Don’t Throw The Pick Away
May 18 2002
By Bryan Hersh of 49ers Paradise
The draft is long behind us, but in reading all the post draft reports, I’ve come to a conclusion. NFL teams are too willing to throw away their seventh round pick(s). Dubbed as the “irrelevant round” where each player chosen in this round is actually invited to a “Mr. Irrelevant” outing set forth by the NFL, the seventh round of the draft is often conceived as exactly that - irrelevant.
Teams like to take risks in the final round of the NFL draft. Players with injury histories, or who have had trouble with the law are often taken in this round because they may pan out to be a solid player. Most teams are willing to gamble a seventh round pick on a player in recovery of one sort or another. If the player doesn’t pan out, it’s not regarded as a loss, because after all, they were only a seventh round pick.
It’s this nonchalant attitude however that leaves so much more talent to the undrafted free agent pool. As 49ers fans we’ve seen many players from the seventh round and from the UDFA pool become valuable contributors to the team (Eric Johnson, Zack Bronson, and Jr. Bryant to name a few). Had teams taken the seventh round more seriously, perhaps a player like Johnson wouldn’t have dropped to one of the final picks in the round, and perhaps some others would have been drafted.
The NFL draft, at only seven rounds is so much shorter than it used to be. The outing used to have players taken much later. At that point, the seventh round was not considered nearly as big a gambling area as it is now. It’s my belief that the NFL talent pool would benefit from better scouting, and a more serious attitude about the seventh round of the draft. That’s not to say teams shouldn’t take a risky player here, who they don’t feel they have a chance at as a UDFA, its simply stating that teams, should not consider the seventh round “irrelevant”, and the excuse “he was drafted in the seventh round” should not be acceptable.