This is the time of year where we hear many firm declarations by draft prognosticators, both paid and unpaid, about what will unfold when the draft starts.
“There’s no chance that Player X gets past Team Y.”
“He’s a surefire first-round talent.”
“Team A has absolutely no interest in player B; he’s not a fit for them.
Then the draft starts and Team Y bypasses Player X, Mr. Surefire gets taken somewhere in the third round, and Team A trades up to make sure it gets Player B.
And this isn’t because the Mel Kipers and Mike Mayocks of the world are dumb. It’s just that they can’t possibly know everything.
In an article on the National Football Post, agent Jack Bechta outlines a few things that cause players to rise or drop on draft boards. And he’s talking about the real draft boards, the 32 that reside in NFL team facilities, not in the home office or basement of some self-styled draft “expert”.
Medical condition—Players’ medical data from college, from the combine, and from visits to individual teams is supposed to be kept confidential. Usually, it is. That will often explain why that “surefire” first rounder languishes on the board until Saturday.
Character—There is more to character than just staying off of the police blotters. Work ethic and love of the game are variables that count a lot in the eyes of some teams. NFL teams have the resources to dig deep into the backgrounds of potential draft picks. Draftniks, even those who work for major media outlets, don’t.
Football IQ and fit—Many pros who work for teams have difficulty figuring this out for their own teams. “Most draftniks don’t have the personal experience and football IQ to project a player to be a fit for all 32 teams,” said Bechta.
There are more details in the post, take a look.