It might surprise some fans, but draft boards generally consist of less than two hundred players. Another hundred to one hundred and fifty will be positioned in the well of the draft board (draftable for somebody else, but at best priority free agents with our club), while the majority of the players (suspects and rejects) will be listed usually alphabetical by position and school on what is commonly referred to as the back board.
You'd be very surprised over the years at the number of players who have been drafted from dreaded back board, although I can't remember a time where a player selected from the back board by a club has ever come back to haunt the particular club I was associated with.
Usually the selection of a back board player is met by an utterance from the area scout from which the player was drafted like, "what the heck were they thinking' or ‘I sure as hell hope they are on our schedule this season"
Professional football has certainly changed over the years, but the biggest changes that I have seen over the last decade have been in how the individual clubs approach both medical and character risk players.
Back in the mid 80's and 90's many clubs adopted a wild-west mentality when it came to player development. Head coaches would often exclaim in meetings with scouts. "Just get me the guys that can play and I'll take care of the rest."
Those famous last words not only ultimately cost many individuals their jobs, but also served to embarrass the club, the city and the fans.
Clubs have really switched gears in regard to dealing with players with pre-existing medical conditions. To the best of my knowledge, the NFL has never prevailed in a workman's compensation claim brought on by a player and because of this, many club's are taking far more conservative approach when dealing pre-existing medical conditions (damaged goods). Medical staffs, like scouts and coaches, make their share of mistakes. For example, Anthony Munoz (our top-rated player) was flat-out rejected by the Giants medical staff back in 1980. But with the millions of dollars invested in the modern day player, the prevailing thoughts today are to error on the side of caution.
In the coming weeks, we will discuss all areas of the scouting profession including how a club sets their draft board, preparing the draft room, and what type of discussions take place in draft rooms both prior to and during the draft process.
We are going to start the series by publishing the most accurate post season information ever given to any football fans in history. The football draft is not an exact science, but the more accurate information a club can gather, the better their chances are of making an accurate decision on draft day.
The most important criteria when evaluating a player is obviously how the individual performs between the lines. Workout numbers, though, are also important pieces to the puzzle. Teams will often use them to separate closely ranked prospects.
Beginning tomorrow, we will publish the final Indianapolis combine numbers by positions and follow it with the latest school workout and position analyses available anywhere.
When you combine this information with the great information provided to you daily by the outstanding team publishers and Scout.com experts, I think you will quickly conclude that other than being there in your favorite team's draft room, there is not a better place anywhere to get your draft information.