With the draft just days away, I’d like to welcome you to April Madness, a look back at drafts of yesteryear.
I’ve collaborated with esteemed bracketologist Boh Lunardi, Baltimore’s answer to ESPN’s Joe Lunardi, to bring you a tournament that pits Ozzie’s 64 greatest late round picks and undrafted signings against each other to decide who is the finest example of the depth of Oz’s draft wizardry. By late round pick, we mean anyone taken in rounds 4 through 7, but it’s worth noting no one from round 7 made the tourney, though a couple, as you’ll see, were on the bubble.
After selecting who we believed to be the top 64 players that met these criteria, we had to think up a way to determine seeding. At first, we went with personal opinion of who had the best career – that produced 0 upsets. Then, we invented this formula:
(((GS-GP) + GS*3) *RoS) – CM/10^6 + EP ^SBA + 10*I = score
GS = games started, GP = total games played, RoS = round of selection, CM = contract money they left Baltimore for, EP = epic plays, SBA = Super Bowl appearance, I = intangibles
But it was a bit too advanced for us. Will Demps’ score somehow doubled that of Jarret Johnson, so we had to find another way.
Here’s how it went down (sorry for how obvious this all may seem – Boh and I tend to get distracted by gadgety formulae like the one above):
1. The NCAA relies on regular season and conference tournament play to determine their seeding
2. The tournament itself is decided by how everyone does after regular season and conference tournament play.
3. NCAA regular season + conference tournament play = NFL players’ college careers
4. NCAA tournament results = how successful each late round pick/undrafted signing was as a Raven
It’s important to note that last part of #4. We are not using the player’s entire career as a gauge of who wins and loses in the tournament. Each matchup is decided solely by how that player performed while they were a Raven. Case in point: Priest Holmes’ Kansas City magic will not count in this bracket.
Now, if we’re using the player’s college career to determine their seed, how can we tell what the Ravens thought of him coming out of college? Well, we ordered all the drafted guys based on where they were picked. It’s our best gauge of what the team thought of them coming into the league, or, in this case, coming into the tournament.
Here’s an example:
The first number is the round of selection, the decimal number is the pick within that round that the player was selected.
For the undrafted players, we employed a secret formula that incorporated a little bit of Mel Kiper’s pre-draft grades, alphabetical order, and Boh’s and my opinions.
In all, here’s how the tournament breaks down:
4th round selections – 13
5th round selections – 14
6th round selections – 15
7th round selections – 0
Undrafted signings – 22
Leaving out the 7th round under-representation, we have a pretty even spread of guys across the potential field of qualifiers. And one final note, if any of you take the time to fact-check our methodology, Boh and I took the liberty of tweaking the seeds just once when it came to setting up exciting matchups.
Once the rankings were set, we s-curved the guys into regions (if you don’t know s-curves, just think of how your fantasy draft snakes round-by-round and you’ve got it). Each region has been named after a failed quarterback of the past to keep things organized. One last thing before we unveil the bracket…
It wasn’t easy picking all of the 64 who made the tourney. Let’s take a moment to acknowledge the guys who were on the bubble but missed the cut:
1. Davon Drew
2009 draft: Round 5 Pick 13 (149 overall)
2. Trent Smith
2003 draft: Round 7 Pick 9 (223 overall)
3. Quinn Sypniewski
2006 draft: Round 5 Pick 34 (166 overall)
Sorry to all three of you, but the battle of the failed backup tight ends had to be set up for the NIT to boost its ratings.
Boh’s take: “We wanted to have Davon Drew, but the only stat he racked up was most times cut and re-signed. And Trent Smith, wasn’t that the guy who caught that 44-yard bomb and broke his leg on the field?”
4. Anthony Poindexter
1997 draft: Round 7 Pick 10 (216 overall)
The funniest last name in Ravens’ history was enough to make the cut.
5. Ryan Sutter
1998 draft: Round 5 Pick 10 (133 overall)
If only this bracket were determined by your performance on The Bachelorette…
6. Yamon Figurs
2007 draft: Round 3 Pick 10 (74 overall)
If only you’d been drafted one round later, we might’ve had a dream matchup of failed return men. BJ Sams, Lamont Brightful, and Yamon Figurs – glad we didn’t have to make any matchup decisions regarding that trio.
The Bracket (click to enlarge)
Boh’s Regional Breakdowns
The Tony Banks Region
Probably the weakest of all the regions, the Banks regional has a weak 2 seed and a host of career backups (Cornell Brown, John Jones, Ronnie Prude, etc.) Look for a higher seed to come out of this region.
The Stoney Case Region
Any bracket that boasts Demetrius Williams as a #1 seed deserves to be named after Stoney Case. Aside from that though, this bracket is the Bracket of Death. With Tucker, AD, Demps, Marques Douglas, Priest Holmes, and Chester Taylor all in the same region, multiple Final 4 Candidates will go out too early. Quality players like Le’Ron, Pitta, and Madden Legend Clarence Moore all could be sent home early wishing they had been invited to the NIT version of this bracket (Davon Drew eeked out close one vs. Anthony Allen for that title).
Matchups to watch:
4. Le’Ron McClain vs. 13. Marques Douglas – Call me crazy, but this has upset written all over it.
8. Adalius Thomas vs. 9. Clarence Moore – Real Legend vs. Madden Legend
The Eric Zeier Region
This region comes down to 2 players: JJ and Bart Scott. Mulitalo probably sneaks out of the bottom half into the Elite 8, but either JJ or Bart will be cutting down the nets of this region.
Matchups to watch:
6. Chykie Brown vs. 11. Gerome Sapp – This matchup features the automatic qualifiers from the Special Teams Cornerback Conference and the Special Teams Safety Conference (Bennie Thompson is somewhere smiling).
7. Troy Smith vs. 10. Derek Anderson – The “Well, at least I wasn’t drafted as high as Boller” Failed Quarterback Bowl
The Scott Mitchell Region
The region with an awkward lefty white guy as its #1 seed is fittingly named after Scott Mitchell.