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Discussion on drafting for need vs. BPA under Jerry Reese

Britt in VA : 4/15/2013 10:37 am
This is a rehash of the thread that I've been doing since 2010, now updated to include the past two drafts. I think it's nice to have all the info laid out in one place, as to better try and analyze the thought process. Interestingly enough, we're picking at #19 this year, which was the same spot we picked in when I first did this thread back in 2010 when we selected JPP. It's the tier system that I find most interesting about this, so if you're really interested in what the Giants are thinking perhaps try to think in that structure as well.

Q: In general, do you prefer to draft by need or by position?

A: It's a combination of both. You don't want to get into the draft process and you have a great value guy - kind of like Mathias Kiwanuka last year. We really probably didn't need a defensive end but the guy was valued so high for us that we picked the guy. You can't just leave a guy (like that on the board). In the room at the time I asked them, I said, "Does anybody in this room think Mathias Kiwanuka is not going to be a Pro Bowl defensive end?" No hands went up. I said, "We are going to pick this guy. I know we don't need him at this point but at some point he is going to be a good player for us." But you are conscious of your needs. You just don't go in and say that we are going to pick the best player all of the time. You are conscious of your needs.

-Jerry Reese April 19th, 2007


I thought it would be an interesting discussion to take a look at our particular draft needs leading up to each draft under Reese, what we ended up with, and how it's worked out thus far.

I thought it would be particularly interesting to identify where need was chosen over BPA or vice versa, and it did not work out.

When applicable, I went back into the BBI pre-draft article to get a pulse on what we felt was a need leading up to each draft. I thought it would be okay to quote large portions of text, since the articles are written for, and readily available, on the BBI home page. I also linked them.

When looking through the BBI draft article for 2007, I found a great write up by Colin of GBN who tried to breakdown how Reese and the front office may be approaching the draft, by describing how they may be setting up their draft boards, and how they may value particular players:

More to the point, while Reese didnít say much directly, if one carefully reads between the lines there was actually plenty to chew over. First off, while he didnít let anything at all slip about actual prospects the Giants are interested in, Reese did have plenty to say about the process. Sounding very much like George Young, one of his early mentors, Reese stressed that he and company are going to be very focused in on talent on draft day and, for the most part, are likely to let the chips fall where they may when it comes to filling immediate positional needs.

In that context Reese really stressed the point of the fact that the Giants use the rows, or pyramid system to grade players. And what they will do is take a player from the highest row where there are still players.

As a result we have spent the past few day trying to piece together just what the Giantsí rows might look because thatís where the clues to the teamís draft will be, not whether they need a LB or a CB or a WT or a LT. Of course, in an inexact science analyzing an inexact science but the rows probably look something like the following, at least for a generic NFL team.

ROW 1: WR Calvin Johnson, QB Jamarcus Russell

ROW 2: QB Brady Quinn, OT Joe Thomas, RB Adrian Peterson

ROW 3: FS Laron Landry, DE Gaines Adams, DT Amobi Okoye, LB Patrick Willis

ROW 3a: DE Jamaal Anderson, DT Alan Branch, WR Ted Ginn, OT Joe Staley, CB Darrelle Revis

ROW 4: OT Levi Brown, CB Leon Hall, DE Adam Carriker, RB Marshawn Lynch, TE Greg Olsen, FS Reggie Nelson, WR Robert Meacham

Of course, this is largely speculation Ė we prefer to call it an educated guessing Ė as we have no real idea how the Giants have players rated as there is always considerable variation in how individual teams grade players. Lynch (back problem) and Branch (leg stress fractures), for example, may be off the board for health reasons, while we think that Olsen and Nelson are portentially iffy in that Olsen is a good receiver but lousy blocker, while Nelson has great potential as a ball-hawking centerfield-type FS Ė and lord knows the Giants can use one of those Ė however, there are also real questions about his size and durability as well as his football smarts. As such he is all over boards around the league and could be anywhere from a near top-10 guy to a late first rounder on the Giantsí chart.

