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NFL DRAFT COUNTDOWN

Five 'pitfalls' to avoid on draft day

Sat, Apr 05, 2014

FIVE WEEKS FROM NFL DRAFT

As we've seen over the years, the NFL Draft is far from an exact science. But there are five general 'pitfalls' you can avoid to increase your odds of having a successful draft.

 1. FIGURING OUT THE OVERACHIEVER AND THE UNDERACHIEVER    

There's always a bunch of these in the draft and one way to do it is you cannot take character and toughness over speed. In other words, the overachiever has some degree of speed and athleticism that has gotten him to that point, so character and toughness are important. But, without speed, the player has no chance in the NFL. On the flip side is the prospect that has the 'upside' potential. You cannot take this prospect if he lacks character and a football temperment. In other words, if he's been an underachiever to this point, there's probably a lack of toughness, a lack of football temperment, a lack of desire to be the best player he can be. That happens all the time. Teams will take a player because of his 'upside,' but he just doesn't have the 'goods' to be that better or great player at some point in the future.

 2. DON'T EVALUATE PLAYERS ON ONE OR TWO ASPECTS OF THE PROCESS   

Don't pick a player based on a 40 time at the NFL Combine, a rep or two at the Reese's Senior Bowl or something that happens at the Pro Day. You have to factor-in everything that has happened since August through the draft.

 3. DON'T DISREGARD A NEGATIVE REPORT                                        

You hear about players 'gaining momentum' all the time in the pre-draft process. Typically, there is at least one scout or one coach in your building that is saying, 'Hey, hold your horses. This guys is not all of that.' And often times the winds in the room begin to blow and nobody is willing to raise their hand and say, 'Hey, I don't see it that way.' If there is a negative report on the player, you have to take that into consideration.

 4. DON'T LET COACHES ELEVATE A PLAYER LATE IN THE PROCESS     

Coaches will come in and push a player that was perhaps not in an all-star game, or not even at the Combine, and get him to a level where you draft him. This happens often when you get into the sixth or seventh round, and the coaching staff pushes a player that the scouts did not really like in the fall. You take him and then he gets there for camp and everyone is looking around saying, 'Who brought this guy in here?'

5. DON'T LET 'NEED' TAKE OVER YOUR DRAFT BOARD                          

This is the most important of the five pitfalls. You cannot take need over the preparation of your board. In other words, if there's a talented player -- even if you're set at a certain postion -- that is significantly higher than the remaining players on your board, you either have to take him or trade down and get away from that player. Then he get's taken and your board is level again. It happens all the time, where a team bypasses a player because they felt like their depth chart was set there and then within a week, or the first OTA, or first mini-camp, someone gets hurt at that position -- and you just ask yourself why you didn't take that player when you had the chance.