I put out my first draft guide in 1979. This year will be No. 35. That first guide was a full six years before the first NFL scouting combine. Back then, there were no online prospect guides and no recruiting rankings to track talent down to the high school level, and the draft looked something like this. For me, evaluating prospects was all about getting as much tape as I could find (there was no ESPN GamePlan), and making hundreds and hundreds of phone calls (no cellphones, either!) to coaches, scouts and front-office folks who would listen and evaluators at every level. You couldn't watch a verified 40-yard dash time on live TV; instead, you had to triangulate and weed out truth from fiction. It wasn't easy.
6hDon Van Natta Jr. and Seth Wickersham