Golden Analysis: Drafting Best Overall

Drafting a low-risk, high-talent player at any position—especially on the offensive and defensive line—is oftentimes the best strategy a rebuilding team can implement in draft season. Glaring needs and flashy 40-yard dashes frequently cause teams to draft a player too early, but drafting the best available prospect often pays big dividends with much less risk.

For instance, in 2011, former Arizona Cardinals head coach Ken Whisenhunt drafted LSU cornerback/return specialist Patrick Peterson fifth overall. Peterson was the best available prospect at the time, and while the Cardinals could have addressed a position of greater need, drafting Peterson was a great move.

Whisenhunt was hired by the Titans last year, and is currently in a very similar situation to 2011. The Titans have quarterback Zach Mettenberger, who displayed potential as a rookie last season, and either (if not both) Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota—two Heisman winners—will be on the board at second overall, but in all likelihood, USC defensive lineman Leonard Williams will also be available.

Last year, the Oakland Raiders drafted Buffalo outside linebacker Khalil Mack at fifth overall, and he made a tremendous impact during his rookie season. The St. Louis Rams already had a fantastic defensive line when they picked Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald 13th overall, but added the athletic prospect despite their D-Line depth. Donald made a noticeable impact in the trenches, and his run-stopping and pass-rushing versatility was on full display.

Drafting the best overall prospect has worked in the past, and it runs a much lesser risk when compared to over-drafting a prospect.

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