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Why Selecting Best Player Available in NFL Draft a Myth

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Jonathan Bales

If you are a casual reader of Dallas Cowboys Times, you may gloss over the comments at the bottom of each post.  If you have the time, I highly recommend delving into those thoughts in greater detail, as I consider many of them to be just as intriguing and thought-provoking as the actual articles.

As the draft approaches, one of the topics we’ve begun to discuss in those comments is complex draft strategy.  With the Cowboys in a bit of an awkward position with the ninth overall selection, a lot of opinions have been put forth regarding what the team should do in that spot.  Try to trade down?  Select the best player available?  Select the best player available at a position of need?

Like many (or even most) of the long-held NFL “truisms,” the concept of selecting the BPA (best player available) is mistaken.  As is the case with punting on 4th and 1 or always kicking extra points, selecting the BPA will actually lead to sub-par results.

But what about all the NFL GMs, such as the Colts’ Bill Polian or the Ravens’ Ozzie Newsome, who claim they always select the BPA?  Well, they’re lying.  No general manager always selects the BPA.  Many, however, select the BPA at a position of need.

While there are various sub-sets of strategies inherent to this particular philosophy, I plan to show that, contrary to just about anything else you’ll read concerning draft strategy, selecting the BPA at a position of need is also an inefficient means of drafting.

The key to this strategy is a concept I’ve discussed in a few of my fantasy football articles–VORP (value over replacement player). The term actually arose from Sabermetrics–a means of objective baseball analysis which was a primary impetus for the creation of this site.

In any event, I’ve defined VORP in the past:

In a nutshell, VORP means selecting not the player with the most projected points, but the player with the largest disparity of projected points compared to the next player at the same position who you could secure in a later round.

If you read between the lines, you can see game theory is really the backbone of this strategy.  To effectively maximize value, it is critical to understand perceived worth.

Let’s take a real world example.  Suppose the Cowboys’ top-rated player, for some strange reason, is Temple’s Muhammad Wilkerson.  According to their board, Wilkerson is the best player available and, even better, he fits a position of need.

Is it intelligent to select Wilkerson at No. 9 overall?  Of course not!  Even if the ‘Boys truly believe Wilkerson will be the best player to come out of this draft, their knowledge of other teams’ thoughts on Wilkerson must be at the forefront of their own draft strategy.  You can see with this simple example why bypassing the BPA is often a prudent strategy.

Now, let’s take a more realistic example–one I’ve been discussing for weeks–the OT/DE dilemma.  If the Cowboys secure a free safety in free agency, these two positions will undoubtedly be their greatest needs.  I’ve even projected the Cowboys to select Alabama’s Marcell Dareus (who would play defensive end in Dallas) in my Cowboys mock draft and my 32-team mock draft.

The reason?  I think Dareus will be the top player left on Dallas’ board–high enough that bypassing VORP may be a prudent strategy in this case.  But how do we determine this?  How do we know when selecting the BPA at a position of need is the optimal means by which to maximize value, and when does VORP override this?

Simple math.  For the sake of simplicity, let’s assume the ‘Boys will select a defensive end and an offensive tackle in the first two rounds, but they’re unsure of the order.  Now, let’s provide a numerical value to the possible targets.  As a guide, we will use the NFL draft trade value chart and my own 2011 NFL Draft Big Board to assign these values.

As I’ve already proposed, let’s assume Dareus (ranked No. 2 on my Big Board) is available for the Cowboys.  At that ranking, he’s worth a whopping 2,600 points.  As I’ve argued in the past, however, I think there is a major problem with selecting a defensive end in the first round.  By the time the Cowboys’ 40th selection rolls around, there is zero chance that a top-tier offensive tackle will be left on the board.  My top five tackles–Tyron Smith, Ben Ijalana, Anthony Castonzo, Gabe Carimi, and Derek Sherrod–will almost certainly be gone by the second-round.

Thus, the top offensive tackle that is left to pair with Dareus, according to my personal Big Board, is Alabama’s James Carpenter. . .all the way down at No. 71 overall.  According to the value chart, that selection is worth 235 points, bringing the Dareus/Carpenter duo to 2,835 combined points.  Certainly our VORP has been compromised, as Carpenter is terrible value in the second-round.  But is Dareus’ BPA status enough to compensate?

