The NFL Draft is lousy at picking great players. Proof? History.
Written by George Kipling
It’s spring time again, and with that said most NFL fans know what time it is – it’s draft time! The time where pundits, analysts, experts and even fans try to let the masses know who the next great player will – or won’t – be, as if they somehow know.
Well, the truth of the matter is they don’t know for the simple reason that the draft is not an exact science and history has told us that… numerous times. Every football fan knows that Tom Brady was selected in 6th round of the 2000 Draft (199th overall) by the New England Patriots. The Pats brass didn’t have any sort of majestic intelligence as they passed up on him for the first five rounds. Five years later current Green Bay Packer Aaron Rodgers sat in the green room humiliated with cameras in on him as he fell to the 24th spot. Today he’s regarded as the best quarterback in football.
The opposite also holds true. Some player – fill in the blank – is supposed to the “Next Big Thing” and it doesn’t pan out. If we look at the 1989 Draft, 4 of the first 5 selections are enshrined in the Hall of Fame – Troy Aikman (1st), Barry Sanders (3rd), Derrick Thomas (4th) and Deion Sanders (5th). Tony Mandarich who was picked second, did not come close - career wise - to the aforementioned four, but who would’ve thought of that? Everybody now, but none at the time.
While it should be noted that there are circumstances where drafting a certain player is a “no brainer”, “can’t miss” or “consensus choice”, such as drafting John Elway (1983), Aikman (1989) or Peyton Manning (1998) with the 1st overall selection and this year seems to be no different. Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett will likely be selected with the 1st pick in 2017, as well he should be, but many players from first round on down are probably not the guarantee that Garrett will likely be.
Even though former Dallas Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson was able to build a dynasty in the early –mid 1990’s with wise choices in later rounds, the reality is that most pundits, analysts, experts and fans will tell you that really nobody definitively knows a lot of the time, if they’re being honest. But as usual certain NFL teams will look like intellectual Svengalis while others will look like fools, basically due to their inability to predict the future. When the vast majority of the time it’s really just a crap shoot.