Note I added one paragraph near the end in Italics. It was kind of supposed to be the entire point of the post. Incredible the things you forget when your son wants to play Wii Bowling.
I've been mulling over this for a while, and since it is not a subject that is talked about a lot here I thought I'd put up a post about it. It may also be a bit early to write this... but i honestly don't care :P
Looking at how the "Inner Circle" approached the draft, and how Nix and Chan approach the draft. AND THAT'S A GOOD THING!!!!
I think that Jauron ran the draft when he was here, and he did a poor job of it. One of their big mistake, or at least what I think their biggest mistake was, was always drafting on need towards the system that they ran. Had to trade McGahee? Ok let's reach for Lynch. Thin at Cornerback? Reach for the best cover 2 back in the draft and draft McKelvin. Anemic pass rusher. draft the fastest DE in the draft with Maybin.
Jauron continually and consistently ignored the talent that was available in order to draft the most suited player for his cover 2 system or to fill a gaping hole in the offense. Now this approach has worked with team before. The Ravens and the Steelers have been doing it for years. But for this to work you need to things to happen before hand. First you need all of your players and your current system firmly established. Second, when you draft the system players you must draft them BEFORE you need them to start.
That's what the Ravens do so well. They established a great 3-4 system, they established the started, and then they started to draft the replacement players 1-2 season BEFORE they are needed. A great example of this is Mount Cody. They still had Kelly Gregg in place at NT, with Ngata switching between DE and NT. Cody barely played his rookie season. and this season he's splitting NT reps with Ngata. He should be their full time starter at NT next season.
Essentially, this is the drafting system that an already established team uses, and that only an established team can use successfully. That was Jauron's biggest mistake when it came to drafting. He ignored the talent that was available on the board that would have helped establish his defense and went after the holes in his system without the ability to develop the players for the roles that they were going to play. Jauron drafted for immediate need while totally ignoring available players.
Meanwhile Nix seems to be a BPA guy in regards to BUILDING a system. Yes need is taken into consideration, but it does not trump who is available. I believe that's how we ended up with Spiller. Almost everyone projected CJ to be a top 10 pick. And while HB was not a need, he was arguably the best player available. Also I don't think that Nix ever intended to keep Lynch, and he didn't know what he had in Freddy (to be honest, no one did). So CJ was the choice. Troup remains a puzzling pick, but Carrington was spot on. DE was both a developmental need, as well as being one of the best players available at that pick.
This year's draft is an even better example. Dareus was the best player available at number 3. Sure arguments can be made for both Green and Peterson, but when taking into account that Nix is building from the inside out, Dareus is the obvious pick. In the second round everyone here was surprised with the Aaron Williams pick, but he was one of the best talents available, and as we're seeing this year, he's already good to be a starter. Sheppard was also a great value pick that helped build the system. He might be starting per-maturely, but he is showing good potential and is a great pick for the long haul when it comes to establishing needs and long term vision.
In all of this I think that what Nix, and Chan, have done so well is drafting football players that are great at what they do and then adjusting the scheme around them as opposed to plugging holes with players that he hopes will be immediate starters. This is how good teams are built threw the draft. And it's also why I think we're on our way to being a good to great team.
We're definitely not there yet, but I do think that we are on our way once our picks start developping.