A reader submitted a question yesterday that I would like to answer. (As a note, if you have any questions that you would like answered, leave them in a post after an article or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Q: How do you counter the argument that Miami reached for Ginn at #9 when they could have gotten more talent and production from LB Patrick Willis?
A: This is a difficult question to answer because in reality there isn't much of a difference in the level of talent between the two players. It's also very hard to compare a WR to a LB. I would have been very happy with Willis at #9. I don't think that he would have been a reach there. I have said that I think Ginn was a slight reach, but with the Texans poised to take him at #10, Miami made it clear that they valued Ginn higher than most of us did.
As for production, Mueller was looking for someone who could step in and contribute immediately. While Ginn may not be a star WR right away, he will be a star return man from the get-go. Willis on the other hand would have been relegated to being the primary backup LB, spending most of his time on the bench. He obviously has tremendous potential (as does Ginn), but it's unrealistic to think that he would have seen significant playing time with the current lineup of Channing Crowder, Zach Thomas, and Joey Porter. Crowder is the heir apparent for the MLB position once Thomas decides to hang up his cleats, and MLB is what Willis is best suited for in the NFL.
It's always best to draft for value, but when two players like Ginn and Willis are so close in terms of value, the ability to fill a need becomes the deciding factor. Willis was hardly a need for a stacked defense with a star MLB (Thomas) and a rising stud who is the team's future at MLB (Crowder). Our offense, on the other hand, was deficient in almost all aspects. One of its glaring weaknesses was a lack of speed and big-play-ability. Ginn addresses that need as well as the need for a return man.
So, would I have been upset by the selection of Willis? Certainly not. In fact, if made in a vacuum without considering the makeup of the team, Willis probably would have been the better pick. But, the needs that Ginn fills more than make up for whatever small amount of value that Miami sacrificed by reaching for Ginn.