The Best of the RSP Blog (Draft Reads) for 2011-2012

Sometime in May I plan to reorganize the site by draft year. Until then, this post contains a list of NFL Draft-worthy reads from this blog during the past 10-11 months I’ve been posting here. Before we get into that list, I want to take a moment to discuss one of the common questions I used to get over the years about my annual Rookie Scouting Portfolio: “What do I get from the RSP?”

One of the things that I haven’t mentioned in that list of things RSP readers get is what you’re reading right now: This blog. I created this blog for a number of reasons but more than anything, it is to give you an idea of the study and analysis that goes into the publication. I love what I’m doing here and I believe that it shows.

At the same time, I don’t mind being blunt about it – I want your $19.95. I don’t expect to get rich writing about draft prospects, but I want to continue to build this into a sustainable venture that I can make better every year. Those of you who buy the RSP are saying with your decision that you would like to see more of the work that’s here and you’re giving me some of the means to continue doing it. This isn’t to guilt you, but to make you think about what you chose to support and value.

So far, I’ve received a terrific response from the release of the 2012 Rookie Scouting Portfolio and I thank all of you who have downloaded the RSP for the first time as well as those of you who have turned it into an annual event of social media. It’s also gratifying that within the next week I will be making the first donation on behalf of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio to Darkness to Light to help them combat sexual abuse through education and community training.

If you’re relatively new to the blog or you’ve been reading this blog for awhile now, enjoy it, but haven’t took the plunge with the RSP publication, I encourage you to look at just some of the things the blog as provided this year and you can download current or past issues of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio here.
Player Analysis


Andrew Luck

Robert Griffin III:

Ryan Tannehill:

Russell Wilson:

Brandon Weeden:

Kirk Cousins:

Running Backs

David Wilson

Davin Meggett

Lamichael James

Isaiah Pead

Wide Receivers

Stephen Hill and Marvin Jones

Kendall Wright

Greg Childs

Mohamed Sanu

RSP No-Huddle Series

Other Positions

Quinton Coples (Jene Bramel’s great work)

The Senior Bowl

Talent Evaluators

Dan Shonka: 16 years of experience as an NFL Scout.

Conversation with Dan Shonka Part V: Scouting Gigs – I think it’s accurate to describe Ourlads’ Dan Shonka as one of the ultimate practitioners of football evaluation. Shonka has 39 years of football experience as a player, college recruiter, college coach, and a combined 16 years as a NFL scout for National Scouting Service, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Washington Redskins, and the Kansas City Chiefs. In this final installment of our conversation, Shonka tells how he became an NFL Scout and shares some of his experiences in the field.

Conversation with Dan Shonka Part IV: Prospects Past and Present – In this segment of the conversation, Shonka talks about pro prospects from the past and present, including two players he thought would be great who didn’t pan out, a sneaky-good runner he and Wes Bunting both like, and his take on Andrew Luck.

Conversation with Dan Shonka Part III: Positional SchoolI asked Shonka to indulge me in a game where I named a position on the field and he talked about skills he looked for that could or couldn’t be learned if the player didn’t exhibit them in the college game.

Conversation with Dan Shonka Part II: War Room Stories – This segment of our conversation included war room stories about perhaps the greatest linebacker of a generation, a cornerback who had some great battles with Michael Irvin, a disruptive defensive tackle, and a backup running back from the University Texas whose first name is Anthony but went by a more holy moniker.

Conversation with Dan Shonka Part I: Confidence and Competitiveness –  This segment of our conversation included stories about Kurt Warner, Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, and the players and systems of Brigham Young and Cal. These stories are terrific, but for me the most valuable nuggets I gleaned from Shonka’s tales is the importance (and real life examples) of confidence and competitiveness in a football player.

Greg Cosell – Nearly 30 years experience at NFL Films studying the game.

Greg Cosell Part VI: Favorites – Part VI of my conversation with  NFL Films senior Producer Greg Cosell – co-author of The Games That Changed the Game.

Greg Cosell Part V: Class is in SessionFactors that Cosell uses to evaluate specific positions on the field.

Greg Cosell Part IV: The Craft of Evaluation – My initial take on Darren McFadden in 2008 was how I became acquainted with NFL Films senior producer Greg Cosell. I read his Sporting News piece  on McFadden and I was surprised to learn that we had similar takes on the runner. I sent Cosell my RSP analysis on McFadden and this fueled a longer conversation over the telephone.

Greg Cosell Part III: The All-Timer Game – Joe Greene or Reggie White? Larry Fitzgerald or Michael Irvin? Bruce Matthews or John Hannah? I name two players and the NFL Films producer tells me which one he wants and gives a reason why. It could be about physical talent, skill, or the fit within his fictional use for them.

Greg Cosell Part II: The Pats TE Duo and Rookie Discussion – In this portion of our conversation, Cosell supplies his take on the Patriots duo of second-year tight ends, quarterbacking in different eras of the pro game, and his thoughts on several rookies from the 2011 Draft class.

Greg Cosell Part I: Cosell graciously undergoes a voir dire of his knowledge of nearly two-dozen current players.

Wes Bunting: Director of College Scouting at the National Football Post

Conversation with Wes Bunting Part IV – The director of college scouting at the National Football Post talks about 2012 NFL prospects.

Conversation with Wes Bunting Part IIIBunting discusses rookies making a good impression, young players in good situations, and young players in difficult situations. Bunting also reveals the players he liked that surprised others as well as how NFL defenses are reacting to a specific offensive trend.

Conversation with Wes Bunting Part II – In this part of our conversation Bunting talks about his youth, how he fell in love with the game, and translated that passion into what he does now. He also reveals what he learned from Ravens director of college scouting Eric DeCosta and the differences between evaluating for a football team and as a member of the media.

Chad Reuter – Current Senior Researcher for NFL Network and Former College Evaluator for CBS Sportsline-NFL Draft Scout

NFL Draft Scout’s (Now NFL Network Senior Researcher) Chad Reuter Part IV – The final part of our conversation covers Reuter’s typical work process as a talent analyst and the resources he recommends to the general audience to become students of the game.

NFL Draft Scout’s (Now NFL Network Senior Researcher) Chad Reuter Part III – In this segment, Chad and I discuss sabermetrics and football, the mathematical logic of drafting a quarterback in the first round, and the importance of tiers when building a draftboard.

NFL Draft Scout’s (Now NFL Network Senior Researcher) Chad Reuter Part II – We cover Reuter’s path to  studying football as a full-time job, a defensive position that is difficult to evaluate, and why “instincts” and “intangibles” may not be innate after all.

NFL Draft Scout’s (Now NFL Network Senior Researcher) Chad Reuter Part I – In this portion of the conversation, Chad and I talk about offensive line play, evaluating technique versus results, and balancing these two behaviors with the craft of projecting a player’s future in the NFL.

Matt Williamson – ESPN Analyst and former NFL Scout for the Cleveland Browns

ESPN Analyst Matt Williamson Part III In this final installment, Williamson discusses his role with the Browns, his transition to ESPN, and the resources he uses to continue learning about the game and its players.

ESPN Analyst Matt Williamson Part II Williamson tells the story of his ascent to football’s biggest stage despite never playing the game.

ESPN Analyst Matt Williamson Part IWilliamson discusses an emerging NFL offensive trend with personnel and then explains the difference between scouting for a football team and a media conglomerate.

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