For Eagles, evaluating the physical characteristics of potential customers is not enough

Evaluating the physical characteristics of draft prospects is not enough for Eagles originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

There are things a stopwatch cannot measure. Some things all game videos in the world won’t reveal. Some things even the most accomplished footballers have no idea about.

Pre-draft player ratings have evolved tremendously in recent years. It’s no longer enough for teams to know what kind of football players college prospects are. It is just as important to know what kind of people they are.

We’ve all seen conspicuous draft picks quickly disappear from the league, and sometimes it has nothing to do with their size, speed, or ability.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, they just aren’t meant to be professional soccer players.

It’s up to the Eagles to identify them before they make big mistakes on draft day.

“Just like we’re doing player rating, we’re trying to do character rating of all these guys,” Howie Roseman said last week.

“Well, some of them are easy, right? Some of them are really easy. It’s not too hard to figure out a three-time captain in the SEC. DeVonta [Smith] didn’t take long to find out. landon [Dickerson] didn’t take long to find out.

“But some of these guys are complicated. So we spend a lot of time talking about them and getting as much background knowledge and talking to as many experts as possible to try to understand the person as well as the player. … We try to go deep into the background and the character.”

As for the Eagles, there are several levels of psychological evaluation, starting with the scouts.

They’re the ones on the go, they’re the ones practicing on college campuses, they’re the ones building relationships with coaches, coaches and school officials.

They are the first in the organization to spend time with potential draft picks.

“Really, first credit goes to our scouts, all the guys who are out all year,” Roseman said. “They do an excellent job of being experts in their school and their players.

“They’re the ones who really make us aware of some guys we might need to spend more time with.”

Then it’s in the hands of Dom DiSandro, the Eagles’ vice president of safety. He’s the big guy you’ve seen on and off the field with Andy Reid, Chip Kelly, Doug Pederson or Nick Sirianni on game day for the last 20 years.

But that’s only a fraction of his role here.

“There’s nobody in the National Football League better at getting to the bottom of guys and finding out what it’s like to talk to guys and understand who’s at risk and who’s a good fit for this team than Dom DiSandro,” Roseman said.

He knows our team inside and out. He knows the players who fit our culture, our team and our city. So it’s very fortunate to have these two pieces.”

But on top of that, the Eagles have a staff of professionals trained in this stuff.

It’s their job to meet with prospects and try to determine which ones pose a risk based on personality traits, background issues, or other red flags.

“We have experts who talk to the people that we have some questions about and try to get to the bottom of it,” Roseman said. “(Sirianni) and I may think we’re good at interviewing players, but at the end of the day we didn’t go to school for it. We don’t have that specialty.”

The bottom line is, drafting college football players is about as inaccurate a science as you can get.

The more you know, the better equipped you are to make a decision.

And for the Eagles, that goes for both their mental and physical traits.

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