I had 2 mighty plays in intramural football, in 4th grade. Upon that ivory tower of knowledge, I have built my homerdom and expertise. Well, actually, yes. Without understanding plays much, 40 years of football watching was dug into by other methods. For instance, I know more about the history of sports, than the sports themselves today.
Well, here is what I see. Scouts are honest every year, but only in very sly ways because they have to promote the beef. Imagine beef inspectors not using a sliding scale for their employers? No way. Or scientists for Exxon saying the planet isn’t getting warmer naturally.
How do they maintain integrity while also saying every prospect is great? Codetalk, comparison, and negative space comments. ie, what they don’t say.
Certain times of the year are deep wells or accurate information. For instance, the first 3 or so days at the Combine is the best time to hear about the QBs. What you say? The QBs aren’t there yet? Exactly. Even then, few will put their name to bad reviews, if they are top prospects. Last year was worrisome. “The scouts are angry that there is not one QB with consistent game film, and are looking for someone to separate themselves.” How about this gem from Trent Dilfer months before the draft of 2012. “Here is a sleeper everyone should watch, Nick Foles out of AZ. Big guy,big arm more movement than he gets credit for, but he leads a very strong class in completion % under pressure.” Really? Luck and Griffin? That seems like a big stat. I heard it exactly once.
“His game is accuracy, he has the work ethic to develop his deep ball, but his game is going to be picking you apart with his accuracy. If he can maintain that in the pros, he will be very effective.” Translation, he doesn’t have an NFL arm and there is only a small chance he can compensate in the pros because accuracy goes down. But here is a way to sell it to the fanbase for a few years.
“He can make all of the throws.” Wow is this phrase cloaked in negative space. This phrase is rarely used and sounds as bland as it isn’t. This is a big phrase. If you don’t hear it, start freaking out a little. The reason this phrase is lost in import, are the two positive spins near it. “He has a big arm” and “He attacks the defense.” These sound close but are code for meh. Further complicating this is a word I have tracked for years. “Elite Arm.” this one cracks me up. You hear this in college, and with struggling QBs. Guess who actually has an elite arm according to scouts words. Stafford, Vick, Pryor, maybe Kaepernick and Newton. Surprised? Yup, no elite QBs have elite arms. Favre used to say Klingler had the biggest arm he went up against. Remember him? No? Why? No, no one in the 2012 draft either, even though they have “Not quite elite arms.” “Not quite elite” arms are your franchise guys. If this is coupled with”Make all the throws, do a dance. Elite arm? actually lower odds. neat huh?
Here is a good progression to follow to see the code. It is not only hidden in words, but time. Scouts hide their real feelings in comparisons, as well as statements and non-statements. This way there is huge deniability, because they often don’t come out and condemn. It is subtle, but unmistakable over time.
Chad Henne. Came out of huge successful Michigan. Do you know when it was said he had a “Big arm?” Not college, the Draft, rookie year, or 2nd. It was his 3rd year. People were staring at the team, and everyone was waiting for them to progress as far as he took them. Wait. Wait. Wait. Remember the meat-market analogy? How do you sell seats? Plug what you have.
“Henne has a big arm, if he can put it all together, he has the team to challenge the Patriots.” Sound familiar? It also means lack of touch and shaky decisions, not just that he needs more time. Then the code-speak would be,”If he can keep improving.” Chad showing off his new big arm of possibilities inside the 20 where a touch pass was needed. “3rd down, Henne guns it, and his smallest receiver cant make the catch. 4th and goal from the 5. Perhaps too much of a big arm on that one.” I hear’d that Mr. Commentator.
Best period for watching QBs on the Scouts 32, rankings, or other? Between the last game and the Combine. Really. You would be amazed what happens when there is time to review game film. Track the QB movements then, and no matter what the beef emporiums say later, it game film, and interviews are primary. These always end up being the scouts true feelings. Tannehill kept moving up with a broken foot through the Sr. Bowl, Combine, etc. Bridgewater has fallen 8 spots because of closer watching of film since the season. Watch him go back up if he throws well or can add some weight.
“His biggest asset is his ability to create on the move.” He is dead without rolling out and may never be a pocket passer.
“He is better when he can improvise.” Double whammy. He isn’t smart enough to go through his progressions and he isn’t learning to either.
“Relies on making plays with his feet when things break down, a little too much.” Athletic, but dumber than firewood.
“Needs to lead his receivers better.” Where TF are you aiming?
“Throws his receivers open.” Wow, what pick do we need for him?
Makes his teammates better=good locker room guy
Is trying to raise everyone to his level= bad locker room guy, Prima Donna, or backwards approach, soon to wear out teammates…
Any more come to mind?