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View Full Version : Drafting Strategy - Need vs Best Player Available



flippy
01-08-2013, 10:43 AM
Every time anyone talks about a draft, the first thing they look at is team needs. And then build out the strategy from there. And it makes sense because you don't want a logjam of great players at a certain position. No sense in drafting Pouncey's replacement in the 1st round for example.

But that kinda flies in the face of taking the Best Player Available.

How should a team approach this? If the BPA doesn't intersect with a team need, what should they do? Take the next person they need? Take the BPA? Take the BPA and trade him? Trade out of the pick?

It seems like a very complex decision. And I wonder how Colbert handles it. I think in general, we as fans get a little blinded by need. We want the best NT, ILB, FS, SS, WR, RB, OT, OG, TE we can find to replace whoever we don't particularly like. And maybe that's why we have better success in round 1 and less as the draft goes on. Because in rounds 2, 3, 4, etc we may shy away from a position we've already selected and the options dwindle and need becomes more significant as each round passes by.

I'm not even sure Colbert weights BPA as much as the rounds pass. Each round, BPA loses some weight in the decision, and need becomes more prevalent. And a little desperation kicks in as our choices of need narrows.

Would the Steelers be better served solving need through FA and purely getting the best players they can at any position in the draft. I think that's the goal, just not sure it works perfectly.

Slapstick
01-08-2013, 11:01 AM
The Steelers seem to rule out certain positions in round 1...normally, QB...

Then, they seem to compile a draft board for round one with players they feel are "special"...how that is determined, I'm not sure...probably by looking at need and draft position...the Steelers won't draft a QB at #17...nor will they overdraft a player at a position of need...if there is no TE deemed worthy of a #17 pick available, they won't take one, despite Heath Miller's injury...

Since the Steelers pick at 17 this upcoming draft, I would imagine that the "special" list would be composed of approximately a dozen players...if any of those players happen to fall to 17, they will pick that player...if multiple "special" players remain, they will select the one who plays the position of greatest need...

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
01-08-2013, 11:09 AM
It is a tough process and that is why they get paid the big bucks....and the good ones are in demand. I think the way Colbert does it is he evaluates the importance of each need and works from there. You also have immediate needs and future needs - based on your veterans who are still contributing but can't for much longer.

The problem this year is that there are so many more question marks than I can remember for at least 20 or so years. You have so many aging starters who are both expensive and on the decline, many of whom are coming off injury. How high a priority do you put on OT, OLB, SS, CB, WR, FS, ILB, DE, NT, OG?

Each of these positions has an aging starter who may or may not be ready to either retire or contribute another year. Some have unproven replacements in place, others have no satisfactory replacement in sight. On top of that, there are cap considerations. We should easily be able to work our way under the cap, but every time we restructure it just ties us to that player a little stronger and longer. You don't want to make a mistake like that with another Willie Colon.

This will be a tough off season for the Steelers.

steelblood
01-08-2013, 12:17 PM
It is a tough process and that is why they get paid the big bucks....and the good ones are in demand. I think the way Colbert does it is he evaluates the importance of each need and works from there. You also have immediate needs and future needs - based on your veterans who are still contributing but can't for much longer.

The problem this year is that there are so many more question marks than I can remember for at least 20 or so years. You have so many aging starters who are both expensive and on the decline, many of whom are coming off injury. How high a priority do you put on OT, OLB, SS, CB, WR, FS, ILB, DE, NT, OG?

Each of these positions has an aging starter who may or may not be ready to either retire or contribute another year. Some have unproven replacements in place, others have no satisfactory replacement in sight. On top of that, there are cap considerations. We should easily be able to work our way under the cap, but every time we restructure it just ties us to that player a little stronger and longer. You don't want to make a mistake like that with another Willie Colon.

This will be a tough off season for the Steelers.

Well said. The Steelers are at a crossroads. They are not in cap hell yet, but close. They need to spend their FA and RFA dollars very wisely while trimming several current roster players. Further, they need to be careful when choosing who they restructure (in order to break this cycle). Then, they will need to draft players and sign UDFAs to plug the many holes we have left. Without sound strategy, shrewd choices, and a little good fortune, this easily could be a team that misses the playoffs again next year or for the next few years.

