But the average N.F.L. prospect doesn’t have that clout, and as such has little to no control over where he ends up for his first four seasons or so.
Do you, promising young football player, place a very high priority on playing somewhere with warm weather, or close to home, or for a team that promises to play you in your preferred position? You’re probably out of luck, even if you would be willing to sacrifice some money to get those preferences.
From the leagues’ perspective, holding a draft is about maintaining competitiveness. If the N.F.L. brought in new talent the way that banks or law firms or tech companies do — if teams just made offers to whatever players they wanted to hire, and the players had a choice among their suitors — then the most promising recruits would favor winning teams and those in appealing cities over others.