Just as fantasy football has made experts out of anyone who has ever played that silly game, this bootstrapped industry of pro football talent evaluation has glorified vain prognostication. People think to themselves, “Hey, I watch a lot of college football/ESPN, I know my way around the draft board; those experts make some good points but I’ve got my own perspectives on my team’s needs and what decisions they should make.”
For the same reasons people gamble on the outcomes of sporting events, people futilely like to predict the decisions their team is going to make on draft day. If they’re not predicting, they’re at least 'reacting' (so still, kind of predicting) to whatever decisions that do get made (“That’s who I would’ve picked! I called it!! See? I could do their job!” vs. “Idiots. What a stupid pick that will most certainly be our demise at some point in the future. Someone show these bums the door.”) Most people gamble because they see it as an opportunity to employ their know-how and intuition and turn it into money. There’s also an adrenaline rush when you back the winning horse.
But I think there’s a deeper, more primitive reason. I think it’s because of these oceanic feelings people get whenever they guess correctly. It’s not necessarily about being “right”, but about a connection with the cosmos; about imposing your will upon this grand universe. Things worked out the way you guessed not because of chance, but because the universe has got your back (or at least it does in that particular instance). It feels good, and you want to have that feeling again and again. Like everything in existence was there just for you. You want the team to draft the guy that you would draft, you want them to make the decision you would make, because it would validate your intuitions as a fan and quasi-knowledgable 'expert' on the subject. People love knowing about things.
Somewhere, deep inside, we fans all dream about living that life; the one where you’re in charge of your favorite team and your decision-making could bring about wins and everlasting joy to the hordes of fans and they will love you for it; where you can take all the credit and you deserve all the glory. Deep down, you think there can’t be all that much that separates you from the guys who are actually in charge. The bottom line is that you are not in charge. Fate has cruelly cast you in the role of helpless fan. Whats more is that even the guys who are in charge have less control over the outcome of things as they would like to have. Sure, some picks might put them in a better position, give them a better chance, a higher probability of realizing value, but no one, not even the experts/oracles, knows for sure how a career is going to shake out. The correlation between draft value and on-field production is mindbogglingly poor.
Any reaction to a draft pick right now, beyond a neutral recognition of a new roster member, is the wrong reaction. No pick by any team won or lost them the Super Bowl over the past two days. If you know, for a fact, otherwise, I'd like to borrow your crystal ball. Of course it’s human nature to feel one way or another about all the conceivable potentialities, but carrying on about decisions you did not, nor have any right to make is pretty damn Sisyphean.
I'm sure the Broncos execs are just kicking themselves because a bunch of unqualified amateurs disagree with their decisions. I really hope they can get some sleep tonight. I know fans don't like looking at it that way, but there's a reason they're merely fans. I’m not saying “control your reactions” or even "don’t have an opinion", but maybe keep it to yourself until the guy’s rookie contract expires or some other point down the road when we can all agree that Jarvis Moss was a terrible, terrible draft pick.
Some recommended reading on talent evaluation: