(Hopefully) good sports essays and observations for good sports by a guy who tries (and can sometimes fail) to be a good sport.


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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Better to Get Drafted in a Late Round or Not to Get Drafted at All?

Read this article and then see what you think.

My guess is that it's better to not get drafted in the seventh round if

a) the team that was going to draft you has too many players at your position already and
b) if there's a flurry of interest for you as an undrafted free agent, so much so that your signing bonus might equal if not slightly exceed the (low) bonus you would get as a seventh-rounder.

It's probably better to get drafted in the seventh round if

a) you're drafted by a team that's particularly vain about metrics as to how it did drafting in prior years and is more compelled than the average team to have its draft picks (no matter how low) make the team;

b) you're building your resume, so that it might be chic on Wall Street or in a sales position for a brokerage house or insurance company to say that you were drafted by an NFL team; and

c) you punt or kick for a living, because very few of you get drafted in any round. (Okay, Ray Guy, Russell Erxleben, Steve Little and Sebastian Janikowski are among the very few first-round exceptions).

What's scarier, do you think, getting drafted in the seventh round when you know you haven't peaked yet, you just finished growing or that you've finally overcome injuries and can really show what you can do?

Or. . .

Getting drafted in the first round, when you know that each year many first-round picks don't pan out and are labeled as busts.

Where is the pressure greater? Probably with the guy drafted in the first round, because he chances to excel (and fail, for a reason I'll explain in the next sentence) are much greater. The chances to fail and become a bust are greater because that first-round pick most certainly will get a chance to show that he cannot get the job done. In contrast, the seventh-round pick or unsigned free agent might never get the chance to get the job done, except cleaning up late in one of many seemingly endless pre-season games.

And remember this: the better you do at anything you choose in life, the more chances you'll have. Translated, that means that those drafted in the highest rounds have excelled to some degree, and success at one level should, to a certain extent, beget success at the next level. That said, those who have excelled at their level but who, for some reason, don't get drafted higher because of size or competition issues still have a chance to excel.

That's what makes the NFL and its player personnel decisions such compelling theater.


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