Tomorrow starts the National Football League Draft. With much anticipation I’ll be watching to see where the best college players will end up. Now, I know you are like me and these last couple weeks have been a fever pitch of following the rise and fall of players as they… or I should say their agents jockey the players up and down on the draft boards. Hours of film and looking at the combine score cards matched with interviews, team visits, and show casing on the sports talk circuit have placed players in position to be drafted to one of the 32 teams of the NFL.
So what’s this all have to do with Scouting? I know that you would all love to talk football, but we really need to get to the point here. For more football talk head over to the ESPN College Football blog. What all this has to do with Scouting is Character.
As I have been following the mock drafts and the trying to keep up with the who’s who and where they are going on the draft board I have been taking a real hard look at the players this year. What is interesting is that they move up and down the draft board for many reasons. What I have learned is that coaches, GM’s and the NFL have really taken a turn toward character.
In the past it has seemed that the NFL has over looked character issues. But like any business the lack of character ultimately will start to hurt the company. Players like Pac Man Jones can no longer get away with the shenanigans that they used to. Teams want men that they do not have to baby sit and worry about representing their organization.
Look at the circus around the Manti Te’o “fake girlfriend” issue. A great football player is more than likely going to drop as low as the third round in the draft. The fact that he lied is enough of an issue to the NFL GM’s that they consider it a blemish in his character. The problem I have with this particular case is that Manti Te’o is an Eagle Scout. In a moment when he could have shared his Scouting values with the world and maintained his place on the draft board, he chose to lie, he made a choice to turn against the Oath and Law.
So what’s the big deal? Money. A first round draft pick will make an average of $500 thousand more than a third round pick. That’s a big hunk of change and that’s just a guess.
Looking at the big name players this year it is easy to see how much character is playing is the board movement. Geno Smith from West Virginia has been bouncing around because of rumors about his work ethic, LSU’s Tryann Mathieu has been all over the place because of character issues. Mathieu “the Honey Badger” is a fantastic football player and was expected to go early in the first round. Now, it looks like he may go as late as the third round. All because of issues off the field. Playing the game is no longer enough to get a spot on an NFL roster.
As many of you know, my son is a great football player and there are multiple Division 1 schools looking at him as a prospect to play at the next level. The one thing that they stress in our visits and communications is education, keeping the grades up and character. The on the field play is already good enough to be considered. They really don’t want to have a player that they need to worry about. They would prefer to focus on the play.
I love to find parallels in life and no matter were I look I find opportunities to live the Oath and Law. Character is moving multi million dollar football players up and down the draft boards.
I am going to be glued to the draft, at least for the first couple rounds. After that.. I will follow the players that I have interest in. You can see the difference between the players that may be shorter on talent and those that drop because of character. Follow the law and you will get picked higher in life.
Great life lessons always to be learned in Football… and Scouting.
Have a Great Scouting Day!
picture in this post courtesy of http://www.buffalobills.com
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