FanPost

NFL Draft: What does "BPA" really mean?

Kevin C. Cox

With a little under a month to the draft, the most used phrase is that teams need to draft BPA or Best Player Available.

While that is easy to claim as a draftnick, most people who use it, does not really understand the true meaning of BPA and how you stack a draft board. I will try to explain what BPA and stacking the draft board is really all about using the upcoming draft and two prior eagles draft picks as examples.

Stacking the draft board

Before we can begin to talk about why BPA is important we first need to look at how a team stack their draft boards.

I will use NFL.com's grades to illustrate the whole thing:

PLAYER POS HT WT COLLEGE GRADE
Warmack, Chance OG 6'2" 317 Alabama 95.9
Joeckel, Luke OT 6'6" 306 Texas A&M 94.3
Jordan, Dion DE 6'6" 248 Oregon 93.5
Floyd, Sharrif DT 6'3" 297 Florida 93.5
Fisher, Eric OT 6'7" 306 Central Michigan 93.3
Milliner, Dee CB 6'0" 201 Alabama 93.2

This is ranked after grade. As we can see Warmack is the highest graded player, so if we took BPA literally Chiefs should select Warmack, but we all know that nobody is projecting Warmack to go in the top 5 despite his very high grade.

This is here potential value comes in to the picture. We all know that QB, OT, CB and DE/OLB are all more valuable to a team's success then a guard, most people will also argue that DT and WR are more important and by looking at where elite RB is drafted and their very high salary NFL teams also value them higher than interior linemen.

How you value OT vs DE vs CB of course depends on scheme, but if we adjust for potential value one way it could look is like the following:

PLAYER POS HT WT COLLEGE GRADE
Joeckel, Luke OT 6'6" 306 Texas A&M 94.3
Jordan, Dion DE 6'6" 248 Oregon 93.5
Fisher, Eric OT 6'7" 306 Central Michigan 93.3
Milliner, Dee CB 6'0" 201 Alabama 93.2
Floyd, Sharrif DT 6'3" 297 Florida 93.5
Warmack, Chance OG 6'2" 317 Alabama 95.9

Now Warmack is only the 6th best player on the board. While Joeckel is the best rated player.

The last thing team do is make an adjustment for need, but it is only very small and its often here teams get in trouble in the draft. If we use the Eagles as an example, I dont think the above board would change anything based on needs, maybe you could put Eric Fisher above Dion Jordan and maybe also Dee Millner above Jordan.

You of course has to be careful with how much you bump up a player based on positional value or need because as I said above then you will get in trouble

The only reason not to take the best player available is if you are in the extreme rare situation that you eg. got two very good OTs and a good backup and then you have to be extreme secure in your backup.

So why is BPA important?

Lets take Vinny Curry as an example, the Eagles had an early 2nd round grade on him, but because he "dropped" to the late 2nd round the Eagles took him and this was despite us supposedly having at least 3 other very good DE’s in front of him (Babin, Cole and Graham and maybe to some extend Tapp), but as we saw Babin got cut, Tapp was a FA and Cole had a down year so suddenly Curry was up to the primary back up with a chance to unseat Cole if 2012 was not a mirage for him.

That is the reason you draft BPA, because while a position can look like a position of strength, you never know if some one will get an injury, turn old etc.

This is also the exact opposite of Jarrett, who was rated as low as a 5th rounder by some and we took him with a high 2nd rounder because we had a very big need at safety, so instead of following the board we jumped on a player who should have been rated much lower (or the Eagles scouts should be fired)

As a team who draft 4th overall, the chance of making a huge mistake early in is minimized unless you pull a Raiders and select a guy like DHB before the 4 higher rated WRs, but when it is time for the Eagles to select in the 2nd and 3rd round (BPA after the 3rd round is a crap shoot) or if we trade back, it becomes very important that the team has stacked their board the right way and when the times comes they follow it instead of reaching for a pick like Jarrett.

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