A common statement regarding how you select in the annual NFL draft. Is it always the best philosophy?
Nice article in the local paper today (AP) by Andrew Bagnato whoever that is. "Arizona's 2004 draft set tone" is the headline and the topic is that draft is why they are in the 2008 season Super Bowl.
The Cards had been bad for a long time and had a lot of high draft picks that didn't pan out. Dennis Green had just been hired for the 2004 season and was involved in personnel matters. He introduced the concept of the "120 Board". The draft team sat around and decide on who their top 120 draft prospects were and listed them out on a board. On draft day, as soon as a player was taken, he was crossed off the board. When it was time for each Cardinal selection, they took the top remaining guy on their board, regardless of their roster needs. After long discussions, "we had committed ourselves to that order, and so it really took all discussions on draft day out of it" said GM Rod Graves.
2004 draft: Chargers-Eli Manning; Raiders-Robert Gallery; Cardinals-Larry Fitzgerald. Other options at this point were Philip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Roy Williams (WR), Kellen Winslow Jr., and Sean Taylor. Graves said their was "no question" that they'd take Fitzgerald, whose family had ties to Green from his days with the Vikings. You know the rest. The Cardinals took linebacker Karlos Dansby in the second, DT Darnell Dockett in the third and DE Antonio Smith in the fifth. Hell of a draft.
You can see the Saints draft history here
Haven't we heard Payton and Loomis use this same phrase? It certainly applied in 2006 and we can argue the success of that draft. But for 2009 it does not. They have to draft to fill positions. You could argue that they should have done that in 2008, but they (Payton?) took a kicker, of all things, with his fifth pick and couldn't resist another wide receiver with his sixth. That's lapsing back into "best player available" thinking.
Something to watch while the Saints draft this year, no matter what they say they're going to do.