NFL Front Office – Determining Current Market Inefficiency

The Football Educator brings back Richard Hill to look at determining current market inefficiency as an NFL General Manager.

As we reviewed last time, one of the most important roles of a GM is searching for market inefficiencies in order to get an edge on the competition. Market inefficiency is discovered when analyzing improperly priced, or valued, entities on the open market and no one has been been better on the offensive side of the ball than Bill Belichick.

Finding Wes Welker

Everyone can point to Wes Welker as the blueprint for the perfect slot receiver as teams draft player after player, trying to “find the next Welker.” Belichick had to face Welker twice a season when Welker was with the Dolphins and he saw a player who was underutilized. Belichick wanted to mold his offense around high percentage plays in order to control the tempo and move the ball down the field- and what better player than a slot receiver with reliable hands? Welker joined up with the Patriots and has become a star, racked up 80 more receptions than the second ranked player since 2007- and that includes a year with Matt Cassel at quarterback.

The Belichick thought process

Belichick also double dipped into the tight end pool in 2010 to grab Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez for the Patriots and he brought value back to the position. He realized that there was no position more valuable on offense for the Patriots versatile schemes as the tight ends could be used as blockers in the run game, Hernandez could even run the ball himself; they provide big red zone targets, they can force linebackers out of position and into coverage to take advantage of mismatches. The tight end position was full of untapped potential that has now reached the market.

Where offense is headed

Looking forward, it’s not that difficult to see the direction where the elite offenses in the league are heading: versatile players where quarterbacks can exploit mismatches. Players like Hernandez, Percy Harvin, and Randall Cobb have become staples in the NFL’s best offenses, while every elite running back is now expected to be able to run, block, and catch the ball out of the backfield.

Thinking ahead on defense

But what about on defense? What can we determine, based upon needs (What type of player can not only carry weight to shed a tight end in the run game, while also still being able to run down the field if the tight end splits wide?) and based upon supply? If the NFL is a chess game, teams need to draft defensive players that can not only fit current needs, but can also adjust to future schematic changes.

To be continued…..

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