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What Were The Odds Will Levis Would Have To Wait In The Green Room All Night?

Will Levis waits to be drafted in the green room backstage during the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft at Union Station on April 27, 2023 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images

Will Levis, the Kentucky quarterback prospect, spent his draft night in Kansas City waiting and waiting and waiting. As happens to a few unfortunate green-room invitees each year, he ended up not being selected in the first round of the NFL draft at all. The concept of draft night winners and losers has always been kind of dumb to me, but I must declare a win for Team Never Go To The Green Room. This was one advantage of the COVID drafts: No one had to get all dressed up and travel to be embarrassed. Simply weigh these two things: The risk of unthinkable humiliation!!!! and hugging Roger Goodell. Stay home! Stay inside your house, far from any live TV cameras that could show you to the world looking like this.

Mel Kiper had ranked Levis as the fourth-best prospect in the draft and the second-best quarterback, after Bryce Young. By that measure, Levis fell steeply. But there is no actual "falling" on draft night because there are only 32 draft boards that matter, and to some extent the mock draft industry is guesswork built upon guesswork for the sake of filling up space during the offseason. It should be noted that Kiper's opinion of Levis was an especially favorable one. Even other draft analysts at ESPN weren't as high on him; Levis was 23rd on Jordan Reid's board and 25th on Matt Miller's. But the pre-draft helium—one Reddit post claiming Levis would go first overall to Carolina appeared to dramatically shift his draft odds—made Levis the butt of the visual joke last night, as he became this year's "guy left sitting in the green room." Though you wouldn't know it from the broadcast, there were a few other guys left waiting there too.

Some dramatic numbers shared across ESPN platforms told viewers that Levis's slide was the shock of the draft, and possibly even of our lifetimes. ESPN Analytics gave him a 92 percent chance of being selected in the top 10, and a greater than 99.9 percent chance of being selected in the first round. This, to me, was a funny thing to keep mentioning on the broadcast because those numbers mostly seemed to advertise a failure of ESPN Analytics. The company's new "Draft Day Predictor" is fun; I've played around with it a little in the last few weeks, and definitely not on company time. But the "expert mock drafts, team needs, and scouts and grades" it uses as inputs are obviously tricky inputs to work with, and any model assigning "99.9" percent odds to a polarizing draft prospect is an overconfident one.

This is why Defector Analytics, led by the esteemed Nate Crudster, remains the superior analytics department. And look at this: Our model says if you are an NFL draft prospect, there is a 100 percent chance you are better off watching the draft from home.

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