Originally Posted by mussop
Well, you ask if we've ever drafted to fill holes and I answer back, yes and give examples.
Then you change it up so that it's about drafting to fill ALL our needs. Any year I point to, you can always say "Yeah, but we needed one of these, too."
Every year, lots of the draft sites have team needs listed. Although I don't have the links, I know that several years (most of them in the Rick Smith era), we've drafted players at all those listed needs... but that doesn't really constitute drafting to fill all your needs because expecting some 3rd or 4th rounder to fill a need is not realistic.
Expecting more than 1 or 2 guys to be immediate starters out of a draft is unrealistic. Therefore, you can only realistically try to fill 1 or 2 starter spots per year and hope the other guys develop and start later. You can get more than that if you're lucky OR if your team is that short-staffed and you have to force guys into the rotation who aren't really ready.
You can't draft to fill ALL your needs unless you only have 1 or 2 needs. It's very rare for a team to only have 1 or 2 needs.
AND THEN there's always the problem of who determines what is and what is not a need. What you think our team needs, what I think our team needs, and what Rick Smith thinks our team needs are probably 3 different things.
I believe Rick Smith has a longer view of "need" than we do. I believe he considered drafting a TE a few years ago a "need" even though we had OD because he was looking at a possibility of OD leaving via free agency; he did the same thing with the Mercilus pick, he expected Barwin to be going.
So, yes. I believe we have a history of drafting to fill needs. (I think that's why we passed up on Patrick Willis.) But if you define "drafting to fill needs" as "drafting to fill ALL needs", then no because that's impossible.