Videos by OutKick
Coaches, scouts and writers all use their own vernacular to describe young prospects. Many pundits seem to enjoy using obscure terms or even creating new ones to try and appear as the more prescient analyst. Eye discipline, Mike Mayock? Really?
So what the hell are these guys talking about? As for the technical terms, there are a million sites with so called experts to help you; and they’re not fun anyway. What I enjoy is listening to the code words and phrases that the experts use to describe players and a team’s moves during the draft. Here are some of my favorites.
Runs great patterns: A slow, white wide receiver. And the slower you are, the more precise your patterns. If you have Tim Dwight’s speed, you never get complimented on your routes; Brian Hartline’s speed? You are a technician. The basketball version of “runs great patterns?” “The Gym Rat.” Both terms are based on the misguided belief that only undersized and less athletic white players put hours of work into their skill set. I watch a lot of Warrior games, I’ve never heard Steph Curry called a gym rat. Aaron Craft may as well have it tattooed on his arm.
He’s just a winner: Any quarterback from a dominant program who draft experts and NFL teams will inevitably overrate because they believe that the reason for his 25+ wins as a starter or multiple National Championships was due more to his innate ability to “win” than the fact that his team had an overwhelming edge on talent at every single position. Prior examples: Ken Dorsey, Steve Walsh, Matt Leinart. This year’s top candidate to have this moniker? A.J. McCarron. Sorry ‘Bama fans. It’s true.
Character issues: He loves weed. Never disqualify these players automatically for this reason. Consider it yes, but don’t just cross a guy off. You want a small but far from all-inclusive list of great NFL players who have “allegedly” loved weed: Warren Sapp, Janoris Jenkins, Marshawn Lynch, Randy Moss, and the king of NFL potheads, Ricky Williams. Have these guys been unpredictable at times? Sure but tell me you wouldn’t want them starting on your team in their prime.
Off the field issues: He has been arrested, often.
He’s the son of a coach: Not that great of a football player at the NFL level, but for some reason you should draft him since his dad coached football. This does not mean sons of coaches aren’t great ballplayers, it just means that when a commentator insists on telling the viewers it is because there isn’t much else to talk about. When they are a great player, you never know what his dad does for a living. (Unless he happens to be in jail. Then you will learn from watching a “very special” ESPN segment with soft music in the background narrated by Chris Connelly.)
Great kid, loves his mom: Every normal kid who has ever lived.
Full of fast twitch muscle: The incredibly athletic linebackers and defensive backs who defy physics with their size/speed combination. This year’s prime example? Jadeveon Clowney; in a runaway. Which leads to the more controversial term of…
Freakishly athletic: Incredibly gifted African American athletes. I am not sure why pundits insist on using this term for black players only. I am sure there have been many great white athletes in the NFL as well. When Brian Urlacher played linebacker in college, he also returned kicks. I never heard him described as the “freak” that he was.
Tweener: A great college pass rusher who scouts will argue is too slow to play linebacker and too small to play defensive end. Some, like Dwight Freeney and Terrell Suggs, turn into great players. Others can bust, see Aaron Maybin. This year’s most popular Tweener? Michael Sam.
Game manager: Quarterback with a lousy arm, but he’ll look great holding a clipboard.
That was a smart move: Any decision to draft up, down or sideways made by Saint Belichick and the New England Patriots. The Pats could draft a kicker and long snapper with their first two picks and pick up Mark Sanchez for a 2015 first rounder and Adam Schefter would find a way to praise it.
I like this kid: Every player Jon Gruden has watched play football.
He was number one on our board at the time: The first thing a GM will say to ESPN after they draft a kid in the third round who most experts pegged as a free agent.
Mel and I disagree on his draft slot: Todd McShay just called Mel Kiper a pretentious douchebag.
Interesting pick by the Cowboys: Jerry Jones has lost his freakin’ mind and is rapidly morphing into Al Davis with a more diverse wardrobe.
One last thing, want the easiest drinking game ever invented? Watch the NFL Network during the first round and take a drink every time a commentator reminds you that these players are going to play in “The National Football League.” You’ll be wasted by the 15th pick.
Enjoy the draft.