There are also several guys who could be included at least on ROW 4 who arenít quite that high on most media or fansí draft radars. Included in that group might be players like Auburn OG Ben Grubbs, Purdue DE Anthony Spencer, Miami LB Jon Beason and Miami FS Brandon Meriweather. The final piece of the puzzle will be how many, if any, guys from the next row are actually on ROW 4. Again we are only speculating here but ROW 5 could look like the following (along with Grubbs, Spencer, Beason and Meriweather if they arenít on ROW 4):

ROW 5: WRs Dwayne Bowe and Dwayne Jarrett; LBs Lawrence Timmons and Paul Polsuzny; CBs Chris Houston, Aaron Ross (and very possibly Eric Wright); SS Michael Griffin; C Ryan Kalil; DE Jarvis Moss; and DT Justin Harrell.


2007

Draft Needs according to Colin's pre-draft article for BBI:

CB, S, LB, WR, RB

What we ended up with:

1 20 20 Aaron Ross CB Texas
2 19 51 Steve Smith WR USC
3 18 81 Jay Alford DT Penn State
4 17 116 Zak DeOssie LB Brown
5 16 153 Kevin Boss TE Western Oregon
6 15 189 Adam Koets T Oregon State
7 14 224 Michael Johnson S Arizona
7 40 250 Ahmad Bradshaw RB Marshall

From what I can tell, by using Colin's breakdown, he had it right. Most, if not all, of the players in our first four rows were taken by the time we got to 20 (all except DT Alan Branch, FS Reggie Nelson, TE Greg Olsen, and WR Robert Meachum). So balancing BPA vs. need, perhaps Reese went to row five where Aaron Ross was taken in round one. Which may have been exactly what Reese mentioned in the presser I started with. You just don't go in and say that we are going to pick the best player all of the time. You are conscious of your needs.

By that logic, the same applies to WR Steve Smith in Round 2. Dwayne Jarret in row five was off the board, perhaps Smith was in row six. So a need and BPA combo pick there.

As for the rest, I think may have gone more BPA, since the other needs were taken very late. I'm not sure DeOssie was ever figured to be an every down backer, but they liked him in the 4th round. Johnson and Bradshawn in the 7th round as value picks to fill a need worked out very well.

In the end, it was considered a fine draft by Reese as each player contributed in some fashion later that season during our Superbowl run. Namely Ross, Smith, Boss, and Bradshaw.

2008

Draft Needs according to Eric's 2008 Draft Needs article

High Priority: TE, DB Medium Priority: DL, LB, WR

What we ended up with:

1 31 (31) Kenny Phillips S Miami (FL)
2 32 (63) Terrell Thomas CB USC
3 32 (95) Mario Manningham WR Michigan
4 24 (123) Bryan Kehl OLB Brigham Young
5 30 (165) Jonathan Goff ILB Vanderbilt
6 32 (198) Andre' Woodson QB Kentucky
6 33 (199) Robert Henderson DE Southern Miss (compensatory pick)

2009

Draft Needs according to Eric's 2009 Giants Draft Needs article

High Priority: WR, TE Medium Priority: OL, LB, DB

What we ended up with:

1 29 WR Hakeem Nicks WR North Carolina
2 13 (45) LB Clint Sintim LB Virginia
2 28 (60) OT William Beatty OT Uconn
3 21 (85) WR Ramses Barden WR Cal Poly
3 36 (100) TE Travis Beckum TE Wisconsin
4 29 (129) RB Andre Brown RB NC State
5 15 (151) QB Rhett Bomar QB Sam Houston State
6 27 (200) CB DeAndre Wright CB New Mexico
7 29 (238) CB Stoney Woodson CB South Carolina

2010

Draft needs according to Eric's 2010 Giants Draft Needs article

High Priority: DL, LB, Medium Priority: TE, OL, DB

What we ended up with:

1 15 15 Jason Pierre-Paul DE South Florida
2 14 46 Linval Joseph DT East Carolina
3 12 76 Chad Jones S LSU Four years
4 17 115 Phillip Dillard LB Nebraska Four years
5 16 147 Mitch Petrus OG Arkansas
6 15 184 Adrian Tracy DE/LB William & Mary Four years
7 14 221 Matt Dodge P East Carolina

2011

Draft needs according to Eric's 2011 Draft Needs article

High Priority: TE, OL, DL, LB, DB Medium: RB, ST

What we ended up with:

