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racketmaster

This data suggests waiting until 2nd and 3rd rounds on WR and TE

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With the draft nearing, I wanted to take a closer look at 2 positions (WR, TE) that have been in the conversation for the Bills using their first round pick on. Metcalf and Hockenson have been the 2 names most regularly mentioned if the Bills were to use pick #9 on WR or TE. Prior to the combine, I was on board with taking Hockenson, even if it meant taking him at 9. I still would not be mad at the selection (he should be a quality player at the very least) but I think it would not be the best way to maximize pick value. I thought it might be worth looking into what draft rounds produce quality and elite players at the WR and TE positions. 

What I chose to use as a measure of quality was receiving yards as I thought it was the best measure for receiving targets. With WRs, I looked at the top 30 ranked WRs in 2016, 2017 and 2018. Top 30 WRs, I deemed quality WRs. I also looked at the top 15 WRs for the same years and I viewed them as elite WRs. I did the same for the TE position except I chose the top 25 for quality players and top 10 for elite TEs. The reason for the difference was that there are just less productive receiving TEs than WRs. For each of the WRs and TEs that made the lists, I recorded the rounds they were drafted. I wanted to see what the percentages were for drafted rounds for the quality and elite WRs and TEs. So what did it show?

2016, 2017 and 2018 TOP 30 WRs AND THEIR DRAFT ROUNDS:

ROUND 1: 31% (28)

ROUND 2: 24% (22)

ROUND 3: 13% (12)

ROUND 4: 1% (1)

ROUND 5: 11% (10)

ROUND 6: 5% (4)

ROUND 7: 5% (4)

UDFA: 10% (9)

2016, 2017 AND 2018 TOP 15 (ELITE) WRs AND THEIR DRAFT ROUNDS:

ROUND 1: 38% (17)

ROUND 2: 24% (11)

ROUND 3: 7% (3)

ROUND 4: 0% (0)

ROUND 5: 11% (5)

ROUND 6: 7% (3)

ROUND 7: 2% (1)

UDFA: 11% (5)

 

2016, 2017 and 2018 TOP 25 TEs AND THEIR DRAFT ROUNDS:

ROUND 1: 24% (15)

ROUND 2: 18% (17)

ROUND 3: 26% (19)

ROUND 4: 8% (5)

ROUND 5: 10% (6)

ROUND 6: 4% (5)

ROUND 7: 0% (0)

UDFA: 10% (8)

2016, 2017 AND 2018 TOP 10 (ELITE) TEs AND THEIR DRAFT ROUNDS:

ROUND 1: 20% (6)

ROUND 2: 30% (9)

ROUND 3: 30% (9)

ROUND 4: 3% (1)

ROUND 5: 3% (1)

ROUND 6: 7% (2)

ROUND 7: 0% (0)

UDFA: 7% (2)

 

WR POSITION: The best chance at success comes from the first round. 31% of quality (top 30) WRs and 38% of the elite WRs are from the first round. The next best round is the second round with 24% and 24% for both quality and elite production. There is a significant drop off after the second round. Based on the numbers and the fact that the WR position is expected to be extremely deep in 2019, I think the value lies in the 2nd round. It seems likely that a WR such as AJ Brown, Hakeem Butler or a Debo Samuel will be available when the Bills pick in the 2nd round. If the Bills determine that they want another WR, the 2nd round is where they should go looking. The numbers between the first and second round are close enough and the depth is great enough to think the best way to maximize pick value would be take a WR in the 2nd.

 

TE POSITION: This position was even more interesting to me. The 3rd round actually had a higher percentage (26% as opposed to 24%) of quality players than what came from the 1st round. This even held when looking at the elite TEs in that both the 2nd and 3rd rounds had the highest percentage of elite receiving tight ends at 30% a piece. Based on the numbers and the fact that the tight end position is considered to be deep this year, waiting until the 3rd round appears to be the best way to maximize the value of selecting a tight end. In looking at the numbers, I changed my tune and would much prefer the Bills to wait on TE until the 2nd or even better the 3rd round. A player like Jace Sternberger, will be available in the 2nd and maybe even the 3rd round.

