October 11, 2013

The 1998 NFL #1 draft pick

Malcolm Gladwell famously argued in 2008 that the performance of quarterbacks in the NFL "can't be predicted:"
This is the quarterback problem. There are certain jobs where almost nothing you can learn about candidates before they start predicts how they'll do once they're hired. ... The problem with picking quarterbacks is that [U. of Missouri quarterback] Chase Daniel's performance can't be predicted. The job he's being groomed for is so particular and specialized that there is no way to know who will succeed at it and who won't. In fact, Berri and Simmons found no connection between where a quarterback was taken in the draft—that is, how highly he was rated on the basis of his college performance—and how well he played in the pros.

Chase Daniel, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 2007, went undrafted by the NFL. Yet, he's now in his fifth year in the NFL, and has a spectacular career completion percentage of 77.8%. Unfortunately, he's only been allowed to throw 9 passes over five years.

There are many examples of bad quarterback draft picks, such as the wasting of the #2 draft pick in 1998 on Ryan Leaf. 

Still, although I haven't been following football closely this year, I've gathered the impression that the #1 pick of 1998 remains gainfully employed in a quarterbacking capacity.

95 comments:

Cail Corishev said...

I wonder: is it really that hard to predict success at QB, or is it that the people doing the picking are blinded by their focus on the wrong attributes? For instance, we know that it's difficult for white players to get drafted for certain positions, because "everyone knows" blacks are better at those positions. So maybe there's something similar going on with QBs: a successful QB needs traits A, B, and C; but the coaches think X, Y, and Z are the most important. Sometimes they overlap and sometimes they don't.

To put it another way: why was Ryan Leaf a bust? Presumably people know now, or at least have theories. Whatever the reason, isn't it something that could have been seen beforehand? Why wasn't it?

josh said...

They should draft me. Or possibly my wife. Either way. I mean...who knows, right?

The Z Blog said...

Gladwell's act is to flatter a certain portion of the population in such a way that they will throw money at him by buying his books. He targets the same marks as Jon Stewart. These are folks who need to feel they are the brightest kids in the room. Gladwell carefully confirms this bias with stuff like this quarterback nonsense.

There's a randomness to the NFL draft as there is in all human endeavors. Human bias leads to mistakes. That said, Chase Daniels was not drafted because of certain easy to observe metrics. One is his height. The other is his arm strength. Those are predictive.IQ is also a helpful measure.

The fact that too many NFL scouts refuse to use basics measures and instead prefer their gut feeling does not make QB performance random. That's like saying a monkey banging on a piano makes music random.

matt said...

He'd have done better to say that it can't be CONSISTENTLY predicted. Payton is either the first or second best active qb in the league. The other candidate for first, Tom Brady, was picked 199th.

If you look at other first overall picks, you won't find a lot of Peytonesque players. Stinkers get drafted high, legends get ignored.

Gladwell 1, Sailer 246

ironrailsironweights said...

As much as I loathed my time in the straight-commission life insurance sales scam, I have to (very grudgingly) admit there's some logic behind the way the companies select new agents. As there's no real way to predict what applicants might be able to succeed as agents, the life insurance companies follow a completely different strategy: they hire all applicants, throw them in the field after the minimum possible amount of training, and wait to see which ones make it. The fact that more than 90% of newly hired agents are gone within a matter of months, sometimes within a few weeks, is of course no concern whatsoever to the companies.

Peter

Anonymous said...

It was either Bart Starr, or perhaps Joe Namath, who said a great quarterback will be mediocre with a mediocre offensive line, but a mediocre quarterback will be great with a great offensive line. If I were an NFL GM, I would be building a team around an offensive line, not a quarterback (given most NFL caliber QB's have the necessary skills anyway).

Anonymous said...

"There are certain jobs where almost nothing you can learn about candidates before they start predicts how they'll do once they're hired."

I think in the case of quarterbacks, a lot depends on other guys as well. If the offensive line provides poor protection, you won't be able to do much.

Institute of Economic Understanding said...

Malcom GLadwell the flustered with frizzy hair "hey , hey don't press me on the details! I'm just telling stories!"

countenance said...

Slow news day, Sailer? You're talking about University of Missouri football.

Let that sink in.

Mizzou football.

Anonymous said...

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/10/11/cool-it-on-the-crossfit-what-s-rhabdomyolysis.html

Anonymous said...

The Manning/Leaf example sort of supports Gladwell's point. Manning and Leaf were considered the best QBs and best players in the draft. Leaf turned out to be a huge bust.

Anonymous said...

Should suppose that in the case of Gladwell, by opening up his mouth and opining on various things that he clearly knows next to nothing about, it removes all doubt at just how clueless he is about the things of which he knows nothing about.

For the most part, being drafted in the first round of the NFL virtually guarantees that that particular player will have an excellent career. Not necessarily a hall of fame worthy career but an amazing career nonetheless (assuming that factors such as injury or off field behaviors don't catch up with him)/

An interesting thing would be to track the NBA draft to see how similar it is to the NFL's. Does being drafted in the high first round, a lottery pick, pretty much guarantee an amazing career? Would tend to think that it does.

Almost all the hall of fame worthy/exceptionally amazing NBA talents were in fact drafted in the high first round of their given year, if not necessarily the number one overall pick.

A medium to lower first round pick generally means that the player is a legitimate starter but neither one who is hall of fame nor even MVP worthy.

