By Scott Dryden
Imagine if you will, your future in a job you have worked your whole life is tied to one position, one position your team currently does not have. The season is winding down and it has been a struggle to say the least. You are drained, fatigued with the weekly emotional roller coaster that is the NFL. The media, the fan base are screaming for your head; the passion you love is now directed at you. Your owner is growing painfully inpatient as the one thing the owner fears could be a reality if the next season isn’t better – a disinterested fan base.
While you have placed quality young players in place and solid veterans as well - you know it isn’t enough. The key is the quarterback position. You know without a doubt, the player you need isn’t on the roster. Sure you may be able to win, maybe even make the playoffs, but true, sustainable success can only be realized with a top tier signal caller.
While you have been focusing on the current roster and all the happenings in the league, your area and national scouts have been combing over draft eligible players. Soon, scouting reports will be thick upon your desk. The off season is anything but a break. The pressure will mount and the stakes will be high. Ultimately wins and losses will decide your fate - but to achieve your ultimate goals - the draft must be a success.
Envision corporate board rooms, annual planning, budgeting, the entire strategic process that goes on in corporations across the country - the NFL is no different in the sense that many are involved in the overall goals of the organization. The financials, like in all companies, are vital. The suits are crunching numbers, marketing the organization and all of the typical activities of any large business. Ultimately, in football all pales in comparison to wins and losses on the field of play.
In the pre draft planning process many media members will relay information from sources of the team’s interest in certain players - they will often report who has final say in the war room, often viewed as a consensus, but in reality it all is a smoke screen. Reports on players you are interested in are fraudulent at best with “according to sources” being bandied about by reckless journalists. The pressure to get it right is immense and the task is daunting.
f you are the GM of a team that has perfected the craft of perpetual losing, the negative culture of losing weighs heavy. Most succumb to it but it is your task to bring enthusiasm and energy to the building, the team and the city as a whole. Tickling ears will not work; bravado will be mocked only winning will undue the cynicism. Even if you get every player you seek in the draft - no matter the “experts” grade, it is all futile until the art of winning is perfected.
The season ends and your focus is now divided to free agency and all it encompasses but you know the draft is the key. Your days are long with excruciating study of film and scouting reports. The day is fast approaching when all of your work will be on full display. The pressure is getting tighter with every passing day.
There will be fan favorites, media favorites and expectations on who you should select. However, you know in situations like this, emotions and concerns for others opinions are in fact your enemies. You must do your homework, be detailed and concise and stick to your guns when the heat is on. Your work is done - follow your board.
We at NFL Talent will attempt to analyze and attack the draft in like manner. We find the NFL Draft to be one of the greatest events in all of sports. In front of audiences of all sizes, future NFL difference makers have played on college fields across the nation. The question is how do you separate the wheat from the tares?