While I am no Mel Kiper, Jr., I would like to think that I know a little something about the NFL Draft and improving a team's franchise future stock. Every year following the Senior Bowl, it's week of practice and then once again following the Pro Bowl Skills competition for the college football all-stars, stocks drop and rise like a camp-fire flame onthe collegiate players.
Draft questions arise from me after I have seen so many Number 1's not fair well in the NFL or First Rounders in general. The biggest reason, their playing style doesn't fit the system that drafted them. There are certain positions that you just have to take the best player, like the kickers, for instance. You take the kicker that has the strongest and most accurate leg, simple enough. You put your stock in the linebacker that can cover the most ground while being the best tackler, easy enough. You draft the best end or tackle by noticing how effective he was in stopping the run or applying pressure in addition to his raw strength and speed.
Easy enough, right? Well, some positions are a bit more complicated like that of the quarterback position. You can't take the best quarterback in the draft and guarentee that he'll survive or thrive at the NFL level. You can't take the most accurate or the strongest arm. Nor can you take the quarterback with the most passing yards, touchdowns thrown or interceptions not thrown. Team officials have to draft a quarterback that best fits their system. No if's and's or but's about it.
Prime examples are Donavan McNabb, Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Joe Montana, John Elway, Dan Marino, Carson Palmer, David Garrard, Drew Brees, Tony Romo and Philip Rivers. Sure, there are Number 1's in there, there are first rounders in their as well. But the difference is that all those quarterbacks were selected on their ability to run a specific system. You don't draft a shot-gun quarterback to run a West Coast offensive system.
I think this is where NFL teams shoot themselves in the foot, fans and coaches get too caught up in their highlights and college success rather than using their head and finding the compatibility of that player with their specific system.
Here's another thought, you take your most important positions from the power conferences. Sure there are some hidden gems or diamonds in the rough, but leave them for later rounds. Just a thought.