One of the biggest events of the year for many NFL teams and former college athletes is the NFL Draft. Why is this event so big?? Well, for the college athlete who has played football since he was like 4 years old, it is the reward after putting in so much hard work, if he gets drafted. For the that NFL team who drafts him, It is the chance to add another piece to the puzzle that will either get the team closer to the Super Bowl or maybe further away. So basically for NFL teams the draft is the casino and you are at a gambling table.
But is there a way for teams to have better chances of getting a solid additional piece for their team? Yes!
I’ve seen a few NFL drafts in my day, and I have come to a conclusion about the draft that many may not have. The conclusion for NFL Draft is…… draft players from schools who have been good a producing the specific positions that you need. If you need a solid NFL corner you should look at Ohio State for that position of need because they have been great at producing that position or maybe LSU. If you need a tight end, you should probably look at Miami, Iowa, or Stanford for that positions.
I never understood why coaches draft players from schools who have continued to produce players who don’t live up to the hype. One of the schools that has had players hyped to the max is the Oklahoma Sooners. That school has had Heisman after Heisman winner at the quarterback position, but these quarterbacks have consistently under performed in the NFL after like, year 2. Look at Baker Mayfield for the Cleveland Browns. Why do NFL teams continue to fool themselves over false hype. No matter who the player is or the style of which he plays the position, quarterbacks from that school will never get you a Super Bowl Ring!
The first Major Key to the NFL Draft is:
Don’t Believe The Hype
Every year there are a few players that are called once in a life time players and are must haves. These players are the “Hype Players.” The players like Baker Mayfield or even Reggie Bush. These players were consider once in a life time players because of how talented they were in college, but if I am the GM of a NFL team I would stand clear of picking those players. Why? well, 1.) they will never live up to the hype because the hype so high, and 2.) Those players usually come from schools that rarely put out talent or haven’t put out talent in that position in a very long time. I like cookie cutter players. players that come from schools and systems that make it easy for me to place them in a position and go.
Players that come from schools like Alabama and LSU are schools that produce great NFL talent in multiple positions because that is what they do. They play in a tougher conference, have better coaches, and the attitude around the program is to win and get to the NFL. These players are always hungry to be better. Ohio State falls into this category as well. Good college players from these schools go on to be great in the NFL.
Hype in the NFL gets people fired. If a hyped player doesn’t do well in year one or two, the head coach usually gets fired or the coordinator. The Owners tend to think that it’s not the player but the scheme the player is in as the problem. But why would you draft a player that does not fit your scheme?
That leads to Major Key #2:
Draft Players That Fit Your Scheme
This might be the hardest key to follow for NFL teams in the draft. Teams put so many players on their draft board, that many don’t fit their scheme. Why draft a player if he does not fit the scheme that you play or are changing too? Most teams go into the draft and look like they are picking players just because the player has a good name coming out of college. If the player does not fit the scheme, please do not waist yours and his time by drafting him.
The Patriots have perfected the art of drafting for their system and nothing else. There has been years when the Patriots don’t draft in the first round just because the players that fit their scheme are considered lower round picks. Hype wares off, but a player who is good for a scheme and are consistent at what he does will last for years in the NFL. Teams need to pick players that will help them perfect their scheme so their scheme can become a system.
The Patriots have a do your job mentality. If you are good at being a special teams player, the Patriots are gonna put you exactly where you should be on special teams to succeed and help the team. Prime example is Mathew Slater. He is a great special teams player. He is listed as a receiver on the roster, but he stands out on special teams. He has a nack for getting down field on punts and kick returns to make a tackle or stop the ball from rolling into the end zone. He is so good at special teams that he is like a skilled gunner for the Patriots.
Again, draft players for your scheme so it can become a system.
The LAST Key!
The Head Coach and General Manager need to be on the same page
No matter how well the roster looks on paper, if the head coach and GM are not on the same page, the teams is just names on a piece of paper. GM’s like to pick guys in the draft that are at the top of most teams draft boards. The term “Best Guy Available” needs to be deleted from every GMs vocabulary. The term needs to be flipped to a question like “Who is the best guy that fit our scheme?”
GM’s should not make decisions on draft picks unless the consult with the head coach first. The head coach should make the final call on if a player should be picked. The head coach will be the one deciding on if a player can fit or work with the scheme he is trying to produce on the field. The GM should make suggestions on the roster, but the head coach should pull the trigger on the additions to the roster.
I have always believed that the head coach should be the the GM as well for his team if he has the financial literacy to do so. I just hate to see a coach and a team fall due to the antics of the guys in the front office. The game is coached and played on the field, in the film room, in practice. When the GM decides to grab a guy or player in the draft that the coach was not even considering, the team has already started to lose its identity.
If your team is at the bottom of the NFL, consider if they have violated any of these keys to the draft in any way. They might have a good chance of turning things around if the grab one of these keys to the draft!