Browns, NFL Draft

What is BPA?: WFNY Mock Draft Strategies

Jeremy Birmingham/Land of 10

Trust. Your. Board. These three simple words are a staple of both analyst and fan alike while discussing the NFL Draft each year.1 Another way people commonly refer to this method is to select the best player available (BPA). ESPN and NFL Network will even have a running board at the bottom of their broadcast showing the Top 5 players they believe are available at each pick.

The more difficult portion is figuring out what a BPA draft really entails. Is there need weighted? Is there positional value weighted? What about red flags from either character or injury? There is a reason the draft is as much art as science. General managers are weighing all of these potential outcomes and doing their best to figure out how it plays into their team dynamic.

However, here is one way the Browns could utilize this strategy.

The Rules

  • No trades unless the strategy is specifically geared around trades.
  • Demonstrate multiple options at each pick within the confines of the strategy.
  • Use a MSM Big Board to demonstrate feasibility of picks.
  • Select picks at the Browns four picks in Round 1 and Round 2.

Using the DraftTek Big Board for this week.

The Draft Strategy

There are a two basic but radically different ways of executing a BPA draft.

One is to assume the front office has already weighted character and injury risks, while rewarding positional value into the grading system. They have developed a big board internally and simply stick to that board. If there is an urgent need for a starter- at say right tackle- the team refuses to ignore their board and draft the next best tackle if one is not warranted at their selection. Of course, if they believe they do need one, then trades come into play.

The other way is to take the players who the front office believes will become the best NFL players regardless of positional value or any possible red flags associated with them (to a degree). Ray Farmer is famously thought to have done such in his first draft. While the first round results were disastrous (Justin Gilbert and Johnny Manziel), Farmer did find some value on Day 2 of the draft (Joel Bitonio, Christian Kirksey, Terrance West).

The mock draft selections below are a slight combination of these two methods but lean a bit towards the latter.

The Picks

No. 1 Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M

The best player in this draft, and the best defensive player in many drafts. This one is easy, so let’s move along.

No. 12 Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama

There are two reasons why Allen could be available at the No. 12 selection. The first is that the positional value of interior defensive lineman is lower than other positions, which is why players such as Aaron Donald and Danny Shelton are drafted lower than where many pre-draft boards have them. The other reason Allen could be available is that he has two arthritic shoulders that will not heal. The shoulders could wind up being more nuisance than problem, but they are an associated risk with his selection.

His athleticism and production are not questionable.

No. 33 Gareon Conley CB, Ohio State

Gareon Conley will not score high with some teams due to his lack of ability in run support and some issues with zone coverage. The 2017 NFL Draft is also a loaded one for cornerbacks. If he makes it to Day 2, then he will be a quick selection as his man skills are fantastic, he has great size for the position, and he has great abilities to make plays on the ball.

Other option: Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida – How much should we ignore need after taking Allen in the first? Brantley IS the BPA at this spot, but I neglected to take him.

No. 52 Marcus Williams, FS, Utah

There is a great debate on the value of free safety in the NFL. On one hand, cornerbacks are more directly tied to limiting receivers space. Given the amount of spread-concept offenses, the short-yardage throws are becoming increasingly more common, which also lends itself to corner (and strong safety on the tight ends and running backs). However, a great free safety can cover up mistakes downfield and create back-breaking turnovers when the offense does decide to go down the field.

Williams lasting until No. 52 would be a value based decision by other teams. He isn’t strong (in the literal sense), so he will be limited to free safety in the NFL. His range and instincts for passing patterns could make the rest of the NFL regret passing on him.

Other option: Joe Mixon RB, Oklahoma – Honestly, he (or Dede Westbrook, WR, Oklahoma) should be the pick if we truly ignore everything except talent. Good thing we don’t.

Last Word

  • No. 1 Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
  • No. 12 Jonathan Allen, DT, Alabama
  • No. 33 Gareon Conley CB, Ohio State
  • No. 52 Marcus Williams, FS, Utah

Notice the all-defensive draft above. The upcoming draft is especially strong on defense, so it should be no surprise that a BPA method would wind up selecting defensive players. The Browns seem in-tune to the strength of the draft with their recent free agent signings focusing on the offensive line and receiver.