 

 Waiting on WR and TE, will allow the Bills to attack the defensive side of the ball and in particular the defensive line. It is the strength of the draft and the Bills could really use a pass rusher and some youth up front. In sum, I am completely fine with passing on Metcalf and Hockenson in order to grab a defensive lineman because we still have a good chance of finding talented WRs and TEs in the 2nd and 3rd.

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Now of course what you need to do is compare the total numbers of players at each position (WR and TE) drafted in each round, against the numbers of productive and elite players drafted in those same rounds, to see a better correlation of hit-vs-miss probability. I'm an English prof, though, so stats isn't my strong suit. But it makes sense, right?

 

Could it be that fewer total TEs get drafted early (as compared to QB, WR, OT, DE, DT, CB, etc.), therefore spreading out the numbers (of productive/elite players) based simply on greater quantities going later in the draft? 

 

Without doing a single keystroke of research, I will make a bold assertion: productive guards and running backs are available in rounds 2-4. (But of course really good ones often do still get drafted highly nonetheless, which of course complicates the matter.)

 

I appreciate the conversation you're starting here, and I hope people want to engage. 

 

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Just evaluate the players.  Take the best player when it's your turn to pick.  If you get an offer you like trade down.  When you see dips in quality of prospects compared to where your selecting try to trade up.  

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12 minutes ago, Mat68 said:

Just evaluate the players.  Take the best player when it's your turn to pick.  If you get an offer you like trade down.  When you see dips in quality of prospects compared to where your selecting try to trade up.  

Great illustration of Occam's Razor right here. I think you just Richard-punched most draft pundits and their entire artificial draft news cycle nonsense.

 

Only medicals and interviews mean much once the college season ends, except in rare circumstances. Watch the film. Talk to the kids. Make sure they have cartilage in their joints. Draft the best overall players available, for the most part. You're either filling holes OR creating competition and depth. Both things are good. Keep adding talent to the roster.

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Outliers are all over the field and Hall of Fame.  Gronk was a 2nd round pick because he had back surgery and he missed a large portion of his last year in college. 

 

You dont take Guards in the top 10.  Quinton Nelson is an All pro as a rookie and could be generational.  Go into the draft looking to add the best guys you can.  By increasing the talent you improve your roster. 

 

I dont think historical data comes into play, however the strengths of each positions in corresponding rounds do.  Example, I think starting in rd 3 there will be 5 or so rbs who could be impactful players availabe.  The conversation is how good does your #1 rated guy have to be to draft him in rd 1 or 2 if you can get one in rd 3.  

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26 minutes ago, Mat68 said:

Just evaluate the players.  Take the best player when it's your turn to pick.  If you get an offer you like trade down.  When you see dips in quality of prospects compared to where your selecting try to trade up.  

Never trade up, unless it is to get a QB near the top of the draft.

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, Richard Noggin said:

Great illustration of Occam's Razor right here. I think you just Richard-punched most draft pundits and their entire artificial draft news cycle nonsense.

 

Only medicals and interviews mean much once the college season ends, except in rare circumstances. Watch the film. Talk to the kids. Make sure they have cartilage in their joints. Draft the best overall players available, for the most part. You're either filling holes OR creating competition and depth. Both things are good. Keep adding talent to the roster.

But some NFL execs,  the one's who have the final, that are not football fans or lifers fall for it.  See Ej Manuel 14th overall.  Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel.  

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Nextmanup said:

Never trade up, unless it is to get a QB near the top of the draft.

 

 

 

I'm talking deeper in the draft.  Top 20 is expensive.  Beyond that if you see wide margins in talent you should see if you can get said player.  Not from a need standpoint but a value stand point.  If you see a guy you think is a starter the rest are back ups or special teams players why not move up and throw in an extra pick the following round?

Edited by Mat68

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1 minute ago, Mat68 said:

But some NFL execs,  the one's who have the final, that are not football fans or lifers fall for it.  See Ej Manuel 14th overall.  Tim Tebow, Johnny Manziel.  

