Random thoughts on the 2016 NFL Draft

The 2016 NFL Draft is a wrap. I think the entire Ohio State team was drafted (ha ha – but 12 is a LOT). My Clemson Tigers sent what feels like our entire defense plus a good wide out and running back (9 players total). I’m going to be glued to the TV on Sundays (and Mondays, and Thursdays, and…)!

I always find the draft interesting. Once you get past the pomp and circumstance of round 1, the rest becomes a chess match. Who do you think wants who we want? Who might th??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????ey trade with to get above us? How’s our poker face? Oh crap, that team just moved ahead of us. We need to move in front of them. What leverage do we have? Love it.

I didn’t feel like there was much dramatic build up to the draft. But then again, there weren’t any “stars”. The top two picks were QBs from California and North Dakota State; neither is expected to be the next Andrew Luck. While Goff looks to potentially be great, Cali had a mediocre record so there’s hesitation. Carson Wentz led the Bison of NDSU who won the last 5 national championships, but they were FCS/Division I-AA championships. Running backs don’t seem to get a lot of love. Ezekiel Elliot was the topic of conversation for like a minute, but mostly because everyone was fascinated with what Dallas would do with their #4 pick. I almost forgot that Alabama’s BIG power running back Derrick Henry was in the draft. He went in the 2nd round.

While the NFL continues to push the international boundaries for game locations, there were two international players who made news. Denver drafted Aussie Adam Gotsis from Georgia Tech and Minnesota drafted Moritz Boehringer directly from Germany. Beohringer is the first player drafted straight from an international league. PRETTY COOL! Although, this makes one more case for a London based team. Yuck. More on that another time.

One thing that stuck out to me this year was the many conversations on intangibles. I’m facilitating a leadership discussion group this week to talk about hiring for and maximizing employee’s intangibles, so I was struck by the number of times this came up on sports radio. On April 25 on Mike & Mike, guest Mike Mayock shared his perspective after spending time watching and learning about Carson Wentz was that he buys in to the intangibles of Wentz. Mayock said, “…what we’ve seen over the last 20 years at the quarterback position is the intangibles better be as good as the physical attributes.”

Intangibles came up again during the ESPN recaps of the 5th round. I love it. With all of the drama that has come in the past few years from talented athletes with limited self-management skills, I’m pleased to see this come up, especially at draft time. Some athletes with questionable “intangibles” even dropped in the draft rankings this year (such as the player from Mississippi who had his twitter hacked and now reports show that he took money from a coach). Maybe just maybe the NFL is starting to learn from the Manziel mishaps (note my perspective on him from 2014).  Maybe just maybe Manziel will be learning something now that he has a court appearance for domestic violence to go alongside his Heisman.

There was a lot of hidden talent in this year’s draft. The later rounds are often where stars are born, where those unknowns are given a chance to have impact, and do. Who will we be talking about in 5 years? I can’t wait to see who rises to the top!

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