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Published on 04/21/2012 at Sat Apr 21 11:30.
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Many said in 2011 that Von Miller couldn't be a 4-3 OLB in the NFL. (Image courtesy of the Associated Press)

It’s that time of year again.  The time of year when scouts and draft analysts act like they know everything there is to know about every prospect.

In reality, quite often the exact opposite is true.  The NFL Draft essentially is a crapshoot, which is why players like Jarvis Moss and Aaron Curry have gone early while others like Mike Wallace and Le’Ron McClain fell further on draft day than they should have.

Some dogmatically give their opinions on players based on incorrect assessments (i.e. those that said JaMarcus Russell was a worthy first overall draft pick and others that said Cam Newton wouldn’t make it in the NFL).  There are a handful of reasons for such fallible scouting reports, personal bias, personal gain (such as pending relationships with player agents), misinformation and the inability to predict the future are all factors.

Then there are just the dead-wrong skills and ability assessments.  Take for example this portion of‘s 2011 Von Miller scouting report (with my thoughts in italics): 

  • Very small frame  (Didn’t seem to affect him).
  • Gets overwhelmed at point of attack  (Didn’t notice that).
  • Weak versus the run  (Not against Chicago).
  • Hand use could improve  (Not an expert there, but he seemed to have used his hands well on this play).
  • Needs to add strength  (They’ve obviously never met him).
  • Strictly a 3-4 outside linebacker  (Oh, dear).

While those were just Miller’s “weaknesses” (Miller’s “strengths ” in the report far outweighed his “weaknesses”), it goes to show that a player’s ability to adjust to new schemes and assignments varies by each player.  Noting that Miller was strictly a 3-4 OLB simply because that’s the defensive formation that he played in college turned out to be a ludicrous statement.

So when you hear an assessment or scouting report of any draft prospect this year, be sure to take it with a grain of salt (better yet, make it several saltshakers’ worth).  When it comes to judging which players will be great and which players will flop, nobody knows.

Scouts can’t predict the future.  And scouts can’t predict how a player will react to a particular coach or unique situations that come with every team in the NFL.

If Terrell Davis hadn’t been drafted by Mike Shanahan in the sixth round of the 1995 NFL Draft, Davis may have not went on to win two Super Bowls, a league MVP and a Super Bowl MVP award.  If not drafted by Denver, maybe Davis wouldn’t have had a huge preseason hit and gotten his coaches attention.

And even if Davis had gotten a chance with another team and went on to become one of just six running backs in NFL history to rush for 2,000 yards, which would have proved that Davis should have been a first round draft pick.  But like Rod Smith, Chris Harris and Shannon Sharpe, Davis’ draft day stock was hurt by fallible scouting reports and misconceptions.

When it comes to the draft, your guess is as good as anyone.  All the players that are drafted (and even those that aren’t) are extremely talented athletes with potential to become stars. 

  • Anonymous

    When it comes to the draft, your guess is as good as any ones.  Every player that is drafted (and even those that aren’t drafted) are extremely talented athletes with potential to become stars. ”

    Well said!

  • Rbschaeffer22

    Draft OLB Lavonte David! 

  • Tim Lynch

    Speak for yourself.  I’m never wrong.

  • rcsodak

    Miller IS weak as a backer. Or did you miss his being pulled, or running himself out of plays, or grabbing at air as TE’s were running by him?
    I will give him his thumb, but this year ‘no excuses’. He better be more than a pass rusher, especially after EFX decides they have enough DT’s and drafts rb/qb/cb/lb.

  • Ninjaix

    Pretty harsh criticism for the ROOKIE of the year it was his 1st year and dont be so foolish the point of the article is to say scouts and reporters more often than not are wrong with their analysis and just regurgitate what others have said instead of doing their own research. Often times what they are saying has little to do with whether or not a player can play much like your comment has little to do with how scouts do their jobs.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah and let’s not forget that sorry ass barely even one defensive rookie of the year and was only being mentioned as the defensive player of the year until he got hurt.

    haha seriously, if you slapped Jesus in the face you would have looked like less of an ass.

  • crazykid

    Psh, I called Rolando McClain scrubbing HARRDD in the NFL! Every one else said he was the best LB in the draft that year… so do I get a cookie? 

  • Jon

    Cookies for crazykid!

  • Anonymous

    Can I get an a-men?!?

  • Anonymous


  • 5280

    I agree that nobody can tell the future and that no prospect is guarantee, but to say scouts and some experts don’t know what their doing isn’t fair to them, especially guys who’ve been the league both as players and coaches. The broncos had scouts that helped in the process of picking Von miller.

    Take teams like greenbay, Pittsburg, and new England. These teams, especially new England, obviously have great scouts and coaches that know how to scout players and give a legitimate estimate on who would be a good pick based on need and best player available. Bill belichick is probably the best coach in the league and every year he has 2 first round picks and brings in someone who makes an impact his rookie year.

    What also not being considered is the money. Why would Denver or any other team take a Terrell Davis in the first round when they can wait 5 more rounds and get a should-be hall of famer for next to nothing?

    Yes, many people labeled jamarcus russel a 1st overall pick, but there’s a difference between actual athletic talent and off the field character. What made Jamarcus russel a bust is his laziness. No body could predict without dout that he would be coming in late and leaving early and sleeping in team meetings.

    So while agree that nothing is 100% certain, some teams are very efficient in the draft process and in shows in their win loss records every year over long periods of time.

  • Anonymous

    It is their job to roll film, watch a few games, check the measureables, and then make an assessment.  The trick is to find the guy that fits into your system.  Unless you have watched a kids career there is no way to see if he has heart, work ethic, if the coach had it out for him (like TD), except by word of mouth.  Scouts have a list of players they need to look at so forgive them if they are not always dialed in.