Posted on: January 9, 2012 6:09 pm
The NFL's Player Association raised some eyebrows back in November with the announcement that it would sponsor a post-season all-star game and invite underclassmen as well as top-ranked senior prospects to participate.
In the past, the NFL had generally been unwilling to recognize all-star games that catered to underclassmen for fear that it would be perceived that the game or the league was attempting to push amateur athletes into the professioanl ranks too soon. The changing NFL landscape in which many of the top prospects are underclassmen, however, has led all-star games to consider other alternatives to boost interest.
All-star games have toyed with this notion in the past. I attended the East-West Shrine Game practices back in 2004 when that prestigious all-star game allowed Stanford defensive tackle Amon Gordon to participate despite the fact that he was only a junior.
While allowing underclassmen to participate may drive better attendance during the game, itself, it also guarantees that no NFL scouts will be attending the practices. NFL personnel are prohibited in attending all-star practices or games in which underclassmen are participating.
The fact that scouts won't be on hand to evaluate prospects, however, won't keep the players from participating. Scouts, after all, will get their hands on the practice and game tape, regardless.
The NFLPA game, to be held in the Home Depot Center in Carson, California on January 21, is apparently carrying through with their promise to invite underclassmen. On Monday, Miami junior offensive lineman Brandon Washington was among the nine players the NFLPA Game announced on their Facebook page as having accepted an invitations.
Not surprisingly, Washington is the most highly regarded of the 39 prospects the NFLPA has thus far confirmed as playing in the game. Washington is currently graded by NFLDraftScout.com as a solid second round value and is currently our No. 3 rated offensive guard, overall.
Posted on: November 8, 2011 6:27 pm
According to an official press release, the NFL Players Association has teamed with AstroTurf to present a new collegiate all-star game.
The AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will take place at the Home Depot Center on the campus of California State University Dominguez Hills in Carson, California. The game is scheduled for January 21 -- the same week as the East-West Shrine Game, which used to be held in San Francisco, but now takes place in St. Petersburg, Florida and a week prior to the Senior Bowl. As with most all-star games, players will be brought in the previous Sunday for a full week of practice (and evaluation from scouts) prior to the game, itself.
Tickets (beginning at $15) are already being sold at TicketMaster.com and at HomeDepotCenter.com.
Like the East-West Shrine Game, the AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will rely on the big names of some ex-NFL coaches to help stir up interest. The two teams in this contest will be led by former NFL head coaches Dick Vermeil and Tom Flores.
Perhaps most interesting about the game is that unlike the East-West Shrine Game, Senior Bowl and similar all-star events, the AstroTurf NFLPA Collegiate Bowl will consider underclassmen for their 100 roster spots.
“Our mission is to provide these young men with an unforgettable all-star game experience but just as importantly with invaluable information for their transition out of college,” Clark Gaines, NFLPA Assistant Executive Director, was quoted as saying in the press release. “The NFLPA is a player’s primary resource for information on the business of football, and we will educate these players on how to succeed in the NFL and in their post-football careers.”
Most NFL scouts declined to comment on the new game. One, however, was intrigued by the idea that underclassmen might be involved.
"That's surprising [that underclassmen may be invited to participate], but it definitely is a way to be different from the Senior Bowl and the East-West," the scout, requesting anonymity, wrote in a text.
"Depending on who they're able to get play in the game, I'm sure scouts will be there to see it."
The scout is quite correct in that. The simple inclusion of underclassmen does make this game potentially unique and one to watch. As more details emerge, I'll post them here.
For now, if you'd like more information about the game you can follow the game organizers on Twitter and Facebook at: twitter.com/NFLPABowl and facebook.com/NFLPACollegiateBowl.
Posted on: April 25, 2011 1:45 pm
Edited on: April 25, 2011 7:41 pm
The public relations digs from both sides in the labor dispute have hit full tilt since the lockout began, with neither side wanting to miss an opportunity to win additional public sentiment.
You can almost feel the NFL and the players looking at the invisible pendulumn swinging and just waiting for an opportunity to push gravity in their favor.
