The Draft: BPA Vs. Need

The 2010 NFL season is over and despite the lack of a Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) as of this writing, the 2011 NFL draft will go on as scheduled on April 28-30th at the Radio City Hall, N.Y. Make no mistake, this event is the building block of all NFL teams. Owners of these teams send all of their brain trusts to the college combine to try and determine who, of the hundreds of college prospects will best fit their team and help them win the coveted Super Bowl.

So within there lies the 100 million dollar question sports fans. As a GM of a NFL team what type of methodology do you employ? Should you take the Best Player Available (BPA) or draft who you feel is the best at the position of your greatest need? Or do you possibly use a mixture of the two? Ideally, the BPA would be a player of the position of your greatest need, or your team is in the unique position that you can afford to draft the BPA, regardless of position. Simple statistics tell us that is unlikely to occur. So, what do you do? The debate is older than which came first, the chicken or the egg, and each side has its followers, and each side has coaches who have won Super Bowls, or became NFL analysts on television providing advice on “how not to draft”.

Let’s take a brief look at this years’ possibilities, first for Carolina who is currently on the clock and then to Miami, who is scheduled to pick 15th.
Carolina had a record of 2-14 last year and scored less than 200 points and gave up more than 400. Both were the worst in the division. In an effort to rebuild, Carolina has hired a new HC and has various needs on each side of the ball, including a QB. Do you take the BPA or greatest need? Arguably, the greatest need is QB and some mock drafts have the Panthers taking Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert. However, should you decide to take the BPA, many analysts believe that to be Patrick Peterson, a CB out of LSU.

Peterson has been described by analysts as being the “cleanest” player in the draft. “Clean” meaning there are no areas of concern. Keep in mind, a CB HAS NEVER been a first overall pick in the NFL.
One factor that makes the decision making for the draft so difficult aside from the obvious unknown is how much weight do you give every position? Surely, the QB position is given more weight than a kicker. If both the QB and kicker rated a 9 out of 10 for their perspective positions and you needed both, you would most likely draft the QB, right? But what if it was an ILB or CB and the QB only rated a 7. Makes for a difficult decision, doesn’t it. The coach who believes in the BPA takes an ILB or CB who rates at a 9 over a 7th rated QB every time. Let’s take a look at the Dolphins situation.

Miami is “scheduled” to pick 15th and does not have a second round pick. Rumor has it they will try and move down to recoup the 2nd round pick, but for now, let’s assume they pick at 15. If you have read articles on Phinphanatic or other Fin related sites, you are probably aware of the needs for the team. Most will agree they are (in no particular order), offensive linemen, running back, tight end, linebacker, possible QB and safety. It seems the nose tackle and center positions have been solidified through recent signings.



So, as Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano, what do you do? Obviously, it is impossible to know who will be available, but that is why they have a draft board that has been created after thousands of hours of watching film, workouts and meetings. Let’s assume the top two or three QB’s are off the board. Is there another QB worth the reach? Not in my opinion, there isn’t. Personally, if I couldn’t move down, I take a lineman, probably Pouncey, who I consider the BPA at a position of need. However, many mocks have the Fins taking RB Mark Ingram out of Alabama, and a case for the recent Heisman Trophy winner can certainly be made. What do you do?

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  • corners

    BPA. Its like picking teams in school or whatnot. You always take best available or you will end up with a bad team

  • thomas loy

    Greatest need. In this case, if Julio Jones falls to miami at #15, I would draft him. WR problems solves. Jone would keep defenses from double covering Brandon Marshall, and give Miami a downfield threat. Otherwise, draft a RT, and move carey to guard. Miami now has a bookend set of tackles, and with incognito signed, center is set. Another possibility is to draft pouncey. He can play either center or guard, and would solidify the interior offensive line.

  • Rich

    Certain Positions make bigger impact than others… and you can only get them in the first 2 rounds.
    NT – 60% of runs go through the middle. If you have a pro-bowl NT, then he’s getting sacks and shutting down the run.

    QB – if you don’t have one… you keep wasting 2nd rounders.

    Center – 60% of runs go through the middle. It’s nice to have a running game.

    If you could have any 3 probowlers on a team, you’d like them to be these 3 positions, and you don’t get probowlers here after round 1. If you can pay for a probowler at these 3 positions, you do it.
    Round 2 is first round talent at discounted prices (most important round)
    Round 3 and 4: lower priority positions
    Other rounds: Injured players like Yeremiah Bell. Guys who would be first rounders but are injured. Jimmy Johnson used to say if you could pickup a backup QB in round 6 or 7… and train them for a couple years… then you could trade them and pick up extra second rounders. Unfortunately, we’ve been on the opposite side of this rule… losing second rounders for nothing.

  • John

    Fire the entire coaching staff and team, move it to Fort Lauderdale and start over calling them the Fort Lauderdale Sharks. I have had enough of this team over the past 40 years. Give me something to look forward to when Football season starts.

  • http://phinphantic Robbie Towe

    What you do is take the lineman unles you beleive ingram can be the next Adrian Peterson if not and Blaine Gabbert or whoever falls out of the top 5 you give up whatever it takes to get the next Marino you stop playing around with second rate talent at the most important postion just like the Jets did with Sanchez, when you find out who that guy is you pay the price even if its too much

  • matthew

    ive already formultaed our issues;

    trade henne and our first for carson and their second
    sign D.Williams from the panthers
    sign a fast vet to compliment Marshall(i love bess but no speed)
    Draft OL,RB,S,FS,TE