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 (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.