Stat Geek Says Every Draft Pick Is a Lottery Pick

Published on 25-Sep-2013 by J Square Humboldt

Football - NFL    NFL Daily Update

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Stat Geek Says Every Draft Pick Is a Lottery Pick

Here's more evidence that the NFL over-analyzes everything.

As if we needed it.

The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania is as prestigous as those things get. So when one of their stat geeks emerges from an ivory tower and makes a proclamation, it's worth considering.

Professor of the Practice Cade Massey was retained by an NFL team to review and quantify how to be more effective in making its annual draft selections. He crunched his numbers and gave them his conclusion:

You can't.

Stat geeks are surely a sub-set of the Borg. Resistance to their data is futile.

Of course, you don't need a doctorate to see he's got a point. And it's not just the NFL. Consider:

  • If the Patriots are so crafty, why did it take them -- or anyone else -- six rounds to draft Tom Brady?
  • Albert Pujols was a 13th-round draft pick by the St Louis Cardinals, the 402nd player selected.
  • Martin St Louis may have been quick, gritty, and a sniper in junior hockey, but he still went undrafted.
  • Was it Linsanity that no team in the NBA would select a Harvard grad who had a bit of game?

Professor Massey's been at this for a while, so he wasn't out to make headlines. He collaborated with Richard Thayer to pen a research paper entitled The Loser's Curse: Decision-Making & Market Efficiency in the National Football League Draft, a tome that concluded "top draft picks are overvalued in a manner that is inconsistent with rational expectations and efficient markets and consistent with psychological research."

In other words, pro scouts often suffer from the same big-brand delusions that voters in the college football polls do.

And yet, poster boy Brady quarterbacked at poster program Michigan and it still took six rounds for a team to select him.

The good professor claims the real point of his treatise is what existentialists knew all along. Life is uncertain. Roll with it. The more chances you get, the better your odds of success.

These words should serve as inspiration to us all.

That would include first-rounder Ryan Leaf, who is now well-positioned to re-write the rec league record books in the Montana prison system.