To determine this, let’s project the Cowboys’ possible selections if they take an offensive tackle in the first-round.  At No. 9, the ‘Boys may very well have their pick of the litter, and according to my board, Tyron Smith (No. 8 overall) is that guy.  The eighth overall selection is worth only 1,400 points–a far cry from the 2,600 that we assigned to Dareus.

We can already see the Dareus/Carpenter duo is going to win out.  Even if the Cowboys somehow land Cal’s Cameron Jordan in the second-round (which is clearly a pipe dream), his 14th overall ranking–worth 1,100 points–would still bring the Smith/Jordan duo to only 2,500 overall points–335 behind Dareus and Carpenter.

**It’s worth noting that, although the optimal tandem turned out to be that which was comprised of the BPA, the process by which we discovered that was still VORP.  Thus, teams will often arrive at the right selection, but implement the wrong method of getting there.  Selecting the correct player helps you now, but selecting the correct player by utilizing the proper draft strategy will help you in the future.

Of course, the Cowboys are very unlikely to assign value in a manner as crude as that which I used here.  I think I’m safe if claiming they’d prefer Smith and Jordan to Dareus and Carpenter.  Plus, they could probably acquire a top offensive tackle following a trade down, and if the extra pick they receive is north of 335 “value points,” the math shifts to favor Smith/Jordan.

If for some reason the math does play out as above, however, the Cowboys need to follow the numbers.  Mathematics often leads to counterintuitive results, but the teams which disregard their “gut” and utilize the numbers on draft day are generally the most successful.  Remember, the “gut feelings” are already implemented into a team’s rankings (whether they admit to it or not).  Draft day is not the time to follow hunches.

To display just how counterintuitive VORP can be, let’s assume the ‘Boys have the same rankings as above, but list Dareus as the No. 3 overall player on their board, dropping his value from 2,600 to 2,200.  This minor alteration drastically alters draft strategy, as the Smith/Jordan combination now becomes the optimal manner in which to maximize value (Note: I have a feeling someone is going to argue “But Jordan will never be available in the second-round.”  This is irrelevant, as you can throw anyone’s name in there.  I used my own Big Board, so Jordan was the guy I chose, but it could be Illinois’ Corey Liuget, Ohio State’s Cameron Heyard, or anyone else you think might be available in the second-round.  As long as they are No. 14 overall, it doesn’t matter).

In the example above, you can see why bypassing the BPA, even at a position of need, is optimal.  In that theoretical scenario, the Cowboys used game theory and VORP to temporarily pass on maximum value (Dareus over Smith), knowing they’d be able to compensate later in the draft.  In that way, you can see VORP is an all-encompassing draft strategy that leads to greater ultimate value than BPA–a more short-sighted draft philosophy which disregards the future in favor of optimal value right now.  Would you rather have $100 today (BPA) or $500 tomorrow (VORP)?

The latter example is also one which I think will be relevant on draft day.  Assuming the Cowboys target an offensive tackle and defensive end in the first two rounds, I really believe VORP will be a key player in their decisions.  Unless the team can secure a top-two player in their No. 9 spot, I don’t see any way that selecting a defensive end will lead to optimal drafting efficiency.  There is next to zero chance that a top offensive tackle will be available for them in the second-round, meaning the replacement player’s value won’t compensate for the team “sticking to their board” in the first-round.

Ultimately, draft strategy is a highly complex philosophy.  Despite popular consensus, drafting the BPA often leads to poor value, as does drafting the BPA at a position of need.  To truly garner the best results, a team must not only take their own rankings into consideration, but they must also utilize an understanding of other teams’ beliefs.

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33 Responses to Why Selecting Best Player Available in NFL Draft a Myth

  1. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Jonathan,

    I like the strategy. Have you given any thought to assigning values to prospects based upon their positioning according to valued draft position and taking the LOWEST VORP? In this manner, the #1 selection the Boys would like to have would be assigned a value of 1, the 2nd most desired would be 2 and so on. Therefore, that takes the “weighting” out of system where the # 2 prospect doesn’t have an inflated value (of 2600 pts).

