Less than a month from now 32 NFL teams will put the final touches on their draft plans and set up the war rooms for the 2017 NFL Draft. In the coming weeks numerous mock drafts and related stories will be written. Football fans will be bombarded with analysis and scouting terms, my favorite remains hands like feet. Some will insist that teams look for prototype players or that they need to get bigger and faster.
Those last few have always bothered me. I do not believe a ‘prototype’ player exists. While some well regarded coaches have lived by the mantra of prototypes for each position(looking at you Bill Parcells) it does not track in the long run. First off each team, each system needs different players based on how they use them. So a firm prototype is short sighted. Now if you want players that look the part a prototype is great but at the end of the day you need players. To find those players you need to see them on the field not simply the measurements.
Then you have the notion of getting bigger and faster. Everyone wants bigger, stronger and faster. Unfortunately you rarely find all three in the same player. To get bigger and stronger you usually have to sacrifice some speed and vice versa. That is when you come back to finding players who show they can do it on the field. Then you use all the facts and figures gathered at the combine to try to maximize the attributes the team desires.
Jerry Rice was never the biggest or fastest wide receiver but he is widely regarded as the best wide receiver to ever play the game. Tom Brady has dominated the quarterback position for over a decade, no one would have imagined that looking at him in the combine. Nothing is ever as simple as a prototype or measurements. You take those and add them to the film study you have done on each player. After that interviews and team needs narrow it all down to a very inexact science.
It is nearly impossible to speculate on what each team might do. But we still try.
That is where the fun comes in.