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March 24, 2022 37 mins

In this episode of the Tape Heads: Draft Season podcast, hosts Bob Wischusen and Greg Cosell welcome former GM Mike Tannenbaum to discuss how an NFL Draft board is crafted.  Mike talks about all the different factors that are taken into account while building a player by player evaluation of positions.  Bob asks about drafting for need or talent when it comes to a team's strategy.  Mike explains how teams have 'must' and 'need' categories for their team and those 'must' positions get resources and attention throughout the Draft.  We wrap up with the Pro Days from Quarterbacks this week and how much is taken from them.  Greg stresses the 'functional knowledge' that players need to succeed now in the NFL.

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:03):
Tape Eds. It's a production of I Heart Media and
the NFL. Welcome to another edition of Taped's Draft Season.
Bobo Shusan, a longtime radio voice the Jets, ESPN college football.
Greg co Sell of course breaks the tape down and
has been doing so for four decades plus for NFL films.

Nobody takes a deeper dive into the All twenty two
than Greg co Sell, other than perhaps our next guest,
because Mike Tannenbaunt is kind enough to spend some time
with us. And Mike of course ran the New York Jets,
ran the Miami Dolphins, longtime NFL general manager, and has
now officially turned into Darth Vader and has come over
to the dark side as a member of the media.
So Mike, thanks for doing this week. We appreciate it.

Welcome to our world once again. I like to think
I'm most importantly the procure of broadcast talent. But yeah,
do do you have do you have any like like
when they take those FBI reports you have like redacted
lines on them? Do you redact any parts of your
resume that had my him on it from earlier in
your career? NOBE just we're not going there. We are

not going there. Thank god you've got the jet guy
hosting the podcast, because we're not even gonna act like
that happened, all right, um, you know, Mike uh. And
we've been trying to kind of establish this with the
listeners that we get every week, to let them know
that this is not, you know, your mock draft podcast,
right like, we're not gonna try. We don't do the draft,
we don't put mock boards up. We try as best

we can to bring the real football nerd like we
are like the guys that love to dive inside the game,
dive inside the XS and o's crawled behind the game
and inside look on how draft boards really come together?
What really is the process the misunderstandings and misconceptions maybe
that folks have for the world that you lived in.
I think a lot of people we've been talking about

this think that your board looks like a mock draft. Right.
You rank players like one to three hundred, and you
just start ticking them off, and if you've got the
thirty first pick and your thirty first best player was
on the board, you just take him. And obviously that
is not the way that this works. So could you
maybe just give kind of a wide angle lens of

how the board comes together during that process for you,
so you know, folks have a real understanding of how
it works. Well. First of all, I think one of
the bigger surprises Bob is uh, it's an eleven month process,
so it actually starts at May of so the twenty
two drafts started in May. And a lot of the

works done by area scouts road scouts when they're out
in the fall. And one of the guys that I
respect a ton is Charlie Cassulely. I think he did
a great job for multiple decades GMS for a lot
of teams, and me and jun I always try to
pick the brains of the Ron willis to Bill Pollian's
Charlie Castles and Charlie Castle he says something to me
that was very interesting that stayed with us, which was

over a period of time, and there's exception to terry rule.
More times than not, the grade that was the most
accurate was the pure football grade, meaning how they played
in the fall was the best grade. So there is
a board that's set by grade, and we do have
an overall board, but we also have it by position
and and every team does a little bit differently, but basically,
by the end of the season, you have a board

with the ranking, and then you get into the off season,
which includes things like All Star Games, East West, Senior Bowl.
Obviously the combines are very big part of it, and
then Pro Days, which is where we are now, and
then all that information along with security, psychological testing, medical
will formulate your board, and you really do get everyone's input.

