Draft Experts Are Not Always Right

A few days ago, the Oakland Raiders cut ties with JaMarcus Russell, the first player selected in the 2007 NFL Draft. No doubt, Russell is destined to become one of the biggest draft busts of all time.

Russell’s demise has been well-documented and the draft experts couldn’t have been more incorrect about his future in the National Football League.

Since the Raiders released Russell, quote-worthy analysis prior to the 2007 draft has become very popular. If anything, it proves nothing is guaranteed in the draft. There aren’t any perfect prospects and even the most hyped players aren’t surefire All-Pros.

Even the draft experts aren’t always correct in their analysis of players.

Todd McShay, ESPN:

I can’t remember being in such awe of a quarterback in my decade of attending combines and pro days. Russell’s passing session was the most impressive of all the pro days I’ve been to. His footwork for such a big quarterback was surprising. He was nimble in his dropbacks, rolling out and throwing on the run. The ball just explodes out of his hands.”

Peter King, Sports Illustrated:

I think JaMarcus Russell to the Raiders scares me. I would have done the exact same thing Oakland did, to be sure. But the formula for early success is a bad one there. So much pressure on him to perform well early, with such a porous offensive line, and who knows what at wideout.

Mel Kiper, ESPN:

JaMarcus Russell is going to immediately energize that fanbase, that football team – on the practice field, in that locker room. Three years from now you could be looking at a guy that’s certainly one of the elite top five quarterbacks in this league. … You’re talking about a 2-3 year period once he’s under center. Look out because the skill level that he has is certainly John Elway-like.

Jon Gruden, former NFL head coach:

The workout Russell had was Star Wars. It was unbelievable.

Mike Mayock, NFL Network:

This year, I can’t get over how good and talented JaMarcus Russell is. It just blew me away. If I had the first, second, third, fourth, fifth pick in that draft, I would be tearing apart his personal life trying to figure out whether or not I could trust this kid with $10-million … From a physical skill set perspective, I’ve never seen a college quarterback with more ability than Russell. You put the tape on and it’s frightening. The only thing that’s going to keep [Russell] from being great is him. What it comes down to is you’ve got to figure out whether or not this kid wants to be the best quarterback in football. If he wants to be the best quarterback in football, he can be.

Gary Kubiak, Houston Texans head coach:

I’ve never seen a kid that big who can sit there and just have people hanging on him and make the throws he can make. He reminds me a little bit of Daunte Culpepper, but a little bigger. I’m sure he’s going to continue to be a great player.

Rod Marinelli, former Detroit Lions head coach:

The film that we’ve watched has impressed more and more. The guy can wing it but seems to have that real feel for the game, and a presence. He looks like he could come into any system and be ready.

Terry Bradshaw, FOX Sports:

JaMarcus Russell, my man. The Raiders finally get their big arm. And he’s a good kid, strong kid, smart kid. He’ll be a big-time player. If I’m the Raiders, that’s who I pick. That’s pretty easy.

In his first three seasons, JaMarcus Russell has completed 52.1 percent of his passes for 4,083 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions. He has a career quarterback rating of 65.2, including a miserable 50.0 rating last season.

Shaun Dolence: [email protected]
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Tags: Draft Busts JaMarcus Russell National Football League NFL Draft Oakland Raiders Quarterback

  • dave

    Meh. These comments at face value really aren’t inaccurate per se. They’re all about Russell’s talent, of which he has plenty. You don’t get drafted first overall without serious talent.

    But many of these same people also acknowledged that Russell was a major gamble because he had not been coached in college, he was purely a thrower, and he had a relatively small number of starts at that. Add to the mix Oakland’s own organizational instability and you have a formula for how to take a greater than expected loss on a bad gamble.

    I have no particular sympathy for the draft talking heads or Russell for that matter. Had he been a more diligent worker I’d have Andre Ware or Joey Harrington sympathy. Those were good guys who just couldn’t overcome bad situations.

    It just seems to me that Oakland should be getting a lot more grief than they are for this. Maybe people are just tired of beating the Al Davis horse, but Oakland just wrote the textbook on organizational chaos and on how to ruin talent. Yet somehow they are basking in the afterglow of a decent off-season that’s been tremendously over-hyped simply because it was better than disastrously stupid.

    They are as much of an embarrassment as Russell or any of the draft experts.

  • Baggabonez

    I agree with the previous post. Very few glowing endorsements for taking JR 1st overall.