NFL fans everywhere will don their general manager caps and proclaim themselves as team-building geniuses in the forthcoming Draft.
No other sport places as much emphasis on its player acquisition process. The hyper-focus and obsession over the Draft transformed the NFL off-season into months of value media time, talking points and revenue opportunities.
Like everyone else, we here at ThisCouldBeTheYear.com believe we possess a formula capable of building a consistent NFL winner.
Here’s the steps we’d take if we ran our own NFL franchise.
One Person Calls the Shots: Depending on which personality can best-drive overall organization culture, the team’s general manager (who manages the head coach) or vice-versa, maintains final say over player acquisition.
Evaluation Process: The NFL doesn’t restrict the number of people you can employ in scouting, so we’re going to employ a ton of people who have not only excellent player evaluation skills, but can perform those calculations within our proprietary organizational formula.
Pro Scouting/Evaluation: One department performs three separate tasks on the pro level.
- Evaluate professional talent for opposition preparation during the regular season and free agent acquisition in the off-season.
- Scout and evaluate our own organization from the perspective of outside organizations. We want a sober assessment of in-season performance on the unit and situational levels.
- Honest assessments of our own players in terms of in-season performance as well as comparable value vs. potential free agents, trades and available draft picks.
College Scouting: Expanded department to increase the number of eyeballs watching games involving top-level conferences and teams. It’s nice to try and dig for hidden gems among small schools and 1-AA, but we seek big-time players who perform every week for schools with high expectations, reputations and fan bases.
Additionally, scouts and statisticians will assess players who perform in crunch moments and within systems best-suited for the NFL game. We know spread offenses can pump up certain statistics and likewise, players on the other side of the ball can develop stats offering the potential for misinterpreting their abilities.
College sports often create disparities in team and player match ups. We seek to distill player measurement down to clutch moments. How effective was an Alabama receiver against LSU in the fourth quarter of a close game? How did a Michigan offensive lineman perform during a fourth-quarter all-out blitz in the Ohio State game?
Implement video scouting program so everyone in the organization can evaluate talent and cross-check.
Install system of characteristics for players at each position. Personal character and ethics sit at the top of the list — not because we’re some socially aware franchise, but because we want excellent people. We will never accept players with troubled pasts or those who cannot fit into a team dynamic or fail to exhibit an exemplary work ethic. Additionally, a thirst for knowledge/personal growth rates extremely high on our set of characteristics. We want people dedicated completely to our organization. Every player we acquire should work toward the personal goal of earning a place in our Ring of Honor when their career ends.
Are we going to pass on great players in this system? No doubt. Tom Brady in the sixth round comes to mind. But perhaps our scouts recommend we take a Brady higher in the Draft.
Roster Makeup: The club will retain only the most exceptional players who have passed into their 30’s. Overall, the goal is to maintain a young, low-cost, healthy, hungry and aggressive roster. Additionally, only exceptional players will receive long-term, big-money contracts. We will institute a policy of potentially trading young players before they hit free agency so as to avoid contract issues and higher-costs while receiving returned value. If we can trade these players during the Draft in exchange for picks, we’ll do that. An NFL roster must be managed like an NCAA roster where players leave the program every three to four years.
Draft Management: We seek players who fit into the aforementioned narrow definition.
The organizational goal involves selecting players capable of starting as rookies. We are mainly concerned with Rounds 1-4. Any picks beyond the fourth round will be used as trade bait to collect higher level picks. We will never draft a player because we have a pick. We can always trade late-round picks in exchange for next year’s Draft.
We believe these processes foster organizational consistency and culture ultimately leading to perennial playoff and championship contention.