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Thread: Drafting the Best Player Available at a Position of Need

  1. #1
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    Drafting the Best Player Available at a Position of Need

    In another thread, Chadman asked the eternal question...do we draft for need, or take the best player available?

    Well, the answer is a combination of the two...we draft the best player available at a position of need. By that, I mean that we may spend our first round pick on a d-lineman, o-lineman, free safety, cornerback, or inside linebacker. We may draft an OLB, RB, TE, or WR in this draft for depth purposes, but I think those choices will be made in the mid-to-late rounds, not with our premium picks.

    Looking at the first round possibilities at those designated positions of need...let's break it down:

    The best cornerback and inside linebacker, Florida's Joe Haden and Alabama's Rolando McClain, will likely be gone before we pick at #18, and the second best CB and ILB would not be value picks at #18, so the only way that we take a CB or ILB in the first without trading up or down would be if Haden or McClain happened to fall to #18 (unlikely, but still a possibility worth considering).

    Among the d-lineman, we likely will not take a 3-4 DE in the first round for a second year in a row after taking Ziggy with our first pick last year. However, we could take a nose tackle, considering the age of Hampton and Hoke, and the fact that Casey is an unrestricted free agent this offseason. Alabama's Terrence Cody and Tennessee's Dan Williams are possibilities.

    Among the o-lineman, there aren't any elite centers or guards worthy of being picked at #18, but we could possibly get an offensive tackle, which is normally hard to find where we typically pick in the late first round. Since Willie Colon will likely be a restricted free agent again if no new CBA is ratified, we can keep Colon for one more year while the rookie OT gets accustomed to the pro game. Or, if we sign an OT who is good enough to start as a rookie (remember, Michael Oher was taken with the 23rd pick in the first round last season, and he was a productive starter in Baltimore), perhaps the new o-line coach may decide to try Colon at guard, which previously o-line coach Larry Zeirlein was unwilling to consider. The top 3 OT's will likely be off the board in the top half of the first round (Oklahoma State's Russell Okung, Maryland's Bruce Campbell, and Rutgers' Anthony Davis), so we would be looking at the 4th or 5th best OT (such as Iowa's Bryan Bulaga or Oklahoma's Trent Williams).

    Among the free safeties, Tennessee's Eric Berry is the cream of the crop (being compared favorably with Ed Reed) but he will likely be taken in the top 6 or so. I mentioned in another thread that if he happens to fall unexpectedly to #10 because teams do not tend to emphasize safety as much as other positions...particularly free safety (remember, no one expected Michael Crabtree to fall to #10 last year), then we should trade our 1st and 2nd round picks to Jacksonville so they could take Tim Tebow at #18 and recoup the 2nd round pick they traded to the Patriots last year. Getting Troy back and adding Berry would be transforming a secondary without any playmaking skill into a secondary with elite playmaking skill overnight. However, that situation is not all that realistic (just my yearly pipe dream). The more likely scenario would be to take the second best free safety on the board, Texas' Earl Thomas. Even though I am not among those folks recommending drafting USC's Taylor Mays to play strong safety and moving fellow Trojan Troy Polamalu to free safety, that remains a possibility as well.

    At this point, I would be surprised if our first round pick was not one of these 8 players (listed in alphabetical order).



    Bryan Bulaga





    Terrence Cody





    Joe Haden





    Taylor Mays





    Rolando McClain





    Earl Thomas





    Dan Williams





    Trent Williams


    1.15 WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
    2.46 TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
    3.97c CB Philip Gaines, Rice
    4.118 ILB Shayne Skov, Stanford
    5.157 OT James Hurst, North Carolina
    5.173c RB Jerrick McKinnon, Georgia Southern
    6.192 CB Walt Aikens, Liberty
    6.215c DE Deandre Coleman, California
    7.230 NT Zack Kerr, Delaware

  2. #2
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    Re: Drafting the Best Player Available at a Position of Need

    Excellent analysis and I think you are close to being right on. Just some thoughts:

    1. Agree that the best two players we need will be gone, e.g. Haden, Berry and McClain.

    2. The second best ILB, Brandon Spikes, will be available and will rate as a middle Round 1 pick before it is all over and done. So you need to add him as a possibility.

