Saturday, June 20, 2015

New Blog is Up

You can now follow my blogging at

Thank you in advance to those who choose to follow me there.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

About to Enter a New Realm

Hello, those of you who read my blog. I have an announcement to make about the future of this blog and what's coming next, but wanted to share with you a little tale, which some of you know about and some of you may not.

It was about 10 years ago when I started thinking about ways to expand my writing horizons. I became more interested in reading up on history and thinking more critically about issues that impacted our everyday lives. I went through a period when I was paying off debts and thus spent more time on the Internet and less time watching TV. I found that getting away from the TV opened my eyes a bit more, and allowed me to develop the critical thinking skills I had for some time, but didn't bothered to utilize.

I also rekindled my interest in superheroes. I had always been interested in them as a kid, but back in the 1980s, it was considered to be uncool to be a geek, and I wasn't always certain if I should share that interest with others. Having grown up, I've realized it's OK to share that interest (although it helps that superhero movies have been so popular as of late), and I have no problem admitting I stockpiled on DVDs related to superheroes, and gotten more into graphic novels.

Those two factors got me back into reading books more often, and realize that curling up with a good book is one of the best things you can do with your spare time. It got me to thinking that I should sit down and write a book at some point.

When I decided to dip my toes into the world of book writing, I wasn't sure where to start. I had a bunch of ideas running through my head, both fiction and nonfiction, and ultimately thought a good place to start would be something I had plenty of experience with, that being my work at The Raton Range. I had so many interesting stories I watched unfold during my time there, that I decided to start with a book about them. Hence, Small Town Sports Beat was born.

The unfortunate part, though, was just a few weeks after I self-published the book, The Raton Range ceased publication. I will be honest with you: It broke my heart and it became tough for me to deal with. When I took a job elsewhere, it was hard for me to go about promoting the book, because I was away from the area that would have the most interest in it, plus I was finding it hard to adjust to life away from Raton, particularly when I didn't land in a good job situation.

I am happy to say that I'm in a better job situation now. I hold no regrets about writing Small Town Sports Beat -- and by no means am I planning to pull it from Amazon. It will always be available to anyone who wants to purchase it, even though I'm not actively promoting it. I will say, though, that it was a good experience, because I learned a little more about what works and doesn't work with book writing. In particular, I would not have formatted my manuscript as one-and-a-half spaced, because it made the book more pages than it needed to be, and thus more expensive. The one thing I would have done differently was make it single spaced, and that would have made it fewer pages and available at a lower price while still ensuring a good profit margin.

With all that said, my plans originally had been to sit down and start figuring out what of my many ideas would make for a good fiction book. After getting out of a job that didn't work out for me, and settling down into a better one, I had the time the past few months to sit down and generate some of those ideas into a story. I completed the first draft and had a good friend critique it, then reviewed what she had to say and revamped it.

What I will share to start: I have a planned trilogy, have the draft of the first book finished but will likely fine-tune it some more, and have started work on the second book. I am also reading a book about how to get one published and what to expect, and will be looking at ways to establish a better presence on a blog that will focus more on my attempts at fiction writing. What details I share about the books will depend on how I decide to develop my promotional plans (and promoting is not one of my strong points, I'll admit it) and generate what I hope will be a good following, in hopes that it will give me more leverage when I start seeking an agent.

I can tell you that the book is going to be set in the future, aimed at young adult and science fiction readers, with my own twist on superheroes, and related to topics that are certainly a large part of conversation in today's society. I won't say more than that, other than I got inspiration from other books and TV shows I have watched for the direction to take my work.

With that in mind, I will not be posting at this specific blog any longer. I will leave it up so that people can still find my writings if they wish, and if they so happen to be spurred to learn more about the Small Town Sports Beat book. I am planning to set up a new blog through Blogspot, at which I'll talk more about topics that pertain to books that I have read, shows that I have watched, items that interest me, and general thoughts that will be designed to make people think. I have found that the best books and shows are ones that make you think about the themes, and not just look for something that entertains you. When you look at some of the top books that have been published, their themes are what make them timeless.

