Logical Fallacy and the NFL Draft

The NFL Draft is gaining popularity it seems every year, reaching a seemingly unattainable height of self-importance this year. Although it may seem overblown, in truth the pomp and spectacle is deserved; as the fortunes of multi-billion dollar franchises rest upon the shoulders of "un-paid" kids from the NCAA factory.

As there are Pro Bowlers, and possibly Hall of Famers in every NFL Draft, it would seem that a teams ability to pick the right players would determine success. Pick right and you get Revis at 14; wrong and you get Mark Sanchez as your QB. However, this theory in itself could be considered a logical fallacy.... don't you want to pick the players that best fit your system? What is determining of the word "best" - don't you need what is best for the team?

While not on the scale of Fantasy Football in gained popularity over the past five years, the NFL Draft is just as full of incomplete or unjust observations of a player's individual talent and skill level based on metrics and performance numbers. As any nose tackles numbers tell you, importance to the game and numbers are not always the same - however we live in the age of the ranking 1-whatever. People really want to know that number one, and why this guy is better than that guy. Most of which, you guessed it, is a logical fallacy.

As all people answer to a boss, Jerry Jones answers to the fans. Jerry loses money and fan support, he gets a GM, period. He might pay to get Vince Lombardi DNA implanted if he was losing money and still not winning. He is not winning now so..... Jerry and Jason now also answer by the draft to the fans who might say - why did you take this guy ranked above this guy, etc. It was not so in the Jimmy Johnson days, when we took "speedy linebackers" in the second round.

As a fan, that was all we knew then. A blurb in the scouting magazine we bought at Skaggs Alpha Beta. It was a 4-3, you needed linebackers with speed, not a dissection of a kid's home-life, an analysis of every play he made, and how he, of course - can't shed blockers (you will notice most scouting reports are very similar). This was information that only Jimmy Johnson needed, or got. The fact that fans think they have the right to know now, is in some ways an indictment of the internet generation; but that is too grandiose, it is really just another.... logical fallacy.

I will give some known and specific examples, after the which we will refer to logical fallacy as"LF"

Perhaps it was a miner in 1840's California who once said, "There's Gold in them there Hills!"....

It seems a simple observation to note, and true. However, the saying came to represent manifest destiny and American opportunity in a time of exploration and uncertainty. It represented the American ideal that freedom meant you could go out and make your own livelihood with hard work. America represents opportunity

So does the NFL Draft, therefore in some way it has a special meaning beyond the hope that our beloved team will get a nasty defensive lineman or a towering wide receiver. Otherwise, no one would cry, they cry not because they are rich but because it is a dream and they can help their family. This is America, we pay people what they earn. Is there anything more American than this?

A Draft is one of the ultimate examples freedom in Sports, it is the purest game theory. The worst team picks first by round. These kids, some of which have very challenged upbringings in many ways, go from different small towns and cities from all over this country to work hard and get paid well to represent a large American city on and off the field. Despite what people think about these athletes, they almost all to a man want to do well and represent their City with honor. Maybe not Haynesworth, but most of them. Trying and not knowing how is not the same as not trying.

Every draft pick is asked to do exactly only that, try.... and then know, how to play football.

We all know that Jason Garrett is looking for RKG. What is the cut-off? Locker room cancers? The first guy they drafted is not a great sideline guy, but I'm not in the locker room. Is it a LF to draft this way, or is it a LF that they say but don't practice it? Let's be more honest, they needed a receiver and one fell.

It was a LF to give Sam Bradford or Jake Long 50 million guaranteed. No drafted player should come into a team as the highest paid - thus new CBA.

The "hot" prospect label within itself is a LF - how can a person be 50 spots better at something by running around cones. How can a prospect rise so much after all the cone running is over? Maybe, like this year, teams realize they can cover tight ends.

If I'm getting a quarterback or a left tackle I care about wonderlic, or even a RKG, much more than a man-to-man cover corner or a rush-only outside linebacker. Obviously, the wonderlic itself is a LF as it relates to football in many ways.

Hard Work = Success is a LF.... However, Success without Hard Work is an impossibility.

Many draft "busts" were guys who got injured and were not the same players. However the term "bust" is applied to give the automatic impression that they did not try hard, this is a LF. Charles Rogers is a drug addict now, but once he was a great receiver who was drafted in the top ten, he just got hurt badly two or three years in a row and was done.

Saying you want a pure draft is a LF. Teams are not built on taking the best player available. Do we take Matt Kalil if he is there? No, we trade. You draft to build a team. Look at Bellicheck and J. Johnson in the old days. They have the stars in place (QB) and then take guys based on value who fit their system. Bellicheck always takes versatile defenders, Johnson perfected the point system. Look at their drafts and trades and listen to their comments. To not do so, and think you know about the NFL Draft is a LF.

To want a prospect because another, better team wants him is a LF. This only would not apply if that other team was trying to trade over you to get that prospect. Now if you are willing to concede that say, the Patriots, had a better team (and thus scouting dept.) than your team... than you might want to take Mark Barron at #10 if you are the Bills not because they want him, but for all the reasons they want him that you have not noticed. It is a logical fallacy because that prospect is not always the best fit for your system or team, or even the best player there.

Teams put out smokescreens because they work, and they play on the most basic human emotions. Most of the time they turn into a LF however, as the reports themselves turn out to be inaccurate, oftentimes purposefully so.

The team's future vision of the pre-planned defense with Barron crashing the box or Poe stuffing the middle now turns into exciting prospects of Peter Konz.......uh, snapping the ball to Tony Romo.

Therefore teams use these reports to their advantage on draft day, like being "in love" with... Dontari Poe (gross). As the Jags GM stated - The Dolphins are sure to take Tannehill at #8. Wait, this is the Jags GM.....not the Dolphins, to not remember that on Draft day is a LF.

Most Obvious and over-discussed LF - combine performance. As a team, I would not mind Poe and then Josh Robinson with my first two picks. However, LF dictates there is almost no mathematical chance of those two being my picks, and both being considered the best players available (after ten years of NFL play). The combine is not a LF but most people's analysis of the data is, this is why all people who think they are on a higher level, and super knowledgeable about the draft, want to talk about three-cone drills now and not the 40. The combine metrics are useful and telling; to overvalue or ignore it is a LF.

In some ways it is a logical fallacy to say that the best players even performed the best, otherwise Marcus Dupree and Bo Jackson might be locks for the Hall of Fame. That's also a....well... you get it.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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