Gladwell should stick to writing about that which he knows something about, whatever those particular subjects are. Obviously, professional sports are not included in his field of expertise.

Anonymous said...

Peyton is incredibly bright compared to other quarterbacks. Manning and Brady are the gold standard for athleticism combined with high cognitive ability.

Eli on the other hand seems like a dullard and throws interceptions like he gets a bonus for each one.

Evaluating spread quarterbacks is extremely hard, which makes guys like Chase Daniels or Johnny Manziel hard to project to the NFL level.

countenance said...

Not for posting

Suggestion: Link to "Unreal Estate" in your list of classic articles in the right sidebar. More than anything it broadcasts everything that needs to be known about the subprime crisis that most people can digest.

jody said...

"The job he's being groomed for is so particular and specialized that there is no way to know who will succeed at it and who won't."

not only is not not true, the statement seems to be a contradiction. if there's no way to know who will succeed then why groom anybody? just throw bodies at the problem randomly. since performance is random, training people for it would be a waste of time. in fact, we shouldn't even pick out tall men. any 5 foot 2 mexican would do just as well as any of the pros playing today.

in reality it's the exact opposite. the scouts have a pretty good idea of who would be good at this stuff.

"In fact, Berri and Simmons found no connection between where a quarterback was taken in the draft — that is, how highly he was rated on the basis of his college performance — and how well he played in the pros."

flat out wrong. which i will prove in my next post. in fact, draft position this is the single most reliable predictor of success in the entire discussion. i don't know who berri and simmons are but they could not be more wrong. they're dead wrong.

Truth said...

So is the 199th pick of 2000

jody said...

when gladwell says "can't be predicted", it depends on what he means by "can't be predicted". the accuracy of the prediction is what is in question. how close are the scouts?

overall, the scouts are pretty close when it comes to predicting 'can play' versus 'cannot play'.

go ahead and check the starter on every NFL team. exclude injuries - just use the intended starter, not the backups who are playing right now due to injury. use the player the team deliberately started in week 1.

the vast majority of teams start a quarterback who was a first round draft pick. in week 1, 23 out of 32 teams started a first round pick. that indicates the scouts are, in general, getting it right the great majority of the time on the question of 'can play' versus 'cannot play'. it is NOT random. it is NOT unpredictable. 4 were second round picks, and 2 were third round picks. after that there only 3 other starters who were below a third round pick.

do the scouts miss on the 'can play' question? sure. but they get it right a lot more often than they get it wrong. so yes, they can predict quarterback performance with a good degree of accuracy.

most first round picks 'can play'. once you're out of the first round it becomes more random. a few of them can play, the vast majority cannot. go ahead and run the numbers on every player. don't just pick out a few counterexamples. look at the large numbers of guys taken from round 2 to round 7 over the last 10 years. add in the UDFAs. see just how many names you never even heard of. see just how low their number of starts are. that's because they couldn't play.

the ratio of 'can play' to 'cannot play' for first round picks is pretty high. the ratio of 'can play' to 'cannot play' for 2nd to 7th round picks and UDFAs is low. it gets lower in round 2 and then drops off a cliff after round 3. ON AVERAGE, the scouts are pretty accurate at predicting this stuff.

now, taking it a step further. for players that scouts think 'can play', can scouts predict ahead of time what a player's yards, accuracy, touchdowns, interceptions will be? nah. they can't do that. so if we're saying that performance "can't be predicted" because the scouts can't tell you exact numbers, then yes, performance "can't be predicted".

astorian said...

SOME quarterbacks who were drafted #1 overall have had Hall of Fame careers- that includes (yes) Peyton Manning, Terry Bradshaw and Troy Aikman. Others have had very solid NFL careers- Drew Bledsoe, Jim Plunkett and Vinny Testaverde, for instance. But there have been several utter busts, too. Think of Tim Couch and JaMarcus Russell.

Remember too that many (maybe most) NFL scouts in 1999 were telling the press privately that the godawful Ryan Leaf had "more upside" than Peyton Manning!

Meanwhile, nobody drafted Kurt Warner or Warren Moon at all. Tom Brady was a 6th round draft pick.

NFL scouts are smart guys who know far more about football than I do. But their track record in judging quarterbacks is spotty at best.

jody said...

week 1 starters for every team in 2013, and what round they were drafted:

AFC
east: bills manuel 1, dolphins tannehill 1, patriots brady 6, jets smith 2
north: ravens flacco 1, bengals dalton 2, browns weeden 1, steelers roethlisberger 1
south: texans schaub 3, colts luck 1, jaguars gabbert 1, titans locker 1
west: broncos manning 1, chiefs smith 1, raiders pryor UD, chargers rivers 1

NFC
east: cowboys romo UD, giants manning 1, eagles vick 1, redskins griffin 1
north: bears cutler 1, lions stafford 1, packers rodgers 1, vikings ponder 1
south: falcons ryan 1, panthers newton 1, saints brees 2, bucs freeman 1
west: cardinals palmer 1, rams bradford 1, 49ers kaepernick 2, seahawks wilson 3

Dave Pinsen said...

Eli Manning scored higher on the Wonderlic than Peyton.

Eli is having a lousy year so far, but he is a two-time Super Bowl MVP. He's not in Peyton's league statistically, but he may be a better clutch QB than Peyton, who threw a game-ending Super Bowl pick.

Anonymous said...

There might be something to what Gladbag is saying, and maybe the quarterback theory serves as a metaphor for the larger society.

There are two kinds of talents: the heady and the handy.