I will tell you that I am still going to be posting thoughts about the Denver Broncos and the NFL in general, and those will be posted at In Thin Air, which can be found at I want to contribute to that new community and help build it, and my plan is to put something up there every Wednesday night.

And before anyone asks: No, nothing is changing with my job situation. One piece of advice aspiring authors are given is to make sure you have another job. Besides, I'm just getting started with work at the Kingman Leader-Courier, I like my job, I like the people I've met, and I want to keep doing this for a few more years. The fiction writing (which will be done outside of work hours) I'm undertaking is about testing the waters to see what happens, and if it develops into something bigger, that's great. If it doesn't get bigger, I can still say I experienced it and learned what it was all about. It's something I need to find out if I can do well, because if I don't make the attempt, I'll never know. Paraphrasing Michael Jordan, you miss 100 percent of the shots you don't take.

So in the meantime, I will establish the new blog that will allow me to talk about other things, and figure out the best way to get people interested in my fiction writing, all while I explore what options are out there. I hope to have the new blog up and running by next week, and I hope to post something there every Thursday night. For those who are interested in science fiction, superheroes, or just want to hear whatever happens to be on my mind, I'll get the link up on Facebook, Twitter, and this blog.

For everyone who has been reading here, thanks for doing so, and I hope you're ready to join me as I enter a new realm.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Evaluating Broncos 2011 and 2012 Drafts

Following up on my previous posts about what I believe one should expect from a draft pick in each round, let's look at how the Denver Broncos 2011 and 2012 draft classes measure up.

2011 first round: Von Miller -- I think everyone knows the answer to this question. Now we just need to hope that, at some point in the future, Miller and the Broncos will agree to an extension.

2011 second round: Rahim Moore -- Moore struggled as a rookie, but improved his second season. His third season was cut short with a health scare, but he fared well in his final season. I'd call him a good pick.

2011 second round: Orlando Franklin -- I think everyone will agree that Franklin, a four-year starter on the offensive line who got better each season, was a good pick.

2011 third round: Nate Irving -- Irving had to go through a learning curve before he finally cracked the starting lineup late in his third year, although some might argue that was out of necessity. He entered his fourth year as a starter, had a good start, then injuries cut his season short. While I would lean toward him being a good pick, I can understand why someone might argue he was overdrafted, given he didn't contribute as much as some may have wished.

2011 fourth round: Julius Thomas -- Not only was Thomas a good pick, he was good value.

2011 fourth round: Quinton Carter -- Carter worked his way into the starting lineup as a rookie, then injuries sidelined him the next two seasons. He emerged as a rotational player his fourth year, but again, injuries sidelined him. Injuries can neither be prevented nor predicted in every single instance, so I tend to lean to Carter being a good pick because the Broncos got a little mileage out of him. Again, though, I can understand if someone would call him overdrafted.

The rest of the class: Virgil Green was clearly a good pick. Jeremy Beal and Mike Mohamed weren't with the team for long, but as I've mentioned, that's not necessarily a big deal, given that expectations were that they weren't going to be roster locks each season.

2012 second round: Derek Wolfe -- Do you remember the time when a certain Denver radio personality admonished the Broncos for failing in the 2012 first round? Do you remember how, after several players didn't fall to the Broncos, that they failed big time when they traded down with Tampa Bay, who took Doug Martin? Do you now realize just how silly that looks in retrospective? As we have learned, Doug Martin was overdrafted, while Wolfe has been a quality starter for three seasons. You can now tell that radio personality what a good pick Wolfe has been.

2012 second round: Brock Osweiler -- This one will certainly be debated. It's true the Broncos had no idea what they would get from Peyton Manning when they signed him. On the other hand, they could have drafted Russell Wilson, or drafted another quarterback after the second round. Then again, if they had taken Wilson, and Manning still performed at the high level he did, Wilson is sitting on the bench, and who knows if Osweiler might have excelled elsewhere. I do think it's fair to call the Osweiler pick a case of overdrafting a player. With that said, this could change depending on circumstances. If the Broncos, at any point, indicate they want to extend Osweiler past his rookie deal, that's a sign they still believe he can be the quarterback of the future. If they extend him, and he proves to be a worthy starter, we can certainly reconsider Osweiler's case.

