The NFL is designed for an even playing field, and yet teams like the New England Patriots are good every single year, while others struggle to ever make the playoffs. Urban Meyer has identified at least one factor from the college side that indicates this pretty well.
His last two programs, Ohio State and Florida, are major powers that produce a ton of talent. One would think that every NFL franchise would make a point of speaking to Meyer and his staff, with so many players from his teams entering the NFL Draft every year. And yet, that is not the case.
In a recent appearance on FS1’s FOX Football Now, Meyer said that many of the less successful NFL franchises are the ones that don’t stop by in person and talk to he and other top coaches about their players. “There’s a reason programs just don’t win very often and that’s because I’ve never heard from (their personnel department),” he said on the show, via 247Sports. This issue is even more significant this year, without Pro Days for many teams. Coaches can give valuable insight on the players that NFL teams are scouting.
“I’m not going to give names and coaches, but the teams, they’re the ones that don’t win,” Urban Meyer said. “And they’re probably not going to win next year and they’re probably not going to win the year after.” He called it a pretty clear “pattern” for these less successful teams.
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Of course, this isn’t inherently an NFL thing. He believes everything from college football teams to corporations suffer from similar issues.
One team that does not, unsurprisingly: the New England Patriots.
“No. 1 is develop a culture, implement a culture. No. 2, it’s called talent acquisition. And in college, it’s recruiting and development. And in the NFL, it’s drafting and free agency, etc. and development. And when I was a young coach, I really didn’t have set criteria when I first started off. Then a guy named Bill Belichick would come visit with me every year. And his visit wasn’t a quick drive by. It was he was in my office for three or four hours. He would meet with every player. He would ask me questions. Not one time would it be, ‘How fast is he,’ or, ‘How tall is he,’ or, ‘What’s his vertical jump.’ He would ask me if he fits a criteria of a New England Patriot. I know exactly what it was — it was an intense competitor, toughness and all the things he believes in, because he assured me of that constantly. And I changed my way of recruiting.”
As Meyer says, Belichick and the Patriots pick at the end of the draft every year, and yet overcome that built-in disadvantage by being smart and outworking other teams.