This is my 1st attempt at posting anything more than 140 characters in any format so please excuse any flaws in my prose. I am not adept at creating the highly informative statistical charts & graph that enhance the vast majority of the well reasoned posts we are blessed to read from our esteemed FPW and the many of you who provide us with the great content in these fan posts that sate our desire for all things Cowboys.
With that being said, I have spent quite a bit of time reviewing opinions on a great number of possible draft targets for my favorite NFL team. The more I've seen & read, the more I started to look at the draft through the prism of my finance & economics background.
Much more experienced talent evaluators than myself have espoused the virtues of taking the mythical Best Player Available as the most efficient strategy of talent procurement through the draft. In a vacuum, this theory is easily the optimal route to take and logic would dictate a war room would be wise to do so. It is the most effective way to mitigate some of the risk inherent in the NFL's draft process. This post is not meant to disparage that line of thinking but rather to augment it.
There are significant challenges to staying on this straight and narrow approach:
The most obvious, is that the process is not conducted in a vacuum. If you are reading this, you are definitely not a "casual" fan of the Star and have read numerous mock draft scenarios a full 3 months before actual draft will take place. Some of you may have even had the pleasure of testing your GM skills on a mock simulator.
Quick aside: there is one I've seen mentioned here & elsewhere that is pretty quick and easy at http://fanspeak.com/ontheclock/
There are 31 other war rooms that have a great deal of influence over your outcomes by the choices they make around you.
Scarcity is defined as having fewer resources than are necessary to fill wants and needs. These resources can be resources that come from the land, labor resources or, for our purposes, draft picks. Scarcity is considered a basic economic problem.
Since we've been inundated with talk of the salary cap "hell" in which the Cowboys currently reside, we can continue this exercise absent any thoughts or grand free agent stroke and concentrate on the draft.
When dealing with limited resources (8 draft picks plus any compensatory picks), the areas of strength & weakness of the current roster will impact these decisions as will the number of viable alternatives available at any given position in the draft.
This is where we get back to concept of BPA. Since we have discussed the fact that teams don't draft in a vacuum, it stands to reason that the "Best Player" when clock the is on your pick could vary based on the scarcity of the options available. This is to say that need should be the overriding factor, rather the amount of available good options at any given position of need should impact decisions much more.
The best teams routinely view their drafts in this way. When presented with close options at a pick, the deciding factor isn't the current need but rather the availability of viable options at later picks.
In this draft, the consensus is that potential 1st year contributing quality DL and depth OL will be available throughout the 1st two days of May's draft while there are far fewer quality options at S (especially if you believe as I do that the Cowboys need the center fielder type). Using the theory of scarcity as a road map, this would make drafting the FS (i.e. Pryor) a better use of limited resources at 16 or 17 than any but the absolute best DL or OL prospect (i.e. Clowney).
There's a lot of time for the draft stocks of specific players to move dramatically up or down and I personally believe the greatest need exists with the defensive line. In this scenario, however, taking the FS would constitute the most efficient use of limited resources IMHO.
Let me know what you think & thanks for taking the time to hear my thoughts.