Football Think Tank Podcast: College Football as the NFL’s Farm System

On the first ever episode of Football Think Tank with Dan Hatman, the topic is the pros and cons of college football as the NFL’s farm system. Joining Dan to discuss this topic is current Detroit Lions OL Geoff Schwartz, former Raiders CEO Amy Trask, and former Panthers and Seahawks scout, VP and GM in the World League, CFL Director of Player Personnel, and college football head coach, John Peterson. In this episode, the group discusses topics ranging from college football’s role in developing NFL players, the financial viability of developmental leagues, and whether an in-season “academy” model is the best route forward to develop players between college and the NFL.

  • Geoff discusses the changes he’s seen between 2011 (when he entered the league) and now with regards to OTAs and player development time (1:54)
  • The changes and shifts John has seen in terms of valuing players coming out of college, especially if there are any changes to the philosophy of grabbing players who are more developed versus than raw (4:42)
  • Amy’s take on college football functioning as the NFL’s farm system, and also the perspective of other team owners on this topic (7:49)
  • Amy’s idea on expanding roster size in the NFL as well as the number of players allowed to be active on game day (9:19)
  • Geoff expands on players’ concerns about what they are facing entering the NFL (9:58)
  • John on how the CFL and other professional leagues view themselves in relation to the NFL in terms of player development (12:02)
  • Amy on continuing development leagues and the financial feasibility of creating developmental leagues (21:10)
  • Geoff on player development:
    • Do development leagues need to play games in order to develop players, or do playing games hurt the development of these players. (23:05)
    • How is technique developed and what is most lacking in players between the college and pro game (26:03)
    • Should the NFL move closer to CFB style of play? (26:23)
  • John on what GMs and ownership would be hoping for in a developmental league (29:09)
  • A discussion of the in-season “academy” model where practice squads are larger and players scrimmage mid-week (35:07)
  • How does the “academy” model impact the development of front office personnel, especially scouts and medical personnel (43:45)
  • What could an academy model do for veterans who are on the roster bubble or injured veterans who need reps before returning to action? (47:43)
  • Each guest takes some time to lay out where they would like to see things move forward with the idea of a developmental league (51:13)

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Music Credits
Ronald Jenkees, “Disorganized Fun

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