Draft Strategy, Late 1st-Round Pick

A discussion on how to draft with a pick late in the first round

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How you begin a draft can alter the entire composition of your roster. And where you pick in the first round can make all the difference in your early-draft strategy.

Let's talk about strategy when you have a late pick in the first round. How do you prefer to start a draft when you pick between the 1.09 and 1.12 spots? Do you map out your first few picks? What do you like your roster to look like when drafting from these spots?

Jason Wood

I trust my projections implicitly, so picking late is very much about being flexible. The way most mocks, industry drafts, and best-ball drafts have gone, I'm taking a receiver or running back in the first round if I'm picking late, and then most likely pairing them up with the alternative (so, WR/RB or RB/WR) in the early second. But I've also targeted Travis Kelce depending.

I generally want to come out of the first four rounds with two running backs picking late in the first, and the other two positions are best player available. Usually, that means one of those two picks is a receiver, but not always. Receiver depth is great this year, and in particular, there's a very flat and wide group of pass-catchers that are at or near the VBD baseline, so as long as you have one bonafide top-12 receiver on your board, you can wait a long time to build out that position.

Jeff Haseley

One of the big advantages of picking at the turn, whether it's at the end of the draft slots or the beginning, is that you have the luxury of taking two players to solve a hole in your roster. It also makes decision-making an easier proposition. For example, during the draft, you may think to yourself, "I really need my third wide receiver, but I could use another running back before the position dries up." If you're at the turn, you can select both and remove the concern of which players may or may not make it to your next pick.

You also have the advantage of knowing or estimating what your opponent next in the draft, might do, by looking at their draft picks so far. If you have draft slot 11 and you see the slot 12 team has not drafted a quarterback yet, you may want to take a quarterback with the first pick of your two because you have reason to believe your opponent in slot 12 will select one. That can work for the tight end position as well and is a luxury when drafting at the turn.

Chad Parsons

I am still focused on running back with two or three within my first three selections. Specifically, I like Josh Jacobs and Nick Chubb in the late-first to early-second zone of 1-QB format drafts. I am much more likely to mix in my WR1 at the Round 3/4 turn than at the Round 1/2 turn from a team-building perspective.

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