1 19 19 Prince Amukamara CB Nebraska
2 20 52 Marvin Austin DT North Carolina
3 19 83 Jerrel Jernigan WR Troy
4 20 117 James Brewer OT Indiana
6 20 185 Greg Jones LB Michigan St
6 33 198 Tyler Sash S Iowa
6 37 202 JacQuian Williams LB South Florida
7 18 221 Da'Rel Scott RB Maryland

2012

Draft needs according to Eric's 2012 Draft Needs article

High Priority: DE, WR, RB, OL Medium: DT, LB, TE

What we ended up with:

1 32 32 David Wilson RB Virginia Tech
2 31 63 Rueben Randle WR LSU
3 31 94 Jayron Hosley CB Virginia Tech
4 36 127 Adrian Robinson TE Cincinatti
6 31 201 Matt McCants OT Alabama-Birmingham
7 32 239 Marcus Kuhn DT N.C. State

So I guess I'd like to have a discussion on where you guys think Reese drafted BPA, and where he drafted for need, through the years. We could also try to identify overall high priority positions, and maybe low priority positions as well, and any trends that we may see. For instance, we like to take DL very high, and LB's lower.

Also, I thought by revisiting the past drafts, we could identify our needs going forward, and take a look at who might be the best players available when we pick at #19 overall in the first round this year (same spot as 2010, when this thread was written for the first time).
Britt - AMAZING post!  
BoldRuler : 4/15/2013 10:43 am : link
great work!
Kevin Boss and the GM book  
nms24 : 4/15/2013 10:55 am : link
I think an interesting data point is the GM book on ernie accorsi. in it, they take a look at reese's pick of boss. He did have players in higher rows at the time, but in the 5th round, Reese said I want a tight end here and picked boss.

i do think if you follow reese's word choices over the past few years, he has subtlety shifted to more of a bpa semantics rather a need semantics.

i think the amukamara draft might have solidified that line of thinking for him because I think that is when i noticed the change in tone.
When you look at the rows they created for a generic team  
GIANTS128 : 4/15/2013 10:56 am : link
in retrospect you can see how the draft is a homerun or a swing and a miss.....
You can see what appears to be a lack of desire to draft O-line and TE  
wgenesis123 : 4/15/2013 10:59 am : link
high in the draft. Beatty of course is the exception and he was drafted in round two. I think that this really is not true in regards to O-line, I think Reese just is not willing to reach for an O-line prospect high in the draft. When there is value on O-line they tend to go off the board before the Giants pick. We may see that again this year with Johnson, Cooper, and Warmack. Also that top TE may be on the board when the Giants pick and we will see if Reese passes on him.
Britt in VA...  
M.S. : 4/15/2013 11:03 am : link

...I posted this a few days ago. My take -- at least with premium selections -- is that Jerry Reese goes NEED in the context of his value tiers. The one glaring exception was Amukamara in 2011. I also argue that he has neglected "need" for the offensive line for past 2 drafts.

************************************************************************************************************************************************************************************

...(Jerry Reese) history of drafting need within the context of his value board.

Plenty of examples from past drafts:

2007 -- top need was CB; he selected Aaron Ross.

2008 -- top need was DB and WR; he went Kenny Philips; Terrell Thomas and Mario Manningham.

2009 -- top need was WR; he selected Hakeem Nicks. (Two other needs were OL and TE; he selected Will Beatty and Travis Beckum.)

2010-- top need was DL; he selected JPP and Lival Joseph.

2011-- departure from past 4 drafts as Prince Amukamara falls to the Giants at 19. They also gamble on greatness with Marvin Austin when the first priority for this draft was offensive line.

2012-- top need was RB; he selected David Wilson. Like 2011, offensive line was also a need but Reuben Randall fell to the Giants with the last selection in 2nd Round.

In summary, there are actually two real good reasons why the Giants go offensive line (maybe even twice in first 3 rounds):

(1) Almost every draft, Jerry Reese has gone "need" early on, and offensive line is a high priority;

(2) Offensive line was in fact a "need area" in the last two drafts, but Jerry Reese deferred using a premium pick for this unit.