    3. This safety class is very deep so while Mays and Thomas will likely be there we could get a safety in Round 2 who will be very good. The real question will be whether the team does or does not plan to move Troy to FS at somepoint in the future. If they do then Mays is the better pick because Thomas could not play SS.

    4. Not sure we take a OT in Round 1. Where would he play? Starks is signed long term. The team apparently likes Colon so it only makes sense to take a OT if A) they plan to let Colon leave (unlikely) or B) they want to move Colon inside to Guard (also unlikely since he would resist because Guards get paid less than OT and such an attempt would likely have him leave versus extending). Just don't see OT for #18.

    5. I only see DL in Round 1 is they plan a switch to a 4-3 which it appears is not happening. I wouldn't touch Cody because of his weight issues. I think Williams would be overdrafted at #18 and would rate as a mid Round 1 pick only because so many teams are desperate for NTs.

    IMO the one wildcard for #18 is CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson. Parker is leaving and Moore is nothing realistically more than a 3rd down back. You need three good backs to be successful in the NFL. It will not be lost on the front office what an impact Percy Harvin had in Minnesota or more importantly what Chris Johnson has done in Tennessee. Spiller will put up great speed numbers and is the perfect change of pace back to Mendenhall. Big advantage over FWP is that Spiller is great as part of the passing game. You also don't have to carry Logan another year. I'm not saying they go this way but it would notblow me away if they did.

    I think we need help on defense, but keep in mind that any defensive player you take is unlikely to see the field in 2010 because of the complexity of the defense. If Troy could not get on the field as a rookie with his remarkable skillset what makes you think anyone else will. Same thoughts for drafting an OT. He unlikely would play with Starks and Colon returning.

    A player like Spiller would pay you immediate returns as a runner, returner and pass catcher. If you want value in Round 1 you at least have to consider that.
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    2014 Draft

    1. Eric Ebron, TE
    2. Calvin Pryor, S
    3 (Comp). Jaylen Watkins, CB
    4. Justin Ellis, DT/NT
    5a. Brandon Coleman, WR
    5b. Brent Urban, DE
    6. Prince Shembo, OLB
    7a. Aaron Colvin, CB
    7b. Storm Johnson, RB

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    Re: Drafting the Best Player Available at a Position of Need

    best player at the positions of need....i am still not big on taylor mays...i think he is a more athletic ryan clark....the guy can hit, but he goes for the hit over playing the ball first, but if we were to get him than we could teach him young....

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    Re: Drafting the Best Player Available at a Position of Need

    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    Excellent analysis and I think you are close to being right on. Just some thoughts:

    1. Agree that the best two players we need will be gone, e.g. Haden, Berry and McClain.

    2. The second best ILB, Brandon Spikes, will be available and will rate as a middle Round 1 pick before it is all over and done. So you need to add him as a possibility.

    3. This safety class is very deep so while Mays and Thomas will likely be there we could get a safety in Round 2 who will be very good. The real question will be whether the team does or does not plan to move Troy to FS at somepoint in the future. If they do then Mays is the better pick because Thomas could not play SS.

    4. Not sure we take a OT in Round 1. Where would he play? Starks is signed long term. The team apparently likes Colon so it only makes sense to take a OT if A) they plan to let Colon leave (unlikely) or B) they want to move Colon inside to Guard (also unlikely since he would resist because Guards get paid less than OT and such an attempt would likely have him leave versus extending). Just don't see OT for #18.

    5. I only see DL in Round 1 is they plan a switch to a 4-3 which it appears is not happening. I wouldn't touch Cody because of his weight issues. I think Williams would be overdrafted at #18 and would rate as a mid Round 1 pick only because so many teams are desperate for NTs.

