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View Full Version : The First Pick in the Draft--"The Loser's Curse"


Texans_Chick
01-03-2006, 09:08 PM
Apologies if this has been posted before, and sorry if I am interrupting important Reggie Bush HS video clips or neener neener kinds of Bush draft debates, but I found a wonderful eggheaded football article about NFL draft valuation:

The Loser's Curse: Overconfidence v. Market Efficiency in the National Football League Draft (http://faculty.fuqua.duke.edu/%7Ecadem/bio/massey%20&%20thaler%20-%20loser%27s%20curse.pdf) (pdf file)

The internets are a wonderful thing. :)

If you don't mind hurting your brain a little bit, there is actually lots of interesting information in this paper. It was written in April of 2005 and maybe they might be rethinking some of their discussions of Eli Manning/Giant draft strategery, but it is pretty interesting if you are into draft discussions that go a little beyond Bush-is-so-great-they-named-the-airport-after-him.

The premise behind the paper is that "the supposed benefit bestowed on the worst team in the league, the right to pick first in the draft, is not really a benefit at all, unless the team trades it away."

Basically, they do an analysis of performance and value and come to the conclusion that the best value picks can be found at players 25-75. These aren't necessarily the best players but they are the best values. It talks some about opportunity costs of paying the top players of the draft, meaning that you can't spend money on other parts of your team. Their premise is that since the NFL, unlike MLB, is under a salary cap, the teams that do the best job of signing player 25-75 will have the best chances of success.

That being said, the article says that the market for picks is actually going the other way--that the top picks are overvalued.

The reasons they suggest that the top picks are overvalued, even though more sucess can be found in the 25-75 range is as the paper suggests that 1. most GMs don't understand concepts of value, see e.g. Moneyball; 2. the teams are valuing things other than on field performance, such as getting high profile players to help with marketing and getting people to the stadium.

Please, I would like others comments on this paper. I am more inclined to know football v. economics, but unfortunately these days the two collide more often than not. Anybody who has some interesting things to say about the paper, maybe as it relates to the Texans past and future picks, I'd be interested to hear it.

I still don't know what I think about our #1 pick. I tend to think that flashy ability plus marketing is going to get us to sign Bush unless the craziest trade offer ever comes across their desk. A trade that gets us real starters and not just more rookie cannon fodder that is learning (and making mistakes) on the job.

I am also not advocating the position sorta taken in the paper--sort of a NFL moneyball point of view. I really do think there is something to the actual evaluation of talent, competitiveness, leadership etc that goes beyond just numbers, and that over the years, the best teams have drafted with a good eye for that.

But there is lots good info in the paper that is worth looking at if you can wade through the eggheadisms. Some of the more interesting stuff to me was the average career length of players and number of starts etc. Don't forget to look at the charts at the end.

Anyhow, this should muddy up the Bush debates some more. heh. I will say that I don't remember ever this sort of hype for any one player, head and shoulders above anyone else. There's draft hype and then there is 2006 DRAFT HYPE DELUXE. It sorta throws all the economics models out the window.

(Personally, I am just hoping that this pick isn't cursed because so many people rooted against the Texans to get it--that is such a jinx. I am hoping optimism trumps my bad illogical jinx thinking).

Thanks for any thoughtful comments on this. :texflag:

ATX
01-03-2006, 09:35 PM
Hey we have 3 picks between 25 and 75 plus the number 1 pick.:drool:

beerlover
01-03-2006, 09:45 PM
I really like your thought process, but not every year is there a clear cut #1 pick but when there is like this year the reasoning is more compelling to get a better return on your investment (draft pick). Therefore either way the Texans come out winners (which is all that really matters to me anyway) if Casserly refuses all offers and drafts Bush the Texans will be a better team and if Casserly accepts the best offer (trading Bush) the Texans will still be a better team :goodbad:

Grid
01-03-2006, 10:23 PM
you dont really need stats to figure this out. Look at the top players in the league and see how many of them were drafted in the top 5. When a true talent is available.. getting him #1 overall can pay dividends in the future.

Unfortunately (or fortunately) there isnt always a player of Bush's potential available.

You also gotta keep in mind that the team with the #1 pick is USUALLY a poorly run team... teams that have the #1 pick every couple of seasons will waste the pick on a player that isnt worth it because they dont have a good scouting department..or a savvy person in charge of drafting. Also.. these top players are being drafted into teams without much talent, and since the NFL is such a team based sport, a good player will end up looking alot worse on a team that doesnt have the talent to make him look better.

Basicly.. the numbers are skewed.

If it makes ya feel any better though.. we have 3 picks in the 25-75 range.. so we will have plenty of "value" picks to go along with Bush.

Texans_Chick
01-03-2006, 10:56 PM
I really like your thought process, but not every year is there a clear cut #1 pick but when there is like this year the reasoning is more compelling to get a better return on your investment (draft pick). Therefore either way the Texans come out winners (which is all that really matters to me anyway) if Casserly refuses all offers and drafts Bush the Texans will be a better team and if Casserly accepts the best offer (trading Bush) the Texans will still be a better team :goodbad:


Technically it is not a win/win because one of the points of the paper is that it is very difficult to evaluate talent. That even with more information, it doesn't necessarily translate to a winning pick.

Bush is the consensus #1 pick which means he has bigtime value to other teams, whether it is because of his talent or the marketing opportunties related to him. But it is not a win/win if he has some sort of injury, or if his talents are ill-suited to the NFL because so much money is sunk into that pick, and there are the opportunity costs of what you woulda got had you traded the pick. (i.e. one of the biggest reasons people are not happy with the Babin pick).

