April 14th, 2011
Czabe has been all over NFL Films’ “Brady 6” show. It’s full of amazing stuff. For instance, Giovanni Carmazzi, the second QB selected in the Brady draft (Brady was the 7th, the 199th overall pick) isn’t just out of football: He’s a goat herder somewhere in northern California.
If you watch the video you see NFL types justifying why they didn’t pick Brady–you know, their problem was, they weren’t able to crack open his chest and look at his heart. Ugh.
But the idea of the Brady 6 gets the the very interesting (if Gladwell-ish) question of understanding and judging talent. And what talent is (and isn’t).
There are two types of errors in evaluating talent, over- and under-estimation. I’d guess that over-estimation (Ryan Leaf) is a lot more understandable mistake. You’re trying to out-smart everyone else. You’re guessing about hidden upside. You can see why people miss in that direction. Under-estimation is harder to explain. To a certain degree, there are going to be random errors that are just baked in the cake–no system of talent evaluation is perfect. So you’ll get Michael Jordan taken third. Or Joe Montana picked 82nd.
But Brady at #199?
The big question is whether that’s a systemic failure, or just normal random error in the process. I don’t understand enough about either Brady or the scouting process or the mechanics of football to know the answer, but I’d love to read the analysis of someone who does.
The truly interesting question about Brady for me is the “system” question. Brady is gifted enough that as one of the 6 said, he’d have been successful anywhere – but would that success have been more like a Marc Bulger experience? How many great quarterbacks are there who just fail in the NFL because they’re square pegs in round holes? Is Tyler Thigpen the greatest quarterback of his generation, unknown because no one runs the spread?
I wonder about that too. I have watched Alex Smith struggle over the last couple of years. Sometimes he looks great other times, well better not talk about is. I keep thinking if he had a decent offensive coordinator and system he could have been a pretty good QB (maybe not Aaron Rodgers ) instead of being part of the extremely dysfunctional 49ers.