I don’t post a whole lot of thoughts on football, since it’s probably #3 on my list of favorite sports behind baseball and basketball, but it’s too hard to pass up a comment on this excellent post by Doug Drinen at the Pro-football-reference blog.
Recent studies have shown that, because of the amount of money typically given to top draft picks, the best-valued draft picks are somewhere between the end of the first round and the end of the second round. This is not good news for a 2-14 team that has to pick first in the draft, because they have to spend a ton of cap space on one player, possibly handicapping them even further in the future. If the point of the NFL draft is to help the poor teams out, it’s not really serving its purpose.
So, Professor Doug Drinen politely suggests that the NFL completely scrap the draft and let all rookies enter the league as free agents. That way, teams with cap space can make offers for the players they like, and the teams without cap space (presumably the better teams) won’t have as much to spend. The better teams will sign just a few inexpensive players to plug holes, while others may want to pursue the very best.
This is a very interesting concept, though it probably would come across to the NFL as something that’s too crazy to actually consider. The NFL is perhaps the best-managed of the major pro sports, though, so we’ll see what happens. I suggest you read Doug’s post to fully understand what he’s saying.