2012 third round: Ronnie Hillman -- This one is easier to categorize. Hillman has had his moments in his three seasons, but it doesn't appear likely he'll be the starter this coming season. I think we can safely label Hillman an overdrafted player.

2012 fourth round: Omar Bolden -- Bolden has been a quality special teams player, and last season, gave the Broncos a kick returner they desperately needed, and handled himself well when asked to start. I'd call that a good pick.

2012 fourth round: Phillip Blake -- Blake spent his rookie year on the practice squad, then was cut in training camp before his second season began. He never played in an NFL regular-season game. He's absolutely an overdrafted player, and while my criteria does not apply a "bust" label to players taken in the fourth round or later, I certainly understand why other people may label Blake a bust.

2012 fifth round: Malik Jackson -- Jackson has emerged into a quality rotational player during his three seasons. That's certainly a good pick.

2012 sixth round: Danny Trevathan -- Trevathan emerged as a starter in his rookie year, then broke out in his second year as one of the team's best defensive players. Injuries cost him most of his third season, but there is hope he can bounce back in his fourth year. I definitely call him a draft-day steal, and if this year, he plays at or above the level of his second season, the "draft-day steal" label shouldn't even be debated.

Overall, John Elway and his staff did a terrific job of drafting in 2011, and did pretty well for themselves in 2012. If I was grading drafts, I'd definitely give the Broncos an A for 2011, and lean toward a B for 2012.

NFL Draft Evaluations: Judging Picks By Expectations

We're a couple of weeks removed from this year's NFL draft and plenty of people handed out grades, mostly based on whether or not teams addressed immediate needs.

But as we have learned so many times, how well one drafts doesn't simply come down to how well you addressed needs, but how much the players contributed, particularly based on what round you took them.

Therefore, a better time to analyze how well a team has drafted, is to do so several years after the draft has taken place. It also helps to know what the expectations should be for a player, depending on what round the player is taken.

It's a good time to assess the Denver Broncos 2011 and 2012 draft classes, because each of those drafts took place several three years ago. We have enough time to assess what the players contributed, and how that compares to expectations based on the round they were drafted.

What would be those expectations? Here's my thoughts:

First round: A player taken in this round is one you expect to be part of your franchise for the long term. In other words, after his rookie deal expires, you expect he'll be a player you will want to make every effort to re-sign. There are a few thing to keep in mind, though.

* It is true that first-round picks are signed for four years, with a club option for a fifth year. But to consider the player a good pick, it's not necessary that you pick up the option, as long as you make it clear you want to re-sign the player. The Houston Texans declined the option on Whitney Mercilus, but later gave him a four-year extension. The Seattle Seahawks declined the option on Bruce Irvin, but hope to extend him. Both teams likely want better value than the $7.7M salary the rookie option would have been. But because the Texans extended Mercilus, it's clear they want him for the long term, and the Seahawks' intentions to extend Irvin indicate the same. In both cases, the pick can still be considered a good one.

* If a team clearly wants to extend a player, but is unable to do so, even after picking up the option and using the franchise tag for a year, it's still a good pick. There will be those situations in which a team wants to keep a player, but the player prefers to test the market and get what he thinks will be a better deal.

* One can consider a first-round pick not used well when the team makes it clear it does not intend to extend the player when the rookie deal expires. In such a case, it matters not if the option year is exercised. Washington, for example, exercised its option for Robert Griffin III, but that is likely because it viewed the option year a better deal than declining it, then needing to use the franchise tag, should RG3 have a strong 2015 season. But if RG3 does not perform well the next two seasons, and Washington's front office makes it clear they are not keeping him, then one can call the selection of RG3 a poor usage of a first-round pick.

* We should consider the difference between overdrafting a player and a busted pick. Let's say a team drafted a player in the first round, and either stood pat with its original pick, or traded down in the first round and took the player. If that player becomes one the team decides not to retain when the rookie deal expires, the player should be considered overdrafted. A recent example of an overdrafted player would be Tennessee Titans 2011 first-round pick Jake Locker, who had his moments in his brief career, but the Titans did not pick up the option year, nor make any attempt to extend him. Had Locker been selected in a later round, it still might not have been the best usage of a pick, but expectations for Locker to excel would not have been as high (we'll get to other rounds later).

