A week ago, I discussed 10 questions that an aspiring NFL player might ask himself that could give him a better idea of if he’d be drafted by the NFL. It was pretty well-received, so this week, I thought I’d look at the other side of the coin.
As always, the disclaimer — you can’t determine whether or not a player will be drafted or not drafted on paper. This is just a guide, a series of questions that might be indicators. Nothing more.
- Did your school hold a ‘junior day?’
- Did you play below the FBS level?
- Were you a regular starter for your team less than one full season?
- Do you play offensive guard, center, inside linebacker, fullback, punter or kicker?
- Did you change positions immediately before your senior year?
- Have you ever been arrested for any offenses related to sexual or domestic assault?
- Are you more than 20 percent below the average NFL height, weight or speed for your position?
- Did you suffer a season-ending injury as a senior?
- Did you experience more than one surgery to any one organ/joint/muscular group during your college career?
- Did you play for a college west of the Mississippi?
The first two questions are related. Most FBS schools do hold junior days, whereas most small schools do not. What’s a junior day? Briefly, it’s the day in the spring (usually March or April) that the two big scouting combines come through and collect height, weight and 40 time for as many rising seniors as possible. Also, no more than 15-20 players from non-FBS schools get drafted each year, and usually late. That’s less than 10 percent.
Question 3 is pretty common sense. Question 4 is also pretty straightforward — these are the non-sexy positions most teams see as a commodity.
Question 5 is a bit of a feast-or-famine question. Many teams actually find good athletes at new positions as very enticing, so it’s possible this could be a benefit. But more often, it’s a negative.
Question 6 is a little tricky. Players get arrested all the time, but all such offenses are not created equal. Any kind of sexual offense is a big no-no, and obviously, we’re in an era where teams are not at all forgiving when it comes to domestic assaults. It’s important to note, however, that if a player is supremely talented, some team will roll the dice.
Question 7 is a basic are-you-right-physically-for-the-league question.
Question 8 is not hard and fast, but usually, teams want to be absolutely sure a player is healthy when he comes to camp so they can properly evaluate him. If not, he’s damaged goods and no-go. Question 9 is also health-related, and usually this area is cleared up during ‘medical day’ at the combine.
Question 10 is an illustration of the fact that all teams do not visit all schools equally. Remote schools, especially smaller and less successful ones, don’t get the same exposure.
As always, these are not in any way the final measure for players hoping to make it to the league. Still, I feel it’s a pretty good overview of the negatives that are foremost in the minds of most scouts.