Easterbrook Can’t Read

The frustrating thing about Gregg Easterbrook is that he often makes good points but goes too far in his argument. Today’s TMQ on how rivals.com ratings of high school players are a bit overblown:

Rachel Bachman shows that 54 percent of the high schoolers that earned a five-star ranking, the top classification, not only were not drafted high by the NFL, they were never drafted at all.

High school football players — being on Rivals, the ESPN 150 or any similar ranking is a big thrill and a way to get college coaches to call your cellphone. But being listed has NOTHING to do with whether your athletic career will go well and might even hold you back by swelling your head.

A 46% chance of being drafted in the NFL is really good. As Bachman notes, only 10-20% of lower-ranked prospects get drafted. So a five-star prospect is 2-5 times more likely to end up in the NFL than a lower-ranked prospect. And probably even more likely to be there than unranked prospects.

Scouting is a difficult business. All sports have busts and unexpected stars, despite the tens of millions spent on scouting. It’s fair to say that the rivals.com ranking is no a guarantee of success. But to say it is unrelated to success is bullshit, because it clearly is.

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