IMO, that won't happen again in 2013.
Need almost always comes into the equation  
PEEJ : 4/15/2013 11:06 am : link
it's just that the needs aren't filled in order of priority. Just because the most glaring need might be OL, it doesn't mean that the first pick will automatically be an OL to fill that need.
Need v. BPA is guesswork from fans  
Kyle : 4/15/2013 11:07 am : link
Of course, no one can know a team's internal draft board.

Beyond that, however, no one knows what the team has evaluated as its needs (and the severity of those needs). It's our speculation as to the team's needs based on what we believe to be the roster's strong/weak points.

From there, fans take their own interpretation of the team's needs and then work backwards to see if the picks meet those needs, and thus conclude whether it was Need or Talent determining the pick made.
If we trust our talent evaluators,  
Go Terps : 4/15/2013 11:16 am : link
if we're taking the guy at the top of our board every time, we're likely to end up with very good players.
Love that Reese quote  
Overseer : 4/15/2013 11:23 am : link
it highlights an often overlooked truism that drafting is a very inexact science involving a fair amount of guesswork. And rarely are there ever screaming BPA picks which reflect certainty or near certainty.

Side observation: the Giants have been very good in the first round. Not a single bust (assuming Prince & Wilson continue to impress) in a decade going all the way back to W Joseph. Extra impressive when you consider they often draft in the latter half of the round and sometimes at the way end.
The Giants picked 15th in 2010 (the JPP pick), not 19th.  
Optimus-NY : 4/15/2013 11:24 am : link
They picked 19th the year after, when Prince was chosen with that selection.
It clearly is  
Peter from CT : 4/15/2013 11:30 am : link
Tiers then need within the tiers.

That confuses people because they think BPA is a strict ranking from 1 to 250. But it isn't. There is no question that the Giants will take a need but that doesn't violate the BPA approach given that they rank in tiers.

The tiers tend to get bigger as you get down the draft as the differences in talent become compressed.
Thanks for the correction....  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2013 11:31 am : link
Luckily I got it right in the actual draft result part.
It's BPA at positions of need - with positions prioritized  
TD : 4/15/2013 11:36 am : link
The key positions that make this team go are QB, DE, WR, CB/DB. Those are the most likely to receive a #1 pick if there is need there. DE and CB are both need areas too. I think that it's pretty safe to say that our #1 pick will be a DE or CB/DB. You can pretty much book it.
So, corrected...  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2013 11:38 am : link
Quote:
This is a rehash of the thread that I've been doing since 2011, now updated to include the past two drafts. I think it's nice to have all the info laid out in one place, as to better try and analyze the thought process. Interestingly enough, we're picking at #19 this year, which was the same spot we picked in when I first did this thread back in 2010 when we selected Prince Amukamara. It's the tier system that I find most interesting about this, so if you're really interested in what the Giants are thinking perhaps try to think in that structure as well.
Another thing  
I wanna be Torbor, sucka : 4/15/2013 11:38 am : link
I see is that the Giants will shoot for the moon with picks. They'd rather take a chance on upside than grab a guy with a low ceiling. Reese's quote validates that. You see guys like Barden or Beckum get drafted, JPP, Marvin Austin (over Stephen Paea), etc.

The issue for me this year is the amount of needs the Giants have. You could make a valid argument for needing to draft every defensive position. Not to mention on offense, where the o-line across the board could get addressed. Then you add in the fact that this is a weak draft. I'm interested to see how the Giants attack this draft.
Terps,  
Big Blue '56 : 4/15/2013 11:57 am : link
my stance as well
Giants selected Prince at #19 in 2011, not 2010.  
Optimus-NY : 4/15/2013 12:05 pm : link
.
Everyone should go back and read the thread posted below.  
Optimus-NY : 4/15/2013 12:10 pm : link
This post by Brandon Walsh stands out:

Quote:
Reese has stated numerous
Brandon Walsh : 2/22/2013 2:08 pm
times that the Giants draft board has the players ranked in "Rows" not in a listed numerical order. Players in the same row have the same grade. If our pick comes up and the highest row has multiple players left, we will then address to fill an area of need, draft a premimum position (DE, WR, CB) or look to trade back (Kiwanuka in 2006).

An obvious case of a player being the only one left in his row unexpectley was Prince, he was the only one left in his row, hence the pure BPA pick.

With David Wilson last year, there have been reports there were four players in his row. Cordy Glenn, Reuben Randle were two of the three. Never heard the other. Its obvious the Giants at the time last year viewed running back as a higher need then WR and Oline, coupled with the face they saw an an opportunity to get a dynamic player at running back that they wouldnt have been able to get later in the draft.



Archived Thread - "Fennelly: Draftniks Don't Understand Giants Draft Philosophy" | gidiefor : 2/22/2013 10:39 am - ( New Window )
Peter from CT: Exactly  
Scyber : 4/15/2013 12:12 pm : link
BPA is a myth in the sense that there is always a #1 on the board at any time. In the earlier rounds, teams put the players into tiers and pick inside that that tier based on need.
Changed 2010 to 2011 in the wrong place. Hopefully last time...  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2013 12:22 pm : link
Quote:
This is a rehash of the thread that I've been doing since 2010, now updated to include the past two drafts. I think it's nice to have all the info laid out in one place, as to better try and analyze the thought process. Interestingly enough, we're picking at #19 this year, which was the same spot we picked in when I first did this thread back in 2011 when we selected Prince Amukamara. It's the tier system that I find most interesting about this, so if you're really interested in what the Giants are thinking perhaps try to think in that structure as well.
There you go Britt  
Optimus-NY : 4/15/2013 12:24 pm : link
I'm a part-time editor for a reason.
I shouldn't have even added that paragraph anyways, beyond...  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2013 12:27 pm : link
saying it was an older thread revisited with updates. Too wordy for it's own good.
Analysis of this kind is difficult  
Bill2 : 4/15/2013 12:27 pm : link
for several reasons including the concept that DL, Wr,DB represents almost 25-26 slots on a 53 person roster. logically.you draft.for half your roster slots amongst the first three draft slots

what we conclude after a few years of that reality has built in confirmation bias?
Definitely too wordy Britt.  
Optimus-NY : 4/15/2013 12:32 pm : link
Content-wise, it is excellent though, and definitely pertinent with respect to the close proximity of the upcoming draft.

People should note that David Wilson wasn't the best available player when the Giants selected him last April.
Wasn't Michael  
bob in tx : 4/15/2013 12:34 pm : link
Adams, the OT from Ohio St., the 4th player on the same tier last year, with Wilson,Randle & Glenn?
Bill2  
wigs in nyc : 4/15/2013 12:53 pm : link
Yeah, which is only slightly more than saying something like OL, LB, RB account for 20/53.

we're talking 47% and 37%. Not enough alone to explain the bias.
I have a question?  
Archer : 4/15/2013 1:21 pm : link
I am not certain what the point of the analysis is.

Without knowing how the Giants rate their players it is only supposition if the player selected was from tier one or five.
It is faulty logic to assume that a player taken for need wasn't the highest rated player on the Giants board.

What almost all teams do is to weigh need versus value. The hope of all teams that these two criteria meet and the best player available meets a position of need.

I guess that one conclusion that can be made is that if a player is selected where there is no perceived need that the player was by far and away the highest rated player on their board.

Therefore, Kenny Phillips and Prince Amukamara, based upon the fact that they were not need picks, might have been the highest rated players on the Giants draft board
It's not an analysis. It's a discussion prompt.  
Britt in VA : 4/15/2013 1:24 pm : link
All it is is showing what we, as fans (using Eric's Draft Needs articles as I felt they were the pulse of BBI in any given year), thought our needs were by priority, and then looking at what actually happened.

