Titus Young: I Can’t Believe I Just Wrote This.

Welp, my re-arrival to the 1-3-1 Sports team has come a day early. Lucky you.

I was just working on some Super Bowl musings (Was my original plan of re-arriving) when I stumbled across the quote, “Titus Young can’t be traded,” or something like that. Don’t quote me. It was a tweet from Dave Birkett, go look it up for yourself if you need all of the facts. (@davebirkett) Man, I am a journalistic integrity machine.

Anyways, I read that and thought, “Hm. I’ve been hearing this a lot lately, and I don’t think I agree with it.” So, I decided to sort of analyze this statement from a statistical standpoint. (I get it, it’s the off field stuff. I’ll get there.)

The theory was simple enough, a 7th round draft pick is presumably the least valuable player (or soon to be player) that Titus Young could be traded for. An average 7th round pick is worth about nine points according to the NFL Draft Point Value Chart. (Pictured below) I realize no-name practice players could be considered less valuable than 7th round picks, and there could be an argument there, but it would be arguing over semantics at that point.


(neat point chart!)

So, the common thought about Titus Young is that he is untradeable and any value he had was squashed to bits when he went on his Twitter and dared the Lions to cut him. (I wish I could link to this, but I can’t figure it out on this fancy new system we’re using.) By saying this (Young is untradeable) people are saying they would rather draft a player in the 7th round than have Titus Young on their team. It is a fair statement to make, and most people probably agree with it because nobody wants a diva receiver who seems to make more trouble than plays. I, (again) lucky for you, am here to argue that point.

To start I went back and looked at the 7th round (including all compensatory picks) of the last two drafts and I picked out all of the receivers that were taken and what their career stats were.  Next, I looked up Titus Young’s career stats and I compared them. The results for this were as follows.

2012 NFL Draft – Five receivers taken in the 7th round. 15 catches for 195 yards.

2011 NFL Draft – Four receivers taken in the 7th round. 19 catches for 215 yards and one touchdown.

7th round receivers total – 34 catches for 410 yards and one touchdown.

Titus Young Sr. (lol…sr.) – 81 catches for 990 yards and ten touchdowns.

Obviously, the numbers aren’t even close, and I didn’t expect them to be. I also don’t think this a totally fair data set either. Young was a 2nd round pick so a pretty high level of production is expected. To counter this I added another draft.

2010 NFL draft – Three receivers taken in the 7th round. 20 catches for 208 yards. I must also note that Marc Mariani was taken in the 7th round of this draft and has three career return touchdowns for Tennessee.

New 7th rounders total – 54 catches 618 yards and four total touchdowns, three of which came from one guy on punt/kick returns.

Young’s unchanged totals – 81 catches for 990 yards and ten touchdowns

Still. Not. Close.

I then decided I would do this until the 7th round players actually passed Young’s numbers. It didn’t take long, because next up was the 2009 NFL draft, which I am now declaring the greatest 7th round for receivers ever. Eight receivers were taken in the round, highlighted by Julian Edelman and Sammie Stroughter (Don’t google him, he’s on Tampa Bay). Edelman’s career numbers (four seasons) are 69 catches for 714 yards and four touchdowns. He also does a good bit of returning and has three career return touchdowns. Stroughter came in with a 60-639-1 line, which, you know, isn’t really awful. The other six receivers combined for 39 catches for about 500 yards and two touchdowns. This has all been done over four seasons, mind you.

So, it’s pretty safe to say that Edelman is the best 7th round receiver in this group and in four seasons he isn’t really close to the numbers Young put up in a season and a half. Outside of Edelman only Stroughter and Mariani have provided much of anything to their teams. Three total players out of the twenty that were picked. 15%.

We’re almost there.

“Okay, so Young has better numbers than a bumbling group of 7th rounders, what about the off the field stuff? That is the root of all of this.”

Yes, he is a diva and a child, there’s no denying that. But he can (and for his sake, hopefully will) grow up. An organization with a “good locker room” and strong veteran presence could be really great for Young (Think of what Ray Lewis and Anquan Boldin would have done to him this season). Obviously this would be an ideal situation for Young to land in.

Let’s say he doesn’t go to a good place and he continues on the same path he has for his first two seasons. Even with all of his off field issues, Young played in 26 of his first 32 games, or 81%. So he was unavailable and useless 19% of the time. Remember that group of 7th round guys? Well seven of those 20 had/have zero career offensive statistics. 35%. Titus got you nothing 19% of the time, 7th round receivers got you nothing 35% of the time and that’s not including the large chunk of players with super minimal production (one career catch, three career catches, etc.) Even with all of his off the field issues, he is way more reliable than your average 7th round receiver.

