The League

Mark Maske
Staff Writer

Mark Maske

Writes the NFL News Feed blog

Draft's a Crap Shoot

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Here's why no NFL team will try to lose games to improve its draft position: More and more, top draft picks aren't even coveted in this league.

What you hear around draft time every year in the NFL nowadays is that this team or that team with a top-five or top-10 choice desperately wants to trade down, but those trades usually don't happen because so few teams want to trade up. Almost no one wants to trade up into the draft's top five any more. The money given to top draft picks has gotten so big that teams don't think the risk is worth it any more, given how often those players turn out to be busts.

Bill Parcells likes to say that player acquisition in the NFL is a 50-50 proposition, whether in free agency or the draft. That applies even to top draft picks, apparently. And when the market rate for a top overall selection in the draft now is a contract containing about $30 million in guaranteed money, few--if any--clubs want to take that risk.

As Charley Casserly rightly points out in his entry today, this isn't the NBA. Very rarely does getting one player with the top pick in the draft turn around a franchise. For every Peyton Manning, there is at least one Alex Smith. A franchise quarterback can turn things around, you say? Well, Matt Ryan certainly is looking like a young franchise quarterback in Atlanta right now, but the Falcons didn't use the top pick in the draft to get him. They took Ryan third overall in April after the Dolphins and Rams passed on him.

Trying to lose games isn't the answer. The answer is to try to win as many games as you can, and then make the most of whatever draft pick you get.

By Mark Maske  |  October 23, 2008; 10:31 AM ET  | Category:  NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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