On the other hand, if the team waives the player at any time prior to the rookie deal expiring, it is safe to call the pick a bust. The same would apply if a team traded up in the first round, particularly if it gave up a lot in return to get the player, then chose not to extend him. The Cleveland Browns' 2012 first-round selection of Brandon Weeden was certainly a busted pick, as he was waived after just two seasons with the team. Briefly getting back to RG3, if Washington does not extend him after the 2016 season, he could be called a bust, because Washington gave up a lot to move up in the first round to select him.

Moving on to other rounds, and keeping in mind all drafted players get four-year contracts:

Second round: Players taken in this round should be starters for at least three of the four years they are with the team, and two of them need to be at least as good starters. If a second-round pick spends four years with the team, but never becomes a good starter, he's an overdrafted player. A second-round pick would be a bust if he not only never became a good starter, but is waived by the team before his rookie deal expired.

Third round: Players taken in this round should be starters for at least a year, and have been at least a good rotational or depth player for two years prior. This is because third-round picks are thought of as players that might take a year or two to develop, and might have to wait behind more experienced players before they get to start. If the player doesn't start by his fourth year in the league, he's overdrafted. A third-round bust is one who is waived before his rookie deal ends.

Before I get to other rounds, I do not consider any players taken in the fourth round or later to be busts, because the expectation is that they are not guaranteed to become starters. But there is a particular expectation for the first of these rounds.

Fourth round: A player taken in the fourth round should become at least a good depth, rotational, and/or special teams player during his time with the team. If the player is waived before his rookie deal ends, he has been overdrafted.

Fifth through seventh rounds: The final rounds are when you pick players who will likely have to compete for roster spots. If they become depth players, that's good. If they become good starters by their second year in the league, then you have a draft-day steal. If they never make the active roster, then it's not necessarily a big deal, because you didn't draft them with the expectation that they were locks for the final roster.

A quick note about trades: If a team drafts a player, and trades him before his rookie deal expires, what determines him a good pick or not depends on what the team gets in return. If the player was drafted in the first through third round, and the team gets far less in return than what it spent to get the player, then the player is a busted pick.

What if the team gets more in return? Well, it's definitely not a wasted pick if you get more in return than what you spent to get the player. On the other hand, because the team is trading the player, you should ask why the team is doing this, before judging the pick as a good one.

I will examine the Denver Broncos 2011 and 2012 drafts in a future post.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Broncos Continue to Build for Now and the Future

I used to be one of those people who assessed a team's draft solely based on how well they filled their needs. I've changed that approach, though, because when you do that, you are often looking at immediate needs, not future needs. Addressing both is part of the team-building process.

Additionally, there's no telling how well any of these players are going to do. There are countless players who were drafted, who never lived up to expectations. Grading a draft is like grading a student based on the material chosen for a research paper. You are making a judgment before you know what the finished product will look like.

And when it comes to the Denver Broncos, I've found more often than not that John Elway has been a good judge of talent. His 2011 draft class was strong, as of his nine picks, seven of them contributed extensively for at least one season. Yet if someone was handing out draft day grades that year, that someone was wondering why Elway didn't draft a defensive lineman until the seventh round. But time has told that Von Miller was very much worth the second overall pick in the draft, and that the likes of Rahim Moore, Orlando Franklin, and Julius Thomas were worth the picks used.

Elway continued to do well in 2012,with fourth-round pick Phillip Blake the only real miss. The jury is still out on the 2013 draft class, but there is hope that Montee Ball can get back on track, that Sylvester Williams could be the answer at nose tackle, and that Kayvon Webster could take a bigger role in the defense.

With all that said, Elway was wise to not only think about the future when he moved up in the first round to select defensive end Shane Ray, but to minimize his risk when he moved up the board. As I discussed last week, what makes a move up the board wise is when you don't give up too much or jeopardize your ability to build your team. The Broncos accumulated compensatory picks this year, so they could afford to part with one fifth-round pick this year. They will get more comp picks next year, so parting with a 2016 fifth-rounder was fine. And it wasn't likely that offensive guard Manny Ramirez was going to stick around, so it made sense to include him in the trade package.

