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Cliff Cline

You can't cover all angles in any short piece - I get it.

A weakness of the assertions that I have read here is the apparent disregard for the economic engine which requires inputs as well.

For instance, does a quarterback taken first who is from the NFL city he is drafted into have more value to the franchise than a statistically identical one from out of town. Will he fill more seats, create a better vibe, provide an "it" factor the whole team benefits from and produce a better home record due to said "it" factor.

How measureable is this kind of parameter? I am sure someone can find a way. Kind of like valuing a stock, some irrational gut feelings play into many "professional" opinions.


How appropriate is 'Blink' to Tim Tebow just getting drafted in the first round. Cover his face and name and this guy never gets drafted based on his skill set. People are blinded by this guy's personality and the team he played for. I really don't see him doing anything in the NFL


What would be a good idea, in my opinion, is to see what draft position gives the highest value with the lowest standard deviation. I think this stat would be a bit difficult to come up with, however, if you found that the most valuable draft position was in between the 2nd and 3rd round, what I would do on a yearly basis is, trade away my first round pick for multiple picks in that range.

This way, your likelihood of getting a player who will add value to the team, while keeping the salary of the team under control, would be much higher, and in turn give the team more freedom to get a free agent that would put them into the playoffs, and super bowl.

Lastly I want to say, I think the most important part of this is that, general managers aren't always looking for the best player. In my opinion, they are probably looking for the best player who will put people in seats and sell jerseys. However, even that thinking can be calculated. I think a team could do a cost benefit analysis of a player vs. getting a free agent in the same position, who is already established.

GM's are very irrational, and I think that the whole combine/workout for the NFL has too much emphasis.

I believe that like different economies around the world, every player has a TFP or some A in production functiong Y=AKL, were K=athletic ability L=Wonderlic score.

Most players will fall under a specific range but they will fall all over the draft. In this case, its this A that differentiates who is a star and who isn't. If there is a way for GM's to calculate this A of football players, and see what player is most productive, holding K and L constant, I think we'd have people making smarter decisions.

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then you hve $5 million less to
then you have $5 million less to

it is not easy to making decisions
it is not easy to make decisions



I love your writing and am a big fan. In this particular instance I cannot help but think, however, that you may be oversimplifying a situation in a way that leads to a misleading conclusion.

First of all, the entire calculation of a players worth versus performance seems to be based upon an expectation of a linear correlation instead of other options such as an exponential relationship to pay versus performance. A player who is the best in the world maybe worth 1000 times or more what the 10th best player is worth if the difference means winning the championship.

Secondly the entire analysis overlooks the fact that Quarterbacks who are drafted into the NFL frequently undergo an extensive training apprenticeship process before they begin to start in the games that can last months or even a year or more. The player's eventual success could be significantly influnced by how competent teams are in their role as trainers.

In other words the quarterback is drafted for their potential, but their success on the field is in part due to how well the team cultivates and shapes this potential even further.

And finally, predicting success in aggregate is dicey because some coaches do this whole thing better than others, and the success of a particular quarterback may have to do with the style of offense the Coach is building. Joe Montana was not the number one draft pick, but he was the one Bill Walsh wanted because he recognized in Montana the charactersitics that would enable him to effectively run the offense Walsh was creating. Had Montana instead gone elsewhere he might have been a washout if his particular talents did not mesh with the offense.

Thanks again for a stimulating and thought provoking piece.


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Tim Tebow surpasses traditional conceptualizations and quibbling over such mundane matters as salary and draft pick scuttlebut.

The legendary Tim Tebow will just give whatever money he gets from football to charity for the betterment of orphans and mankind in general.

Daniel Foley Jr.

I read the article about Quarterbacks and couldn't help but feel like maybe football could benefit from a minor league system. I know it might be a bit unruly and that college is supposed to be the "minor league" for the pros, but, at least for the quarterback position, it might be beneficial. Look at baseball. At any one time, MLB teams have something like 15-20 outfielders in their system, about 75-ish pitchers, and at least 6 to 8 players auditioning for every other position. By the time a guy makes it to the big leagues in baseball, he's a lot less likely to flop.

Mike Breidenbach

Interesting story. I wonder if the NBA is better than the NFL in terms of predicting the eventual success of first rounders? I know that for every Sam Bowie there is a Michael Jordan or Hakeem Olajuwon, right? My gut says the percentage of success seem higher to me in the NBA draft, I wonder if statistics support my guess?

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There are two separate issues with respect to quarterbacks. The first is whether, historically, NFL teams have done a good job of predicting which college quarterbacks will succeed in the pros. Dave Berri and Rob Simmons’ paper in the Journal of Productivity Analysis (th

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