After covering the NFL on a daily basis for the last 13-plus years, I’ve noticed a few trends.
When it comes to the draft, the biggest trend is that, no matter how much teams analyze it and how much the media tries to crack the code (or to create the perception there’s a code to even crack), it’s a complete and total crapshoot.
And so, like any other exercise that is a crapshoot, the goal should be to have as many chances to shoot crap. Which means teams should trade up only sparingly — and only if the team is convinced that the player acquired will be a truly great.
It’s a theme I’ve been hitting hard for the last day or so, and it’s coincidentally the topic of a recent study that demonstrates via tangible evidence that it makes little sense to trade up.
More picks equal more tickets to the lottery. Despite everything teams know (or think they know) about a player, no one knows how he’ll perform at the NFL level until he gets there.
That said, some teams have recently had great experiences with low-round picks (e.g., the Seahawks), which sets up a chicken/egg question regarding whether some teams have figured out how to find great players late or how to make late-round picks into great players.
Regardless, no one knew Tom Brady would be Tom Brady until he became Tom Brady. (My nose is bleeding again.) Plenty of other Tom Bradys (and Slim Shadys) are lurking on the board. As a result, it makes so much more sense to have as many swings at the plate as possible than to sacrifice chances to find Pro Bowl or Hall of Fame talent in order to secure a guy within whom someone in the building has fallen in love.