Slapstick
01-08-2013, 12:26 PM
Well said. The Steelers are at a crossroads. They are not in cap hell yet, but close. They need to spend their FA and RFA dollars very wisely while trimming several current roster players. Further, they need to be careful when choosing who they restructure (in order to break this cycle). Then, they will need to draft players and sign UDFAs to plug the many holes we have left. Without sound strategy, shrewd choices, and a little good fortune, this easily could be a team that misses the playoffs again next year or for the next few years.

On the other hand, this is a team that went 8-8 while losing 5 games by 3 points or less...the team is not necessarily far from competing in the playoffs and can get back there with some minor adjustments...

Eich
01-08-2013, 12:46 PM
On the other hand, this is a team that went 8-8 while losing 5 games by 3 points or less...the team is not necessarily far from competing in the playoffs and can get back there with some minor adjustments...

At the same time, half of our wins were by 4 points or less. We weren't too many more mistakes from being 4-12.

I'm at a loss with this team. The defense is ranked #1 but has been horrible with take-aways and game-changing plays. The offense has potential super stars on it and was hindered by changing systems, terrible mental mistakes and another year of shuffling the line due to multiple injuries and Ben going down with injury.

I don't know what to expect next year at all. Frustrating.

Slapstick
01-08-2013, 12:56 PM
At the same time, half of our wins were by 4 points or less. We weren't too many more mistakes from being 4-12.


While this is true, I have to assume that the Steelers will move forward with the idea of correcting those mistakes instead of making more of them next year...

steelz09
01-08-2013, 01:12 PM
The Steelers draft strategy should be BPA from the SEC at a position of need.

Oviedo
01-08-2013, 02:00 PM
On the other hand, this is a team that went 8-8 while losing 5 games by 3 points or less...the team is not necessarily far from competing in the playoffs and can get back there with some minor adjustments...

That depends. You assume that they are at a plateau on the performance curve. One could make the case they are starting on a downward slope. I think 2013 will determine their trajectory.

IMO this is the time to make radical changes and suffer some pain for a year or two to get a roster in place that can win one or a couple of championships before Ben's career ends. The reality is that we are treading water with aging stars and no real replacements available.

Slapstick
01-08-2013, 03:42 PM
That depends. You assume that they are at a plateau on the performance curve. One could make the case they are starting on a downward slope. I think 2013 will determine their trajectory.


Kind of. I am assuming that there is a significant delta between what the performance curve should have been versus the results...

I don't believe that the Steelers lack the talent to compete..I believe that mistakes and mental errors, things that have nothing to do with talent or ability, made the difference between potential performance and actual results...

Chadman
01-08-2013, 06:46 PM
There was a story about Kevin Colbert a couple of years ago about his draft strategy. Essentially, the Steelers compile "Draft Bubbles" of 12 players that they feel (from doing multiple mock drafts amongst staff, from memory) will be available around the Steelers pick. They then prioritize each player from 1-12, and scratch off each name as they are removed from the board on draft day. From memory, there was something about guys they felt would not be available being placed in a seperate bubble, and they get consideration if they fall... but a bit hazy on the details.

As to how the Steelers prioritize- although they haven't said it, pretty sure steelz09 has it right- BPA at a position of need. So, because the Steelers have, say Pouncey at OC... then OC isn't a 'need', and therefore all OC's are off the board... but because NT is a 'need', they'll look at the BPA that is a NT..or a Safety...WR..RB...up to 12 players.

supersteeler
01-08-2013, 07:06 PM
I wouldn't have an issue the way Colbert evaluates the draft, for the most part he's done well, I just wished he could of hit it with Hood and Heyward. Maybe both those guys will be better with John Jenkins in the middle.:)

steeler_fan_in_t.o.
01-08-2013, 08:45 PM
guys they felt would not be available being placed in a seperate bubble, and they get consideration if they fall

I'm guessing that both Mendenhall and Sweed were in that bubble. ;)

I would think that Decastro was there too.

NorthCoast
01-08-2013, 08:59 PM
I'll go out on a limb here and say that determining the "BP" in BPA is probably a whole lot more difficult than determining the "need". In otherwords, how do you decide that the 'best' safety available is a better player than the 'best' LB available? If a Troy P is available in the same draft as a P Willis, which do you take? Maybe easy in the first rd, but after that...

Chadman
01-08-2013, 09:16 PM
I'm guessing that both Mendenhall and Sweed were in that bubble. ;)

I would think that Decastro was there too.

