Commentary

Three pickups that won't get ink

Cleveland and Detroit upgraded with Brown, Watson and Burleson

Updated: April 8, 2010, 10:55 AM ET
By KC Joyner | Special to ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesIf this were Facebook, Matthew Stafford might "like" this photo.

The history of the NFL shows that there are innumerable ways to go about putting up winning records -- but there is one tenet that the overwhelming majority of successful organizations follow: In order to win, you first have to find ways to stop losing games.

This seemingly obvious mind-set is often mentioned in relation to in-game items such as winning the turnover battle or converting on third downs, but it is also a very important commandment in personnel management. To put it another way, one subpar player can offset the superior play of his teammates, so it is very important for teams to ensure their roster contains as few of these below-average performers as possible.

A side effect of using this philosophy is that it changes the way to view the value of free-agent pickups and offseason trades; many teams have made quality moves in these realms, but three under-the-radar pickups stand out because they helped teams upgrade positions that were well below acceptable standards.


Two of the NFL's downtrodden franchises could have their fortunes changed -- not by big names, but by key pickups in weak areas. To find out more about the who and how, you need to be an ESPN Insider.