Originally Posted by ArlingtonTexan
... Unless there is a clear number one, most teams don't want to bother with over paying for players at the top of the draft ...
I agree with your statement, with some clarification.
In last year's draft, IMO there were 7 players in the top group, Manning, Roethlisberger, Gallery, Taylor, Winslow, Fitzgerald and Williams. Each was said to be the #1 player on at least one teams draft board. If you could reasonably get into the top 7, it was worth your while to do so. After the top 7, there was a leveling off of talent.
The big mistakes at the top of the draft were:
a) evaluating Rivers as a 4th pick;
b) Cleveland trading up one spot, when they still would have drafted a top pick (they would have drafted Williams, or Winslow, whichever Detroit didn't draft, without the trade);
If the best available player at your slot matches a need, make a selection (like Atlanta and Houston did), otherwise trade down and pay less for a selection of similar talent. Jacksonville needed to trade up for Roy Williams, or down with Buffalo (Buffalo takes Roethlisberger), or the Jets (Jets take Dunta Robinson) and then Jacksonville takes best available WR (probably would have had choice of Clayton, or Reggie Williams, or DE)
Also in last year's draft, it was clear that there were 2 only CBs in the second group of talent. If you wanted one (like the Jets and Steelers did), you needed to get up ahead of Houston, otherwise you had to go with another position or take a tier 3 talent.
The Cowboys are an example of what can go wrong if you get caught with a high pick the wrong year. They drafted very high (and paid alot) two years in a row. I don't think anyone would disagree that they got a tier 1 talent each year, but they didn't get any of the triplet type player they desperately needed. Williams in particular was unfortunate, because while he clearly was a top tier talent, you would prefer not to use a top teir selection on a safety.