No doubt. They let the ancillary stuff overshadow the primary factor: can the player play at the next level? What does the film say? 

 

Now, by that logic, unfortunately, the Bills have a young QB whose college film must be rationalized with all the other factors and tools. Sure hope that's an outlier situation...

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6 minutes ago, Richard Noggin said:

No doubt. They let the ancillary stuff overshadow the primary factor: can the player play at the next level? What does the film say? 

 

Now, by that logic, unfortunately, the Bills have a young QB whose college film must be rationalized with all the other factors and tools. Sure hope that's an outlier situation...

See now I go the other way.  Top 10/ first rd I want talent.  Give me solid starters rd 2 and 3.  Round 1 you need to find difference makers.  Drafted talented guys.  Trust the coaches can coach.

 

My opinion of Allen was high before he was drafted.  He has the most potential, and is the most athletic of all the Qb drafted last year.  He elevated a horrible program to the most wins its seen in decades.  He wasnt always pretty but threw lasers to all levels of the feild, and made 2 to 3 plays a game 2 or 3 players in sport could make.  Last 3 weeks of the season Allen was a top 5 fantasy Qb aswell.  

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That is most picks.

 

i would build the whole team from second and third rounders if i could (except Allen of course)

 

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That pry took a lot of time.  It broke down as I'd expect although I don't agree with your conclusion when it comes to WR.  It actually shows taking a WR in the 1st round gives you the best chance of success at that position.  I'm guessing if TE was as valued a position then a lot of those 2nd and 3rd round successes would've been drafted in the 1st round.

 

If you look at the TE's taken in round 1 the last 10 years it shows that's not a position you should reach for.  Unless he's the next Travis Kelce take a similar draft grade at a different position and take your chances in round 2 and 3.

 

-Brandin Pettigrew

-Jermaine Gresham

-Tyler Eifert

-Eric Ebron

-O.J. Howard

-Evan Engram

-David Njoku

-Hayden Hurst

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, Richard Noggin said:

Now of course what you need to do is compare the total numbers of players at each position (WR and TE) drafted in each round, against the numbers of productive and elite players drafted in those same rounds, to see a better correlation of hit-vs-miss probability. I'm an English prof, though, so stats isn't my strong suit. But it makes sense, right?

 

Could it be that fewer total TEs get drafted early (as compared to QB, WR, OT, DE, DT, CB, etc.), therefore spreading out the numbers (of productive/elite players) based simply on greater quantities going later in the draft? 

 

Without doing a single keystroke of research, I will make a bold assertion: productive guards and running backs are available in rounds 2-4. (But of course really good ones often do still get drafted highly nonetheless, which of course complicates the matter.)

 

I appreciate the conversation you're starting here, and I hope people want to engage. 

 

Its got nothing to do with the round.  It has to do with the player and the scouting staff finding talent.

Also the staff that developes that player.

Edited by formerlyofCtown

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6 hours ago, Richard Noggin said:

Now of course what you need to do is compare the total numbers of players at each position (WR and TE) drafted in each round, against the numbers of productive and elite players drafted in those same rounds, to see a better correlation of hit-vs-miss probability. I'm an English prof, though, so stats isn't my strong suit. But it makes sense, right?

 

Could it be that fewer total TEs get drafted early (as compared to QB, WR, OT, DE, DT, CB, etc.), therefore spreading out the numbers (of productive/elite players) based simply on greater quantities going later in the draft? 

 

Without doing a single keystroke of research, I will make a bold assertion: productive guards and running backs are available in rounds 2-4. (But of course really good ones often do still get drafted highly nonetheless, which of course complicates the matter.)

 

I appreciate the conversation you're starting here, and I hope people want to engage. 

 

I admit that there are probably more than a few flaws to taking the approach I did. It matters how many WRs and TEs were selected in each of the rounds as well and if I ran the numbers on all the other positions (or at least the offensive side of the ball) it might provide better context.

