Jul 27, 2013
More articles from Eric Hartvigson|
Have you ever been in the middle of a draft completely torn between two players you have ranked nearly identical, like Arian Foster vs. Adrian Peterson? These are the decisions we put under a microscope all season just to see if we made the right choice. As we wrapped up our most recent league draft, here are some of the ball busting choices I observed in an article I like to call “Vs.”
If you read my article on Adrian Peterson vs. Arian Foster, you know I rate players largely based on five factors: talent, coaching staff, team talent, offensive line and/or injury prone status (typically weighted in that order). If these five factors don’t solve my quandary, as a tie breaker I’ll turn to any number of theories, including strength of schedule, contract year, postseason weather, mobile quarterback, third-year wide receiver, 30-year-old running back, red zone targets and so on. Here is my head-to-head comparison of players I found to be rated nearly identical.
As stated, with the first overall pick I took Arian Foster (bring on the haters). From the mock drafts I know running backs are going to fly off the shelves faster than pork rinds at a NASCAR race. Ergo, my draft plan was obvious. I had to take the best available running back at pick 2.12. When the decision came, there were two names that clearly stood out in my mind: Reggie Bush Vs. David Wilson.
Talent – Reggie Bush is still amongst the most talented players in the game, clear and away better than incumbents Mikel Leshoure and Joique Bell. His ability to make defenders miss, especially in the open field, is lethal. While in Miami, Bush proved he can be an every down running back, capable of running between the tackles when necessary. With that said, in my humble opinion David Wilson has Pro Bowl caliber talent. A home run threat on any given run, Wilson has shown his versatility as a pass catcher and a between-the-tackles runner. The lone knock on Wilson’s talent last season was pass blocking. This equates to film study and knowledge, the behind-the-scenes information we aren’t provided until the players hit the field in preseason. We should note that pass blocking is a common problem amongst rookies, but typically improves when a second-year running back is given a full offseason to work with the first-string offense. Simply based on raw talent, I’m giving Wilson the slightest of edge. (Wilson 1, Bush 0)
Team Talent (including defenses) – Both Bush and Wilson have a solid group of players in the huddle, anchored by a franchise quarterback. Each has a middle-of-the-road defensive unit centered on defensive line play. But I give the nod to Bush simply because of the overpowering effect of Calvin Johnson. A player of Johnson’s caliber is the focal point of the opposing team’s defensive game plan, keeping eyes off of Bush. (Wilson 1, Bush 1)
Coaching Staff (Offensive System) – Under West Coast offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, we know the Lions are going to throw the football around 60 percent of the time. A passing system bodes well for Bush and the reason he also gets a slight edge. A trusted friend of mine also pointed out: “the last time the Giants had a three down running back was Tiki Barber.” My argument is, Andre Brown can’t hold David Wilson’s jock strap, while proving to be Ryan Mathews fragile. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride will find Wilson far too valuable to take off the field. None the less, Bush wins this round. (Bush 2, Wilson 1)
Offensive Line – Wilson wins this point. Not because the Giants offensive linemen are world beaters, but the Lions could be amongst the league’s worst in 2013. Long time left tackle Jeff Backus recently retired. Give the Lions credit, they saw this coming and tried to address their future need by selecting Riley Reiff in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft. Reiff has not lived up to expectations. (Bush 2, Wilson 2)
Injury Prone Status – I recognize Bush has proven to be more durable these past two seasons. I’ve argued “while with the New Orleans Saints many of his injuries came on kick/punt coverage.” Nonetheless, these are still injuries. Also recognize Bush missed action last year with a small knee injury. I would only call Bush a “yellow flag injury risk,” thus awarding the point to Wilson. (Wilson 3, Bush 2)
Final decision – David Wilson