How to Lose Millions in a Day Without Benefit of the Stock Market

Matthew J. Darnell, writing on Yahoo!’s N.F.L. blog, talks about how Andre Smith, an Alabama offensive lineman slotted as a potential overall No. 1 draft pick, has destroyed his own value with a series of bad decisions and, most recently, a really bad workout in front of pro scouts:

I can’t recall anyone’s draft stock falling quite like Andre Smith’s. Picture Wilford Brimley‘s frail and helpless body tumbling end-over-end off a cliff, picking up speed as it goes (Note: Do not picture this if you are Wilford Brimley, or someone who knows him). That’s about what we’re looking at here.

Darnell quotes a report from

His bench press results were a pitiful 19 reps. His position work was also very mediocre. One scout has told us is it the “worst workout he ever saw” and a number of scouts are cranky that they made the long trip to Alabama to watch the pitiful workout. A second scout has told us “Smith lost millions of dollars.”

It is an eternal and interesting question: how can someone with such strong incentives to do the right thing spend so much energy doing the wrong thing? The same could be asked, of course, about Eliot Spitzer or Bernie Madoff.

But the N.F.L. draft is more of a zero-sum game than either politics or money management. Smith’s loss is someone else’s gain, almost dollar-for-dollar.

Fans of Michael Lewis‘s book The Blind Side will be pleased to know that its subject, the Ole Miss offensive lineman Michael Oher, is also entering the draft this year and is therefore in a position to grab a few of Smith’s dollars. But according to The Sporting News, Oher hasn’t done much to help his own cause either.


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  1. Howard Tayler says:

    While that kind of scale is out of reach for most of us, the principle certainly applies to nigh everyone. There are times when good performance will be disproportionately rewarded, and bad performance disproportionately penalized.

    The words “good career move” and “career suicide” leap to mind.

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  2. econobiker says:

    Maybe it comes down to the big fish in a small pond versus a small fish in a big pond type deal. That he doesn’t understand that he needs to be the best possible to get to the next level because he is enjoying the top of this level.

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  3. Mr. Soul says:

    How much effort, or lack thereof, does someone have to put in to avoid being picked by the Detroit Lions or other low achieving team?

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  4. Fred T. says:

    While there’s no doubt that Andre Smith has done a good amount of shooting himself in the foot, I also wonder how much of his stock falling has to do with teams not wanting to pay a lot for a guy with huge question marks now hanging over his head. It’s quite easy for the scouts to manipulate things and decide that because Smith isn’t showing the level of commitment they want, they’ll just start knocking him down a few notches.

    In the end, Smith will still garner a high draft pick. There were plenty of questions surrounding Vince Young’s Wonderlic test results (was it a 6 or a 16?) and he still went as the #3 overall choice.

    Some coach or GM out there won’t be able to resist the temptation to think they can shape him up and get the pro-bowl tackle that everybody else got scared away from.

    Heck, even Maurice Clarett (the previous incarnation of Andre Smith?) got drafted on the first day of the draft when most “experts” didn’t think he’d get selected until Day 2, if at all.

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  5. C.Larity says:

    What’s really sad is that if he falls out of the first round, he’ll be paid less in the NFL than he was at Alabama.

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  6. luke says:

    the odd thing is is that it might help his NFL career, if not his paycheck.

    first round picks, particularly for potential no. 1’s, are very expensive for teams. now, it will cost less for a team to draft him. this means more teams might be interested at his apparent potential the new bargain price, figuring that he might have had a bad day, or just not trained much before, and he could be spiffed up in the off season, or maybe even for a year and a half from now.

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  7. Trevor L says:

    It is possible that both Oher and Smith understand the rarity of quality left-tackles (especcially since Michael Lewis’s bestselling book). Oher and Smith may thus know that there is a shortage of left-tackles and they are certain to be picked in the top 15 picks of the draft no matter how hard they try. Therefore, they take advantage, sit back, and wait for the inevitable million-dollar contract which is going to come their way no matter what.

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  8. dude says:

    Lol, commenter 3 is probably right. I myself would consider tanking a workout to avoid playing for the worst team in the history of the NFL. Pay cut? sure, but he’ll still get millions over his career, assuming he can hack it at LT.

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