If you listen to sports radio talk shows in April, you hear pundits pontificating on which players should be drafted first in the NFL. Naturally, my agent I.M. Slick has some opinions on the topic as well, and he’s not the least bit bashful about sharing them.
Slick: I want you to ditch your underpaid sports writing gig and become an NFL scout.
Joe: Well, that’s an interesting idea. But what makes you think I’m qualified to be an NFL scout?
Slick: What makes you think you’re qualified to be a sports columnist?
Joe: Now wait just a minute.
Slick: It doesn’t matter if you’re qualified to be a scout. Have you paid any attention to the annual NFL meat market, er draft?”
Joe: A little. It’s always interesting to see who gets drafted and by which team.
Slick: Let me put it this way. In baseball, if you bat more than .300 you’re considered an all-star. As an NFL scout, I’m not sure your average needs to be that high when it comes to picking successful prospects.
Slick: Sure. Just how brilliant are some of these general managers and draft guessers anyway? Consider that New England quarterback Tom Brady was the 199th pick, a sixth-round draft pick in 2000. Do you mean to tell me there were 198 better players drafted ahead of Mr. Brady? Ha! Brady is not only the top pick of the last 13 years, he’s arguably the best draft choice in the history of any sport.
Joe: In other words, it’s not an exact science, is it?
Slick: Are you kidding me? Here’s the list of quarterbacks selected ahead of Brady in that 2000 draft: Chad Pennington, Giovanni Carmazzi, Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Marc Bulger and Spergon Wynn.
Joe: I’ve never heard of some of those guys.
Slick: Exactly. It’s as if some of these so-called draft experts threw darts at a board blindfolded. Don’t you see? It takes great talent and years of hard work to become an engineer, or a certified public accountant or a medical professional, but anyone can run an NFL draft!
Joe: But what if I my draft pick flops?
Slick: That merely puts you in the same boat with everybody else. How many people thought JaMarcus Russell was a can’t-miss prospect? Everyone, from supposedly the smartest NFL minds to those with only a passing interest in football thought Russell would be a star in the NFL. But they were all wrong!
Bad draft picks happen all the time. Here are some first-round draft picks you’ve probably never heard of—Troy Williamson in 2005, Vernon Gholston in 2008 and Reggie Williams in 2004.
Joe: In other words, it doesn’t take an expert to do that job?
Slick: No. I’m saying if experts so frequently make bad decisions, why can’t you make them as well? After all, you’re already a basketball official, right? Making bad calls have never stopped you from working more games.
Joe: Now that’s a cheap shot.
Slick: Sorry. Well, not really. But my point is, just as making bad calls haven’t kept you from officiating basketball games, neither has making bad draft picks kept the so-called experts from another year of draft futility.
Joe: I’m not sure I appreciate your reasoning.
Slick: You don’t have to appreciate it. You just have to try it.
Joe: I’ll admit, it does sound intriguing. Do you think you can land me that gig? And do you think I have what it takes to do it?
Slick: Well, let me put it this way, you need the same thing the Indianapolis Colts got in making the first pick in the draft this year—a lot of Luck.