As part of an occasional series, Fanspeak will offer tips and best practices for its wildly popular and first-of-its-kind On The Clock draft simulator.
Today’s topic: What should you do when your top three choices are available in the first round?.
You’re drafting with Fanspeak’s On the Clock mock draft simulator, and it’s your turn to select a player in the first round.
And, as luck would have it, the three players you think are the best fits for your team are still available.
What do you do?
It’s a scenario that could play itself out during the April 23-25 draft, as the number of wide receivers, offensive tackles and cornerbacks could push other prospects down the draft.
On the rare occasion something like this occurs, you have two main options:
1) Take the best player available at a position of need. Of the three players who are still available, you could take the highest-ranked one and still come away from the draft knowing that you likely found a starter for the foreseeable future at a position that needed a boost.
2) If one of the two teams below you is willing, you could move down one to two spots and pick up a late-round pick. This only works, though, if one of the remaining players is coveted by several teams. But, if you can pull it off, you’d still get one of those three prospects while adding another draft pick.
SI Daily Cover: Meet Jerry Jeudy – the NFL draft’s most unique talent.
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) April 1, 2020
Before you click on “select,” though, there’s another important factor to consider: positional gaps.
Say, for example, your team needs a cornerback, defensive lineman and a wide receiver, and the top three players still available who suit your team needs include South Carolina DT Javon Kinlaw, Florida CB C.J. Henderson and Alabama WR Jerry Jeudy. Any of the three would provide your team with an immediate upgrade.
However, after Kinlaw, the next-highest ranked defensive lineman in the Fanspeak-Steve big board is Auburn’s Marlon Davidson, who’s ranked as the No. 30 overall prospect. After Davidson is Oklahoma’s Neville Gallimore, the No. 45 prospect. Gallimore is one of three defensive linemen who are ranked in the second-round range in the Fanspeak-Steve big board.
The cornerback position, though, has more depth. After Henderson, six CBs are rated as Day 1 or Day 2 prospects, while five are rated as potential third-rounders.
And the receiver position has even more depth, with a whopping 11 ranked in the first- or second-round after Jeudy. However, after Arizona State WR Brandon Aiyuk at No. 54 overall, the next-highest ranked receiver is Texas’ Devin Duvernay at No. 90.
So, going by those big positional gaps, the wise choice in the above example would be to take Kinlaw in the first round, a receiver in the second-round and a CB in the third.
That way, you’re still drafting one of the best players at a position of need while also acquiring potential starters in the second and third rounds.
Jake Rigdon (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak and the On The Clock, which is the only NFL draft simulator that allows you to customize and use your own big board while giving you control over trades.