The NFL Draft Is An Episodic Blip, Not A Seismic Moment

The NFL Draft is this week. Yay. Should be fun. You like football. I like football, we all like football! So any chance to TALK about football, or THINK about football, while the only sports food on our plate is definitely NOT football, well that’s a good thing.

The problem with the NFL Draft, is when your team (or GM, or owner) start buying into the hype. When they convince themselves that adding a handful of raw PROSPECTS to a roster of 52+ players is somehow going to change everything, look out. When they think that THIS is going to be the start of a new era of winning, because “we GOT player X” that’s when you should worry.

The NFL Draft is a simple mechanism by which collegiate players are inducted into the professional labor pool. It’s not even necessary. Some have argued that rookies should be brought into the league via pure free agency.

I would be okay with that.

If a team wants to blow its wad of cap space on Myles Garrett, have at it! It would not be that unlike changing your fantasy draft into an auction draft. As it stands, the modern draft of just 7 rounds is shorter than it should be. A good swath of current NFL players on rosters were UFA’s (Undrafted Free Agents).

There’s a reason for this. One is that good football players exist in every nook and cranny of the D1, DII and below universe of teams. It’s impossible to find them all, despite teams’ expensive efforts.

Secondly, teams have proven to be routinely bad judges of talent. They fall prey to the simple media narratives crafted on certain players. Smart football people should have never drafted Johnny Manziel in the first 5 rounds. Just like Russell Wilson should have never fallen to the 3rd round.

But Wilson sank because he was “too short” (a time tested, and overly-simple media-driven football fallacy) and then the media over-corrected by hyping Manziel as the next Wilson at about the same size, only with more “attitude.”

Idiots. I don’t mind if WE do it . But it confounds me when actual NFL teams fall for it too.

Even if you only count QB’s as “direction changing” players in an NFL draft, the overwhelming odds are that a highly drafted QB will definitely NOT help make your team a winner.

This is not my opinion. This is historical fact.

Since 2010 a total of 9 QB’s have been drafted in the Top-3 overall. Only two of them have won a playoff game (Luck and Cam) and only one more even played in a playoff game (RG3, and let’s not revist how THAT one ended!).

Mitch Trubisky and/or Deshaun Watson are not going to move any team’s needle. Sorry.

It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try hard to pick the winners from the rubber chickens if you are an NFL GM. Of course you should. But you should downplay the draft at every moment, reminding fans that winning football games is an organizational effort that requires a whole bunch of people.

About the Author

Steve Czaban is a 25 year sports radio veteran, who hosts an afternoon drive show in Washington D.C. He also appears on “Bob and Brian” in Milwaukee. “Czabe” also writes and edits his own commentaries for www.czabe.com and other on-line and print publications. He can be reached at czabe@yahoo.com.

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2 Comments

  1. If the draft served its intended purpose, the Browns wouldn’t always have 1 of the first 5 picks, and the Patriots would.

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