From memory that is absolutely correct- Sweed they even had given a 1st Round grade to. Ziggy Hood is another that, from memory, came from 'outside the bubble'.

flippy
01-09-2013, 05:08 PM
There was a story about Kevin Colbert a couple of years ago about his draft strategy. Essentially, the Steelers compile "Draft Bubbles" of 12 players that they feel (from doing multiple mock drafts amongst staff, from memory) will be available around the Steelers pick. They then prioritize each player from 1-12, and scratch off each name as they are removed from the board on draft day. From memory, there was something about guys they felt would not be available being placed in a seperate bubble, and they get consideration if they fall... but a bit hazy on the details.

As to how the Steelers prioritize- although they haven't said it, pretty sure steelz09 has it right- BPA at a position of need. So, because the Steelers have, say Pouncey at OC... then OC isn't a 'need', and therefore all OC's are off the board... but because NT is a 'need', they'll look at the BPA that is a NT..or a Safety...WR..RB...up to 12 players.

I wonder if they adjust the bubbles as the draft unfolds? For example, let's say we draft a FS in round 1. Do we take FS out of all the other bubbles? And does our 13th player take his place in the bubble for that round?

I agree too that there's gotta be some BPA at position of need that goes into the picks. But I wonder how that balances out. Let's say for example, I have Ray Rice on my roster. And AP in in the draft and no one's picked him yet. What do the Steelers do? ie. when is a guy too good to pass up even though you don't need him?

NW Steeler
01-09-2013, 05:22 PM
At the same time, half of our wins were by 4 points or less. We weren't too many more mistakes from being 4-12.

I'm at a loss with this team. The defense is ranked #1 but has been horrible with take-aways and game-changing plays. The offense has potential super stars on it and was hindered by changing systems, terrible mental mistakes and another year of shuffling the line due to multiple injuries and Ben going down with injury.

I don't know what to expect next year at all. Frustrating.

I'm with you on that one. I would like to think that we are closer to the balanced team that we saw against Cinci (first game) then the following game against the Giants. That was when we were at our healthiest and our D started to hit its stride.

phillyesq
01-09-2013, 06:17 PM
The Steelers seem to rule out certain positions in round 1...normally, QB...


The Steelers can still rule out a QB this year, but there aren't many other positions where you can say that. They probably will rule out DE with Hood/Heyward both recent picks, but other than that and perhaps center, I'm not sure there is any other position they could rule out. Even if Lewis re-signs, you need at least three good corners and Ike isn't getting any younger. There really isn't any position where you could say the Steelers couldn't use an upgrade, either now or in the future.

Sugar
01-09-2013, 06:21 PM
The Steelers can still rule out a QB this year, but there aren't many other positions where you can say that. They probably will rule out DE with Hood/Heyward both recent picks, but other than that and perhaps center, I'm not sure there is any other position they could rule out. Even if Lewis re-signs, you need at least three good corners and Ike isn't getting any younger. There really isn't any position where you could say the Steelers couldn't use an upgrade, either now or in the future.

That's the beauty of BPA. They can basically draft just about anybody first and it will ultimately help the team.

Crash
01-09-2013, 07:13 PM
QB and DE are out.

Other than that? I'd say everything else is in play.

focosteeler
01-09-2013, 07:16 PM
I wonder if they adjust the bubbles as the draft unfolds? For example, let's say we draft a FS in round 1. Do we take FS out of all the other bubbles? And does our 13th player take his place in the bubble for that round?

I agree too that there's gotta be some BPA at position of need that goes into the picks. But I wonder how that balances out. Let's say for example, I have Ray Rice on my roster. And AP in in the draft and no one's picked him yet. What do the Steelers do? ie. when is a guy too good to pass up even though you don't need him?

I would assume that unless you have a need for 2 future starters at that position you don't draft them back to back rounds 1-4. After that depth comes into consideration for the remaining rounds.

Sugar
01-09-2013, 07:40 PM
QB and DE are out.

Other than that? I'd say everything else is in play.

Do you think we need another Center early?

Crash
01-09-2013, 07:42 PM
And then move Pouncey to LG for good? Sure.

I prefer Pouncey at LG. IMO he'd be Alan Faneca all over again.

supersteeler
01-09-2013, 08:38 PM
.


Would the Steelers be better served solving need through FA and purely getting the best players they can at any position in the draft. I think that's the goal, just not sure it works perfectly

The problem is we don't have the cash to sign anyone thats good in the FA market, unless they sign stumble bums.
I believe they sign their own or as many as they can and the rest through the draft

Chadman
01-09-2013, 09:24 PM
.


