The draft is over and all the National Football League teams are moving forward with rookie mini camps and their other camps, continuing with the off-season conditioning programs that are also well underway.
The buzz over the draft continues, however, and one of the biggest questions of all cannot be answered anywhere right now, that being, How did my team do?
Nobody will be able to properly assess that for a couple of years, overall, even though a lot of players will step up and make rookie impact of some sort right away.
A couple of things I am sure about relative to the Broncos revolve around passion, intelligence and character. You can never bat a thousand, but the Denver Broncos’ draftees in 2010 as a group rank very high in test scores (four of the players came out in the top 20 among all players in the Wonderlic test) and in terms of character issues.
Critics will always be out there (and a lot of critics are way, way out there), but when was the last time you heard a coach say he was looking for dumb, lazy players who get into a lot of trouble? Never, of course.
So they all have to play, but it is good to start off with players who have graded out well on those intelligence and character issues.
Now they all report to begin the competitive phase in one of the world’s great meritocracies, pro football.
The first thing players do in a locker room, literally and figuratively, is get naked. They strip down not only their civilian clothes but also any labels that have been attached to them in the myriad of reports done on every guy.
They step into the classrooms and onto the fields as equals-no one gets to carry a sign on his back that says how high he can jump, how fast he can run, or how well he can learn. No matter what has been said and written about his ability in any of those areas, he has to prove it all over again among his peers.
The coaches and personnel people took the players for their potential, but potential is a word left behind in the locker room, like press clippings-on the field, performance does not lie and determines who is what.
I have seen many examples, to paraphrase a Biblical verse, when the last shall be first and the first shall be last.
It happens in the classroom and on the field. If a player shies away from that kind of competition, or thinks his previous accomplishments give him bonus points going in, he will be sadly disappointed.
Rick Gosselin of the Dallas Morning News, an intelligent draft evaluator whom I respect as much as any writer in the country, gave the Broncos an “A” for this year’s draft. I was really glad to see that, but when those guys hit the field this weekend, Rick’s grade won’t help them. They have to do it on their own.
Let the competition begin!
Tags: 2010 NFL Draft