Draft Strategy: CSF Football 101
There is no one way to do the NFL draft. There are definitely wrong ways, just ask the Raiders. Some general managers will take the best player available no matter what. Some will draft specifically for team need; these teams want more than great players. They want great players that fill a need or fit their scheme. Some teams will do anything to trade up while others like the Patriots & 49ers trade for as many picks as they can get. Let’s examine draft strategy.
Ozzie Newsome is the model for BPA (Best Player Available). The Ravens have needs at RT and FS, but they could draft any position. If Ozzie Newsome values a guy like Alabama linebacker CJ Mosley, don’t be surprised to see him drafted at pick 17. Ozzie Newsome will always stay true to his board. The Ravens place a value on each player. When the Ravens are on the clock they try to get the most value they can draft.
Every now and then you will get a team to trade up, forfeiting a heavy price. Take the Atlanta Falcons pursuit to get Julio Jones. In 2011 Atlanta traded 2 1st round picks, a second and even 2 4th round picks. Atlanta traded a lot of value to get one player. Jones is a star but the Falcons had other needs. Now they have the 6th pick in the 2014 NFL draft. It’s not like Cleveland built a monster with those picks. Also it’s impossible to blame the Falcons’ 2013 collapse on the trade. The Falcons got their guy and they did it with conviction. That’s the way they played it.
Bill Belichick does not play by the book’s rules. For starters he finds players that fit his needs. So often, you’ll hear the Mel Kiper’s of the world saying that Belichick reached on a player. The player though does well because he is perfect for the role the Patriots envision.
Secondly Belichick loves to stockpile picks. He loves trading back, accumulating more and more picks. Sometimes he uses these selections to move up to get his guy. Sometimes he trades them for players. Everyone remembers when he threw a 4th round pick Oakland’s way for Randy Moss. Albert Haynesworth and Chad (I refuse to call him his changed name) Johnson, were the less successful examples.
When trading it is all about value. Sometimes you value a player enough to move up. To do so, you must do it responsibly. If you have seen the movie Draft Day, forget what you have seen; that’s lunacy. Everything in the draft is about value, because every pick is worth something.
There is no one way to do the NFL Draft. There are plenty of wrong ways to draft. The Oakland Raiders, notorious for 1st round busts, have made just about every mistake imaginable. When Darius Heyward-Bey got drafted 7th in 2009; no one could believe it. Other embarrassments include JaMarcus Russell and the twice retired Rolando McClain.
The draft is a science. This is merely a brief look into some of the draft strategies. For more information on football and the draft, make sure you check out our other articles.