NFL Draft Hype And The NFL Prototype

In the US every year we hear so much hype for the NFL draft, which is now a bigger event than ever such that it is televised in prime time for the first three rounds with the coverage spread out over three days.

And every year usually there are a number of players hyped up largely because they come from certain big-name college programs, with ESPN having a vested interest and sizeable agenda in that regard due to its dominance of coverage of college football.

Over time when you review player profiles and draft history however, it is noteworthy all the names out there of players who do not attend big-name programs who emerge as NFL feature players or even stars as many highly-touted names from such programs fade from memory or are relegated to being full-time special teamers/meat squaders.

One key hypocrisy I have noted in reviewing all the players in free agency and draft prospects is how the US sports media and even coaches, likely as part of the poker match that goes on as part of the draft business not merely sport, will hype up too many prospects who do not have the ideal NFL prototype size and downplay those with such size though inferior in skills.

Right or wrong, and usually the scouts end up in the right in the first two rounds for the most part, NFL coaches will take a somewhat inferior player with prototype size over a talented player who is undersized or out of bounds in such regard.

Perhaps such a norm is not quite the case in the CFL, for which I admire the CFL in addition to more of the players having to play special teams such that they are more complete players. As a rugby union player and fan, of course I love the idea of players playing more than one side of the ball true to the rugby roots of each game. :smiley:

Anyway, this year's draft has turned out to be rather deep after all the pro days despite looking rather thin after the combines. This draft remains rather thin however at the positions of QB, WR, CB, receiving TE, and inside linebacker. Expect plenty of more free agency and trades to take place for those positions along with OLB, DE, and guys who are tweeners who can play both DE/OLB in the 3-4.

When following the NFL draft, if you find yourself wondering why a team chose one player over another player with better talent and ability, check the following prototype estimate that I will post separately as modified from a previous post.

History and free agency show that if a player is not within those estimated spec's, they have to make up for it somehow with vastly exceptional ability. You'll see this amongst many of the older veterans (10+ years experience) still playing who are somewhat smaller compared to their modern peers too.

These minimum estimates are based on what scouts do with regard to rookies and free agents more than what they or especially the media say.

When you examine today's feature (2 downs per possession or more as regulars for at least five seasons) or star players by each position, I think you'll find overwhelmingly that they fall within these prototype spec's. Note as well that those outside of them who are feature players or stars also are some of the most intriguing players overcoming even higher odds than others on average.


QB: 6-3

RB excluding FB:
5-8 to 6-1, 195, 40-yd dash 4.50, agility

C or G:
6-2, 300

6-4, 320

Receiving TE:
6-3, 250 to 265, 4.75

6-0, 200, 4.50, Vertical 35"


Inside Linebacker:
245, 4.80

Outside Linebacker:
235, 4.70

6-3 with above average reach, 270 with agility

6-3, 310

5-10, 190, 4.45, backpedal speed and agility, vertical 35"

5-11, 200 to 235, 4.60


As usual I either don’t agree or don’t understand your point Sandusky, but no matter you are correct at least in the part about American players making it big in Canada but ignore that is provided they can adjust to the different CFL game.

I think you overlook that important last part as player history shows even solid American athletes and some NFL players cannot make the adjustment to the different CFL game and vice versa though on a less frequent basis.


Wow pointing out the obvious for sake of mixing it up? Yeah right like it makes sense to talk to you. Back to your great neighbourhood in your dump of a town in a dump of a state dude. :thdn:

The NFL has great athletes and I'm not going to argue they are the best gridiron players available on average. But the NFL game still comes across slow to me probably because of the rules. I know that say on average the NFL guy vs the CFL guy per position is probably faster, but they look slower on average, just a perception thing. It's weird. :?