 

What it did show was that there are productive and highly productive WRs found in the 2nd round each year (certainly more are found in the first round but it is close enough in my opinion to wait until the 2nd). It also showed that there are productive and highly productive TEs being found in the 2nd and 3rd rounds each year (even more than the first round). So now it is up to Brandon Beane and company to identify that talent at the WR and TE positions that slip through the cracks into the 2nd and 3rd. It is pretty much a consensus that the draft this year is deep at both of the positions so it seems to make sense that productive players will be there in the 2nd and 3rd (maybe even some in the 4th because of how deep the TE position is) and the Bills could maximize value if they were to wait and identify the talent that does fall outside the 1st round.

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Doc Brown said:

That pry took a lot of time.  It broke down as I'd expect although I don't agree with your conclusion when it comes to WR.  It actually shows taking a WR in the 1st round gives you the best chance of success at that position.  I'm guessing if TE was as valued a position then a lot of those 2nd and 3rd round successes would've been drafted in the 1st round.

 

If you look at the TE's taken in round 1 the last 10 years it shows that's not a position you should reach for.  Unless he's the next Travis Kelce take a similar draft grade at a different position and take your chances in round 2 and 3.

 

-Brandin Pettigrew

-Jermaine Gresham

-Tyler Eifert

-Eric Ebron

-O.J. Howard

-Evan Engram

-David Njoku

-Hayden Hurst

You might be right when looking at the WR numbers, especially if you were looking to specifically draft a top tier WR. Elite WRs are found in the 1st round at a 38% rate as opposed to the 2nd round at 24%. If you were looking to find just a productive WR it is much closer with 31% in the 1st and 24% in the 2nd. That's probably more what I was looking at as I feel the Bills might be more likely to try and find that quality WR rather than look for the home run elite talent (but that is much more an opinion than anything else).

 

I'd say more than anything, the numbers probably changed my opinion on drafting Hockenson in the 1st. Not that he won't be good but there seems to be tremendous value at the TE position in the 2nd and 3rd rounds (at a greater rate than the first). Based on the past numbers and the fact the draft appears very deep at TE, I think it seems logical that if the Bills waited they could find a productive TE in rounds 2 or 3 (if they identify the right one).

 

As for the WR, I guess if you are looking for the elite talent then round 1 is your best bet. With free agency, I think the Bills just need to add a younger quality prospect at WR rather than trying to hit the home run in the first. If they were to wait, they could add to the defensive line (which is a major need) and then identify that WR in the 2nd. Ideally, Bills trade down a few slots and get extra 2nd and 3rd round picks.

Edited by racketmaster

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, Mat68 said:

I'm talking deeper in the draft.  Top 20 is expensive.  Beyond that if you see wide margins in talent you should see if you can get said player.  Not from a need standpoint but a value stand point.  If you see a guy you think is a starter the rest are back ups or special teams players why not move up and throw in an extra pick the following round?

 

 

 

It's not just the top 20. Trading up, say, from #40 where we are to #27, the sort of thing being constantly talked about on here these days, will cost you a 3rd.

 

Don't trade away higher round picks. If you can work something out, like a same-round switch or something, great. But don't give up 2nds or 3rds. Even 4ths and 5ths are valuable (Taron Johnson in the 4th and Teller in the 5th last year and Milano in the 5th the year before). Smaller tradeups outside the first can make a lot of sense, but the further up you trade the more you give up valuable picks.

Edited by Thurman#1

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44 minutes ago, racketmaster said:

You might be right when looking at the WR numbers, especially if you were looking to specifically draft a top tier WR. Elite WRs are found in the 1st round at a 38% rate as opposed to the 2nd round at 24%. If you were looking to find just a productive WR it is much closer with 31% in the 1st and 24% in the 2nd. That's probably more what I was looking at as I feel the Bills might be more likely to try and find that quality WR rather than look for the home run elite talent (but that is much more an opinion than anything else).