So, what’s the point of all this? Titus Young smashes the 7th rounders in stats, and while I expected their to be a very sizable gap between the two, I didn’t realize quite how big it would be. Three full rounds of receivers didn’t come close to Young’s numbers, so from that standpoint it would make sense to give up three seventh round picks for Titus Young. Hardly “untradeable”.

His off the field issues make him a tough sell, but the numbers (they never lie right?) show that he is almost two times more reliable to be on the field producing than a 7th round receiver is. If you would have a problem paying 2nd round money for a risk, then I totally understand, but he could be worth the risk for a bold GM out there.

Well I was going to wrap everything up and make a final point, but I just realized I researched and wrote a way too long piece for the sole purpose of arguing that Titus Young has no value as trade bait, because I got annoyed by a few quotes by irresponsible commenters. I let the words of others get to me and I’m truly disappointed in myself. I don’t even like Titus Young. What the hell?

Here’s my new final point. Titus Young + change of scenery = good. 7th round draft pick = bad. I would give up a 7th round pick for him and I would have done it yesterday.



Author: Burt Reynolds, or something

Grading the Lions’ Draft.

1st round – Riley Reiff, OT, Iowa – Although the pick is “boring” I was quite happy with it. Reiff was projected in the top 15 of most drafts and getting him at 23 was a very good value. Expect him to play at  right tackle next year and be an upgrade of Gosder Cherilus. He is a physical run blocker and was durable in his two years starting at Iowa. Grade: A-

2nd round – Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma – The most controversial pick of the Lions’ draft; without a doubt. Broyles was extremely productive, when healthy, at Oklahoma, but wide receiver isn’t a need, as far as any of us know. I was mad at first when the Lion’s made this pick, but the rest of their draft changed my mind about it (see explanation below). When Broyles is healthy he will be another talented piece to the Lions’ offensive puzzle and can help in the return game. Grade: C

3rd round – Dwight “Bill” Bently, CB, Louisiana Lafayette – Although I have been unable to read Mel Kiper and Todd Mcshay’s mock drafts for day 2 (I need to get ESPN Insider) I have been told they BOTH had the Lions draft Bently in the 2nd round. We got him in the 3rd. He is a 4.4 guy who has good ball skills. Although undersized, he has the potential to be a playmaker in the secondary. This pick alone made the Broyles pick OK in my book. If we took Bently in the 2nd round, like the “experts” thought, and Broyles in the 3rd round nobody would be upset about it. Grade: A-

4th round – Ronnell Lewis, DE/OLB, Oklahoma – Lewis has the potential to be the best value the Lions got in this draft. He is a fast and physical edge rusher who can provide a jump for the defense. He is a smaller guy, but I’m sure the Lions will have a few blitz packages drawn up specifically for him. If he adds some more pounds to his frame he could be a full time DE with his hand in the ground every game.  I expect him to remain similar to the size he is now and be used mainly as a hybrid type player that is moved all over the place. Injury problems and a history of poor performance in the classroom caused him to fall to the 4th round. Grade: B

Late Rounds – 5 -Tahir Whitehead, OLB, Temple, 5 – Chris Greenwood, CB, Albion, 6 – Jonte Green, CB, New Mexico State, 7 – Travis Lewis, ILB, Oklahoma. Like most late round picks, none of these guys are close to a sure thing. Whitehead will be a strong special teams player this year and could possibly develop into a good linebacker in his career. Greenwood is an athletic freak at corner and dominated Division III this past season. Who knows how he will handle the adjustment to the NFL. Jonte Green will be another special teamer who can possibly develop into a 3rd coner, or a nickel corner. Travis Lewis left Oklahoma as the 3rd leading tackler in school history. A broken toe early in his senior season caused his draft stock to fall from mid rounds to his 7th round pick. He too could contribute on special teams early. With fifth, sixth and seventh round picks it is more about quantity as opposed to quality. The Lions got a good group in the late rounds and if they hit on one it will be a success. Grade : B-

Final grade: B. Overall it was a good draft. Not great. Not bad, but good. When reviewing the draft it is important to react to ALL of the picks as a whole, not individually. The Broyles pick looked a lot better after the third round pick of Bently and the six straight defensive picks to end the draft. While it may have been a reach at the time, it worked out. I expect the top four picks to contribute this year and perhaps one or two of the late round guys can make an impact as well.


Author: Wil Hunter