Despite all of the measuring and studying and interviewing and researching and testing and everything else that gets reviewed and dissected and examined and considered and reconsidered in advance of the process of drafting players, the process largely remains a crapshoot.
Nothing illustrates that point better than recent comments from Seahawks G.M. John Schneider about a draft from 13 years ago.
In explaining the team’s effort to scout the incoming class of quarterbacks despite the presence on the roster of one of the best quarterbacks in football, Schneider pointed out his experience with the Packers prior to the 2005 draft.
“Aaron Rodgers was supposed to be the first pick in the draft, and we weren’t necessarily as prepared as we should have been for him to fall,” Schneider said. “So be prepared. And so, quite frankly, when we acquired Aaron that day we had to make some more calls during [the] draft, which you never really want to do, right? ‘OK, why is he falling?’”
Fall he did, past the 49ers at No. 1, the Dolphins at No. 2 (they took Ronnie Brown), the Browns at No. 3 (Braylon Edwards), the Bears at No. 4 (Cedric Benson), the Bucs at No. 5 (Cadillac Williams), the Titans at No. 6 (Pacman Jones), the Vikings at No. 7 (Troy Williamson), the Cardinals at No. 8 (Antrel Rolle), Washington at No. 9 (Carlos Rogers), the Lions at No. 10 (Mike Williams), the Cowboys at No. 11 (DeMarcus Ware), the Chargers at No. 12 (Shawne Merriman), the Saints at No. 13 (Jammal Brown), the Panthers at No. 14 (Thomas Davis), the Chiefs at No. 15 (Derrick Johnson), the Texans at No. 16 (Travis Johnson), the Bengals at No. 17 (David Pollack), the Vikings at No. 18 (Erasmus James), the Rams at No. 19 (Alex Barron), the Cowboys at No. 20 (Marcus Spears), the Jaguars at No. 21 (Matt Jones), the Ravens at No. 22 (Mark Clayton), and the Raiders at No. 23 (Fabian Washington).
Look at all the busts. Rodgers was better than all of them (even the non-busts), and he’s still going strong and performing at a high level, all because the Packers were able to slap together a seat-of-the-pants evaluation.
But for the fact that Brett Favre was a few years into his annual retirement musings, maybe the Packers wouldn’t have taken Rodgers at all. Regardless, they rolled the dice. And it paid off.
The message is this: The draft really is a crapshoot. And to get a player who will truly transform the franchise, it needs to be a franchise quarterback. And if a team wants to transform the franchise, a team needs to be willing to roll the dice.