Bamabuc asked me yesterday why I was disappointed yesterday, I was a bit befuddled by the question because I like both Mark Barron (though have concerns about injury) and Doug Martin. Neither player was a huge reach and the source of my discomfort wasn’t clearly known to me. I’d like to thank Crimson Sabre for making me come to a conclusion I hadn’t seen before, namely that Mark Dominik DRAFTS FOR NEED.
This is a terrible draft strategy, draft for need and you are sure to bleed. I know that’s not a universal opinion, but history and success bares out that teams that take the best player available – are consistently better than teams who try to fill holes. The Baltimore Ravens, Pittsburgh Steelers, New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, Green Bay Packers, and Detroit Lions (Under Mayhew) are all considered the teams that perennially draft for need, not coincidentally 5 of the 6 made the playoffs; and other than Detroit they are all perennial playoff contenders. It was also pointed out that after each of our last three drafts we get consistent A’s and B’s from the evaluators for “filling needs” ; yet we have a .354 winning percentage the last three seasons: Not good, by any measure, because were building through the draft but picking for need. So why is need such a poor evaluator of talent:
Two things about the draft are universally true-
1) No player is sure fire – Busts can and will happen, by drafting for need other than the best player increases your chance of busting on a player.
2) Position value changes from year to year – Would your player be top 10 in any draft? Would he be a first rounder in any draft? Would he be the best player at his position in any draft?
Luck, RGIII, Richardson , Kalil, and Claiborne were top 10 in ANY DRAFT. The same isn’t true for Barron, Kuechly, or Gilmore, Barron would have been the 3rd safety in the 2010 class that included Berry and Earl Thomas but ahead of Mays who went in round 2, likely gets drafted somewhere from 17-30. Moving out of that range required more than the 4th round pick they got.
Caveats: Obviously you can’t draft 7 1st round QB’s in a row, so there are sometimes when trading back or passing on the best player available makes sense(though Detroit’s 3rd straight WR was actually their best and clearly BPA) but it should only be done if:
1- You have a Pro Bowl Caliber player, with more than 3 years left, at that position.
2- The Trade back offer gives you another starter in a value spot.
3- Your picking a player of the same caliber from another position.
4- The Player has an injury or character issue your not comfortable with
5- Your drafting a franchise QB within 10 spots of value (protection)
----I wanted to post a statistical summary of the draft from 2005-2010 (all first round picks) but that’s simply too long. So I went back to my own draft rescources and Mel Kiper’s guide and asked: What would this team look like had Tampa simply taken the top rated player, regardless of position, on the board where Tampa made their pick.
YEAR WHO WE CHOSE TOP RATED
2005 Cadillac Williams
Who was BPA:
RB Cadillac Williams RB(But the injury history was known)
Demarcus Ware DE/OLB (Split vote on this one)
Aaron Rodgers (Gruden wanted him)
2006 Davin Jospeh OG
BPA: Nick Mangold C (I’d have to take Mangold over Joseph today)
2007 Gaines Adams DE
BPA: Adrian Peterson RB
LaRon Landry S (Alternate had we taken Caddy)
2008 Aqib Talib CB
BPA: Michael Jenkins CB (Talib was our “need for speed”)
2009 Josh Freeman QB (Think he meets the QB exception, if not Matt Flynn?)
BPA: Michael Oher OT
2010 Gerald McCoy DT
BPA: Gerald McCoy DT(Value met Need)
2011 Adrian Clayborn DE
Adrian Clayborn DE (Value meets Need)
--As you can see it’s not so much that the value picks, in most cases, are VASTLY better, but just better enough that on aggregate – you’d have a better team than you do today. Based on his last two drafts I had assumed that after nailing his QB in 2009, Dom was drafting for value. He said he’d learned from his earlier mistakes – he hasn’t. He’s actually on the need train – Teams who draft for needs pick A LOT between 1 and 16. Teams who draft for value tend to draft between 17 and 32. The latter is where I want to be drafting.