Draft Strategy: Positional Value

[Note by Ed Valentine: This is one community member's thought on draft value. I don't agree with all of it, but it's well thought out, so I pushed it to the front so that more of you would find it. ]

Greetings BBV,

Here's another aspect of the whole drafting process that I wanted to bring up, and how it affects specifically the Giants' drafting strategies and how it ties into the concept of BPA/Need.

The way I define positional value is to Madden-ize a team. Take your team, make every single player have a rating of 99 (that's basically all star status) and have the particular position you are looking at to be extremely crappy and then look at your chances of winning.

Another way to define it is how much the player who is great at the position helps you win games.

These rankings are by no means objective, but are generally agreed upon (although cases can be made to move a few around):

1) Quarterback - This couldn't be more apparent. You could put Peyton Manning on the Panthers and they could be a threat

2) Offensive Tackle - Especially LT (if QB is right handed), they protect the QB against the best pass rushers to maintain his rhythm AND have a very prominent role in run support as well. The blindside tackle gets more of a boost.

3) 43DE/34OLB - The pass rushers are the other side of the equation. You disrupt (or in the Giants' case, knock out) the QB, and you have the potential to dominate the other team. Also are key in run support.

4) Wide Receiver - The great ones overshadow their QBs sometimes. Can be game changers. Look no further than the impact Plaxico had in Eli's progression as a QB over the years.

5) Cornerback - A good one can single-handedly win a game for you. I know the Jets' defensive scheme is a spot of contentious debate, but I fully believe that a Nnamdi Asomugha or Darrelle Revis (that can shutdown a #1 WR) can open things up for everyone and make the QB hold the ball longer to support the pass rush.

6) Running back - Also can be gamebreakers, but are lower on the list then WRs because are at least somewhat dependent on Oline run support. Also, good ones are found much more often in the later rounds, whereas the drop off is significant from the 1st round to the later rounds with the positions ranked above.

7) 3-4 NT - Apart from rush lb's, probably most important in 34 DEF. Has to be able to gobble up 2+ blockers to free up rushing lanes and clog up the middle against the run. A good one is vital to be a strong defense.

8) 4-3 DT - Same reasons as the NT, but are not as vital in clogging up rushing lanes because, well, there's 2 of 'em. Also have some pass rushing duties as well.

9) MLB/ILB - Have to be versatile enough to lock down middle of the field and also provide run support. Of great importance because they are primary signal callers and must recognize offensive formations to call audibles. Often are the field generals of the defense.

10) Offensive Guard - We can see the importance of having a great one, as we have one of the best in Chris Snee. Most effective in run support and can provide devastating blocking for the running backs. Also help in pass support, trying to juggle both DTs and DEs.

11) 43OLB - Are more limited in their flexibility and are used to sometimes cover the TE and chase down the RB that gets the edge. Are this low because a strong defensive line can let you get away with mediocre LBs, which has been the case with the Giants.

12) Tight End - Have a plethora of jobs. Some are used as a safety blanket for the QB (See: Dallas Clark, Jason Witten), and because of their size, are valuable in run support, often getting downfield and trying to block safeties and LBs.

13) Center - Generally have to be the smartest offensive lineman, has to be responsible for maintaining QBs rhythm with the snap count, and has to taken on the beefiest dudes when blocking up the middle.

14) Safety - We've seen what happens when you don't have good safeties. You might disagree with this ranking because C.C. Brown regularly shows up in Giants fans' nightmares, but I think that serviceable safeties are fine if the rest of the defense is strong. They are the last line of defense.

15) KR/PR - Two names. Devin Hester. Desean Jacka--, err, Jackson.

16) Fullback - Some teams don't use them, but good ones are invaluable. Remember Mike Alstott?

17) P/K - Used obviously in special situations. Can literally make or break games, but apart from a few exceptions, are a dime a dozen

Ok, so, where the heck am I going with all of this? Well, as a general rule of thumb, this means that if two players are of "equal talent," you look at the position. This means that a fantastic QB prospect (Sam Bradford) will ALMOST (there's always exceptions) beat out a historically legendary DT prospect (Ndamukong Suh). It means that when considering what to select, this is a strong influence when it comes to BPA.

This is somewhat obvious (the draft is almost always top heavy with QBs, CBs, WRs, DEs, DTs, etc and low on G, S, TE, etc)

With that said, here are the positions of the first 3 rounds of each Giants draft since 2006:

2006: DE, WR, MLB

2007: CB, WR, DT

2008: FS, CB, WR

2009: WR, OLB, OT, WR, TE

2010: DE, DT, S

With the exception of 2008 (when we picked 31st) did we pick a position ranked lower than 5 in the 1st round. Dline and WR dominated the rounds, so it seems Jerry Reese averages around the 4-8 range in terms of positional value in the first three rounds.The mean positional ranking was actually 6.7.

As I said in my other post, Reese is heavily involved with the BPA strategy. That's the reason why we picked JPP. Clint Sintim (even though he played 3-4 in college) and Will Beatty were projected by almost all pundits to be 1st round or very high 2nd round picks.

There were only a few times that Reese picked low positional values in these rounds. The only times that positional value didn't affect Reese's picks were when the players were BPA by a long shot (like Sintim), or JR foresaw it being a huge need in the future. Based upon this information, along with the fact that JR has made it known he likes BPA, and assuming that the current prospect rankings are where they are...

I'm going to predict that if Akeem Ayers is available when we pick, he may or may not be the selection depending on how high he is on JR's board. If he is around 19-20, and Brandon Harris is of similar value, based on JR's history, I'm going with Brandon Harris as the pick. However, if Ayers is ranked around 12-13 to Reese, as is his rank in many big boards, I can easily see him being the pick.

Similarly, this is the reason why I believe that Mike Pouncey will NOT be the pick. The positional value is just not there. He will have to be very high on Reese's board in order to be the pick. I can see Gabe Carimi, Derrek Sherrod, or Nate Solder as likelier picks.

Note: It isn't necessarily what I'd like the Giants to do, its just simply who I think they will pick.

Thoughts? Criticisms? Rock on, fellas.

FanPosts are written by community members. This is simply a way for community members to express opinions too long to be contained in a comment.

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