From there, Elway's strategy became clear about looking for value. Some think offensive tackle Ty Sambrailo was taken a round too early, but if that's who was at the top of the Broncos' draft board, then that's who they should have taken if they weren't able to trade down. Always remember this rule of thumb when drafting: Trade down if you can, but if you can't, stick to your board and don't worry about perceptions of reaching for a player.

I liked the Broncos' pick of tight end Jeff Heuerman in the third round. Owen Daniels was a good value signing, but he isn't a long-term solution, and Heuerman will get a couple of years to develop before entering the starting lineup. Fourth-round pick Max Garcia is a versatile offensive lineman, and it's clear that Gary Kubiak wants versatility out of most of those players.

Now comes the time when we find out who fits in where. At this point, we can safely say that Ryan Clady and Louis Vasquez will have the left tackle and right guard spots nailed down. I wouldn't rule out Michael Schofield at right tackle just yet -- my hunch is that he will win the starting job. Meanwhile, Sambrailo can be given time to develop. One thing to keep in mind: Sambrailo might be a better fit at left tackle, but consider that Clady's future beyond 2015 is uncertain, and the Broncos might view Sambrailo as the guy who can replace him. At left guard and center, it remains to be seen who will emerge, but having multiple players who can handle either position is better than having multiple players who are a fit at just one position.

Then there's nose tackle, a position many wondered why the Broncos didn't spent an earlier pick after Terrance Knighton departed in free agency. Keep in mind that the Broncos aren't giving up on Williams just yet. He'll enter training camp as the starter, and this season will tell whether or not the Broncos will want to pick up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal. Meanwhile, it remains to be seen if Marvin Austin can provide the depth behind him. If not, that's the reason why the Broncos took Darius Kilgo in the sixth round, to give the Broncos depth, and perhaps a potential starter if Williams doesn't pan out.

I remain skeptical about certain moves the Broncos didn't make, such as not doing more to retain Orlando Franklin, and misjudging the market for Rahim Moore. I didn't care for the Broncos' trade for Gino Gradowski, in which they sent a fourth-round pick to the Ravens, even if they got a fifth-round pick back. (Sending a sixth-round pick to Baltimore and getting a seventh-round pick would have been better.) But, for the most part, the Broncos minimized their offseason risks.

Looking at some other teams and what they did in the draft:

* The New York Jets did well for themselves. The problem I saw under John Izdik was that he didn't make it clear enough to fans and ownership that the team needed to rebuild. More importantly, he retained a head coach whose mindset was that the Jets just needed to reload. New general manager Mike Maccagnan started from scratch with the coaching staff and, while his free agency moves indicated he wanted to reload, his draft showed he was thinking as much about the future as he was about the present. Leonard Williams was a great pick, Devin Smith was worth taking to develop behind Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, and the trade down with the Texans allowed the Jets to accumulate more picks, after trading several away earlier in the offseason. It was a step in the right direction, and perhaps the Jets can get back to relevancy, as long as Maccagnan continues to project the idea that the team wants to win now and in the future.

* The Oakland Raiders and Jacksonville Jaguars are two teams I see heading in the right direction. Each team was similar in that the previous regime was making too many mistakes and every mistake kept setting back the franchise.

Former owner Al Davis had done good things for the Raiders in the past, but was too stubborn to adjust his approaches, and it led to a string of poor personnel decisions. His son Mark is not without his faults, but he's at least willing to admit he's never been the personnel guy his father once was.
General manager Reggie McKenzie started slowly, but has gotten better with his drafts each year. He did well to get Khalil Mack and Derek Carr last year. There's still hope for 2013 first-round pick D.J. Hayden, and while McKenzie did take him early in the draft, he made one move down the board, then the time he spent making the selection suggested McKenzie was trying to move down again. (Remember, the rule of thumb  to try to move down, but if you can't, stick to your board.)

This year, McKenzie did well with his selections of Amari Cooper, Mario Edwards, and Clive Walford. McKenzie was also wise to trade back twice on Day 3, allowing him to accumulate more depth. The key, though, is for Mark Davis to remain patient with McKenzie, allow the players to develop, and only insist on change if coaches aren't working out.

