Webster Dictionary defines nervous energy as an excess of energy that you have when you are apprehensive or worried. There is plenty of it going around in the NFL this week. Text messages and phone calls with NFL scouts, agents, coaches, general managers, and players are flying around. Everyone trying to find out information. This week it reaches new heights…so many unanswered questions and situations out of everyone’s control.
I spoke to a current NFL general manager Monday afternoon over the phone in between meetings to ask some questions about this week and what challenges clubs are facing.
Just a few days away from the big night.What are the priorities for an organization?
I think teams are continuing to work through scenarios. We predict who may be available when we are on the clock. Some teams try to predict a handful guys—three, four guys-- that will be available. You think out every trade up scenarios-- who we go up and get to where--if we trade up for player X, do we feel comfortable doing that and who could be potential teams that may want to come up? Do they have the draft capital to come up? You really just unleash everything and go over it, time and time again. We go over it and hope to hit every scenario.
Dianna: When does the draft board start getting built?
GM: Those are being built towards the end of the season, towards the end of the college football season.... and then it goes up soon as the season ends, names start to go up on magnets. The process is incredible to watch over time.
Dianna: We hear all the time, “the board is set!” Once that happens, then what?
There are elements to the board. Positions, there's a horizontal and a vertical element. So positionally and then you have to rank guys outside a position. So for example “this receiver better than that defensive end” It's really simple and most teams won't reveal their boards to many people. Leaks are always a concern.
How many meetings do you have this week had before draft night this week?
There are meetings every day. We continue to work through scenarios, continue to look at medical, and continue to look at guys in the post draft, starting to put those lists together.
Dianna: How would you describe the mood around a club during draft week?
I think it's unique because the active players are here at the facility, so we're dealing with our players being and working, yet also searching and trying to identify the draft players are going to be coming in. We are in phase one work with the players so we are focused there with the current team. Then there's work that's being done on the draft. So that means a couple of different businesses that are going at the same time. It's crazy!
Is there a part of draft night that fans may not really appreciate or understand?
You know, I think how quickly a trade gets done is incredible. You know we have ten minutes on the clock for Round 1, seven minutes Round 2, then it goes to five minutes. So these things have to happen pretty quickly. There has to be some anticipation, before you get to the pick…you say hey if your guys not there…or what you want to do here?"
You have to be ready to made a decision quickly. The pressure is high and its fun...when you get it right.