Surely, there are no more important words in professional football or any organized sport that has numbers of players fighting for a roster spot, than “Talent Evaluation”. The teams that do that the best and the most consistently are by far the best teams in the NFL.
You need to look no further than the team that has won the most Super Bowls in the last 10-15 years: The New England Patriots.
Bill Belichick has proven year after year that they are better at talent evaluation more so than any other team. Tom Brady is a shining example of it.
Anyone could have had Brady. All teams had multiple chances to draft him, but only the Patriots put his name on a piece of paper and handed it in. It’s certain that Belichick didn’t have any idea that this kid was going to come in and become arguably the best QB in NFL history. There was obviously something that caught somebody’s eye in that organization. They didn’t throw darts at a board full of available picks. They liked him, and they acted on that feeling in the 6th round, and the 199th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft.
The rest is history.
The Pats Organization has made many great picks, often players overlooked by the rest. They have brought in players through Free Agency and Undrafted Free Agents. Players that blossomed in the Patriots system, Offense and Defense alike.
Teams that aren’t that great at Talent Evaluation, suffer a thousand deaths in a futile dance that just goes around in a circle. Ending up back on sub .500 seasons every time. The Cleveland Browns, have been notorious for taking the wrong players. Multiple Coaching staffs, GM’s, Directors of Football Operations, etc, etc. All Lousy at talent evaluation. A steady stream of bums coming through the door year after year, and nobody was able to turn it around and just take the right players. Certainly now and then, they lucked out with a pick here or there. Never at QB, or RB or at enough positions to put together a winning, playoff ready team. Until the last GM took over in Cleveland. His name is John Michael Dorsey and in the last two years he has been in charge, the Browns have become the beaters instead of the oft Beaten.
Coming off an 0-16 season. The Browns owned the first and 4th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Dorsey had to get it right to turn his team around. With the first pick, he took Baker Mayfield. Not even the QB that most NFL Analysts had ranked highest. That QB was Sam Darnold. Dorsey went right past him for Mayfield. With the fourth pick, Dorsey took Denzel Ward. Which, at the time, was seen as a reach. Bradley Chubb was viewed by most to be the best Defensive player of the class. Mayfield was 2nd in Rookie of the year voting, with a teammate, and another Dorsey Pick, Nick Chubb not far behind, both finished in the top 5. Ward was also a candidate for Defensive Rookie Of The Year but was not chosen.
Dorsey got it right. Now, along with trading for Odell Beckham Jr., signing Kareem Hunt, and many other moves will have the Browns knocking on the Playoffs door soon after an 0-16 year.
What was Dorsey’s background you might wonder? Brace yourselves. Here it comes. Wait for it.
Over 20 years in the Scouting Dept. with the Packers, and Director of college scouting for them as well. For a stint, Dorsey was also Director Of Player Personnel for the Seahawks. He was also GM with Kansas City and drafted Kareem Hunt, which is probably why Hunt signed with the Browns after being released from KC. Dorsey also drafted another QB that has become maybe the best at the position, certainly top 3, in Pat Mahomes. Talent Evaluation folks, some got it, some want it, all need it in the worst way. Nothing else in the game of NFL Football changes the game, makes a bigger difference, establishes greatness and dynasties like Talent Evaluation. Coaching isn’t even as important until you put the right pieces together to play in that Coach’s system. Wasted picks are wasted money, and in the NFL, that could be multiple millions of dollars.
TALENT EVALUATION, the Alpha and the Omega. The hottest commodity by far in the NFL, and probably the hardest to find. It makes and breaks careers at every level, crushes the hearts of millions of fans, lifts the hearts of the same. If you are better than most at it, you will always have a job. If you are one of the best, you will be very rich, and respected, and catered to, and Loved and Adored by your club, and it’s fans. Bad at it? It won’t take long for it to rear its ugly head. It will send you packing in disgrace and failure. You can only get lucky for so long, losing will always expose it for what it is. A lack of knowledge, feel for, and gut instinct of proper Talent Evaluation.
Respectability and huge expectations in Cleveland and KC
It is truly on the verge of amazing how quickly the Browns have put themselves into a position to play with the big boys, and make the playoffs. Two Drafts, Trades, and other moves, brought in the biggest pieces, the Key pieces to turn the forever awful Cleveland Browns completely around. John Dorsey is a genius in my opinion, and dare I say it, Is probably even better at Talent Evaluation than Belichick. It’s no coincidence that the Chiefs have become a force again as Cleveland is now doing.
Dorsey is the common denominator in both of their successful turnarounds. It’s almost not even fair that there are not more John Dorsey’s to go around. Maybe the Bucs could borrow him for even just two years. Then maybe we wouldn’t have to draft 18 DB’s (exaggeration) over three years just to find 4 that will stick.
Sound like I’m being a bit critical?
When you realize that you missed out on important additions to the team at other positions not DB. You realize that You are adding years onto the amount of time it takes you to get the team where you want it. Contracts on great players get played out, while trying to bring in more studs to play beside them. Years, and probably Millions squandered on bad, or just fair Talent Evaluation.
Looking ahead, and What ifs
Spending time on Bucs Group sites. I’ve said from the moment I felt like Licht needed to go last year. The Bucs needed to get a GM from a scouting dept., one that was very good at Talent Evaluation. If and when Licht is shown the door, We must find a man like John Dorsey to replace him, a Team Whisperer. A man with an eye for what others miss. A man not afraid to trust that gift, and use it to change an entire organizations path from Losing and mediocrity. To a road of Winning and Respectability.