With the NFL Draft around the corner, its time to jump in and analyze the analysis with the most analyzed position in sports.
Spring is here. The birds are singing, the flowers are blooming, you're breaking out the tank tops and shorts and enjoying having your sinuses be absolutely obliterated by pollen. Also, more importantly, you're having your ear drums ravaged by NFL draft analysis over, and over, and over again.
If I had a dollar for every I had to (voluntarily) be subject to Zach Wilson hype or suspicious Justin Fields skepticism, I'd never have to work. Why do I keep coming back to draft analysis? What is it about this event that drags me like a mouth to the proverbial flame? This happens every single year. How does it rope me in like this?
Maybe its the gambler in me. Out of all QB's drafted in the first round, around half get signed to a second contract with the team that drafted them. NFL quarterback drafting, which you could probably equate to the most important valuation in a multi-billion-dollar company, is essentially a roulette game and you're picking a color. Why is it so hard?
For every transcendent talent, there is a colossal failure. Even with short memories from their newfound success, ask a Browns fan about a certain past number one pick that is currently using his talents in fan-controlled football. A pick like this can set your organization back years. Yet every year you can count on at least 2 teams to use their capital to select a quarterback who won't contribute at all to the organization.
Alternatively, while one might not be a bust, is it worse to end up in quarterback purgatory with a Mitch Trubisky? The Bears have coasted for years with someone who clearly can't lead them to meaningful wins, all the while giving in to sunk-cost fallacy and refusing to admit a mistake and continue to waste good years from their defense. They legitimately traded up to draft Mitch, while passing on Watson (nice call?) and Mahomes. Is this more inexcusable and damaging than an outright bust and drop?
At this point and in this era, all of these guys have been bona fide studs on social media and on the national stage for years. The days of a JaMarcus Russell type are gone. A codeine addiction won't go unnoticed It's clear they can say the right things and present themselves the right way. How much stock should be put into the personality and intelligence tests? Keep in mind that Joe Montana was pick number 82 partly because he scored low on the pre-draft tests. But Bill Walsh was keen evaluator of talent and saw something in him that clearly panned out into a hall of fame career. How far does splitting these hairs to an atom get you?
All this is to reinforce that this is a crapshoot, and that's probably why this is so fun. We will be able to look back in a year or two and laugh about who was what pick and where. And, all at the same time, not remember what any of the hot take artists said as they have already developed the takes for next year's class. Perhaps its also a fun exercise to witness the chess game and who can screw who and trade up or down from wherever. And then we can laugh at the draft grades the next day.
To help NFL teams I've developed my own, scientifically backed, NFL QB Grading metrics.
Must be photogenic and wide. Alpha hands
6 digits on one hand is a red flag
Must sleep at facility
2 or more football tattoos
Gas mask marijuana intake
Doesn't hold grip under table to cheat in arm wrestling
Can throw a football over those mountains there
Would have won state if he played
Must be able to outrun back up QB in case of bear attack
Must respect my performance in the 2013 stage 4x800 race. No dismissing
If authority is questioned, must entertain ritual combat. No questions
Also, for some housekeeping. There will be a mailbag on Wednesday. In the meantime, please send me any questions, deep dives to analyze, feedback to post, or hate mail.
Jake Smith is an engineer, son, athlete, scholar, corn chip connoisseur, lover, and "a stand up cat". You can reach him firstname.lastname@example.org