The NFLPA immediately retreated amid strong backlash when word leaked out that the union would encourage prospects invited to the draft to skip the event at Radio City Music Hall and instead attend union-sponsored events in NYC.
Sensing the momentum, the NFL is going to squeeze every ounce of PR juice out of the door opened by the NFLPA's slip up. The league announced that a record 25 prospects have accepted invitations to attend Thursday night's first round festivities in primetime.
That's not including several who were invited but have chosen to stay home to watch the first round with their families, including quarterbacks Jake Locker and Colin Kaepernick. But it does include a host of players considered fringe first-round prospects by NFLDraftScout.com.
It could make for an uncomfortable scene late in the stanza as 5-6 prospects will likely be sitting in the "green room" as commentators discuss what a great value they'll make 24 hours later. Among those could be Kentucky WR Randall Cobb, UCLA S Rahim Moore, Baylor NT Phil Taylor, Baylor OL Danny Watkins and Virginia Tech RB Ryan Williams. And a few others could slide into the category as the night wears on.
Boston College LB Mark Herzlich will also be in attendance, but the cancer survivor has an inspirational story and isn't expected to be selected until at least the middle rounds (he's projected as a sixth-round value by NFLDraftScout.com.
Update: The NFL Network's Jason La Canfora reported that Herzlich will be announced with the others and take part in a group photo, but then will be allowed to stay as long as he likes or leave to be with friends and family. That's a sensible approach for a compelling prospect who likely won't hear his name called until Saturday - if at all.
--Derek Harper, NFLDraftScout.com Executive Editor
Posted on: February 5, 2011 6:03 pm
Edited on: February 5, 2011 6:04 pm
It was a civil war of sorts, as "Texas" and "Nation" squads faced off in the first NFL Player Association Game this afternoon on CBS College Sports Network, a new reincarnation of the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Challenge.
The first thing to know about college football all-star games is that evaluating talent purely off of that tape is fallacious. Players and coaches have one game to put together a game plan, and participants are rotated in and out throughout the contest so getting a rhythm or significant statistics is very difficult.
Scouting talent while sitting at the Super Bowl media hotel is also difficult--however, there were some plays and players that caught my eye.
The most talented prospect in this game wasn't difficult to discover, even when watching in a public place; Nation DT Kenrick Ellis (South Carolina/Hampton) was continually putting pressure on Texas squad interior offensive linemen to push the pocket, plug up a lane against the run, or hustle to the ball outside the tackles. The 6-5, 336-pound tackle also forced a bad snap by otherwise stellar center Tim Barnes (Missouri) in the red zone in the fourth quarter, leading to a missed field goal.
The game's MVP, Northwest Missouri State defensive end Roberto Davis, ended up in the backfield regularly in practice before making a sack and forcing a fumble on the day. A late add who scouts didn't really take notice of, even when at the NWMS campus, his ability to get under the pads of taller tackles, driving them in the backfield, will make teams go back to the tape.
Two other Texas defensive linemen made their stamp on the game late, Eddie Jones (Texas) and Jerrell Powe (Ole Miss) combining to stuff a fourth-and-goal run to seal the victory. Jones has a nice combination or speed and strength to be a strong-side 3-4 linebacker or 4-3 defensive end in the right system. Powe did not dominate in this game as many though he could, but he did make himself known by getting into the backfield when not facing double teams (which wasn't often).
Both Ellis and Powe could be very high picks because of their size and relative athletic ability, but both also have issues (Powe-age, pass rush ability; Ellis-suspension from South Carolina) that could make them bargains in the second or third rounds in the Kris Jenkins mold.
Two intriguing quarterbacks, Josh Portis (California-PA) and Taylor Potts (Texas Tech) played well on the day. Portis used his legs to move the ball on a couple of occasions and a strong arm to hit short and intermediate routes. He and fellow Combine invitee WR Stephen Burton (West Texas A&M) had one of the best plays of the game; a perfectly-thrown deep ball down the right sideline which Burton caught while fighting off a corner. He was a bit erratic as the game progressed, but flashed the ability to originally took him to Florida and Maryland (the double-transfer will need to address his jumping colleges with scouts).
