The NFL combine in early March was the unofficial kickoff for the draft workout season.
All 32 teams had the chance to watch draft prospects practice in Indianapolis and compare them to their skills on the field. The same applies to the numerous Pro Days that are held up to a week before the 2023 NFL draft.
James Liipfert, deputy director of player personnel and college scouting director for the Houston Texans, and his staff have a lot to comb through when evaluating prospects. No matter how many workouts a player completes or not from the beginning of January to April, one thing remains the same for Lüpfert.
“I will always return to the tape,” said Lüpfert. “I think every player has the right to train when and where they want. Just because Player X didn’t practice at the combine or just did positional drills on his pro day, these guys often trust what their agents tell them. The agents usually have a really good reason for, “So I’m asking you not to do this, or only work here, or only work there.” These guys listen to their agents and that’s fine.”
What Lüpfert can master is “judging how a guy played,” which he considers the most important element of his work.
“I don’t think it’s a state secret,” said Lüpfert. “They probably have every team in the league that probably feels that way. Ultimately, having a helmet on your head and shoulder pads on your shoulders will always be king for me. That’s no secret. It’s football. You recruit them to play soccer, so you want to know how they play soccer.”
The combine and pro days are still relevant in the scouting process, but it’s more about picking up on aspects of a prospect’s athleticism.
Said Lüpfert: “I would say combine the Pro Day with private workouts, they’re really just trying to get a little bit more conviction or find out about certain granular parts of their athleticism. “How well does that guard really bend? How powerful is this center really in contact? Let me hold his bag and feel this guy smack the bag. I think that has (more) value than saying, ‘I’m going to track down this guy and find out everything I need to know.’ I would say watch the tape and rather judge by it.”
The Texans have plenty of time until April 26, day one of the NFL draft, to determine who looks good on the tape and would fit Houston’s identity under coach DeMeco Ryans.
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Source : sports.yahoo.com