Professional Football Player Personnel – The Ties That Bind

Another professional football season has come to an end and focus now transfers towards retooling and rebuilding for the 2013 NFL Regular Season.  All 32 Clubs will shift their efforts to the start of the new League Year, the beginning of Free Agency, and the preparations for the annual College Draft.

Piecing together an NFL Roster

Building an NFL roster requires a bit of finesse in handling the right combination of young talent, experienced veterans and core players brought up through your own system.  Over and over and over again, you hear that “the best NFL teams are constructed through the college draft; selecting the right fit, developing within your schemes, and then resigning for the long haul.”  So I was recently asked this question;

Speaking in general terms of all prospects entering the draft, what are the biggest points of emphasis for evaluating how they will fit with a team?

The threads of a Scouting Report

The Football Educator addressed the importance of all aspects of player evaluation in the post “Piecing together Football Player Evaluations”.  TFE discussed the three categories that generally makeup a NFL Scouting Report; parameters, critical factors, and position specifics.  Position specifics run horizontally through Quarterbacks, Tight Ends, Safeties, Linebackers, etc…  These are the threads that intertwine and strengthen a player’s potential at their position.

Each Club is tasked with defining what the position specifics are for their own particular requirements on offense or defense, but generally these are similar throughout all 32 clubs.  It’s why most of the College Draft pundits feel as if they can evaluate for the entire League and then “mock” their own thoughts/evaluations on to each individual organization.

Critical factors

What they’re missing are the vertical threads that finish the fabric of every club.  These are both widely common and particularly unique for each NFL team.  The critical factors run vertically, regardless of position, and should be the “biggest points of emphasis” in evaluating the right fit for your club.

Critical factors focus more on the “who” vs the “what” of young college prospect.  Critical factors spin out of the identity set forth by ownership and the front office management, not local or national media.  These are the ties that bind your club regardless of position, regardless of contract, regardless of position on the depth chart.  Critical factors are what help carry your club through offseason conditioning, two-a-days in training camp, the ups & downs of the regular season, and the pressure of the playoffs.

Character, Mental Alertness, Competitiveness, Quickness & Body Control, Strength & Explosion, and Production.  General Managers and head coaches can maximize the performance of every player on a 53 man roster if they’ve worked with ownership and predefined their expectations of these “vertical fibers” that tighten together their team.

Ignore at your own risk

Some clubs are willing to put up with off field indiscretions.  Some clubs deemphasize “smarts” on the field.  Some clubs overlook a passion for the game.  Some clubs are “big & slow” & others “small & weak”.  Some clubs bet solely on potential.  Some clubs have never fully defined what their own “critical factors” are.  How can you tell?  Just look at the results; game after game, year after year.

They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  So unless you define the requirements of “fit” for your club through the critical factors and adhere to them when evaluating college football talent, expect the same results and watch your team unravel at the seams.

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