Potts was named the game's Offensive MVP after going 9-for-15 for 107 yards and a touchdown; his practice week was the best of all quarterbacks, as well. And though his elusiveness in the pocket is significantly less impressive than Portis', his NFL size, fair arm, usually-tight spiral and accurate intermediate throws may make a team think he is worth a late-round selection.
One group of players difficult to evaluate in practices are linebackers because they don't get a chance to tackle. Tressor Baptiste (Texas A&M Kingsville), Brian Duncan (Texas Tech), Adrian Moten (Maryland), and OLB Spencer Paysinger (Oregon) also quick enough to wrap up receivers and running backs in the backfield or towards either sideline. Baptiste and Paysinger were especially active, always appearing to be around the ball.
Another player who made an impression in practice this week was Texas cornerback Josh Gatlin (North Dakota State), who had a nice high-point interception in the red zone on an underthrown pass. He also displayed nice press ability on the line, like he did in practice, but struggled to stay with receivers when playing off or in trail coverage. Miscommunication with S ChrisProsinski (Wyoming) allowed a big play down the seam from QB Jeff Van Camp (Florida Atlantic) to WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos (Iowa) near the end of the game. DJK stepped up with some plays today, especially on that late drive to give his team a chance to win, after an average week of practice.
Nation corner Vince Cuff also had some ups and downs in the game. He has the speed to stay with any receiver, and made an excellent leap in the air to knock down a pass. But he was five feet from the receiver during the play instead of on his hip pocket, forcing him to make the leap to get the ball--something scouts will notice on tape. Cuff also displayed toughness in the run game by cutting down FB Robert Hughes (Notre Dame) inside the hashes and tackling receivers immediately after the catch. His lack of size (5-10, 177), however, prevented him from making key tackles or staying with more physical receivers.
Though explosive plays were at a minimum in this contest, Nation receiver Jock Sanders (West Virginia) and Texas running back Chad Spann (Northern Illinois) each made fans say "wow" with an exciting run. Former North Carolina QB T.J. Yates stepped up in the pocket to find Sanders over the middle in the third quarter, then the diminutive 5-6 receiver made a lot of yardage on his own with spectacular cuts and elusiveness through traffic. Spann showed great balance on a play later on, putting his hand on the turf after getting hit to stay upright and lower his shoulder to pound a would-be tackler after getting a chunk of yards.
Unfortunately, Nation WR Kris Durham (Georgia) and Texas WR Ricardo Lockette (Fort Valley State) aided in the game's lack of offense by starting the game with dropping passes. This was not surprising given their propensity to do so during practice. Another receiver with troubles holding onto the ball this week, UCF WR Jamar Newsome, got popped by his own guy (and some help from opposing CB Kevin Rutland from Missouri) to fumble a kickoff in the first half. All three receivers made good catches later, however, to earn back from respect from scouts.
Nation QB Nathan Enderle (Idaho) did little to help his stock in this game today, coming up short on intermediate and deep throws, and struggling to make any throw on the run. A mid-round prospect to start the year, a rough season and underwhelming NFLPA Game week give him only a slight chance to be drafted.
Another Combine participant, Texas guard Isaiah Thompson (Houston), also struggled mightily--as he did in practice. Defensive tackle Ladi Ajiboye (South Carolina) used quickness and violent hands to run by Thompson early and often, and Ellis pushed aside Thompson later to get to unimpressive QB Ryan Colburn (Fresno State) later on.
Reading through this summary review of the NFLPA Game, you'll notice that in most cases, players perform in games as they did during practice week. This is an axiom coaches have followed as long as the game has been played.
So although NFL scouts do not rely solely on an all-star game tape to evaluate a player, they typically aren't surprised by the game's flow or outcome.
Posted on: February 5, 2011 12:24 pm
Reportedly among the latest threats by agents and the NFLPA is that incoming 2011 draft propsects may elect not to show up at this month's Scouting Combine or the 2011 draft, itself.
Quite frankly, I see very little chance of this happening.
Certainly, if prospects elected not to show up at the Combine, it would cause problems for NFL teams -- which is, of course, the point.
