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An Expert Rationalizer's Evaluation of the RG3 Trade

An Expert Rationalizer's Evaluation of the RG3 Trade:

Okay. I get it. Most people don't think the RG3 trade was the worst thing in the world. In fact some people even seem to be in favor of it. However, for the sake of this post, let's assume that everyone thinks the Redskins are just like the Red Sox in that one trade where the Yankees somehow ended up with Babe Ruth. (In their defense, people die. Money's forever. )

As hard as it is to believe, there are people out there who look at RG3, in all of his dread-locked glory, and say "Maybe I wouldn't give up three starters for him....."

Foolishness!

Let's look at the arguments of these trade-naysayers. (Just FYI, I look at different arguments than shootthemovies did in his post here, though I did steal the 'naysayers' thing)

1) No prospect is worth trading that much for. In fact, very rarely is it worth trading up at all. (Editor's note: the writer's feeble attempt at a straw man argument is loosely based on the recent ESPN Magazine article entitled: "Fool's Gold" by Peter Keating.)

Ah Peter. We meet again. I know your game. Using your "statistics" at me. WELL IT WON'T WORK THIS TIME!

First of all, you bastard[1], Dan Snyder did not make this trade. So stop blaming him. Secondly, you acknowledge, and then conveniently ignore, the new rookie wage scale. However, this renders the brunt of your argument (the cost of early picks being too expensive) basically invalid. It's not like RG3 is going to be in the top third in cost for starting QB's. Lastly, in your analysis, you looked at all first round picks as if they were equal. In fact, you directly compared pick 8 to a pick in the late 20's. Well played. Sure pick 8 lies just out of the elite prospects, and seems comparable to whatever pick in the late 20's that teams have been drafting well at lately, but this does not mean that all late picks are equal to early picks (At least that could be your argument. I hate you and your glasses and your dreams of becoming an architect[2]. So I'm just going to pretend that this is what you meant, and continue on hating you).

Now, this might be news to that rat bastard[3] Peter, but not all draft classes are the same. Where some drafts may have a dozen blue chip prospects, another may have only a couple. And you can't look at the first round as if the drop-off happens at exactly pick number 33. The draft is tiered.

So, let's look at the ever-informative Bucky Brooks' tiers[4]

Now, let's disregard most of what we just looked at, because it also makes little sense.

First of all, an ‘Elite Prospect' is the same thing as a ‘Blue-Chip' player. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_chip_(sports)) So let's just take your definition of "Elite", and equate it to "Blue Chip"- "These players should earn Pro Bowl recognition early in their careers, and rank among the top five players at their respective positions within two to three years." Now, ignoring that Bucky thinks that Blackmon will be in the top five at his position in two to three years, or that DeCastro won't, or that Pro-Bowls matter, this definition establishes a distinct upper echelon of prospects.

Now let's look at another aspect that people don't always consider: Position Evaluation. This is why Decastro, described as the safest pick in the draft (ESPNFluffArticleThatDescribesDecastroAsSafestPickInTheDraft), is not going in the top ten. There are positional tiers too, and they go like this:

1. QB

..

2. DL, OT, CB, WR (I'm counting OLB in a 3-4 as d-line)

3. Everything else

..

..

..

4. People who kick the ball

So, in short, a blue-chip DL will be taken in the first 5-8 picks of the draft no matter what. A blue-chip Guard or Middle Line-Backer might go in the top 20. It's just how the positions are evaluated now. However, QB is by far the most important position, worth vastly more than any other. It's not that LT is worth slightly more than a G, they're worth almost exponentially[5] more. And Quarterback's are worth exponentially more than LT's. That's why people are willing to sell the farm for a 2nd round prospect like Tannehill (Though, since everyone knows he's going in the first round, doesn't that make him a first round prospect? Since a prospect's rating is based off of supply-demand, isn't he valued as a first round-pick? And is this value not what determines a prospects grade? That's off-topic though.)

So, by the two draft value rules discussed, a blue-chip QB is basically the greatest thing ever. When Chuck Norris dreams, he dreams that he's a blue-chip QB prospect.[6] No other type of prospect comes close to its value. That's why simply comparing one second overall pick to another makes no sense. The value of each pick is unique to each individual draft, which is why the trade value chart is basically ignored.

So saying that: "Pick 2 in 2012 draft is worth two first-rounders" is a completely arbitrary statement. In fact, since this is probably the highest value that a second overall pick has ever had (taking the rookie-wage scale into account) I'm surprised more teams other than the Browns and the Redskins didn't join in the bidding (the Chiefs with RG3? That's just scary.)

There should only be one question for determining if this trade is worth it: Is RG3 a blue-chip prospect?[7]

2. For the Redskins to get equivalent value for their losses in picks, RG3 will have to perform at the level of Tom Brady.

This argument comes from this article: http://harvardsportsanalysis.wordpress.com/2012/03/10/evaluating-the-redskins-trade-for-robert-griffin-iii/

Now my response:

Seriously?

No. Seriously? First of all, if that were true then every team that has three consecutive first round picks should be a dynasty. Now I know this paper has something to do with Harvard, and we're all very impressed, but you can't just make ridiculous claims like that.[8]

First of all, the ‘statistical analysis' that was just performed assumes that the draft pick value is stagnant, a point that I brilliantly disproved above.

Now I'm not going to get into the math[9], since I'm sure it's solid, but many of the assumptions made seem to be based off of some sort of expected output for draft position, and that is a ridiculous thing to quantify. You can't say that this position needs to do this much for so long, because each team has different expectations for their picks. One could look at the Patriots and say they have been drafting poorly over the past few years (well, since 2003... with the exception of 2005) because so many of their picks don't make the team. However, if the Patriots have so many quality players (and they do, they just went to the Super Bowl) that it's difficult to make the team does this make them worse at drafting than a team that has no quality players so everyone makes the team? If I were the Patriots I would take more risks, looking at players who have a possibility of supplanting current starters simply because I could afford too. The risk-reward value for a pick is relevant to each team.

In short, statistical analysis' of draft value is close to impossible because it's difficult to determine value for each team, let alone the value at each position. And, just to make things clear, RG3's value to the Redskins is a lot. It's almost exponential.[10]

Well that's my two cents. If you haven't figured out by now, I'm definitely a proponent of the trade. RG3, whose smile could re-ignite the sun, is going to make watching the Redskins a lot more fun next year. That alone makes it worth it.

Also, why don't we finish with an introduction: First time poster, long time reader. And sports pseudo-statistics really grind my gears. Hey, what's this poll button do?

[1] Editor's Note: Peter Keating is likely not a Bastard. My sources tell me that his parents are happily married and are loving, faithful people.

[2] Editor's Note: Here the writer is confusing Peter Keating, the distinguished ESPN journalist, with Peter Keating, a character in Ayn Rand's Fountainhead. And no, it is unlikely that the writer has read this book or, in fact, anything other than Archie comics..... and apparently ESPN the magazine.

[3] Editor's Note: ........Sigh......

[4]Editor's Note: Why the writer thinks he can slander reputable sports writers is beyond me.

[5] Editor's Note: I doubt the writer understands exponential growth. He's an idiot. Let's just assume he means "a lot".

[6] Editor's Note: A Chuck Norris Joke? Seriously? You're just the worst kind of person.

[7] Editor's Note: No, the writer doesn't attempt to answer this. Nor do you want him to. He thinks he's much smarter than he is, and has no business evaluating players. I hate him.

[8] Editor's Note: Dear God. He's picking fights with Ivy Leaguers. I give up.

[9] Editor's Note: And that is because you can't.

[10] Editor's Note:.........

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