The NFL draft can go one way or the other for teams picking the best college talent in the country.
For every Calvin Johnson or Andrew Luck there is a Joey Harrington and a JaMarcus Russell. Teams can scout all of the players they want but one thing they can’t be sure of is whether their selection can make the transition from College to the NFL.
Pressure of the media spotlight and dealing with the huge amount of money that they will be given for playing the sport can all be too much for some young players.
This was evident yesterday when Aaron Curry, the 4th pick in the 2009 NFL draft, announced that he was retiring from the sport. He was labeled as the ‘safest pick’ in his year’s draft and some scouts saw him as the best linebacker prospect in a decade. In his case, sadly, it didn't work out.
There have been teams that consistently pick good players in the draft for instance the New England Patriots, who have utilised lower draft picks to find key pieces to their championship teams. Tom Brady was probably the best example of a lower draft pick turning into one of the best players in the league.
The Detroit Lions and Oakland Raiders have been two teams that have found themselves on the other end of the draft spectrum, more often than not they have chosen poorly and ended up with expensive busts. It must be said that the Lions have improved slightly recently with the selection of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson.
I think for many teams a strategy of stockpiling draft picks in the later rounds can be a smart strategy, not only does it provide young players with less pressure to succeed meaning that they can develop in their own time but it allows the teams to save money on contracts, as lower picked players can’t demand the same sort of money first round selections can.
Less risk and sometimes more reward can payoff in the NFL.
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