While the vast majority of the Combine coverage revolves around who runs the fastest or puts up the most repetitions of 225 pounds, for NFL teams the two most critical elements of the annual Indianapolis trip are the extensive medical testing and the face to face interviews with prospects.
If prospects did not attend the Combine, there is no doubt that it would disrupt teams' preparation. In doing so, it would make the million dollar gambles that each team was making with their owners' money even riskier. I get it.
But who has more to lose in this situation?
The prospects who elected not to come to Indianapolis would be perceived by teams as selfish, mindless drones following the orders of agents and current NFL players -- not the eager-to-please (and get paid to play) prospects that they actually are.
And let's be clear about which of the prospects have the most to lose. It clearly would be the underclassmen. It is especially important for the juniors and redshirt sophomores to attend the Combine as in many cases this is the first time NFL decision-makers have had an opportunity to meet these players. Considering that there are a record 57 underclassmen this year -- with many of them rating as 1st and 2nd round talent -- they typically have the most to gain (or lose) that week. Can you imagine trying to convince a Da'Quan Bowers or Patrick Peterson -- each with a legitimate chance at being the first pick of the draft -- to skip the Combine, entirely? Or what about players like fighting so-called "intangibles" red-flags like Nick Fairley, Ryan Mallett or Robert Quinn? Do you think they'd be eager to waste their greatest opportunity to convince teams that all of the reports of their laziness, poor leadership or reasons for their year-long suspension, respectively, are hogwash?
Sure, teams send their power contingents to invidual player and collegiate Pro Days when prospects don't work out at the Combine, but if a collective group of prospects boycotted the Combine, rather than a few scouts, coaches or front office executives flying in to watch a prospect test athletically, time+money+travel would have to be set aside for medical testing, Wonderlic testing, interviews, etc.
It would be a logistical nightmare for all with flawed results.
Put bluntly, if the players don't show up at the Combine, they (or their agents) are idiots.
Now, the draft itself, is a different story. NFL teams aren't likely to change their draft board based on whether or not a player is shown on television in the green room as opposed to their parents' living room, after all.
Any leverage the prospects could gain for the NFLPA would likely be in the lost television ratings the networks, league and thus, team owners would receive from the draft's coverage.
But, let's be honest? Do you watch the draft because of the riveting interviews conducted before and after a player is drafted?
Or is it because you want to see who your favorite team picked? They would be making a pick, after all, regardless of which players (if any) were actually attending the draft.
I'm very much on the side of the NFLPA on many of the key issues, but on this particular front, I see very, very little to gain and much to lose. Expect to see the players (all of them) at the Combine. Don't be surprised at all if they show up to Radio City Music Hall, as well.
Posted on: February 1, 2011 11:48 am
Edited on: February 1, 2011 12:01 pm
The NFLPA Game, formerly known as the Texas vs. the Nation All-Star Challenge, started its week with the official weigh-in and measurements, listed below.
Most of the players from big-time programs looked like they belong: Oklahoma State Ugo Chinasa, Georgia OT Josh Davis, LSU Lazarius Levingston and Virginia Tech TE Andre Smith all looked put together. Utah center Zane Taylor and WR Jeremy Ross also looked a lot thicker than expected.
OT Trevis Turner (Abilene Christian) and DTs Kendrick Ellis (South Carolina/Hampton) and Frank Kearse (Alabama A&M) will get big looks despite playing at small schools this year, because of their size and builds.
Virginia Tech DT John Graves came in lighter than he'd hoped, Ohio State Devon Torrence's lack of length will hinder his grade, as well.
Write-ups from this afternoon's practices in windy and cold San Antonio will follow later today.