Definitely Earl, other than for better safety for which the NFL has already passed some solid rules along with finally improving the overtime, any other rule changes I would recommend to the NFL would involve opening things up some on offense with no defensive disadvantage as well as especially opening things up in the kicking game such that players are encouraged to return more of the kicks and punters to keep them inbounds by copying the CFL rules on the latter. :thup:

How many games do you watch? Sounds like you don't have a clue or understand the dynamics of the Canadian game. No defense in the CFL? That tells me you don't know what you're talking about buddy.

No question the NFL has the better players, but there are certain players in the NFL that can't adjust to the CFL game. It's not black and white that all NFL players are better, and any NFL player can come up to the CFL and dominate.

The Running back position probably demonstrate that the best. The differences in both games can effect the Runners ability to become a star. Now would a Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Clinton Portis, be great in both leagues, for sure, but we saw a Ricky Williams not dominate. Adrian Peterson would be a good back in the CFL but I don't think he would be any better than he is now. And the field is not the only factor. The defensive schemes are different in the CFL with the additional defender. Plus that one yard line of scrimmage can benefit the quicker back. Holes can be open a bit longer, reverses and double reverses work better in the CFL so DE can't cheat as much etc. And although the field is wide which some say helps runs to the outside (sweeps) I feel that the one year line of scrimmage benefits the Defense, since the DE has an extra yard before contact, usually are faster than Tackles and could get to the outside faster. Plus a Guard that is pulling would have an extra step to make getting to the second tier defender.

You know ugo, I always thought the one yard on the line of scrimmage basically benefitted the offense and for all intents and purposes, it made the CFL game 3 downs to make about 1/2 yard, meaning if you have 3rd down and 1/2 yard to go, with them giving you one yard you should be able to get 1/2 yard automatically. But you've got a point with how you see this. Interesting.

Agreed Earl and Ugo I never thought of that advantage in the CFL in some cases also at DE, such that the faster ones adapt to use the extra yard to their advantage especially with a tackle who is below average.

Mind you as well that pass-rushing DE's especially in addition to even the tall, huge, and quick 3-4 run-oriented DEs (typically 6-4, 290 or more) are at quite a premium in today's American game.

Great points Ugo but don't get what you are talking about for sake of the pulling OG after the snap. The distance to a linebacker is the same whether or not that linebacker advances towards the line after the snap, as linebackers generally don't line up on the line anyway even in blitz or fake blitz packages in American football.

Noteworthy also is that in American football many of the quick DE's line up even more at an angle outside of the tackle in a 4-3 set such that they are still no further than by rule the tip of the football on the LOS's neutral zone yet also at least a half yard away from the OT to use the advantage of the extra space for agility or ambiguity of such space for the tackle's planned blocking scheme. This is particularly true in various blitz sets that involve linebackers or the strong safety and vice versa when that same DE slants in at the snap from the outside.

On the balance however, I would think if most defencive linemen had their way anyway in the CFL, they'd much rather have also the option to line up at the ball, but of course the way that rule is for the CFL is fine.

Of course in the event of any sort of football encounter under unified rules, from the American perspective as for 4 downs no way would not lining up at the ball be negotiable! Personally I'd go for everything else Canadian otherwise for such a dream exhibition. :thup:

Here's the best NFL draft prospect site I have found, better than even the NFL site for that matter, that lists players by position.

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Note that the 40-yd times listed are not accurate and you have to read up on each player to know for sure what their real electronically-timed from movement, not from stopwatch start, 40-times are from the Combine or Pro Day instead of all those fake hand-timed claims everyone makes.

The NFL site is better in discussing any particular player's positional drill performance, but note that the NFL site overlooks some hidden talent from often non-BCS and smaller schools especially at the very thin position of WR.

As I wrote a friend, in an attempt to find the next Michael Irvin, Randy Moss, or Terrell Owens most teams end up with under-performers and busts as the Cowboys, Colts, and Patriots find low-round or undrafted values and often undersized for the latter two.

