When bad teams reach, good teams can't.
For instance, Ja'Wuan James going at 19 to Miami. They clearly had a
need, and if you wanted to say James was the best tackle on the board,
you could argue that - Morgan Moses, Cyrus Kouandijo had major issues,
and Joel Bitonio wasn't rated anywhere near 19. But neither was James.
Which caused a volatile situation at tackle. I don't believe James was
going to be Carolina's pick at 28, though we'll never know. But at the
least, Carolina had some concerns about Moses to pass by him twice,
there's reason to imagine that Kouandijo was worth some concern. I know
I'd read the rumors about Bitonio at 28, but I don't know how serious
they were (we might learn other people high on the draft board as we did
the last few years, but don't hold your breath).
Reaching for Kouandijo or Bitonio doesn't become "right" for Carolina
just because Miami did it with James. Which would've been part of the
reason to do it - James reduced an OK tackle crop by a fair portion,
where it didn't have the depth WR did. You could argue that simply
means you take tackle first, and then go with the deeper WR group
second. College Scouting Director Don Gregory even was quoted as saying
you can find (future?) starters as late as the 4th in this draft. It
had me thinking WR wasn't going to happen in the first, certainly.
And, yet, a lot of national cricism, regardless of the OT depth after
those first few prospects, comes from Carolina's taking a somewhat raw
WR in the first instead of an OT. Either they would be forced to take a
tackle (like Moses, who fell almost a full round, or Richardson, who
right or wrong I would've been OK with in 2 or 3, and went undrafted)
later that they apparently felt couldn't help, and forego Kony Ealy or
another talented player, or face this scrutiny.
Certainly, Allen Robinson, Jarvis Landry, Donte Moncrief, John Brown
(who?), and Josh Huff - the guys who ended up being taken between 60 and
92 - were not guys Carolina felt could be future #1 receivers. I don't
either - Moncrief, maybe, because of his raw size/speed, but with
massive issues. Robinson is more polished than Benjamin, but not more
athletic and certainly without the upside.
I don't know. I don't end up being that happy thinking of a
Bitonio/Robinson draft, I don't really love the idea of a Bitonio/Ealy
draft. I can't lie that I'd have been happy with a Benjamin/Morgan
Moses pairing then or now - I almost would've rather had Jack Mewhort,
who went a pick ahead of Ealy, so it's irrelevant. But filling needs,
that's not what the draft is about. I really have a hard time buying
that so many analysts have little regard for value, especially since it
removes the need to 'know' the team or buy into the system (something
the average mock draft guy, average analyst after the fact, doesn't
really know well team to team).
So while, say, Bitonio/Robinson would've filled the team's two biggest
needs, I don't know. I think that would be an awful draft. I guess I'm
modestly predisposed to liking what my team does, but it's still there.
The team did better than the reach/need thing.
It does get harder to sell BPA when you reach on your 4th and 5th. The
value, in my opinion, wasn't there. Did the team get good players?
Yeah. Did they go BPA? That's much harder to say, at the least. They
say that, and I can't know otherwise, but the internet didn't have the
two DBs that high in general.
I guess, to a point, you can excuse the ide of saying BPA, but then
trading up for a player. Carolina did that by sacrificing a 7th to get
Bene Benwikere, potentially the last corner Carolina would've been OK
with. Dave Gettleman certainly didn't seem to want to give up draft
picks, and veering from the status quo couldn't have been aided much by
the Skype situation.
Nonetheless, I get it. I would prefer to have gotten a tackle, but you
can't force it.