Then the NFL got into the act with the Scouting Combine (held, ironically, in Indianapolis), where the meat-market analogy only got more pronounced. Vertical leaps, 40 times, Wunderlich tests, and other nonsense helped determine a man’s worth.
Yet a basic truth remains. None of us have any idea of how drafted players will fare in the NFL. All we know for sure is that some will succeed, and some won’t.
But that doesn’t stop us from putting forth two genuine pieces of nonsense that all sensible fans should avoid. One is mock drafts, which have as much value as mock NCAA basketball tournament brackets before Selection Sunday.
Sure, they entertain and amuse, but they’re completely worthless. Teams will trade up, or down, right up until draft day, and even if they didn’t, there’s no extra points for getting a mock draft right. Anything that makes a sports topic more about the analysts, and less about the subjects, is a folly.
Then, once the draft is done, you get those instant grades about how teams fared. Like the mock drafts, they’re interesting reading material, but otherwise foolish.
You need two years, at least, to determine how a draft class in a certain season fared. Judging the relative worth of players before a single minicamp or training camp, never mind a game, is yet another chance for “experts” to get face time without spreading any actual knowledge.
This brings us back to Andrew Luck, and the challenge he confronts. Unlike just about every other player heading to the NFL in the fall of 2012, Luck’s greatness is assumed. He won’t be allowed to grow and learn. Either he’s legendary at the get-go, or he’ll get crushed, because no one likes to be wrong and will point the finger at Luck if exalted expectations are not met.