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The randomness of late round draft picks

Joey Clinkscales, Mike Tannenbaum

New York Jets vice president and college scouting executive Joey Clinkscales, right, is seen next to general manager Mike Tannenbaum during a pre-draft news conference at the team’s training facility, Thursday, April 21, 2011 in Florham Park, N.J. Scouting stats include 5,552 reports on players, 253 schools traveled and more than 300 players interviewed, according to the Jets. The Draft will be held next week in New York. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)


Late round picks can make a solid draft turn into a sensational one. In the case of Tom Brady, a late round pick can change the careers of everyone associated with the selection.

While a huge amount of work goes into each pick, the reality is that some of the late-round choices can be pretty random. Consider this story from Jets G.M. Mike Tannenbaum, via Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News.

The Jets were on the clock in the sixth round in 2009, and didn’t know who to take. They had the list down to three players, so they decided to pop in some last minute DVDs of each player.

“The first guy we looked at was awful. The second guy we looked at was worse,” Tannenbaum said. “The reason we took the third guy is that we didn’t have enough time to watch the tape.”

That pick was guard Matt Slauson, who replaced a future Hall of Famer (Alan Faneca) and started 16 games for a team that won two playoff games last year.

Mehta’s in-depth look inside the team’s draft room shows how much work goes into the process. But it’s easy to forget how randomness and luck also play a huge factor in the ultimate winners and losers this week.

For much more from Tannenbaum on the Jets’ draft strategy, check out Florio’s interview with him from Friday: