Every year, it's the same thing.
"Who do you want your team to take in the draft?"
"BPA." (Best Player Available)
As if it were that easy.
According to the masses, there is some sort of Heavenly Draft Board floating around out there that holds the true and unquestionable, vertically stacked player rankings that should guide every teams' endeavors when attempting to operate the NFL draft.
After all, "reaching" for a "need" is a sure way to get your team into trouble, right?
The free-agency era has produced more roster turnover than ever before. Teams can no longer keep hold of good players for long periods of time. Once they show themselves to be good, they demand to be paid accordingly, which creates cost-benefit decisions across the board.
This results in more teams needing to fill more "need" positions in an offseason than they can possibly fill through their free-agent acquisitions, which forces general managers to turn to the draft in order to plug holes in the roster.
This is the way it has to be, the way it should be.
How do you vertically stack a potential franchise quarterback in a league that is so dominated by the position? If you have Ben Roethlisberger and are stuck drafting No. 1 overall, do you take Andrew Luck because the unquestioned Heavenly Draft Board demands it?
If you have no quarterback of the future, and you pick No. 8 overall, do you allow potential franchise quarterbacks to pass you by, thereby guaranteeing your franchise non-competition for another full year, because the Heavenly Draft Board would have preferred Ryan Tannehill be drafted somewhere around No. 17 or No. 18 overall?
Do you realize how absurd that sounds?
Here is the unpleasant truth about the first round of the NFL draft: the concepts of "need" and "fit" guide about 80 percent of what happens in the round.
All of my mock drafts pay a hefty portion of attention to those concepts of "need" and "fit" which defy the logic of a magical, all-knowing and correct Heavenly Draft Board being out there somewhere that has the correct order that every player available in the draft should be taken.
That said, here is my latest mock draft.