SO Carolina’s been crowing about its best player philosophy. So, I’m pulling a few draft lists and taking the player that’s listed at that position for the team. It’s not completely realistic, and would assume that Carolina’s rankings are these random sites’ rankings, but if those are the best players available? Let’s see what happens. Of course, since these are the ratings, we’re assuming Carolina would not bump any players higher for being at a need position, which damages some of the integrity of the BPA process.
28. Jason Verrett, CB, TCU – Interesting. Definitely a need. Not the ideal length guy Rivera likes (and yes, it’s weird to keep saying that, if anyone has a better way of putting that, let me know), but would really improve the back end of the defense. Based on need and availability, you’d be pulling #33 Kelvin Benjamin or 36 Cyrus Kouandijo, both of which are rated lower (obviously) and have some issues.
60. Donte Moncrief, WR, Miss – I like it. Fits. Getting lucky in this draft. Moncrief is a very talented player who fits a need, luckily.
Based on need/availability you’d be picking Billy Turner at OT at 67 or picking between Paul Richardson (65) ad Jarvis Landry (69). All are good prospects.
92. Terrance Mitchell, CB – a double dip? I don’t know if they’d do that. It’s not that they have a wealth of longterm CBs. Some sites have him far lower than this, but again we’re assuming this is the value. Mitchell isn’t a top athlete (4.63) for his size (5’11, 190), he’s a good football player more than a good corner.
*If you want to set aside CB as having been picked, which seems against BPA, you would go with Ed Reynolds, FS. Good size, not great speed, but satisfactory. Good overall player.
*The need pick here would be Bruce Ellington, WR if you’re still in need there, the next tackle is the iffy Seantrel Henderson or the (very minor) gamble on James Hurst.
The BPA idea got you, cumulatively 15-25 spots worth of better player. It happened such that you got need players, but no OTs – and in each round the OTs were the outlier on talent deficit, not the closer, so they’re the cumulative 25 or so.
28. Ryan Shazier, OLB – well, here’s where that can get in your head. Shazier is a need in no way whatsoever. Thomas Davis should be here through the end of ’15. AJ Klein seems more than suited to handle duties if he’s gone, though after the year they might slide him over to cover for Chase Blackburn. This is, from a need standpoint, a very small amount of snaps upgraded if at all. Shazier is smaller and thinner than any of our current LBs, and not mroe athletic. He fits, he’s a high motor tackling machine. Maybe you make him lose 15 lbs and make him a safety? I don’t know.
60. Jimmy Garoppolo, QB – yeah, no thanks! I’ll admit. I don’t have much need to scout QBs and Garoppolo is not a guy I know. Reading him, he sounds like Jimmy Clausen – not the theoretical one that sounded like Tom Brady before the draft, but the one we actually got. Cerebral, but happy feet, low measurables guy that projects to be successful anyway sort of guy. Even without picking on Garoppolo, this isn’t a good pick if it were to happen. At minimum, you don’t need him, and immediately the buzz becomes “is Newton’s ankle worse than anticipated? Does Carolina not want to keep Newton? Is Newton an attitude problem?” At minimum, you don’t need that. You probably have that with the already-awful idea of Tajh Boyd as a 3rd rounder, much less this.
*Set aside the QB pick, and the next guy is Paul Richardson. Fast, but a good route runner, makes a lot of sense as a guy who’ll make money on the intermediate routes but could still go deep and make you pay. I will break down Richardson more in the future.*Need based, if not WR (which is a need), Paul Mewhort is a decent OT at the next pick, so need and BPA have really converged. QB nonsense aside.
92. Yawin Smallwood, ILB – let’s just set this aside. Team doesn’t need an ILB. I won’t entertain that. Behind that’s an OLB, almost as silly, see above, but in the third I guess I could deal with Christian Kirksey. Gap integrity is an issue schematically if I want to get out of this pick. He’s not an upgrade so he’s not the best player, you could say.