Note also that two Canadian players from Wilfrid Laurier are listed down the lists respectively for WR and DE, but the site will give you more of an indicator other than the prototype spec's listed below of just the level of athletic ability on top of positional talent expected of feature players in the NFL.

It's so competitive any more that even most 4th round draft picks, meaning about not in the top 100 chosen but otherwise usually outstanding athletes and solid football players, are crapshoots to have an NFL career more than the average of less than 4 seasons.

Then assuming they keep their lives clean off they go to the CFL, UFL, New AFL, et cetera lest they just stick it out as meat on practise squads and play some special teams.

Here's an article by Bucky Brooks on the NFL site that reviews the 2007 NFL draft and my comments on it to a friend. Good stuff to keep in mind when watching the NFL draft combined with the approximate prototype list below.

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Great article here amidst much of the senseless draft fodder overall.

Note on this reshuffle by Bucky Brooks the following:

  1. One third (Mike Sims-Walker), one fourth (Tanard Jackson) , and two fifth rounders (Celek, Breaston) make the list. All these are not near stars of course, but they are featured players and starters except with Breaston likely to be involved in 4-receiver spread sets as the backup third or fourth slotted receiver anyway. All four of these guys but Breaston are prototypes in spec's.

  2. All 26 out of the 31 others, excluding Russell, are first and second rounders. That tells us a lot about how good the NFL scouts are you know?

Amazingly that tells us also a lot about the high odds against anything third round or less becoming a starter within three years in the NFL!

As an example there is bias against safeties for a notoriously short career, probably near 3 years on average, of the average NFL defensive back as examing the list on Pro Football Reference. Man if I were a great athlete like this year too many prospects at safety though not enough at cornerback, I would be pissed off probably after 3 years of special teams and getting beat up if I were not starting too you know? That assumes as for a certain percentage that one has not suffered an injury such that speed is lost forever too.

Interestingly along those lines, note the increased rarity of 4.45 speed for CB compared to only 4.60 speed for safety that is in abundance though still quite the speed for guys from 200-230 pounds playing safety or any position for that matter. And then note the next echelon's even higher rarity has 4.35 for guys who are more than just track stars (high track speed, marginal comparable lateral agility indicating lack of core lateral and hip strength as required to play football of any kind).

  1. Of course most notably the #1 pick JaMarcus Russell in 2007 is the next Ryan Leaf though far more expensive. He makes me wonder when we'll hear about his involvement in a crime and/or in some drug bust?

  2. I checked at random some of the players on Brook's list including whose names I did not know to find out how many were not "prototype" who made the list. Only THREE examples I could find were under the prototype, Ted Ginn (picked 7th likely due to high speed), Breaston (5th round) and Jarvis Moss.

Two others are one oversized athletic freak OLB/DE picked in the second round plus one notable prototype that apparently slipped through in the first round as a merely outstanding workout performer yet apparently is awful in game time when you examine his stats for whenever he even manages to get into the game.

Only more evidence here that no matter what lest they want to put their jobs on the line for a serious error, NFL scouts will stick to the prototype in the first two rounds. Of course as I have argued this is out of control for sake of the WR position lately since Michael Irvin.

Whoever chose Breaston now looks like a genius provided he did not make a bunch of screwups otherwise. Whoever chose undersized Jarvis Moss in the first round really looks bad perhaps and might be out of a job with the Packers and coaching or scouting somewhere else. That also definitely true for whomever chose Ted Ginn Jr as the 7th pick. And whoever chose Harrell I bet still has a job lest he really screwed up more prototypes.

-Ted Ginn Jr., 5-11 180 -- His main flaw seems to be suspect hands and he's only 5-11 180 at receiver but a solid return man, making him yet another "go route" undersized crap shoot receiver pick perhaps going bust, but usually those guys are chosen much, much later in the draft not with all the money due someone as the 7th pick! The jury is out on him as a receiver for perhaps two more seasons I say, as he's been traded. I am far more optimistic at him having a long career as a solid return man in any case.

