Discussion in 'University of Colorado Recruiting Archive' started by DoWork, Jan 13, 2012.
That's a tough one.
Obviously, teams that are winning at the BCS level are going to have some of the better players. But any BCS program is going to have plenty of film showing the prospect matched up against the best talent. And NFL scouts really do drill down on talent. They visit practices, they scout games, they watch the combine and private workouts pre-draft, and they do a lot of scouting at senior all-star games like East-West Shrine and Senior Bowl.
Beyond that, it's like anything else in life where relationships open doors. NFL coaches and scouts will trust certain college coaches to give honest, informed evaluations on their own players and players they have faced. That definitely helps.
I've seen enough national award winners be passed over by the NFL that I don't think that accolades at the college level (individually or as a team) mean that much on draft day. CU, for example, had 2 first round draft picks last year off a 5-7 team (OT Nate Solder and CB Jimmy Smith). Neither was hyped out of HS, both 3* guys, and Solder even came in as a TE. Beyond that, the OL gave up a lot of sacks and had a low YPC average. But Nate stood out and absolutely killed it in interviews. Jimmy was part of a secondary that allowed among the most yards in the nation and he didn't have a lot of interceptions.
I can also give a personal story from the other side of the equation. A friend of my family, Sean O'Hara, was an undrafted free agent Center after playing for some bad Rutgers teams. He didn't get a lot of attention. He went on to have an 11 year NFL career, win a Superbowl, and play in 3 Pro Bowls. Obviously, he's an example of a guy who got missed. But guys get missed from the highest profile programs, too. Heck, Ryan Grant was undrafted out of Notre Dame before becoming a star RB for the Packers and Priest Holmes wasn't drafted out of Texas.
You may have situations where a team has had luck drafting guys from certain teams and goes back to the well. The Giants used to draft a lot of Notre Dame guys. The Steelers used to draft a lot of Buffs. That's probably due to a relationship the scout has, if I had to guess how that happens. But I don't think it matters much as long as the player has talent and gets good coaching from a staff the NFL guys respect.
I think that where it matters more in terms of school is having a better shot at getting signed by one of the high profile agents if you attend certain programs. Agents tend to build relationships through their clients into certain programs. And, obviously, there are some programs where they compete hard to get "ins".
Anyway, I don't know if that was helpful or not. It's my honest assessment on a subject I haven't studied closely. Hopefully it was of some use and others can add some insight.
The film will dictate which round the player goes in the draft, then the measurables, and interview will seperate players that are tied on the draft board. The so called NFL draft experts are obsessed with measurables and if the athlete goes to a big program and every year they get it wrong. The average NFL coach don't give a darn if the player went to Michigan or Florida, they actually enjoy finding the unknown player just to make the Mel Kipers of the world eat crow. The NFL also value certain positions over others. OT is actually the most valued position, so a good OT will go high, then followed by QB then pass rushers and a ball hawk CB. It doesn't matter what program you go to to make it in the NFL. All the league cares about is can you play, is there any character concerns, was the player coached properly in the pro-style offenses and defenses.
I don´t know whether it was Drew Rosenhaus who said it during the 60 minutes special on him or Tebow´s agent during the NFL documentary "Everything inbetween" (which was about Tebow´s preparation for the draft), but their message was: You don´t have to make all 32 teams fall in love with you, it´s enough if you can convince one team.
Yeah, bigbang. The "experts" at the network hype machines are notorious. They stack their early boards with big names from high profile programs. Then, they dramatically re-arrange things as info leaks in from actual NFL scouts who know what the heck they're doing.
There is no simple answer, but one basic truth holds: if you show potential, NFL teams will find you. Nik mentioned our two first rounders this past year, and other examples abound.
Jason Smith never had a winning record while at Baylor, but he ended up being the #2 overall pick in the 2009 draft. In 2005, Reggie Bush won the Heisman at USC and Vince Young won the national championship at Texas, yet Mario Williams out of NC State was drafted ahead of them at #1 overall in the 2006 draft.
Getting drafted and making the league are two different things. The problem with most college programs is that they run offenses or defense that don't prepare there players for the next level. Look at West Virginia and Florida spread offense. Sure they dominate with Superior athletes and win a lot of games, but when it comes down to NFL they are lacking the required skill set to play in the league.
Gotta agree with our recruiting experts - Boulder Buff and Buffnik - above. The NFL finds talent, regardless of where it is at. Didn't the Charger WR Vincent Jackson play at University of Northern Colorado? I think he was even drafted in the second round
He was so unheralded out of HS that he went to Northern on a partial scholarship. It's amazing how much some guys will develop as athletes during their college years. In a lot of ways, the NFL scouting is like a do-over from the high school rankings.
But if you think about it, there's more money at stake with the NFL scouting and fewer feeder programs to look at among colleges than there are among high schools. They have the ability to go in depth with everyone who is draft eligible and tremendous pressure to be thorough. Anyone who would try to say that they focus on a small number of college programs is blowing smoke or ill-informed. I'd be much more focused on NFL coaching relationships with a program than the name on the front of the college jersey.
