The Great Guessing Game

So here we are, on the precipice the biggest event outside the Super Bowl: the NFL Draft. A time when even the lowliest of franchises (aka: the Browns) can dare to dream of greener pastures.

It is always fun to speculate on which quarterback is going to be the next great leader, or which running back will be the future 1st pick overall of your stupid fantasy football team. And it is always a joy to hear Mel Kiper and Todd McShay go at it with their differences in their mock draft.

But the reality is that no matter how much prep you do, no matter how much film you study, and no matter whatever your ‘gut’ says, picking the next great players is pretty much a guessing game.

Now don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that it is completely random. That is simply not the case. In fact in my draft analysis (which actually is a real thing I have done), my model shows that the higher the pick, the better chance the player will be a success. Sounds sort of like ‘no duh’, but I say ‘yes duh’. I mean if the draft was completely random, you would expect a 7th round pick to be just as good as a 1st rounder, and that is simply not the case. In fact, there is a real nice relationship between actual number of pick and probability of success.

However this is a probability and not a certainty.

This is what is so frustrating about media pundents; they never acknowledge when they were wrong. Sure, higher picks tend to be better future players, but there is still a huge level of uncertainty in this.Take for example the way Jon Gruden and Bill Polian went on and on about how great Johnny Manziel will be for the Browns. Or the way Todd McShay raved about Trent Richardson. Or when Mel Kiper said Glen Robinson is sure fire Pro Bowler at left tackle. Yes, I cherry picked those examples and mostly these guys know stuff, but what is vexing is the way they prognosticate without any hint of humility or lack of confidence. It is like they completely forgot the guarantee they placed on Jake Locker or the can’t miss label hat was bestowed on Matt Leinart.

Anyway, the reality of the draft is that it is a guessing game; an educated guessing game, but a guessing game nonetheless. So when you hear the media crow about the Jets’ pick, the Giants’ pick, or any other East Coast franchise they swoon about, just remember the chances that this is the pick that will chance the fortunes of that team are about………….the same it was last year and the year before that and the year before that.

And how did those draft picks turn out? Or does the media even remember?