Handy talents are more conventional, quantifiable, measurable, predictable, and etc.
A running back has handy skills. He has to be fast and strong. While not without special and rare skills, they are essentially workmanlike. Earl Campbell, Jim Brown, Payton were all hardy handy athletes. The skills required are very specific. Run fast and hard.

Quarterbacking is more heady and comprehensive. The quarterback isn't the fastest on the team, the strongest on the team, the biggest on the team, etc. But he is the most crucial player because he needs the 'vision' thing. He has to see and sense more than all the other players and be creative in coordinating all the plays. And this heady quality is difficult to measure.
One can measure muscle power and speed, but it's not easy to tell who has the greatest comprehensive visionary intuitions under duress and pressure.

Same goes for Rock music. We can tell who are the best guitarists, drummers, and other instrumentalists, and Rock world has been filled with great session players. You know who the best pros are and whom to hire for sessions and recordings.
But it's not easy to say who will be the new Dylan, Wilson, Lennon, and etc. Dylan was not the best guitarist or harmonica-ist. By standards of Rock, Lennon could just barely play the guitar. Neil Young wasn't the greatest instrumentalist either. But such individuals are far more rare than great session musicians, and they were the ones who changed and shaped the Rock culture and history. They had visionary heady talents than merely handy ones. They were masters than just experts.

If you wanna hire the best guitarists, it's not hard to do. There are books with lists of such people. It's like it's not hard to predict who will likely be the great classical musical instrumentalists: the graduates of Juilliard and Harvard music schools and etc.
But it's not easy to tell who will be the great composers. Such people may not be best at playing instruments--handy talents--, but they got the X factor in their brains.

If those with really good handy skills are 1 in 10,000, those with really great heady talents are like 1 in 1,000,000 or maybe 1 in 10,000,000.

Even among the heady types, some have the means to grow and change, others do not. Dave Clark Five wrote some great songs and were early rivals of the Beatles. But Lennon and McCartney showed the ability to change and grow. Dave Clark Five did not. Their greatness was much more limited.

A quarterback has to be very flexible with every game, every play. More than anyone, he has to be able to grow. And it's hard to predict such abilities. Scouts can spot the good quarterback but not the good quarterback with the ability to 'grow'.

Anonymous said...

AFC
east: bills manuel 1, dolphins tannehill 1, patriots brady 6, jets smith 2
north: ravens flacco 1, bengals dalton 2, browns weeden 1, steelers roethlisberger 1
south: texans schaub 3, colts luck 1, jaguars gabbert 1, titans locker 1
west: broncos manning 1, chiefs smith 1, raiders pryor UD, chargers rivers 1

_________________________________

Slight correction:

The Raiders' Terrelle Pryor withdrew from OSU and entered the NFL Supplemental Draft and was the last pick by Al Davis before his death.

Anonymous said...

As much as I loathed my time in the straight-commission life insurance sales scam, I have to (very grudgingly) admit there's some logic behind the way the companies select new agents. As there's no real way to predict what applicants might be able to succeed as agents, the life insurance companies follow a completely different strategy: they hire all applicants, throw them in the field after the minimum possible amount of training, and wait to see which ones make it. The fact that more than 90% of newly hired agents are gone within a matter of months, sometimes within a few weeks, is of course no concern whatsoever to the companies.

Right, but these companies don't really bear much of a cost since they don't pay salaries and pay very little for basic training. Whereas NFL teams have to pay large guaranteed salaries for top draft picks.

Anonymous said...

I haven't kept up with football for a long time. My memory of football is in the 1970s with Roger Staubach, Bradshaw, Dorsett, Swann, Danny White, the big steelers running back who ran upright.

The superbowl between Steelers and Cowboys that ended 34 to 31, that was epic.

The Anti-Gnostic said...

If I were an NFL GM, I would be building a team around an offensive line, not a quarterback...

This might be grist for the Caste Football mill. Payrolls are being gobbled up by skill positions. This was remarked on, even way back when Oliver Stone made "Any Given Sunday."

Atlanta's GM Thomas Dimitroff never realized that even a very accurate (and spindly) QB with solid receivers is useless when the defense is always on the verge of tackling him.

Dimitroff is a vegetarian and Canadian as well. He needs to be run out on a rail.

Anonymous said...

I'm kind of surprised by some of those Wonderlic scores, particularly Carson Palmer's and Tom Brady's. I think Palmer is a pretty bright guy, Brady, no slouch,.

BTW, who leaks those things and how can we trust the reporting of them as accurate?

Anonymous said...

Eli Manning scored higher on the Wonderlic than Peyton.

That's funny, because Eli looks dumber than Peyton. Eli has this permanent expression on his face that makes him look mentally challenged.

Anonymous said...

It was either Bart Starr, or perhaps Joe Namath, who said a great quarterback will be mediocre with a mediocre offensive line, but a mediocre quarterback will be great with a great offensive line. If I were an NFL GM, I would be building a team around an offensive line, not a quarterback (given most NFL caliber QB's have the necessary skills anyway).

Add a solid running back, and that QB will be even greater.

El Kabong said...

Steve,

I'm really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really sick of hearing about Malcolm Gladwell.

Anonymous said...

Eli has this permanent expression on his face that makes him look mentally challenged.

It's the permanent retard smile/grin.

Anonymous said...

"I'm really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really really sick of hearing about Malcolm Gladwell."

Try harder. It's not quite the 10,000 hr gripe.

Luke Lea said...

