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NFL Draft Mailbag: Drafting for need or talent?

Weekly Q&A

College Football Playoff National Championship - Media Day Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images

Every week here at Bleeding Green Nation we are doing an NFL Draft mailbag (send your questions to If you have questions about prospects, strategies and needs; feel free to send them along!

These week’s questions come from Marc Dubois, who had a host of great draft inquiries!

Q: “Seems like in most drafts, there’s somebody who slides, or maybe even a position group that slides. Or the reverse, an early run. Anybody or any groups where you think there might be surprises?”

I think this receiver class is going to run hot early and throughout the draft. I don’t think there is a league consensus on who the top receiver is, but once the receivers start getting drafted: I could see 5-7 receivers going in the first round, possibly more. In fact it would not surprise me if 10-15 receivers went in the top two rounds.

Despite the run on receivers, I expect people to be surprised where Justin Jefferson gets drafted. Jefferson is a fantastic and productive player, but he was primarily a slot receiver at LSU and teams might knock his value for that. He could end up falling to the bottom of the first or even into the second round.

This offensive line class is also poised for a heavy early dosage. Handfuls of tackles and interior linemen are projected as top 50 picks and it only takes one reach the position to get teams to panic and start taking linemen to fill needs.

Q: “Somebody high on the Eagles board slides to 21, but it’s not a position of need for the Eagles; what do you think they’ll do? Stick to their Board and best available player? Or draft for need?”

The misconception about the need/value argument always treats it as a binary discussion where these things often are married (at least for smart teams). Teams see value in need. It’s just because we are watching from the outside that we’re able to delineate the things. Also most teams’ boards won’t even factor prospects who make no sense for them (IE the Eagles drafting a quarterback in the first or the Cowboys drafting a running back. )

For the Eagles, they basically could draft any (non-ST) position in the first round besides quarterback, tight end and running back and I would understand. This is a deep, talented class all over the place and the Eagles could benefit from drafting top players at most positions. Which is a good problem for the Eagles to have this spring.


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