Why NFL Draft Picks Fail

I really enjoy Live Science because they come up with a slew of interesting articles. This particular article discusses NFL draft picks and their success or lack thereof.

If you read through the article it discusses how the combine is not always a great indicator of success. Can’t say that I was surprised by that. Ezzie will probably be particularly interested in the section on cleveland which delineates the three factors that cause those teams to lose.

Not to mention how it also translates to a huge disappointment for LeBron and company, but I digress.

I recommend reading the article. But I’ll also add that I think that is more proof that few tests do a good job of really measuring how good people will be at anything. There are far too many variables that can influence performance.

And now an excerpt for your review:

“But in a new study, Frank Kuzmits and Arthur Adams, professors at the University of Louisville, evaluated more than 300 quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers drafted over six seasons from 1999-2004.

They compared the players’ combine performance on seven physical tests and the WPT with measures of success in the NFL. These three skill positions were chosen as they have distinct performance statistics that can be tracked (as opposed to linemen or defensive players.) Each position used the success metrics of draft order, salaries for years 1-3 and games played for years 1-3. In addition, QB rating, yards per carry and yards per reception were measured for quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers, respectively.

No significant link was found between combine performance and NFL success, except between 40-yard dash times and running backs. Interestingly, even the Wonderlic aptitude test did not predict NFL achievement, even though a skill position like quarterback requires a decent amount of cognitive talent. That’s not to say other psychological tests would be worthless. Kuzmits and Adams cite other studies that show a player’s level of self-confidence and anxiety management to be strong clues to their future accomplishments.

Of course, not all draft picks are surrounded by great teammates and some don’t even get out on the field during those first few seasons. But this research showed that good or bad performance in the combine is not related to good or bad performance on the field. So, the researchers question the value of these combine tests as a draft decision support tool.They do see a similarity between NFL teams choosing players and companies choosing employees.”

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