But at the end, you are stacking your board two
different ways, Bob, one overall, but secondly by position, and
it's the juxtaposition of those two things compared to where
your roster is that ultimately will formulate your decisions. So, Mike,
let me ask it this. You brought up the fact
that there's a number of factors that go into all

of this. You know, see we're in the off season now,
so we had the Senior Ball to combine Pro Days,
and we can get into that in a minute. But ultimately,
you know, there's a lot of tape on a lot
of players. You know, uh, rarely, let's say, does a
player play four years like a Kenny Pickett, but there's
certainly enough tape on players. What's the relative percentage importance

of all these factors because at the end of the day,
we're still playing football, and you know, we all go
to the combine now when we watch guys who train
specifically getting a track stance and then run a four
three eight if you're a receiver, and then you put
their tape on and they don't play like there are
four three eight guy. You know, the science and the
technology is just increasing to the point where it's more

than likely that the numbers, the measurables are just going
to get better and better. So what is the relative
percentage importance of all these factors that go into putting
a board together and evaluating and projecting a player. Yeah,
you know, great question, Greg. I don't think there's a
magic formula. UM. One of the things that's really important

to me though, is character. And you know, in a
sentence to me, that's who how you treat people that
can't help you. Um, as we go through life, your
true character is how you treat the waiter, the waitress,
the bus driver, the equipment manager. That's who you really are.
So to discern actionable information to go along with how
they play to me is the most consequential, and then

you factor in other things again, like durability, their ability
to learn um, other bumps in the road. They may
have had um off the field, so but how they
play football is by far the most important aspect of it.
And I'll tell you guys an interesting story about that.
Going back to uh first draft with the Dolphins. We

we had a really good, not great, good left tackle
in Brandon Albert, and we had a gazillion needs, like
most teams do, defensive line corner and the number one
player on our board was Larry B. Tunsel. And Larry B.
Tunsl was a great kid at the University of Mississippi,
really close with his mother, outstanding teammate, and he had
a bumped in the road and that came public just

as we are heading into the draft, and it was
a video that I think a lot of ours probably
familiar with. And nowhere in a million years that we
have any scenario that healthy Lara Bee Tunsil would be
sitting there with THET pick what he was. We gladly
drafted him. Turned out to be one of the best
picks of my career. And that fell back to the

two principles we just discussed Greg, how Lara Bee Tuncil
played as a path protecting left tackle in the SEC,
and how great of a teammate and person he was,
and that was an example of just a good person
who had made a mistake. Mike Tannenbaum with us a
longtime general manager in the NFL, Boble Shoes and Greg
Coat Elvis, of course is taped's draft season and Mike,
that kind of leads me to again in a way,

to a different topic. And maybe it's a guy falling
based on something that the league perceives as a character
issue whatever. But all of a sudden, you've got a
player on your board that you can't believe as the
air and it is absolutely not at a position of
need for you. Where's your mendoes? A line? Is there one? Like?
Where where do you get? What's the conversation in the

room like where Obviously you're going to have certain guys going, look,
we don't need a left tackle, We've got one. What
are we doing? Hey, guys, this is a prohibitive lee,
wonderful player. We have to draft this guy even if
it's not something that we need. What's that conversation like?
And where's your line for need versus best? Yeah, context
is really important, you know, whatever, the better drafts we

had at the Jets, we traded up for Darrell Rivas.
There was two other corners in that draft that we liked,
Aaron Ross from Texas, lee On Hall from Michigan. We
just felt like Rivus was the better player, and um,
we traded up for him. And then we're sitting there
in the second round, and I'll always give Brian Cox,
a longtime player in the league, now the depress line

coach for the Giants. He's like, you know, keep an
eye that David Harris guy. You know, I think he's
gonna fall in second round. I said, there's no way, Brian, like,
he's too good of a players, will never be within
striking distance in the second round. And there he was,
and we had a first round grade on David Harris
and we're like, wow, we just gave up all these picks.
A bit the roll Revs like we can't do that again,
or like, you know what, he's too good of a player,

too higher character, perfect fit. And we came away with
Revis and Harris, who were great players for a long
time on on really good teams. So you know, that's
really like to me, you have to be prepared and
then all these unexpected things are gonna happen, and then
you just try to make the best decisions possible at
at those moments. Let me ask you this, Mike, because obviously,

you know, every team has a coaching staff and a
coaching staff, an offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator. They have certain approaches,
you know, they have certain concepts. This is how they coach,
this is what they want their their offensive, their defense
to look like. And they want players that kind of
fit their scheme um and and there's very few scheme
transcendent players in a draft. So what is the relationship