Among other things Peyton is a classic case of an over-achiever.

Not Really Anonymous said...

Matt said: “Payton is either the first or second best active qb in the league. The other candidate for first, Tom Brady, was picked 199th.’

A contributor to Tom’s sliding in the draft was his splitting time with Drew Henson at Michigan. Yes Brady was the starter but Henson played a lot. A number of NFL observers saw Brady’s impressive physical skills (though he has gotten stronger and heavier since turning pro) but scratched their heads and thought “but if he’s not the unquestioned full time QB in college…” losing sight of the fact that a) Henson was pretty good in his own right and b) more importantly, Henson was very highly recruited and Michigan coach Lloyd Carr wanted to demonstrate to later subsequent recruits of Henson’s stature that they’d get every opportunity to play and then more opportunity after that. Once Tom started to slide, a bit of herd mentality took over and teams worried that everyone else knew something they didn’t. Based on purely on performance and physical tools, a Brady that didn’t share time with Henson likely would have been a 1st or 2nd rounder. So its somewhat misleading to imply that nobody saw Brady as being NFL capable.

Anonymous said...

There are two main reasons teams miss on high draft pick QBs.

First is the “reach” problem. It is difficult if not impossible to win consistently without quality quarterback play. Teams that don’t have it have no choice but to try to find it. If this means “reaching” for a guy in the 1st or 2nd round that has some obvious holes in his game then so be it. In the event he pans out, you’re set at QB. If he doesn’t, well you weren’t going to win with the stiff you had anyway. Example would be the Minnesota Vikings that reached for Christian Ponder. They had a good defense, best running back in the league, but awful QB play. They had to try something. Its now obvious Ponder can't play at the NFL level so they're grasping at straws - most recently bringing in Josh Freeman.

The second reason is harder to understand: teams that don’t seem to grasp what makes a successful NFL QB In this 2nd category I’d put a team like the Oakland Raiders that blew a first-round draft pick on JaMarcus Russell. Most observers knew Russell wouldn’t be successful. Not only was he as dumb as a stump, he didn’t particularly enjoy playing football. The first could be gleaned by the Wonderlic or simply talking to him, the second by talking to his coaches and observing his work habits. Heath Shuler was also inexplicable – he wasn’t big, wasn’t very bright, and had a mediocre at best arm. It’s not surprising that he proved too dumb and indecisive to beat out Gus Frerotte in Washington and later too small to withstand the beating when he went to New Orleans.

Regarding Ryan Leaf: he was incredibly gifted physically, played in a pro-style offense, and while teams were aware he was immature, the “reach” problem convinced them that as he got older, surrounded by veteran teammates, away from the sophomoric college environment, blah blah he’d grow up.

Otis McWrong said...

Anonymous said...”It was either Bart Starr, or perhaps Joe Namath, who said a great quarterback will be mediocre with a mediocre offensive line, but a mediocre quarterback will be great with a great offensive line”

If anyone would know about mediocre QB play it would be Namath, the most over-rated player in NFL history. But your point is valid. Exhibit A is the Redskins of the 80’s and early 90’s. In 11 years they won three Super Bowl titles, 4 NFC Championships and made 5 trips to the NFC Championship with three quarterbacks (Joe Theismann, Doug Williams, and Mark Rypien), among them only Joe Theismann could be said to be anything above average (he won an MVP and went to a few Pro Bowls). Rypien was basically a journeyman. The key to those teams was an often dominant offensive line.

Otis McWrong said...

Anonymous said: “Evaluating spread quarterbacks is extremely hard, which makes guys like Chase Daniels or Johnny Manziel hard to project to the NFL level.”

Few NFL scouts thought Chase Daniels could be successful playing in the NFL. That is why he was drafted so late. And why he hasn’t played. He is very good at his job – 3rd string QB – which involves running scout team offenses, being a good practice player, working with the other QBs, etc.

Dave Pinsen said...

"There are two kinds of talents: the heady and the handy.

Handy talents are more conventional, quantifiable, measurable, predictable, and etc.
A running back has handy skills. He has to be fast and strong. While not without special and rare skills, they are essentially workmanlike. Earl Campbell, Jim Brown, Payton were all hardy handy athletes. The skills required are very specific. Run fast and hard.

Quarterbacking is more heady and comprehensive. The quarterback isn't the fastest on the team, the strongest on the team, the biggest on the team, etc. But he is the most crucial player because he needs the 'vision' thing."


Running backs generally aren't the biggest, fastest, or strongest players on the team either. And they don't just need to "run fast and hard", they need to know where to run, when (and how) to try to evade a defender, when to try to run him over, etc. Those are pretty rare skills. Plus, running backs have responsibilities that go beyond running the ball: they need to be able to pick up blitzes and catch passes as well.

"
That's funny, because Eli looks dumber than Peyton. Eli has this permanent expression on his face that makes him look mentally challenged."


He holds his mouth open and has more of a southern drawl when he speaks than Peyton. Peyton also has shorter hair and more exposed forehead which may make him look smarter. But Eli is a smart guy.

Anonymous said...

Two things I think the nfl vs nba comparison basically proves that a lot of success in football is based on your surrounding players. There is no way that scouting talent is just that much better in the NBA. It might just be that size and speed are so decisive in basketball that you can safely throw out more borderline lottery picks in NBA so maybe scouting isn't better in the NBA but just easier.

Secondly I get that we are talking about chase Daniels because that's who was I'm the article but Blaine Gabbart is a pretty good example of another Mizzou QB who was wrongly scouted.

