I've heard over and over that drafting based on need as opposed to the best player available is a recipe for disaster. Having a need so great that you are forced to pass on an all-star sure fire player is not the best way to build a roster. Well Jon Robinson begs to differ.
2016 was Jon Robinson's first draft as the head of a franchise front office. It's been referred to as a "meat and potatoes" draft focusing on the trenches without playmakers. The Titans did what they could to shore up some of their many holes during the free agency that preceded the draft, but they still had one gaping hole at right tackle. First of the board for the Titans? Jack Conklin. Once the largest "need" was filled, Robinson proceeded to provide depth and competition at other positions as his board saw fit.
Fast forward to 2017 and the Titans largest needs were Corner and Receiver by a landslide. Arguably followed by ILB. Robinson shocked the pundits by taking Corey Davis to the rejoice of many fans at the 5th spot. He then followed that pick up with the best corner on his board at 18 and snagged another wide out in the third round with Taywan Taylor. These were followed up by a tight end and an inside coverage line backer as if Jon Robinson was literally going down his greatest needs checklist.
By most accounts, his first two selections these were not the "Best Players Available" at the time of the picks. Jamal Adams, one of the purest prospects in the draft, was still sitting there for the taking at 5 and there were a number of other options including Alabama's O.J. Howard at 18. These positions did not fill the needs criteria, however.
Through 2 drafts Robinson has shown the propensity to lean towards the best player at a position of need over a pure BPA strategy. After helping take the worse team in the league to the threshold of the playoffs in one year, it's hard to argue with this approach at the moment. It will be interesting to watch his methods shift, if at all, in the years to come as the roster takes the shape he his working towards. A best player available strategy is a lot easier to execute, once your weaknesses are minimized or there are no glaring defects at any one position.
As dangerous as drafting for need can be, its not as dangerous as having Brice McCain and Harry Douglas as starters on opening day.