The Myth of Draft Value

The media has really turned the draft into something other than what it's meant to be, at least from a fan perspective. In the days leading up to the draft, us fans are battered with hundreds of mock drafts, we're told exactly how good players are and where they need to be drafted, which teams should be looking at which players, and AFTER the draft our teams are graded according to draft pundit evaluations.

Ya know what strikes me as odd? That last part, it's backwards.

Consider this: Draft pundits are not better at evaluating players than the respective scouting departments of the various NFL teams. If they were, Dallas wouldn't employ an army of scouts, nobody would. They would just read CBS and go draft accordingly. WHY then, given that the teams are more qualified to evaulate players, are the TEAMS judged by the PUNDITS, rather than the other way around?

What should be happening on an annual basis is some commentary about the players, and a light hearted guessing game by draft analysts to try to guess where players should go, followed by an evaluation of the analysts by comparing their rankings to where the players actually got drafted. Instead, by reversing that process, by doing things backwards, we end up with this concept of "draft value."

For example, Brian Billick might decide before the draft that Travis Frederick is a third round prospect. Turns out that he was wrong, because Dallas drafted him at the bottom of the first round, but that's not the narrative we hear. Instead, Billick and his buddies will spend weeks or months going on about how poorly Dallas drafted, maybe they give us a "C" grade, and fans get the idea that there is some mystical "value" floating around in the great ether, that it defines the objective value of a teams draft and that we should somehow expect our teams to cater to it.

That's false. There is no value, there are only good players and bad players.

Had Tom Brady been drafted in the first round, would it have been bad "value"? If we had passed on the Travis Frederick deal and drafted the valuable Sharif Floyd, would our team be better for it?

Nothing we say or do here on BTB affects the mentality of our favorite team, but we should do the best we can to understand the processes that NFL teams go through in developing a draft strategy in order to have a greater appreciation for the haul we get over the next few days. Part of that is taking that notion of "value" you have in your head and removing it. "Value" is hindsight, and it plays no role in actually developing a team strategy.

Our Cowboys will and should create a draft board, and then proceed to draft players that they think will be good for our team according to that board. We will improve our team over the next few days- not by getting cute, not by looking for "value," but simply by going out and getting the guys we want, even if people who aren't talented enough to work for a team may disagree with our selections.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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