This is the first season that members had the opportunity to choose their draft positions in a draft of draft positions, so to speak. While the first few selections did not surprise me, the rest of the process certainly did. To recap:
I had the first selection and chose the 14th pick. My reasoning is that I get to see the trends of the draft as the first round plays out and adjust accordingly with my first two selections. Additionally, I get two of the first 15 selections. With the first pick, I would get the top pick, but only two of the top 28 players overall. Finally, the pressure of who to choose with the number one pick is so great, that I do not value it highly. Because you have to wait 27 picks before you make it to your second selection, you absolutely have to hit a homerun with your first pick. To that end, I am happy that I have the last pick in the first round.
It did not surprise me that Hastings chose the 13th position, although he gave some thought to the first position. His reasons for choosing 13 are much the same as mine. The allure of the number one pick almost swayed him, but two of the top 16 proved to be more valuable to him.
With the third choice, Jessen did what I thought he would when he chose the number one position. The number one position is traditionally highly valued and I'm sure Jessen was thrilled that he was able to land the top spot while only finishing in third place last season. After that, however, things became a little less predictable. Duffy chose the 12th spot in order to capitalize on seeing trends as they unfold rather than choosing the number two position and the value that the second overall pick could net. At number five, Pyle was on the clock and had to choose between 2-11. I was certain that he was going to choose number two before he surprised me with number 7. Pyle is on the record, however, as saying he never again wants the pressure of the number one pick and perhaps number two was too close for comfort. As far as why he chose number seven, I can't be sure of whether or not that would have been his first choice, but I think I can rationalize why he and subsequent members chose the middle of the round over number two.
With the back end of the draft filled up, members had their choice of the front end (minus number one) or the middle of the round. While there is generally more value given to earlier picks, six members chose picks in the middle of the round before someone decided to take the number two pick overall. While the trend was incredibly surprising, there is logic in remaining in the middle, not too far away from each end. Choosing in the number seven spot, Pyle will wait 12 and 14 selections between his picks at the front and back end of the rounds, respectively. With such consistency between picks, he can allow himself to get into a rhythm of sorts regarding his research and choices. He's not too close to the front of the draft, where he is blind to how the rest of the round will play out, potentially killing his initial draft strategy. He's also not too close to the end of the round, where there is less value to begin with. Additionally, although the 1st and 14th positions enjoy back to back selections throughout most of the draft, there are 26 players taken off the board in between each back to back selection by the member sitting on either end of the draft order. Screw up back to back selections and 54 players are off the board (including your own busts) before you gain a player of any value to your fantasy franchise.
Five members after Pyle chose to crowd Pyle in the middle of the rounds, each one seemingly terrified of the pressure of selecting number two and then waiting so long for the opportunity to draft another piece of the puzzle. Finally, with the number 11 choice, Leal jumped on the chance to choose second in the 2011 OiL Draft. The remaining three members filled out the remaining slots and the order was set. I will take the surprise of this year's draft order draft with me the rest of the offseason and into next year's draft, however. It will be interesting to see how the strategy plays out for each member and even more interesting to see if those who chose to hang out in the middle of the rounds will choose to stay there in 2012.
Good luck to everyone. Comment with any ideas or explanations for how the draft played out.