Draft to find potential or avoid busts?

We have all heard much about each of the players floating around the 1st round selection area (especially the top 15). You here "this guy has much upside" or "this guy is a can't miss". After all the discussion, I took the liberty of thinking like a GM when it comes to drafting. So which is better, avoiding potential busts or aiming for the highest upside?

It is hard to label a guy who has never played a down in the NFL as having either a high floor or high ceiling; however, I have done my research and tried to label a couple former first round draft picks as one or the other (at least at the time they were drafted). I avoided guys who go top 5 or so who really had both high floors and high ceilings (AJ Green, Revis etc.)

High Floor:

Eugene Monroe

Knowshon Moreno

Percy Harvin

Brian Cushing

Glenn Dorsey

High Ceiling:

Josh Freeman


Michael Crabtree

Chris Johnson

CJ Spiller

Obviously, each group has mixed players. The worst players included are on the high ceiling list, but that list also has some great players. So, after looking at some of those first rounders what can we determine? Well, not much. Each list has stars, while each has some average-at-best players.

Obviously, past round 2 or 3 teams draft for upside, as many of those players don't have a measurable "floor" at the next level. In the past, players going in the first round usually have a higher floor than ceiling (relatively speaking). While I am all about players who can provide a solid impact, not many championship teams breeze by without the hit-or-miss stars that they have acquired through the draft. This approach is very, very risky obviously. With the recent changes in the rookie wage scale, however, are they really as risky as they used to be?

Previously, you were forced to pay a player drafted in the top ten over double what they are to earn now. That can quickly kill your cap (jags still regret the cap that Derrick Harvey ate up). Nowadays though, you can pay a top ten selection less than what some situational players are making. Therefore, if I were GM, why not go for the player who can push your team over the top?

Lets relate this to this years draft.

High Floor:

Riley Reiff

Justin Blackmon

Dont'a Hightower

David DeCastro

Fletcher Cox

High Ceiling:

Michael Flloyd

Morris Claiborne

Stephen Gilmore

Melvin Ingram

Courtney Upshaw

So, which players would you rather have? Certainly debatable, and we won't know who is better for years to come. However, if I were GM, I'd take the latter.

FanPosts do not necessarily reflect the views of the authors of Big Cat Country or SB Nation.

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