The Vermont Cynic

Near-sighted NFL draft strategies


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Patience is a very valuable trait in the NFL world for players, coaches and front offices as well as the entire fan base; it’s also something that has, unfortunately, grown nearly extinct.

Gone are the days of drafting a quarterback in the first round with the intention of having him sit and learn behind the organization’s savvy veteran for a few years.

Today, quarterbacks drafted in the first round are often expected to come in and play at an extremely high level from day one.
The root of the problem lies in the fan base.

When a fan base is upset about a bad year, the last thing they want to do is be patient while their new top draft pick sits on the bench for what will probably be a couple more lackluster years.

In this day and age of Web 2.0 with companies having more deeply connected relationships with fans/consumers than ever, it’s much easier for organizations to hear, and subsequently act upon, all the negative noise that surrounds a team.

The recent NFL draft is just another example of this rampant impatience perverting every decision made in front offices.

The Los Angeles Rams and the Philadelphia Eagles both made similar moves, as they traded a barrage of picks from this draft as well as the drafts for the next two years to acquire the top selections this year. The Rams selected University of California, Berkeley quarterback Jared Goff while the Eagles went with North Dakota State University quarterback Carson Wentz.

This is the second straight year quarterbacks have been the top two selections. An ideal situation: these guys would sit for at least two years, playing sparsely as they grow used to the accelerated speed and strength of the pro game.

What realistically will happen: they will be thrown to the wolves and their football carcasses will be left rotting after fanatic buzzards and expert analysts have picked apart every interception and minute mistake.

This image grows more unavoidable when one considers the complete lack of wide receiver talent both of these guys are walking into.

Another level of impatience lies in the draft trades themselves. So much of the futures of these teams have been leveraged in these near-sighted deals, where the team has opted for a small chance at immediate success over a larger chance at long term success.

I believe ownership is only as patient as the fan base, so I humbly ask all of you to please slow your roll.

Because of impatience and the insatiable need for immediate gratification exhibited by professional fan bases, winning takes on an exponential or snowball quality to it. Successful franchises are given the opportunity to continue to prosper only because recent success has bought them a certain leeway with the fans.

If the NFL provided more job security, both in terms of young players and coaches, it would result in plans asymmetrical to the ones outlined above by the Rams and Eagles.

Teams would think more in terms of successful longevity rather than trying to quickly soothe the crying baby that is their fan base. The end result would be less turnover, equating to a less diluted product on the field.

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Near-sighted NFL draft strategies