A Pseudo-Philosophical Look at the NFL Draft

April 23, 2010 at 11:58 am | Posted in NFL, Ramblings | Leave a comment
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Hello my little bloggonians.

I just wanna say something quickly about a weekend that many NFL fans love. Yes, I’m one of those guys who enjoys having beer and pizza with friends during the NFL Draft; it’s one of the only prototypical guy things I do (other than awkwardly buying drinks for girls at seedy bars). Last night, I chilled with an old buddy of mine and played Madden before and after the draft. It was a privates-scratching good time (which, for those of you not in the know, is a good thing).

I just finished reading Peter King’s well-expected article on SI.com on the draft and it made me think. I don’t much care for King, not because he’s bad at his job (quite the opposite), but I can’t stand a guy who absolutely has to throw in his unrelated personal and political opinions into articles that have absolutely nothing to do with them. I don’t care that you like the new health care bill, or that your parents would be proud that America elected Barack Obama. Just stick with what you’re paid to do, would you please? Anyways, other than that, he’s not terrible.

I bring this up because the Jacksonville Jaguars, at pick #10, selected a guy named Tyson Alualu, a defensive tackle, who was not projected to go until the late 1st/early 2nd round. Peter King, and a lot of other people, excoriated the Jaguars for the pick. Sure, they could have traded down and still maybe picked Alualu, no one really knows. But the GM, Gene Smith, defended himself and said “this is not a popularity contest.”

It made me think that these kids are slotted based on the projections and prognostications of folks like Mel Kiper and Todd McShay and Mike Mayock and the like. They’re all well respected and for good reason, but they’re measuring only as well as they can, and they are oftentimes wrong. Think Joe Montana; think Terrell Davis; think Deacon Jones; think Roger Staubach; think Tom Brady. These are guys the scouts said “eh…” to, who went on to have majestic, Hall-of-Fame worthy careers. That having been said, they sang the praises of John Elway, Jim Brown, Lawrence Taylor, Terry Bradshaw, Peyton Manning before the draft, and look how that turned out.

I think it comes down to being a good judge of physical tools as well as character. You don’t know how someone will react to being given millions upon millions of dollars to do something they had done for fun most of their lives. Ryan Leaf is the perfect example of this. That being the case, the pre-draft rankings are a crap-shoot. It’s a subjective system that requires the various NFL teams to buy into it. Teams are considered reckless and foolish if they do not draft in accord with the analysis of the so-called ‘experts’.

Teams must pick based on the guys they think will contribute both now and in the future; or guys that have the tools to be developed from good to great players. It almost makes me like the philosophy of Al Davis and the Raiders, if it weren’t for the fact they buck it just to buck it, not to actually prove them wrong with great players. There’s nothing crooked or disingenuous about the rankings, just that they require participation in order for their ‘wisdom’ to work.

Having said all that, the Jaguars will not be around in Jacksonville much longer. Even if they had selected Tim Tebow, who will, in my opinion, have a great career, I don’t think would have been enough to keep them away from Los Angeles. I wonder if they’ll keep the name Jaguars in LA? They could change it to something more LA. Maybe the LA Lattes. Or the LA Pilates Instructors. Oh, I’m the height of just-too-muchery.

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