NFL talent scouting continues to underwhelm

Interesting piece on Drew Brees in the Times today from Judy Battista. Battista details Brees’ history of being told he was too short to play quarterback and examines some of the perceived limitations for short quarterbacks in the NFL.

The money quote comes from a former Cowboys executive who developed a computer program that concluded NFL quarterbacks must be at least 6-foot-1:

“Brees is a 1-in-100 guy. If you look around, the quarterbacks that are playing the best, they’re all at least 6-3.”

Well, yeah, but if you’re unwilling to draft quarterbacks below 6-foot-1, then, ahh, you know.

Drew Brees was excellent in high school, then he was excellent in college, then he surprised everyone by being excellent in the NFL.

I feel like the NFL’s talent scouting system is pretty terrible across the board. A lot of that has to do, I think, with the nature of the sport: No football player ever plays in isolation; his success inherently depends on that of his teammates.

But it seems like there’s way too much emphasis on size and combine numbers and not nearly enough on ability to play football.

My colleague Mike Salfino loves to point out that an NFL draft selection has only a 47 percent chance of having a better career than the next player selected at his position. It’s an interesting point.

Someone thought Vernon Gholston would be good. Someone thought Kurt Warner should be bagging groceries. Everyone needs to pay more attention to what happens on the field.

2 thoughts on “NFL talent scouting continues to underwhelm

  1. There has to be a combination of both what they see on the field and what they see in the combines.

    I personally feel they stress the non game stuff too much. To me there are too many guys who stock rise and fall too drastically during the combine. That to me shows they are stressing it to much.

    Besides that much of it has little football relevance. I mean how exactly does a 40 time matter, when these players are coached like sprinters for the months leading up to it, and the trial is run on a flat track, no pads etc. It has nothing to do wiith football.

    And how exactly does how many times a player can bench press 225lbs relevant to football?

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