    So, once that happens, the Boys Big Board would have 224 prospects on it, all from varying positions. They should add a few more prospects to where their Board has 300 names just for good measure. As the draft commences, the Boys would need to “cross out” all those prospects at positions that have already been picked (unless of course the Boys want 2 of those positions drafted). So, if they pick a DE w/ their 1st pick, then they take their Big Board and cross out all DEs and move everyone up. With their 2nd pick, if they select an OT, then they cross out all the remaining OT (again, ONLY if they don’t plan on selecting another OT).

    This is similar to your method and would ensure that all positions of need are selected. If in any given year they only have 4 positions of need, the 3 “other” picks can be utilized truly on the BPA.

  2. Vince_Grey says:

    JB – Very nice. As I mentioned in another article, I absolutely agree with that the line about BPA is a canard.

    Question – Here we may (Or may not) split on opinion: I think you also have to take into account the “real world” value of the actual position as well. I place a higher team value in QB’s, OT’s, and pass rushers than I do say, TE’s, DB’s, OG’s, RB’s, and, obviously, kickers and punters.

    There are two parts to this equation: One, finding a quality player in the first group is usually more difficult than in the second group, and, those first group players simply impact the game more so than the second.

    Broken down even further, for instance, I value a top safety more than a top corner. IOW’s, if Ed Reed and Revis were both available, and both were about the same age, I’d take Reed every time, no question.

    Agree or disagree?

  3. Fred Goodwin says:

    “BPA at a position of need” is identical to simply drafting for need. There is absolutely no difference.

    If you disagree, then answer a simple question: after he decides the position of need, what GM in his right mind is gonna take the 3rd or 5th best player still available at that position? They will always take the BPA at the position they’ve decided on, hence it is not necessary to append “BPA at a position of” to “need”. It is mere window dressing to make GM “reaches” sound more reasoned and reasonable. By taking a need player over the overall BPA, you are by definition taking a less talented player than you could otherwise draft.

    By using that as a long-term strategy, the overall team talent level will suffer in comparison to those teams that follow the BPA strategy.

  4. john coleman says:

    One of the biggest factors if not the biggest, is the bust factor. At #9 WE MUST CONNECT ON A SOLID PROSPECT. If not you overpay for a guy who you end up getting nothing for in return.

    Looking at the GM’s mentioned(Polian and Newsome), They limit busts! I do however question that they are as good as the perception people have of them.

    Tell me how smar Polian looks if Manning goes down and the painter has to play. In fact take Manning out and they are no better than .500.

    Then there is Newsome who simply put in his whole tenure has failed to put together an explosive offense. In fact unless you call Flacco an ELITE QB, Newsome has failed to ever put a top QB in a Ravens uniform.

    As I said to start with they limit the BIG MISS and stock their rosters with players who have some value. I guess they implore the right strategy as JB stated in the article.

    Meanwhile on the homefront we draft potential and are always gambling. In the later rds no big deal. But in the first three you need to come away with guys who will ball for you at least thru their rookie deals.

    At the end of the day I would still like to move down and get an extra 2nd or 3rd rd pick. Somewhere in the 20’s would be ok for our first pick. You could go DE/DT, ILB, OT, or CB depending on who is their and not be BIGTIME reaching. I think TJ mentioned in another post that he had only 5 or 6 guys as sure bets and I would agree. So move down, minimize the risk, gain a pick, and end up with 3 players who will help your team.

    The only exception to me in this draft would be if Peterson fell a couple of spots and we were to move up and grab him. He is the only player in this draft who I would consider ELITE at this point.

    What impact will no FA have in draft considerations? If there is a lockout.

  5. chris stallcup says:

    Well technically there is a lockout right now and the players union is filing an injunction this week……basically if they win the injunction the owners are forced to let the players play. The judge has already sided with the players regarding the tv contracts so I’m pretty sure he will grant the injunction. So imho I don’t think we have to worry about the lockout

  6. JJ says:

    JB-

    I suspect that Jerry as used the “gut” approach a few too many times, however, the BPA is a lark. Each team’s GM or trigger man has their own approach. Perhaps, it’s a variation of VORP or as Vince suggests a modified version based on evaluation of value of the position. After all, Parcells did the same thing…he would never draft a WR early because, in his mind, they took longer to develop (and ultimate insert into the lineup) than a lineman or a RB.