•Steve Breaston, 6-0 189 -- small in weight but seems to play bigger with long legs and long arms doesn't he? He's originally from Pittsburgh mind you, so he must have been a PA star.

•LaMarr Woodly, 6-2 265 -- That's massive for an outside linebacker though he does play to be fair in a 3-4, so really he's an OLB and DE. But to have that kind of size and probably be faster than Brandon Jacobs the biggest RB at the same weight(not FB)?

•Jarvis Moss, likely bust, 6-7 257 -- He is evidence that height and long arms without mass at DE will get you thrown around by massive tackles with strong hands to make you ineffective despite your otherwise likely awesome athleticism. Jason Pierre Paul in this year's draft at 6-5 270? Pierre Paul would not work in a 3-4 for the most part in my view, but he's got enough potential and fundamentals and high athleticism to keep him on as a future feeature player in a 4-3. I bet you for example that Woodly above would eat him alive whether playing OLB or DE in either a 3-4 or 4-3 though.

•Justin Harrell, likely bust, 6-4 320 -- Prototype for a 3-4 NT or 4-3 DT yet proof here that having the impressive frame and strengh are not enough to play defense if apparently you don't have enough game athleticism.

Correction to previous post. One of the guys, Steven Turner, on that NFL draft site is not from Wilfrid Laurier but went to Bishop's. More on him in the E-Camp post, as NFL scouts are watching him already given the shortage of extreme speed (sub 4.36) combined with lateral agility (not just track speed) in the NFL. Whether he would be the next Ted Ginn Jr. or alternatively DeSean Jackson in the undersized receiver and KR category if even ever in the NFL is the core question, but no doubt he will NOT be a first or second round pick that in my opinion is way too high to choose an undersized receiver all the same.

Do you know how many Ncaa players go undrafted who could make it too the next level?To say thE NFL isnt a good league is dumb.I see no laws saying the best players can not be on the field.I saw put a American teams in the cfl and it would dominate because its player selection would not be hampred one bit because of usa laws.Not being mean and nasty I follow football and i'm not dumb of enough too say the nfl isnt the best football league around.I dont care what rules you use they have the best athletes pound for pound for any league out there UFL,AFL,OR CFL.Not saying these league dont have talent but the nfl talent is the best hands down

Maybe start another thread with these sorts of comments for your point? I can't see how they belong in this thread about the NFL draft not whatever opinion you have about the athletic level of players in either league.

No shortage of awesome athletic talent in this year's crop of players, but note the following after you examine the prospect lists:


-Shortage at feature talent and potential at all positions, with the most at QB,C,G
-Abundant feature potential at the tackle position
-Few choice names for WR to be feature players in the rookie season, yet still quite a few amongst the talent such that there will be yet another crop of guys who will be better pros with development than they were college players


-Abundant feature talent at all positions but defensive end and cornerback, though still a few guys at corner with fundamental extreme speed and agility such that they can be developed into feature players beyond their play in college as well. Some of those guys will be returning kicks for awhile too whilst they are developed.

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Consider here the case of Taylor Mays, whom the scouts wisely dropped out of the first round and who had all the NCAA "experts" touting that he might leave after his junior year at USC.

This is a case where you have someone with physical tools well above average but someone way short of the mindset to be a positional football player already.

For the 49ers, who also traded a mere 5th round pick to get 1st round bust Ted Ginn Jr for special teams, this is already looking bad when a team spends a 2nd round pick for a guy they now are looking more at for sake of special teams.

If a first-rounder as was Ginn Jr. this would be screaming bust now, but even as a 2nd-rounder it is just not looking good all the same.

In retrospect and IMHO the 49ers took a bigger gamble on a superb athlete who is farther from the mindset of a pro football player than anyone honest had thought.

Learn to spell first and then someone might think about taking you seriously. TOO should be TO and A should be AN. Go back to elementary school and get a clue, i'm surprised you can spell "A"