NFL Draft 101: Team Specific Scouting

We are launching our NFL Draft 101 series of posts, detailing the most important things to know about the NFL draft.  We will start this with reviewing different approaches that teams take to the draft, the first being “Team Specific Scouting”.

Modern examples of this are the Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Greenbay Packers among others. Team specific scouting is the mandate of specific NFL teams to draft players based on their fit within the offensive or defensive scheme. A clear example of this is how Seattle has started a trend of drafting big corners to play in their zone-based defense.

There are a few reason why Seattle looks for big, physical corners, Seattle has one of the best free safeties in game (Earl Thomas, FS, Texas), they also prioritize physicality as their defense is designed to bully and intimidate offenses, and they have several great pass rushers so their corners are not often put in man coverage situations without quick pressure off the edge.

Other Examples:

Pittsburgh Steelers
OLB: Because they run a 3-4 defense, they want linebackers who can play in space and most importantly rush the passer.
WR: They often draft for immediate need, as they do not like to pay their FA and would prefer to replace FA through the draft.

Green Bay Packers
WR: Due to the precision passing ability of Aaron Rogers, they value WR who run precise routes (not necessarily with elite top end speed or size).

There are several other schematic examples of why teams draft looking for specific attributes, rather than the overall ability of a player.  Teams that employ the zone-blocking scheme often don’t place a high value on running backs as they believe many running back can be successful in the scheme, they also value mobile, athletic lineman who can make it to the second level in the running game.  Although this is true, one large misnomer of this thought process is that fact that if a team draft a highly skilled running back and put them in this scheme, they could immediately elevate the running game to elite vs. just good.

For Further information from Pete Carroll on Seattle’s Big CB’s Click Here

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