If a kid thinks going to a super star program, ie Texas, USC, etc. will give him a better chance at the pros, he is mistaken. Criteria for selecting a school should be based on many other things than "getting to the NFL."
I think these are all dead-on, in that NFL scouts dig pretty deep for talent (look at some of the MAC selections over the past 10 years or so) and a player's measurables and on-field performance are a lot more important than the school's W-L record. The only exception to that, in my opinion, are the QB's who will occasionally get the "winner" label that will outweigh their measurables. Tebow is the obvious example here, but a guy like Colt McCoy fits that description, too.
I think another thing that we're overlooking to some degree is what it means to have folks with NFL connections on staff. I have no idea what CU coaches pitch with regards to the NFL, but a huge portion of the coaches on CU staff have strong NFL background, starting with Embree, Brown and Bienemey. I can't imagine that having coaches on staff who have coached at that level doesn't play a role when it comes to networking and working to get kids onto NFL teams
cream rises to the top. Jerry Rice was from WHERE again?
Not that it matters. Every NFL caliber athlete to come through Boulder in the last 10 years has gone on to the NFL, including a few who weren't (I love Scotty McKnight, but wow, still in shock he got drafted). And this was during the longest down period in the program's history (arguably).
Not to mention, the NFL experience on this staff is through the roof. Several of these coaches have been sending guys to the NFL for over 20 years. JE has recruited about half of the CU players still in the NFL, and he left in 2002!
Nik, BB, & Snow are right. The League will find the guys where ever they are. Every Sunday, I hear them announce a guy who is from a school in Mississippi or the rust belt I never heard of, starting for the NFL.
The difference between winning and losing in the NFL is so fine that every team is looking for an edge, they all look at talent a little bit differently.
Some teams tend to focus on major winning schools with a lot of talent. They think of it from a standpoint that the players practiced against better players on a regular basis and learned to win at a higher level. Other teams focus on trying to find the "hidden gems" from teams that weren't as successfull or played at a lower level.
There are arguments for both sides. One side says you get better by playing and practicing at a much higher level. The other side says that you get carried by the talent level and never have to learn to step up. One side says that winners are winners, take the guys who know how to do that, the other side says in the NFL you won't have the easy games and nobody wins them all, who will stand up and play well through the good and the bad.
At the same time there are teams that focus more heavily on performance, what did the guy do in games, while others look at measurables, how big, fast, strong, etc. Some teams almost seem to have no clear, coherent plan jumping all over the place.
Bottom line is that the pros find talent everywhere. Some guys always get missed but that is much more likely due to bad evaluation than not being seen. Every team has a scouting staff and those guys have their networks of contacts to find players. Even if a school is a D2 or D3 school if they have a potential someone is going to tell one or more scouts and the scouts will follow up, if even just to confirm that the kid isn't that good after all.
The only time that going to the NFL should be a consideration for a kids college choice is either if a school has a particular position coach known for developing talent that the NFL likes or if a team runs a system that favors a players chances of going to the NFL (for example a lot of O-linemen from the pass heavy spread teams (run and shoot version) tend not to be able to run block the way the pros like and their pass blocking techniques aren't quite the same as well. They may still do okay based on talent but if they are marginal they may not adapt fast enough to stick. Other guys who are marginal in talent but go to a school running a good mix of pro style techniques may stick despite talent deficiencies because they can contribute right away.
Mtn, good point about system. Particularly true on offense. Some offenses better prepare players for NFL concepts than others and will shorten the learning curve considerably.
#17 Overall pick: Nate Solder (Colorado)
#29 Overall pick: Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin)
I think this is a great way to look at it. Look at Nate Solder. It's not that he came to CU heavily hyped. He was a 2/3* TE from a small program in Colorado. And the program was probably at as low a point as it will ever be in terms of national exposure during those years (thanks Danny....). And he was still found and became a first round pick. A player at Bemidji State might have concerns about getting found. A player in any BCS conference? It shouldn't ever happen...
One thing in Nate's favor was that he had the size and the feet that the NFL looks for in a pass protecting LT. The pro game is all about the passing game these days, and Nate had what they love to see for an OT in that kind of offense. Going forward, I think the Pac-12 will be a big advantage for CU offensive linemen wanting to get into the pro game. The Pac-12 loves to throw the ball in general, and so many of the programs, CU included, do so from an offensive system that will be very easy for NFL scouts to relate to and project from. I think that's also going to draw more than a fair share of the best pass rushing prospects around, as they're going to want the opportunity to shine against those passing games. Which means Pac-12 OL are going to be tested against the best, in NFL style systems. Scouts are going to pay attention to that, and I hope that's a point that CU coaches will be making to prospective OL recruits going forward.
Separate names with a comma.