No. 1: Should a team go best player available in the draft, or aim to fill needs?
At No. 2, you take the best player on the draft board. It needs to be a home-run pick, someone to be an impact cornerstone for the next five to 10 years. After that, you can afford to reach a little bit. But not by much.
Best available. See the Portland Trailblazers’ 1984 NBA Draft. Would Clyde Drexler and Michael Jordan on the same team been a bad thing?
The Pewter Plank
In later rounds, teams should always go BPA, because of the lower hit late of late picks. In earlier rounds, BPA should still be the general rule, but team needs should also play a role, particularly if a team has few holes to fill. It gets more complex in the first round, and particularly at the top, due to the contract rules in the current CBA. Since salaries are set based on draft position and these contracts are generally guaranteed, teams need to take the market value of position groups into account.
The team should try to fill needs. We have a lot of glaring holes (edge rusher, CB, etc.) that need to be addressed, and we need as much depth as possible in those areas.
This is always a hotly debated issue come draft time. My opinion is a team should aim to fill needs in the draft. While it’s always great to have depth at a position, if you’re lacking skill at a certain area, you need to address and fix that area. If the best player available is a cornerback for example and you’re already stacked at that position, it makes more sense to draft a player for a position that the team needs improvement.
In most cases, a team should go best player available. However, it depends on the difference of talent. If you could take two blue-chip prospects, but the one who fits a need is marginally worse than the “best player available”, I try to fill the position of need.
My philosophy early in a draft is to take the best player available unless it’s an extreme pick (the Kansas City Chiefs aren’t going to pick a quarterback in Round 1, for example).
For the 49er No. 2 pick, it should be the best player. But as we move onto the later round it’s better to draft according to fit, need and talent.