Chip Kelly, one of the most progressive coaches in the NFL, did an interview with MMQB’s Peter King where he talked about how detrimental that NFL Draft can be.
Kelly says the draft creates unrealistic and arbitrarily high expectations for first-year players at a time when they need space to grow.
Here’s Kelly’s explanation for what makes the draft so bad (read the entire thing here):
“What’s the worst thing about the league? I said the draft. I mean, the hype that goes into the draft is insane. Totally insane. The biggest thing for me is that everybody thinks whoever you drafted or whoever you signed is now gonna be a saviour . They come in just like me and you come in as freshmen in high school or freshmen in college, or your first year on the job at Sports Illustrated — you’re not telling people what to do, you’re just trying to figure out what room to go to. I think a lot of times the hype turns into really, really hard times for the individual who got picked, because there’s so many expectations of everyone building them up to be Superman because they had three months to write about them and talk about them. Then when they get picked, they’re a very, very good prospect, but there’s a learning curve when you go from any job out of college into a company. If you take a job at Wells Fargo when you get out of college, your first day of the job they don’t say, ‘He’s our first-round draft pick, he’s the saviour to the company!'”
NFL rookies aren’t normal entry-level employees. Because of the limited size of NFL rosters and the high degree of turnover in the sport, rookies serve critical functions from Day One. And that’s where the NFL Draft hype machine becomes a problem. Being a good prospect doesn’t make you a good football player right now. The perception of how good NFL rookies will be — created by the pre-draft process — is inconsistent with the reality of how good they are.
The NFL is one of the key pieces of machinery that manufactures hype around NFL Draft prospects. It broadcasts the NFL Combine, employs of bunch of draft experts, and devotes hours of discussion to individual prospects. As a result, the league is setting up rookies to be exposed.
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