It shouldn't come as much of a surprise that some talented young teams have pretty much copied the philosophy of the most stable franchises in the NFL.
Lets take a look at a few.
It appears that Cincinnati has had a third consecutive successful draft and are now legit threats to take over the AFC North. Its strategy going into each draft has been to select value over need. Let's look at the Bengals 2012 draft as an example of this.
|Year ||Pick ||Player ||Position ||Miller Ranking
|2012 ||53 ||Devon Still ||Defensive Tackle ||
|2012 ||83 ||Mohamed Sanu ||Wide Receiver ||48
|2012 ||116 ||Orson Charles ||Tight End ||58
|2012 ||166 ||Marvin Jones ||Wide Receiver ||66
|2012 ||167 ||George Iloka ||Safety ||67
While Cincinnati did not get the same type of value in the 2013 NFL draft, they still did bring in six players that I personally had with third-round grades or better. That's how you build off two successful seasons on the field and find depth at certain positions.
St. Louis Rams
Our very own Brad Gagnon broke down what St. Louis has already acquired in the now infamous "Robert Griffin III" trade from last March.
It's a who's who of talent coming to St. Louis. The names include: Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Isaiah Pead, Alec Ogletree, Stedman Bailey and Zac Stacy. This doesn't even take into account the 2014 first-round pick the Rams acquired in the deal.
While this trade has obviously worked out well for Washington, it has given the Rams ammunition to compete with San Francisco and Seattle in the NFC West for years to come.
I also wouldn't be surprised to see general manager Les Snead turn the '14 selection into even more picks. After all, it would take a page out of Trent Baalke's book in San Francisco with the Alex Smith trade.
Surprised? Well, you really shouldn't be.
Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie was one of Ted Thompson's most trusted associates with the Green Bay Packers for nearly two decades. He has brought that very same front office philosophy out west to Oakland.
Handcuffed by multiple bad trades from the previous regime, McKenzie has lacked the necessary firepower to be a player in both the free-agent market and on draft day. The talented front office executive changed this last week.
He traded down multiple times, including out of the top 10 with the Miami Dolphins. McKenzie then nabbed D.J. Hayden, who he was targeting all along at No. 12, while picking up a second-round pick Oakland lost in the Carson Palmer trade a couple of years earlier. That selection was used for Menelik Watson, a high-upside offensive tackle that projects to start on the right side of the line for the next 5-10 years.
McKenzie then went the value/need route later in the draft. He picked up Tyler Wilson in the fourth, Nick Kasa in the sixth and one of my favorite small-school defenders in David Bass from Missouri Western in the seventh.
While the sample size isn't large, McKenzie seems to be bringing some sort of balance and credibility to a Raiders organization that had been mired in mediocrity for a good decade prior to his arrival.