between the so called traits of a player that your
scouts and your personnel people are looking at and defining
versus the coaches who are looking for scheme adaptability within
their schemes. You know, how do you how do you
sort of balance those two things? Yeah, I think comes
back to vision, and in my career, Noboden did a
better job of that than Bill Belichick at a chance

to work for coaching in both Cleveland and at the Jets,
And I think the way he coaches Greg is really
in a lot of ways. The way he drafts like
player sort of like strategy meetings, player personnel meetings, And
what I mean is taking out like a Patrick Chung
or Dante High Tower. You know, if we were working
for coach, we would have in our reports like what

is our vision for the player? What can he do well?
And you know, if Patrick Chung could come down the
slot and play man to man, he's gonna come down
the slot and play man to man. If Dante high
Tower can two gap against the run, can blitz you know,
be a good interior blitzer. You know, those are the
things you're gonna see him do. William McGinnis, what can
Willia mc ginnis do. He could set the edge, he

could carry, you know, tightening up the seam. He's not
going to be great on running backs on the wheel route. Um.
So to me, you really want to marry like the
talent of the player and the vision for the just
how he gets to the field. Now, sometimes that stopped
perfect um. But if the player has such attributes that
are compelling, you know, there is also the saying like, hey,

if our scheme doesn't work for this player, maybe we
need to tweak the scheme a little bit. If if
the player is that good. So but when you're in
these meetings and candidly that goes sort of like pro personnel.
And I think one of the reasons coach Belichick has
been so successful. And I know we're talking more about
the draft, but on the pro side of things, Guys,
over time he's draft, He's acquired players that he's had

trouble defending or have given him issues, and it's really
interesting to watch him from a team building standpoint. That's fascinating.
Great stuff already with Mike tana Baum Moore to come,
long time general manager in the National Football League here
with Bob was SHOs in great Costell coming right back
on tapeds draft season Bobo Shoes and Greg Cosell with

Mike Tannenbaum here on taped's draft season, continuing our talk
about the draft, and you know my kind of picking
up where you left off a moment ago, talking about
how Bill Belichick formulates his team looks for players that
fit what you know he's looking for that may not
necessarily be the prototypical player in that spot on someone's

draft board. You might have a couple of stories along
these lines. When you're running a draft part of a
war room, do you have any good ones where there
was a guy that was just like, you have a
second round grade on this player, he's available in the
fourth round something like that. And maybe now there's a
conversation in the room where, boy, what are we missing
about this guy? Why is everyone passing on him? Or

there's a scout pounding the table in that room saying, hey,
what are we doing? We have to take this player?
Um that that kind of shows the process of when
a guy starts to slip, how you deal with it. Yeah,
we traded up for Xavien Howard in Miami and we
felt like that year like there was a cliff after
he after like we thought he was the last squarter

that could come in and start. We He got to
the second round, which we sort of anticipated because of
his time speed. He played faster than he ran, like
from a timing standpoint. So that was one where and
there's another whole aspect to this. And I give Terry Bradway,
someone had a real privilege of working for over eighteen
years together with you know, we we used to talk

about things like must and needs like a musk with
something like we can't operate the team if we don't
feel this position like we're gonna have to call Roger
Goodell and cancel the game, like we we couldn't. A
must is a must like the game is canceled. A
need is like we gotta get better, like we don't
match up well with this player playing. So there's must
and needs. And sometimes if it's a must, like, you're

gonna attack it in more than one way, be it
pro personnel trades, creed and see the draft. Whatever you're
you're gonna throw a out of resources at it. And
that year in Miami, we had to need a corner.
We needed a corner that could start advanced Joseph, who
is one of one of the best evaluators I had
ever worked with. I loved them. We had a real

vision for how he was going to fit. We were
hoping he would get there, kind of got to in
striking distance, and we traded up for him. So that
was an example of someone like that was falling in
the back of our minds were like, gosh, he could
be there in the second round, and he was, and
we were fortunate enough to take advantage of that. You know,
it's funny you mentioned that I remember Zavian Howard. Actually

