As the folks who’ll be covering the draft live prepare to trumpet the skills and measurables of every player who gets picked, a harsh reality lurks.
Roughly half of the players will never make it.
So why can’t teams, with all the time and money spent obsessing over each draft class, do a better job of separating the sirloin from the slappies? Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert offered his take on the situation during Tuesday’s PFT Live.
“The areas when we’ve missed it’s been the intangible areas, the things you can’t measure,” Colbert said. “You try to spend as much time with these guys as you can. Even if a kid doesn’t have any [past] character indiscretions, when you get him in your locker room maybe he wilts. You just don’t know the real true personality until you stick them into your program and watch them work and watch them go to meetings and how they interact with players. That’s the biggest thing that I’ve seen when we failed, it’s been the intangible qualities that we haven’t been able to predict.
“The other thing would be the intelligence. Players have different levels of intelligence. It’s a very complicated sport from a learning standpoint, probably more so than any other professional sport and you have to factor in that learning, and some kids just can’t handle it. Even though they have the physical abilities, their mental capabilities maybe don’t match up. So again in our situation, when we’ve missed its been those two areas and that’s what we try to focus on, but quite honestly it’s the hardest thing. It’s just something you can’t nail down all the time.”
When it comes to intelligence, we’ve heard (as we always do) about some of the low Wonderlic scores and high Wonderlic scores. There hasn’t been a peep about the results of the new, much-hyped, computer-based intelligence test. Which possibly means that teams are still trying to figure out what the numbers mean — and whether it will help them do a better job of finding men who have a sufficient amount of the right kind of intelligence to thrive in the NFL.
Until, of course, the NFL finds a way to reliably project whether a player is self-motivated, whether he is capable of true leadership, and ultimately whether he truly loves football enough to make the full commitment to the sport, the teams will be spending lots of money draft picks on dry holes.This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!