With so many posts about reaching, need vs value, and the like, here's my .02. The selection of Jerrod Mayo is a great example of how nuanced it all is. - there are some guidelines & principles to the process, but it's the opposite of a cookie-cutter process. It's influenced in no particular order by need, value, rare qualities in a prospect, gut feel, gambling mentality, long term team strategy, and probably other factors. - I think that most of the art of drafting is knowing when to trade down: when it's OK to trade down, and how far to trade down. At this, the Patriots excel. It's easy to trade up, because you're dealing for a definite result. Trading down is dealing for an indefinite result, so there is risk involved. You have to know what you're doing when you trade down - it's like getting into puts and calls in the stock market, as there's a lot of predicting going on. - We now know how much Belichick loved Mayo - he said after the draft that he hasn't seen a LB like him in a very long time. So here he sees a very rare prospect in Mayo, who plays the position of highest (very urgent) need, and we're drafting in a slot that he'll probably never see again. Yet he trades down! If that doesn't illustrate how important Value is to the equation, then nothing will. - Trading down gets to the heart of the Need vs Value issue. NE at #7 was evaluating: a) were there any amazing values at this spot even outside our needs? e.g., a Dorsey unexpectedly slipping that far (NO); b) was Mayo, and the ILB position in general, worth the #7 pick, even though we love the guy and need the guy? (NO); and c) will Mayo still be there at #10 based on all our projections, and are we going to trust those projections? (YES - which took balls). - Note that decision-making is different from round to round, because the risk associated with a bad choice decreases. In round 1, there is great risk associated with losing a premier prospect by trading down, because he is less replaceable - the talent curve is steeper. By round 3 or 4, if you miss a guy, there's usually another guy of similar value to fall back on. - Picking at #10, certainly there were offers coming in to trade down again. They could do the same analysis and determine again that #10 was too high, etc., but this is where the "art" and risk assessment come into play. They had already picked up a mid 3rd rounder and now owned three 3rd's - they already had plenty of picks for the day. They felt that with any move into the teens, the risk of having someone grab Mayo went up exponentionally. So they made the gut feel decision to take their man right there at 10. At that point, they didn't care where he was ranked by anyone else, he was their man. - Another point on Need vs Value. For the better teams especially, "Need" certainly influences how a draft is approached (for a bad team, they need almost everything, so it's not a criteria). But every team has at least 2 areas of need, so Need alone should never drive a bad decision. For example, if you need both a LB and a CB in that order, a good drafting team like the Patriots will take the CB if he's the better player at that drafting point, and not take a lesser LB because they need a LB a little more.