    Frankly, I’m for any system that allows for a solid plan in the draft. Factor in VORP. Factor in need…just have a winning plan. Let’s be honest, if a stud RB is on the board at 9 and is the BPA…should the Cowboys draft him? I say no! Why? Because, we’ve learned that RBs shelf lives are low and that a good RB can be gathered late in the draft.

    I do like your theory because a real dilemma may face the Cowboys. Knowing that OT and DE are both critical positions in which they can make a difference for a decade in picking the correct player, how do you proceed if you have one player at each position available that are arguably equal in the assessment of their ability?

  7. Tyrone–Interesting thought. I used the value chart simply as a sample, and I definitely think the value near the top is too great. While I do think there should be some sort of weighting system, the one I used was slightly impractical. It isn’t as if the Cowboys will have 32 first-round grades, for example. After their 15-20 players with first-round grades, there should be a corresponding drop in value. In the real world, that nice, clean value slope is non-existent.

    Vince–I definitely think the value of a position needs to be taken into account, but I was just assuming that was already the case. When a team makes a board, they don’t put the top kicker near the other top positions. Mike Pouncey, for example, is my top interior lineman and he’s still rated behind Aldon Smith–my sixth DE. Position value is already factored into a board.

  8. Fred–I do disagree. Drafting the BPA means selecting the top guy on your board. Selecting for need means taking the best player at one particular position of need. Drafting the BPA at a position of need is a hybrid–of course it is your top-rated player at a particular position, but the specific position isn’t determined beforehand. It leaves a little flexibility.

    You say “By taking a need player over the overall BPA, you are by definition taking a less talented player than you could otherwise draft. By using that as a long-term strategy, the overall team talent level will suffer in comparison to those teams that follow the BPA strategy.”

    I couldn’t disagree more. As I explained, you ARE taking a less talented player initially, but it is in an effort to provide maximum ULTIMATE value. The BPA strategy is short-sighted–it doesn’t take into account future picks. Without knowledge of future plans, present decision can be sub-optimal.

    The BPA strategy is also impractical. What if EVERY BPA for Dallas this draft happens to be a QB at their current pick? It would be silly to not take needs into consideration at least a bit.

  9. JC–I don’t think Polian or Newsome are horrible GMs (although I much prefer Newsome), but their claim that they always take the BPA is a lie. They factor in team needs just like every other GM.

    Your point about “not missing” in the first-round is dead on, though. I will take a player with slightly less upside in the first and even second-round if he has a really high floor. Leave the upside for the mid-to-late round picks.

  10. JJ-Right. As I said in my response to Vince, I think need should be factored into rankings before the draft. GMs and coaches don’t have time to determine if a player’s value is enough to overcome him playing a position that isn’t a need or that they simply don’t really want.

    And if I have equal DE and OT prospects, I’m immediately taking the OT in the first-round. Actually, I’d take a slightly less talented OT because I think a quality DE will be available in the second-round. That won’t be the case for OT, so the VORP at that position is very high.

  11. Mark Sands says:

    WHOA!!!—JB normally your right on your articles, but this time I have to disagree with the idea that you should go with a point value. This is all luck-lets face it. I’d much rather go to Vegas. How many 1st rounders have you seen bust? How many 7th rounders have become All Pros(Jay Radliff)? If it looks like there is going to be a run on the DE’s, and you need one, get ahead of the group and draft one. You have a better chance of a non-bust with a higher rated player . Whether we like it or not , it’s gonna be a gut feeling,on someones part, and point value is going to be different from team to team,depending on who’s Big Board your looking at. Don’t mean to be a stick in the mud,but thats how I see it.

  12. I love the intelligence of the DCT readers. Although we often agree, sometimes it is more fun to disagree so that we can break down each others’ arguments and, hopefully, subsequently strengthen them.

