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Are Draft Picks Valued Too Highly?

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I was thinking. Isn't it strange the way Draft picks are valued? It seemed like before the Draft everybody thought a first round pick was too much to give up for Anquan Boldin. Had the Jets wanted a receiver and stayed at 17, they would have ended up with Jeremy Maclin. Maclin might not have demanded as big of a contract, but what are the odds he ends up as good as Boldin?

How about quarterbacks? Remember the Jay Cutler rumors? A first and a third round pick seemed like a really steep down payment. Then the Jets trade a first, a second, and two players for Mark Sanchez. People said that was a cheap price to grab the number 5 pick. I was never the biggest Cutler fan, but he is a proven commodity. Sanchez started in college for a year. Shouldn't the perception be reversed?

On the other hand, the league tends to show the value of drafting well. Teams like the Redskins that don't value their picks and constantly splurge on big names are not relevant. The league has a salary cap. Too many big contracts can bankrupt a team for years. Football's also a team game. In basketball, one player can carry a franchise. Aside from Peyton Manning, it's tough to come up with too many examples in the NFL.

Big contracts are based on past production. Shelf lives are not very long in a sport this violent. Most Draft picks sign cheaper contracts and provide quality play for a longer time than established players.

There's a case to be made for both sides. What do you think?