I want to start this post out by saying that we probably have more information on draft prospects, and the draft process, than we’ve ever had. Most of it is based on good analysis. The has played a big role in this. Everyone with a Twitter account or a WordPress page can critique draft prospects, and with practice, can get pretty good at it.
I guess, at this point, I should tell you I strongly recommend you don’t pursue this avenue if you’re thinking of a career in football.
Evaluating talent is a lot of fun, and with a little studying of the process, you can learn all the buzzwords and figure out the things that make a player attractive to NFL teams. In fact, you can quickly do this well enough to impress your friends and maybe even sound like Todd McShay or Mike Mayock in no time. However, at the end of the day, this is (IMO) the wrong way to go, simply because the market is flooded with such people. It’s just far too difficult to distinguish yourself and gain real recognition for your efforts. Why?
Well, one reason is that simply making observations about players and ranking them is not that hard to do. After all, very rarely do we see analysis of a draft guru’s work 3-5 years later, when we can fairly analyze it. There’s so much info on the Web that you don’t really have to have original thoughts about things. You can gather up enough data to craft it in virtually any way you want. And after all, there’s really not a lot of variation among draft evaluators out there.
I’m not going to hold my breath waiting for someone to rank Marcus Mariota, Jameis Winston or Leonard Williams as a fourth- or fifth-rounder, even among those who have legitimate doubts about such players. Even scouts have difficulty expressing such reservations in the war room. There’s tremendous pressure to ‘go along;’ that’s one thing I’ve learned over years of talking to scouts about the process.
Of course, none of what I say precludes you from having opinions, conducting evaluations, and weighing your rankings against the experts. About two months ago, I posted info on a player who at the time was seeking representation, and soon after I got an unsolicited text from an agent who’s a former subscriber. “Although I am no longer a paying client I still read your tweeter fees,” the text began, then launched into a lengthy, blow-by-blow critique of the player, generously sprinkled with buzzwords and comparing him to previous draft prospects. My only reaction was to offer him thanks for his text, though I’m still not sure of his point in giving me a lengthy breakdown of his draft prospects. I guess there’s a little bit of Mel Kiper Jr. in all of us.