The Jaguars, meanwhile, had been decimated by the constant moves up the board by the previous regime. The mindset was clearly that the Jaguars were just a few players away from returning to the playoffs, when the reality was that it was time to rebuild. It wasn't just that the players they selected didn't pan out, but what they gave up to get them.

It's still too early to judge Jacksonville's 2014 draft class, but the good news is that Blake Bortles gets another year to develop a rapport with receivers Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson. There is still hope that offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, the team's 2013 first-round pick, can get on track. And this year, the Jaguars did well to get outside linebacker Dante Fowler Jr. and running back T.J. Yeldon. It's understandable that head coach Gus Bradley will need to show he can get the Jaguars to at least a .500 record this year. But more importantly, it's imperative that patience be shown for general manager David Caldwell, who is slowly getting out of the mess the previous regime left him, and needs time to show what his work in the drafts can yield.

* I've liked what I've seen from current Carolina Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman the first two years he's drafted. His 2013 first-rounder, Star Lotulelei, has been very good, and 2014 first-rounder Kelvin Benjamin looks like a keeper. And he's finally dug himself out of the salary cap mess left for him, so he should be in position to get Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly extended.

But this year, Gettleman fell into the worst trap a general manager can fall for: Panicking. This was the case when he traded up for tight end Devin Funchess. Giving up third- and sixth-round picks was an example of not minimizing risk. Additionally, Gettlemen's judgment that other teams were going to draft receivers proved incorrect. That move reminds me of when Mike Shanahan traded up to select Jarvis Moss, after limiting his board to a select few players. I have no idea if Gettlemen limited his board, but regardless, he gave up too much.

Now Gettlemen needs to hope that Michael Oher can turn things around, or that fourth-round pick Daryl Williams can start at right tackle. It's true you don't draft for need just to do so, but giving up those picks might have cost Gettleman a chance to further help his team's situation.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Looking Back at Notable Draft Moves: Part Two

Picking up where I left on in my previous post about draft day moves, let's take a look at the next few years for the notable moves up the board and what the result was.

I stopped with judging such moves with the 2012 draft, as it remains to be seen what will happen with the 2013 and 2014 draft classes. I will briefly touch upon a couple of moves, though, to see what direction they might be heading.

As we will learn, there were more moves up the board which either offered a mix of good and bad, or didn't really set the franchise back (at least not as much as other moves, anyway).
2009: The Jets trade up for the sixth overall pick.

The New York Jets finished 9-7 in 2008 and just missed the playoffs, so the belief was that they were just the right coach and the right quarterback away from making such a trip. So Mike Tannebaum made the move up the board to select quarterback Mark Sanchez. To get the sixth overall pick from the Cleveland Browns, the Jets sent their first- and second-round picks, along with three depth players (Abram Elam, Kenyon Coleman, Brett Ratliff) to make the move up the board.

The Jets went to the AFC conference championship in back-to-back seasons, but then became a mediocre team. Sanchez didn't show much improvement as a passer, and thus wasn't worthy of being the No. 6 overall pick. With that said, what really hurt the Jets was their lack of depth, as the Jets made just three selections in the 2009 draft, trading away three of their remaining picks to move up in the third round to select running back Shonn Greene.

Honestly, the move is a bit hard to judge, because the Jets didn't trade away their whole draft for Sanchez, and the move up to select Greene probably did more harm. Also, the players the Jets traded away never became impact players. On the other hand, Sanchez didn't pan out and the Jets became mediocre in the long term.

Honestly, there's a mixture of good and bad that came out of the deal to draft Sanchez. It's understandable if one calls it a bad move because of what happened to the Jets in the long term, but it wasn't just that move that proved costly, and it's not necessarily the most costly. Indifferent.

2009: The Packers trade up for the 26th overall pick.

Before we get to the Green Bay Packers, a little backstory: The Ravens moved up from the 26th spot in a draft-day trade with the Patriots. The Packers then acquired the 26th overall pick from New England -- a trade back into the first round as Green Bay already had the ninth overall pick -- by sending a second-round pick (42nd overall) and two third-round picks. To complete the trade, the Patriots sent a fifth-round pick to the Packers. Then comes the player the Packers selected: linebacker Clay Matthews. Green Bay finished the draft with eight total selections.

