Film (80%) – Your level of competition and how you played against the best level of competition you faced that year. Each NFL team will view around 3 full games of your current season normally against who is the best competition. This also includes if a prospect plays in any of the college football all-star games. Scouts are not watching highlight clips to grade they are watching full game and grading every play. They are looking to see if a player plays hard and hustles on every play they are in.
Athletic Numbers (10%) – Height, Weight, Speed. Teams are looking at the film first and then see if the prospect checks off the box in the athletic numbers per the position. But still the film comes first. True teams have a range of where they athletic numbers need to be, but if you can’t play that goes out the window.
Injury History/Off Field/Football IQ (10%) – Any major injuries, anything major off the field, love of the game, film study. Scouts are check social media, talking to high school coaches, strength coaches, academic advisors, current coaches as they try to find out as much information on the prospect on and off the field. Teams will reject players fully for injury and off the field issues no matter how good a player is on the field.
True in the NFL it is all about can you play the game at a high level and it is about the film and as they always say “the eye in the sky can’t tell a lie” but there are other factors that make up a player draft stock that has nothing to do with your skill as a player. There are a lot of things that are out of players control but there are many that it comes down to choices.
Effort/Hustle – Going 100% on every play doesn’t have anything to do skill. Having a high motor and giving hustle and effort on every play is only a positive and is something that a player can control. Remember scouts and coaches and not just watching highlight tapes, they are watching full games to see what you do on every snap.
Football IQ – Film study, knowledge of your opponent, what are his tendencies, knowledge of your scheme and the purpose of each play, knowledge of the rules, all of these things it doesn’t matter how athletically gifted you are as a player.
Accepting Coaching – Remember scouts are going to talk to coaches about prospects, from the head coach down to the position coaches and one thing coaches are going to is be honest with the scouts because coaches know that they are only as good as their word when it comes to what they tell the scouts. So if the prospect will accept coaching, willing to do what the coaches ask of him are all things that a prospect has control over.
Failed Drug Test – As a player you might not thing that this is a big deal but it is something that can hurt you with NFL teams and is something that as player you have control over.
Domestic Violence/ Violence against Women – There are many documented cases that has affected guys draft status including a few years ago with running back Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals). Even with this happening a few years ago many teams took him off their draft board and he dropped a lot further in the draft then many people had him graded on film.
Association – When NFL teams are doing their due diligence investigating player’s back-grounds they are interested in who the player hangs with off the field and do any of these people present red flags. They are wondering if by associating with these people will the player be affected to making some bad decisions?
Social Media – Monitoring and reviewing player’s social media has become a big time in the recent years. Scouts are looking to see what the prospect is posting on these platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram). They are looking for is the player posting about football? Some of the red flags they are looking for is the prospect posting about Guns, Violence, Drugs, Alcohol, etc.?
Work Ethic – As a prospect are you a hard worker in the weight room, on the practice field, in the class room. Thing is one thing that a prospect can control. One of the most important resource to a NFL scout is the weight room coach or the strength and conditioning coach. Scouts are going to ask does this prospect show up for work outs, does he do extra, do you have to push him to give effort? All things that can be controlled.
Medical – This is one that a prospect doesn’t have much control over, in football injuries happen, and they do have an effect on prospect draft grade. What a prospect does have is when the injury does happen how hard to they attack the rehab, also what are you doing as far as injury prevention?
The NFL supplemental draft is held every year after the
regular draft in April, normally in early July. It is held so that if a
prospect will not be eligible for the upcoming college football season can
apply to play in the NFL and without the supplement draft it would leave the
prospect in limbo for a full year. If a player wants to be included in the
supplemental draft, a formal petition needs to be filed with the league and not
every player is guaranteed admittance. Players need to be at least three years
removed from high school to be eligible for the supplemental draft. The most
common reason a player will enter the supplemental draft is because of not
being eligible due to academic reasons. But other reason do come up as to why a
player would be ruled eligible to be included in the supplemental draft.
The supplemental draft order is different from the regular
draft order. Teams are separated into three groups based on the previous
season; the first group are non-playoff teams that had six or fewer wins. The
second group are non-playoff teams with more six wins. And the final group are
playoff teams. The order in those groups are determined by a weighted lottery
with the teams with the fewest wins given the best chance to win the earliest
picks. Bids for players are submitted blindly by teams with the round that
given team would want to select a given player. Obviously, the team highest in
the draft order who submits the earliest-round bid for a player will be awarded
that player. When that happens, that club forfeits a pick in the same round of
next year’s regular draft.
Last year two players where selected in the NFL Supplemental
Draft, Sam Beal, Western Michigan by the New York Giants in the 3rd
round, and Adonis Alexander, Virginia Tech by the Washington Redskins in the 6th
If a player enters the supplemental draft and is not drafted
then he automatically becomes a free-agent and then is able to sign with any
Past NFL Supplemental Draft picks:
1977 Al Hunter RB 4th Seattle Seahawks Notre Dame Suspended
from the team for disciplinary reasons.
Dirden WR 10th Houston Oilers Sam Houston State dropped
out of college after two years.
