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US Sports

29th Apr 2015

NFL Draft: What they say and what they really mean

Straight talking

Gareth Makim

The NFL draft begins this Thursday night in Chicago, where the futures of all 32 teams could pivot on the selections of the latest crop of college players to turn professional

Everybody knows the NFL, with its colossal television ratings and near $10billion dollars in annual revenue, is an unequalled behemoth in the American sports landscape, but the real proof of the league’s preeminence really hits home tonight.

Last year, a television audience of 32million tuned in for the first round of the draft, that’s 8.5million more than the decisive Game 7 of baseball’s World Series and more than double the average viewership for last year’s NBA Finals, which featured the game’s biggest superstar LeBron James. All for an event where no actual football is played, and the most exciting pictures are of men in suits in board rooms across America.

What a country, eh?

To feed that audience, every sports outlet in the nation is devoting ever more resources towards covering the draft, with their own set of hyperbolic pundits drawing up detailed scouting profiles that have spawned their own specific draft language, but never fear, SportsJOE is here to make sure than you understand each and every one of these incredibly technical terms.

SportsJOE’s NFL Draft Translator

This is a really deep draft
There aren’t many superstars, but we’ve got to keep you interested somehow

He was the best player on our board
The guys we really wanted just got taken

They are able to go with the best player available
The team sucks, so whoever they take should make them better

They let the draft come to them
They didn’t have the balls to make the trade up everyone wanted them to

War room
Basically a boardroom-type office with a large whiteboard where each team decides who to pick. The only fighting that goes on is between the owner who wants the next Johnny Football and the coach who wants someone who can actually play football

Safe pick
The boring lineman fans are going to boo because it wasn’t the flashy wide receiver

Shows flashes
Player who mostly can’t be arsed

Rising stock
There is no stock, nor do players ‘rise up draft boards’. This is just pundits moving their own rankings based on what they find out NFL scouts already think

Not rodent faeces, but the polite way of saying that a player wasn’t ranked as highly as he, and most importantly the media folks saying he is dropping, or Slipping, thought he was. For those that are actually attending the draft, they are in the unenviable position of being Stuck in the green room.

Character issues
Has sat in the back of a police car at least once

Wowed at the Combine (also Tested off the charts)
Looked great running around in his underwear

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 23: Defensive back Trae Waynes of Michigan State competes during the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 23, 2015 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Vertical threat (also Deep speed)

Short area quickness

Really fat lad who gets in the way

Height, weight, strength, speed. The be-all and end-all, except of course for players that are short, slow, etc., in which you can ‘throw out the measurables’. These players are often popular with the media as talking points, and have Intangibles (those things that you can’t chart) that are ‘off the charts’

Sneaky athletic
Fast and comes from a good family

Tremendous upside
Can’t play football yet, but is built like a vending machine or runs like Usain Bolt. See also Project and Raw

Workout warrior
Was great in the weight room, where he’ll spend all his time after he’s drafted, because he sure as hell can’t play

See also a Good leader who is Gritty and Plays with heart

40 time
Speed over the straight-line 40-yard dash, a vital determination of draft position that few players will ever actually perform in a game

A defensive back who can catch

Cover corner
A defensive back who can’t

Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane
A big lad who is soft as s****

Wes Welker-type
Small, shifty receiver who really has no business on the field with these monsters

Wes Welker is a Wes Welker-type

Possession receiver

Not big enough or quick enough for any position in the NFL, but looked great against rubbish college opposition

Happy feet
A quarterback without the balls to take a hit, unlike someone who Stands tall in the pocket

Intelligence test given to all prospects that has little to with actual football. Results usually leaked for quarterbacks, whose entire NFL careers are then feted/written off depending on the results

Plug and play
Usually describes offensive linemen who are capable of playing straight away, because it’s hard to find interesting things to say about offensive linemen

Sleeper pick
Player the pundit ranked really highly but everyone else thought was shite