Tom Brady and Jamarcus Russell are two great examples of how the NFL draft process can be more about luck than judgement.
Jamarcus Russell was selected number one overall by the Oakland Raiders in 2007, and was expected to be the Quarterback who would lead the Raiders to several Super Bowl championships over the subsequent decade.
Tom Brady was selected in round six, number 199 overall, and was expected to be the backup to New England Patriots starting quarterback Drew Bledsoe.
One of these Quarterbacks has won three Super Bowls and appeared in a further two, and the other is attempting to make a comeback into the league after two years out of the game.
Despite being seen as the the top College prospect in 2007, Russell struggled massively in Oakland, failing adjust to the speed and complexity of the the NFL in comparison to the College game.
He became lazy after signing a mega-contract worth over $50m in guaranteed money, and ballooned in weight so much so he became heavier than his offensive lineman. In 2010, the Raiders had seen enough, and cut ties with the player they drafted just three years prior.
Tom Brady on the other hand was not deemed good enough by any team, with six Quarterbacks selected ahead of him. Despite his inauspicious start, Tom Brady is now one of the best Quarterbacks of all time, and is the most recognisable face in the league, both in America and globally.
It seems strange that a talent like Brady could be overlooked by NFL officials whilst at College.
Scouts and coaches don’t look at players overall, they see who is creating the most plays, and surely take note of media hype and exposure. Russell had all of that, due to the fact he won a national championship while at LSU; everyone in the country knew who he was.
Brady on the other hand, struggled to hold down the starting spot at Michigan and when he did play, he produced solid, unspectacular performances, which did not catch the attention of many scouts.
The problems with the luck over judgement debate are deeper rooted that simply poor choices when it comes to the pressure of the draft. College scouting as a whole is very poor compared to what it could and arguably should be if the NFL teams put more time and effort into examining every player in the college system, rather than simply taking note of the media darlings and most statistically pleasing men.