--Contributed by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter
NATION SQUAD (Pos, Name, Ht, Wt, Hand (L=Left, Arm, Wingspan)
DB Abdul-Quddus, Isa Fordham 6000 200 10.125 32 76.25
LS Adams, Corey Kansas State 6043 246 9 32.875 77.625
OLB Addison, Mario Troy 6025 245 9.375 33.625 80
DT Ajiboye, Ladi South Carolina 6016 293 9.875 34.125 79.125
DE Anthony, Christian Grambling State 6034 281 10.25 32.875 79.375
RB Berry, Damien Miami 5104 212 9.375 31.625 75.625
P/K Bosher, Matt Miami (FL) 6005 207 9.625 30.875 74.25
CB Brinkley, Niles Wisconsin 5096 190 9.25 30.125 72.875
CB Cuff, Vance Georgia 5102 171 9.625 31.25 74.875
OL Davis, Josh Georgia 6073 305 10.75 35.625 85.75
S DeCicco, Dominic Pittsburgh 6026 232 8.625 32.875 79
RB Draughn, Shaun North Carolina 5112 210 9.625 31 75.125
WR Durham, Kris Georgia 6052 214 9.125 31.625 77.125
DT Ellis, Kenrick Hampton 6050 336 10.375 34.75 82.625
QB Enderle, Nathan Idaho 6042 240 9.625 31 75.25
CB Gaitor, Anthony FIU 5097 175 10 30.25 73.5
OLB Gee, Michael Indiana (PA) 6004 239 8.875 32.875 77.5
DT Graves, John Virginia Tech 6033 278 9.75 31.5 77.5
TE Hardy, Daniel Idaho 6035 248 9.75 30.625 76.625
ILB Harvey, Mario Marshall 5112 250 9.75 32.875 76.75
OL Hendrickson, Peter Tulane 6076 310 10.25 33.75 82.375
WR Holmes, Andre Hillsdale 6045 209 8.5 34 74
OLB Hunter, Jeremiha Iowa 6006 239 9.375 31.625 75.75
OL Johnson, Carl Florida 6052 353 9.875 35.375 85.125
WR Johnson-Koulianos, Derrell Iowa 5116 204 9.5 32 75.25
DT Kearse, Frank Alabama A&M 6041 311 10.75 34.75 84.75
OL Kilgore, Daniel Appalachian State 6033 304 9.875 35.375 85.125
OL King, Jarriel South Carolina 6052 310 10 35.5 86
S Legree, Mark Appalachian State 6000 211 8.75 30.5 72.625
DE Levingston, Lazarius LSU 6035 288 10.375 32.75 79.5
DE Marshall, Craig South Florida 6045 276 9.25 32.25 81
CB Maxwell, Byron Clemson 6006 207 9.125 32.625 76.875
WR Morgan, Joe Walsh 6005 185 8.5 30.875 74.625
OLB Moten, Adrian Maryland 6015 225 9.375 31.5 77.25
RB Murphy, Richard LSU 6007 204 8.875 31 76.375
WR Newsome, Jamar Central Flordia 6005 198 8.875 33 77.25
DE Nurse, Clay Illinois 6026 259 9.625 34.125 81.25
TE Oordt, Schuylar Northern Iowa 6056 258 9.625 33.25 80.375
RB Payne, Keith Virginia 6022 257 10.75 32.5 78.25
OL Porter, Curt Jacksonville State 6070 308 9.75 34 82.25
K Rogers, Jacob Cincinnati 6022 215 9.5 31.125 76.5
WR Sanders, Jock West Virginia 5063 174 8.875 28.375 68.5
TE Smith, Andre Virginia Tech 6044 269 10.125 34.75 82.375
ILB Smith, D.J. Appalachian State 5106 237 9.75 31.25 75.75
OT Smith, Willie East Carolina 6047 305 11 33.75 81
WR Spencer, Owen North Carolina State 6024 191 9.625 33.125 77.625
FB Taylor, Ryan North Carolina 6033 250 10.125 33.125 77.625
OL Taylor, Zane Utah 6024 313 10 32 77.75
OLB Thomas, J.T. West Virginia 6012 236 9.25 30.75 74.25
OL Thorson, Brad Kansas 6040 301 10 32.25 79.25
CB Torrence, Devon Ohio State 5115 190 8.75 29.75 70.625
QB Van Camp, Jeff Florida Atlantic 6052 209 10 32.5 78.75
S Walters, Anthony Delaware 6000 201 9.5 32 77.25
QB Yates, T.J. North Carolina 6035 221 10.125 32.25 75.75
OT Young, D.J. Michigan State 6047 307 9.75 35.125 83.875
TEXAS Squad (Pos, Name, Ht, Wt, Hand (L=Left, Arm, Wingspan)
WR Adams, Kris UTEP 6034 194 10 L 34 80
OL Allen, Matt Texas A&M 6025 279 10 L 33.25 79.5
ILB Baptiste, Tressor Texas A&M Kingsville 6001 235 8.75 31.125 75.375
