Draft Daily: Is double-dipping at a position a wise draft strategy?

Analyst Jordan Plocher breaks down the risks and rewards of double-dipping at a position of need in the draft.

| 3 months ago
Sidney Jones

(Stephen Brashear/Getty Images)

Draft Daily: Is double-dipping at a position a wise draft strategy?

Pro Football Focus’ Draft Daily will hit on a number of NFL Draft-related topics including recent news, scouting reports, PFF draft takes, and much more on a frequent basis.

Is double-dipping okay?

In PFF’s most recent mock draft, Senior Analyst Steve Palazzolo had the Tennessee Titans taking two cornerbacks in the first round. Of course, this begs the question: As a draft strategy, is it wise to double-dip at one position?

The answer is yes, and for multiple reasons. First, as Palazzolo mentioned, getting two players at the same defensive position can really reshape a team’s defense in a hurry. There are so many talented cornerbacks in this draft class that a team could completely overhaul their secondary with two draft picks.

Second, double-dipping at the same position in the draft can also be used as a type of draft insurance in case the player taken early doesn’t pan out for the team. This is clearly evidenced by the Washington Redskins drafting Robert Griffin III and Kirk Cousins in the same draft.

Third, double-dipping at one position in a draft can also be a strategy to get a good return on the invested pick. If both players hit, then a team has completely reshaped one side of the ball and will have the opportunity to re-sign one player long-term and allow the other player to walk and receive a compensatory pick in return. This is what happened with the Broncos when they drafted Derek Wolfe and Malik Jackson in the same class. Both Wolfe and Jackson performed well enough to earn new contracts, but the Broncos extended Wolfe and let Jackson leave for Jacksonville, receiving a compensatory pick in return. By double-dipping, the Broncos invested a fifth-round pick in Jackson, but received four years of production and a fifth-round draft pick as the return on their investment.

PFF Draft Podcast

Be sure to check out Senior Analyst Steve Palazzolo and Mike Renner on Pro Football Focus’ Draft Podcast as they discuss key draft prospects from PFF’s unique perspective. Other highlights will include Renner’s hot takes and the nearly-world-famous Nathan Jahnke stat of the week.

PFF Scouting Report

Speaking of talented cornerbacks in the draft class, here is PFF’s scouting report on Washington’s Sidney Jones. He’s a very effective man-cover corner who was rarely targeted in 2016, and should see himself selected in the first round.

PFF analyst draft takes

Our analysts are hard at work analyzing the 2017 draft class and adding their spin on what they’re seeing. The beauty here is that we’re not always in lockstep with each take, and it shows the unique interpretation each of our analysts can have when watching film and analyzing PFF grades and stats. Here is one of our more interesting takes of the week:

This is a pretty bold take from PFF Analyst Gordon McGuinness, given the value of the quarterback position. However, no quarterback has really emerged as a clear-cut QB1 in the class at this point, and there are some very talented defensive players at the top of the board. If you were a GM drafting in the top 10 this year—and you need a quarterback—would you draft one and miss out on a defensive playmaker?

No combine invite?

With the scouting combine taking place this week, it’s important to remember that some talented players aren’t in attendance, as some players with NFL skill-sets can get lost in the college football landscape a bit due to scheme or injury. For example, this is the case with the Oregon Ducks’ tight end group. To begin the season, we thought they probably had the deepest tight end group in the country, but in modern college football, it isn’t common for TEs to get a ton of snaps, and considerably less common when the group is so talent-laden.

Pharaoh Brown was invited to the combine and should put on a good showing. However, Evan Baylis and Johnny Mundt will not be in Indianapolis, but both can make NFL rosters. Mundt was the No. 7 run-blocking tight end in the Power-5 coming into the 2016 season, but suffered an MCL sprain during the opener against UC Davis, and was only able to start the Ducks last six games. Mundt’s lack of snaps no doubt led to his exclusion from the combine, but he is a good athlete who would likely be one of the top TE performers if he were in attendance. Mundt can help an NFL team both as a run blocker and a pass catcher, even though he isn’t at the combine.

From the ‘My guys’ list

Air Force wide receiver Jalen Robinette was a somewhat forgotten man in the Falcons’ option offense, where passes were few and far between. However, he frequently stood out for his ability to repeatedly come down with contested or difficult catches. Robinette proved that he can help move the chains, as 28 of his 37 receptions in 2016 came on passes targeted 10 or more yards downfield. As a result, his 5.51 yards per route run ranked No. 1 in the nation.

Robinette has a freaky vertical leaping ability and should do well in that event at the combine. He can get open deep, but it’s not through pure speed, as he will likely run his 40-yard dash in the mid 4.5-second range. Robinette plays wide receiver in the same fashion as a basketball player going up for a rebound, as he will use his size, body position and vertical leaping ability to come down with the catch.

In the NFL, Robinette really has a chance to stand out in the red zone, where quarterbacks are often taught to target the ball at a wide receiver’s helmet or higher, as to minimize the risk of the opposing team intercepting the pass. Robinette will have much to learn about an NFL passing attack, but his undeniable ability to go up and get the ball should serve him well early on in his career.

PFF Draft Pass

PFF Draft Pass has officially launched, and can be accessed by clicking here. Users can now view PFF signature stat breakdowns by position, and will soon have access to expanded scouting profiles with grades and signature stats for each top prospect. In addition, PFF Draft Pass users will have access to the PDF version of the PFF Draft Pass in the coming weeks.

Sign up for PFF Draft Pass for exclusive stats and analysis of the top 250 NFL Draft prospects.

  • Joe Doe

    I’m a fan of the double-dip, particularly if you have fewer holes to fill. Just for fun I’ll play a little devil’s advocate. Packers in 2015 drafted corners in the first two rounds. Both didn’t show much as outside corners (although Rollins played well in the slot). Gave them the confidence to not resign Casey Heyward (not expensive, btw). In short-term hindsight, big mistake.

    • ChiTownMike

      They both outplayed Hayward in 2015 and looked really good, both guys had injuries this past year while Hayward finally finished a full season healthy.

      I wouldn’t be surprised to see ’em both bounce back ala Devante Adams who was putrid in 2015 w/his injuries.

      • Joe Doe

        It only took you six words to be wrong. Neither had a better grade.

    • Leon Kalayjian

      See my point above. If the Packers had Haywood and he was injured — they shouldn’t have cut bait on him so quickly and drafted two corners one and two… If they drafted one corner, they might have been able to be more patient with Haywood. What did they get for him in the end? Wasn’t he a second rounder? Aren’t those picks supposed to be very important to your success? You don’t just let them go.

      • Joe Doe

        I hadn’t added that level of depth to my thoughts on this subject. Very, very good point.

  • johnforamerica

    But you could also get stuck with 2 rookie contracts expiring concurrently, ala the Rams last year…

    • Joe Doe

      Very good point. I’ll play devils advocate, though. How many GMs have that amount of time?

      • johnforamerica

        Damn good point yourself! (esp with Snead’s track record)

  • Frank Yi

    Panthers did it with Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. They needed 2 DTs, and had the expectation that one would be a star and the other a solid complement. They got it right (except the order), and should lock one up (Short) and get a future compensatory pick when Lotulelei hits the market next year.

    Also, didn’t Denver get a 3rd for Jackson?

    • Leon Kalayjian

      it all depends on what you have drafted previously and who is coming up for contracts. If you have a few mid to high picks that were injured or have not played to potential, taking two high picks in one draft would not be a good idea. You want to let the other picks develop and overloading with talent in one position creates a logjam. What ends up happening? The team lets one of their prized posessions leave in free agency cause they can’t pay everyone.