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Thread: Making Plays is NOT an Acquired Skill

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    Scout Team

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    Making Plays is NOT an Acquired Skill

    I have spent extensive time over the last fifteen or so years between early January and late April preparing for the draft. It's like a hobby of mine. One of the things I've learned is that the smart teams understand that past performance has a direct correlation to future performance.

    Take LaRon Landry. When he came out I wasn't a big fan because, for all his skills, he never made plays. I remember saying that he will get overdrafted and will move on not long after his first contract because he won't make plays. How did I know that? He didn't make plays in college. Never intercepted the ball.

    Take Elvis Dumervil as another example. I remember thinking this guy could be a bona fide pass rusher at the next level. Why did I say that? Well, it's pretty simple. He sacked the quarterback in college.

    My point is, sacking the quarterback and turning the ball over is not a trait that can be acquired in the pro's. It is something that can't be taught. Either you can sink your hips and run the arc or you can't. Either you can turn and find the ball and make a play at it's highest point or you can't. Simple as that.

    The smart teams draft guys that made plays in college...regardless of measurables. Look at it this way, Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain were nicked by teams because they were not elite physically. However, they averaged about six picks a year their last two years in college. In light of that, was it that surprising they did that when they came to the NFL?

    I have some guys in mind every year that I think fit this dynamic...either they are great athletes with no playmaking awareness...or...they are great playmakers who will not wow you physically. It never fails that the second group ends up having more playmakers in it, which is why round two is so good for the historically smart teams. That said, who do folks think are those guys this year?
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    ckparrothead's Avatar
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    I'm not sure where to begin.

    Can we just pretend that I just spent the last hour gathering all kinds of examples where your axiom doesn't fit? Can we just assume those examples are all over the place, since we know that they are?

    I don't want to write a beginning, middle and end. I'll just write the end. The end is, there's no one way to skin the cat. There. Done.
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    state06's Avatar
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    man i was freat at getting to the QB in pee wee football and in high school and college even. I know if i just stuck with it i could line up opposite Wake and give us the extra pass rusher we so desperately need
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    blitzhappy's Avatar
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    There are a few things you have to consider like schemes and assignments for different defenses. One example would be Sean Porter, who's sack totals are down this year as they switched from a 3-4 to 4-3 he didn't rush the passer nearly as much this season in his new role!
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    Fin Thirteen's Avatar
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    Hey, let's not be disparaging about the OP or his point. Just look at the Parcells era Dolphins drafting to prototype (because you can't coach 6'8"....) to see that it's a shortcut to a team of good players who do everything competently and nothing inspirationally.

    im not sure the OP is saying all players who can sack the QB in college will be elite pass rushers. I think he's saying its hard to turn a guy who was never a splash play type in college into that kind of guy in the NFL. The "you either have it or you don't" theory.

    Im not sure I agree to be honest, but I don't think it's a point worthy of ridicule either.
    Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better. - S. Beckett
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    j-off-her-doll's Avatar
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    There's a good reason most people aren't good at projecting talent. You have to watch guys play. Before his injury news came to the forefront, I wasn't high at all on D. Bowers. There were mocks that had him going #1 overall to Carolina. He led the nation in sacks (or was close to leading the nation in sacks), but when you watched him play, they were all Joey Porter sacks. Coverage sacks, sacks where the QB scrambled into his arms, etc. He didn't beat his guy. I was high on V. Miller and A. Smith. I was much more high on A. Smith than most people - one of the few who liked him better than R. Quinn. I'm not sharing this to say how awesome I am at projecting talent. When you watched A. Smith play, you could see how he used his hands, understood leverage, etc. Translatable skills were apparent. V. Miller, of course, has that dynamic first step. This time last year, people were projecting D. Amerson to be a top-5 pick, because he had 13 INT's. They forgot to watch him play. I didn't have an opinion on him, because I - to that point - never watched him. Some of the posters on this board, though, were all over it. They knew that he wasn't an elite CB prospect, because he didn't have the skills of an elite CB prospect (feet, hips, etc.). Now, maybe he makes a fine FS or Cover-2 CB. He does have ball skills. The point, though, is that numbers only tell us part of the story. How many sacks did A. Smith have in 2010? 4.5. He had 11.5 the year before, and you can attribute the drop in production to nagging injuries to some extent, but that's not the whole story either. In 2011, Cam Wake had 8.5 sacks - compared to 14 in 2010 and 15 in 2012. Did he just suck that year (speaking in relative terms)?

    I'm not saying to disregard statistics, but they're only a piece of the equation.
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    TrinidadDolfan's Avatar
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    If this thread somehow leads to the Fins drafting HoneyBadger, then I agree and I am all for it.
    He just don't give a sh**t
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    justdev7's Avatar
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    Making Plays is NOT an Acquired Skill

    There's definitely something to be said for past production. But what your saying is that players can't improve which obviously isn't true. I get what you meant though OP
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