I liked him a lot when he came out of college.
But but I thought he was a certain kind of player.
He turned out to be a really good pro. But
you know it's fascinating to me, Mike, is you could
talk to different evaluators, you know, and and we do
the thirty third team, and it's you know, different people
have such drastically different evaluations of the same player. You know,
guys we would respect, we all respect, and we know

they're really good at what they do. And I always
find that fascinating. You know, you've been in the business
a long time working with a lot of people. Uh,
you know, if you could just talk about that a
little bit, how guys you could take one player and
you might look at him and say, Wow, this guy
is a first round player, and another guy who you
would have tremendous respect for, would look at the same
guy and say, I see him as a fourth or

fifth round player. I always find that so fascinating. Yeah,
And you know, going back to my Jet days, one
of the things that really helped my career was I
got to work around a lot of people with disparate
views of of of team building, and they were successful.
I'll be very specific here. Had a chance to work
for her Edwards. He came from a system philosophically where

the corners were gonna be bigger, they could tackle, they
would have eyes on the quarterback and play really good
zone And in five years with coach Edwards we went
to the playoffs three times and had a really good
run with him. You know, um he moved on to
Kansas City. We sort of pivoted to coach Mangini had success.
Rex came in and Rex was probably the easiest coach

I ever had a chance to work with for two reasons.
Number One, if we ever had a disagreement, I always
used to say, look, we're five to six hundred calories
away from getting this thing solid, and I would just
walk in with an emergency VENTI Mocha frappuccino, and at
the time I would get my way, And if it
was a really difficult decision, I would come in with
extra whip cream. So the Florim Park, New Jersey Starbucks

knew that if there was a disagreement the jet building,
we were one Mocha frappuccino away from solving it. The
difficult ones were with extra I'd walk in. He'd be
piste or disagree with me. He just sucked that thing down.
He's like, tannabam whatever you want. It worked every single time.
But it uh it all serious says. The thing about

with Rex was, you know, he his vision of defense
was always about long and tall, tall corner. So he
wanted guys like really the opposite of what herm wanted
in terms of he wanted guys that He's like, Mike,
we're building a basketball team, like, I want length on
the back end. And the best example I could give
you is Tonio PRIMARTI watched Sauce Gardner of Cincinnati, like

he is, like I can see the Giants taking because
Don Martindale plays the same system and they're long and
they could play man. And for him, Rex had this
expression is like, let's change the math. If they're you know,
having six offensive linement or six people protecting the quarterback,
we're sending seven. If their max protecting with seven, we're

sending eight. And all we have to do my this
hold up on the back end just long enough so
we could hit the quarterback. And that's why I like,
it's so interesting you mentioned that, Gret, because here I
am in the same building talking about the same exact
position and both guys. You know, Rex goes to two
championship games, HERB goes to the playoffs three out of
five years. We're talking about the exact same position, and

they're totally different players. Like a corner for her and
is probably more of a safety for for Rex. UM.
And each system has its pros and cons. There's nothing magical. Um.
What's interesting, though, two is the influence like Tony Dungee
influence HERM, and they came from that system that they
had so much success, the Baronelli's and Monty Kiffins for

all those years in Tampa, the Tampa two system, and
just put a lot of premium on vision to the quarterback,
run into the ball. Being great tacklers. Rex came from
his dad, the late Great Buddy Ryan, whose idea was, no,
we're gonna blitz. We're blitzing from warm up when they
come off the bus, and we gotta play man to
man on the back end. If we can't, the defense

really doesn't work. Yeah, there's a perfect example, but we
were talking about a little bit ago. When you get
into this scheme, the scheme adaptability of specific players. You know,
unless you have a transcendent corner. Let's say that can
do everything, and there's not that many of those guys
in any draft. So you start getting into what the
scheme is with the defensive coach, where the head coach

who's a defensive guy, and therefore they view different players
in a totally different light. Yeah, that's exactly right. Totally
agree with that. Great, It is fascinating, And you know, Mike,
you mentioned Sauce Gardener. I'm dying to kind of spin
it forward and just get your take on this. Maybe
just the top of the first round of this draft.
It's always about the quarterback, right, even when it's a
draft where there are in quarterbacks at the top of
the draft, it's about am I gonna go draft a

guy to go pressure the quarterback? Am I gonna draft
one of those corners that's gonna have eyes on the quarterback?
Am I gonna draft one of these big tackles to
protect the quarterback? So, like, what, what's your take on
how you think that got The teams at the top
of this draft board will approach these prospects because there
are a lot of varying opinions out there, especially in
a year where there is not consensus about franchise quarterbacks

