Many of the themes you see play out throughout the course of the NFL Draft revolve around a singular concept: economics. The Draft is a talent acquisition affair but many of the subliminal themes and trends center around economic theories.
Supply and demand/surplus, cost/benefit analysis (of each respective prospect) and then of course today’s central focus: Marginal Benefit. The economic definition of marginal benefit is as follows (courtesy of Investopedia): the additional satisfaction or utility…received from consuming an additional unit of a good or service.
So how does this apply to the NFL Draft? Think of it for a player’s individual traits: John Ross’ speed is a great example and it’s something I discussed for a time in today’s episode of the Draft Dudes podcast with Joe Marino.
To further elaborate: John Ross’ 4.22 official 40 time is a full tenth of a second quicker than Will Fuller’s 2016 time of 4.32. The difference in the percentiles? Ross ran in the 99th percentile of WR forty times; while Fuller ran in the 96th percentile. Speed is speed. Ross’ extra tenth at that fast of a pace is a whole 3 percent separation. Add another tenth to Will Fuller’s 4.32? The 4.42 ran by Ohio State’s Devin Smith in 2015 equates to the 83rd percentile of WR 40 times.
4.42 – 83rd percentile
4.32 – 96th percentile
4.22 – 99th percentile
The concept of marginal additional benefit is alive and well in football and the draft. There’s further situations in which marginal benefit is present with deciding if and when to invest in a player; particularly later in the draft when alternatives may include a higher draft selection in the previous season.
The point is this: If you want to study and understand thought processes involved in the draft, economics is a great place to start.