    IMO the one wildcard for #18 is CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson. Parker is leaving and Moore is nothing realistically more than a 3rd down back. You need three good backs to be successful in the NFL. It will not be lost on the front office what an impact Percy Harvin had in Minnesota or more importantly what Chris Johnson has done in Tennessee. Spiller will put up great speed numbers and is the perfect change of pace back to Mendenhall. Big advantage over FWP is that Spiller is great as part of the passing game. You also don't have to carry Logan another year. I'm not saying they go this way but it would notblow me away if they did.

    I think we need help on defense, but keep in mind that any defensive player you take is unlikely to see the field in 2010 because of the complexity of the defense. If Troy could not get on the field as a rookie with his remarkable skillset what makes you think anyone else will. Same thoughts for drafting an OT. He unlikely would play with Starks and Colon returning.

    A player like Spiller would pay you immediate returns as a runner, returner and pass catcher. If you want value in Round 1 you at least have to consider that.
    Spikes and Spiller could be possibilities, I suppose.

    I agree that Spiller represents value to an NFL team in the area where we are picking, but I don't think he represents value for our team there. I think we have needs on each level of the defense, and our primary need on offense is in the trenches not with the skill players. We'll have enough of a struggle splitting touches among all of our weapons as it is, so I see someone as Spiller as a luxury, rather than being the best player available at a position of need for us.

    Regarding Spikes, if Laurinaitis and Maualuga fall into round 2 last year, then I think that Spikes will be a round 2 candidate this year as well (maybe late round 1 since teams saw the immediate impact that James and Rey had on their teams last year, but I don't see value at #18 for him like there would be with McClain...who also has some experience playing ILB in the 3-4 in college, by the way). I think Spikes hurt his stock by staying in school another year, while McClain improved his stock.


    1.15 WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
    2.46 TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
    3.97c CB Philip Gaines, Rice
    4.118 ILB Shayne Skov, Stanford
    5.157 OT James Hurst, North Carolina
    5.173c RB Jerrick McKinnon, Georgia Southern
    6.192 CB Walt Aikens, Liberty
    6.215c DE Deandre Coleman, California
    7.230 NT Zack Kerr, Delaware

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    Re: Drafting the Best Player Available at a Position of Need

    In keeping with the trend of recent flame wars and the apparently eternal intra-Steeler-Nation debate, could we possibly draft an OC 1st round. :P Unfortunately Lane Kiffin went to USC. Wasn't he an OC at USC for 6 years or so under Carrol?

    All seriousness aside, I like the analysis. I doubt McClain will be available at 18. If he is, I think we'd be stupid not to take him.

    I do think our sack problems can be fixed by working on Ben getting rid of the ball sooner, so I'm in favor of spending the premium picks on D right now, unless an exceptional run-blocking OT or OG is available to help with predictable short-yardage plays.

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    Re: Drafting the Best Player Available at a Position of Need

    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    Excellent analysis and I think you are close to being right on. Just some thoughts:

    1. Agree that the best two players we need will be gone, e.g. Haden, Berry and McClain.

    2. The second best ILB, Brandon Spikes, will be available and will rate as a middle Round 1 pick before it is all over and done. So you need to add him as a possibility.

    3. This safety class is very deep so while Mays and Thomas will likely be there we could get a safety in Round 2 who will be very good. The real question will be whether the team does or does not plan to move Troy to FS at somepoint in the future. If they do then Mays is the better pick because Thomas could not play SS.

    4. Not sure we take a OT in Round 1. Where would he play? Starks is signed long term. The team apparently likes Colon so it only makes sense to take a OT if A) they plan to let Colon leave (unlikely) or B) they want to move Colon inside to Guard (also unlikely since he would resist because Guards get paid less than OT and such an attempt would likely have him leave versus extending). Just don't see OT for #18.

    5. I only see DL in Round 1 is they plan a switch to a 4-3 which it appears is not happening. I wouldn't touch Cody because of his weight issues. I think Williams would be overdrafted at #18 and would rate as a mid Round 1 pick only because so many teams are desperate for NTs.