at the top of the draft. Yeah, and the draft
has already impacted what we've seen over the last three weeks.
It's out by coincidence that the Deshaun Watson's, the Matt Ryan's,
everything else going on, Russell Wilson's. That's all a meaningful
impact of this year's draft. Like, the person that's sitting
at the chair right now is John Schneider and Pete
Carroll with the ninth pick, They're gonna sit there and

say Strew Lock, Kenny Pickett, Malik Willis. However, they have
that evaluated, so they're going through that iteration right now.
Are they better off trying trade for Baker Mayfield, UM Kennie.
Of all the things about running a team, that's the
part that I enjoyed the most was the strategy of
the juxtaposition. Are we better off with lock In Mayfield

and a top ten player or we better off taking
Kenny Pickett or Malik Willis UM? And those are the
conversations that are happening right now in the Seahawk building,
and they're making those sort of like value judgments. I
think this year's draft is interesting because if I was Jacksonville.
There's no doubt I'm taking Aidan Hutchinson. And here's why

he's a force multiplier. When you're a team like Jacksonville,
you need sort of transcendent cultural impact more so than
I don't really care if the guy has six sacks,
eight sacks, two sacks, Like he's a guy that's gonna
make it the whole program better and that's what Jacksonville needs.
That's that's really interesting. And you know, we're talking about
the quarterback, and in many ways it's always a quarterback draft.

So let me just ask you about pro days because
obviously this week we've had pro days by quarterbacks. We
had Kenny Pickett, we had Malik Willis. How did pro
days factor into your evaluation? They shouldn't factor in a lot,
but um, I'll tell a story that um really maybe
the most impactful Pro day of all time. So again,

going back to OH seven, we needed a corner and
that year, Darrell Rivas was a junior who declared very
late in the process. He played in the Big East,
and there were not many good receivers that year, and
we're picking one and Rivas had an unbelievable Pro Day workout.
We didn't even get the film yet on it, and
Bradway calls, when the airport goes bike, we gotta trade

it for Darrell Rivis. He's like, there's zero percent chance
will be there at twenty one. His workout was too good.
So that that's just an example, Greg, that's when a
pro day will be the most consequential. When it's a
player coming out late you have questions about his athleticism,
not because for any of the reason, you just didn't
see it on tape and you don't have enough information.

That's really different nowadays because of the way our sports covered.
But if there's a guy like maybe the most consequential
pro day, in my opinion, would be like Cavon Thibodeaux.
He didn't work out through all the drills at Indie
and and that therefore his pro day will be important.
What about the extra eighth of an inch on a
quarterback's hand, like the crazy miserables we're getting. Obviously, can't

you pick it this year? But how much did that
impact you? If at all? Yeah, context is everything. He
has twenty seven fumbles. It matters if Kenny pick It
didn't have a fumbling problem. I don't care if he
has two inch hands. But when you combine historically small
hands and twenty seven fumbles, that's an issue. And if
you don't believe me, go ask the New York Giants,

Go ask Joe Judge what it's like to have a
quarterback that fumbles a lot that in part cost him
his job. So context is everything, Bob. It's not a
one size fits all approach. If somebody has smaller hands
and they don't have ball security issues, no problem. But
in Pickett's case, and I like pick it by the way,
I would draft him. He's my first quarterback. But I'm

also glad that I'm picking him for ESPN National Radio broadcast.
And I'm not trying to, you know, feed my kids
and educate them based on Kenny Pickett's ball security because
if I was, I'd be scared of death. And I
even have less hair than I do today. Well, you know, myke,
the NFL would be better off, and some team out
there would be better off if you lost even more

hair and got back into that war room. And we're
picking players on some team's behalf because you know, the
wide angle lens up your career. Teams won like teams
you ran one they won a lot of games and
so and I'm saying this, I don't even need a job.
There was a time where I probably need to beg
you for a job, but I would have endorsed you.
But I'm gainfully employed, and I'm saying you you should

be back running a team at some point in my openion.
I appreciate it. I have great teammates at the at
ESPN and a few other things that I'm doing, and
I really apreciate that, and I'm happy where I am.
But thank you. Well, you get nailed thee canned media
answer to that tea up as well. So nice, nicely done.
You've been trained well Mike, thanks Civilian for joining us,
and appreciate it. Thanks so much. Guys, really appreciate it, alright.

