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Mailbag: Idea For 17th Game? Drafting For Need?

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Is it possible the NFL takes a page from MLB and uses the Pro Bowl to determine the home team in the additional 17th game each year? Would at least give that game some meaning. – DARRYL CROSS / LARGO, FL

David: I love any idea that attempts to make the Pro Bowl watchable, because it is not. But I don't think that's realistic. Home games generate lots and lots of revenue for these teams, and home field advantage is a big part of football. It'd be unfair to swing the competitive balance and the revenue streams of the league based on the outcome of an all-star game. Imagine if the Cowboys went a decade without playing a ninth home game, all because the NFC couldn't manage to win the Pro Bowl.

Rob: That's an interesting idea. Personally, I could never fathom why the MLB All-Star Game actually decided home-field advantage in the World Series. We're not talking about the Pro Bowl deciding playoff home-field advantage, so I think it's a cool proposition. But the Pro Bowl has never been a super-competitive event because guys are trying to avoid injuries (which I completely understand). That's one reason why I don't really see it happening.

I know that the recent draft talk would be for Dallas to grab Kyle Pitts or Rashawn Slater if they are there at 10 because they would be the "Best Player Available," while Patrick Surtain and Jaycee Horn would be available for need but solid players. Do you honestly feel teams really use that approach and take the best possible player, or do they reach for needs more than they should? – TONY SMALLS / GLENDALE, AZ

David: It's a fun, annual debate and I don't think there's a 100% correct answer. There are a million variables that ultimately affect those decisions. But what I always say is that NFL teams almost always seem to go after the best available player -- where they have a need. That's what makes Pitts so fascinating. Tight end is not a big need for this team – but can you pass up that kind of talent? It's all part of what makes the draft so fun.

Rob: Teams obviously try not to reach for need, but "best available player" in its purest sense is sort of a myth. The later rounds? Sure, teams can probably go more "BPA" depending on the state of their roster. But in those early rounds, you're trying to find great players who also project to help your team right away. It's a delicate balance. You have to be true to your board, but I also don't think you can continuously use high picks on prospects at positions where you're set.

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