I'd say that Eli most likely prepared a lot harder for the wonderlic than Peyton. I believe it was that spectacular bust of a pick Akilai Smith and his bad wonderlic that really catapulted the wonderlic into its current vogue. Top three picks in that draft Tim Couch Donovan McNabb Aklai Smith. If this is really the point that brings Gladwell crashing down that's kind of shame. If civil engineers had the success of nfl scouts there would be serious hell to pay.

Dave Pinsen said...

"I'd say that Eli most likely prepared a lot harder for the wonderlic than Peyton."

I'd say Peyton has prepared a lot harder for everything football-related in his life (probably including the Wonderlic) than Eli. Peyton is obsessive. That has helped make him a great player but has hurt him a bit in clutch situations occasionally, because he's wound so tight.

Eli has a calmer, less-obsessive personality. I can see it being easier for him to leave the game behind when he retires than Peyton. Peyton will probably want to become an NFL coach. Can't imagine Eli wanting to do that after he retires.

Anonymous said...

Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow can't get a job in the NFL - in spite of having a winning record and winning a playoff game in his only year competing. It's an odd sport.

Anonymous said...

More like the more things change, the more they stay the same:

"Garcetti, New Los Angeles Mayor, Reflects Changing City"

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/08/us/garcetti-new-los-angeles-mayor-reflects-changing-city.html?hpw&_r=0

" LOS ANGELES — He is Jewish. He is Latino. He can break dance and play jazz piano. He speaks nearly impeccable Spanish. He has talked longingly about growing his own vegetables and maybe even raising his own chickens. He lives on this city’s hip east side. "

Steve Sailer said...

Eric Garcetti, Man of the Soil.

Grey said...

Completely off-topic but you might be interested.

How the western banking system has killed millions (by accident).

http://bankstastuff.blogspot.co.uk/

(and before anyone starts...

"nb It doesn't matter who is running the banksta system. If the same system is copied by the Chinese or Ugandans or Buddhist monks the outcome will always be the same because the internal logic is based on universal principles: 1) people operate on cost vs benefit and 2) people have an average lifespan."

)

Anonymous said...

"And they don't just need to "run fast and hard", they need to know where to run, when (and how) to try to evade a defender, when to try to run him over, etc. Those are pretty rare skills."

That's prolly true of the smaller running backs like Dorsett.

But I recall Earl Campbell just plowing through the other side. He could do that cuz he be big and strong. And Franco Harris was like a moving wall.

Anonymous said...

"Eli has this permanent expression on his face that makes him look mentally challenged."

It's termed "Manning face." Both brothers have it.

Anonymous said...

"but Blaine Gabbart is a pretty good example of another Mizzou QB who was wrongly scouted."

This is an instructive example.

Part of the problem is dumb franchises perennially have high draft picks. I think it's telling that a shitty franchise (Jacksonville) drafted Gabbert.

The last few years Jon Gruden has had a "QB Camp" segment where he interviews top quarterback prospects prior to the draft. A lot of them, the guys he likes I guess, are simply exercises in friendly glad-handing and collegial shooting the shit.

But he laid into Blaine Gabbert. video here. Went on and on about how he can't take a snap under center. Then he pulled up a video of Payton Manning and flipped b/w Manning and Gabbert to emphasize the contrast. It was particularly brutal given the warmheartedness of the other players' interviews. By the end of it, Gabbert's demeanor/body language had completely shifted--turned meek.

Deckin said...

I have this from a coach on the Raiders staff: After Pryor was knocked out with a concussion, he had to pass the 'protocol' that the league now imposes before concussed players can return. This basically consists of cognitive testing. The running joke on the coaching staff is that the chances of him returning were hopeless because he couldn't pass the protocol stone sober and in perfect health!

Anonymous said...

It's termed "Manning face." Both brothers have it.

What, so they're both hickish inbreds cause they look it?



There is no way that scouting talent is just that much better in the NBA. It might just be that size and speed are so decisive in basketball that you can safely throw out more borderline lottery picks in NBA so maybe scouting isn't better in the NBA but just easier.





Ok, case example. A current NBAer who went to a high school in Steve's woods-neck, played at UCLA (and bombed big time) got drafted late 1st round. First three years, did nothing. Last yr made all star on a crappy team. He's traded to another team along with others.

In the NFL, most likely this kind of player would not be sooo obsessively talked about as if he's great and the bees knees.

But with this NBA dude, you'd think he was the second coming of Jordan and that his potential was about to revolutionize the point guard position.

Again, after 4yrs time, you have enough of a career to determine if that players good, great or not all that. And in this case, he's really not all that. Certainly not much if the team trades him away for two first rounders in next yrs draft. That shows little to faith in the guy.

But they'll toss out "potential" and look at the dude's upside and potential. After four seasons? Potential!?

Must be an awful lot of UCLA Bruin fans in the NBA scouting lists to keep plugging this dude. He's not all that. Either that or someones publicist is working double overtime. Take the blinders off, he's not all that.

Anonymous said...

Anon re: the wonderlic. I should have said I don't believe that Peyton prepared for it at all. It was like the early days of the SAT when Peyton took it. These days for QBs its more like the MCAT. That's exaggerating for effect but unless I'm misremembering I had never reall heard the wonderlic discussed until after the Couch, McNabb, Smith draft.

