Best Player Available
These three words get tossed around endlessly. What do they mean to you, exactly?
What factors do you use, or not use, to determine who you think is the BPA?
Excellent question because I'm sure it means different things to different people. For me, it's all about each team's private and highly secretive grading system. And the formula most definitely has a calculated "weight factor" for each position, the highest being a QB, the lowest a punter, long snapper, gunner, etc. That "weighting factor" is probably similar across the board for all teams, but each team weighs positions a little differently and their weighting factors vary from team to team.
The NFL (well, whoever runs NFL.com anyway) uses a precise grading system, but I believe without a positional weighting formula. Example, they grade out Myles Garrett as a 7.63 out of a perfect score of 8.0. I'm not sure any player has ever graded out as 8.0, but that's neither here nor there. Their (NFL.com) grading system differs from individual teams' grading system so every team evaluates players differently using their own criteria and no one outside the trusted inside team knows what that is or how the formula works.
This is how the "weighting factor" works. Take a player like Malik Hooker, a safety that grades out as 6.7 (NFL.com rating) as compared to Mike Williams, a WR who grades out as 6.3. If a team has a weighting factor for each position such as Safety (.65) and WR (.79), the weighting factor will actually give Williams a higher grade than Hooker when the numbers are crunched.
No one knows what the weighting factor for each position is for individual teams. I suspect the Giants have a weighting factor for LB's just a bump ahead of a punter, but that's neither here nor there. I just don't think the Giants are as enamored with LBs as they are with defensive linemen (in particular: edge rushers, as well as corner backs, and wide receivers. My insight to this is based on previous drafts.
Now in some cases, the Giants will take a player that grades out slightly less than another player (even after the weighting factor is applied) if there is a specific hole in their team that desperately needs to be filled. But they won't take a TE with a grade of 5.85 over a DE with a grade of 6.1. However, they might take an OT with a grade of 5.93 over a safety with a 6.12 grade.
All this xxxx gets sorted out in the war room on draft day. Months of hard work by scouts and other personnel have carefully graded several hundred players that will be available in the draft and they have a number attached (and it probably isn't 1-8 like NFL.com, but we'll never know. I doubt there is much disagreement in the war room when a player clearly grades out higher than the next in line and I'm sure when the Giants saw Collins still on the board on day two a couple of years ago, they were looking at a safety with a grade in the mid-7s (assuming NFL.com's grading system) and the next player on their list was in the high-5's or low 6's and it was a no-brainer to trade up to get him, especially considering the Giants also were in desperate need of a safety.
Regardless - that is how I see it. The "BPA" the Giants pick might not be the actual BPA, but is the highest rated player on their particular board and even though they will say that "need" is not a factor, it is ALWAYS a factor and may even be a secondary weighting factor in their grading formula. "Need" might not be enough to persuade them to pull the trigger, but "need" will be in the discussion in the war room, you can guarantee that. We need a good OT this year, but if Myles Garrett is available (this is purely hypothetical and will never happen) and the Giants have to pick between him and Ramczyk, Garrett would end up wearing Blue and having a helmet with the letters "NY" on them.