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Polian thinks Draft needs re-working

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I'm generally a pretty unforgiving guy when it comes to the Draft. You either know what you are doing (Bill Polian, Jerry Reese) or you are a complete idiot (Mike Shanahan, Matt Millen). There's little room in between. So, when I read that people are bemoaning the top 10 draft positions, I get a little annoyed. The fear is "What if the draft pick is a bust." As a fan, it's simple: if the top 10 draft pick is a bust, the GM fked up and should be FIRED. That simple. There's a reason you have a top 10 pick. YOU SUCK. The top 10 pick is supposed to help you not suck anymore, and you shouldn't be afraid to have it. Bill Polian had the #1 overall pick in 1998, the #3 overall pick in 1999, and the #7 pick in 2002. Those picks produced Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, and Dwight Freeney. If you GM is not a moron, your top 10 pick should be a difference maker. If he isn't, fire the GM.

Now, that said, I had a discussion with MasterRWayne last night about the Draft, and his argument was that Atlanta got screwed winning the coin toss to get the #3 overall pick. I asked why? At #3, RB Darren McFadden might be there, and a guy like McFadden has a chance to blow Adrian Peterson out of the water in terms of rookie rushing records. However, the problem with drafting at #3 has nothing to do with getting talent. Like MasterRWayne, Bill Polian thinks the Draft needs a sliding pay scale, because rookies in the top 10 are getting way too much bread:

Polian said good teams like the Colts are less likely than in the past to trade up for an early pick because of the required financial commitment. Last year's top pick, JaMarcus Russell, missed all of training camp in a contract dispute before getting $29 million in guarantees.

"Trades are a unique thing in the first round anymore because of the cost of the top 10 picks financially," he said. "To take on that cost ... is almost counterintuitive."

Polian said agents have driven up the cost of the early picks, making it more difficult than ever for struggling franchises to improve. He said that cost can hamper teams for years, especially if they make a mistake on a pick or the player gets injured.

"The draft was designed to either allow the weakest teams, based on record, to choose the best players, or if they chose not to take a particular player, to gather a bunch of picks to further accelerate their growth and competitiveness," he said. "That's now been skewed by the cost of the picks in the first round.

"When that's skewed and changed because of the agents, that isn't a good thing for the game."

I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that the Drew Rosenhauses of this world are ruining pro football. Polian's explanation helps me better understand MasterRWayne's argument, which I initially dismissed. However, a player like JaMarcus Russell held out the entire 2008 season (essentially), but still got his $29 million in guaranteed money. Why didn't the Raiders just say, "Nope, we own your rights and you haven't proven squat in the NFL. You'll give you $15 million in guaranteed money, and if you don't like it, we hope you enjoy sitting for 2008, an insuring you will never see anything close to $30 million in guaranteed money in the future." The response from agents might be "Well, Alex Smith got $25 million as the #1 overall pick." As you can see, it's a silly response. Smith is a bust as a QB, and the 49ers were idiots to give him that money.  

If teams took more of a hard ball approach, you might not need a sliding scale for rookie top 10 picks. In any case, it is usually rounds 2-7 that make or break your team, and last I checked those guys weren't asking for $30 million.