What NFL Scouts Consider as Maturity

The NFL Draft has become a world of mystery and intrigue to fans and followers across the world. The very secretive process is more than interesting to people on the outside, it’s almost a sacred ritual. The process to enter the NFL is a difficult experience, and many young men who enter into it grow into better people.

There have been some real busts over the course of history, prospects that were extremely talented in a plethora of ways but couldn’t put it all together on the field because of maturity issues. Former Heisman Trophy winner and Texas A&M star, Johnny Manziel, is one of the biggest examples of a young man who wasn’t mature enough to stay in the league.

Locker room chemistry is something that is very volatile in the current environment that this country exists in. An immature player could divide a locker room or create a distraction that the team doesn’t need with the pressure that already exists from fans’ expectations and media coverage.

Problems are going to arise between teammates over the course of an NFL season. Humans clash naturally, as emotions can become powerful factors in people’s decisions. With 63 different people on a team, not counting the coaching staff or the injured reserve, fights and conflicts will arise.

assessing these potential risks

Mar 5, 2018; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Defensive backs gather on the field for instructions before doing their on-field workouts during the 2018 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is extremely careful in its vetting process of prospects and players in all phases of a player’s career. This is a business operation where winning is very important but the income streams are just as highly valued. If a franchise feels as though the player is a threat to the bottom line, they will move on and select someone else, or bump the prospect down lower on the “priority” list (otherwise known as a big board).

I was speaking with an NFL scout the other night and, with all of this insanity going on across social media recently, the topic came up where a couple of prospects were dropping on boards across the league. I learned that Florida State defensive lineman Marvin Wilson and Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill were the prospects “falling.”

I texted another scout from another team asking about the opinion and if it had any worth. He confirmed it.

I ran the report on Twitter and met much criticism for “blatantly racist undertones.” I’m not sure how you can have a blatant undertone of anything because those two words contradict, but whatever. Here is the tweet of concern.

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The Florida State Situation

Marvin Wilson recently spoke up about the new Florida State head coach, Mike Norvell, after an interview with The Athletic where Norvell claimed that he had spoken individually with each player on the team about the George Floyd situation and offered his support. Wilson took to Twitter that evening to say that Norvel had lied and that the team wouldn’t “be working out until further notice.”

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Wilson didn’t reach out to the new coach and try to handle the business in-house. He instead immediately took to Twitter during a time of great controversy and racial division in America.

Florida State and Mike Norvell handled the situation with grace, and escaped a very difficult situation. A team meeting the next day got everyone on the same page and working out again. Wilson was regarded as a brave hero on Twitter following the episode.

the Kylin Hill story

Kylin Hill is another story that’s interesting. Back in December, Hill declared for the NFL Draft prior to a very embarrassing Music City Bowl for the Bulldogs program. The school fired head coach Joe Moorhead after two seasons and hired former Texas Tech and Washington State coach Mike Leach, renown for his air raid schemes that have transformed college football.

After the hire of Leach, Hill announced that after “careful consideration” he was staying with Mississippi State for “unfinished business.”

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This wasn’t too much of a concern for NFL teams, even though it was a little bit confusing. His Twitter account is littered with conflicting statements, sometimes within hours of each other, and other things that could be interpreted as gang-related affairs.

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As the cancel culture has risen to power, Hill has become bolder. As statues and monuments were torn down, Hill cheered it on publicly. Then, he made national news last week when he announced that he wouldn’t be playing for Mississippi State unless the state changed their flag from the resemblance it has to the Confederate flag.

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Maturity concerns? Hill is taking a stand in what he believes in and creating a reason for people to get behind replacing a flag that has both the confederate battle flag in one corner and the rest of the flag resembling the “Stars and Bars” confederate flag.

It’s not about the political stand. It’s the way that Hill has gone about it.

it is not the political stand that is the problem, its the conduct

The political opinion and fierce stand are indeed considered a mature stance and an important one in the eyes of the NFL. However, threatening to not play football for a school because of the state that it sits in is concerning to NFL teams. It’s akin to a contract situation, or where a player demands a trade from the team. The only difference is that in the situation with Hill, his school can’t directly do anything to remedy the issue that he is taking. That’s a problem.

