Let me preface this by saying that I am a believer in the BPA theory – there is no point reaching for a position of need. However, that needs to be done in the context of an overall framework.There is no point spending a high draft pick on a position where there is no immediate need. Similarly if there is a high need position, you may take a slightly lower ranked player at that position over one with low need. An important part of this context is that our draft class last year was decimated by injury, so many of those players need to be given an opportunity to succeed or will be wasted picks.
So with that context, how do our needs stack up in the draft?
High Round Picks
To warrant a high pick there should be potential to start and contribute immediately (QB being the only exception). It will be an extreme disappointment if these 2 needs aren’t targetted in the top half of the draft.
1. Safety: We have a vacant safety role. This is a position that has haunted us since Woody left. If we don’t land someone with the ability to start immediately we are going to be scrambling for a FA or relying on Ball to start 16 games with no identifiable backup.
2. O-Line (T /G/C): I would have separated them but I think the all positions on the line are a need – and I am a believe if drafting high you can take a tackle and move them to G if they don’t work out (e.g. Gallery). As Bye Dawk likes to keep reminding us, this was the oldest line in the league last year. Of much greater concern is that the experienced backups we have don’t show any indications of being capable starters and need to be turned over. Need at least 2 picks to go on O-Line, at least 1 in the first 2-3 picks.
Mid to High Round Picks
3. DLine: We have our starters (subject to any last minute trades) – and a couple of solid backups. But we need to stock up for the future and we must reduce the load on the Rat or we risk burning him out. Have no confidence in Junior. Would stretch this to a high pick if a great fit like Odrick was available.
4. CB: T-New is getting on and CB is a young player’s position. While we have Scandrick, every team needs 3 solid CB’s in today’s pass-happy league. And Ball may be needed at safety.
Mid to Low Round Picks
5. ILB: This is a little bit of a cheat as it’s the nickel-backer that is of more concern in the short-term. Although we do have a Williams I don’t think Carp is ever going to be more than mediocre and who knows how long Brookings emotion can keep his aging body going.
6. Kick returner: OCC’s analysis convinced me that a quality returner can add great value – perhaps that little bit extra that could push us over the top. And we don’t want Miles and Felix doing it too often, its a dangerous role.
Low Round or Undrafted Free Agents
7. FB: Anderson hasn’t distinguished himself this offseason or done all that much in previous seasons. Worth testing options. Tempted to pushing this higher but this may be the opportunity to make more use of three very capable TE’s.
8. WR: Miles has a superstar season and sounds motivated to go even higher. Roy will get his snaps and every time his play is analysed Crayton is shown to be a very under-appreciated performer. Plus we need to “Free the Tree” – so a high/mid pick is wasted unless they can contribute as a returner. There is NO WAY we should be taking a WR in the first
9. OLB: Two great starters – we don’t want to limit their snaps. Butler showed flashes and you have Williams as well. Another draft pick wouldn’t get on the field. But you can’t get enough pash-rushers so if there is someone they rate in the low-rounds then not averse to picking them up – particularly if they can
10. Kicker: A kicker can be the difference between a W and an L in 1-2 games in a season – which can be the difference in a berth and home-field in the playoffs – and a W in a tight playoff game. Buehler should get his shot but we shouldn’t be taking chances in a season in which we have the potential for a home SuperBowl.
Limited Need (other than practice squad dummies)
11. RB: We don’t have enough carries for the ones we have and RB’s don’t need much seasoning, typically can contribute immediately as rookies.
12. TE: A great starter, MB needs to get enough opportunity to figure out if he can turn potential into performance and JP deserves a real chance too.
13. QB: With a SuperBowl potential season we must have a capable, experience backup to fill-in and you certainly wouldn’t turn McGee over yet unless he is showing no potential.
14. Punter: aussie, aussie, aussie...