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You might have to trade up to get Watson online, or in real life.
Posted: Tuesday, 31 January 2017 9:50AM

Schopp: First-pick.com, my latest obsession



The Ravens offering the Bills their first, second and third-round picks for Buffalo's pick no. 10. The Browns going cornerback at no. 1 overall with Ohio State's Marshon Lattimore, or Florida's Teez Tabor, or Alabama's Marlon Humphrey, or Washington's Sidney Jones. The great Clemson quarterback and national champion DeShaun Watson going first to Cleveland, or second to San Francisco, or 22nd to Miami.

In about a week of fiddling at first-pick.com I've seen all of these scenarios appear, and many others. The website is a game created to give football fans a way of simulating the NFL Draft, an outlet for their addiction to slotting college players into pro homes.

The endless possibilities are most of the fun; there are far more trades spun here than at real drafts.

But why?

Mike Burns, co-creator of first-pick.com, visited our show Monday and explained how the site works. He said the famous Jimmy Johnson draft-value chart was used to establish a framework for trade offers. He said drafts from the last two decades were guidelines to keep the site from getting too fantastical.

So if these imaginary draft-day trade offers are equitable and based in reality, why don't we see as many? WGR's Sal Capaccio talked to people on the inside and reported that instead of the up to six trade offers at the time of your pick that first-pick.com can present, teams say they sometimes see none, maybe one.

There's a logistical side to it: Setting up for these trade offers requires some degree of open communication between teams, in a world where such an idea tends to be seen as threatening. ("Hey, we're at 10 and depending on how the draft goes we may want to move down. In case we want to do it and so do you, what would you do to switch places?" Do these conversations happen? I think they should be a matter of course. But word can get out and because sports teams are so bad as communicating, they tend to fumble the handoff. Reports that a team has discussed trading a player get shot down, true or not, out of fear of resentment, or a fracture in team chemistry -- when a simple "we discuss the idea of trading all our players constantly, why shouldn't we?" would get the job done.)

But the larger reason you don't see more trades is because they involve risk -- risk that goes beyond choosing which college kid to pay millions, risk that's easily scrutinized by fans, risk that general managers can see as job-altering.

Especially since the draft is now broken up over three days, teams see intrinsic value in that Round 1 pick. You get 15 minutes of fame, so to speak, as in the 15 minutes the networks talk about you when it's your turn. You get the player standing up and hugging his mother and agent, in some order, and you get the player on stage getting to second base with Roger Goodell.

Smart people have studied it -- the best way to draft well is to increase your number of picks. The Patriots do this, and frankly if the Patriots played Twister on the field to warm up for games then other teams should do that. New England's hit rate isn't greater, but the Pats do take more swings.

Most fans believe that there's a drastic difference in the amount of expertise teams have on the draft level. It's not true. And whatever value exists in the deep dives GMs and scouts take into player evaluation seems like a gross waste of effort in an age when dozens if not hundreds of media and fans compile rankings that closely resemble real draft outcomes consistently. If NFL teams know so much more about players than we do to the extent where "insider information" really mattered, how come you and I can predict the draft pretty closely year after year?

My obsession playing first-pick.com will teach me more about who ranks where in this draft than I ever wanted to know. Knock yourself out comparing those cornerbacks, he said. Help yourself digging into the Louisville lineman, the Oregon safety, the tackle from Troy. I'll be over here, drinking a beer.

But now -- and it's still only January -- I can do it. When Burns rattled off one hypothetical draft for the Bills that he executed on his site, I knew all the players' names, schools and positions. It's all taken places in my deep reaches, probably replacing relatives' birthdays. The tackle from Troy is Antonio Garcia.

