I Don’t Care About Your Grade on Wentz

I don’t care about your grade on Wentz….

…I care about how you got there and what you will do with it now.

Everyone has an opinion. It takes nothing to develop an opinion, we do it almost subconsciously. We combine our past experience and knowledge with the information presented to us and voilà, an opinion is formed.

Due to tools like social media, we can now present our opinions with such speed (and volume) that it is almost overwhelming.

I have my opinions on many topics. Some I am willing to stand by with more fervor than others, but those opinions exist nonetheless.

I have not been an NFL GM. I have not been a Head Coach. I am now a member of the NFL outsiders, those who do not have a hand in the decision making process, but will tell you what they think of those decisions.

The beauty of being on the outside, especially as someone who did not hold an executive position, is there is no track record for our opinions. We never made any roster construction decisions and as such, no one can conduct a google search and point out our win-loss record.

This gives us such freedom to highlight our ‘wins’ and hide our ‘losses’. This gives us cover, that is not present for those actually involved in the decision making process.

I don’t have a problem calling a spade a spade. I don’t have a problem looking at what I’ve learned of others decision making processes and expressing concern. I don’t have a problem being shown where I missed on information that would have brought me to a better conclusion. I don’t have a problem saying ‘I was wrong’.

This all brings me back to my original point.

I do not care about your grade on Wentz.

…I care about how you got there and what you will do with it now.

If you nailed the evaluation, awesome. If you missed, tough. If you (like myself) thought Philadelphia presented a better environment than the Rams (under Jeff Fisher) for either Goff or Wentz, good for you.

Ultimately, it does not matter where you stood before the draft. Actually, I’m not convinced it matters where you stand on Wentz now.

We can only make decisions based on what we know at the time. So if you broke down Wentz on film alone and came to a conclusion, and you think you have been proven right, you still cannot hang your hat on that alone.

Studying a human being, playing this game, is about the quality of data points you can collect and how you work with those to come to an overall evaluation grade.

Any of us, looking at film alone on the outside, cannot have the full picture, as we do not get to know who the player is as a person.

The development curve for an individual player is unique. We can try to model them based on past performers who have similar traits or production, but I think we can agree that rarely are two human beings identical. As such, we are looking at a multivariate problem when assessing future performance of a player and how we weigh each input will greatly impact our final grades.

I’m not the smartest guy in the room. I am constantly in search of those smarter than me. I talk to coaches, executives, scouts, data scientists, exercise physiologists, technologists, fans, and critical thinkers both in and out of the NFL in hopes of learning things about players, schemes, processes, development curves, etc, that I can apply to my opinions. I wanted to say ‘decision making process’, but as we talked about before, I don’t make NFL roster decisions, so everything I do, really just impacts my personal opinions.

So as you see Carson Wentz play on the field and compare that to your opinions, try to realize that for all of us, Wentz is a case study. He is one player that was evaluated. Study how you weighed his traits in your process and how that led you to your conclusion.

If you believe you did a quality evaluation or if you were down on him and are seeing signs you were wrong, take time to study how you came to your final grade. How many of the things you saw as positives or negatives are still playing out in the NFL? How many surprised you? What can we study about his environment and development curve that would be applicable to other players?

This one player does not make you good or bad at evaluation. It is an opportunity for growth. Take the time to reflect and self-scout because the lessons that you can learn here will become trends. If you passionately stand by a bad outcome and try to justify why it really wasn’t your fault, then your bad outcome trend will continue too.


Follow Dan on Twitter @Dan_Hatman

Dan Hatman is the Director of The Scouting Academy and writes for Inside The Pylon when not teaching future football scouts and coaches how to do their job.

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