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Draft Strategy Primer: What Kind Of Bear Is Best?

A quick primer in the NFL Draft.

A classic case in drafting the "best player available."
A classic case in drafting the "best player available."
Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

When it comes to the NFL Draftthere are basically two schools of thought: do you draft for positional need, or do you draft the best player available? Sometimes these two methods converge, for example, if you desperately need a quarterback and there's a quarterback on the board you believe is better at what he does than any other player. As we'll see, they aren't the only two methods, but they're the general approaches most others fall under.

If John Idzik is to be believed, last year the New York Jets selected Dee Milliner and Sheldon Richardson because they were the best available players. This argument made the most sense in the case of Richardson, since the team had previously selected Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples at the same spot. In this instance, like the New York Giants loading up on pass rushers, it fortified an already strong position and made it the backbone of the team.

But what strategy do the teams in the National Football League follow? Under Bill Polian, the Indianapolis Colts drafted mostly for need... and we saw how that turned out when he was fired. The Chicago Bears under Phil Emery tend to look at the best player available, while the Green Bay Packers looks at specific physical traits and a culture fit. The New England Patriots also often look to positional value, and the Atlanta Falcons under Thomas Dimitroff had no problem trading the draft for Julio Jones, a player at a position of need, when they thought they were one player away from the Super Bowl.

So, there are a lot of ways to approach the draft. I personally believe in drafting in the first, second, and third rounds almost entirely by the best player available. After that, you can use the rest of the draft to fill in depth at positions of need and find whatever other necessary players by free agency. I like the idea of stockpiling the best talent you can find, regardless of if you already have other good players on the team. I don't believe you can have enough talented wide receivers or cornerbacks, and they provide excellent trade bait. Plus, you never know who might get injured, so it helps to have a good insurance policy.

How do you think the New York Jets should approach the NFL Draft?