Teams are always looking for angles and edges in evaluating players for the NFL Draft process. And, the ones that are the most successful are the those that identify something important and stick with the mindset of taking those types of players.
We have written before that the Patriots, the most successful team in the NFL for the last 18 years, used a philosophy for years about identifying players that had been captains in high school or college levels of football. Then, looking to those players in the draft, due in part to their maturity and leadership qualities.
Now, there’s a new trend and not only are most all of the NFL teams are looking for it, but most all of the drafted players have the quality in their background already: they were or are multi-sport athletes.
And a website/service that keeps track of players drafted and their connection to what sports they played previously in high school and maybe, even college, put out some compelling numbers Monday:
29 of 32 (91%) 2018 NFL Draft 1st round picks were multiple sport athletes in high school, 69% participated in track & field, according to @TrckFootball #NFLDraft #multisport #trackfootballhttps://t.co/MObq7SwvfU pic.twitter.com/JDnrqhad3O
— Tracking Football (@TrckFootball) April 27, 2018
So from their research, nine out of ten players taken round one, and eventually, 88% in the day two 2018 NFL Draft Picks, played at least one other sport in high school. That, is an impressive trend.
Specifically for the state NFL teams (Bucs, Dolphins, Jags), here is the lowdown on their top pick and what they played:
Dolphins- Minkah Fitzpatrick- ran track at St. Peter’s Prep in New Jersey
Jaguars- Taven Bryan- not only was part of the two time state championship football team at Natrona County High School in Wyoming, but also was on the track and field team and played varsity basketball, too.
Further, into the second round, the Bucs second round pick RB Ronald Jones (above) was not surprisingly, a 100m and 200m dash star at McKinney North (TX) High School. Jaguars WR D.J. Chark from Alexandria (LA) High School was a sprinter in the 100m and a long jumper in track, who qualified for the Louisiana State Track Championships in that event.
And, as we profiled this weekend, there’s Dolphins second round pick, TE Mike Gesicki, who was a two sport star in basketball and volleyball at Southern Regional High School in New Jersey.
Most of the players that TrackingFootball.com looked into for the first three rounds, participated in either track and field or basketball, as the primary choices. Their study showed that the only top 10 pick, who did not play another varsity sport in high school, was the Cardinals QB Josh Rosen out of UCLA. However, even though he only played football in high school, Rosen had been a rising star youth tennis player before giving up that sport competitively in high school.
In the end, the message should be clear to parents, coaches, etc. who are involved with teenagers: let them try and play more than one sport. And, then, they can figure out what they like the best.
The evidence is overwhelming that it worked for most of the 100 total first-third round picks taken this year.
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