FanPost

2014 Draft: Sexy Beast




I know how it starts. We've all done it. The wish-list mock draft... You look at a bunch of "expert" mocks, get a sense of who's going where, lock in on some guys you like, and then... You make your dream picks, rounds one through seven. And then you lean back and decompress the lungs and say to yourself, "imagine..." The you read a bunch of nonsense from a bunch of (other) amateurs and it dawns on you... How the heck do you really know that the guy you like is gonna be there when its your team's turn to pick? How do you really know that somebody you think is better won't be there? You don't. No one does. All you can do is have an approach. And, hopefully, that the approach works.

So what's your approach? Do you prioritize by need? Do you prioritize by talent? Are you one to prioritize based upon system value (e.g. the Giants snagging DEs at every opportunity)? Do you believe in playing against the league trends to find value? E.g. as the league begins to take advantage of changes in the rules to allow for less contact down field on passing plays, and offenses begin to stock up on lighter, more mobile receivers, defenses will likely correspondingly shift to lighter, more mobile personnel as well; a smart team will sense the tea leaves and load up on more power personnel on offense to take advantage of the weaknesses of the contemporary defense.

Me? When it comes to the draft I'm still a BPA guy. If I were GM, the bigger need would not take precedent over the bigger talent. Now don't get me wrong, need will play a role. It just won't drive the train. If I have a pro bowl TE, I'm prolly not going to draft a TE high. But if I need a RB, but a much more talented WR is available than any RB is at the time, then I'ma take that WR. For me, need is "a" factor, not "the" factor. For me, I believe in talent. I believe in talent because I believe in leverage. I believe that the team that has the ability to impose it's will, wins. The team that dictates terms, wins. Its not the team with the least weaknesses; ie not the team with the most holes plugged. Its the team with the stronger strength. The team that can do a thing so well that it forces you to allocate extra resources to stop it, wins. The team that does a thing so well that it forces you to overcompensate and leave yourself vulnerable elsewhere, wins. Its not about being the least weak. Its about being the most strong. Drafting towards need is drafting towards death. I believe in drafting towards strength. I believe that talent trumps all.

I believe that you should draft talent and then augment your system to allow it to flourish. Talent should flourish. Systems of rigidity don't last. But I also believe that an eye should always be wary of current trends. If you run a 34 defense, and the 34 defense becomes en vogue, it will be hard to find talent at premium positions because everybody else will be looking for the same things that you are. Your system must be flexible enough to allow you to take advantage of the talent available. So if everybody is looking for that athletic weapon of a TE, you'll probably be able to find a really good blocking TE in a later round; and if your system is flexible enough, you can weaponize that blocking to your advantage. Talent trumps all.

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