E. Rekshun said...

Anon: "Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow can't get a job in the NFL - in spite of having a winning record and winning a playoff game in his only year competing. It's an odd sport."

Odd indeed. It makes me wonder if Tebow is being blackballed for some reason.

Anonymous said...

Regarding Brady, A friend of mine who is constantly watching college football looking for diamonds in the rough for the NFL thought that Brady was one. He thought he was a natural leader on the field like Montana had been at Notre Dame and was shocked when he dropped all the way to the 6th round. Apparently the divided playing time with Henson and looking not muscular with his shirt off at the NFL Combine caused his draft stock to plummet.

The other two elite QB's outside of Manning and Brady are Drew Brees who was a 1st pick in the 2nd round the same year Michael Vick was number 1, and Aaron Rodgers who many thought was a top 10 pick but then dropped to 24th overall when their was a run on defensive players after around pick 10 that year. Alex Smith who turned out to a serviceable game manager QB was taken 23 spots above Rodgers who has a Super Bowl MVP. The big 4 were taken 1st, 24th, 33rd, and 199th overall in their respective drafts: 2 first rounders, a near first rounder, and a 6th rounder, that is certainly better than random, and Eli Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, and Philip Rivers were all taken in the same draft in the top half of the first round in 2004: They have all had pretty good careers as well. As usual Gladwell wasn't thinking clearly, big surprise.

Anonymous said...

"Gay NBA player still waiting to be signed by a team with season's start only weeks away"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2454812/Gay-NBA-player-Jason-Collins-waiting-signed-team.html

"Pro basketball’s first openly-gay player has yet to be signed by an NBA team.

No NBA team has signed Jason Collins, 34, despite a solid 12 year career spent with six different teams, most recently the Boston Celtics, and he doesn't understand why...."

Anonymous said...

"Jason Collins, Openly Gay and Still Unsigned, Waits and Wonders"

www.nytimes.com/2013/10/11/sports/basketball/jason-collins-openly-gay-and-still-unsigned-waits-and-wonders.html

" The question Collins has to ponder is why he has not been signed as a free agent. Is it because he is at best a marginal player with modest career statistics (3.6 points and 3.8 rebounds a game) nearing the end of his career, one who would cost more than a younger player based on the league’s collectively bargained pay scale? Or is there something more sinister at work related to the new role he would play? "

Cail Corishev said...

”It was either Bart Starr, or perhaps Joe Namath, who said a great quarterback will be mediocre with a mediocre offensive line, but a mediocre quarterback will be great with a great offensive line”

There's some truth to this -- the supporting cast is certainly more important in football than in basketball -- but a fair bit of overstatement too.

The Schottenheimer-era Chiefs had a consistently excellent defense and a solid offensive line, plus some good running backs. They always dominated the turnover ratio, sometimes by ridiculous numbers, and were solid on special teams too. All that got them to the playoffs most years, and gave them some 13-3 seasons and some 8-0 home records. The regular seasons were great. But they never had a quarterback who was better than mediocre -- the best was probably a late-stage Joe Montana, who actually did manage to win one playoff game -- and that lack showed up in the playoffs when the other teams had good defenses too -- and good quarterbacks. You don't win 10-6 defensive battles very often in the playoffs, and the defense and offensive line couldn't carry a mediocre QB to the win when opponents knew they didn't have to respect his eye or arm.

It continued even into the Vermeil era, despite his rep as a high-offense guy. They picked up the incredible Tony Gonzalez, and had two very good running backs in Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson, but they continued to have forgettable QBs who couldn't take full advantage of those tools.

The fear is always that a team will draft a great young QB and then get him killed by putting him behind a weak line with no threats to help him. I suppose that could happen, but it seems like the opposite happens more often: a team builds up a pretty good smattering of talent across the board, but then gets stuck with a leader who can't do enough with them.

Anonymous said...

https://www.nationalreview.com/nrd/articles/354946/life-and-death-basic-cable

Hilarious stuff on Breaking Bad by Jonah Goldberg. He says it's the greatest TV show ever and a 'red state' work of art, blah blah blah.

I saw 20 min of it once and saw nothing but narrative cliches done to death.

but then Fukuyama's idear that Wire is great work of art is also hilarious.

these clowns ought to stick to punditry.

but even funnier is Douthat's higher estimation of hunger games over twilight. what a dufus. he has no eyes.

Anonymous said...

Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow can't get a job in the NFL

This is puzzling to me. Sure, he can't throw, and when he won those games for the Broncos they were already a good team. But I'm curious as to why some no-hoper team doesn't pick him up for a song just to see if his X factor intangibles is something real. They'd get a ton of publicity for at least a year based on on the drama.

Maybe he'll go to the CFL and turn it into a running league.

bluto said...

Over the last 25 years, QBs picked first in the draft (ie pick 1 in round 1) have a considerable amount of success. Below pick one (even when the QB is the first player picked off the board, there's very little difference between the success of the average pick #2 and the end of the 3rd round.

My guess would be not that scouts somehow get bad, but that QBs who lack the I was the best damn player in college my year, aren't given a chance to come back after failure. Did anyone see Jason Campbell as a reasonable starting option in place of Alex Smith were 1st round selections who couldn't lock up a starting role with their draft team after years of trying--but only one got signed as a starter (Campbell was quickly replaced by Palmer in Oakland).

Anonymous said...

Odd indeed. It makes me wonder if Tebow is being blackballed for some reason.

He sure is. His very public displays of religiosity (which happens to be Christianity) are the reason.

Truth said...