Always fascinating talking Draft Gregg with someone who's been in it.
And we obviously appreciate Mike's time knowledge. And when we
come back, you and I are going to wrap up
this episode. I want to get your take on some
of the things that he said, because you know, from
pro days to quarterbacks to the setting of the board
to you know, and again, I think those fascinating conversations
that people don't realize are happening behind closed doors about

the human being you're drafting as opposed just to the
player that you see, you know, kind of anonymously in
a helmet on tape. That's all coming up next on
TAPEDS Draft Season. Babo Shooes and Greg Cosal back on
TAPEDS Draft Season. After having about twenty five or so
minutes to pick the brain of Mike Tannenbaum and Greg,

I'm sure you agree we probably could have picked his
brain for two d and fifty minutes, not just twenty five.
And it's I mean, obviously all the things that he's
been through. I think the part of the whole draft
process that I find most interesting, and it was kind
of baked into a lot of the stories that he told,
was you know, we look at these players, they're all
twenty two game tape. We look at players, you know,

their statistics, their accomplishments, what they run at the combine.
But the human being, rightly, you have to sit across
from that person, look them in the eye and gauge
what kind of a man am I drafting. Is he
still a kid or is he a man? Is he
a leader? Is he a true captain? Or is he
a follower. Is he someone that has the maturity level

to now have more money than he ever dreamed possible
and do the right thing with it and still be
early for meetings? Does he love football? That's the thing
that you always hear personnel evaluators talk about, and how
interesting a part of the process it is for these
guys to gauge that about these kids, knowing that their

career years are at stake, you know, whatever, We get
to watch the games. It's fun, we talk about it.
It's football. This is the lively I mean, this is it.
Like Mike just said, I'm educating and feeding my children
and housing my family based on my decisions where this
is concerned. It's amazing how deep of a dive you
have to go into this making sure you're making the
right decision, you know. And I think the one other

element to all that, and obviously you nailed it. And
that's what Mike spoke about that and the capacity to learn,
because I think a lot of people forget how mental
a game this is. And you know, I've been very
fortunate to have been in a lot of training camps
through my career and to be allowed to sit in
on meetings and when you sit in on meetings and

how quickly they go through things, particularly in training camp.
And then the players have to then go back to
their rooms and it's ten o'clock at night when the
meeting's end, as you know, Bob, and then they've got
to study that playbook because the next day the coaches
expect them to come out on the field and to
be able to execute what the meeting was about the
night before and what they theoretically learned. So the capacity

to learn is also critically important, which is another element
besides the character and the personality and the the ability
to you know, play well with others. Um but so
much because the one thing about the NFL game that's
different than the college game is there are so many
more tactical strategic elements to it, and you have to

learn those things because if you play in the NFL,
and just to use a word that a lot of
people would be familiar with, that if everything you do
is vanilla, if it's basically tactically simple, you can't function
in the NFL like that over a period of time. Because,
as you know, Bob, there's a lot of really smart coaches,
So it's it's the capacity of players to learn. And

sometimes when a kids twenty or twenty one, depending on
where he played in college, depending on the system he
was in, depending on the conference he was in, they
haven't been given a lot of material and that is
really something that is so critical when you draft a player. Yeah,
to illustrate that, a story that comes to mind. When
Bill Belichick was the defensive coordinator of the Jets, he

showed me one time, just one player's scouting report for
one game. He had Aaron Glenn's homework assignment. Basically when
he was playing corner for the Jets. The Jets were
playing the Seahawks the following week and Joey Galloway was,
you know, the best wide receiver for the Seahawks at
that time. Aaron Glenn was the jets best cover corner.

