Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mueller's Draft Strategies

The Sun-Sentinel posted a nice article talking about the strategies that Mueller uses when considering draft picks. Check that out here. It's very encouraging to see that he places such a high premium on stockpiling young QB talent. Even if it may not be necessary right now, that is a position where it is crucial to have good young talent waiting in the wings.

I also really like his views on taking the best-available player whenever possible instead of reaching for a need-pick. The NFL is far too unpredictable to sacrifice several draft picks just to get a player who is thought to fill a need. Not only is every player in the draft a risk to some extent, but any position that a team thinks it is set at could turn into a position of need with the tear of a ligament or failure of a drug test. Knowing that, it's nice to know that Mueller is not averse to add depth at positions that are seemingly set if the player chosen truly represented the best talent available. One great example that I can think of is the Chiefs' drafting of Larry Johnson when they had Priest Holmes who was playing fantastic. That move was widely questioned at the time, but today it looks to have been a pretty good move taking the talent instead of reaching for a need. Now, I realize that no GM is going to come out in the media and propose "reaching" for a need pick as his strategy, but GMs clearly do publicly distinguish between need picks and best-player-available picks. Mueller is quoted in the article as saying
The ideal situation is to have the most talented guy to be there at a position need for you and when you strike that you have a pretty good fit. I think you get in trouble when need becomes so paramount, you reach and don't take talented and good football players.
I think ultimately, with the unpredictable nature of the NFL, that the best-player-available is almost always the correct choice.

The article also points out that Mueller places a priority on speed. He also likes pass rushers on defense. And, while he is looking for playmakers on offense, he has not ruled out drafting an offensive lineman with the team's first-round pick. In 1997, while with the Seattle Seahawks, Mueller chose offensive tackle Walter Jones with the sixth overall pick. That is good news, since there is a possibility that Levi Brown may be the best player available when Miami makes its selection.

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