Reads Listens Views 8/2/2013


It's already difficult enough for the NFL to pick a prized catch from the multitudes. Even so, it needs to keep getting better. See below. Photo from National Geographic.

It’s already difficult enough for the NFL to pick a prized catch from the multitudes. Even so, it needs to keep getting better. See below. Photo from National Geographic.

Views

Nica’s Dream – great tune performed by an excellent guitarist.

Football Read & Commentary

Thompkins might be an example of how most NFL teams weren't thorough enough with character evaluation. Photo by expatsfootball.com

Thompkins might be an example of how most NFL teams weren’t thorough enough with character evaluation. Photo by expatsfootball.com

Kenbrell Thompkins Rescues Himself From Woes – I think most of you get it: I’m rooting for Thompkins because I liked what I saw from him on the field. Another reason is what I read in Michael McKnight’s Sports Illustrated piece on Thompkins well before the Patriots signed him.  The Boston Herald delves a little deeper into Thompkins’ story now that the UDFA wide out has impressed just about everyone who has attended a training camp practice. I’ve written about the public and private scrutiny of character  and the gulf that young players often have to traverse to transition from college star to productive professional.

I’m linking to Thompkins’ camp reports so much this preseason, because I think it’s important to celebrate people who turn their lives around and make good.  Regardless of whether he becomes a productive player, Thompkins is proof positive that people can grow past the mistakes of their youth. If it is true that NFL teams didn’t sign him due to his seven arrests in high school then it’s also an indication that there’s significant flaws in the evaluation process – especially when it comes to assessing character.

Read the two stories above and you’ll understand that this young man hasn’t been arrested in eight years. He’s been on a zero-tolerance program with Cincinnati’s Butch Jones. He worked his tail off in Torrance, California to learn the receiver position. He graduated with a degree in criminal justice.

If a team didn’t draft him due to seven arrests before adulthood then I have to believe that they aren’t examining players with enough depth or perspective. They didn’t consider when he was arrested and his law-abiding behavior since. If they interviewed any of the coaches, teammates, or family members of Thompkins, they either didn’t trust what they heard or took a way too cautious approach. I believe they were covering their asses.

It’s easy to jump through hoops and say you’re thorough, but if you’re not truly analyzing the information, what is all that time, money, and effort worth? That’s the blow-back of a public relations-conscious society: We spend more time focused on covering ourselves to avoid looking bad than actually spending the time to make a good decision. Saying you’re being thorough so you’re not scrutinized and being thorough so you can face it with confidence are two different things.

At the same time, Thompkins’ 78 catches, 1077 yards, and 4 touchdowns in 2 years isn’t fantastic college production so there could have been a good argument made that teams expected to be able to wait until the end of the draft to sign the receiver. However, the fact that Butch Jones had use his connections to sell the Patriots on Thompkins is a telling sign that the NFL saw “seven arrests” and didn’t bother to look hard enough.

There’s lots of talk from former scouts that NFL teams spend as much or more money on private investigators and delving into character than studying on-field performance. If that’s true, Thompkins is a developing into a compelling case why the quality of the legwork may need further review.

Remember great players are exceptions to the role. They are unconventional. If you’re only willing to consider some template version of what’s good to cover your hind parts then you’ll never spot the exceptional.

Views

Speaking of exceptional. This "MJD-like dude" (according to Rex Ryan) is impressing with his speed and pass protection in Jets training camp.

Speaking of exceptional. This “MJD-like dude” (according to Rex Ryan) is impressing with his speed and pass protection in Jets training camp. Keep up the good work and Manish Mehta will remember your first name.

Views

Now this is how you do “Happy Birthday”

Non-Football Reads

Views – Bob Burnquist (Thanks to Sigmund Bloom)

This is a well-executed creative life. Inspiring stuff to see a man build this environment to continue growing in his field. I understand the desire.

Views – Chain of Fools

Kind of looks like “Boogie Woogie Man” Jimmy Valiant, don’t you think?

A 261-page online publication that provides 1029 pages of play-by-play notes from my evaluation database and 10 percent of your purchase is donated to fight sexual abuse.

A 261-page online publication that provides 1029 pages of play-by-play notes from my evaluation database and 10 percent of your purchase is donated to fight sexual abuse.

Thank You

Generally, I post this in the beginning. If you’re new to the Rookie Scouting Portfolio blog then you may wonder why I’m posting non-football content today. Every Friday I like to change things up a bit to share what I found compelling during the week. Some of the stories are difficult reads and the music may not be your taste, but that’s just the luck of the draw. What I hope you’ll find worthwhile is this blog when I’m writing about football.

Based on the response thus far, you deserve a lot of thanks for helping me grow this outlet since its inception in 2011. That goes double for those of you who have taken the plunge and purchase the Rookie Scouting Portfolio publication. Now in its eighth year, the RSP is the most comprehensive – and perhaps meticulous – study of rookie skill players available.

For $19.95 you get both a pre-draft publication that includes rankings, game report cards, and play-by-play analysis for each player and a post-draft publication that updates rankings into a tiered cheat sheet and provides draft value data, and analysis on each player’s fit with his new team.  If you’re a fantasy football owner this publication will supply you with the information and perspective you’ll need to pull the trigger (or refrain) in re-draft and dynasty leagues.

I don’t have a mass audience like the big boys, but you should know that my readers are repeat customers who often have a “slap their forehead moment” once they make the decision to purchase the RSP because it’s worth more than they pay for it. The first-time buyers tell me so.

This is a career for me every year I try to make it better than the last in terms of quality of content, transparency of analysis, and improvement of my evaluation process.  Because I spend so much time creating this information, I don’t get to make the time I’d like to give back to the community in the way I was once accustomed in my youth. So it dawned on me in 2012 to donate 10 percent of every sale to a cause I believe in: Darkness to Light. This organization trains individuals and community organizations to recognize and prevent sexual abuse in communities. As football fans, I think we know first hand how even smart, accomplished people can do a poor job of handling the issue of sexual abuse.

Get the RSP and make this a win (you) – win (me) – win (giving back to the community) scenario and download the 2013 RSP now. Past issues (2006-2012) are available for $9.95.

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