Next week, from Thursday through Saturday, the NFL Draft will be held as scheduled. It’ll be done in a virtual setting with picks being sent in from training facilities across the country.
Typically, teams would have prospects come in to their facilities and spend hours upon hours with them, breaking down tape and working out and getting to know personality types. The coronavirus pandemic changed all that.
Now teams must do things through video screens so it’s had an impact on their Draft preps but one big event in February didn’t leave them all completely short-handed.
“It was pretty much normal up to the NFL Combine. Thank God we got the Combine in. Really this all started right after that,” says Chargers General Manager Tom Telesco. “I think we got one week of pro days in so we do have a lot of incomplete workout information on players, anybody who didn’t work out at the Combine or didn’t finish their workout at the Combine. We usually would get their numbers at their pro day. We don’t have that this year so that’s different.”
When evaluating a prospect teams take an incredible number of factors into consideration. Speed, strength, arm length, hand measurements (yes that’s really a thing) personality types, football comprehension … it’s all thrown into a blender and a final prospect evaluation comes out.
“We try to put a full puzzle together on these players and part of it is workout numbers,” says Telesco. “We like to compare apples to apples so we may not have that on everybody.”
One thing that has not changed is the meeting process. The Chargers still have the same conversations with scouts and evaluators, they just do it over video conferencing. In the avalanche of information that is compiled one factor this year is going to be weighed more than usual.
“We’re looking for players that have drive, work ethic, and are self-motivated,” says Telesco. “Those three things you’re going to have to have at this time because a lot of your workouts you will be by yourself, literally. Whether it’s lifting weights in a garage or out running a grass hill or finding a practice field somewhere to work a lot of player improvement is going to come individually from them.”
And the bottom line is NFL teams have a whole lot of game tape to look at. At this point if they can’t tell if a guy can play by looking at a season’s-worth of snaps then they probably won’t be making that selection anyway.
“The end result is we feel like … I think everybody does … we feel like we have all the information we need to make the picks we need to make so I think we’ll be OK,” says Telesco.