And Bill Belichick showed me, like what Aaron Glenn had
to do to get ready for that game, not on
the field, on paper, and it was you have to
give me like a list of tendencies. When Joey Galloway
is at the line of scrimmage, if his left foot
is in front of his right foot, what are the tendencies?
What does he do percentage wise, if his hands are

relaxed at his side rather than clenched at a fist,
what does he do? Like those body language tells are
something that they had a study based on every four nation.
If they line up in three by one, if they
line up in two by two, if they line up
in you know, like whatever the personnel groups were, what
are the percentages that Joey Galloway is going So Like

Aaron Glenn would know that if Joey Galloway's left foot
was in front of his right foot, it was three
by one. He was the single receiver. He would run
like a post corner sixty percent of the time or something.
And he had to know that. He had to be
standing up on a scrimmage diagnosing all that. I know,
Wait a minute, they're in three by one, his hands
are in fists, his left foots in front of his right. Okay,

post corner, and now he's got a tendency in his head.
You have to have all so when these guys are
lining up to run a play, you have to realize
all of those thoughts are bouncing back and forth between
their ears. They're not just reading and reacting and playing
touch football. On the street and just go cover this
guy like they have done homework to prepare for and
you have to know that the guy has the mental

capacity to do all of that, retain that information, and
then take it to the field because the other ten
guys are counting on you knowing what you need to
know and doing what you need to do. And then
as a coach, you also have to understand that there's
a certain breaking point, Bob, where you can't give him
so much information that he can't play. You know, because
I remember I was very fortunate in my career. There

was a former coach named Rod Rust who coached in
the NFL for years and years as a defensive coordinator.
Some people view him as the pioneers of what's called
quarters coverage. His actual he actually was the head coach
in North Texas in the late sixties. He coached me
and Joe Green. Rod Woodson actually recognized him in his
Hall of Fame speech because he was the defensive coordinator

in Pittsburgh for a year. But Rod Rust, when he retired,
called me up here at films and he asked if
he could come watch tape with me. So for about
four or five years, every Monday. He would come and
sit with me in my office here at NFL Films
and we'd watch tape, and for me, that was an
unbelievable learning experience. But the point of my story is this,
he taught me some much about defense. But he said,

you know, when I was a young coach, he said,
I really tried to prove how much I knew. So
I tell my players, Hey, when they're in this formation,
we do this. When they're in this formation, we do this.
When they're in this formation, we do this. When they're
in this formation, we do this. And then I realized
over a period of time that the players couldn't play
because there was too much information being given to them,

that they had to think the game instead of playing
the game. So we said, finally, I came to realize
that we put in rules and we would say, when
they're in this particular formation, here's what we do. When
they're in every other formation, here are our rules, and
here's how we play. Because at some point, the players
cannot function, Bob, if you're asking them to think the

game as opposed to play the game. So I'm always
fascinated by just what you said, that sort of where's
that delineating balance between overloading a player mentally so that
he gets on the field, he's kind of stuck and
he gets frozen because he's thinking as opposed to plane.
Which position, especially in this draft, do you think the

teams are gonna be leaning on all of that the most?
Like the mental acuity because quarterbacks obvious, right. The quarterback
has to know all twenty one other players and what
they're doing, and he's he has to know what his
protection is, what all routes as guys are gonna run,
he's changing plays. But the quarterbacks aren't at the top
of this draft theoretically, maybe can you Pickett will be?

Who knows? But we've got corners, we've got a safety
and Kyle Hamilton's we've got tackles, we've got pass rushers.
In today's NFL, Which of those positions do you think
is the most mentally challenging to play? Well, I'll just
say one very quick thing about quarterback and then i'll
give you my answer to that. I think the term
that a lot of coaches us with quarterbacks is functional knowledge.

There's no way a quarterback can know what all eleven
defenders are doing on any given play. That's too much.
So based on the play call and the formation, he
has to be aware let's say four or five defenders,
because he can't know what all eleven are doing, So
the term that uses functional knowledge. But but from being
fortunate to be in meetings throughout my career, I would

say corner is a very interesting position in terms of
transitioning to the league because what you get in the
NFL is you get more formation looks, you get different
people in those formation looks, you get more multiple splits
by receivers. So you have to have an understanding in

zone coverage in particular. Obviously man. You know, everybody says
that's just cat coverage. You've got that cat but and
there's of course always technique involved in man, but in
zone coverage in the NFL, a corner has to learn
so much in transitioning from college football to the NFL.
Certainly the hash marks, the difference in hash marks make
a major difference, but just everything I spoke about with

