Sports Management and the NFL Draft

First of all, I would like to say that I am glad to be back after taking the month of March off due to personal reasons that I will not get into.

With that said, it is already April and the sports world is abuzz in preparation of the 2013 NFL Draft which will be held later this month from the 25th through the 27th in New York.

No matter what position you currently hold in Sports Management or have the aspirations of doing, if it involves the NFL, this is one of the busiest months of the year for you.

Everyone from owners, general managers, coaches, scouts, to the front office staffs are doing their due diligence to prepare for the NFL Draft.

OWNERS

Every NFL owner is different and takes on different responsibilities when it comes to the NFL Draft.

Some owners, such as Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones want full control of everything the team does. Jones is also the team President and GM so he makes all of the decisions of who the team will draft or sign.

Other owners however trust the team to the people they hired such as the president and general manager to make draft day decisions and to run the day to day operations of the team. These are the owners that you rarely hear about because they are not in the limelight on a daily basis.

GENERAL MANAGERS

Most of the time, a general manager (GM) is responsible for the total team operation and is ultimately responsible for building and maintaining a winning football program which he/she does through trades, free agency and the NFL Draft.

The General Manager has ultimate authority over the players, coaches, scouts, trainers, and anyone else who has an impact on the product the team puts on the field. While he is considered to be the head coaches boss and has the power to hire and fire him, most GMs are expected to treat the coach as a near equal and work together to build a winning program.

When selecting players, the GM consults closely with the Head Coach in order to learn about:

  • Current Roster
  • Position Needs
  • Thoughts on College Players
  • Thoughts on Free Agents

While the GM and the head coach work tirelessly together, the ultimate and final decision comes down to what the GM thinks.

HEAD COACH

Once all of the offseason acquisitions, trades and the NFL Draft is over, the head coach has total control over his staff and the players along with the final say on who plays and who doesn’t.

In preparations for the draft a head coach will spend a lot of time in the film room reviewing hundreds of college players in order to find a good fit for the team.

Besides watching film, the head coach will also:

  • Attend The Combine In Indianapolis
  • Attend Individual Pro-Days Of Interested College Athletes
  • Interview College Athletes
  • Work Closely With GM

Ultimately, once the final product has been assembled, how well the team does falls onto the head coach as well as his demise if the team does poorly. That is why the coach does everything he can to help the GM bring the best players that he can to the team.

SCOUTS

Scouts are extremely important to the whole NFL Draft process. General Managers and head coaches do not have the time to watch film of every single college player so they rely heavily on their scouts.

Scouts look at college players coming into the draft and evaluate what their strengths and weaknesses are and if they would be able to help the team.

The basic duties of an NFL Scout are to:

  • Identifying and Assessing Talent
  • Work Closely With Coaching and Management
  • Gauging Opponents During The Season

NFL scouts get paid to watch games and while it may sound like a dream job, the hours are long, the pay is nothing to brag about and it requires traveling three weeks a month during the season.

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