OL Barnes, Tim Missouri 6036 297 10 32.875 78.25
FB Bartlett, Bubba Carroll - MT 6007 238 10 31 74
OL Bell, Byron New Mexico 6052 348 10.5 32.75 81
DT Bryant, Corbin Northwestern 6041 302 9.25 32.25 76.25
WR Burton, Stephen West Texas A&M 6016 219 8.875 31.5 74.875
DE Chinasa, Ugo Oklahoma State 6051 254 9.875 35.5 85.25
QB Colburn, Ryan Fresno State 6030 218 9.25 29.5 73.5
DE Daniels, Wayne TCU 6006 257 10 32.5 78.375
OLB Davie, Quentin Northwestern 6043 238 9.75 33.75 80
DE Davis, Roberto NW Missouri State 6022 247 10 32.75 78.375
OL Dominguez, Ray Arkansas 6042 340 9.5 33 80.875
OLB Duncan, Brian Texas Tech 6003 237 9.25 30.75 74.25
P Epperson, Derek Baylor 6032 237 9.125 32.25 77.875
RB Fannin, Mario Auburn 5105 225 9.375 30.875 74.25
RB Finley, Jay Baylor 5107 198 9.25 32.625 76.5
LS Flaherty, Harry Princeton 6026 242 10.25 32.875 78.5
DB Gatlin, Josh North Dakota State 6003 195 8.75 30.875 74.125
TE Graham, Cameron Louisville 6031 240 9 3/8 L 30.875 75.5
CB Hagan, Darian Cal 5113 178 8.875 31.875 75.625
WR Harris, Marcus Murray State 6007 187 9.25 31.25 75
TE Housler, Robert Florida Atlantic 6054 249 9.5 34.375 80.875
OL Hughes, Kevin SE Louisiana 6037 297 9.375 33.5 80.5
FB Hughes, Robert Notre Dame 5110 233 10 1/4 L 32 75.375
DE Jones, Eddie Texas 6022 258 10.25 32.875 79
CB Jones, Ryan NW Missouri State 5111 197 8.625 30.75 72.375
OLB Lattimore, Jamari Middle Tennessee State 6020 218 10.75 33.125 79.875
WR Lockette, Ricardo Fort Valley State 6021 207 9.875 33.5 79
DT Lumpkin, Ricky Kentucky 6034 308 8.875 31.875 77.625
WR Matthews, Chris Kentucky 6050 224 9.75 33.625 80.625
WR Moore, Denarius Tennessee 6000 191 9.25 32.5 77.25
OL Newton, Derek Arkansas State 6050 311 9.125 31.875 77.625
DT Patterson, Lucas Texas A&M 6041 290 9.625 30.75 77.125
OLB Paysinger, Spencer Oregon 6026 230 9 32.25 76
OL Person, Mike Montana State 6047 296 9.375 31.875 77.875
QB Portis, Josh California (PA) 6031 209 9.75 33.5 79.875
QB Potts, Taylor Texas Tech 6040 220 9.75 32.875 80.25
DT Powe, Jerrell Mississippi 6020 331 9.625 33.125 78
S Prosinski, Chris Wyoming 6012 205 9.625 29.875 72.25
CB Rembert, Reggie Air Force 5073 180 9.375 29.75 70.375
S Rolle, Maurice Lousiana-Lafayette 6002 189 8.625 32.625 76.625
WR Ross, Jeremy California 5117 212 9.125 30.75 74.25
CB Rutland, Kevin MIssouri 5117 191 8.5 30.875 72.625
TE Skelton, Stephen Fordham 6046 247 10 32.25 77.75
CB Skrine, Buster Tennessee-Chattanooga 5095 186 8.625 30.125 72.25
RB Spann, Chad Northern Illinois 5080 199 9 30 71.875
OL Stewart, Chris Notre Dame 6043 346 9.125 34 83.125
OL Thompson, Isaiah Houston 6035 300 9.125 32.75 77.25
OL Turner, Trevis Abilene Christian 6067 342 10.375 33.625 81.375
S Valai, Jay Wisconsin 5083 203 10.25 31.875 73.75
K Weber, Thomas Arizona State University 6004 200 9.875 31.375 75.375
DT Whitlock, Colby Texas Tech 6023 299 9 31.25 75.375
Posted on: August 11, 2010 12:04 pm
Edited on: August 11, 2010 12:23 pm
Alabama head coach Nick Saban is, according to this report from Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com, blocking pro scouts from Tide football practices in an attempt to cut down on the distractions to his players caused by player agents. The reigning BCS Champion coach is hoping that by doing so it will help keep his players out of hot water with the NCAA.