the different splits and and the different receiver distributions and locations,
it's such a critical thing for corners to have a
feel for how do they play with their eyes? Are
they playing at landmarks. Are they reacting to routes. There's
so much that goes into corner play when you're a
zone coverage corner that a lot of people might not

be aware of. And you see the mistakes. You see
when you see receivers wide open in the prose, which
is not that often, but when you do versus zone,
it's often because there's so many gray areas in zone coverage,
with corners and safeties too as well, but there's so
many gray areas that it's sometimes it's just difficult. And

there are voids in every zone. Coaches know that, Bob,
and they're trying to make sure those voids don't become issues.
But there are voids in every zone. Otherwise everybody would
play the same zone. Yeah, no doubt. Hey, before we
wrap this up, I'll give you my biggest takeaway from
Mike town Obama. Then I want you to wrap the
episode with your biggest takeaway from Mike. My biggest takeaway,

and Mike was a good drafter. You know, Mike came
up as a financial guy. Like Mike was not raised
as a football player, he was not raised as a coach.
He was raised as like an intern who then became
the salary cap guy as the assistant general manager, and
just absorbed an enormous amount of football being around Bill
Parcels and Bill Belichick and Terry Bradway and whatnot. Um
but leaned on his football guys obviously to make football calls.

But of course, like the final call was his. You're
the general manager. You have to put your final stamp
of approval on all draft choices. And he was a
good drafter. And to me, the thing that and it
sounds like an oversimplification of the process, but to me,
what I took out of what he said, talent wins, right,
Like Laramie Tunsel has this wacky, you know, gas mask

wearing social media video. He's available at thirteen. He's a
great player. Take him. We believe in Darrell Reeva's trade up.
Take him. We believe in Xavier Howard trade up, take him.
We believe in David Harris, go get him. Like having
that conviction of trusting your board and your evaluation, even
if the rest of the league is saying that's not

where that player should be taken, even if the rest
of the league is saying that player may not be
worth that kind of compensation, have that conviction in what
you believe and go get your guy. And the best
players that I think the Jets took and the Dolphins
took when Mike Tannenbaum was the general manager of both
probably are guys that fit into that column. Right. Look

a guy that Terry Bradway is coming back from the
pit workout and saying, look, we we have to go
get to El Reeves. He's not gonna be there at one.
And there were some raised eyebrows when they traded up
and picked him where they picked him, And it turns
out they picked arguably the most complete corner in football
history at fourteen, right, I think is where they took him.
But to me, that was my takeaway, like, have that

conviction that your guy is your guy, and even if
what the rest of the league is saying about that
player through their actions tells you you may be making
a mistake, screw it. I believe in my evaluation. I'm
gonna go get my guy. My biggest takeaway was that
scheme adaptability, the story that Mike told about her Metords
and Rex Ryan. I think that when I watch tape

and and because I'm not working for a team on
my transition sheet, because I have an intervaluation sheet where
I go strengths, weaknesses, and transition. That's one of the
things I always type in about how I see a
player transitioning to the league because as we've spoken about,
there are very few scheme transcendent players. Uh, and players
for the most part have to fit into specific schemes.

And yeah, can coaches tweak their schemes, sure they can,
but for the most part, coaches have a certain philosophy.
That's the way they coach. Rex. Ryan is not you know,
if he got a chance to come back, he's not
all of a sudden going to be zone. That's not
the way he sees the game. So I thought the
scheme adaptability was such an important point and it's why
there's such a difference in the way organizations can evaluate

and transition players to the league. Yeah, that's great stuff,
and um, we're going to continue to bring guests like
Mike Tannenbaum on this podcast to do a deeper dive
into how others put their draft board together or you know,
how coaches obviously look at the draft as well. There's
a lot of different lenses to look at the draft
through and we'll continue to do a deep dive into
the different positions that we haven't gotten to, and we

will circle back as we get you all the way
up to Draft Day on the quarterbacks and the wide
receivers and the tight ends of the guys that we've
hit to this point. So hit us up on social media,
make sure to download and subscribe, and we're back next
week with b C head coach Jeff Hafley. Be very
interesting to get his take on everything that he sees
heading up towards the draft. Thanks for being a tapeed

and thanks for joining us on tape Eds Draft season.
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