Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Don't Forget! Notes to Remember for Tomorrow's Draft

by Chris Cappella

Tomorrow night at aproximetly 8 p.m. eastern time, NFL Commisioner Roger Goodell will announce Andrew Luck as the first overall pick in the NFL draft. A few short minutes later, he will come back up to the podium and announce Robert Griffin III as the second overall pick to the Washington Redskins.

After that, no one really seems to know what will happen next. Tomorrow the average football fan will hear a bunch of people’s names they have never heard before. The likes of Luke Kuechly, Matt Kalil, Stephon Gilmore, and others will have their names called, Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay will diagnose their games, and that will be that.

The build-up to the draft is well known. Prospects have the combine, school pro-days, personal workouts, analysts write up scouting reports and create mock drafts, and fans aimlessly wonder who their team will be selecting. While all of these things are certainly entertaining (I know I waste hours upon hours reading these things), there are a few things to keep in mind. As Pete Prisco, a writer for put, “The more I talk to coaches, scouts, and GM’s, I believe they could find fault with the bodies of swimsuit models. Are any players good?”

So yes, while some of the information brought to light by scouts and analysts alike are viable information, we seem to stress and nitpick over small things. Scouting reports said Aaron Rodgers didn’t “possess athletic ability” and “didn’t have prototypical size.” How did that work out? The goal of this article is to point out some of the rather obvious things that may get lost in the shuffle of scouting reports and analysts critiques.

Remember him? That's Alabama OLB Courtney Upshaw.
  • Courtney Upshaw is a beast: Remember him? Alabama national champion outside linebacker? Defensive MVP of the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME! Upshaw had 95 tackles and 7 sacks his senior year, yet for the last month his stock is falling. This brings me to my next point…
  • Really good, pure, football players in college generally turn out to be really good NFL pro’s too: What do I mean by this? I’ll tell you by giving an example. I watched Sean Lee play his entire Penn State foball career, and while Lee was never the biggest, fastest, or strongest player on the field, Sean Lee was always where the ball was. He was just a football player. So when Lee went in the third round to Dallas a few years ago, I laughed. Don’t let the measurements fool you: If your player doesn’t run a 4.4 40, get 35 reps on the bench press, and scores low on the wonderlic test, don’t flip out, he’s there for a reason.
  • Talk to the fans: I was reading a conversation on twitter between two fellow Jets fans (who also have a rooting interest for Syracuse football) about Syracuse defensive end Chandler Jones. The gist of the conversation? Chandler Jones was someone who they barely knew about. To me, that’s as worrisome as any scouting report. So what’s the point? If your team drafts a player from say, Ohio State. Seek out Ohio State fans and see what they think. If you get a so-so response, well, maybe panic a little bit.
  • Left Tackle is always the most important position on the offense, besides quarterback: So when Minnesota passes over stud USC Tackle Matt Kalil for Mo Claiborne, I’ll be the first one to say “I told you so” when injury-prone Christian Ponder is stuck on his back all 2012.
  • Trading up usually works out: Especially when your a team ready to contend. Always take that crisp dollar bill over four quarters.

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