This is a relatively off-sided topic in draftology that should not be considered a lesson but rather a theory for 2011. With the growing discussions within the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) we will potentially see some eventual changes within the draft. These changes include:

1) Expanding the number of games a season

It seems like a lock that we will have 18 games a season when it is all said and done. This means that more people will get hurt throughout the season and many players will need better (and more) backups.

2) Roster expansion

The NFL suits up only 46 (really only 45 since one is an Emergency QB) and hold only 53 men on their teams. This could go up to 56 (really 55) starting and 65 total on their teams. This allows the league to draft more guys, hold more guys to face more needs, and it allows the league to silently screw over the UFL. But most of all this would allow for less direct roles (explained later).

3) Increasing the number of draft rounds

More guys needed means that the league will have to find newer ways to find more players to play. This isn't so crazy if you consider the fact that double digit draft rounds was around not too long ago. This also is very possible if you consider the fact that the draft is now a primetime event that ESPN and the NFLN love to exploit.


What all of this means is that there will be many more and different needs in the NFL Draft's future. Teams will be taking the complex change-of-pace runningbacks and the Danny Woodhead gadget guys because they can afford to have them on their rosters.  Guys that are purely pass rushers on 3rd down will be drafted despite potentially only being used when needed, and teams will look to draft play specific offensive linemen (think about a 3rd down pass protecting OT only).

With more rounds in the draft we could see a significant drop in need and a shift to value because it will cost the same to take a QB with the 5th pick compared to anything else. That means that teams may take positions they don't need with early picks if they can't trade them, simply because of value. The Patriots will have a top-20 pick this year from the Raiders, and if the CBA were signed before the draft they could and would potentially use that pick on a backup QB because it will cost the same as anything else that they may need.

So to the realization of the 2011 draft. It seems unrealistic that the CBA will be put into place by the draft so it is unrealistic that all of the NFL teams will be ready for the NFL. The smart teams may load up on draft picks now to start building their teams because other teams could potentially have to sign free agents to build a roster. Other teams could be effective if they decide to build up on draft picks for 2012 because the new rules on roster size might not take place until 2012 and that is when they could reap. The smartest teams (smells like a Patriot game) would load up on both by giving up early value for later value in 2011 and value in 2012.

I honestly believe that the best method would go at the 2011 draft with a trade back/trade to the future method, except for taking draft strength and your immediate needs. The 2011 draft looks to very deep at QB, WR, and fairly deep at CB. If I need any of these positions I wouldn't think for a second about taking one of these positions. I would also say that I would take a position of immediate need if it is needed. But if I am a strong team that can afford to skip a 1st, 2nd or even 3rd round pick in the draft then I would trade it away to gain a major advantage for the future.

This is team specific event when it is all said and done. Generally a team like the Buffalo Bills should do as much as it can to fill their holes now, while a team like the Patriots or Falcons could take a chance on trading back.