Scheme Considerations | Pretty Penny v. Bargain Buy

Photo: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Welcome to this week's edition of Pretty Penny v. Bargain Buy! If you’re new to the game — welcome! The rules are pretty simple:

Every Thursday, I’ll shoot out a Tweet asking for your Pretty Penny v. Bargain Buy match-ups. A match-up includes two players who play at the same position, but will likely get drafted it different rounds. The higher ranked player is the Pretty Penny, and the cheaper player is the Bargain Buy. I’ll take a few match-ups and break them down in-depth as to why I prefer one player over the other, and then I’ll rip through some rapid-fire ones at the end.

Using this value-based paradigm of evaluating draft picks is a helpful way to look at the draft. It shows us where positional classes might be weaker or stronger; how players in similar molds, but at different degrees of development, should be understood; which positions require high investment, and which can be found at later picks.

We’ll be back here every Friday, so make sure you’re following me (@BenjaminSolak) and The Draft Network (@DraftNetworkLLC) on Twitter to get your match-ups in for next week’s column!

2/1: Never Skimp On Corners

2/8Placing the Ole Miss Wideouts

2/15: Jeffery Simmons Falling?

Stanford WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside (Round 2) v. Texas Tech WR Antoine Wesley (Round 3)

I got this one a couple of #PPvBBs back, as a matter of fact -- it was from Brad, who was wholly trying to entrap me into saying a bad thing about Antoine Wesley, whom he loves sincerely. I deferred to needing to watch more tape on Wesley so that Brad could keep some false hope.

But it's time to pay the piper: I'm still taking Arcega-Whiteside.

The primary concern with Wesley regards the marriage between his frame and play style. Wesley has a bit of a string-bean frame, and while he's excellent in the air and has really wicked hands away from his frame, I'm concerned that he won't be able to create leverage, elevate, and maintain positioning as easily at the NFL level. Like all Big 12 receivers, Wesley enjoyed a slew of vertical coverage, but didn't illustrate a desirable ability to separate in a vertical third. He won with post-ups, and I'm not sure he'll have as easy a time doing that at the next level.

Arcega-Whiteside, on the other hand, has a better marriage of physical tools and on-field skill set. A thicker and shorter frame (weird to say for a 6-foot-3 guy), Arcega-Whiteside brings an inherently physical nature to his game that should allow him to continue winning in post-up and back-shoulder situations. With more linear explosiveness than Wesley's gangling stride, Arcega-Whiteside also has a better profile as a separator.

I don't want to detract too much from Wesley, who has a role in the NFL as a one-on-one nightmare for smaller corners. But he needs time to develop physically, and projects more as an early Day 3 pick to me. Arcega-Whiteside is ready to eat in Year 1.

Pretty Penny: Stanford WR JJ Arcega-Whiteside (Round 2)

Boston College iOL Chris Lindstrom (Round 1) v. Charlotte iOL Nate Davis (Round 4)

I think someone saw me pouring effusive love for Chris Lindstrom and decided to really put my take to the test.

I've been almost as vocal anybody that Chris Lindstrom is a first-round lock, easy plug-and-play starter on the interior offensive line. He's gonna be a Top-20 player for me, and his only weakness is that he doesn't have a truly elite trait -- but for offensive linemen, that's really okay. Lindstrom is reliable in all contexts and against all opponents in all systems. Lock and load.

But man if there's a later-round interior offensive lineman I'm crushing on, it's Nate Davis, who was a member of my February All-Sleeper Team; who I have called a Day 2 pick; who I have said should be able to start in Year 1 in a heavy power scheme. And he has tackle experience, so he can play out there for you in a pinch! Woof. This is hard.

At the end of the day, Lindstrom offers you more versatility, which is better when you're evaluating for 32 teams -- but if Davis is a fit for your scheme, then on Round 4 he's a tremendous value. Zone teams might be a push, but for power teams, it's Davis. That's where I'm going, as much as it breaks my heart.

Bargain Buy: Charlotte iOL Nate Davis (Round 4)

Notre Dame CB Julian Love (Round 2) v. James Madison CB Jimmy Moreland (Round 5)

You can get a little picky with this one, because Julian Love is probably going to start on the outside despite being a little smallish, whereas Moreland is almost certainly going to a be a nickel. So are they really playing the same position?

Let's say yes -- they're about the same height (5-foot-11) even though Love might have 15+ pounds on Moreland. Both are going to be man coverage corners at the next level, while Moreland will benefit from playing off-ball and maximizing on high-quality quickness as his chief physical trait, and Love will take more tight-man reps to mask his weaker match quickness.

Does Moreland have to be protected by playing in the slot; protected from tight man coverage; protected from physicality? He's a really feisty player, but I just don't see that size surviving out there regularly. If playing on the outside, Moreland needs to play in more of a Cover 2 role, which will maximize his movement ability and also allow him to capitalize on strong ball skills. Love as a zone corner is also a Cover 2 player, given his lack of long speed and proficiency playing through contact and downhill.

Not dissimilarly to our discussion around Chris Lindstrom and Nate Davis above, there's scheme consideration to take here. Neither corner should be playing a deep third, but if you ask your corners to win with physicality and strength, you're gonna need to favor Love over Moreland at almost any value. Otherwise, I think Moreland in the fifth is a great pick, whereas Love at a two is a bit richer than I'd like to take him.

Bargain Buy: JMU CB Jimmy Moreland (Round 5)

Best of the Rest

Florida Atlantic RB Devin Singletary (Round 2) v. Utah State RB Darwin Thompson (Round 5)

While Round 2 is a little richer than I'd like to see Singletary go, he has starting ability, whereas I don't see Darwin as much more than a returner/3rd-down-back.

Georgia WR Riley Ridley (Round 2) v. Baylor WR Jalen Hurd (Round 6)

Nothing to take away from Ridley, but I'm super interested in grabbing Hurd in Round 6 -- that's a great spot for a high-ceiling player of his athletic profile. I'm down.

Notre Dame CB Julian Love (Round 2) v. Kentucky CB Derrick Baity (Round 4)

Love will win this one. Baity's tape was a big disappointment in 2018.

Alabama OT Jonah Williams (Round 1) v. West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste (Round 2)

This one almost made the top. I don't hate either option, but when in doubt, go early in the trenches. Give me Williams.

Clemson LB Tre Lamar (Round 3) v. Fresno State LB Jeffrey Allison (Round 5)

Interesting strategy, to put the better player in the later round.





Written By:

Benjamin Solak

Director of Special Projects

Director of Special Projects and Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-host of the Locked On NFL Draft Podcast. The 3-Wide Raven.