The NFL Should Have A Draft Lottery

The Indianapolis Colts had an awkward problem at the end of the regular season. If they won their last game, they would forfeit the #1 pick in the NFL draft. They won their next-to-last game, placing them at risk for losing the #1 pick.

The NFL should have a draft lottery, to avoid the embarrassing problem where a team might lose on purpose to get the #1 pick.

Under the old CBA, the #1 draft pick wasn’t necessarily a great deal. The #1 pick typically got a huge contract and signing bonus. That made the #1 pick not as valuable as it seemed.

Under the new CBA, there’s a limit on rookie contracts. It’s a slotting system based on where you get drafted.  There’s some limited negotiation; if one player negotiates more than his slot, that means another draft pick must get less than his slot.  That makes the #1 draft pick much more valuable. If the #1 pick used to get a contract worth $50M, but now gets only $20M, that’s a $30M windfall for the team with the #1 pick. That team now has $30M extra cap room for other players.

There are a couple of reasonable draft lottery systems. They could randomize the first five picks, with each team getting a 1/5 chance of getting each slot. They could pick a weighted system, where worse records get a better chance. They could pick an NBA-like system, where each non-playoff team has a shot at a top pick.

The #1 pick in the NFL draft isn’t as valuable as the #1 pick in the NBA draft. The #1 NBA draft pick is almost always a star or superstar, and one player is 1/5 of the team. For the NFL, one star player is only 1/22 of the team. Due to injuries, many #1 picks are never successful. The NFL should only have the worst few teams in a lottery for the first few picks, rather than involving all non-playoff teams like the NBA does.

This season, the Colts had an awkward situation, where they were motivated to lose to secure the #1 draft pick. The new CBA makes the #1 pick more valuable. That’s a good reason to start a draft lottery.

2 Responses to The NFL Should Have A Draft Lottery

  1. You should take a leaf out of the Ancient Greeks’ book.

    The trouble with diplomacy (majority rule) is that elected representatives if they stick around too long will essentially take bribes and favour certain groups.

    Also today it takes a huge amount of money and media co-operation to get elected. You need the backing of a major, established political party and the mainstream media will only support established, already picked players.

    So only rich people can get elected. If you are a rich lawyer you can easily take a few months off work for an election campaign. If you lose you have your job waiting.

    A poor software developer cannot take a few months off to campaign. If he/she did so the next employer would say he/she isn’t dedicated to software development or that his/her skills atrophied in the space of a few months!

    One solution is to have a lottery to pick our Members of Parliament or Congress or President/Prime Minister. It can’t be any worse than the current situation where clowns that had never held a real job in their lives (Public Relations clowns take note) become Prime Minister with only 1 in 5 of the population voting for them. And then they break their promises and so what was really the point.

    We need a random selection for government positions and then make the post temporary for a maximum of 5 years. Or at least have half elected and half randomly chosen.

    The current system favours rich insiders that have need held a real job in their lives. As they have never done any real work, they don’t know how the ordinary man gets screwed over and so they cannot be of any help.

    • The correct answer is market anarchism or agorism.

      Even if you had voting reform or reform picking representatives, it’s still corruptible.

      Besides, there’s no way to get any meaningful reform passed, because current insiders will block it.

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