Stop The Madness!

The NFL Draft is tomorrow night and we have been inundated over the past weeks with so called “experts” yakking about what this team needs or which player is going to be the best fit for a team. Allow me to point out a few flaws in the thinking behind these predictions.

1- Drafting isn’t easy. You know why NFL GM’s get fired so often? It’s not because they are dumb. Rather, trying to figure out what a player will do in the NFL is hard enough. Throw in the fact that Player A may be perfect for System A, but a failure in System B and you start to get the idea. In baseball a shortstop for one team can be a shortstop for almost any team. In football, the free safety of the UCLA Bruins may play a certain system and he would be lost if he became the free safety of the Chicago Bears. And don’t forget, with all of the coaching turnover systems change- a lot.

2- Grades are total BS. You know what should catch your eye about draft grades? There are way too many good ones. What is the point of a draft grade? Well it should be to differentiate one team’s draft from another. If you accept that there is a finite amount of talent in college football, then you should accept that every team in the NFL cannot have a great draft. Furthermore, with 32 teams, draft grades should be distributed fairly normally around a mean grade of C. So, there should be about as many A’s and B’s as there are D’s and F’s. Yet, I guarantee you that the grades you see in the next few days will be mostly C’s and above.

3- Even if you cleaned up the grades and forced the experts to distribute them correctly, you would still have the problem that the experts aren’t very good at evaluating drafts. Here’s a very honest self-assessment from one of the NFL experts. Give it a look.

4- Finally the NFL is an inherently risky occupation. Players get hurt all the time. This can affect the value of players in two ways. First, and obviously, the player never develops into what everyone thought he would be. Second, the player who got hurt  damages the value of another player. For example, think of the star rookie QB who comes into a team and then loses a key blocker before the season begins. He spends the next 16 weeks running for his life, throwing into coverages and learning bad habits. He never develops into a star because of it. (Look at some of the QB’s the Browns have used over the past few years for examples).

So this weekend, enjoy the Draft. Just don’t get hung up on how your team did. We won’t know until 2018 or so.

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