A couple of interesting points in Barnwell’s draft writeup. First, on why organizations tend to discount the value of future draft picks:
That’s not an accurate measure. A second-round pick is a second-round pick. Draft picks in the future are treated as though they’re less valuable because the general manager trading the picks might not be around to actually use them, which represents part of the moral hazard incumbent with turning over your personnel department to employees who typically last a few years on the job. Future picks then realistically mean different things to different organizations. Les Snead and Jeff Fisher are probably going to get fired unless the Rams make the playoffs in 2016, which no doubt made it easier for them to trade future picks to move up to the first overall slot. Bill Belichick and Ozzie Newsome aren’t going anywhere unless they want to move on, which is why they can trade for future picks with impunity.
This makes sense. Undervaluing future picks is irrational from an organizational standpoint but not necessarily from the standpoint of an individual GM. Which isn’t to deny people like Belichick and Newsome and Thompson credit — their power gives them a greater ability to play the percentages, but you still have to know what the right move is. The Giants are a stable organization and Jerry Resse won a Super Bowl in his first year — obviously buying him some job security — and yet he’s literally never traded down in the draft. And, conversely, DePodesta/Jackson/Brown can’t be that confident that the Browns won’t decide next year that it’s time for their near-annual managerial and coaching change (Mike Holmgren and Rob Chudzinski: tanned, rested, and ready to trade two first round picks for Melvin Gordon!), and yet they had a pretty much perfect draft day.
Needless to say, I endorse this point about the Solemn Integritude of the teams that passed on Larmey Tunsil because DRUGS:
Tennessee’s move up to grab Jack Conklin is colored by the bizarre fall of Laremy Tunsil, whose social media accounts appeared to be hacked minutes before the draft started. The Tunsil story is still developing as I write this, and it’s entirely possible that teams like the Titans might have preferred Conklin to the Ole Miss product, but the idea that Tunsil was suddenly undraftable because of the suggestion that he smoked marijuana at one point before being drafted is bizarre. The Ravens, who reportedly took Tunsil off their board after the tweet, famously kept Ray Rice on their roster before video of his brutal assault on his fiancée leaked. The Bears, who badly need a left tackle, passed on Tunsil just one year after they signed troubled defensive end Ray McDonald and had owner George McCaskey try to pass off McDonald as a changed man. As Lions general manager Bob Quinn noted, “If we took players off the board because they smoked pot in college or marijuana, like half the board would be gone.” NFL teams chose a bizarre time to get sanctimonious or worried about PR hits.
At least in this case, while it cost Tunsil some money the primary victims of this instance of drug war moralism were the moralists themselves.