Rod Connors RB 12th San
Francisco 49ers USC dropped out of college with eligibility
1979 Rod Stewart RB 6th Buffalo Bills Kentucky
Teague DE 7th Atlanta
Falcons Prairie View A&M
Billy Mullins WR 9th San
Diego Chargers USC declared ineligible when it was
discovered that he gained credits simultaneously from four junior colleges in
the fall of 1977 in order to gain entry to USC.
1981 Dave Wilson QB 1st New Orleans Saints Illinois declared ineligible amid questions about his high school
transcript and junior college stay.
Chy Davidson WR 11th New
England Patriots Rhode Island
Robinson CB 9th Detroit
Lions North Carolina A&T
1985 Bernie Kosar QB 1st Cleveland Browns Miami (FL) Graduated after his junior year.
Roosevelt Snipes RB 8th San
Francisco 49ers Florida State Academically ineligible.
Crawford RB 7th Philadelphia
Eagles Oklahoma State Crawford missed his senior year with an injury
and declared for the supplemental draft amid questions about whether his
eligibility would be extended (currently, medical redshirt status would be
given before the draft deadline).
Bosworth LB 1st Seattle
Seahawks Oklahoma Bosworth had been dismissed from the
Oklahoma football team following the 1986 season. Since he was a junior, he was
eligible to be chosen in the 1987 draft but did not declare before the
deadline and decided to wait for the supplemental draft, which he was
eligible for due to his graduation from Oklahoma one year early.
Dan Sileo DT 3rd Tampa
Bay Buccaneers Miami (FL) Sileo was declared ineligible by the
NCAA for his senior season.
Cris Carter WR 4th Philadelphia Eagles Ohio State Carter was suspended before his senior season for signing with an agent.
1988 Ryan Bethea WR 5th Minnesota Vikings South Carolina Suspended from team over drug arrests
1989 Steve Walsh QB 1st Dallas Cowboys Miami (FL) Walsh did
not declare for the draft before its deadline.
Timm Rosenbach QB 1st Phoenix
Cardinals Washington State Rosenbach did not declare for the
draft before its deadline.
Bobby Humphrey RB 1st Denver
Brett Young DB 8th Buffalo
Mike Lowman RB 12th Dallas
Cowboys Coffeyville Community College
1990 Rob Moore WR 1st New York Jets Syracuse Moore
graduated from college with a year of eligibility remaining, and did not
declare in time for regular draft.
Willie Williams TE 9th Phoenix
1992 Dave Brown QB 1st New York Giants Duke Brown
graduated from college with a year of eligibility remaining, and did not
declare for the NFL until after the regular draft had been held. Brown is the
last player taken in the first round of the supplemental draft.
Darren Mickell DE 2nd Kansas
City Chiefs Florida Mickell was suspended from team for senior
season for undisclosed violations of team rules.
1994 Tito Wooten CB 4th New York Giants Northeast Louisiana
John Davis TE 5th Dallas
Cowboys Emporia State
Benson DT 3rd Dallas Cowboys Trinity Valley Community College
1998 Mike Wahle OT 2nd Green Bay Packers Navy Wahle was
suspended for senior season by the NCAA after testing positive for steroids.
Jamal Williams NT 2nd San
Diego Chargers Oklahoma State Williams was declared academically ineligible
before his senior season.
Cherry CB 4th New
England Patriots Arizona State
Brown G 6th Houston Texans Florida State He had used
up his five-year competition eligibility.
Hollings RB 2nd Houston
Texans Georgia Tech He was academically ineligible for the 2003 college season.
Wright DT 5th Miami Dolphins USC Chose entering the
draft over not playing college football while trying to regain his academic
2006 Ahmad Brooks LB 3rd Cincinnati Bengals Virginia He was dismissed from his college team.
2007 Paul Oliver S 4th San Diego Chargers Georgia He
left college because of academic problems.
Jared Gaither OT 5th Baltimore
Ravens Maryland He was declared academically
ineligible in college.
Jarmon DE 3rd Washington Redskins Kentucky Suspended
over failed drug test.
2010 Harvey Unga FB 7th Chicago Bears BYU Expelled for
Josh Brent NT 7th Dallas Cowboys Illinois He was reportedly academically ineligible for the 2010 college football season
Pryor QB 3rd Oakland
Raiders Ohio State Suspended as part of NCAA
investigation into improper benefits.
2012 Josh Gordon WR 2nd Cleveland Browns Baylor Dismissed
for failed marijuana test.
Battle OT 5th St. Louis
Rams Clemson Had “family matters to attend”, as well as
2018 Sam Beal CB 3rd New York Giants Western Michigan He
was declared academically ineligible in college.
Adonis Alexander CB 6th Washington
Redskins Virginia Tech He was declared academically ineligible in
One of the biggest things in the pre-draft process is the different all-star games. I have had the opportunity to be involved with 6 College Football all-star games. Five Texas vs. the Nation games and as well as the Player All-Star Classic in 2012, mainly working with the player personnel but also having other duties.
