With the 2006 NFL draft now complete, it's as good a time as any to talk about one of the most contested debates in the coaching and scouting profession -- production versus potential. This debate applies not only to college players entering the NFL but also to high school players entering college.
When evaluating prospects at the high school level, there is far more potential and upside as players grow and develop than there is for the college player making the jump to the NFL. It is also far more difficult to evaluate and project the middle-tier player at the high school level in terms of what he will become, because there are so many unknowns.
Having been on both sides of the profession, I can tell you that production is a priority, and the old saying that "potential will get you fired" certainly has some truth to it.
Coaches and recruiters all fall in love with the players who have the best natural tools and measurables to play this game, but while those players stand out -- and this might surprise some of you -- those guys are not always the best football players. This is also why combine results can be very, very deceiving.