When it comes to the NFL Draft, teams are looking for three things: needs, talent, and value. The last one is the trickiest to get. You know your needs. You can spot talent. But figuring out when to take the talented player you need takes skill — and some luck.
When a team lands a player based on needs and talent much later than they expected that player to be around, we call that a "steal."
After looking closely at all 255 picks of the 2020 NFL Draft, I am confident that I have found the five biggest steals of draft weekend.
5 Biggest Steals of the 2020 NFL Draft
Ke'Shawn Vaughn, RB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Bucs went into the draft needing stability at the running back spot. Tom Brady needs a guy in the backfield with him who is both a threat as a runner and a capable receiver in order to keep defenses honest. After some of the more high-profile names came off the board, Tampa Bay was able to grab Vaughn in the third round with the 77th overall pick. In yet another draft dominated by SEC players, it's important to note that Vaughn ran for 2,272 yards and 21 touchdowns over his last two seasons at Vanderbilt.
Troy Pride Jr., CB, Carolina Panthers
In a division with wide receivers Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Chris Godwin, it was important that the Panthers come away with a defensive back with the size and speed to be put on an island and cover those guys if need be. They got that player in Pride, a guy with track speed to run with anyone and the length needed to contend with the bigger receivers in the league. He's a possible Day 1 starter, and Carolina landed him in the fourth round with the 113th overall pick.
Tyler Biadasz, C, Dallas Cowboys
The retirement of Travis Frederick — one of the league's best centers over the last decade — left a huge hole in the middle of what not long ago was considered the best offensive line in football. Dallas has veterans who can step in and adequately fill the role for the time being, but they went into the draft needing a long-term answer at the position. Due to injury concerns, the Cowboys were able to land Biadasz in the fourth round with the 146th pick. The Wisconsin product won the 2019 Rimington Trophy — the award given to the best center in college football.
Bryce Hall, CB, New York Jets
In terms of injuries impacting where a player gets drafted, you'd be hard-pressed to find a player who fell lower than his original projections than Hall. The Virginia corner was unanimously projected as a first-rounder in 2020 over the last two seasons — until he suffered a gruesome leg injury that cut his '19 season short. Hall has elite size and skills when healthy. Even if he only returns to 90 percent of what he was, getting a talent like Hall with the 158th overall pick in the fifth round is a bargain.
Curtis Weaver, Edge, Miami Dolphins
This is textbook "Moneyball." Weaver's appearance and measurables aren't what traditional scouts want out of the position. His productivity on the field of play, however, is undeniable. Weaver is fifth all-time in NCAA history with 34 sacks — and he logged that number in just three seasons. To put it in the simplest terms possible, no player in the draft had more success rushing the passer in college than Weaver. The Dolphins landed him with the 164th overall pick in the fifth round.
— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. His work has appeared on SI.com, FoxSports.com, Yahoo!, SBNation, Bleacher Report and FantasyPros. He is a three-time FWAA award winner. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.