"Odd indeed. It makes me wonder if Tebow is being blackballed for some reason."

Answer: Yes.

"He sure is. His very public displays of religiosity (which happens to be Christianity) are the reason."

No, that's not it...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ojXkblN7pC0

Steve Sailer said...

That's pretty funny.

Anonymous said...

At the risk of being banned forever here, American football is definitely one those American exceptionalism things. Being exceptional does not always imply good though, in my opinion American football is exceptionally [CENSORED].

astorian said...

The #1 overall draft picks in the NBA have fared better than those in the NFL, overall, but even in basketball, there have been a lot of mediocrities and even a few outright busts taken #1 overall.

Pervis Ellison, anyone? Greg Oden? Kwame Brown? Michael Olowakandi? Ralph Sampson?

Anonymous said...

http://stuartschneiderman.blogspot.com/2013/10/are-sexes-interchangeable.html

countenance said...

"Jason Collins"

You mean that marginal NBA player who hatched a gay scam in a cynical attempt to extend his career?

The touch that gave it away was when his long time ex-g/f, a white woman, BTW, was totally taken aback by his "coming out."

You'd think by now that any man who has ever played pitcher or catcher on Team Collins would have run his mouth to the media about their "relationship." None have so far, gee, I wonder why. Unless I'm not wondering, unless I already have figured out that he's not gay.

rob said...

With the quarterback thing. Quarterbacks are already pretty heavily selected: there are tons of filters from peewee to the NFL, and predictors at each level. Only a tiny fraction of potential quarterbacks (which is roughly every 22 yo guy) are ever evaluated by NFL scouts. That's a huge restriction of range effect. Being unable to predict quarterback performance much better may actually be the result of predicting quarterback performance very well already.

Anonymous said...

http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-ap-classes-20131007,0,3881500,full.story

More schools opening Advanced Placement courses to all students
Some students may not be adequately prepared for the rigorous classes and high achievers may be shut out. But supporters see equal access as an educational right.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the 199th pick of the 2000 NFL Draft seems to be doing OK. But any comment on Brady's "athleticism" is way off base. Strong arm, off-the-charts football smarts and WILL to excel. His struggles at Michigan with the touted, two-sport golden boy Henson made Brady into the ultra-competitive maniac he is today.

He'll also be a Senator from MA or CA some day.

Anonymous said...

It continued even into the Vermeil era, despite his rep as a high-offense guy. They picked up the incredible Tony Gonzalez, and had two very good running backs in Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson, but they continued to have forgettable QBs who couldn't take full advantage of those tools.

The Vermeil era Chiefs had a good quarterback in Trent Green. Their offense in 2003 was terrific. The problem with Vermeil's Chiefs is that the defense couldn't stop anyone. The famous playoff game that year at Arrowhead against Manning's Colts will always be remembered for the Chiefs defense never forcing the Colts to punt once. That's right, the Colts did not have to punt once.

Had Vermeil had the defenses of Schottenheimer, they'd have won the Super Bowl. Had Schottenheimer had the offense of Vermeil, ditto.

Anonymous said...

o/t - the proverbial firestorm of ignorance on heritability of IQ at the Guardian. Special guest appearance by The Mismeasure of Man.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2013/oct/11/genetics-teaching-gove-adviser

Anonymous said...

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/liberalisms-greatest-critic/

A new alliance of rightism and socialism dawning?

------

How about National Feminism?

d.... said...

What would have happened had Phil Robertson stayed in football & forsaken the ducks?

One of history's great imponderables.

http://espn.go.com/blog/playbook/fandom/post/_/id/18740/how-good-was-phil-robertson-at-football

"The choice came down to me in the woods hunting ducks, or getting in a situation -- a lifestyle -- wherby large, violent men are paid huge sums of money to do one thing, and that’s stomp me in the dirt. I said, you know, I just think it would be less stressful to go after ducks."

Pretty smart redneck. He's got the millions, and his brain cells. (Not counting the years of alcoholism.)

Anonymous said...

No, that's not it...

If the media and sports industry thought he was gay, they'd be promoting him.

E. Rekshun said...

NYT, 10/11/13: Peterson’s Son Dies of Injuries

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/12/sports/football/nfl-roundup.html?ref=todayspaper

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is in mourning after the death of his young son Friday...The authorities said the 2-year-old boy died of injuries sustained in a child-abuse case in South Dakota...The boy, who had been in critical condition in a hospital with severe head injuries since Wednesday, died at 11:43 a.m. after being removed from life support, Wollman said.

Joseph Patterson, 27, was reportedly dating the mother of the child. He was charged with aggravated assault and aggravated battery in the death. He had a court appearance Friday and was ordered held on $750,000 cash bond.

Anonymous said...

I don't know why anyone, let alone Steve, would take this guy seriously. His style is middle-brow (in that happy-clappy, "aren't we so comfy and cheery?" U.S. liberal way) and his content is moronic.

Anonymous said...

The superbowl between Steelers and Cowboys that ended 34 to 31, that was epic.

Yeah, that one was a heartbreaker.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHylWmLDPcs

Anonymous said...

"Not colorblind: New report shows 'racist' LA police dogs only bite blacks and Latinos

Los Angeles Sheriff's Department has come under fire due to police dogs biting large numbers of minorities
In the first half of 2013, 100 per cent of dog bites were to African Americans and Latinos"

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2456015/New-report-shows-racist-LAPD-dogs-bite-blacks-Latinos.html

Silver said...