Would the Steelers be better served solving need through FA and purely getting the best players they can at any position in the draft. I think that's the goal, just not sure it works perfectly

The problem is we don't have the cash to sign anyone thats good in the FA market, unless they sign stumble bums.
I believe they sign their own or as many as they can and the rest through the draft

To be fair- not all "Stumble Bums" are equal. For example- the Steelers signing of Brian Rolle... not a big name player, for sure- but at the vet minimum, if he beats out Stevenson Sylvester- that's a good investment.

Will Johnson last year is another example of money well spent.

Or Plaxico.. vet minimum does not always equate to minimum output. They could get Plax back at a very reasonable cost, and he could probably do what Cotchery did for us at $1.5m. That's good investment.

Steelers should look long & hard at Chris Cooley to fill in/take up the slack until Heath is fit.

8467thekraken
01-09-2013, 10:13 PM
I'd be happy with a WR at 17. Not sure what kinda grade this years WR draft class is getting, but another weapon for Ben sounds good. A TE is also fine.
A RB, but I would rather not. Unless its a guarantee.

A LB of any kind.

I really hope a kick ass CB is there at 17.
I would be ok with a S as well.

I was against an interior O-Lineman just because we have focused on that with early picks recently. Could say the same for OT(2nd rndrs being an early pick in my book).
Pretty much how I feel with DEs. Especially with D. L. comin back. High picks used on that position recently.

I am cool with a bad ass NT to team with Mcclendon.

I also feel like this team could use a stud that can visibly make an impact. Players get lost in the trenches. But not RBs, WRs/te, CBs/s and LBs. I know its hard to get on the field as a rookie with this defensive system D. L. runs, but we havent used a 1st rnd pick on a CB in a long frickin time. We would be wise to finally take one, especially in this age of football.

I'm fine with having systems in place for drafting, as long as you have the ability to deviate from that system when something comes up. NOT locked in is what I'm sayin.

I dont like being the 3rd best team out of 4.

I am for trading up or down and doing whatever to move out of that position and upward.

steelz09
01-09-2013, 10:27 PM
I'd be happy with a WR at 17. Not sure what kinda grade this years WR draft class is getting, but another weapon for Ben sounds good. A TE is also fine.
A RB, but I would rather not. Unless its a guarantee.

A LB of any kind.

I really hope a kick ass CB is there at 17.
I would be ok with a S as well.

I was against an interior O-Lineman just because we have focused on that with early picks recently. Could say the same for OT(2nd rndrs being an early pick in my book).
Pretty much how I feel with DEs. Especially with D. L. comin back. High picks used on that position recently.

I am cool with a bad ass NT to team with Mcclendon.

I also feel like this team could use a stud that can visibly make an impact. Players get lost in the trenches. But not RBs, WRs/te, CBs/s and LBs. I know its hard to get on the field as a rookie with this defensive system D. L. runs, but we havent used a 1st rnd pick on a CB in a long frickin time. We would be wise to finally take one, especially in this age of football.

I'm fine with having systems in place for drafting, as long as you have the ability to deviate from that system when something comes up. NOT locked in is what I'm sayin.

I dont like being the 3rd best team out of 4.

I am for trading up or down and doing whatever to move out of that position and upward.

I agree with everything but TE.

I still am leaning towards Eric Reid. He would see the field immediately in sub packages. I think WR, NT, ILB/OLB are also possibilities.

bowldog
01-10-2013, 01:47 AM
WE NEED SPEED, especially on defense and special teams!

Oviedo
01-10-2013, 08:34 AM
To be fair- not all "Stumble Bums" are equal. For example- the Steelers signing of Brian Rolle... not a big name player, for sure- but at the vet minimum, if he beats out Stevenson Sylvester- that's a good investment.

Will Johnson last year is another example of money well spent.

Or Plaxico.. vet minimum does not always equate to minimum output. They could get Plax back at a very reasonable cost, and he could probably do what Cotchery did for us at $1.5m. That's good investment.

Steelers should look long & hard at Chris Cooley to fill in/take up the slack until Heath is fit.

Cooley and Miller are completely different types of TEs. Cooley could not do what Heath is asked to do.

Chadman
01-10-2013, 09:11 AM
Cooley and Miller are completely different types of TEs. Cooley could not do what Heath is asked to do.

Not suggesting he's a 'complete' TE, Ovi- but he is a pass catching one.

Someone has to make up Miller's 70+ catches- and it won't be Pope.