Talent on one side and need on the other. If they have a lot of talent, but the team doesn’t have any need to place on that scale, it wont do the team any good. Likewise if the team has a great need, but they take a much lesser player it doesn’t do the team any good.
You want it to be as balanced as possible. Certainly if it leans a little more one way, you want it to learn towards talent as you can find ways to use a little extra talent in a place you don’t need it as much. Such as a talented RB you could split wide as a receiver or a you may be able to use the player on special teams, etc.
Like football, you want to be balanced. Offenses with very poor defenses don’t historically (There are some exceptions) do well and vice versa.
Using this strategy doesn’t rule out getting a flashy talent or getting a guy that fills a position of great need, instead it ensures that you get a little of both.
Applying this concept to our situation:
McFadden: Scale tipped towards talent 3:1
Jake Long: Scale tipped towards need 1:3
Chris Long / Vernon Gholston: Scale balanced
Glenn Dorsey / Sedrick Ellis : Scale tipped towards talent 3:2
Matt Ryan: Scale tipped towards talent 4: .1
This is just an example, the numbers are just examples so don’t get upset about where I might have someone.
If you subscribe by the BPA philosophy, you might end up with a team strong in several areas and weak in others OR you might say you can draft for need in later rounds, which ensures overall talent level to be lower and therefore the team weaker.
If you subscribe by picking for needs, you end up with a roster that isn’t good enough in any area to carry the team. Switching the strategy to BPA late helps, but the talent level isn’t high enough to recoup what was lost. The flaw in the system is it relies heavily on the talent in the draft. Meaning a team needing offensive help in an offensively weak draft might have a worse draft than a team looking for defense in a defensively deep draft, as an example.
Using the balanced approach you not only have a chance to fill needs, but you also get the best possible players to fill those needs. You aren’t going to fall prey to inconsistencies in the talent of the draft and you will get the best possible players in the areas you most need. Maybe you wouldn’t fill as many holes as the “need” picks or get as high of an upper echelon talent as draft “BPA”, BUT you would get closer to doing both.
Keep in mind, McFadden would still fit into this philosophy as one could perceive the need to be pretty high (Fargas 29, Bush unknown, Rhodes backup material). It just depends on what the team thinks.
Addition: So much goes into these player evaluations that the team considers talent, need, X’s and O’s, off the field issues, scheme fit, injury history, etc into them. For each and every pick they have to decide who is the best player to take based on all of the evaluations they have done. I think too many people think BPA or Need are the strategies when in fact teams consider a whole lot more. To suggest NFL teams use BPA or NEED as strategies is humorous. So to suggest we draft BPA or to fill a NEED is just as humorous if not more so. The goal should be to draft the best player we can, but that might not be the “BPA” (Which is arbitrary) or the guy at the biggest “Need.”