"The adept leader relies upon the inherent potential of directed force* for victory, rather than upon the efforts of individuals. As such, he is able to select the right person to maximize the use of potential."
- Art of War, Book Five
* - Or strategic configurations; or, in football, the unified energy of the team within the system they run.
This is a fundamental of leadership - the system functions through the players, and the players believe in and execute the system. That is part of the sanity (or brilliance) that Marv and Dick have restored after the Tom Donahoe Off-Season Show. And it goes into "how", I think, OBD will approach the draft.
Now that I've gone through my comments on positional strengths, I'll give my own list of what I consider to be the best-represented-by-future-successful-NFL-players positions:
Inside Offensive Line
Linebacker (all spots - many will switch roles in the NFL)
Outside Offensive Line
Tight End (The worst in a decade, it seems...)
This is a bit silly, of course, but that's pretty much as I see out. Now, what do the Bills' needs look like (again, very approximately)?
DT (I know! But keep reading...)
WR/TE (Either, or both, and perhaps tied in importance)
Now, I put down DT third - and there's a big part of me that wants to put it higher. I'll repeat what I've been saying - the Tampa-2's success is based on the defense overwhelming the offense at the point of attack. While Walker offers a great deal in terms of consistency, it is even unsure at this point whether he will sit out here without a contract restructuring (if this occurred, it seems like we would get our conditional pick bumped up). And even if he does, OBD isn't looking to be good enough to get into the playoffs - they're looking to win the Super Bowl. A Triplett/Walker rotation at the 3-technique spot isn't the worst prospect in the world, but in my estimation, it isn't enough.
THAT'S WHY, if I was picking for the Bills, and Okoye's name was up, I would have the slip in Goodell's hand before he finished saying "The Bills are on the clock". Okoye, to me, is essentially Sapp with greater potential and without being a total ----, personality-wise. He would come in, start in front of or behind Triplett, and establish a core defensive strength next to McCargo and Williams that would last for years.
I would say that that would have a more immediate, deeper and longer-term impact on the d's transformation than any other player. The only person who I MIGHT take over him is AP (or Calvin - ha!!!).
If this occured, it might have a two-fold effect on the draft. One, it might halt the potential LB run in the middle of the first, allowing Pos to drop to 19-20, and for us to pull a McCargo/JP and trade up with our second to grab him. Two, if Pos still went the next couple of spots, it would allow us to simply focus on going down the lists of best available needed player (most likely getting a RB or LB in the second, and the third, then a CB, etc). They pretty much followed that course last year, with excellent results. (Youboty fell to them. Simpson fell to them. Williams fell to them. Ellison fell to them.) With the additional time spent as a unit this off-season, I fully expect an even more impressive talent search.
That also goes to another reason I have Okoye so high - I simply don't have another impact DT in the draft that I really like (says the guy who was astonished by the pickup of Williams). The fortunate thing is that, with our 1-technique rotation set, it is easier to find 3-techniquers later. Still, though, the talented big guys do tend to come from the power conferences.
And, to follow up on that - a LOT of great LBs, WRs and other skill players come from smaller schools - thus, dropping to the second day almost by default. I definitely think OBD has a couple WRs and a couple LBs they are eyeing hungrily. To be honest, I had little idea of Crowell in college, and minimal experience with Ellison. Once you get to the Div-2s, forget about it.
That's my conclusion - that OBD will target (to everyone's suprise) Okoye. They will feel secure in being able to get immediate impact LBs, WRs, CBs and Ss (and TEs) later. AP will almost certainly be gone, and Lynch is not who we're going to address the RB question with, so that will predicate using our 2nd or 3rd on a RB (if we have not already, with Turner). But there are seemingly no DTs comparable to Okoye in skill/impact potential/intelligence (well, I have maybe one other in mind, but I'll save that for the future).
The core strength improvement is the cornerstone of this team's improvement. Such a pick-up would allow the LBs a great increase in penetrative opportunities, and create havok in terms of balls on passing plays that get broken up - our secondary would look AMAZING (recall that Mike Brown, Jauron's first-draft of what he has with Whitner, single-handedly won three games in the season the Bears went 13-3 - and each pick was off a panicked QB tossing the ball in fear). It certainly would seem counter-intuitive to a lot of the draftniks out there, and even to a lot of our own fans, but I think that the best thing that could happen to us is for Okoye to get overlooked on draft day until that 12th spot comes along...