    As far as Mark’s comment–While the trade value chart I used was simply for demonstration purposes, I DO think teams should use a point system when grading prospects. While there have been plenty of first-round busts and seventh-round studs, there is a pretty strong overall correlation between NFL success and the round in which a player was drafted. Like Vegas, the relationship can’t be seen in a single trial or, sometimes, even over 100 trials, but eventually “the house wins,” i.e. the more highly-rated players perform better. There is A LOT of luck involved in drafting, but the best teams consistently put themselves in the best position to maximize their opportunity for success.

    One point I want to clear up. . .a few of you have seemed to think the strategy I have put forth advocates an overall less-talented group of players than the BPA or BPA/need strategies. IMO, this is not the case. VORP is less short-sighted than BPA in that it takes into account future picks, meaning the drop in talent one accepts in a particular round should be “made up for” in following rounds. Will it always work out perfectly? No, but I believe VORP gives teams the best shot of optimal drafting efficiency. Thus, while it is true that VORP sometimes advocates selecting a lower-rated player with an individual selection, it is only so that the OVERALL talent level is maximized.

    Please respond with why you think I’ve gone wrong…this is a really fun topic for me and I could discuss it all day. I think it has really far-reaching implications regarding not just draft theory, but most other value-based “games” (fantasy football, the stock market, etc).

  13. valmont says:

    “I love the intelligence of the DCT readers.”

    that’s about to be tested.

    1. You take VORP and make up your own defintion. VORP works in baseball because it uses a standarized measure (runs) that let’s you compare across players. Here you redefine VORP to be the difference if Jimmy Johnson Trade Value Chart points. Not to put to fine a point on it, but that apples and watermelons.

    2. Once you strip away the confusing unnecessary VORP overlay all you’re really saying is ‘maximize JJ Trade Value Chart points’

    3. Why? Does maximizing JJ Trade Value Chart points translate to winning? We don’t know. In baseball it does because VORP is a standarized measure: runs. Here we have no idea.

    4. And of course, maximized Trade Value Chart points is dependent on how you define need. You assume Dallas needs an OT. Change your assumption to Dallas needs a CB and you get an entirely different result. Now Dallas should obviously take the DL and the highly rated CB. In fact, if you take away the your made up constraint (i.e. take an OT), BPA by definition is going to produce the max JJ Trade Value Chart Points.

    5. Even if the VORP theory made sense, it only makes sense in the short term. What about next year when Newman is 34 and Dallas needs a CB … do you change your need assumption? Now you should have taken DL & CB to max VORP.

  14. Omar says:

    Nice analysis, but I think BPA takes into account most of these factors in the minds of most teams. Very very very rarely will the BPA not be able to help a team out. In the case of the Chargers in the 2003 (I think) draft, they took Phillip Rivers even though they had Drew Brees. Most people think that worked out okay. Or what about when the Cowboys took Dez Bryant? That worked out okay. Or when the Vikings took Adrian Peterson when they had Chester Taylor…that move worked out okay too. As far as the positions, yes a LT that’s a B+ level talent is almost always more valuable than a Pro Bowl RB. Thus, BPA reflects that.

  15. moses says:

    I agree.

    It isn’t so much how your team values the players. It is how the other team’s value the players.
    Given your scenario, I don’t think any team would decide up front to choose a DE and OT for the first 2 picks.
    It is a lot more complicated than that. In that pool are the FA available as well. If you need an OT and there are several on the market as well as in the draft, your options are a little wider. If Carpenter was the last best OT on the board, you don’t pick him. It depends on the other teams. If they rate Carpenter a 4th rounder, then you can wait.
    I also think that the coaches schemes come in to play. A lot of them have a prototype player. They don’t have to be superstars but have enough athleticism and football smarts to fulfill their responsibilities on the field.

  16. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Omar, your example of the Chargers selecting Rivers even though they had Drew Brees leaves out a larger “if” in that scenario – that is that San Diego was able to trade Brees. Lots of times, that isn’t the case.

    Say for instance that the Cowboys draft, yet again, another stud WR (let’s say AJ Green is still avail at #9) because he’s the BPA. What will be their strategy then – no one presently on the roster is tradeable due to contract. You’d have Williams, Austin, Bryant and now Green. That pick wouldn’t make sense. To be honest, the drafting of Dez Bryant was the exact same scenario – instead, the Cowboys probably would have been better off drafting an OT or FS as there were several availalbe (Nate Allen comes to mind) at the time. I realize that hindsight is always 20/20 but BPA simply doesn’t work in every case.

