So this caught my eye the other day, as reported in many outlets:
As NBC Sports wrote:
“The 49ers traded three first-round picks to move up from the No. 12 overall pick to No. 3 [in the 2021 NFL Draft] and select Lance, which Shanahan, in hindsight, now admits was a mistake.”
The “in hindsight” isn’t completely necessary because we only discover a mistake to be so… in hindsight. By definition.
What Are Mistakes?
“Mistakes are actions or judgments that turn out to be misguided or wrong. We believe we are making the right decision at the time, but eventually discover it was wrong, whether seconds or years later. The word “mistake” is a noun. Mistakes exist, whether we recognize and admit them or not. After discovering a mistake, our choices determine if we turn it into something positive (learning and improving) or make things worse (dooming ourselves to repeating them).”
“We can also define a mistake as “an error in action, calculation, opinion, or judgment caused by poor reasoning, carelessness, insufficient knowledge, assumptions, etc.” That definition also includes common causes of mistakes.”
Shanahan and the 49ers overestimated the impact that Lance could have as a quarterback in the NFL, or at least on their team.
“When you move up and it doesn’t work out, that’s definitely a mistake,” Shanahan said.
Shanahan and the organization had a hypothesis, based on assumptions.
It didn’t work out as well as they expected. So it’s a mistake. In some organizations and industries, leaders can hide or deny a mistake. That’s harder to do in sports. The mistakes tend to be very public.
“If the 49ers could go back in time, while they likely no longer would select Lance, their rationale for pursuing a quarterback at that time still holds up. Unfortunately for Shanahan and the 49ers, they chose the wrong one.”
Why did they make this mistake? The whys include some bad assumptions that Shanahan laid out. The question is whether bad assumptions about a player’s future performance can always be avoided. Or can the team prevent a repeat of the situation where they felt pressured to take a quarterback no matter what?
In the 2022 NFL Draft, they selected another quarterback, Brock Purdy, who exceeded expectations in his first playing time last season.
What will Shanahan and the 49ers do differently as a result of this mistake?
In the short term, they traded Lance to the Dallas Cowboys. That begs the question: Is Jerry Jones making a mistake?