- Gregory Payan/AP
With the NFL Draft less than two days away, teams are finishing up their homework on prospects.
Teams put an excruciating amount of work into draft preparation, looking for any weakness or flaw, physically or mentally, that could raise some red flags. They want to nail their pick.
This intense study is perhaps best encapsulated in a roundup of scouts’ thoughts on some top NFL draft prospects by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Bob McGinn. In particular, one note from a scout on Ohio State cornerback Eli Apple shows how serious teams take off-field issues and, perhaps, how much they over-think it:
“I worry about him because of off-the-field issues. The kid has no life skills. At all. Can’t cook. Just a baby. He’s not first round for me. He scares me to death.”
Again, there’s risk in drafting a 20-year-old like Apple, and it makes sense to worry about how a player will handle the NFL lifestyle.
Yet if Apple’s biggest off-field concerns are his ability to cook, surely he’ll find ways to manage that issue. If he brings what a team is looking for on the field, his ability to take care of himself off of it can be dealt with later on.
It’s not the first example of Apple being on the receiving end of the NFL’s intense prospect analysis. Apple revealed that an Atlanta Falcons coach asked him if he liked men during the combine. The Falcons quickly apologized for the line of questioning, admitting it was inappropriate.
Apple is projected to be a top-20 pick, and we’ll see on Thursday if his life skills prevent a team from taking him in the first round.