*Need alternative is Keith McGill, an ideally large corner I may have broken down already. They could use Anthony Johnson as a NT if that’s the “outside the box BPA” you want. Joel Bitonio at 96 is a solid need alternative.
Overall? A bit of a distater without exceptions (the team drafting two linebackers and a quarterback would be a fantastically bad idea). Even drafting a RB would make more sense, just from an eventual phasing out situation.
If you set aside two of them, you get OLB, WR, CB, fair enough but still bad. You get a premium paid for need but not that much (you’d be getting Verrett/Richardson/Bitonio at no more than ten points total off your position).
Nfl.com by grade:I’m assuming that’s 25 per page, so I could even have the numbers wrong.
28. Louis Nix, NT – you could argue this. DTs aren’t cheap. We need a run stopper, which gives the other guys more rest, you continue to control the line of scrimmage. From a snap standpoint, a situational DT might “start” but might pull 40% of snaps or less in this lineup.
From need, Darqueze Dennard is a better value in traditional thought (do consider, we’re assuming that this is their rankings). Odell Beckham, Braodin Cooks, and Donte Moncrief are all very interesting flavors of WR. You can’t get past Cyrus Kouandijo being a bad value pick and the highest rated OT all at the same time. A Darqueze Dennard pick keeps alive the Darqueze/Louchiez Purifoy pairing alive from the sheer standpoint of making it tough to call roll at the CB meetings.
60. Anthony Johnson, DT – oh, OK, another DT. Maybe not? I mean you’d have to have the actual space to fit two more young DTs. You can’t play all four enough to fully get the value.
If you want to set aside that pick you get another DT! Awesome. Then an OLB. Then a SS, and an ILB. So you’re setting aside a lot of picks to get to something that looks respectable. For need? You reach a bit and get Bitonio 12 picks later, or
92. Terrance West, RB – I hear the groan. You’re right, to a point. But I could defend this. Jonathan Stewart didn’t have a great year last year, Deangelo Williams isn’t getting younger, Mike Tolbert can only carry it so much, this is strength on strength. He’s the type of backup you need in a somewhat boring offense predicated on the run. You could see Zac Stacy in him, and that brought the Rams to some level of respectability.
For need, Kyle Fuller is an excellent value, James Hurst would be a great way of filling a need. I like both those options.
Overall? This is a freaking mess. Two DTs and a RB wouldn’t really help much. Upside, you’re probably saving $1.2 million on Dwan Edwards, but that’s about it. You can’t cut or trade any of your RBs. In this case, not only because the BPAs have limited time on the field, but because the need players all fell very close, need fits better.
28. Cyrus Kouandijo, OT – fair enough. It had to happen. He has some upside. And hey, need = BPA! So I can move on.
60. Jimmie Ward, S – fair enough. I’m not that familiar, though he seems OK value. Some have him at SS, some at free, here he’d seem to be a free. Could be a one year nickel as needed, has experience there. Seems like a good football player overall, not just in coverage, but size isn’t great and his 9 reps on the bench are not ideal. Versatility, in a way, covers both FS and nickel corner needs. Need somewhat = BPA? You could argue Jarvis Landry fits a larger need at WR and could play the slot (a hole in the current lineup).
92. Robert Herron, WR – would add a deep threat of sorts. Good speed, short (5’9). I like Bruce Ellington for this sort of thing more. Herron is stronger (18x225 bench is exceptional for a 190 lb receiver), and both are good options. Need = BPA? If you stick with the two BPA picks above, you fill both here, if you went Landry, the need pick might be Keith McGill.
Overall? Essentially ideal BPA/Need pairings. I have some issues with Kouandijo but if his knee ends up good? He’s a mid-first rounder falling to Carolina. If not, of course, he’s Jeff Otah and you don’t improve if you don’t know what you reliably have.
So, four options and four different outcomes, of course. Two of them worked relatively well and definitely upgrade, two were a massive disaster unless you completely choose not to pick a few positions.