY Giants blog in past posts that Martin will make a solid Pro, but not a great Pro.  Pay attention to the key word noted in that link… versatility

Versatility is the great kibosh.  It is literally the first Rule on the list of Rules for Winning in the NFL:

1) Do not draft a “versatile” player in Round 1 of the draft. “Dominant” should be there, not versatile.

When they start talking about Martin’s footwork and shorter arms as possible indications that he can get moved to Guard, it is a reminder about EXACTLY WHY he is not worthy of allocating a 12th pick in the draft for him.  You pick Round 1 for dominance AT ONE POSITION and let other players fit in around HIM.  If you like this player for his versatility, then you are clearly admitting his inability to project as a dominant LT, and once you do that, he has to be dropped down.  In 2010, when the Giants picked JPP at 15, we were very high on C Maurkice Pouncey and LG Mike Iupati.  Both (when healthy) have been dominant.  You don’t want a jack of all trades.  You just want dominant at one position.  It is not a lot to ask for/target in Round 1 of the Draft when you are choosing amongst the elite of the elite.  There is a difference between picking at 12 and picking at 19, 32, 19, 15, 29, 31, 20 (the last 7 years of Round 1 Draft slots where Reese and the Giants selected). To Reese’s credit, his best slot (in 2010, at #15) generated his best selection, a dominant pass rusher.  Don’t settle for a ‘versatile’ player at 12.  Let someone else take him that high.  And if you really like the player, trade down before selecting him.