If you haven’t heard, the draft happens this week. If you also haven’t heard, no one knows how this draft will unfold. In the absence of many/any huge names to market, the NFL will lean heavily into selling the mystery that is the 2022 draft.
There’s one thing that isn’t a mystery, even though you won’t hear it much this week. Roughly half of the players picked amid the Viva Las Vegas! pomp and circumstance on Thursday night won’t pan out. They just won’t. Pull up any list of the first-round selections from at least three years ago. There is just as much bust as boom.
No, you won’t hear much of that this week. This week is about selling hope. That objective is undermined if the hope comes with a dash of justifiable caution.
Some will say that it’s bad form to point out the very real possibility that a given player won’t thrive at the next level on the night his dreams are realized. But if there was a clear and reliable way to separate cream from crap, someone would be trumpeting it on TV. This is more about the fact that no one knows how any player will perform in the NFL. Thus, it’s always better to assume they all will be good. If they fail, it’s on them.
The more accurate truth is that, if/when roughly half of them fail (and fail roughly half of them will), it will be difficult to pinpoint the cause. Maybe it’s bad coaching. Maybe it was a bad fit. Maybe it’s on the player. Maybe he had a hard time, at age 21 or 22, adjusting to living and working in a city where he never envisioned living or working. Maybe the organization simply did a bad job of scouting the player.
Whatever the reason(s), get ready for a week of over-the-top hype, as the NFL continues to brainwash future classes that being involuntarily drafted into service with one of 32 different businesses is an honor and a privilege.
Baloney on that. The teams want and need great players. This is their most constant and reliable path to getting them. The players can’t say no, and they can’t do much by way of haggling over their contract terms. Throw in the fact that the players have become convinced by years of watching the everything is awesome parade during the televised coverage of the draft that the NFL is actually doing them a favor when the truth is exactly the opposite, and it becomes one of the most effective grifts the NFL has ever conjured.
Congratulations, I guess.