There is another noticeable item above. There are no quarterbacks taken. Without the red flashing sign of an urgent need to draft a quarterback, the talent of the available arms is just not enough to overtake those players selected. The position continues to be the most important on the field though, so it would not be surprising to see the Browns divert for one pick if there is a player they see worth taking.

Other mock draft strategy sessions from WFNY

  1. Hat-tip to RGB who is diligent in reminding us on the WFNY boards. []

  • RGB

    For the most part I love this draft. My head would literally explode if Allen fell to #12.
    So, my picks would go:
    1. MYLES. Obviously.
    12. Head explodes…Allen.
    Assuming I survive my cranial detonation…
    33. I’m fine with Conely here. But, Budda Baker, man…
    52. I’m fine with Williams here, but Maye is available at 65, so I’ll wait and take Zach Cunningham or maybe Dede Westbrook here.
    65. Marcus Maye. (Although Mahomes is available here, and Bode’s head would explode…)

  • mgbode

    No. 65 for Mahomes would be quite, well, yeah.

    I’d argue pure BPA is Conley > Baker due to size. Higher floor for Conley because he fits the prototype & both have about same ceiling (though obv different positions).

  • CBiscuit

    Ok, fine at 1. You win. Willing to risk a dead RGB…12 for Grababpolobolo time! Also, ok at 33 for Conley, unless we can nickname Baker: Al Budda Baker?

  • RGB

    I can see it now…”Why the hell does everyone around here keep calling me Al?”….

  • mgbode
  • Jaker

    While I hate ignoring QB, getting these 4 would be pretty flat out awesome. DL is immediately the strength of the team, and we make huge improvements to the secondary. Conley-Haden would be a great duo, and Taylor is good enough in the slot or outside to be able to play wherever needed (assuming another Haden injury). Williams would be a very solid FS starter, and we can have a true competition for the other spot between Kindred-Powell-Campbell-Reynolds. And considering the improvements around S, below average Safety play wouldn’t hurt the D as much as it did last year.

    If somehow Allen is there at 12, I really hope we will have done our homework on his shoulder. Because getting quite possibly the top 2 players in a stellar class like this would be beyond phenomenal. If Allen weren’t there or his shoulder didn’t check out, I would agree with the Brantley selection at 33 or even Montravius Adams at 52. Both are going to wreck havoc in the NFL, especially if he’s between Danny Shelton taking double teams and Myles Garrett on the edge.

    If Mahomes is there at 65, that’s a jackpot draft. Take a TE in the 4th and trade the other picks for 2018 picks. We will have done our job.

  • Michael

    Love your articles about draft logics for the Browns.

    I would love for the Browns to finish acquiring the necessary pieces to develop their offense. Lets get a QB #1 and WR / TE # 12. And let’s hope they start using Duke as a three down back.

    In theory this would put the Browns offense in place to develop and dominate the future. Problem is simply what QB. Mitch ? Watson? Grappolo ? Honestly none of them are close to a sure thing.

    With that in mind if the powers to be feel Myles can be that ten year pro bowler then grab him. Personally after watching the 2015 game film against NFL tackles he doesn’t look special. Yes I believe he will have his sacks but we need a DE that needs to be double teamed every play or he will dominate. Sorry but watching the film against NFL caliber tackles he doesn’t show it.

    If not trade down and be ready to mortgage next years draft for the best QB because there will be plenty of suitors.

    Or if Hue has been told get five wins or your out then trade #1 for Grappolo and lets go forward. This team would change instantly.

  • JM85

    I like these picks.

  • mgbode

    First, thank you.

    I think Garrett is that type of player that will need to be double-teamed.

    Outside that, the issue with going offense is that this draft is very defense-heavy. It would feel sort of forced unless the teams around us all go defense allowing the best offensive players to drop to our slot.

    The issue will definitely be the QB until we solve it. That’s a tough one and I agree there are no definitive answers in this year’s class.

  • paulbip

    Allen won’t be there at 12 unless the arthritis turns out to be a disease and not a condition.

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