Packers GM Ted Thompson doesn't trade up like this often, but this move paid off for him. Matthews is Green Bay's top defensive player and considered one of the best in the game. Green Bay also got mileage out of two other selections: B.J. Raji and T.J. Lang. And after missing the playoffs in 2008, the Packers have not missed the playoffs since and have won a Super Bowl.

This is another move up the board in which it's easy to make the call: Good move.

2010: The Chargers trade up for the 12th overall pick.

The San Diego Chargers were emerging from the mediocre AFC West as a team considered to have a good shot at going to the Super Bowl. That might have prompted them to make the move up the board, in which they got the 12th overall pick from the Miami Dolphins. To make the trade happen, the Chargers sent the 28th overall pick, plus their second- and fourth-round picks, and linebacker Tim Dobbins, while the Dolphins sent their fourth- and sixth-round selections along with the 12th pick. San Diego tabbed running back Ryan Mathews with the 12th pick, and finished the draft with six selections.

Mathews was a frustrating player, as he had a pair of 1,000-yard rushing seasons, but missed too many games with injuries. Linebacker Donald Butler has been a solid starter, and cornerback Darrell Stuckey was a solid depth player, but over the long term, the Chargers never did reach the Super Bowl. Instead, they slid into mediocrity and both general manager A.J. Smith and head coach Norv Turner lost their jobs in 2012.

It's another draft-day trade up the board that's tough to judge. Again, you could lean toward it being a negative, as Mathews didn't live up to expectations, but it wasn't exactly a move that massively set the franchise back. Indifferent.

2010: The Broncos trade up for the 25th overall pick.

The Broncos' 2010 draft was interesting, as they twice moved down the board, before moving up a couple of spots for wide receiver Demaryius Thomas. Then comes the trade that got far more people talking: To get the 25th overall pick from the Baltimore Ravens, the Broncos dealt a second-, a third-, and a fourth-round pick. The player they chose: Tim Tebow.

We all know the story about Tebow, who provided anything ranging from excitement to frustration, depending on the week and whoever you talked to. In the long run, though, the coach who drafted him (Josh McDaniels) was gone after the 2010 season and the Broncos traded Tebow to the Jets in the 2012 offseason for fourth- and sixth-round picks.

The flipside is that the move up the board didn't really jeopardize the Broncos' draft situation. Earlier in the first round, when they twice moved down, they gained two third-round picks and one fourth rounder, and when the draft was finished, they made nine total selections. Of those selections, they got mileage out of Thomas, offensive guard Zane Beadles and wide receiver Eric Decker.

There will be those who point to Tebow's fans as not worth the headache, but they aren't relevant to my criteria. What's relevant is that Tebow wasn't the long-term solution at quarterback, but he had his moments and the Broncos didn't hurt their overall draft in moving up for him. Indifferent.

2011: The Falcons trade up for the sixth overall pick.

The2011 offseason was mostly quiet because most time was spent getting a new collective bargaining agreement settled. The draft took place as usual, though, and the Atlanta Falcons made headlines with a bold move up the board. To get the sixth overall pick from the Cleveland Browns, the Falcons dealt the 26th overall pick, a second-round pick, two fourth-rounds picks, and their 2012 first-round pick. For all this, the Falcons drafted Julio Jones. They finished the 2011 draft with six total selections.

Here's yet another move up the board that's difficult to judge. Jones is a talented receiver, coming off his best season as a pro, with 104 receptions for 1,593 yards. But while the Falcons were coming off a 13-3 season, and made the playoffs the next two seasons, they followed with back-to-back losing seasons. The lack of a first-round pick in 2012 may have cost them a chance to get an impact player then. And the rest of the 2011 draft didn't generate much, other than backup running back Jacquizz Rodgers and depth player Cliff Matthews.

Jones has been a quality player, but his presence hasn't been the difference between the Falcons simply making the playoffs, and reaching the Super Bowl. It's a move up the board that definitely falls right in the middle in terms of its impact. Indifferent.

2012: Washington trades up for the second overall pick.

