Draft Thinking Mistakes – Don’t fall for these!


I can’t help it, I read mock drafts. I know better, I’m smarter than that, but I can’t help it.  I read them anyway. I read post draft grades as well.  Thankfully I am old enough not to fall for some draft thinking traps others fall into. Here are three traps that frequently make people look stupid, avoid these.

Trap #1 – We need a Quarterback, draft a Quarterback.  This is a thinking trap I see from the editors of Big Cat Country, among other sites.  When you need a Quarterback, your biggest need is a quarterback. Draft your need. Here is the trap, every quarterback drafted in the first two draft positions doesn’t always work out.  In the last 23 years for draft positions 1 and 2, a quarterback has been selected 18 times. That is about 40% of the 46 selections in those years.  How many make the pro-bowl?  Six of them, with maybe three more having the potential.  At best, it is a 50/50 proposition. Think Geno Smith is in that upper half?  I wouldn’t bet on it.  You don’t draft a position, you draft a person. Drafting a person who plays a position doesn’t make them a star.  If he isn’t a good quarterback, too bad, better luck next year. Pass.

BTW, if you draft defense, the probability goes up to 9 of 14, or 65% of the time you get a pro-bowl player.  While you are drafting a mediocre QB, your NFL neighbor is drafting a guy who is smashing our “need” QB’s brains out every time we play them.   Draft the best football player, our team will get better faster.  Unless there is a really good QB or you need a Left Tackle, you find better players on defense that high in the draft.

Trap #2 – I can’t believe how stupid that choice was! This is the post draft grading process. Within one day of the draft, we will be reading draft grades from people who are not paid to draft players and don’t really have anything to offer but an opinion.  Here is the classic example from the buffoon of all draft graders, Pete Prisco, evaluating the Baltimore Ravens 2008 draft:

Baltimore Ravens (First round grade D)

18. Baltimore Ravens (from Houston) select: Joe Flacco, QB, DelawareGrade
Comment: This is shocking. There were two guys on the board better at quarterback. Brian Brohm will be better. I don’t like this move at all. Isn’t this Kyle Boller all over again?


Questionable Move:  Trading up to get quarterback Joe Flacco. They probably could have stayed at 26 and still landed him. Plus, Brian Brohm and Chad Henne were better options.

Overall grade: C. They reached for Flacco and I didn’t really like the pick of Ray Rice in the second round

So before you read and believe draft grades, or God forbid, provide your own grades, ask yourself, am I really a Pete Prisco wannabe?

Trap #3 – Thinking any player below the third round is going to make a difference.   This is also a discussion people will have to prove how smart they are. Can you believe we got “this guy” in the fifth round? What a steal!  I know you can name players that came from late in the draft that went on to be superstars. I know you can. Odds are it isn’t going to happen and the odds you know who will be successful are even slimmer. The odds of a first round draft selection being decent is 50%. The odds of a second round player being decent is 35%. The odds of a third round guy being decent is 10%.  After that, we are in development player mode, injury recovery mode, major mental disturbances, too small to make it or something else really whacked out.  My point isn’t that football players don’t come from late in the rounds, my point is almost no one can predict who it will be. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking anyone knows enough to evaluate late round talent with enough certainty to tell you about it the day after the draft.

I know you are going to argue this point. I know you will bring up Cecil Shorts and Uchi Nwaneri  and Josh Scobee.  If you predicted their success the week after draft day, please, please write for this site.

Bonus Advice: Enjoy it all!  Since we don’t make the playoffs, the draft is what we look forward to. Predict your guy, engage in the discussions, have a good time. That is what we are supposed to do. Just stay sober while you drive and don’t get too caught up in it all. Laugh and say “you might be right.”

– Terry O’Brien