Jerry Angelo said WHAT?
Jerry Angelo has been giving weekly interviews with Larry Mayer for the Bears’ fficial website, talking about the games and other NFL-related issues. Its tough to find anything of value tucked between Mayer’s slow-pitch softball-like questions, and Angelo’s cookie cutter answers; but every now and again, omething will be said that raises an eyebrow. In this week’s interview, Angelo is asked about his strategy for scouting college players going into the draft. He said,
‘Typical of what we do every year, we’ll get together this week and create our first hot list. Tim [Ruskell] has done a great job of communicating with the scouts throughout the season, making sure that he’s on top of which players they like. He has a real good outline in each area of what players we need to target going into these bowl games and all-star games. Now we’ll just focus on those players. It’s very important to get our hot list up and going as soon as we can so we can start focusing on a handful of players. We usually try to get the hot list down from over 800 players to around 200 at this time of the year. By the draft, it shrinks to about 75. Those 75 players are who we are going to target from top to bottom in the draft. As I’ve said before, it’s not the player that we miss that I’m concerned about, it’s the player that we say we know.”
What I got out of that was this—our final list is only 75 PLAYERS? THAT’S IT?
Follow me for a minute—take the QB position(even though you should ALWAYS be looking for a better backup than TODD FREAKIN’ COLLINS), and the K position out of the priority mix for now. We seem to be set there for a while. Lets also take punter out of this scenario. Also, to give Angelo the benefit of the doubt, count guards and center as one position, all linebackers as one position, and safeties as one position. That gives us RB, WR, TE, OT, OG/C, DT, DE, LB, CB, and S. Thats 10 positions you would be scouting. There are 7 rounds in the draft. 7 rounds X 10 positions = 70. You mean to tell me, for al the money we spend on scouting, that we only have ONE guy per position targeted for EACH ROUND? What if that guy is gone? So, lets look at last year’s draft as an example. What if there was an OT or WR with a consensus 1st or 2nd round grade across the board—because we hadn’t scouted him, we would still take the safety we had pegged in the third round? Or, if he puts 15 safeties on the “HOT LIST” because its a position of need, what if there was a 1st-round talent at another position available? Again, we wouldn’t take him?
I understand that there is not the time or resources to scout everybody as thoroughly as you would want to, before you invest all the time and money that they do into draft picks. But you started with a list of 800! Why cut it down to 200 BEFORE bowl season, pro days, and the combine? Why even cut down to 75, and eliminate EVERYONE ELSE?
It all starts to make sense to me now, though, when you look back and we drafted Mike Haynes over talent like Troy Polamalu, Nnamdi Asumogha, and Larry Johnson in 2003? Why Mark Bradley over Lofa Tatupu and Corey Webster in 2004? Better yet, look at who was in the nest 15 picks of the draft AFTER we picked OT-turned-OG Chris Williams in 2008: OT Branden Albert (KC), CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (ARZ), OT Gosder Cherilus (DET), QB Joe Flacco(BAL), OT Jeff Otah (CAR), CB Aqib Talib (TB), RB Felix Jones (DAL), RB Rashard Mendenhall (PIT), RB Chris Johnson (TEN). I’m not gonna lie; that last one hurt to type.
I know the draft is hit-or-miss, but it seems like Angelo’s strategy limits you from taking the “Best Player Available”—which in turn, limits your opportunities to create depth on your roster and limits your chances to pick a true draft steal.