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How should we place positional value in the NFL draft:


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How should we place positional value in the NFL draft:

 

With the season officially over, draft season has officially begun and anyone on here who knows me, knows this is my favorite time of the year. In this topic I want us to discuss our opinions on how the Saints should place positional value regarding the NFL and their coveted draft picks.

 

Below is and has been my personal system of how I personally value positions when it comes to the draft, therefore when mock drafts start to come out people have a better understanding of where my thought process is coming from.

 

Let’s begin…

 

1st round:

Quarterback, Offensive Lineman, Defensive Lineman, Pass Rushers & Cornerbacks.

 

Reason…

For the most part in the NFL 1st round picks are the most coveted commodity’s you can have. This selection typically gives a franchise a immediate starter on a 4-5 year team friendly contract that you hope eventually turns into a 2nd deal with the player becoming a core member of your future. With so much riding on this one selection in the mindset of team building you want to invest these selections typically into prospects playing positions that truly impact winning and losing.

 

Now there are always exceptions to the rule, as such if your picking in the 1st round and a once in a generation linebacker like Devin White is on the board or a Adrian Peterson at running back, even a Megatron or Sean Taylor of course you make that exception and draft that player. However, if said player is not rare and all things are equal in the bubble then the above positions are the ones that hold the most positional value for a 1st round investment.

 

Quarterback is a pretty obvious one, if you don’t have one your always looking for one and they always see there draft value soar near draft time and the long overview of mid-round quarterbacks is jot very good overall. Actually, 1st round quarterbacks and late to even undrafted quarterbacks have a much better track record.

 

Then we get to the lineman, the big uglies! This game is still won and lost in the trenches, look at this year’s Superbowl for proof. You win 75% of the time in this league by dominating the line of scrimmage on both sides of the line, its always been like that and it always will be.

 

Pass rushers, in all shapes and sizes became a top priority in the NFL as the NFL began to change the rules to become more of a pass happy entertaining league. Pressure on the quarterback is an absolute premium in this league and the best ones directly effect the outcome of not only games but championships..

 

Corners have become a top commodity as the league became more pass happy, now while every team would love to have a so called “shut down corner" (which personally I do not think exists) it’s the need in numbers that make this position so coveted. Hybrid defensive schemes with 4-5 defensive backs on the field is actually your base defense these days in the NFL with the move to 3, 4 & 5 receiver sets offenses deploy nowadays. You often here many coaches in the NFL make this statement… “you never have enough corners" it’s a mantra of most defensive coaches these days.

 

Another issue that you also have to understand is that in MOST NFL drafts… there are typically only 15-20 prospects that truly have a 1st round grade so often times playoff teams picking past 20 are basically drafting 2nd round prospects in the 1st round. This is the very reason the Patriots for so long valued trading back in round 1. So for example of the Saints were to draft a non-1st round positional value prospect at 28, its not that the prospect is a can’t miss but more so that maybe a trade was not there to be made and they opted to fill a need out of the 2nd round prospects available to them in the top round. There are however examples of prospects with 1st round grades falling into playoff teams laps at the backend of the 1st round, Ryan Ramczyk is a prime example of this whom the Saints got at pick 32 but had a top 15 grade on.

 

 

Mid-Round (2nd,3rd & 4th😞

Running Back, Receiver, Tight End, Safety & Linebacker.

 

Reason:

As I said before, there is ALWAYS exceptions to the rules but once again with all things equal here is where I value these above positions.

 

Outside of finding absolute game changers such as Adrian Peterson, Megatron, Sean Taylor and Devin White… these positions are typically found or could be found in the mid rounds. Players like Lavente David, Bobby Wagner, Demario Davis, Travis Kelce, Gronk , Jason Witten, Marcus Williams, Tyrann Mathieu, Kevin Byard, Eddie Jackson, Mike Thomas, Tyreek Hill, Alvin Kamara, Aaron Jones,, Devante Adams, etc etc can be found in this part of the draft and can become core members of your franchise. Playing the odds, you should NEVER draft these positions earlier unless you are ABSOUTLEY sure the prospect is a rare game changer, if not you stick to the positional value and trust in your scouting to find these positions in the mid-rounds Where you look to fill gaps and needs.

 

 

Late-Round (5th, 6th & 7th😞

Fullback, Kicker, Punter & Developmental Prospects with NFL traits.

 

Reason:

Scouts like to call these late round selections, “flier picks" basically because 80% of the time that’s exactly what they are. Teams aren’t looking to fill needs with these picks unless there looking for a top special reamer or fullback, Kicker and punter. Other than that, teams utilize these selections on prospects with NFL traits. Maybe these players have a concerning injury or health history, maybe they have character concerns. It could be they are small school players or less utilized prospects with NFL caliber physical traits NFL teams look for at particular positions. Teams use these late round picks to grab and stash these type guys and hope to develop on their roster into eventual starters, if not more. Prime example of prospects like this would be guys like Carl Nick’s, Jahri Evans, Marcus Colston and Zach Strief from our 2006 class. Nicks had 1st round talent but character and health concerns dropped him to the 5th round where the Saints took a chance and it paid off. Evans was a late 4th rounder who was a small school standout with NFL traits but there were concerns over his level of competition in college, Saints took a chance and he is likely a hall of famer. Colston and Strief were 7th round picks with NFL traits that lead Colston to becoming the best receiver in Saints history and Strief developing into a 5+ year starter.

 

Now it does not always pan out like this… but this is what your hoping to find in the late rounds. Other than that these selections are no different to undrafted rookie free agents because remember, almost half the league is undrafted! Look at some of the undrafted gems the Saints have found in the Sean Payton era…

 

Pierre Thomas, Junior Galette, Khiry Robinson, Chris Ivory, Jonathan Casillas, Jo-Lon Dunbar, Tyrunn Walker, Josh Hill and Devante Harris just to name a few.

 

 

Conclusion:

As you can see the NFL draft is a fluid event with a basic set of guidelines that teams follow with many exceptions and this whole thing is ran by human beings who at times tend to let their emotions get in the way of the process. This is what has made Jeff Ireland so important to the success of the Saints. For too long from 2010 to Irelands arrival to Airline Dr. The Saints lost interest in having guidelines to the draft and a sense of devaluing draft assets. IRELAND  came in and reestablished that value and installed draft guidelines and reinvested in college scouting and placed lost trust into it and its paid off into one of the best overall rosters in the NFL.

 

 

Thoughts?

 

 

 

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9 minutes ago, Raves said:

I think if Zaven Collins is at our pick he definitely needs to be considered.

I'm not completely complete going through prospects... admittedly I haven't scouted Collins yet. I know he's a bigger off ball linebacker with some rush skills. Seems on the huff as a prospect New England would covet. I know the Saints front office and scouting dept prefer linebackers with size so on paper he fills a need and would be possibly considered but honestly I couldn't say until I scout him and grade him.

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1 hour ago, whodatworm23 said:

I'm not completely complete going through prospects... admittedly I haven't scouted Collins yet. I know he's a bigger off ball linebacker with some rush skills. Seems on the huff as a prospect New England would covet. I know the Saints front office and scouting dept prefer linebackers with size so on paper he fills a need and would be possibly considered but honestly I couldn't say until I scout him and grade him.

Rush skills, range, and coverage skills.  But for I agree with your positional analysis.

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