I’ve gotten a little tired of topic and am going to move onto our offensive potential this season, but since I owe some folks some research, and I figured I could share it with all of you as well.

You see, I caused quite a stir over at Field Gulls (a nice Hawks blog done by John Morgan) the other day by daring to call out Ruskell for his draft results with running backs. In an attempt to bring the discussion back to more objective measures, I’ve decided to look at all of Holmgren’s drafts and all of Ruskell’s drafts, only rounds 1-3 (because I have a life), and see what percentage of those picks succeeded. Success is subjective, so I’m going to grade this way:

1st Round Pick Success = Made Pro Bowl at some point

2nd Round Pick Success = Started more than 50% of games played

3rd Round Pick Success = Started more than 25% of games played

Note that any 2nd or 3rd round pick that meets the qualifications for rounds higher than they were drafted (e.g., a 2nd rounder is a Pro Bowler), is automatically considered a success. And if you think these are bogus measures, remember they will be applied to both Holmgren and Ruskell so they are either equally fair or equally unfair. Each man is 100% accountable for the drafts when they were GM. Ruskell doesn’t get to hide behind the fact that his coach lobbied hard for this player or that and Holmgren can’t do that with his defensive coordinators. The GM title comes with ultimate accountability for the personnel decisions. Lastly, I am counting all drafts before Ruskell as Holmgren drafts because I do not believe Bob Ferguson was anything more than a front man, and Holmgren still made the decisions behind the scenes. With those caveats aside, let’s jump in:

Holmgren 1st Round Pick Success Rate: 50% (4/8)
Ruskell’s 1st Round Pick Success Rate: 0% (0/3)

Holmgren 2nd Round Pick Success Rate: 50% (3/6)
Ruskell 2nd Round Pick Success Rate: 75% (3/4)

Holmgren 3rd Round Pick Success Rate: 29% (2/7)
Ruskell 3rd Round Pick Success Rate: 66% (2/3)

Holmgren Details:

Ruskell Details:

Note this doesn’t even count Holmgren’s trade of 1st and 3rd round picks for Hasselbeck AND a 1st rounder. As far as I’m concerned that’s use of a 3rd round pick for a franchise player and should be considered when evaluating the two. Also consider Ruskell traded our 2007 1st round pick for Deion Branch. That makes him 0/4 with 1st rounders by our success criteria. Ruskell also traded away 3rd round picks in 2008 and 2006.

If I were to start counting Pro Bowls, it wouldn’t even be close. Ruskell’s only Pro Bowl player he drafted is Lofa Tatupu. Holmgren drafted Pro Bowlers in three out of six drafts, and four total Pro Bowlers if you count Hasselbeck.

Some folks will talk about value in later parts of the draft. I don’t think that’s a slam dunk for Ruskell either as far as real contribution to the teams. The things that really sticks out to me with Ruskell is the total fail in the 1st round. Those are picks that franchises are built around and he’s not only not found cornerstone players, he’s drafted three guys who could be off the team this season or next. I also think he’s shown some ability to succeed in the third round, yet he trades those picks away regularly. Some of those trades have resulted in getting players like Lofa and Carlson, but it’s impossible to know if he overpaid to get there.

With that, I’ll retire from this debate and move onto more happy thoughts.

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7 Responses

  1. CLanterman

    Good work, though I don't necessarily agree with your 'success' indicator for 2nd round picks simply because different positions have different expected values, and sometimes when you draft the BPA, it's not always a position of immediate need.
    That being said, the results are as expected, Ruskell is a little better on the 2nd and 3rd rounders, and Holmgren is a lot better on the 1st rounders. I never though Holmgren was that bad to begin with, I'm not sure why he was ripped for his GMing skills, when that super bowl team was 90% his.

    Also, your criteria is skewed because the longer you play, the better your chance of fulfilling that your criteria, and Ruskell's drafts have played for a shorter period of time.

  2. hawkblogger

    I'd agree with you on the longer you play bit, except I think you'd have a hard time arguing any of Ruskell's first rounders (before this year) will every make a pro bowl. The only other guy who might flip for him would be Wilson, but it says a lot that we went out and got Lucas and risked losing Hill to do it. The guy is an okay CB.

    What would your success indicators be?

  3. Scurvy

    I enjoy the blog, but you sound like a 15 year old boy when you use "fail" in the trendy Internet way. Please aim for something a little higher than that.

  4. hawkblogger

    Lol. Does that mean I can date 18 year old girls again?

    Point noted. Will try to add the "ure" back to fail in the future.

  5. Anonymous

    Excellent post HawkBlogger..Your site is fast becoming a daily stop for my Hawk fix.

    All this spreadsheet work reminds me of Sando days at TNT..ahh..we were really spoiled then, weren't we?!!

    And don't mind that scurvy character, he probably prefers the 5000+ worded posts from that other site where everyone agrees with whatever crap that is posted by some hack who also happens to be a member of a certain two bit band.

    One question pretty much answers this Ruskell/Holgren debate.

    Where is the team now in relation to when Ruskell came on board?

    He came on board when this team was on the verge of their first Superbowl appearance and where are we now, a team coming off a 4-12 campaign with more questions then answers.

    Ruskell = FAIL!

  6. hawkblogger

    Thanks, anonymous. I really enjoy breaking down the game, but the time I have to do it is way less consistent due to a big job, a young family, and a few other pastimes.

    My favorite part by far is finding hawks fan to chat with. We had a fun time during the live chat on saturday. I think we will try that again on Thurs. Maybe we'll see you there.

    To your point, I can't say I'd totally fail Ruskell, but his performance on 1st rounders is beyond horrible and I think he blew it not taking a RB last year (and said so going into and out of the draft).