    The best strategy to first try and draft BPA if you can cut/trade a person currently on the roster at the same position. If that’s not a possibility, then consider reaching to position of need if the reach is only a few positions (say less than 8) down from your original slot. If that’s still not a possibility, trade down.

    There’s almost ALWAYS another team looking to trade up!

  17. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Jonathan, I think a better question is what does everyone’s Big Board look like…

    My Big Board has only DEs, OTs, FSs, CBs, RBs, WRs, FBs, ILB, OLBs and Kickers on it. There are absolutely no QBs or punters.

    Now let’s say, for an EXTREME example, that Cam Newton fell to the 7th round and it was Dallas’ pick. I still wouldn’t pick him. Why? Because, even though he may grade out to me as a 3rd or even 2nd round talent, the OPPORTUNITY COST of drafting him vs picking someone else, let’s say a NT, who may have 4th round talent but can be utilized sooner is still to high.

    There’s a draft every year and I’m sure there will be another QB that may be as good or maybe just slightly less good than Cam Newton that I can worry about then.

    As you mentioned, the manner in which GMs set up their big board is a good indication of what they need. Carolina, San Francisco and Seattle’s big boards all should have QBs on them. Dallas is the ONE team that has solid QBs at every state (one starting, one veteran who gives advice and leadership and is more than serviceable to step in if the starter goes down, and one who’s learning at what seems to be a fairly rapid pace).

    Simply put, it is unwise for now and in the future to draft a player at a position that already has a SOLID starter and fairly decent backup player regardless of the “hype” associated w/ the draft pick. Who knows, he might be a pro bowler but he might also get the injury bug or worse yet be an all out bust.

    A bird in the hand is better than another bird who’s looks prettier but you’re not even sure if it can fly yet…

  18. Valmont–

    Great response. Here’s my rebuttal:

    1. I didn’t make up a new definition for VORP, I simply used it in a different manner. I think it would be a horribly short-sighted to ONLY use VORP with runs in baseball. I use VORP (or position scarcity, if you like) in fantasy sports drafting all the time and it works wonders. The trade value chart was purely a demonstration, but the idea remains.

    2. Kind of (although again, the value chart was purely an example)…everyone knows you want to maximize value, but my point was that selecting the BPA isn’t actually always the best way to execute that task.

    3. Same idea…trade value chart was an example..but I would say teams who best maximize their own value (however they define it) tend to win more.

    4. That isn’t the case if your board is designed for the sole purpose of listing the best players, regardless of a team need. But you’re right that my DE/OT constraint was purely hypothetical..I did it as an example and no team would ever limit themselves like that. If your point is that things are MUCH more complex than I made them out to be, I’d agree.

    5. We can only work with the information we have at hand. What if Tony Romo tears his ACL in camp? There’s lot of things in the future that could alter the efficiency of past decisions, but the best way to maximize the opportunity for future success, and the only way, is to use all present information. We already know Newman is old, so CB is a need right now (I’d say less so than FS, RT, and DE, but still a need).

  19. Omar–I’m definitely not saying bypass the BPA. More times than not, selecting the BPA will actually be the prudent thing to do, even as defined by the VORP theory. And the higher the player is on your board, the less important it is for him to play at a position of need (you’d agree SD, MIN, and DAL all had Rivers, Peterson, and Bryant ranked very high).

  20. Moses–Definitely true. I had the Cowboys selecting an OT and DE as a demonstration, but real life is far more complicated than I made it to be here. A team would never limit themselves like that.

  21. Tyrone–Well, I would draft Newton in the 7th (where I would say the value overrides the lack of a need…..the 7th-rounder to me is less of a cost than cutting McGee for Newton..although one could argue Kitna would be the victim of such a scenario). Still, I get your point.

    To me, this is kind of like the two-point conversion dilemma we talk about during the season. The idea that it is “too early to go for two” is absurd. If the chance that a particular game is decided by the last score is more than the loss in expected points from a two-point try to an extra point (and really there is no loss), then a two-point try is the statistically optimal call.

