Today, though it’s War Story Wednesday, let’s continue our conversation with Cara Luterek, whose extensive experience in the NFL’s personnel office includes plenty of time with the College Advisory Committee that reviews juniors and redshirt sophomores’ requests for a draft status review.
As always, my questions are followed by Cara’s answers. They indicate that the league takes this process seriously and doesn’t simply try to discourage players with negative grades.
How early can a request be submitted? How many players typically submit their names?
Any time following the completion of a player’s regular college football season. Approximately 185-200 the past few years.
I’ve always heard that there is a set number of rotating teams whose representatives evaluate the names submitted. Is this true? How many teams are part of this rotation? How long is a team on this rotation? Does a team typically use a director-level scout for this? A combine scout? Up to the team?
All 32 NFL teams are represented on the Committee, as well as National Football Scouting and BLESTO. Each team’s representative is a senior level personnel evaluator, whether it is the General Manager, Vice President of Player Personnel, or Director of College Scouting. Each player request is assigned to a minimum of four NFL teams, as well as NFS and BLESTO, for a total of 6 grades. After grades are submitted to the NFL office through an internal website, the player personnel department looks for a consensus, not an average. Additional teams are asked to submit grades if there is not a clear consensus.
Have you ever had any coaches, or anyone affiliated with a school, intimate that ‘the kid isn’t ready’ or ‘he’s crazy to do this’ and maybe try to influence you to rate the kid poorly?
There have been instances where a college coach expresses concern that a player is not ready for the NFL or is making a poor decision, but never to influence the committee.
Has anyone ever ‘appealed’ their grade? Have you ever gotten pushback from a player or team based on the information you returned to them?
There were instances when players clearly thought they would be evaluated more highly than the grade the Committee returned or did not agree with a grade. However, the NFL office always asked for additional grades on any player that had a wide range or who was bordering on rounds. Despite the player’s shock, many times he ended up being drafted exactly where the Committee projected.