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Lots of talk this time of year about positional value in regards to when to draft a player. Yet there is not a complete consensus on this.

IE. OT's get drafted early and high but a strong argument can be made that you can build a good OL with later round picks, RB's should never get drafted in the 1st, "The 20th WR is almost the same as the 5th best WR" etc.. 

Obviously there are exceptions to every rule and clearly you would love to have every position be a 1st round talent. But GENERALLY what do you think teams should be looking at in early, mid and late round pics? If you were a GM how would you value positions?

 

My take

Rounds 1-2: QB, Pass rushers, CB

Rounds 3-4: LB, WR, OL, DT, TE

Rounds 5-7: RB, Special teams

 

 

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I think it varies by team, both due to system and due to roster. If you have a really good roster with a glaring hole at RB or LB, you probably value those positions a lot higher than a team that's a dumpster fire should. Same as a team with a young MVP caliber QB. That team isn't drafting a QB in the 1st even if he's the BPA. They'd probably be looking at trade down scenarios.

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Value

1st is the QB

2nd is protecting the QB and getting to the QB - OT and DE

3rd more skill level - WR, CB

4th LB, RB, TE, S, DT, Interior OLine

 

Very general overview as an outstanding player that fits your system or where you are only one seemingly great player away, might tilt things a bit as LG said

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19 hours ago, stirs said:

Value

1st is the QB

2nd is protecting the QB and getting to the QB - OT and DE

3rd more skill level - WR, CB

4th LB, RB, TE, S, DT, Interior OLine

 

Very general overview as an outstanding player that fits your system or where you are only one seemingly great player away, might tilt things a bit as LG said

This is how I view it as well.

It's why I struggle with Brown, even though I know he's a good player.  Taking 4th tier players in the top 10 can be rough on your team...especially if you miss.

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Start with QB.

Then is there an offensive TD scoring freak available? Yes. Second tier is Ja'Marr Chase.

Third would be a freak DE. None.

4th - Great LT prospect. Penei Sewell.

So when you watch the draft the 4 QBs will be gone before we pick, and so will Chase and Sewell.

If that's the case then we're in a bad spot with the 8th pick. The best WR is off the board. There is no freakish DE. The best OT is off the board. Taking a CB at 8 is a dumb move unless he plays like Dion Sanders. So we need to look at Kyle Pitts, Jaylen Waddle, and DeVonta Smith. Take the best prospect of the 3, or trade down. Smart teams don't mind having 2 number one WRs, just look at the SB champion Bucs.

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I think generally you look at positional value by looking at historical draft positions and also what positions are generally the highest paid/most sought after every year. However, there are sometimes freak players at positions of lower value that sort of demand a move up the normal board or as a team you might want to lock in an elite player at a position of lower value because it is a big need for your team. 

IMO, without taking into account elite players in positions of lower value or team needs:

Top Tier: QB, LT, Elite Pass Rushers(DE, EDGE, Elite DT's) - These guys have higher value due to their direct impact on the passing game which is really critical in the modern NFL.

Second Tier: Elite WR's, Elite CB's, Elite Pass Catching TE's - I make a distinction in these "Elite" skill position players because they can be absolute game changers in the pass game. Either able to effectively neutralize an elite pass catcher or able to consistently provide mismatches in the passing game. 

Third Tier: Interior OL, RT's, RB's, non-pass rushing LB's, S's - These guys are typically able to be drafted outside the first round and still make significant impacts on your roster. For IOL/RT, there is typically a larger pool of elite interior guys or plenty of good college LT's that can be effective RT's in the NFL. RB's and LB's are typically somewhat plentiful but also have shorter careers than the average prospect. Safety's are another position with typically a deep pool that can extend past the first 2 rounds.

Fourth Tier: TE, K, P, FB. All of these positions can be obtained relatively easily in the middle to late rounds of the draft to find effective players. In general, these guys are relatively devalued in the modern NFL.

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When talking about positional value you also have to look at positional availability.  An elite WR might actually be as important as an elite OT, but I would say its easier to find a great WR later in the draft.  For various reasons some really good WRs always seem to fall to the 2nd round. 

