With the season over, so begins the discussion of the central off=season event: The NFL Draft. And its never too early to debate the age-old question – “best available” or “position of need”. Hub Arkush at hubarkush.com comments:
“What I absolutely know about where Emery and the Bears are at now is there isn’t a spot on the roster they can’t stand to get better at, so they must draft the best football player available and not get distracted by ‘greatest needs’ and reach for a pass rusher or safety if the best player available is a linebacker or running back.”
“Here’s the problem. Let’s say the Bears are picking 14th, it’s their turn and still available are the seventh-best, 11th-best and 14th-, 15th- and 16th-best players, but they all play offense. The 17th-best is a linebacker, and then the next two are offensive guys as well. Do you want the seventh- or 11th-best player available, or do you want another linebacker who’s the 17th-best player according to your own rankings? Or do you take the guy you think is the 20th-best player at 14 because he happens to be a pass rusher or a safety?”
“How would C.J. Mosely look in navy and orange, or what if somehow Anthony Barr miraculously slipped to the Bears at 14? Can you pass on a linebacker because you used two picks on ‘backers last year?”
Like Arkush, I too lean towards the “best available” philosophy. But with me there are almost always limits. This year I’d draw the line at running back where Matt Forte is coming off of a spectacular year with Michael Bush as his backup. With both under contract, the Bears would have no use for another one. The odds are good they’d never get their worth in a trade and, really, what are the odds that you’ll ever find one comparable to Forte, anyway.
But other than running back I wouldn’t hesitate to draft the best available player at any round in 2014 for the Bears.