It’s different levels of football but the NFL Draft process draws some striking similarities to the recruiting process for West Virginia head coach Neal Brown.
In recruiting, Brown and his coaching staff place a strong emphasis on live evaluations. Up until the current ongoing recruiting dead period, almost every single decision that the Mountaineers made on players came after one of those live evaluations.
“Whether watching them play in person, seeing them in spring practice or watching them in one of our own camps that we’re able to host,” he said.
The significance of that is coaches are able to not only see how a player performs during games, but can see how they interact with their teammates, how they take coaching and their responses to adversity.
And because NFL teams were limited in the same scope those are the same questions that Brown has been receiving about his potential NFL prospects on his roster.
“The scout would normally be able to see in person or evaluate in person, but they haven’t had the opportunity,” Brown said.
The same also can be said for the Pro Day events. West Virginia only compares numbers of prospects that attend the same camps because it is an apple-to-apple comparison with the same people taking times and things for combine exercises.
“Tape still matters the most, but these pro-days have merit, or they wouldn’t do them,” Brown said.
Trust has been more important than ever as well considering the fact that a lot of those blanks haven’t already been filled in, so coaches have to be forthright in their assessments.
“I try to deliver facts or if they ask opinion-based questions then try to give them fair opinions,” he said.
The NFL is the pinnacle of football but many of the same qualities transcend every level of the game and that’s no different from what Brown is searching for to fill out his roster.