Draft DayCredit: CBS Sports

The NFL is a risky business and here is why. When an organization is going to draft a player, they are not just picking a player to play on their team. That organization is making an investment in that player; and to put that into perspective to normal people like us the number one draft choice will likely be around a 30 million dollar investment over 4 years. So when the organizations are looking to make these picks they have to look at every little detail of that player and make sure that they are comfortable with investing a large amount of money into him. So in this article there will be examples of good investments and bad investments throughout.

            In every draft there are the "can't miss" prospects that actually end up "missing". The famous example of a "can't miss" prospect missing is JaMarcus Russell who was drafted by the Oakland Raiders and went on to having one of the most underachieving careers of all time. JaMarcus Russell’s contract with the Raiders was for 6 years and a total of 54.54 million dollars[1]. JaMarcus Russell’s lack of performance caused him to be benched in his fourth season and released shortly after the season. So JaMarcus Russell the “can’t miss” prospect made 39.6 million dollars in 4 years while having one of the worst careers ever played by a quarterback[1]. That is an investment gone bad. Now another player who did not shape out to be what the team wanted from him is Ryan Leaf. Ryan Leaf was a “can’t miss” prospect out of Washing State and he was drafted 2nd overall by the San Diego Chargers. Leaf severely underachieved through his 4 year career in the NFL and the man drafted in front of Leaf was Peyton Manning who has put together a Hall of Fame career. JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf are considered two of the biggest “busts” in the history of the NFL Draft.


            As easy as it is to become a “bust” it is equally easy to be considered a “diamond in the rough”. The epitome of a player who is a diamond in the rough would be Tom Brady of the New England Patriots. Brady has put up Hall of Fame numbers but he was drafted in the 6th round out of Michigan where he only started for two seasons and one point was 7th on the depth chart at Michigan. After being drafted he signed his rookie contract for 3 years and $866,500; two years later he signed an extension for 5 years and 32.5 million[2]. Tom Brady’s current 9 million dollar per year contract is quite an upgrade for the steal the Patriots got him for as a rookie. Tom Brady was a very sound investment by the New England Patriots.  

The NFL Draft is one of those things where it is impossible to predict, yet every year NFL draft Analysts try their hand at predicting what the organizations will do. In this year's draft the majority of analysts have Jadeveon Clowney as the consensus number one overall pick, AKA,  a "can't miss" prospect. Even though, he is a "can't miss" prospect he does have his doubters and they have reasons for doubting him. A few analysts believe he lacks drive or a motor, they do not believe he gives 100% on every single play. His film from college does support that, however players do not have the ultimate motivator, money. These organizations are questioning him because they must do their due diligence if they are going to be dishing out roughly 30 million daollars to him. And in the end, this is all for just one pick in this year's NFL draft out of 256. So imagine the amount of time these organizations are spending on doing all this background research on all these prospects.

 The pressure has turned on now more than ever for these organizations because they do not want to be the team that drafts a "bust" or a guy who is a risk to not be successful in the NFL. However they do want everyone of their late round picks to be a “diamond in the rough”. There are a tremendous amount of risks involved in making these "investments" and it makes Draft Day that much more exciting.