Matt Waldman’s RSP Boiler Room delivers a play from North Carolina running back Michael Carter’s film portfolio to teach a point about scouting beyond the competition and focusing on what a player can control.
How do you account for a player’s competition when scouting his talent? It’s one of the most astute questions I get from the general public. When it comes to evaluating players that handle the ball on a regular basis, the answer is defining your scouting criteria around what the player can control.
This is helped me navigate away from players like Bishop Sankey, Stephen Hill, Darren McFadden, Andre Williams, and many others who had the college production and the athletic gifts that impress the public at the NFL Combine, but they lacked the combination of techniques, concepts, and refined football athletic ability to deliver on Sundays.
It’s also helped me value players like Nick Chubb, Russell Wilson, Brian Westbrook, Joseph Addai, LaGarrette Blount, Matt Forte, Ahmad Bradshaw, Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Cooper Kupp, Robert Woods, Marvin Jones, and many others who were underrated or questioned in the public eye because of perceptions about their offensive system, lack of eye-popping Combine numbers, or level of competition.
We all have our share of misses—scouting is a craft with a massive number of variables. Still, if there’s a position where this tip has proven successful for me over and over, it’s running back.
This clip of a 23-yard run from North Carolina’s Michael Carter is a great example of the details that are in a player’s game regardless of the success of the play, the quality of the competition, or the degree of difficulty with the rep. This is a cutback that many backs would have handled differently than Carter regardless of the circumstances described above.
The way Carter handles it is indicative of a player who is developing his processing of the field, and the techniques to execute what he sees, to an NFL standard.
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