Given the salary cap nature of the league, one really bad #1 pick can kill you because it sucks up resources you can't spend on the rest of your team.

So, I guess that means I am in the boat of, we sign Reggie and hope he is a great player unless we get just a gi-normously wonderful deal.

stevo3883
01-03-2006, 11:33 PM
Bush is injury free. Has excellent character. Is a great team guy. Is VERY marketable. Is very versatile. Has been very productive. Plays best in biggest games. Can take over a game, and has potential to turn anything into a big play.

basically, you can throw out the books with this guy. If there is one guy I'd bet my car that won't bust (barring injury, but that doesnt make you a bust)

its reggie bush

Texas_Thrill
01-04-2006, 11:03 AM
I think you all make compelling arguments here. I'd refer most of you to check out jerek's drafts of the past 10 years to look at the #1 picks overall there.

Truth be told the player from first pick to last pick is a 50/50 chance to boom or bust. Just some end up being pricier than others.

I still feel like games are won and lost in the TRENCHES. I think our trenches should be addressed twice b/w rounds 1-3. I dont want to see like last year we wait until round 5 to pick someone.

I'd like to see us trade back since we do have 4 picks in the top 70. and 3 in that slot you named TC.

Again I am for Defense with the 1st pick b/c D wins CHAMPIONSHIPS but my heart will not break if Reggie Bush's name is called.

MorKnolle
01-04-2006, 11:32 AM
Jerek's post is quite good. I don't agree 100% with a couple of his assessments, but that's his opinion vs. mine. Another handy page to check out on NFL.com is:
http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/ones
and
http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/twos
These show a complete listing of every #1 and #2 overall pick in the history of the NFL draft, including their position, college, NFL team, and how many years they lasted in the league, how many Pro Bowls they made, and if they are in the Hall of Fame. It's an interesting tool to examine how many of these top players actually lasted a long time in the league, how many of those years they were considered among the league's elite, and if they made the Hall of Fame or not. Just an FYI if anyone wants to check that out too.

Texans_Chick
01-04-2006, 02:48 PM
Bush is injury free. Has excellent character. Is a great team guy. Is VERY marketable. Is very versatile. Has been very productive. Plays best in biggest games. Can take over a game, and has potential to turn anything into a big play.

basically, you can throw out the books with this guy. If there is one guy I'd bet my car that won't bust (barring injury, but that doesnt make you a bust)

its reggie bush

Do you own a nice car?

Tell Bennie Joppru about that injury not making you a bust thing. Some posters put his injury on CC even though Joppru dint have a history of being injured. (I am not one of the blame CC people for the Joppru pick--sometimes bad stuff happens).

Not that I am arguing against picking Reggie. It is just a whole lot of $$$$ and opportunity costs riding on one player. My point of view right now is that we pick Reggie unless a team goes insane and makes us an offer that we really can't refuse--picks and great needed players.

If we go the Reggie route, I want us to lock him up early--get him in early and learn him up.

Texans_Chick
01-04-2006, 02:49 PM
Another handy page to check out on NFL.com is:
http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/ones
and
http://www.nfl.com/draft/history/twos
These show a complete listing of every #1 and #2 overall pick in the history of the NFL draft, including their position, college, NFL team, and how many years they lasted in the league, how many Pro Bowls they made, and if they are in the Hall of Fame. It's an interesting tool to examine how many of these top players actually lasted a long time in the league, how many of those years they were considered among the league's elite, and if they made the Hall of Fame or not. Just an FYI if anyone wants to check that out too.


That is cool. Thanks for the link.

stevo3883
01-04-2006, 02:53 PM
Do you own a nice car?

Tell Bennie Joppru about that injury not making you a bust thing. Some posters put his injury on CC even though Joppru dint have a history of being injured. (I am not one of the blame CC people for the Joppru pick--sometimes bad stuff happens).

Not that I am arguing against picking Reggie. It is just a whole lot of $$$$ and opportunity costs riding on one player. My point of view right now is that we pick Reggie unless a team goes insane and makes us an offer that we really can't refuse--picks and great needed players.

If we go the Reggie route, I want us to lock him up early--get him in early and learn him up.

a serious career ending injury doesnt make you a bust.


Getting hurt 3 times before you ever take a snap, thats just ridiculous. I played football and baseball for 8 years and Wrestled for 10, and I cant imagine what he was doing to have that happen to him. He mustve been on roids or something to weaken his joints as those injuries in succession isnt normal.




and is your whole stance that he is going to cost a lot of money and might get injured? Every player holds that same chance, and its just part of the game. thats never a reason to not draft a player.

And the amount we'll pay for Reggie will only be about $7million more than we paid Andre

Jack Bauer
01-04-2006, 05:29 PM
Texans_Chick, let me say I am really impressed with your posts! Great job. Thanks.

edo783
01-04-2006, 08:22 PM
He mustve been on roids or something to weaken his joints as those injuries in succession isnt normal.

IMO, you shouldn't be putting things like that out there without some sort of proof. BJ has never been hurt and they are tested for drugs, so to say something like that is more than a bit irresposible IMO. Strange stuff happens. Once I had three car accidents in a two week period and was parked all three times. So, just because he came up hurt twice (2 times it was the same goin thing) doesn't make him a bust or a drug user, just very unlucky.

ArlingtonTexan
01-04-2006, 08:39 PM
Darn, I thought I had two more weeks before I started reading papers which overanalyze fairly simple concepts.