In episode five of Matt Waldman’s RSP Scout Talk with Russ Lande, Russ and Matt dive deep into the evaluation and management of prospects with high-risk behavior off the field, discuss successful NFL players that taught us valuable insights about scouting, and reveal two more 2020 NFL prospects who have caught their eye.
Tuesday night, I read George Atkinson III’s open letter about how he turned his losses into lessons. It’s a must-read about him and his brother’s childhood with a paranoid schizophrenic mother and how that relationship forced them to come to terms with their emotional lives as adults.
On Wednesday afternoon, Russ Lande and I discussed this letter as well as the way NFL teams approach players with at-risk behaviors during the pre-draft and post-draft phases of player acquisition. Hours later, we learned that Atkinson had died today—roughly one year after his younger brother committed suicide after they had difficulty grieving their mother’s death.
Details of Atkinson’s death are not known at this time. We’d like to offer condolences to the Atkinson family at this time. Hopefully, our conversation underscores the difficulties that many young athletes face when transitioning from their backgrounds to mainstream society when they, in fact, have earned opportunities that even young adults prepared for life in mainstream society cannot be ready to handle seamlessly.
Russ and I also talk about evaluation lessons we learned from players such as Drew Brees, Keenan Allen, Jamaal Charles, Anquan Boldin, Brett Favre, and Bob Sanders.
We wrap up the show with a conversation about Georgia guard Solomon Kindley, Utah quarterback Tyler Huntley, Ohio State cornerback Jeff Okudah, and Minnesota corner Benjamin St. Juste.
If you love the NFL Draft and player evaluation, you’ll find these conversations fascinating and enjoyable. You can follow Russ on Twitter @RussLande and read more of his content at www.russlande.com
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