You should be familiar with what happened on March 24, 2012. That's the date when the St. Louis Rams found a taker for the second overall pick. The Washington franchise came calling, dealing their first-round picks for the next three seasons (the 2012 pick was sixth overall), plus a 2012 second-round pick. The player Washington wanted: quarterback Robert Griffin III. Washington made nine total selections in 2012.

Again, I imagine everyone knows the story here. RG3 delivered plenty of excitement as a rookie and Washington made the playoffs, but RG3 tore his ACL down the stretch and tried to play through it. The result was an awful 2013 season that cost head coach Mike Shanahan his job, and since then,RG3 has struggled, with some doubting he really has what it takes to be a worthy starter.

Washington didn't hurt its overall 2012 draft, getting a good starting running back in Alfred Morris and decent depth players such as offensive lineman Tom Compton and linebacker Keenan Robinson. On the other hand, the other two first-round picks Washington sent to St. Louis could have come in handy in finding additional impact players.

Washington did pick up the option year on RG3's rookie contract, but that may be less because they think he can revive his career, and more because they aren't convinced they can find a better option in the draft or free agency next year. I lean towards the negative here, because losing those first-round picks from the past two seasons hasn't helped the team. But maybe it's not too late for RG3 to turn it around. Bad move, at least for now.

2012: The Browns trade up for the third overall pick.

When the first day of the draft started, everybody knew Andrew Luck and RG3 would be the first two players off the board. The buzz now focused on who would be next, and rumblings surrounded one player drawing interest from multiple teams, to the point that Cleveland swapped picks with the Minnesota Vikings to move up one spot. To get the third overall pick, the Browns sent the fourth overall pick, plus fourth-, fifth-, and seventh-round selections to Minnesota. Cleveland selected running back Trent Richardson, and finished the draft with 11 selections.

On the surface, this would appear to be a bad idea, given what we know about Richardson. But looking a little deeper, Richardson ran for 950 yards and 11 touchdowns in his rookie season, which gave Browns fans some hope. The Browns then appeared to give up quickly on him the next season, sending him to the Colts for a first-round pick in 2014. That was when we saw Richardson go downhill in terms of production, and Browns fans who were frustrated felt some relief in getting a high pick for him.

As far as the 2012 draft overall went, the Browns found a starter in offensive lineman Mitchell Stewart, and decent depth in defensive linemen John Hughes and Billy Winn, and wide receiver Travis Benjamin. So it wasn't like the move to get Richardson put the Browns in a bad draft position.

The truth is, the Browns' issues with failing to make the playoffs have less to do with the move to get Richardson, and more to do with constant turnover in the front office, and an owner that has done such a haphazard job of overseeing the team. Richardson may not have been an impact player, but the move to get him was far from one of the worst draft moves ever made. Indifferent.

And briefly looking at moves the last two years:

2013: The Rams trade up for the eighth overall pick -- The St. Louis Rams got that pick from the Buffalo Bills, along with the Bills' third-round pick, for the 16th overall pick, a second-round pick, the Rams' third-round pick, and a seventh-round pick. They selected wide receiver Tavon Austin, who has been a fine return man, but has yet to become an impact player at receiver. Perhaps 2015 could be the year?

2013: The Falcons trade up for the 22nd overall pick -- The Atlanta Falcons got this pick, plus a seventh-round pick in 2015, from the St. Louis Rams, for the Falcons' first- (30th overall), third-, and sixth-round selections. Atlanta selected cornerback Desmond Trufant, who has emerged into a pretty good player. So far, so good.

2013: The Vikings trade up for the 29th overall pick -- The Minnesota Vikings traded back into the first round to get this pick from the New England Patriots, sending their second-, third-, fourth-, and seventh-round selections. The Vikings selected wide receiver Cordarelle Patterson, who was fine as a rookie, but seems to fall out of favor with the coaching staff last season. He'll need to break out this year for the Vikings' move to pay off.

2014: The Bills trade up for the fourth overall pick -- The Buffalo Bills got the pick from the Cleveland Browns, who got from the Bills the ninth overall pick, and first- and fourth-round picks in 2015. Buffalo selected wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who had a solid, but not spectacular, rookie season. Watkins still has plenty of upside, but only time will tell if the move was worth it.