In the first two installments here, I examined the Big Boards out on the web, and reported on what they felt the consensus prospect values were.
In the second, I put that same methodology up against the mock drafts out there. Both of these articles shamelessly took advantage of research done by other people, and just combined it to make sort of a consensus opinion.
So the natural third and final step is to put this all together with team needs. And that's the purpose of this post.
There's no point in re-hashing what every other site out there claims as far as needs go. I don't even remember all of the sites I visited in making this list. I do know that regardless of what some experts out there think, the Panthers do NOT have a huge need a Guard. Given that I saw that a couple of places, you can call the accuracy of my list into question as much as you want an I won't try and defend it.
One thing I did try to do was think like a GM. The Panthers need a WR. They need a DE. And they would like to have a good QB, if they can get one cheap.
So the obvious question is, what teams are the competition for these positions and where are they in relation to me? We're not going to compete for Sam Bradford, so it doesn't matter if St. Louis needs a QB or not. But we do need a WR, and New England picks right above us.
After I did that, a list emerged that may make the draft a little more fun to watch. Especially when I put it together with the value chart I had created earlier.
For this one, I basically took a range of the picks based on where I had seen them predicted to fall. I did a simple formula that increased the range the greater the range was between the average selection and the weighted average. So, the further down you get the bigger the ranges are, which is no surprise. It's not super-scientific, but it works for the purposes here.
The resulting table shows the heartache of every GM out there with a high first round selection. I don't care how many people claim that they're going BPA, everyone knows that in your early picks you're drafting for need. The problem is, the player you need might not be available when you select, or the one who is just isn't worth being taken that high.
Take Buffalo, for instance. They obviously need a Quarterback, and they really need help on both lines. But they pick ninth, which will probably be after Bradford and Clausen are gone.
They're also out of luck in the Suh/McCoy sweepstakes, and Dan Williams just isn't worth the ninth pick. Neither are any of the DEs out there.
That leaves them looking at the OT position, where Okung will be long gone but they might have a shot at Brian Bulaga or Trent Williams.
Of course, Oakland and Seattle both sorely need offensive tackles, and so does Washington.
Now that the Skins have McNabb, they can grab Okung and feel good about it. And Seattle already signed their QB of the future, so you can easily see them reaching for Bulaga instead of nabbing Clausen like a lot of earlier mocks thought they would.
Now you have to watch what Cleveland does. They need a little bit of everything, and if Eric Berry is off the board (KC-bound?) they may decide to nab Jimmy Clausen and groom him under Delhomme for a year or two. Not a bad pick, right?
Buf if they do that, then Oakland is almost sure to take Williams. No one else meets their needs that's worth the 8th overall pick.
And just like that, the Bills are left with no one at their selection who can really help the team where they need it. Sure, they can take Spiller, but Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson already give them a good running attack.
They could take Haden, because everyone loves another cornerback, but he would make a marginal difference at best, given what they already have.
So what could they do? Reach for Dan Williams? That will create headaches for other teams below them, but he's an expensive number nine selection. Maybe they can panic and take Campbell or Davis at tackle, which would be even worse. Or they can trade down...
Anyway, that sort of fantasy game is a lot of fun, and it gets better as the draft goes on.
So that's how I play Armchair GM on draft day. Make a spreadsheet, grab a beer, and give it a try. It's a lot of fun to do.
Oh, here's my table. Don't yell if you don't like it--make your own instead! :)