This year, I have been trying not to become involved with the NFL Draft. There are a couple of reasons why I have been trying to do this.
For one, I have been trying to disassociate myself from football in all forms because of its extreme violence. The rampant concussions, retiree suicides, hip replacements, and other maladies directly related to former players’ careers are enough to turn me off to football. I have not always been successful, and in all probability I will watch this year’s Super Bowl, but it has been a nice deterrent to wasting my Sundays. Of course, I never really did that in the first place….
The other, bigger reason that I am trying to not become involved is the unpredictability of each individual selection. Whenever draft gurus like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay talk about prospects, they mention watching the guy’s game tape, or how good a quarterback’s arm is, how good at a wide receiver is at route running, or his Combine performance. Honestly, they sound like the old baseball men in Moneyball! Remember “The Good Face”? Although it’s not quite that ridiculous, it seems pretty close if you step away and try to look from an unbiased point of view. Believe me, it’s hard; I’ve gotten suckered in myself a couple of times! No hint of quantitative statistical analysis is to be find in their discussions.
Besides, it doesn’t even work! In 2001, seventeen future Pro Bowlers were drafted in the first round, including Michael Vick and LaDanian Tomlinson. After that, twenty Pro Bowlers remained on the board, including three undrafted rookies (Rob Bironas, Antonio Pierce, and Shayne Graham)! Mind you, two of the undrafteds were kickers, but Drew Brees, Kris Jenkins, Matt Light, Steve Smith, and T.J. Housmanzadeh were still there too. In 2006, twenty-one of thirty-six future Pro Bowlers were not first-rounders. Five of them went undrafted, including the one and only Miles Austin from Monmouth. Meanwhile, Matt Leinart and John McCargo were first-rounders! See what I mean when I say that NFL draft scouting has unpredictable results?
That’s why I am trying to disenfranchise myself from the NFL Draft. The emphasis should be placed on “try” though; as we speak, I have the latest issue of Sports Illustrated opened to Peter King’s mock draft. However, I invite you all to join me in not watching this spectacle Thursday through Saturday. It may not be a waste of time for the NFL and ESPN, but I’m sure the Radio City Music Hall could have found a nice Broadway show to present on a Thursday night instead of the first round.