Amateur Analysis Has Clouded, Confused the Draft (and Everything Else)

| April 24th, 2023

It is called Letterboxd, and I was unaware of it until very recently. Letterboxd is a website/app that enables individuals to catalogue all the films they have seen and review each. And as movie critic bylines are disappearing in newspapers around the country, and reliable sources for movie opinions with them, Letterboxd is actually starting to assert some influence in the industry. Without these critics, and reliable box office reports, studios are looking to Letterboxd to crowdsource film response.

But Letterboxd is truly a product of the social media era, a period that has intellectually enriched the intellectually impoverished. All you need is a viable email address and suddenly you have the right to dispute Adam Jahns’ reporting on Twitter, criticize Steve Martin’s banjo playing on Facebook and take umbrage with Paige Spiranac’s commercial viability on Instagram. You’ve never had a source in the NFL. You’ve never owned a banjo. You’re broke. But these platforms provide you equitable status, even though that status is entirely unearned. If HacksawRidgeFan232 wants to criticize Rear Window on Letterboxd, who’s to stop him?

A very similar thing is happening with regards to the NFL Draft.

Yes, there are some very talented evaluators working out there in the Draft Industrial Complex. Dane Brugler’s “The Beast” is a marvel of craftmanship and a testament to Brugler’s passion and diligence. Robert K. Schmitz isn’t working for a major outlet, but it’s only a matter of time. He’s sort of the anti-Beast, establishing with short Twitter videos a pointedly economic methodology for presenting prospects. And Lance Zierlein is a personal favorite. He’s created what essentially serves as a Draftopedia Brittanica, a resource at NFL.com that I wear out in the month of April.

When it comes to evaluations, these individuals do yeoman’s work. But when it comes to the establishment of draft value, their opinions don’t really hold water.

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