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David Berri

The promise of the reverse-order draft is that bad teams can acquire talented players to dramatically improve their fortunes. But academic research on the NFL and NBA indicates that this promise is often not realized. For example, research has shown that NFL teams generally overvalue high picks in the draft. In addition, research specifically on quarterbacks shows that the pick number at which they are selected in the draft does not seem to be statistically related to their future NFL performance. Problems also exist in the NBA draft. Younger scorers who play for winners in college tend to be drafted first. However, there is no evidence that age, scoring, or college team success is related to NBA productivity. Hence – with respect to the NFL and NBA – the promise of the draft fails for many of the league’s losers.

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David J. Berri