Granted, players are free to their opinion and we are to respect them. However, for an NFL team looking to invest millions of dollars into a football player by drafting them, they don’t want to worry about ending up with another Antonio Brown type situation.

Marvin Wilson just went about private business the wrong way. Don’t take your personal problems with someone in your organization to Twitter and air your problems without at least talking to someone first. That’s immature. That’s why those players are

You don’t believe me? I’m going to give you an example from the media showing you that this is true.

Wilson was ranked as the 12th overall prospect on the first big board of one of the most respected draft analysts in the industry, ESPN’s Todd McShay, shortly after the 2020 NFL Draft. Last week, McShay did a complete 180 and claimed on Twitter that because of his “lack of initial quickness as a pass rusher is concerning” that he was a late day-two prospect, which would put Wilson in the third round. Oh, by the way, Wilson is considered the top defensive lineman prospect entering the 2021 season by ESPN, the company that I mentioned McShay works for.

McShay is a good scout in his own right, don’t take me wrong on that. However, McShay is relying heavily on scouts in the industry and he’s hearing the same thing I am. The difference is that ESPN won’t allow him to say why Wilson had dropped as low on his rankings as he did, so he used the “initial quickness” quip, which is partially true but not that important for a player at Wilson’s position considering all of the other things that he does well.

why wouldn’t an nfl team hold that against chuba hubbard?

Oklahoma State running back Chuba Hubbard called the school’s head coach, Mike Gundy, out for wearing an OAN t-shirt on a fishing trip, saying that it was “insensitive” and “unacceptable” in a tweet crafted a day after the trip. He received much praise and support immediately from the nation, even alumni players chiming in their approval on Twitter.

Less than four hours later, Hubbard posted a video with coach Gundy. In the video, Gundy announced that he realized that the program needed change and that he and Hubbard had a successful meeting. Then, Hubbard apologized for the way that he went about his actions, and for not confronting Gundy before going to Twitter. People called Hubbard “soft” and said that he “backed down” for apologizing.

Why wouldn’t the NFL hold him accountable?

The difference is that Hubbard quickly realized that he had gone about it the wrong way and that he was very immature about the issue. He didn’t try to fix the problem first, he instead turned to the hoards of woke Twitter to create a national story. Hubbard insisted that “change is coming,” and reaffirmed his apology.

In all of these previous examples, you can clearly see that the issue is more about attention. These prospects all started national stories because of tweets that they made bringing business public instead of trying to fix something in-house. They knew that if they went onto social media and made a “woke” statement, the twitter hoards would praise them and tell them how brave that they were.

Look, conservatives do it too. NASCAR’s Ray Ciccarelli, a Craftsman Truck Series driver, recently retired from NASCAR because of the confederate flag being banned from NASCAR events. He didn’t talk to NASCAR or anyone about the issue. He made a Facebook post announcing that he was calling it quits to get national attention to his story from the conservatives that reside on Facebook and hear about how brave he was and how he would have fans for life.

the moral of the story

The point of this article is not to say that Marvin Wilson or Kylin Hill will not be good football players. Both are immensely talented prospects and I think that they will have good football careers. My point is that the NFL will weigh these character concerns, if they aren’t fixed during the pre-draft process next year, on where they will select them in the draft.

There is a good lesson that can be pulled out of this. While most young people won’t currently understand, there is a professional way to go about your business. People in the past tried to settle differences in person, face-to-face. In this digital media age, it’s easy to post something publicly and run with a story and a narrative.

That’s the problem, you see?

There are seven billion people on planet earth. There are 145 million active daily users on social media. That’s officially 2% of the worlds population. That number could be drastically different too, because many people on twitter have multiple accounts, and run business accounts, information accounts, etc.

Twitter is not real life. Social media is not real life.

Once people realize that, the world will change.