2011 Pre-Draft Notes Part 2

For Part 2, I want to start off by talking about the best draft strategy. Now, this isn’t a pinpoint strategy of who to take schematically and stuff like that. These are notes, not in-depth previews where I go into schemes. I may delve into schemes at some point, but I want to talk about upside guys.

In the NBA, the successful teams- like the Spurs- don’t look for high-upside guys with superstar potential when they’re picking in the 20s. No, they’re looking for solid players that they can plug in for 15-20 minutes or so each night. I think NFL teams need to do that and value players that can come right in and do a solid job rather than those upside players that almost never pan out.

Although I hate fantasy football and how it changes how people evaluate players and the statistics they use, there is one pre-draft strategy that I am a fan of. Savvy fantasy players will pick the guy with the highest floor, least chance of busting, when in doubt. I want to see NFL teams do that when evaluating say Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert.

The solid-picking strategy is really at its best from the 3rd round on. Teams like the Packers are known for finding talent in the later rounds because they don’t go for the guys that they know can step in and play. They may not have the most upside, but every prospect has a healthy amount of upside. That’s the thing too, upside is overrated. Those solid prospects can turn into that big-time player.

I feel bad for the running backs in this draft. There are almost no teams with severe running back questions, and it will be difficult for guys like DeMarco Murray and Kendall Hunter to get drafted where they want to be. It may take longer than it should for players like them to get their number called. I really like Roy Helu Jr. as a leader and workhose back, and I think he could pay dividends if selected in the later rounds. The best policy when drafting running backs is to wait until the end where you can find talent for cheap. You should never overpay for running backs unless if you think that they can be a very important part of your team.

Almost all of the receivers after the big two in this draft are boom-or-bust. Guys like Randall Cobb and Jon Baldwin are talented, but nobody knows what to really expect from them. The pass rushing talent in this draft is amazing, and teams lacking that pivotal pass-rusher should be able to shore up that need in this year’s draft. There is a huge lack of talent at safety, and Rahim Moore is the only safety that should be going in the first two rounds. Aaron Williams is a corner that may convert to safety, so he might make it two if he moves over.