    IMO the one wildcard for #18 is CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson. Parker is leaving and Moore is nothing realistically more than a 3rd down back. You need three good backs to be successful in the NFL. It will not be lost on the front office what an impact Percy Harvin had in Minnesota or more importantly what Chris Johnson has done in Tennessee. Spiller will put up great speed numbers and is the perfect change of pace back to Mendenhall. Big advantage over FWP is that Spiller is great as part of the passing game. You also don't have to carry Logan another year. I'm not saying they go this way but it would notblow me away if they did.

    I think we need help on defense, but keep in mind that any defensive player you take is unlikely to see the field in 2010 because of the complexity of the defense. If Troy could not get on the field as a rookie with his remarkable skillset what makes you think anyone else will. Same thoughts for drafting an OT. He unlikely would play with Starks and Colon returning.

    A player like Spiller would pay you immediate returns as a runner, returner and pass catcher. If you want value in Round 1 you at least have to consider that.
    Spikes and Spiller could be possibilities, I suppose.

    I agree that Spiller represents value to an NFL team in the area where we are picking, but I don't think he represents value for our team there. I think we have needs on each level of the defense, and our primary need on offense is in the trenches not with the skill players. We'll have enough of a struggle splitting touches among all of our weapons as it is, so I see someone as Spiller as a luxury, rather than being the best player available at a position of need for us.

    Regarding Spikes, if Laurinaitis and Maualuga fall into round 2 last year, then I think that Spikes will be a round 2 candidate this year as well (maybe late round 1 since teams saw the immediate impact that James and Rey had on their teams last year, but I don't see value at #18 for him like there would be with McClain...who also has some experience playing ILB in the 3-4 in college, by the way). I think Spikes hurt his stock by staying in school another year, while McClain improved his stock.
    I agree thatthere is a possibility that Spikes could drop, but last years draft was loaded with good ILBs and this year the draft is not as deep and the ones on the board a a little lighter (230-240lbs) than I recall in last year's group. Simple supply and demand which is why I think Spikes stays mid to late Round 1. He is big, strong and fast. IMO he would be a good replacement for Farrior after he spends two years on the bench learning the defense
    Playing Fantasy Football does not qualify you to be the in the front office or on the coaching staff of the Pittsburgh Steelers. They are professionals and you are not!

    2014 Draft

    1. Eric Ebron, TE
    2. Calvin Pryor, S
    3 (Comp). Jaylen Watkins, CB
    4. Justin Ellis, DT/NT
    5a. Brandon Coleman, WR
    5b. Brent Urban, DE
    6. Prince Shembo, OLB
    7a. Aaron Colvin, CB
    7b. Storm Johnson, RB

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    Re: Drafting the Best Player Available at a Position of Need

    I think that combining "best" and "need" depends on the drop off from the best available. The point is that SOMEBODY needs that best available player. Hence, they can be parlayed through trade deals to better meet the needs, especially when perceptions are involved. I believe the Cowboys of the 90s built those SB winning teams from the huge perceived value of Herschel Walker in a trade with Minnesota.

    If the drop off from best to best/need isn't that big, then certainly best/need is the way to go. Otherwise, best available is the way to go.

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    Re: Drafting the Best Player Available at a Position of Need

    Pretty accurate list. But at this point I would also add:

    Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida - As mentioned already

    Donovan Warren, CB, Michigan - #2 corner in the draft probably

    Mike Iuputi, G, Idaho - Could be one of those guys that raises his stock big time after Senior Bowl, Combine and other try outs. At 6-6 330 lbs, he definitely has the size that you guys like...

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    Re: Drafting the Best Player Available at a Position of Need

    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    Quote Originally Posted by RuthlessBurgher
    Quote Originally Posted by Oviedo
    Excellent analysis and I think you are close to being right on. Just some thoughts:

    1. Agree that the best two players we need will be gone, e.g. Haden, Berry and McClain.

    2. The second best ILB, Brandon Spikes, will be available and will rate as a middle Round 1 pick before it is all over and done. So you need to add him as a possibility.

    3. This safety class is very deep so while Mays and Thomas will likely be there we could get a safety in Round 2 who will be very good. The real question will be whether the team does or does not plan to move Troy to FS at somepoint in the future. If they do then Mays is the better pick because Thomas could not play SS.