    Similarly, if the value gained from the immediate impact of a draft pick at a position of need (over that of a draft pick at a position with a solid starter in place) exceeds that of the value lost from selecting a “less talented” player, we should draft the player at the position of need. It is only when the BPA’s talent is so overwhelming over another option (enough to create more value than we will lose from the lack of impact he might immediately make), that we should select the BPA at a non-need position. Hope that isn’t too convoluted of a metaphor.

  22. craig kocay says:

    craig kocay your info is on my computer in VA. JB is aware that something is going on. For now at least try to clear your info after comments. This is John Coleman not Craig.

  23. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    Jonathan,

    I understand completely and that’s actually the point I’m making. In order for any team to draft the true BPA that happens to be a a position that the team currenlty has at least 2 solid players already on the team at the same position, that BPA selection has to be someone so great (read that as projected to be ELITE) to justify the pick.

    The real issue w/ most Cowboys fans (or fans of every team) is that they want EVERY one on the team to be elite. They want Romo to be a top 2 or 3 QB, they want Doug Free to make the pro bowl every year, they want Felix Jones to get 1200 yards a season and they want Witten, Austin and Dez to all receive 80 receptions, 900 yards and 8 TDs each.

    Theoretcally, that’s possible but HIGHLY unlikely. Romo is solid – no doubt about that. No need to draft or trade for another QB. The combination of Felix Jones and Tashard Choice – again, SOLID. A backup (that’s a true backup of someone to play special teams primarily and play during games where one of the two back are injured) is the only RB needed. That’s a 4th round pick at best (probably better spent on a 6th or 7th). Miles Austin is ELITE. Dez Bryant projects to be ELITE. Roy Williams is SOLID (I don’t care what anyone says, RW is a solid 3rd WR – compare his #s to any 3rd WR in the league and you’ll see it). There simply isn’t a need to draft or trade or acquire a FA WR. The punter is ELITE, the OLBs are elite and solid and the TEs are elite and solid as well.

    Given that, I’d be less than pleased w/ any draft pick used on any of the above positions as I don’t think the talent level of any prospect at any of those positions is SO outstanding that it justifies not drafting at another position. At least, that’s not the case for this draft.

  24. Vince_Grey says:

    Tyrone- Gotta go with JB on the “Taking Newton in the 7th” pick. I have more than enough doubts to avoid looking at him in the top 3-41rounds, but after that, even though we don’t really need a QB, he’d be worth taking a chance, if for nothing else, then as trade bait to some other team needing a QB.

    On the receivers, I agree Roy is a solid enough wide-out. It’s only his contract and what we gave up to get him that’s the problem, but to be fair, neither act was his fault.

    That said, I wouldn’t quite call Austin, and especially Bryant, “elite” just yet. Gotta see more to move them up to that level.

  25. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    VG, I think you and JB both have truly grasped the mentality of the Cowboys (and several other teams for that matter). But, I think that is a serious issue for the Cowboys – mis-utilization of resources on flashy specialty positions while disregarding those for people that work “in the trenches.”

    I know the scenario is hypothetical but if Cam Newton were still available in the 7th, I doubt he’d be worth much in a trade. So, given that, the Cowboys would have 4 QBs….one in his prime, one who’s about to retire and 2 brand newbies who, if everything goes correctly, won’t start for the Cowboys for another 5-7 years.

    In the meanitime, there’d be yet another position the Cowboys should have filled w/ the draft that they failed to because of another pick on a player at a position that won’t see the field anytime soon. Look at the teams that value O and D line and draft them in the 1-2 rounds – Jets, Steelers, Patriots, Ravens…look at the teams that continually draft QBs, WRs, RBs, CBs and like in early rounds…Broncos, 49ers, Cowboys, Texans.

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  27. Vince_Grey says:

    TJ – I thought in this hypothetical, Cam would be a highly rated pick who somehow dropped into the lower rounds, not some kid who’d be drafted there anyway. In that scenario, if the kid goes on to show anything in games, he’ll be highly sought after trade bait.

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