“I put more stock in that then combine stuff, the reason I do that, it’s ball… All-Star Games matter because it is good on good.”
College football all-star games are about giving players an opportunity to show their skills in front of NFL scouts. In this environment where player come from all levels of competition the NFL scouts are evaluating not only the one-on-one and team practices but how fast can a player picks up the offense or defense that is being installed since everything is done within that game week.
Small school prospects that get into one of the major all-star games have a great ability to help themselves in the draft process because it shows scouts that the level of competition is not too high for them since that will be one of the biggest questions mark for that prospect to answer.
In this years Senior Bowl the game had 10 first round draft picks and 93 overall and saw QB Daniel Jones, Duke who was the game MVP, helped himself be the number overall six pick by the New York Giants.
In the 2018 Senior Bowl QB Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen both played in the game and both helped their stock and both end up in the top 10 in the NFL Draft.
QB Carson Wentz from North Dakota State who end up as the number two pick overall by the Philadelphia Eagles raised his draft stock from his week of practice at the Senior Bowl. OT Eric Fisher from Central Michigan in 2013 went from a late first round pick to the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft after his week at the Senior Bowl.
Players who are Seniors can get an idea of what the NFL think about them based on what all-star game the get invited to and not getting invited to a game says a lot because the directors of all-star games are talking with scouts to see who they want to see in a game. True going to the Senior Bowl doesn’t mean you are getting drafted in the first round but it can help your draft stock if you have a good week at any of the all-star games.
But it is not just about the Senior Bowl, all the All-Star games matter, the East West Shrine game, the NFLPA Bowl, Tropic Bowl, College Gridiron Show, etc. All-Star games are the second most import thing in the draft evaluation process after the prospects season film evaluation.
A lot of people believe that the NFL Draft is made up of the Power 5 college football conferences (ACC, Big 10, Big 12, SEC & Pac-12) in college football but that is not totally the case. If we take a look at the past 5 NFL Draft we see that there are a good amount of draft picks that come from other levels of college football.
2019 NFL Draft (254 picks):
53 Draft picks Non-Power 5 (20.8%)
16 of those 53 Non-FBS
Buffalo Bills DT Ed Oliver, Houston – 1st round 9th overall was earliest Non-Power 5 pick.
Houston Texans OT Tytus Howard, Alabama State- 1st round 23rd overall was earlies Non-FBS pick.
Philadelphia Eagles TE Dallas Goedert – 2nd round 49th overall was earliest Non-FBS pick.
2017 NFL Draft (253 picks):
43 Draft picks Non-Power 5 (16.9%)
15 of those 43 Non-FBS
Tennessee Titans WR Corey Davis, Western Michigan – 1st round 5thoverall was earliest Non-Power 5 pick.
Chicago Bears TE Adam Shaheen, Ashland – 2nd round 45th overall was earliest Non-FBS pick.
2016 NFL Draft (253 picks):
57 Draft picks Non-Power 5 (22.5%)
20 of those 57 Non-FBS
Philadelphia Eagles QB Carson Wentz, North Dakota State -1st round 2nd overall was earliest Non-Power 5 and Non-FBS pick.
2015 NFL Draft (256 picks):
56 Draft picks Non-Power 5 (21.8%)
20 of those 56 Non-FBS
Baltimore Ravens WR Breshad Perriman, UCF – 1st round 26th overall pick was the earliest Non-Power 5 pick.
San Francisco 49ers S Jaquiski Tartt, Samford – 2nd round 46th overall pick was the earliest Non-FBS pick.
2014 NFL Draft (256 picks):
84 Draft picks Non-Power 5 (32.8%)
24 of those 84 Non-FBS
Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles, UCF – 1st round 3 pick overall was the earliest Non-Power 5 pick.
New England Patriots QB Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois – 2nd round 62nd overall was the earliest Non-FBS pick.
2013 NFL Draft (254 picks):
88 Draft picks Non-Power 5 (34.6%)
29 of those 88 Non-FBS
Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan – 1st round 1st overall pick was the earliest Non-Power 5 pick.
Atlanta Falcons CB Robert Alford, Southeastern Louisiana – 2nd round 60th overall was the earliest Non-FBS pick.
2012 NFL Draft (253 picks):
69 Draft picks Non-Power 5 (27.2%)
22 of those 69 Non-FBS
Kansas City Chiefs DT Dontari Poe, Memphis – 1st round 11th overall pick was the earliest Non-Power 5 pick.
St. Louis Rams WR Brian Quick, Appalachian State – – 2nd round 33rd overall was the earliest Non-FBS pick. (In 2012 Appalachian State was non FBS – they have moved to the FBS now)
So in the past 5 NFL Draft we see there was at least 1 first round pick from a Non-5 Power conference and in 2013 the first overall pick came from a Non-5 Power conference. In the past 4 NFL draft ever year there has been a 2nd round pick that was from a Non-FBS school.
So just remember if you are in a Power 5 conference there are other guys looking to get drafted just as high as you are and if you are not in a Power 5 conference it doesn’t matter if you can play football the NFL will find you.