So there is no analysis given. Just a place to discuss the upcoming draft with the information on past drafts compiled neatly in one place.
Excellent  
AcidTest : 4/15/2013 1:34 pm : link
work. Thank you.
Peter  
PaulN : 4/15/2013 2:02 pm : link
Is exactly correct, first its tiers, then need. If two players are in the same tier, of coarse they pick the higher need first. I do think they discuss it though, within the tiers a player of greater need may not be quite as f=good as another player of less need. I am sure these discussions get pretty heated. A lot of work goes into this, remember, it is not the same as us picking out our asses, their jobs are evaluated from this.
This is a big part of the reason I think we go OL this year  
GmenDynasty : 4/15/2013 2:05 pm : link
it is our biggest need AND I beleive unless Fluker,Cooper,Warmack ALL go before our pick AND we don't like Watson high , that an OL will be straight BPA or very close to BPA (and at least the top row with other prospects)
We have no way of knowing..  
FatMan in Charlotte : 4/15/2013 2:10 pm : link
what the Giants board is, but in the last 6 years one thing has been consistent in the experts view of the team pre-draft, the need for LB's has always been in the top 2.

OL, DL, DB and TE have rotated in and out. QB and WR have been pretty much looked at as outliers.

If you look at early rounds, I think Reese lens towards BPA and then fills in needs later - but still will go after the workout warrior type if they last.
Also very good post M.S.  
GmenDynasty : 4/15/2013 2:15 pm : link
And as far as the rumors went we were all set to take Solder until the Pats took him 2 picks before us. I believe we would have STILL taken Solder if both he and Prince were there.

I think the organization has realized that we have really pushed back taking an OL high the past few years and it's long overdue . I think Reese gambled on lower developmental guys seeing if they would work out. Since none have even flashed out of Brewer,Mosely,Mccants etc. I think they know it's high time to go round 1 for a stud OL if at all possible.

I would be quite suprised if we don't go OL round 1, astonished if we still haven't by round 2 and flat out flabbergasted if we don't pick one up by round 3.

Duck season! Wabbit season!  
The Original G Man : 4/15/2013 2:18 pm : link
Safety was a glaring need for the Giants in 2008  
Kyle : 4/15/2013 2:20 pm : link
Gibril Wilson, a serviceable player, walked for huge money. We were left with James Butler and Michael Johnson, two other serviceable players of the "team will keep on roster but always look to replace" variety.

Quote:
Therefore, Kenny Phillips and Prince Amukamara, based upon the fact that they were not need picks, might have been the highest rated players on the Giants draft board


Which is why "need" can vary so wildly from person to person.
good point  
Bill2 : 4/15/2013 3:03 pm : link
wigs.

Although there is some speculation that technique in an OL as a percent of a profile that includes athleticism allows a "down shift" in early slots for OL?

And the rules call for an upshift to DB's

And our differential advantage at QB calls for an upshift to WR?

Also be interesting to look at the "bias" in light of the cap driving a need to cost control as many slots in any one year for positions which tend to be highly paid?

Good thread all around. Thanks Britt
Thanks for the shout out Optimus!  
Brandon Walsh : 4/15/2013 3:27 pm : link
Great thread Britt.
You're welcome Brandon.  
Optimus-NY : 4/15/2013 4:44 pm : link
It was a great post, and worthy of being noted.
Well if BPA, tiers and need all meet when we pick at 19  
Boatie Warrant : 4/15/2013 7:31 pm : link
I would think DL(I think DT is more need then DE, but that's me) or OL has to be the pick. Which ones the Giants like more than the others I don't know but it would surprise me if it wasn't a linemen.
There are two more rows in the room...  
Q : 4/15/2013 10:12 pm : link
that are prepared by the pro-personnel department.

The grades of players under contract, and the grades of the available free agents of interest.

Marry the three and you are on your way to a war room.

Who does the UDFAs?  
brian : 4/15/2013 11:01 pm : link
.
tip offs  
jbeintherockies : 4/16/2013 1:01 am : link
Some years you get a pretty good idea where the Giants are going in the first round. For example, word got out that Spags really liked Kenny Phillips. I think word got out the Giants really liked Nicks. Other years it is not so easy. I think the year the Giants picked Prince they would have picked Castonzo out of BC if Prince had not slipped. I think the Giants had ex-BC OL coach Jack Bicknell Jr. (now OL coach for Steelers) on the staff that year who has since departed. Maybe one of the new assistants will provide a clue?

When I look at this year's depth chart, you can't help but notice how thin the LB corp is. Next would be DE and OT. Kiwi really is the joker in all of this because if they move him back to DE, then DE doesn't look that thin for this year. I know, it isn't always about this year. But sometimes it is.
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