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Thread: insightful draft strategy

  1. #1
    Head Coach Material Talon_60's Avatar
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    Jul 2005
    S. Jersey

    insightful draft strategy

    Running the Numbers: BPA Doesn’t Mean Highest-Rated

    It’s really an amazing time to be a fan of the NFL. Although most strategic changes have occurred at a snail’s pace, we’re entering a time when many organizations are questioning fundamental concepts regarding how to win. The days of dogmatic decision-making, while still present, are being replaced by more objective, scientific thinking. Teams have embraced analytics in order to make far more accurate and efficient choices. We’ve seen this with a higher pass rate and more aggressive fourth-down decisions—both of which will continue to increase as teams realize they’re advantageous.

    The same slow-to-change mindset that led so many NFL coaches to hold onto their “you-have-to-run-the-ball-to-win” and “defense-wins-championships” mentalities is also very much alive in draft strategies. Specifically, teams trumpet the importance of taking the highest-rated player on the board at all costs—an approach many refer to as “best player available.” Like running the ball on first-and-10 or kicking an extra point when down eight, I believe the “best player available” draft strategy—as it refers to selecting the highest-rated player on the board—will eventually die out.

    Now, I’m certainly in the minority in my thinking; I know of only a handful of people who agree that teams shouldn’t always draft the highest-rated player on their board. So let me explain why I believe the best draft strategy is a whole lot more complex—and flexible—than “best player available.”

    Draft Possibilities Exhibit a Range

    So often it appears as though draft strategies are split up into a distinct dichotomy; you’re either drafting the best player available, or you’re drafting for need, they say. It’s so engrained into our minds that it almost seems like a given that drafting for need necessitates forgoing the highest-rated player. But it doesn’t.

    The best player available/drafting for need dichotomy fails on two levels. First, it assumes that drafting for need is the opposite of drafting the highest-rated player. Logically, we should know this can’t be true since it’s possible to select the best player available who happens to play the top position of need. When that happens—when a team’s highest-rated prospect plays their primary position of need—drafting is quite easy. Ideally, you’d always prefer to draft the highest-rated player and, if possible, you’d want him to play your top position of need.

    But the combination rarely occurs. In most cases, the top-rated player will play a position that’s not the most important need. So what then? Most would say you draft that player anyway, but the merits of such an idea become worse and worse as the position becomes less and less of a need.

    For example, if the Cowboys have Geno Smith rated in their top five and he falls to the No. 18 pick, does anyone really think they’ll take him? There’s no chance of it, and there shouldn’t be. That’s because quarterback isn’t a need at all for Dallas, meaning Smith would be the “true” opposite of drafting for need: drafting the top-rated player at the position of lowest need. And it’s easy to see why that strategy, although still a version of “best player available,” is just as bad as drafting the top need regardless of his position.

    In reality, draft strategies fall into a range. At the one end, we have drafting solely for need. Such an extreme strategy would be very shortsighted; teams would say “we’re drafting this one particular position, no matter who is on the board.” That’s obviously a problem.

    But at the other end of the spectrum is drafting the top-rated player at a position you don’t need at all. In most cases, that’s also a big mistake because the prospect—Smith, for example—might not ever see the field.

    Pure Need--------Top Player, Top Need--------Top Player, Lowest Need

    In the middle, we have the “Platonic ideal” of drafting—the top player at the No. 1 need position. The closer a potential prospect is to falling in the center of the range, the better he’d be as a pick. When a prospect doesn’t fall into the center of the range, teams should really be balancing their board and their needs. To select a player at a position that’s not a need at all, he would need to be rated really highly on the board—way ahead of other prospects. On the other hand, to draft a pure “need” position, the player should be ranked at least near the top of the board. It’s a delicate balancing act, but superior to blindly selecting the top-rated player...
    "E-A-G-L-E-S ... EAGLES!"

  2. #2
    Head Coach Material
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Corner Stone

    That was the most idiotic piece I ever read. ever

    The writer is an idiot. Teams with needs draft for needs, teams set draft to improve the roster, a fact. Why the **** didn't you post this in the iggles forum? Your iggles need more than the Falcons. Are you attempting to educate we hillbillies down here?

    That idiot writer repeated himself with this "dichotomy" bull****. He wrote it TWICE! awwwwww,...what a clever writer. You people make me sick. I despise the Cowboys and especially the iggles so take this **** away from me please.

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