NFL Draft: Is BPA really the best policy?

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Roster Positional Value

Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

This category may be the toughest to define. Fortunately for me, there’s a clear illustration of this idea from the 2014 NFL Draft. The Chiefs selected Dee Ford with the 23rd overall pick last year. I’m not convinced that anyone other than Ford would argue that he was the best player available at that point in the round. I distinctly remember Ford carrying a late-first round/early-second round grade.

With both Tamba Hali and Justin Houston under contract for 2014, it’s clear Ford wasn’t drafted to fill a need. Although, an argument can be made that he gave the Chiefs options when it came to Houston’s expiring contract and Hali’s $11.4 million 2015 cap number. The Ford pick is evidence that Dorsey is considering more than which player on his board has the highest overall value. If the Chiefs can’t get a long-term deal with Houston done, Ford will have had two years to prep himself as his successor.

If the former points haven’t convinced you that Draft Day decision-making is more complex than the slogan it’s made out to be, ask yourself the following questions:

A. Do you believe the Colts would draft a quarterback if he were the highest-rated available player in Round 1?

B. Would a team with a sufficiently-talented receiving corps select a wide receiver in three consecutive rounds where the “best player available” played that position?

C. Wouldn’t the admission that teams control for need be an unnecessary tipping of their draft hands?

In conclusion, I think the “best player available” mantra applies to a select few teams with loaded rosters (the Chiefs may actually qualify for the first time in a decade). Ultimately, I think it’s just a clever way for a GM/head coach to play his cards close to the vest. If a team admitted they drafted the best player available at a position of need, it could shrink their draft options and potentially cost them a coveted player. It’s fairly simple to look at a team’s roster and figure out which positions need upgrades. The tipping point isn’t draft selection, it’s talent evaluation. Teams that scout college prospects well succeed long-term and tend to avoid scrutiny of their draft process.

Are you convinced that draft decisions observe a host of factors? Can you make a more compelling argument in favor of a strict BPA model? Use the comment section below to weigh in. As always, we appreciate your readership and support.

Until next time, Addicts!