How Much of This NFL Draft Stuff Even Matters?

Are pundits focusing too much on the process and not results?

After several months of content, the NFL Draft will take place in Detroit beginning on Thursday. The explosion of draft-related takes and predictions has been something to behold over the past several years but look at enough "NFL is crown emoji" posts on social media and one surely understands why the ecosytem has evolved to its modern form. Perhaps no one is more responsible for getting that avalanche going than Mel Kiper Jr., who used to have far fewer competitors but still remains one of the top voices in the game.

He's been on Get Up a few times recently and mentioned that he has Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy slotted as the 15th-best player on his big board.

McCarthy, along with Heisman Trophy winner Jayden Daniels, has benefitted from all the leadup this year. Both quarterbacks have seen their stock — or at least the public perception of their stock — rise over time and each has been linked to pretty much every franchise that will be drafting in the top six. This is one of the deeper drafts in recent memory in terms of the most high-profile and important position and there figures to be a run on signalcallers right out of the gate.

So while Kiper may be 100 percent accurate in his assessment of McCarthy, who never really got to show all his talents despite leading the Wolverines to three straight College Football Playoffs and a national championship, the question we have is ... what does it even matter if a team "overdrafts" him?

Obviously if he fails to materialize into a reliable NFL starter who can win games, a reach makes a team look even worse. But if he is, say, an above-average option for several years, who will possibly care that he was selected a bit early? We're not trying to be intentionally obtuse here. We're just trying to understand why a fanbase that gets a competent quarterback on an advantageous deal would be bothered in the slightest that their team didn't instead address a different need with more highly-touted prospect. Has that ever happened?

Draft history is full of swings and misses but it's also easy to find examples where the experts wrung their hands and gave bad grades to a team only to be proven dead wrong. Look no further than what the Detroit Lions did last year. Coming out of the draft the consensus opinion is that they'd really Schruted it. A full season of watching Jahmyr Gibbs, Sam LaPorta, Brian Branch and (to a much lesser extent) Jack Campbell become integral parts of a successful team has made those thoughts age like milk. The Gibbs selection at No. 12 was criticized especially hard and there's not a single Lions fan in the world that cares they they took the dynamic weapon 10 or more spots before he was slotted by the thought leaders.

The point is, McCarthy may very well be the 15th-best player in the draft. But if he's the best new quarterback on a roster and solidifies the spot for years to come then it doesn't matter if he was drafted first overall, fourth, or 233rd.