Think you know what it takes to be an NFL scout? Neither do I. But I've been following the NFL for quite a while now. There were times when I thought I had all the answers and times where I knew I didn't have a clue. Usually the truth was somewhere in the nether regions. We all have an opinion on what position the Bears should draft in 2012. Several of you have the names you'd like to see on our roster. Some of those moves will be right, but more will be wrong. (How many wanted Mendenhall over Forte?) And that goes for every team in the NFL. Join me for a look at why I feel the draft is (almost) a complete crapshoot and always has been.
Editor note: Welcome back to the front page kid...
I know this is oversimplifying things but lets look at some recent drafts. How many "draft rejects" make it big time every year? Look at Tony Romo. UDFA. Yet the numbers he puts up year in and out have consistently placed him in the top half (if not the top third) of all NFL quarterbacks. Wasn't that what we were all hoping Caleb Hanie would have been? Take Tom Brady. 102 teams passed on him before he was finally taken (over a close second choice, Tom Rattay) as a supplementary pick in the 6th round of the draft. Yes, I know there aren't 102 teams in the NFL but 102 team's NFL scouts had a shot at drafting him before the Pats. He was passed up that many times. Kurt Freaking Warner was a GROCERY CLERK in my own state of Iowa before the Arena League took a chance on him and then a chance with the Packers before becoming a Super Bowl MVP and all that good stuff. Look at Arian Foster. Undrafted. Want to know how many times he was passed on by NFL teams scouting staffs? 256 chances to draft one of the leagues arguably best running back. And that's with guys like Knowshawn Moreno and Donald Brown (going in the 1st) Glen Coffe (3rd) and Mike Goodson and Andre Brown (both 4th rounders) being drafted well before him. But out of that same draft, LeSean McCoy was drafted in the second.
Which brings me to the second part. For every "miss" in the draft there are a TON of "sure fire" hits that fizzled out. Look no further than the Bears to see that. For every Arian Foster you'll find plenty of Curtis Enis ('s?) For each Manning, a Ryan Leaf. Leaf was actually considered by many "experts" to be the best pick in the draft that year. For each Johnny Knox we have a David Terrell. For every Matt Forte we have a Felix Jones. Every sure thing usually isn't exactly that. Closer analysis than mine would possibly reveal a pattern in the draft. Possibly teams with a highly intelligent GM and a motivated scouting staff have developed a formula for getting this right. But I bet even they "swing and miss" and I bet ever the "worst" staff ever assembled (see, Wandestadt, Dave) got lucky one in a while. (See Kreutz, Olin)
So what's the point? There may be no point. And I guess that's the food for thought. The "best" GM's just might be the ones that can get more "hits" than "misses". But even that seems to be an undefined science. So here's to hoping that our new GM has as much karma as intelligence, as much guts as wisdom, and ultimately more "luck" than anyone else.