When it comes to the NFL draft there will always be a debate about whether a team should take their biggest need or to take the biggest asset. There is unfortunately no correct answer to the question, but there are correct ways to think about it.

A team must look at their needs first. If they need a QB, Left Tackle, or elite pass rusher then you must first take them. There is an old rule with this that goes "You need a QB to lead the team, a LT to protect your QB and a pass rusher to attack the other QB's." Don't believe me? Look at the first overall pick in the draft. Since 1997 there have been ten players drafted first overall that were QBs, two that were LT's and two that were DE.

Just because you think Ndamukong Suh or Eric Berry is the best player, you must take a QB in Sam Bradford. That is because a defensive tackle and a safety does not win a game. How many games has Sam Bradford been responsible for winning this season compared to Eric Berry and Ndamukong Suh? Again, don't believe me? If you look at the Franchise Tag numbers for 2010 (which are accumulated by taking the average of the top-5 players of the position) you would see that the most expensive tag is for a QB. Second and third places? Defensive end and Offensive line. Safety and defensive tackle were 3rd and 4th last respectively.

But to the debate of Need over value. The best situation would be for a team to look at:

1) Team Need

What positions do you need? Think about the Lions if they were drafting 1st in 2011. They have a QB so it would be dumb to grab a second one. Their pass rush is ok, so the only logical position would be to take a LT to help Matt Stafford. If they think they are set at LT (which they seem to always be) then they can run through value or through their biggest needs.

2) Player Value

How much value does the player have? If you need a LT but you think Ndamukong Suh is too good to pass up, then go ahead and take Suh and grab OL talent in the next round. Player value is a fine technique to use, but it seems like the teams that take only high value players and not need don't succeed well.

3) Draft Value

If a draft has a lot of top-tier WR's like 2011 might, you may want to pass on AJ Green in the top-10 if you think that you can get Michael Floyd or Jonathon Baldwin in the 2nd. If you are picking 4th in the 2011 draft and you need a WR most and CB as a far second, then it might actually be a better choice to take an elite corner like Patrick Peterson over your biggest need because a good receiver will be around in the next round.

Which would your rather get with your first two picks:

Scenario A:

Patrick Peterson and Michael Floyd

Scenario B:

AJ Green and Ras I Dowling

Both scenarios have their advantages but Scenario A gives you the best corner to come out in a long time and a great receiver while Scenario B gives you a great receiver and a starting corner.

4) Round

One thing that few consider is the round that you are picking. In the first few rounds you have to be able to fix your draft needs. You cannot go for value in the first six rounds and then find your starting LT need in the 7th. You just have to fill your needs earlier because it won't be as easy later. If it is the 4th round then you have to seriously look at both sides. You have to find players of need but if someone you have a 2nd round grade on falls to you, then it is worth a 4th round nod, even if you need a different position later. Overall the dumbest thing one could do would be to take need in the 7th round. a 7th round pick is there to get the biggest steal left. 7th rounders are not supposed to succeed, and you cannot expect to find a starter there. You have to take chances on the best athlete, on the player with character concerns and on the player that got injured in college.


To conclude you must look at the entire situation of the draft before you decide who you want to draft. Need and value are two different things that must be considered, but you have to look at how strong the draft is, and at what round you are in.