 

As for the WR, I guess if you are looking for the elite talent then round 1 is your best bet. With free agency, I think the Bills just need to add a younger quality prospect at WR rather than trying to hit the home run in the first. If they were to wait, they could add to the defensive line (which is a major need) and then identify that WR in the 2nd. Ideally, Bills trade down a few slots and get extra 2nd and 3rd round picks.

 

Yes I would like the better/elite player and a better chance at hitting on that. (WR is also our biggest need) 

 

This is the second thread this month trying to show why we don't need an elite WR. Both times the OP has used an experiment set up to prove their point.

 

While I genuinely appreciate the effort, neither has swayed my opinion that an elite WR would help this offense, and Allen's development, more than anything else.

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15 minutes ago, Chemical said:

 

 

Yes I would like the better/elite player and a better chance at hitting on that. (WR is also our biggest need) 

 

This is the second thread this month trying to show why we don't need an elite WR. Both times the OP has used an experiment set up to prove their point.

 

While I genuinely appreciate the effort, neither has swayed my opinion that an elite WR would help this offense, and Allen's development, more than anything else.

WR is not our biggest need. Daboll's offense is based in match ups. Think NE. Not seen very many elite WR's on the field with Brady over the years. Its all about match ups.We have 2 legit burners to keep the D honest, a very good slot, and an improved O-line. There is room for upgrades at every position, but WR is not the glaring hole it was 2 weeks ago. 

DT is our biggest need. We only have 3 under contract. And none are even on par with KW, let alone elite. The need/value/BPA at pick 9 is set up perfectly for us to replace Kyle. I honestly will be shocked if WR is addressed prior to round 3 with the depth on D-line available this year early on this year

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1 minute ago, BuffAlone said:

WR is not our biggest need. Daboll's offense is based in match ups. Think NE. Not seen very many elite WR's on the field with Brady over the years. Its all about match ups.We have 2 legit burners to keep the D honest, a very good slot, and an improved O-line. There is room for upgrades at every position, but WR is not the glaring hole it was 2 weeks ago. 

DT is our biggest need. We only have 3 under contract. And none are even on par with KW, let alone elite. The need/value/BPA at pick 9 is set up perfectly for us to replace Kyle. I honestly will be shocked if WR is addressed prior to round 3 with the depth on D-line available this year early on this year

 

a 4th DT to get 40% of snaps is a good use of a top 10 pick? What about our highest paid player (Star)? Or our 3rd round pick from a season ago that everyone said was Kyle's replacement? Or a 2nd rounder we picked up during the season form a division rival who only left for personal reasons?

 

We had the worst WRs in the league last year. We signed a 30 and 29 year old with a combined one 1,000 yard season. That position will be improved but I'd be shocked if they're better than average as it stands. I'm excited about Foster's potential, but let's not assume he's a sure fire starter after a few good games.

 

 

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22 minutes ago, Chemical said:

 

 

Yes I would like the better/elite player and a better chance at hitting on that. (WR is also our biggest need) 

 

This is the second thread this month trying to show why we don't need an elite WR. Both times the OP has used an experiment set up to prove their point.

 

While I genuinely appreciate the effort, neither has swayed my opinion that an elite WR would help this offense, and Allen's development, more than anything else.

I understand where you are coming from and if the Bills did go WR in round 1, I would not necessarily be upset if they traded back and got extra picks. As far as running the numbers, I was probably thinking more of the TE position rather than the WR. A few weeks back there was a poster who started bringing up all the 1st round TEs and there production or lack thereof. It got me thinking about whether it would be a good idea to spend a 1st round pick on a TE. I added the WR spot in because that has been a hot topic as well. I was not trying to prove one thing or another.

 

In reality, this data is limited in that it only has 2 positions. It was very time consuming to run 2 positions and could not imagine doing every position. Running backs and quarterbacks would be fairly easy in terms of evaluating their worth (similar to evaluating the worth of receiving TEs and WRs). But evaluating top 30 or more guards, tackles, centers, DL, LBs, DBs would be more challenging. I've seen some of these things done before and some have used number of starts and others have used pro bowls for elite players. But there are flaws in using those measures and I was not sure I would even be capturing the top players unless I found a statistic or two for each position that seemed to accurately measure a player's worth.

