As you may know, we debuted our second of 10 episodes of the Best Player Available Podcast Tuesday. This week’s edition featured former 49ers area scout Bob Morris, who talked about why the NFL failure of Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel might have cost Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes a few draft slots; why he loved LSU’s Jamal Adams but had issues with Michigan’s Jabrill Peppers; and why Texas A&M’s Myles Garrett was “an easy 8.0” and a “don’t think twice” slam dunk at No. 1 overall.
Here are a few things I found interesting from this week’s podcast.
- There were six cornerbacks that went in the first 33 picks that year, but did they go how Bob would have picked them? Not exactly. He ranked Ohio State’s Marshon Lattimore as his top cornerback, followed by LSU’s Tre’Davious White (“I like corners with good instincts. . . he’s an exceptional player and a player I loved to watch play”). Alabama’s Marlon Humphrey was No. 3 (he had him in the second round), followed by USC’s Adoree Jackson (“more athlete than corner”) and Ohio State’s Gareon Conley. Florida’s Quincy Wilson (No. 46, Colts) was his sixth corner. For the record, the draft order was Lattimore (No. 11, New Orleans), Humphrey (No. 16, Ravens), Jackson (No. 18, Titans), Conley (No. 24, Raiders), White (No. 27, Bills) and Washington’s Kevin King (No. 33, Packers).
- I learned plenty just hearing Bob talk about how he evaluates cornerbacks and safeties. Though he still continues himself coach first, scout second, and values a player’s on-field production over what he does on his pro day, I thought this quote was particularly interesting: “No. 1, as a scout, you need to grade (a defensive back) on how he plays and his traits, regardless of scheme. That’s the first thing you have to do. You got to get the scheme out of it. As a coach, that’s hard for me at times. The corners playing at Alabama, they’re coached really well, you know they play in the scheme really well, so are some physical traits hidden at times? Haha Clinton-Dix, we aren’t talking about safeties, but he was a guy that played so efficiently as a safety at Alabama (that) it hid a very adequate skill-set, and he really was an OK safety in the NFL. You’ve gotta look at the traits. You’ve gotta look at the way they move.”
- Another point that Bob made was that interception totals and big plays are not coincidental, but a part of a player’s DNA.: “That’s really important to me as I look at guys is their ball production. There’s a reason a guy has a bunch of interceptions, and there’s a reason he doesn’t. A three-year starter with one interception, there’s a reason. A guy that gets seven interceptions as a one-year starter, that’s good. That’s a playmaker. I had a secondary coach tell me a long time ago that he can’t teach playmaking. He can teach a guy to tackle. He can’t teach playmaking. That’s something that’s inherent in the player. Now, you can coach them up to get them into position to make the play, but eventually, he’s gotta see it and he’s gotta believe in himself to go make that play.”
If you don’t listen to my conversation with Bob, as well as the first episode of the series with Blake Beddingfield, you’re really missing out. I encourage you to check them out.