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Armando: Dolphins' 'horizontal approach' should fill needs through draft

The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero yesterday published an article explaining Jeff Ireland's "horizontal" draft strategy, and how it might actually be a good thing for the Dolphins this spring.


Apparently the passing game isn't the only horizontal-based strategy employed by the Miami Dolphins.

Miami Herald writer Armando Salguero yesterday published an article explaining general manager Jeff Ireland's "horizontal" approach to the NFL draft--a strategy that is stupid-simple and efficient.

According to Salguero, a horizontal approach, in simple terms, factors in team need as well as a prospect's overall value. As a result, horizontal-based drafting is considered a sort of alternative to pure BPA (best player available) strategy.

"Teams using (the horizontal) approach stretch every position group horizontally across a board--left ends, nose tackles, right ends, weak linebackers, strong linebackers, inside linebackers, wide receivers, quarterbacks and so on (teams with 4-3 defenses use different position groups than teams running 3-4 looks)," Salguero wrote. "The Dolphins would then take a small number of players--between 120 and 180, depending on the year--and plug them into their board according to their position."

According to Salguero, the club places the name of players that have a first-round grade along the first line under every position. Thus, first-round cornerbacks are placed on the same horizontal line as first-round talents at other positions. The process continues on the second horizontal line, where second-round-graded talents are placed.

The result? On draft day, Jeffy can check the first-round line and see the players whose grades agree with the pick.

"It shouldn't surprise that the player selected often plays a position of need, because logic and human nature will dictate that picking a quarterback ahead of a cornerback won't help the team as much in 2012, even if the quarterback is rated higher," Salguero wrote. "That's how drafting horizontally makes greater concessions to picking need positions."

Armando notes in the article that the horizontal draft approach was used by former Green Bay general manager Ron Wolf to construct the mid-'90s Packers roster that won Super Bowl XXXI and competed in Super Bowl XXXII.

"All this suggests the Dolphins will definitely fill needs this month," Salguero wrote of the horizontal approach. "And as the player at a need position will be on the same horizontal line as perhaps a higher-graded player who doesn't fill a need, the Dolphins can hypothetically and honestly contend they didn't reach for anyone.

"Even if they did--hypothetically. "

The full version of Armando's article can be viewed here.


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