As we've made our closer and closer to the 2011 NFL Draft, we are once again hit by the annual phenomenon of players' draft stock drastically increasing or decreasing in the weeks leading up to the NFL Draft. I actually feel bad for some of these kids because sometimes it's not actually their fault that expectations are inflated or they're dogged in the media. NFL teams are involved in all sorts of mind games trying to fake out other teams and get a player they want to fall, or a player they don't want to be grabbed too early.
However, beyond the team mind games we see each year, we also have draft analysts boosting prospect stocks for any reason under the sun. It's great that a player has a solid performance at his Pro Day and interviews well, but is that enough to justify raising his stock from a third or fourth rounder to a potential first rounder? I don't know enough about scouting to make any conclusions with particular certainty, but something seems a little off.
I understand the idea that a player's surrounding talent in college can hurt their performances. Football is a team game so a player can't always get all the blame for a particular poor performance. However, in terms of things like mechanics, you've got an idea of what a guy can do from all the game tape. There are exceptions to this where a QB works to change their mechanics (Tim Tebow being an example) and starts to find some level of success. However, if a certain aspect of a player's profile is not impressive immediately after college (meaning before the draft process begins), does a performance in a controlled environment, or the ability to run really fast or leap really high give people enough reason to shoot a player up their draft board?
This isn't meant as a critique of any particular player because there could be perfectly reasonable explanations for high rising players. However, it comes under that whole line "if it looks like a duck and sounds like a duck." I know there are some folks here that pay closer attention to both the college football season and the draft scouting process. I'd love to hear what you think about this. I am curious about this more in the abstract for now than in regards to specific players (most notably several quarterbacks, but also other positions). Any insight is most welcome.