Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room: WR Tyre Brady (Marshall) and Gameness

Matt Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio showcases the competitive drive of Marshall wide receiver and NFL Draft prospect Tyre Brady.

“He has great intangibles.”

It’s a phrase that has become a joke among draftniks and generates eye-rolling among hardcore football fans whenever they hear someone like Jim Nantz or Brent Musberger describe a college quarterback or wide receiver whose athletic ability is below the mark to ride the NFL ride.  It’s easy to criticize qualitative/subjective information — especially in an age where data has become easier to share.

Most of us have learned that not all information marketed as quantitative is objective and not all qualitative information is the equivalent of reading tea leaves. There is an appropriate place to examine specific qualities that get lumped into the broad category of intangibles.

These specific qualities include creative thinking, physical and mental toughness, and competitiveness. All four are components of a player’s gameness.

The gameness of a player matters far more than we discuss in this age where, like seemingly every other subject, ideas are conveyed as either/or and done so to the extreme ends of a spectrum. Football is not science, it’s a performance craft.

It means that football is an emotional game and if you deny emotion, you only see a fraction of the game. Players may have all the “hard facts” embedded in their prospect profiles like height, speed, strength, and technique but if they lack the resilience to handle adversity, those skills are rendered useless when needed when the environment is at its most competitive.

Once I’ve determined that a player has the hard skills to compete at the highest level, I look for the soft skills that determine whether that player will actually compete. This is why I’ve been highlighting wide receiver Tyre Brady’s game this year at this site.

There are better athletes at his position and several who arguably have a greater collection of skills for the position at this stage of development, but Brady’s gameness stands out.

We can talk a lot about technique and/or the lack of it with each of these plays but once you’ve watched 3, 5, or 12 games of a player and established that barring the occasional situation from game to game, his skills are NFL-competent and athletic ability meets the minimum standards for a contributor, there are diminishing returns for remaining hyper-focused on the minutiae of positional analysis. At some point in every analysis, you have to examine how the player responds to competition.

Does he work harder in a challenging situation or shrink from it? When he makes a mistake, does he find a creative way to overcome it? When an opponent gets the better of him on a play, does he lose confidence and play meekly?

I know the Brady can run routes and catch the ball. What many teams appropriately value is whether that player can perform in challenging circumstances because ultimately, the difference between an amateur and professional isn’t just athletic skills and technique but the ability to play on a big stage and compete when the environment is at its most physically, technically, and emotionally challenging.

For the most in-depth analysis of offensive skill players available (QB, RB, WR, and TE), get the 2019  Rookie Scouting Portfolio. If you’re a fantasy owner the Post-Draft Add-on comes with the 2012 – 2018 RSPs at no additional charge.

Best, yet, 10 percent of every sale is donated to Darkness to Light to combat sexual abuse. You can purchase past editions of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio for just $9.95 each. You can pre-order the 2019 RSP now through December 28 and get a 10 percent discount.

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