09-03-2007, 12:04 PM
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Re: Browns Sign Capizzi
this helps explain why so many were high on capizzi. not that they were exactly high but he was recognized as a potentially valuable developmental project that would cost hardly nothing. (this article was written before the draft and pat kirwan had him ranked as his #1 sleeper OL project):
DRILLING AT THE BOTTOM
I learned a valuable lesson a long time ago getting ready for the draft. It's important to spend time in the early part of April digging and scratching down at the bottom of the talent pool for late-round draft picks and free-agent types with at least one special quality -- exceptional speed, rare size, an interesting athlete from another sport -- something that catches your eye.
The personnel director should take one scout and turn him loose on the bottom feeders. Close to one whole round in the draft will come from players not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine.
Back in the early 1990s, we came across a player named Matt Willig, a backup defensive tackle at USC who was 6-foot-9. He didn't do much on game tapes and tested below our standards for a defensive tackle, but he could bend his knees and was smart to go along with that 6-9. We signed him about 15 minutes after the draft and moved him to offensive tackle. He spent two years training at the new position and ended up playing in the NFL for well over 10 years.
When you decide to work the bottom of the talent pool, I'm talking about players who did not go to the Combine, probably didn't play in any all-star games, and might have little in the area of production. They can be from big schools or they could be from schools no one has ever heard of.
Here's a list of the kind of guys I'm talking about. The young scout needs to head out on a three-week tour, working out a group like this, talking football with them, watching some tapes and aiming to come back to the office a day or two before the draft with a few nuggets. Remember when Steelers scout Dan Rooney Jr. came back with a running back named Willie Parker? Parker never started at North Carolina but he had rare speed.
And now, here's my "Matt Willig List" for the 2007 draft. The first reaction from a scout I ran the list by was, "These guys can't play." Perfect, that's what everyone said about Willig, so I know I'm on the right track! The goal is to find one late-round pick/free agent who is worth developing as an offensive lineman.
1. Jason Capizzi, Indiana (Pa.) University (6-9, 324 pounds)
Key numbers: 5.22 40-yard dash, 34-inch arms, 11?-inch hands.
Sounds like a Willig clone, and I sure hope he can bend his ankles and knees.