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From the Press Box: Some More Draft Analysis Caution

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From the Press Box: Some More Draft Analysis Caution

Last year (almost to the day!) I wrote a piece here called 5 Loads of Bull$*#@ Draft Analysts Tell You and Ourselves. As we're back into the beginning of draft season (duck season, FIRE) I thought it fitting we revisit some of the piece.

Much of it still holds up, so definitely hit the link above and read it.

Here are a few things to add to it though.

A Feast for Crows

No, this isn't a section dedicated to the novel by George RR Martin who'd better start churning out more 'Song of Fire and Ice' novels soon or we'll have issues.

This is a section about how draft analysts will now spend the next three months picking apart each others opinions. In fact, some will spend more time doing that then they will actual analysis.

Why do you care? Well, because as a casual draft follower (or even an intense one) you look to analysts for opinions and information. There are tons of these folks—from independent people like myself to mid-level people like Scott Wright at DraftCountdown.com and Eric Galko of OptimumScouting.com to big time folk like Mike Mayock, Todd McShay or Mel Kiper.

You can't follow them all and, in point of fact, some of the smaller and middle-sized guys are great but you won't know about them because they lack the platform the big guys do. So you find out about them by suggestions from people on Twitter or other social media as well as articles like this excellent one by Galko, which I am totally not bitter at for not being on....wait, sorry, got sidetracked.

Anyway, so if you're getting exposed to various analysts in that way, you're likely to dismiss someone who gets trashed on Twitter or anywhere else.

This mostly happens when someone ranks a player or gives analysis about him which flies in the face of the norm.  His (or in rare cases her) analysis isn't even looked at sometimes—the mere fact that they dared to swim against the stream is enough to get hammered.

Now, meaning no disrespect to most of you, dear readers, if it was you trashing, well it wouldn't carry that much weight.

Most of you reading don't have the time or inclination to do all the work to analyze a player. It's why you read people like me. You have better uses of your time. And while your opinion is certainly valid, it carries less weight than if another draft analyst takes issue with someone's work.

And it's one thing to say "I think you're nuts, here's why" or "I don't agree with this, tell me why you did this" but completely another to trash someone's work publicly.

Yes, this is what I increasingly find happening. And it's terribly harmful when it's another analyst and it's hurting you the reader because you may ignore some work that you shouldn't.

Listen, over the course of the next few months, you'll see a lot of people disagree. Tons. All the time and with great ferocity.

You want to know who is worth following? Listen to the disagreement. Listen to how they treat each other and how much time they spend questing for reasons and debating versus tearing things down. And if you really have questions about how someone came to a conclusion, ask them.

Some guys won't take the time to answer, which can be an answer on its own. But sometimes you'll get a clear indication of how much they know and whether they are worth reading.

On the flip side, if someone spends a ton of time trashing somebody's work, well, consider whether it's worth following them as well.

This is especially true for guys who roll out other people's misses and pick them apart like crows on a corpse because....

 

Everyone is Wrong

Another thing which occurred to me while I was thinking about the above section was, as Mike Schottey says in the tweet above, how inexact a science the draft is.

The transition from college to pro is tough and even guys we are completely sure will be studs bust and bust hard.

Or sometimes, just flat out don't live up to expectations. Trent Richardson, Jonathan Martin and Da'Quan Bowers are some of my bigger misses. Though, and this is critical, it takes three or more years to really grade a draft class so maybe Bowers or Richardson will still make me look like a genius.

But you could argue Sam Bradford, Matt Stafford and Andy Dalton have missed on their expectations as well.

You only need to look at last year's draft class to know sometimes none of us know anything for sure.

My top five quarterbacks for 2013?

Geno Smith, Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson and Mike Glennon.

EJ Manuel was my sixth quarterback and I still don't love him or Glennon. I also still say Barkley and Nassib can develop into starters in the NFL.

Now, let me be clear—none of the quarterbacks made me excited when I watched them. Not like Andrew Luck or Cam Newton or Robert Griffin III. It wouldn't shock me if none of them made it as starters.

The truth is that any of those quarterbacks probably could have been somebody's No. 1 because none of them were really any more special than the others.

But any one of them has as much chance to succeed or fail as much as guys like Luck, or Stafford have.

What happens after the draft—where they land, who their coaches are and so on—has as much impact as a player's actual talent.

So whether the decisions seems clear-cut or foggy, the reality is that once you get a player in the NFL, all bets are off.

Analysts miss. It happens because we're all human, we all make mistakes and sometimes players just implode.

So when I see people say things like "saying "everyone gets stuff wrong all the time" invalidates the entire profession" it drives me nuts.

So do me a favor and keep that in mind when you want to point out where someone missed before—or where you see someone else quick to point out another analysts' alleged misses.

Or as Mr. Schottey says:

 

So those are this year's two additions. I may add more down the road, but next week I will give you some insight into how I do my analysis and will have some early rankings as well since I'm getting close to being done with a few positions.

 

Comments (4)

RC Packer Fan's picture

I hope you have Tajh Boyd as undraftable. Since that's what was said after the first day of practice at the Senior Bowl. :)

I'm a draft nut. I would love to hear how you go about ranking prospects and how you go about it as a business...

Bearmeat's picture

Well said Andrew. Thanks. A little respect goes a long ways.

Phatgzus's picture

For the sake of picking nits, it's "...Ice and Fire", good sir (pretty sure the ghost of Robert Frost would rise from his grave and wreck Martin's $#¡7 if it were the other way around), and they're coming, just like the dragons.

Phatgzus's picture

As for the crux of your article, absolutely agreed-in fact I put little faith in anyone who deals in absolutes and only absolutes, and not just with respect to the draft, all matters of existence (and non-). This universe (though maybe others are) isn't comprised of just 2 extremes of a spectrum, but the entirety of it. There are no absolutes (except for that, so I guess there's one)

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