The Wonderlic data was interesting. Dante Culpepper, Dan Marino, and Jim Kelly all scored 15 but these "dunces" are ranked, respectively, 14th, 17th, and 28th on the NFL career passer rating list.

Jerry Angelo said...

Selecting people in their early twenties is always going to be a crap shoot, but there are some obvious mistakes. How many short (under 6'2") and slow QB have been successful in the NFL? One; Sonny Jurgensen, who had one of the most accurate throwing arms ever seen. That does not stop some teams from drafting them (e.g., Rex Grossman in the first round in 2003 by the Bears).

ben tillman said...

Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow can't get a job in the NFL

He can get a job as a non-QB, but he's not interested.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
The superbowl between Steelers and Cowboys that ended 34 to 31, that was epic.


Final Score was 35-31. Get it right. Thought everyone knew that one.




Yeah, that one was a heartbreaker.



Maybe for ya'll but for others it was BIG TIME FINE! HAAAAAAA!!! BIG TIME FINE!

And ya'll got Jackie Smith to blame! Goat! Choker! Ol' man Landry couldn't get 'er done! Roger dodger choked!

Finest hr and greatest moment in 70's NFL. HA!

And thats all I have to say about that!!!

James Kabala said...

I would like to see Tebow succeed, but his preseason performance as third-string quarterback for the Patriots was terrible. Belichick and Kraft very much wanted to keep him, but in the end there was no way they could justify it.

Matthew said...

LOL. Racist police dogs. Talk about a thread winner.

Matthew said...

Totally OT, but an interesting take on diversity I thought of after reading yet another article about the mess of Africa and it's supposed root cause, the aftermath colonialism.

1) Diversity is good for the West.

2) Africa's a mess because the Europeans left countries filled with incompatible tribes.

Filling Western countries with diverse peoples is good. Filling African countries with diverse peoples is bad. Discuss.

Anonymous said...

How come no conservative leader has called for a massive civil disobedience to not sign up for 'Obamacare'? If all those oppose refuse together and stick together, what can the government do?

Anonymous said...

http://m.theatlanticcities.com/housing/2013/10/where-even-middle-class-cant-afford-live-any-more/7194/#.UloJ0ocHlfo.facebook

Dave Pinsen said...

Expand Medicare to all as a single-payer system, which is what the Dems want anyway.

Anonymous said...

"but Blaine Gabbart is a pretty good example of another Mizzou QB who was wrongly scouted"

Perhaps the scouts were in love with his Wonderlic score of 42, which is among the highest ever recorded among NFL players. In fact, it would probably put him at Mensa-level IQ in the general population. Obviously, his Wonderlic score didn't carry over to the playing field.

CJ said...

To put it another way: why was Ryan Leaf a bust? Presumably people know now, or at least have theories. Whatever the reason, isn't it something that could have been seen beforehand? Why wasn't it?

Here's somebody who claims to have foreseen it.

Brain Doctor Predicted Leaf Would Be Falling

Truth said...

"If the media and sports industry thought he was gay, they'd be promoting him."

Yep, but for that to happen, a team owner would have to give him a job. The media does not own teams, and no billionaire in his right mind is going to hire the most important American Christian since Billy Graham, knowing that he could come out as a pillow-biter at any minute. The ramifications of that are almost unthinkable.

The media does not own teams, people do, and the NFL is the only league that does not allow corporate ownership.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q8ySiErb4hY

Frontline: League of Denial

Anonymous said...

"To put it another way: why was Ryan Leaf a bust? Presumably people know now, or at least have theories. Whatever the reason, isn't it something that could have been seen beforehand? Why wasn't it?"

"Here's somebody who claims to have foreseen it. Brain Doctor Predicted Leaf Would Be Falling."

But how much of Leaf's failure was due to his own problems or to poor offensive line protection, bad receiving, and bad calls ordered by coaches?

It's like Michael Jordan didn't win a championship for Chicago for a long time before he got just the right combination of players who gave him just the kind of support he needed. And then, Chicago won a whole bunch.

There seems to be too many variables involved in football to single out one player for blame.

Anonymous said...

But in the case of Ryan Leaf, maybe he failed cuz he looked like a cartoon character or a hillbilly clown.

http://ama-cdn.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/superphoto/11277231.jpg

Antioco Dascalon said...

There's a fundamental problem here of self-selection. Ideally, to determine whether draft picks are well-chosen, the picks should be done double-blind, so that no one, not the coaches nor the player himself, knows what round he was picked. This would be necessary to avoid an imbalance of resources or expectations. Example:
Two QBs are identical but one is drafted in the first round and one in the 6th round. So, the former is guaranteed millions of dollars and the latter the league minimum. Won't the team put tremendous pressure and extra time, resources, etc into progressing the first rounder more than the 6th? This alone could explain the greater success of first rounders, especially in the first few years. They are given a greater chance to succeed and greater resources. Of course, you could argue that they are under greater pressure to succeed quickly, so it could be bad for a certain type of late-bloomer QB who needs time to grow into the job. But again, that shows the difficulty of just using the statistics available to us.

d.... said...

Did the brain doc predict that Ryan Leaf would end up in the slammer?

http://playboysfw.kinja.com/ryan-leafs-jailhouse-confessions-written-by-his-cell-1254883817

Steve Sailer said...

That's why I looked at average number of Pro Bowls per QB by place in the draft, which gets around most of the problems you cite of high draft picks being played more because of the money and prestige invested in them.