01/31/2017 9:57AM
My obsession
Please enter your comments below.
01/31/2017 10:17AM
Pathetic
It's easy to tell that you like to hear to yourself talk.... And to think I just wasted four minutes of my life.
01/31/2017 10:41AM
Dream on!
The Bill's will take a DB or RB with their first pick. The same as always! Never mind helping out the WR corps or the Offensive line to give a QB more protection. This draft is not deep in quality QB's so expect a castoff from another team ora trade for some temporary help at the position.
01/31/2017 11:19AM
hell yeah trade the 10 pick if.
You can get more picks, we are starting from scratch too. what in the hell do they got to lose. And it will speed up the time frame, on getting back to the playoffs.
01/31/2017 3:13PM
Bumsfan
It doesn't take much to keep idiots busy. Is Shopp 13 or 14?
01/31/2017 6:41PM
CHILDISH
SCHOPP, YOU ARE VERY IMMATURE, WHEN ARE YOU AND BULLDOG GOING TO HAVE ANOTHER MATURE HAPPENING, THE MEAT DRAFT, WGR IS REALLY DESPERATE FOR ANYONE TO WORK THERE,,,
02/01/2017 11:27AM
Ridiculous Article!
I never thought it was possible but Schoop is worse than Bauerle when it pertains to sports. This is a guy who I'm sure has never played a sport in his life. Everything relates to Madden or fantasy. Can't WGR find somebody else that could actually provide insight? He's pathetic..........
02/01/2017 3:09PM
LETS sue REX RYAN for $16.5 million
For simple defamation, slander, fraud and false claims. This fat liar needs to be put in his place. He is nothing more than a cheap pile of dog sheet in a bag along with his balloon brother another phony. He must have zero respect for the Pegula's when in fact it showed up that he simply cant coach defense. Its been that way ever since Mike Pettine left the Jets back in 2012
02/01/2017 3:33PM
Thanks - tried it once already - doomed to waste hours between now and April
Also a whole new way to bore others... Your score is: 9934 (GRADE: B-) Your Picks: Round 1 Pick 28 (DAL): Sidney Jones, CB, Washington (A-) Round 2 Pick 12: David Njoku, TE, Miami (Fla.) (A) Round 2 Pick 17 (WASH): Cooper Kupp, WR, Eastern Washington (B ) Round 2 Pick 21 (DET): Adam Bisnowaty, OT/OG, Pittsburgh (B ) Round 2 Pick 26 (SEA): Obi Melifonwu, SS, Connecticut (B ) Round 2 Pick 28 (DAL): Adoree' Jackson, CB, Southern California (A-) Round 3 Pick 11: Amara Darboh, WR, Michigan (A) Round 3 Pick 17 (WASH): Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida (A ) Round 3 Pick 36 (BALT): Kyle Fuller, C, Baylor (B ) Round 5 Pick 12: C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa (D-) Round 5 Pick 27: Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming (A ) Round 6 Pick 11: Austin Rehkow, P, Idaho (A)
02/01/2017 3:33PM
very very
BORING
02/01/2017 5:30PM
terrible show getting worse
I can only listen to this show in bits and pieces because of schopp, they actually were doing this draft thing on the air, it was probably the worst radio in the history of broadcasting
02/02/2017 2:12PM
Better to trade down then to
I'm from Toronto and a life long Bills fan. Which is why I started listening to your show a number of years back. I listen everyday now. Love the show. The 2 of you have a great sense of humor. Your commentary on the Bills and Sabres is always fun. The trials and tribulations of the teams mirrors that of the Toronto teams. Especially the lowly Leafs with there never ending 50 yr drought. I get a laugh out of the fantasy sports, gambling, random crazy drafts, and general nonsense topics. Hell its just sports. Better then worrying about the real world problems. Keep up the good work! And yes always trade down in the draft!
02/04/2017 8:21AM
I wonder if
The guy with all of the posts here complaining about the article and calling the author childish understands irony. Nice article. Thanks for keeping Bills fans interested in football when the Bills are on vacation...post season...
02/07/2017 2:10PM
Anti-Schlop
When is his career going to ever end. I know nobody wants him, but neither do we.
Title :
Comment :
Are you sold on Robin Lehner as the Sabres #1 goalie?
  Yes. His play the last 2 months has sold me.
  Not yet. I need to see him play well/stay healthy the rest of the season.
  No. He's not the answer. I wouldn't re-sign him.
 
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