The strategy, which conflicting reports by Chase Goodbread of the Tuscaloosa News and Florio claim may or may not be implemented by the University of Florida, as well, has an obvious fault.
Limiting access to pro scouts, really, has nothing to do with the sleazy player agents and runners who are attempting to circumvent the rules.
Perhaps rather than limit scouts who are simply trying to do their job of identifying the rare collegiate athletes potentially capable of playing at the game's highest level, the universities should be continuing to fine-tune the education of their players on the dangers of dealing with agents prematurely.
And the NFLPA, the organization that is supposed to have some control over agents, needs to strongly consider bolstering the penalties to agents found guilty of bribing prospects with inappropriate gifts and travel.
In a very real way, locking scouts out hurts everyone except the agents.
For scouts, the value in going on the road to scout players in person lies in the ability to scout practices (do players take practice seriously, etc?) and in the interviews with players and the coaching staff. Scouts I know typically try to speak to at least three staff members for each prospect -- the position coach, strength and conditioning coach, and trainer.
If locked out of practice, scouts will still be able to watch most of the film they need to see if the player has the size, speed, strength, etc. to play in the NFL.
What will be more difficult to gauge if locked out is if the players have the intangibles to deal with the money, fame and pressure of the NFL. That, could potentially lead to more highly drafted busts.
Posted on: February 25, 2010 9:59 am
I managed to get my hands on the official player position schedule and thought some of my more detail-oriented readers might like to know what players were doing each day.
The player positions are put into "Groups." These groups each have a four day schedule in Indianapolis. Based on their schedule, some groups arrived Wednesday, others arrive today, tomorrow or Saturday.
The groups are designated as:
Group One -- Specialists (punters, kickers, longsnappers, return specialists) Offensive Linemen
Group Two -- Offensive Linemen
Group Three -- Tight Ends
Group Four -- Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers
Group Five -- Quarterbacks, Wide Receivers
Group Six -- Running Backs
Group Seven -- Defensive Linemen
Group Eight -- Defensive Linemen
Group Nine -- Linebackers
Group Ten -- Defensive Backs
Group Eleven -- Defensive Backs
Groups One, Two and Three arrived yesterday and depart Saturday.
Groups Four, Five and Six arrive today and depart Sunday.
Groups Seven, Eight and Nine arrive tomorrow and leave Monday.
Groups Ten and Eleven arrive Saturday and leave Tuesday.
Each group goes through a four day cycle.
Day One is spent arriving in Indianapolis, registering, taking the pre-exam and x-rays at the hospital, taking an orientation and beginning their interviews with teams.
Day Two begins with the player measuring (heights, weights, arms and hands), the complete medical examinations, media interviews, psychological testing and more interviews with teams.
Day Three begins with a meeting with the NFLPA, more psychological testing and the final day of team interviews.
Day Four is the players' final day in Indianpolis and the day they actually do the workouts for which the Combine has become so famous.
As if there was any question as to what NFL teams consider to be the most important aspects of the Combine, note that the over-hyped workouts only take one day and are the last thing players are asked to do. The medical and psychological testing, on the other hand, takes two days. Team interviews take three days.