This time of year with the draft speculation in full swing among NFL fans, one phrase gets repeated so often it almost hurts to hear it: Best Player Available (BPA). This is the draft philosophy that all NFL teams supposedly strive to adhere to when assembling their draft boards and eventually making their selections. The idea is that you rank players regardless of the needs of your team and the position that prospect plays, and rank them on ability to succeed and make an impact in the NFL alone.
While I believe that most teams do follow this philosophy to a certain degree, no team in the NFL drafts solely by this model. If they did, Patrick Peterson would be in contention for the first overall pick. The reason he's not? He plays cornerback, a position that can be avoided by the other team and therefore does not impact every play for his team, at least directly. More proof? Quarterbacks are always the most scrutinized and frequently drafted in the first round despite character concerns, lack of perceived intelligence and worries about the offense they ran in college because it is the most important position in football and you cannot win a Super Bowl without a good one.
Sometimes, BPA is used in vain to justify terrible draft notions. If someone calls your team out for making a terrible pick that didn't benefit their team, you can simply reply, "He was the best player available." So I ask you, fans of the Houston Texans, what if the highest rated player on the team's board in the second round was Kyle Rudolph, the talented tight end from Notre Dame? Still stringently defending that strategy?
The truth is, every team balances need and BPA. If you didn't, you would have an overload of talent at certain positions that would be wasted because they never saw the field, and a complete void of talent at other positions. The ideal scenario is to have a healthy balance with as much BPA mixed in as possible. For links that concern the Texans and their search for their best player(s) in the upcoming draft, follow the jump.
Lance Zierlein posted his latest mock draft over at View From the Sideline, in which he has the Texans taking the best player available, Julio Jones, wide receiver from Alabama. He follows that up with outside linebacker conversion prospect Brooks Reed of Arizona State in the second.
Drew Dougherty from the official site participated in a beat writer mock draft for NFL.com and chose Cal defensive Cameron Jordan, despite Julio Jones still being available. I like the pick, but on a side note, does anyone remember when John McClain used to do all of these beat writer guest spots for NFL.com and NFLN?
Gregg Rosenthal of PFT gave Rick Smith and the Texans' front office some love when he quoted the general manager in explaining that their board was already set and that they don't draft for need. Does anyone remember taking Kareem Jackson because he was the most "pro ready" corner and shoving him into the vacancy left by Dunta Robinson? Seems kind of like drafting for need to me.
Realizing that sometimes teams pick based off needs, Patrick from the Texans Tribune compiled the top needs of the first five teams in the draft order based off of opinions of some those teams' writers.
Chris Watkins took a four round mock draft and gave his thoughts for the Texans picks. Two corner backs were taken which Chris doesn't seem to like, although he does admit that Aaron Williams would probably be a safety which he's ok with.
Yesterday, I took a very quick look at possible targets for the Texans in the second round of the draft. Among them are some of my favorite prospect this year including Troy St. WR Jerrel Jernigan and UNC OLB Bruce Carter.
For some thoughts on players the Texans actually already have, Stephanie Stradley dissects the tight ends and Vonta Leach's influence on Arian Foster's running ability from last year.
Lastly, Alan Burge notes that Andre Johnson was knocked out of the running for the 2011 Madden Cover. I am breathing a sigh of relief, and all of you should too. Call it superstitious, but for a team with a seemingly endless supply of bad luck, we don't need any more.