Could be that they are one of the most dependent positions on a football field so they probably fall through the cracks a bit at the college level.  A Rondale Moore playing for Alabama might be talked about in the top-10, but instead he goes later 1st or early 2nd.  Where as an OT or edge that has elite tools will show up on scouts radar from any school and there is plenty of 1vs1 tape on him where as that WR is dependent on scheme and QB play.

Also everyone likes to rank edge above corners but there is actually some research out there that a good corner actually adds more value than an good edge, but then which is easier to find later.  Here again you can't make a draft decision in a vacuum, you have to look at the entire draft.  

I don't think you can have hard rules based on rounds, but instead just some general guidelines. 

QBs, OTs, and pass rushers seem the hardest to find, take them the earliest

RBs, Interior O-line, and LBs seem the easiest to find later so take them later.

Everything else in between.

Also you have to look at free agency.  For example really good LTs seem really hard to find, not only in the draft, but also in free agency.  You might be willing to pay top dollar, but some years none even hit the market, or they are older if they do.  Whereas most years there seem to be some good CB and pass rushing options.

I might view that CB or pass rusher as more valuable than a LT but I might use an earlier pick on a LT because I know I have a better chance of signing an edge or CB in free agency.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1 QB

2 Pass rusher 

3 LT

4 CB

 

All of those players should be considered in round 1 and 2, and tbh unless there is a transcendent talent (i.e. Luke Kuechly) no other positions should be round 1 picks

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My continued rankings would be:

5 OG/C

6 WR

7 LB

8 TE

9 S

10 RB

 

Panthers historically invest resources in my 7, 8 and 10th most important positions LOL

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On 2/26/2021 at 12:08 PM, CanadianCat said:

 

My take

Rounds 1-2: QB, Pass rushers, CB

Rounds 3-4: LB, WR, OL, DT, TE

Rounds 5-7: RB, Special teams

 

 

That’s how I see it but it would be more is a lens to use when looking at players rather than a strict rule. If liked a LB or OL in round 1 or 2, it would be because I felt they were that much better or the risk of underperforming/busting was that much less.

Quenton Nelson is a pretty good example. You don’t take a guard that high... except he is elite and, aside from the injury risk that all players have, there was next to zero risk of him disappointing. You basically hand in the card and get a pro-bowler in return. I’d rather do that then just roll the dice on a CB just because.

Edited by imminent rogaine
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Depends on system and current talent.

I don't think it would be wise to arrange them by rounds like the draft, but if folks had to be particular they can debate the values of particular positions in different systems.

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4 hours ago, imminent rogaine said:

That’s how I see it but it would be more is a lens to use when looking at players rather than a strict rule. If liked a LB or OL in round 1 or 2, it would be because I felt they were that much better or the risk of underperforming/busting was that much less.

Quenton Nelson is a pretty good example. You don’t take a guard that high... except he is elite and, aside from the injury risk that all players have, there was next to zero risk of him disappointing. You basically hand in the card and get a pro-bowler in return. I’d rather do that then just roll the dice on a CB just because.

Yeah there are always exceptions but I do think there is a 'rule of thumb' involved here. 

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This is mine take. I feel everyone should have the same top three. Im a DL whore, fyi. Some varies depending on system, climate, stadium, left handed QB, etc .

 

 

1- QB

2-Edge/DE/3-4OLB

3. LT(could make a good case for #1, much less great LTs than QBs)

4. WR

5. CB

6. DT

7. RT

8. TE

9. C

10. OG

11. RB

12. LB

13. Safety

14. Kicker(could/should be higher)

15. Punter

16. LS/FB/Gunner/Ace/H-back

 

About 7 years ago I had OG rated lower, RG and LG vary on worth too. At times RG is asked to block the 3tech DT, you need a stud for that task. Follow the money and that gives you where teams feel value is. 

 

 

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Honestly, 'positional value' is how absolute superstars slip to the dominant teams as the poor teams chase that QB / LT / CB.

My approach to the Draft has always been to take the best guy available - FA is where you fill holes. There's nothing more painful than watching your middling LT / QB run out for you while that stud LB / TE / RB (etc) who was taken with the next pick tears up the league. 

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