In the past few weeks we have seen several mock drafts. There are several different draft strategies that appeal to individuals. Some like to address the most pressing need first and some want to go BPA. Some want to draft a combination of both and some want to draft by gut feel.
But all these approaches fail to address the long term direction of the team. Drafting for need could fix the issue, till another need opens up. And what if the draft pick doesnt pan out? Now you would have two weaknesses instead of one.
Drafting BPA could also make you stockpile talent on one position while not addressing the other positions. Since this is a team sport, the excess talent at one position, say WR, may not be utilized due to weakness at other positions...
So I dug deeper to come up with a strategy. Suppose we build only through draft. Suppose we are so good, we can hit on every draft position. There are 11 positions in defense and 11 positions in offense. Suppose you want to draft a 1st round talent at every position, it would take you 22 years to build the team and the cycle to repeat again. Not even Brett Favre played for 22 years. So there is no way you can build a team of 1st rounders through draft unless you are a wizard in trading every year.
Next best thing would be to build a team of 1st and 2nd rounders. That would give a player an average career of 11 years after which you can start to re-draft the same positions. 11 year career span is much more possible. Many would bring the statistic that the average career of an NFL player is 3.5 years. That is meaningless since it includes busts like maybin, injured players like everett and talentless undrafted players. If you are good at scouting, you can pick players who can have a career of 11 years.
If you assume you can hit on every pick, you can build a team with just 2 rounds in the draft every year. Now since we can obviously be not perfect in the picks, we have rounds 3 to UDFAs and the free agency to address mistakes in the draft, shortened player careers, weaknesses/ needs in team, depth, special teams and everything... i would be very happy if i have 3rd and 4th rounders as depth if possible...
Now that we have defined our strategy, lets look at what the Bills did in the first 2 rounds in the last 10 years to identify what needs to be done in the first 2 rounds in the 11th year...
rd1 - nate clements, cb
rd2 - aaron schobel, olb ( i am putting him as olb instead of de for convenience)
rd2 - travis henry, rb
rd1 - mike williams, lt
rd2 - josh reed, wr
rd2 - ryan denney, olb
rd1 - willis mcgahee, rb
rd2 - chris kelsay, olb
rd1 - lee evans, wr
rd1 - j p losman, qb
rd2 - roscoe parrish, wr
rd1 - donte whitner, ss
rd1 - john mccargo, de
rd1 - marshawn lynch, rb
rd2 - paul posluzny, ilb
rd1 - mckelvin, cb
rd2 - james hardy, wr
rd1 - maybin, olb
rd1 - wood, c
rd2 - byrd, fs
rd2 - levitre, lg
rd1 - spiller, rb
rd2 - troup, nt
In the last 10 years, we have drafted 4 WRs, 4 RBs, 4 OLBs, positions which are over-drafted. Then we drafted 2 CBs, 1 LT, 1 QB, 1 SS, 1C, 1FS, 1LG, 1NT, positions which were drafted correct amount.
Then we drafted 1DE, 1ILB, 0RG, 0RT, 0TE, positions which were under-drafted. Hmmm, can anyone see where our problems lie? Hint: run defense, pass protection, TE production... you can say our OLBs we drafted are weaknesses too.. so you can keep drafting that position or you can address in rd3 or rd4...
If I were the GM, I would draft these positions in the first 2 rounds, DE, TE, ILB, OG, OT and draft for weaknesses the remaining rounds
#3 - marcell dareus, de
rd2 - kyle rudolph, te or ilb, og, ot
rd3 - colin kaepernick, qb
rd4 - ilb
rd4b - marcus gilbert, ot
rd5 - joe lefeged, ss
rd6 - jamie harper, rb
rd7 - chris culliver, cb
One major issue you would find with the bills here is they let good players walk even after they prove they are good. they let clements and henry walk. schobel might not have retired if we were good. poz could walk. whitner is most likely going to walk. that just needs to stop.
Hey, we can draft a 5th WR in 11 years, or a 3rd CB. Or we can draft another QB and force him to work with a talentless team or we can draft a player we are smitten by and we have got to have him because he is supposedly that once in a 20 years player that comes out every year. Or we can think of the long term and draft the positions we have fallen behind.
I think dareus is like a cog that can fix our defense and we still get a top TE and kaepernick in this draft. And we should really try hard to resign poz, whitner and florence just so that the team has continuity.