Bargain Hunting: Value on Offense

One of Jerry Angelo's favorite terms this time of the year is "value." With no picks in the first two rounds of the NFL Draft, the Chicago Bears have to get real value in Rounds 3-7. Remember these names ...

Teams are spending their final weeks of preparation setting their draft board. The basic goal of the exercise is to define exactly what value means in this draft.

Wise owners and general managers identify value at each position in a particular draft and compare those spots with the alignment of their draft picks. Maximizing the value of an overall draft occurs when a team doesn't reach for players. For example, not selecting a prospect in the second round when plenty of similarly talented prospects at the same position will likely to be available a round or two later.

What will teams see when they begin to define value in this draft class? Many would argue it is one of the deeper groups in history, although it seems that's said many times each decade. There are still differences in talent across positions, making it possible to pick up a potential starter throughout the top four rounds at some spots but lacking impact player depth outside the top 50 at others.

The position-by-position breakdown below is designed to help get a handle of where teams believe their selections might best be used. It also identifies the areas of the draft where trades are likely to occur. Teams picking late in the second round know they'll miss out on a top linebacker or receiver, for example, if they wait for one to fall into their lap. And those hoping to pick up a developmental quarterback in the mid-fourth round might need to trade up a round to get the player they've targeted.

Players are split into selection value tiers below – instead of rounds – as a range of picks is a more accurate predictor of that value. The number of picks per round is an arbitrary number having nothing to do with player grades, but rather the number of teams in the league (plus free-agent compensatory picks in later rounds).

For example, the "Picks 21-50" tier includes late first- and early second-round selections because they are similarly graded players. The difference in talent between the 21st and 50th picks is usually minor, although the gap in the financial investment for pick 21 compared to No. 50 could be great. The exact beginning of one range and end of the next might shift slightly based on the depth of the class.

The top 150 picks are broken down below, as the odds of players picked from the mid-fifth round becoming regular starters aren't great. Specialists – kickers, punters and long snappers – are not included, as there are no players of value at those positions in the top 150 prospects of 2010.


Top 20: Sam Bradford, Jimmy Clausen
Picks 21-50: Colt McCoy, Tim Tebow
Picks 51-100: BEST VALUE...

Clearly there will be movement in the top 50 for McCoy and Tebow, but some teams searching for developmental QB prospects will look to the third or early fourth round. At that point, interesting prospects should be available. Jarrett Brown, Dan LeFevour, Tony Pike and John Skelton could all be chosen between Minnesota's pick in the late second round (No. 62) and the Jaguars' pick in the fourth round (No. 108).

Picks 101-150: Levi Brown, Zac Robinson

Running Back

Top 20: C.J. Spiller
Picks 21-50: Jahvid Best, Ryan Mathews
Picks 51-100: BEST VALUE...

The running back position has been devalued over the years, as very few bellcow backs have earned a place in the top 20 overall because of attrition at the position. Look for Anthony Dixon, Jonathan Dwyer, Toby Gerhart, Montario Hardesty and Ben Tate to be selected in the third to early fourth rounds to be the complementary backs every team seems to want.

Picks 101-150: Joe McKnight, Lonyae Miller, James Starks

Wide Receiver

Top 20: Dez Bryant
Picks 21-50: BEST VALUE...

Expect a run on receivers early in the second round, where Arrelious Benn, Taylor Price, Demaryius Thomas and Damian Williams will all get consideration by the middle of the second round. The receivers in the 51-100 range and 101-150 aren't to be overlooked entirely.

Picks 51-100: Eric Decker, Jacoby Ford, Brandon LaFell, Dexter McCluster, Carlton Mitchell
Picks 101-150: Riley Cooper, Mardy Gilyard, Andre Roberts, Jordan Shipley, Joe Webb, Blair White

Tight End

Top 20: None
Picks 21-50: Jermaine Gresham, Rob Gronkowski
Picks 51-100: BEST VALUE...

Though Gresham and Gronkowski are expected to be the top two tight ends selected, some teams will wait to meet this need given the injury history of those players. Dorin Dickerson, Jimmy Graham, Aaron Hernandez, Anthony McCoy and Dennis Pitta all will get notice from teams in this area of the draft. Any one from that group that falls into the fourth round will be a good value.

Picks 101-150: Garrett Graham, Clay Harbor, Tony Moeaki

Offensive Tackle

Top 20: BEST VALUE...

If you want a top-notch offensive tackle in this class, you will have to spend a pick in the top half of the first round. Bryan Bulaga, Russell Okung and Trent Williams are the top prospects, but even workout warrior Bruce Campbell could go early because of his upside.

Picks 21-50: Charles Brown, Rodger Saffold
Picks 51-100: Vladimir Ducasse, John Jerry, Jared Veldheer
Picks 101-150: Selvish Capers, Kyle Calloway, Jason Fox, Ed Wang, Tony Washington

Guards and Centers

Top 20: None
Picks 21-50: BEST VALUE...

The interior offensive line class is fairly thin, so any teams looking for a difference maker inside must break into the bottom half of the first round or top half of the second round. Jon Asamoah, Mike Iupati and Maurkice Pouncey could all be chosen in the first round. In fact, Pouncey could end up in the top 20 because of his talent and the shallow nature of the class.

Picks 51-100: Mitch Petrus, Matthew Tennant, J.D. Walton
Picks 101-150: Zane Beadles, Mike Johnson, Shawn Lauvao, Marshall Newhouse, Eric Olsen

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