Sunday, March 10, 2013


Many people, when it comes to the NFL Draft, concentrate on selecting someone that they have fallen in love with.  Someone who they feel will make the team better without really looking at not only the process of whom and how to select, but also who fits.

The adage of whether you should pick the greatest need or the best available player also comes into play.  But if lucky, you get both when your selection comes up.

But before making the selection by a team, a lot of work and hundreds of hours goes into analyzing the draft to be in the best position to know who to pick.

The formula for determining what the team needs are is:

P – C – L + F = D
P = Players presently on the team
C = Players the team plans on cutting no matter what
L = Free Agents loss
F = Free Agents picked up
D = Draft Selections by position

The first step is to take your team as it presently exists, minus those players that you are cutting and do not expect to come back under most any conditions.  These could include those that are retiring, injured and not expected back, someone that just can’t do the job and those that will cost too much to keep on the team.

Then you look at what are your weakest areas.  This creates the first priority to be considered to be solved either by Free Agency signings or if not, then by the draft.  For the Dolphins that would be a 1st line Wide Receiver, Tight End, Cornerback, and Guard that can pull.

From that you have to adjust your priority list as you may lose a player to Free Agency that you had hoped to retain.  Again, your list changes and has to be fixed by adding Free Agents or through the draft.  So dependent upon whether Long, Smith, Stark, Hartline, or one of the other potentially Free Agents leave, the priority changes.  Such as if Long is gone, another tackle is needed.  Smith is gone, another Cornerback, etc
Once you address whatever you can through Free Agency, the remaining positions on the list are what you have to go after in the draft.

One more step has to be taken into account when picking and dropping players both in Free Agency and through the Draft.  What type of players are you seeking to fit into the offense and defense plans you are looking to create?  If you have a 4-3 defense, then a player that can only run the 3-4 defense, even if they are excellent, won’t help the team.  If your offense relies heavily on receiving Tight Ends, then picking a Tight End that can block but not catch still leaves an unmet need of the team.

This leads you to one more final step for the draft, ranking of players overall within the draft and within positions that fit your needs. 

In approaching the draft, every player needs to be ranked.  Depending upon your needs you may find that an overall lower ranked player maybe higher on your board then someone else who is a better player just because the higher ranked player cannot provide you with the skill sets you require to run your plan.  This may lead you to trade down in the draft to still get your player and pick up more draft picks.

Also, while a higher need exists in a position, the available talent for that position could be obtained later in a deep Draft so you may look at a lower priority position that has limited options on selecting.  Alternatively, if the draft is not deep at a needed position, you may have to select someone earlier then desired just to get the need filled.  This often happens at the Quarterback position.

As an example, assuming that the Dolphins #1 need is Wide Receiver, but the available receivers are not that good for the draft year and not deserving of a high draft pick, they may then pick a Cornerback and wait till the next selection to get a better value at Wide Receiver.  Or, if there is a glut of very good Cornerbacks but few decent Wide Receivers, they may take the WR though a higher rated CB is available because they can get almost as high a CB at the next selection.

What is my projection for the Dolphins draft?  At this time, leaving out the impact of Free Agency, the Dolphins should select a Wide Receiver (which there is limited top line talent) in the first round because while Cornerback is a need, there are several top line Cornerbacks that could be taken in the 2nd Round.  A receiving Tight End has to be selected, preferably in the 2nd Round.  A Guard that can pull and a Tackle is also badly needed probably in the 3rd or 4th rounds.  Ultimately other positions of need are Linebacker and possibly one for the Defensive Line.  Plus I would select another Wide Receiver in the 4th or 5th round.

Therefore, based upon the chart at the bottom of rated players and where they would go by (leaving out players that should not be available by the 12th pick of the 1st round), if the player is available I would select for the 1st 4 picks the following:

1st Round                           WR         Cordarrelle Patterson, alt. TE Tyler Eifert
2nd Round 1st pick             TE           Tyler Eifert, alt. Zach Ertz, if TE taken - Desmond Trufant
2nd Round 2nd pick            CB           Desmond Trufant, alt. Jonathan Banks, if CB taken and no WR - Quinton Patton
3rd Round 1st pick             OG         Justin Pugh or Terron Armstead

WR                             Prefer   Round Expected to be gone by the end of
Cordarrelle Patterson      *                  1
Tavon Austin                                       2
Keenan Allen                                      2
DeAndre Hopkins                               2
Quinton Patton                *                  2
Terrance Williams                               2
Da’Rick Rogers              *                  3
Steadman Bailey             *                  4
Cobi Hamilton                                    5

Tyler Eifert                      *                 2
Zach Ertz                        *                 2
Vance McDonald                               3
Gavin Esobar                                     3
Jordan Reed                                      4

Dee Millner                     *                 1
Xavier Rhodes                                   1                             
Desmond Trufant             *                2
Jonathan Banks                *               2
Jordan Poyer                   *                3

Jonathan Cooper                               1             
Larry Warford                                   3
Justin Pugh                       *               3
Terron Armstead T/G       *              3

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