If I was GM…

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* Draft defensive backs and offensive linemen every year – I know it would be tough to stick with this based on available players and draft position, and I wouldn’t necessarily spend high picks on these positions. But with the recent shift to more and more passing attacks, these are the two areas that teams can least afford to be without depth. They are also two of the hardest positions to fill via free agency without overpaying.
* Trade late-round picks for serviceable veterans – Everybody wants their team to score big with that sixth round diamond, but the reality is that most late picks end up being niche players at best, and many don’t make the final roster. However, if you can trade those picks for players that have fallen out of favor with their current team, you can actually get more bang for your buck. The Lions have been using this strategy recently using fifth, sixth and seventh round picks to pick up players like G Rob Sims, CB Chris Houston and QB Shaun Hill. Sometimes you need those cheap end of the roster players so you wouldn’t want to do this with every late pick every season, but it’s a very good way to add meaningful talent to a team.
* Never spend a first round pick on a running back – Again, this might be tough to stick to based on draft position and available players, but there are three good reasons to follow this: (1) With the recent move to more backfields by committee, there really is no need to have that one “stud” running back. And if you are going to use two or more backs, it doesn’t really make sense to invest a high pick in a player that’s going to touch the ball 10-15 times a game at most (see Reggie Bush); (2) Running backs have a short shelf life. If you can get four or five good years out of one, you are doing good; and (3) it has been proven over and over again that you can find good – even great – runners after the first round. Here is a partial list of current star NFL running backs that were not drafted in the first round (or, in some instances, not drafted at all): Arian Foster, Maurice Jones Drew, Frank Gore, Ray Rice, Ahmed Bradshaw, Jamaal Charles and Matt Forte.

What would you do if you were GM?