Story by Brandon Bonaparte
In 2021, there will be 254 players taken in the NFL Draft, while many others in college football try to prepare for their next step to the league as well. The competition to make NFL rosters is more challenging than ever.
With the vast advancements in technology and social media, football fans can also now look further ahead when scouting young football players.
In January, NFL agent Eric Metz appeared on the Brad Cesmat Show to discuss how to evaluate talent in football recruits from high school all the way to the NFL.
While talent is important, coaches may sometimes have a greater impact in getting a player to the next level. Ohio State and Alabama produce first-round talent every year, however, Metz believes one of the most fertile grounds for developing NFL players resides in Tempe, AZ.
“Because of the coaches they have at Arizona State, you have all NFL players, all NFL coaches,” Metz said. “I don’t think anybody in their country is equipped as well as Arizona State to prepare a player for the NFL. If I want to have an opportunity for my son to have the best career, I’d want them around people like that.”
As far as evaluating players, scouts will often look at metrics such as the 40-Yard dash, the shuttle Run, and their bench press.
Players such as DK Metcalf make headlines for eye-opening numbers at the NFL Combine. While few would argue against Metcalf being a solid wide receiver in the league at the very least, Metz believes the more important quality of a prospect lies between the ears and in sit-down meetings.
“The hardest part is the psychological evaluations, finding out who’s competitive, who loves football, who’s just playing for a paycheck…You got to spend time with the player and find out how important it is to him,” Metz explained. “…Is he doing this to have more money? Is he doing this to have the nice car he always wanted when he was a kid? Or does he not care and just loves football? The passion for football is the most important part, obviously. Second, the talent.”
Metz also pointed out the enormous difference in scouting between football and any other sport.
“When athletes are 14, you can figure out which basketball players can play. Okay, you can’t do that in the NFL,” Metz said. “Guys go from walk-on to Heisman Trophy in college football. So it’s a much different sport.”
Aside from just the player evaluations, Metz also discussed one of the fastest growing entertainment sources on Sundays: betting on NFL games.
Fans are used to paying pay-per-view for combat sports such as boxing and UFC. Metz suspects the NFL will capitalize on the increased interest of games that normally wouldn’t draw much attention in the future with how much popularity the league gains every year through gambling and fantasy football.
“The NFL will go pay-per-view because of gambling,” Metz said. “Now that they’ve entered into the gambling business, now you can get people to pay-per-view for meaningless Week 17 games, because there’s so many billions of dollars every week being gambled on these games.”
Over the past few decades, subscriptions have been implemented in the league with packages such as NFL RedZone and NFL Sunday Ticket. These services have provided more games for fans to enjoy in exchange for money. The question of ‘will fans pay for pay-per-view’, well, isn’t even a question for Metz.
“If anybody’s going to pay to see an MMA fight for 35 bucks, you don’t think they’re going to pay to watch the Chiefs play in a conference championship game? This will explode,” he said. “I would suspect it would go at least from a $17 billion dollar business to a $35 billion business within the next five years.”