The Rookie Scouting Portfolio: The Method
By Matt Waldman
When you read a draft analyst's evaluation how do you know what the grade is telling you?
For example if you read somewhere else a player earned a score of nine out of ten as a receiver, what does that mean? Did the evaluator watch the player catch the ball two times out of three opportunities or was it nine out of ten? In fact, did he watch at all?
If he did, where did the evaluator get his information? Maybe it was a practice session, but isn't that where a player is supposed to make mistakes? Crazier still, maybe the evaluation boiled down to a handful of highlights and the way a coach lauded the player's skills as a pass catcher? As you can see, there can be a big difference.
The Rookie Scouting Portfolio is designed to provide strengths and weaknesses of a football player based on what is most important: his on-field performance in game conditions. When it comes to determining a player's talent everything else pales in comparison.
Although evaluation of human performance always has some subjectivity, there is a way to make the scoring process less prone to careless errors of observation that result in wild conclusions. Readers love my analysis because the grading method is more objective than most, but remains intuitive to understand.
The first-hand, play-by-play analysis is delivered in a format designed to answer key questions about an NFL prospect:
- Does the player demonstrate consistently sound techniques and decisions in game-day situations?
- Do the player's physical skills translate to the football field?
- Do the player's actions demonstrate he understands how to play the game with control, aggression, and intelligence?
- What is the player's comfort level with physical contact?
- Will the player's techniques and decisions work as well against the stronger, faster, and savvier competition of the NFL as they do at the college level?
- Which of the player's weaknesses will be more or less difficult to address at the next level?
In fact, the process is so clear that a reader can come away with a different opinion about a player, but still gain valuable knowledge through my method of grading an reporting what I observed.
This is accomplished with a two-fold approach that I use as the basis for my game film analysis:
- Clearly define the criteria in writing.
- Score the criteria with a grade of "Yes," or "No."
Every player is graded with a checklist containing position-specific criteria that are clearly defined and weighted according to which skills the best NFL players at those positions possess. The more essential the defined criteria point to the player's projected NFL performance at their position, the higher the assigned point value for that particular skill. The player earns all the points for a score of "Yes" or none of the points for a "No" and the overall grade for a checklist is calculated on a 100-point scale.
Accompanying every checklist is 1-2 pages of commentary that provides in-game examples to support how the player succeeded or failed to demonstrate the skill sets on the checklist.
The evaluations also have a decent shelf life of 3-4 years, which is a great asset in dynasty leagues. Many people discover they want to order past publications after reading the current Rookie Scouting Portfolio.
Go here to get your 2009 Footballguys.com subscription and then download the Rookie Scouting Portfolio.