Recruiting Rankings Are Great, But Give Me The NFL Draft For Results

Before getting too deep into the main subject of my post, I want to express some public support and sympathy for former Buckeye and current Denver Broncos tight end Jeff Heuerman. You may recall in last week’s article that I mentioned how I had hoped that my favorite NFL team, the Cleveland Browns, would have possibly drafted Heuerman in the 2015 NFL Draft. Only one day after I published my article, news spread quickly about Heuerman sustaining a torn ACL during his first practice that will sideline him throughout the 2015 NFL season.

Good luck to Jeff as he prepares for his surgery and subsequent rehabilitation. In case you have not sent a tweet already, Jeff Heuerman is on Twitter at @JHeuerman86.

What I am going to write about is not new news, for anyone who truly knows me. As a matter of fact, I have written articles like this before, but as the NFL Draft is so relatively fresh in everyone’s mind, I thought I would just reiterate some points that seem to get overlooked or lost in the shuffle.

Yes, I follow recruiting, especially as it relates to Ohio State. After all, I did assist back in 1995 with recruiting for Ohio State’s 1996 recruiting class, long before social media was the dominant force it is today. Yes, I want Ohio State to secure the top talent in the country, knowing that having top talent is a necessary component in order to contend for the national championship.

But do I really care if one player is ranked as a five-star versus a four-star, or if Ohio State is ranked first in one recruiting service but second in another? Not really.

And the reason why is very simple – Nobody, including the coaches, truly knows what they have until the players arrive on campus, and compete against the other players on the roster.

Here is where the NFL Draft comes into play. Three, four, five years after a recruiting class has been signed, and the NFL Draft rolls around…now you see what you truly had, in terms of players being valued and coveted, when they are picked in the NFL Draft. No matter where Rivals, Scout, 247Sports, ESPN, etc, had these players ranked, you get to see how good a job the coaches not only evaluated, but developed, the talent that they had on hand, and what the NFL thinks of them.

Let me give you some quick examples. Below are some names who were in the top twenty recruits for 2011, based on ~

Curtis Grant of Ohio State. George Farmer of USC. Ray Drew of Georgia. James Wilder Jr of Florida State. Trey Metoyer of Oklahoma.

All were five star recruits. None were selected in the NFL Draft; all were signed as free agents by NFL teams.

Now does that mean that recruiting rankings are useless? Not at all. Jadeveon Clowney of South Carolina was ranked the number one recruit in the nation in 2011, and wound up as the first pick in the 2014 NFL Draft by the Houston Texans. Other top recruits in that top ten list are names such as Cyrus Kouandjio of Alabama, De’Anthony Thomas of Oregon, and Hasean Clinton-Dix of Alabama. All were picked in the 2014 NFL Draft.

My point is that when it comes time for NFL teams to make their best educated decisions on investing a draft choice and considerable money into a player, do you think the team is truly considering where the player was ranked by a recruiting service, or by what the player did on the field in games? That is where player development is so crucial.

The players Ohio State had selected in the 2015 NFL Draft are a testament to the development and coaching of Ohio State Head Coach Urban Meyer and his staff, not by any recruiting rankings. It does not matter to me that the players who signed in February 2011 (or in Darryl Baldwin’s case, 2010) have now been evaluated years after the fact – the fact that NFL teams have made their evaluations have given me a solid idea as to how talented these players are in the eyes of NFL evaluators.

Maybe I am the only person at who feels this way, and that is fine. Put it this way – the 2016 NFL Draft is about a year away, and I am already anxious to see how the NFL evaluates the tremendous talent that Ohio State will be sure to offer the professional ranks.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: