As we draw nearer to the NFL Draft, one phrase that often gets thrown around is "BPA", better known as Best Player Available. It's a draft philosophy that says you take the best player currently available on the board, with some advocating that BPA should apply regardless of a team's positional needs. The reality is that most NFL teams probably don't use a strict interpretation of BPA during the draft, but that hasn't stopped some writers (and fans) from demanding it regardless.
That got me thinking: What would a true BPA draft look like for the Falcons? Well, with the help of modern technology and a complete void of interesting news these days, I've got some answers for you. I present to you my first Falcons Mock Draft: BPA Edition (version 1.0).
The rules are simple: using fanspeak.com, I will mock a draft for the Falcons - without any trades - and I will simply select the highest rated available player regardless of position. Here are the results:
Board: Optimum Scouting
|1||Braxton Miller||WR||Ohio State|
|3||Landon Turner||OG||North Carolina|
Ok, this draft is not a complete disaster, but it is remarkably heavy with offensive players when we really need to address some defensive positions. After paying Mohamed Sanu big money, it seems like drafting Miller in the first would be a head-scratcher - but you know, BPA! Derrick Henry also seems like a bit of a luxury given the production of Devonta Freeman and giving Tevin Coleman an opportunity again this year.
This initial BPA draft inspired me to try again, but with a different board. Perhaps another set of player rankings will yield better results...
|1||Ezekiel Elliott||RB||Ohio State|
|2||Cody Whitehair||OG||Kansas State|
|3||Roberto Aguayo||K||Florida State|
|4||Nick Vannett||TE||Ohio State|
What in the blue hell? On what planet does a team draft a kicker in the third round - then subsequently draft ANOTHER DAMNED KICKER in the 7th? Matt Bryant isn't getting any younger, but a ROOKIE KICKER COMPETITION is not what championship teams are made of.
Oh, and apparently, these first two mocks are wholly convinced that the Falcons MUST take an Ohio State player in the first round. Jeanna will love that ish.
In a draft that is rich with defensive talent, this BPA draft managed to avoid drafting even ONE defensive player. BUT THANK GOD FOR THE KICKER COMPETITION BPA BPA BPA.
Certainly, I couldn't let this draft sit. I had to take a stab with another board to wipe the stupid off my computer screen...
|3||Nick Vannett||TE||Ohio State|
|4||Christian Westerman||OG||Arizona State|
I mean, Matt Ryan had a rough season - I get it. But we literally have 4 QBs on the roster and now we're going to draft another one WITH OUR FIRST ROUND PICK.
We also just signed a Pro-Bowl Center to a multi-million dollar contract. Drafting a Center in the second round seems like a stupid-dumb, especially when paired with drafting our 4th QB.
Oh hello Ohio State player, apparently you are a statistical requirement for the 2016 draft - since my first two boards also had me drafting from your school. I'm positive Jeanna somehow hacked my computer while doing these simulations.
And yet again, we avoid drafting ANY defensive players until the seventh round, since - again, you know - BPA.
Please please please let my final board make some kind of sense...
Board: Composite Big Board
|1||Vernon Hargreaves III||CB||Florida|
|2||Cody Whitehair||OG||Kansas State|
|4||Sheldon Day||DT||Notre Dame|
Of all the big boards I used, this one produced the least insane draft class. I personally wouldn't go with a CB in the first, but the value would definitely be there in Hargreaves and it is a high-value position. Whitehair in the second seems like decent value. Taking a RB anywhere in this draft seems idiotic and Sheldon Day is so injury prone I'd rather not bother. But of all the boards, this one wouldn't be a complete disaster, though I wouldn't be celebrating it either.
Let's be honest: if the Falcons executed on any of these drafts most of you would drive to Flowery Branch to burn it to the ground - and rightfully so. The reality is that BPA must be tempered by an understanding of the needs on your team. With the Falcons having many needs, finding a player at a position of need that is in "close proximity" to the BPA will probably suffice. I, for one, am hoping the team avoids a strict BPA philosophy later this month and elects to fill the holes on this roster the best they can. If their draft is anything like one of these four mocks, I'll meet all of you at Flowery Branch later this month.