After the Pro Days concluded (this year on April 6th at South Alabama), almost every NFL player personnel department assembled for this next-to-last round of draft meetings in advance of the big event next Thursday. We always hear the general managers and coaches refer to these meetings, but rarely get a glimpse of what actually happens when the scouts and coaches discuss the draft-eligible prospects one last time.
Typically, the entire college scouting staff, plus the GM, head coach and applicable coordinator and position coach are in the room as the group refines their draft board by position.
Here is an example of a weeklong meeting schedule:
Morning – Offensive Line
Afternoon – Offensive Line
Evening – Tight Ends
Morning – Quarterbacks
Afternoon – Wide Receivers
Evening – Wide Receivers
Morning – Local Workout begins at 10:00am
Afternoon – Running Backs
Evening – Offensive Review
Morning – Defensive Line
Afternoon – Defensive Line
Evening – Outside Linebackers
Morning – Outside/Inside Linebackers
Afternoon – Inside Linebackers
Evening – Cornerbacks
Morning – Cornerbacks
Afternoon – Safeties
Evening – Defensive Review
Morning – Specialists/Returners and Wrap-up
Afternoon – Departure
Most clubs begin with 500+ names in August, but through a process of elimination during the regular season, all-star games, Combine and Pro Days, have now reduced their board to approximately 200 candidates. The objective during these penultimate meetings prior to the draft week itself is to mesh the coaches’ opinions with the foundation established by the scouts and rank in order the very best 120 prospects for their respective teams. At least, this is one approach in how clubs put together their final draft boards.
To collectively perform this task, an agenda is needed to keep everyone focused and on point, while giving each prospect a proper evaluation. Here is a sample format for these most important sessions:
– Updated Height-Weight-Speed/Workout Numbers
– Pro Day Review (assistant coach/area scout)
– New Reports/Scouts
– New Reports/Coaches
– Medical Grade (from Combine/club visit)
– Character Assessment
– Additional Inventory Needs (40, Wonderlic, last minute workout, etc)
Head Coach Comments
– How does the player project as a rookie?
– Can he make the 53-man roster? Who does he beat out at his position?
– Would we take him with current 1st round pick? Move up? Move back?
– How does he rank ‘across’ the board?
– Tape Review (if necessary)
General Manager Comments
Organizational Grade and Board Placement (at position and overall ranking)
Generally speaking, approximately five players per hour can be discussed in this manner, knowing that certain prospects will require more time due to mixed opinions, medical issues or character concerns.
Essentially, this ends the tedious journey of eleven months worth of work in putting together an individual club’s draft board. With the board set by mid-April, the next step for the front office and head coach is to devise a draft weekend strategy that will maximize their chances in targeting certain prospects for their particular team.