    4. Not sure we take a OT in Round 1. Where would he play? Starks is signed long term. The team apparently likes Colon so it only makes sense to take a OT if A) they plan to let Colon leave (unlikely) or B) they want to move Colon inside to Guard (also unlikely since he would resist because Guards get paid less than OT and such an attempt would likely have him leave versus extending). Just don't see OT for #18.

    5. I only see DL in Round 1 is they plan a switch to a 4-3 which it appears is not happening. I wouldn't touch Cody because of his weight issues. I think Williams would be overdrafted at #18 and would rate as a mid Round 1 pick only because so many teams are desperate for NTs.

    IMO the one wildcard for #18 is CJ Spiller, RB, Clemson. Parker is leaving and Moore is nothing realistically more than a 3rd down back. You need three good backs to be successful in the NFL. It will not be lost on the front office what an impact Percy Harvin had in Minnesota or more importantly what Chris Johnson has done in Tennessee. Spiller will put up great speed numbers and is the perfect change of pace back to Mendenhall. Big advantage over FWP is that Spiller is great as part of the passing game. You also don't have to carry Logan another year. I'm not saying they go this way but it would notblow me away if they did.

    I think we need help on defense, but keep in mind that any defensive player you take is unlikely to see the field in 2010 because of the complexity of the defense. If Troy could not get on the field as a rookie with his remarkable skillset what makes you think anyone else will. Same thoughts for drafting an OT. He unlikely would play with Starks and Colon returning.

    A player like Spiller would pay you immediate returns as a runner, returner and pass catcher. If you want value in Round 1 you at least have to consider that.
    Spikes and Spiller could be possibilities, I suppose.

    I agree that Spiller represents value to an NFL team in the area where we are picking, but I don't think he represents value for our team there. I think we have needs on each level of the defense, and our primary need on offense is in the trenches not with the skill players. We'll have enough of a struggle splitting touches among all of our weapons as it is, so I see someone as Spiller as a luxury, rather than being the best player available at a position of need for us.

    Regarding Spikes, if Laurinaitis and Maualuga fall into round 2 last year, then I think that Spikes will be a round 2 candidate this year as well (maybe late round 1 since teams saw the immediate impact that James and Rey had on their teams last year, but I don't see value at #18 for him like there would be with McClain...who also has some experience playing ILB in the 3-4 in college, by the way). I think Spikes hurt his stock by staying in school another year, while McClain improved his stock.
    I agree thatthere is a possibility that Spikes could drop, but last years draft was loaded with good ILBs and this year the draft is not as deep and the ones on the board a a little lighter (230-240lbs) than I recall in last year's group. Simple supply and demand which is why I think Spikes stays mid to late Round 1. He is big, strong and fast. IMO he would be a good replacement for Farrior after he spends two years on the bench learning the defense
    Are you referring to DL's "so overly complicated so the rookies just can't learn it and he should be released" schemes? :P

  10. #10
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    Re: Drafting the Best Player Available at a Position of Need

    Quote Originally Posted by Jom112
    Pretty accurate list. But at this point I would also add:

    Brandon Spikes, ILB, Florida - As mentioned already

    Donovan Warren, CB, Michigan - #2 corner in the draft probably

    Mike Iuputi, G, Idaho - Could be one of those guys that raises his stock big time after Senior Bowl, Combine and other try outs. At 6-6 330 lbs, he definitely has the size that you guys like...
    If we were drafting where we usually draft in the late first round, I would like all 3 of those guys as potential targets. As it stands, picking at #18, I would like any of those 3 guys you mentioned if we traded down with our first pick or traded up with our second pick.


    1.15 WR Mike Evans, Texas A&M
    2.46 TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Washington
    3.97c CB Philip Gaines, Rice
    4.118 ILB Shayne Skov, Stanford
    5.157 OT James Hurst, North Carolina
    5.173c RB Jerrick McKinnon, Georgia Southern
    6.192 CB Walt Aikens, Liberty
    6.215c DE Deandre Coleman, California
    7.230 NT Zack Kerr, Delaware

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