"The Quarterback Quandary"
That’s the name of an article I wrote for NFL.com, about the importance — and difficulty — of picking a good quarterback in the NFL draft. I also hosted an NFL Network program (video preview here) on the same topic, to air in conjunction with this week’s draft.
Excerpt from the article:
It’s not fair to say that the NFL draft is a total crapshoot. First-round players generally perform better than second-round players, who generally perform better than third-rounders and so on.
But there’s a dirty little secret that most people won’t acknowledge, or don’t even recognize. Selecting a player in the draft is essentially trying to predict the future, and human beings are simply not very good at it.
How do we know this?
First of all, there’s this quote from Niels Bohr, the Nobel-winning physicist: “Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.” But don’t take Bohr’s word for it. Let’s look at evidence from a couple of fields unrelated to the NFL draft: finance and politics.
In recent years, academic researchers have been charting the predictions made by high-ranking experts in those fields. What they’ve found is quite sobering. When it comes to describing how the future will unfold, the typical financial or political expert does about as well as a monkey with a dartboard. Even more sobering, experts who have a particular concentration of knowledge do even worse in that area; and the more famous an expert, the more likely he is to fail.
Repeat after me: Predicting the future is really, really hard. Meteorologists have gotten pretty good at making three-day weather forecasts. Four days? Not so good.