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Can you really draft for football smarts??

Discussion in 'Patriots Draft Talk' started by sg14, Oct 2, 2010.

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  1. sg14

    sg14 Rookie

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    Been wondering about this lately, since the transition in our roster. After losing the Harrisons, Bruschi's , et al.

    Have read in the past of players diagnosing plays better than the coaches can. Bruschi knowing how he can expand his own role with sacrificing the concepts of the team defense.

    How does a scout know how a player thinks on the field vs being coached into being in the right spot on the field?

    No matter how much you scout, are we still getting players based on their athletic ability versus game smarts??
  2. WelshPat

    WelshPat Rookie

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    It's just like any aspect of drafting, it's an inexact science. You can talk to his coaches, test him on the chalkboard, all those things. But your never going to get it 100% right

    For example, BB said when Patrick Chung was drafted one of the things he liked about him was he played in a very complex system in college. But then, Chad Jackson was supposed to be very good when they tested him, and while he had lots of other problems, one of them was that he wasn't always in the right spot.
  3. Off The Grid

    Off The Grid Rookie

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    #3 Jersey

    I believe that Processing Speed ~ the natural ability to Rapidly Read + React to the Enemy's Tactics ~ is something you can see on tape...

    But the larger chunk of the equation, it seems to me, is the Passion + Dedication to study tape and drill, drill, drill, that ultimately makes one hell of a lot more impact on "FootBall Smarts" than actual intrinsic Instinct...And, yes, I believe you can draft that, as well.

    But as Welsh implies: There's no Holy Grail.
  4. MaineMan

    MaineMan Rookie

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    Obviously, there's no "talent" that can substitute for experience, as we're seeing now. And not just experience as an individual player, but experience with working within the group - communicating accurately and quickly - to create a fluid and cohesive whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.

    That's the way I see the Pats defense of old. They were effective not only because of the high skill level of the individual players, but because they were all skilled at working together as a unit. The FAs we brought in succeeded because they were good at this and it allowed them to fit in quickly.

    In his SI interview a couple months ago, Aaron Rodgers told of a play on which he and Driver glanced at each other just before the snap and both knew instantly what the route adjustment needed to be. Rodgers, under pressure, just blindly threw the ball to that spot and Driver was there to catch the TD (Manning and Wayne do this probably twice a game). Several years ago, I noticed Bruschi and Harrison, Harrison and Vrabel communicating in the same sort of way. There's a look exchanged and they just "know." Bam! There's a big stop and it seems almost like the defense had been looking at the offensive playbook. [Crennel also played a part in that as evidenced by what he's accomplished already in KC.]

    All you can do is draft guys who have to potential to get to that point. "Football smarts", keen field awareness, an obsession with study, AND exceptional communication skills (an essential part of "leadership") are probably all factors to look for.
  5. Box_O_Rocks

    Box_O_Rocks PatsFans.com Supporter PatsFans.com Supporter

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    Does a player make those around him better?

    For example, watching the Penn State @ Iowa game last night, DL Christian Ballard, whom some consider a first round prospect, was all over making tackles and giving color man Bob Davies wood. However, when you slow down the action you start to note how he's making tackles because he's usually the one DL who goes unblocked - by design from Penn State. The players Penn State keyed on when blocking were DTs Klug and Daniels, and to a slightly lesser extent DE Clayborn (he'd sometimes go unblocked when he was to the backside). Klug and Daniels almost never go without someone targeting them, whereas Ballard would go unblocked or just chipped, even when the play went to his side.

    Klug in particular has an incredible ability to find the ball in trash, and it's not because he's seeing the play clearly with 1-3 OL pounding on him, it looks like a developed instinct to read the block and feel where the play is designed to go. We see something similar watching Spikes play, though in his case he uses his eyes to detect patterns in the chaos and flow to the play. In the Iowa game, Penn State tried to make sure Klug was occupied, which created opportunity for Ballard to "eventually" locate the ball and use his immense athleticism to make a play. Wilfork and Seymour have talked about reading the block, I believe Bruschi has too, but it stands to reason that some players just have more intuitive natures for picking up on the way plays develop and combining that with study and coaching to play "smarter" in games. Brady certainly does that with his receivers.
  6. MustaphaM0nd

    MustaphaM0nd Rookie

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    Thats what makes football so much more interesting IMO.

    You can't easily project someone into a system, because performance consists of multiple factors.
    Measurables - size, speed, "athleticism" in general
    Instincts - play diagnosis, field vision, good hands (to some extent)
    Habits - dedication, competitiveness, intelligence, calmness, coachability

    A player you win with needs to score high on all three of these categories. Thats not easy to find. The young players have instinct problems. Maroney had habit problems. Sanders and Wilhite have measurable/instinct problems, whereas Green-Ellis has measurable problems. Meriweather has instinct/habit problems. Calling the process of nailing all three criteria (two of which are highly obtuse) an inexact science is generous.

    The rarest thing in this business is to hit paydirt with a guy who scores "elite" in all three categories. Willie McGinest was an example of a player who excelled in all three categories.
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