 

If someone were able to accurately capture a player's worth for each and every position and then match their draft position, it would be much more useful. NFL teams do this because they have every player in the league graded by their scouts based on their film. With this type of information, you could see what positions would require more urgency at the top of the draft and what positions were worth waiting on. That would be really helpful as the WRs and TEs info just gives us a small glimpse but still found interesting enough to share.

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12 minutes ago, BuffAlone said:

WR is not our biggest need. Daboll's offense is based in match ups. Think NE. Not seen very many elite WR's on the field with Brady over the years. Its all about match ups.We have 2 legit burners to keep the D honest, a very good slot, and an improved O-line. There is room for upgrades at every position, but WR is not the glaring hole it was 2 weeks ago. 

DT is our biggest need. We only have 3 under contract. And none are even on par with KW, let alone elite. The need/value/BPA at pick 9 is set up perfectly for us to replace Kyle. I honestly will be shocked if WR is addressed prior to round 3 with the depth on D-line available this year early on this year

I tend to agree with you about Daboll's offense and the comparison to NE. Ultimately, I think he and the Bills regime would be just fine having a collection of solid WRs with varying skill sets to use in matchups rather than relying on an elite talent that ends up being the focus of the offense. I'm not saying the Bills would run away from elite talent at the WR position (they obviously were in the mix for Brown) but I think it would have to come without using a lot of draft and financial capital.  That's probably why the Brown deal fell apart (the trade price was low) but the amount of $ and cap dollars he required in a new deal probably turned the Bills off.

 

I totally agree with the DL, and for me edge rusher is a priority. The Bills focused heavily on the offensive side of the ball in free agency. We have an entire new offensive line and have added 2 quality WRs as well as another interesting CFL player that had been a top level WR prospect just a few years ago. We also added a quality receiving TE. We don't have a pass catching speed back but that can be added in the middle rounds. So I fully expect the Bills to go DL (best player at edge or interior) and then they may come back to offense in either the 2nd or 3rd.

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15 minutes ago, Chemical said:

 

a 4th DT to get 40% of snaps is a good use of a top 10 pick? What about our highest paid player (Star)? Or our 3rd round pick from a season ago that everyone said was Kyle's replacement? Or a 2nd rounder we picked up during the season form a division rival who only left for personal reasons?

 

We had the worst WRs in the league last year. We signed a 30 and 29 year old with a combined one 1,000 yard season. That position will be improved but I'd be shocked if they're better than average as it stands. I'm excited about Foster's potential, but let's not assume he's a sure fire starter after a few good games.

 

 

Listen, what Im suggesting is drafting DT at 9. Not a guy to play 40% of snaps. We have our reserves already under contract. I'm saying we will get our starter with that pick. And let the reserves be reserves. Star is doing his job occupying blockers. What we DONT have, is a penetrating 3tech to go along with Star. Enter the draft. Very top heavy for that position early on. The value will meet the need. Perfectly.

 I'm very encouraged about Foster, but I'm not ready to say he is elite. Between him and Brown, the speed factor is there. Beasley in the slot, Zay lined up all over the place. Opens up the run game. Its all that you really need to run Daboll's scheme. Can we upgrade any of the WR's? Sure. Is there a hole there? No, there's not. Does a WR in the 1st round meet our needs compared to the value of the pick, for the overall betterment of the team? No, I don't believe so. Upgrades are great, but if you don't have a huge hole there, that's all it is..an upgrade.

We have a Hole at DT. We Need one. We could go with one outside the 1st round, but we will most likely grab a reserve worthy player, and that may not meet the value either. So, in a D-line class for the ages, with an obvious need at 3tech, we should be focusing on finding a potentially elite player at a spot of need meets value meets BPA, other than just upgrading a position that has no glaring holes. 

At the end of the day, how many WR's are worth the #9 overall pick, compared to how many D-linemen? 

 

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