I’m always looking for stories of draft-day intrigue. It breaks down the myth that all teams know exactly how the draft should look, how players are rated, and where they fit into the rankings. It just illustrates that this is a human business where people don’t always agree, and even the biggest names in the business make mistakes (and sometimes succeed despite themselves).
I asked Mike to pass along a couple of recollections of such times during his 18 years in the game. He had a couple interesting memories.
“I am trying to think of specific players but there was an argument in Dallas where there were two (defensive backs) on the board and I wanted one over the other, but was overruled by the head coach. We got both of them but was mad that it happened the way it did. The player I wanted stuck, where the other was released. Now it has happened the other way around as well. Felt good about getting a player but currently has not panned out like I thought he would or should.”
I found this really interesting. Mike has too much class to name the head coach, but he had two during his three years (2005-7) with the team, Bill Parcells and Wade Phillips. Based on what I know of both coaches (though I’ve only met Coach Phillips personally), he has to be discussing Parcells. Though a Hall of Fame coach, Parcells has been known to be (a) rigid and (b) wrong on draft day. For what it’s worth, at least Parcells’ staff had the sense to keep the good player, even though he wasn’t the head coach’s ‘guy.’ To Mike’s credit, he doesn’t try to characterize that defensive back as a star today. It’s an inexact science, for sure.
For Mike’s second story, he’s a little more specific.
“The worst one that stuck with me was (OT) Cordy Glenn from Georgia(, who went on to be drafted in the second round by the Bills in 2012). I had some people on my side, but when it came down to the last meetings before the draft, the whole room had changed. Something happened, and now there was a consensus that Cordy was overweight and had weight issues, which I vehemently disagreed with. We took (OT Jonathan) Martin from Stanford, but Buffalo took Cordy the pick before, so it was a moot point, but (I was) very discouraged with the flip in the room, and some of the comments made about the player which were absolutely false.”
Glenn remains with the Bills as a starter on the offensive line, while everyone knows how the Martin story worked out. Mike would never say that he saw how that story would unfold. Still, it’s interesting to see how the scouts who’ve spent time on the road evaluating players can be evaluated when there’s sudden momentum against a player, and a group dynamic evolves. I’d give anything to know what prompted that ‘momentum,’ and it it was perhaps media-driven. I guess we’ll never know.