For many, the NFL Draft is merely three days in April. Others know just what goes on behind the scenes during the pre-draft process.
Do NFL teams treat the draft like CIA and KGB treated the cold war?
Just how much do NFL teams spend on their "research and development" wing—also known as the scouting department?
How do teams make a momentous draft-day deal in only 10 minutes? Are NFL players done with tests once they graduate college?
Read on and find out five things that many NFL fans would never believe about NFL Draft process.
The events shown on television from the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine are very important. However, behind closed doors, prospects are being moved down or removed from draft boards for nothing to do with their 40-yard dash.
Combine physicals—part of the nearly 24 hour a day schedule prospects go through—help teams decide whether or not to invest in a prospect. For example, the Colts took Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski off their board completely, while the Patriots assured themselves of his health.
In some instances, the physicals can help players out as well.
Mike Loyko from NEPatriotsDraft.com relates an important issue that can happen in Indianapolis.
Each player is given a thorough medical and psychological evaluation at the combine. Every year an injury or medical condition that wasn’t known about previously pops up. Whether it be one like the stress fractures in Michael Crabtree’s foot in 2009 or the life saving discovery of the cancerous mass in Marcus Cannon’s stomach.
This is especially important for players like Jared Crick and Greg Childs who missed most of the season due to injury, to see how they have healed and if they are recovered from their injuries. Rest assured that something will pop up this year that will cause a shake up to the draft board.
For as many prospects that are helped like Cannon, there will always be a guy like Da'Quan Bowers, who fell from the top five to the second round of the 2012 NFL Draft following a questionable physical.
During the last fiscal year, Google spent 14 percent of their revenue on research and development, according to ZDnet.com.
In contrast, according to the National Football Post, NFL teams spend no more than three percent of their revenue on the NFL's form of research and development—the scouting department.
Jack Bechta railed on NFL teams devoting only $2-3 million dollars on scouting.
It amazes me that NFL teams don’t spend more money doing more diligence on college and pro players. I know you hear all the stories about scouts being thorough and checking on guys’ social activity all the way back to high school, but the reality is that many bad seeds still slip through the screening cracks along with a lot of bad draft picks that cost teams money and opportunity.
The first team that decides to really devote some money to their scouting department is going to have a real competitive advantage.
Although most scouts make around $100k per year, some scouts are offered near minimum-wage jobs. You might be able to lure some of the best ones away with a big payday.
Between NFL teams distributing misinformation and player agents pumping their players up, the amount of propaganda out there around this time of year borders on the insane.
Even worse than the propaganda is the sheer amount of gamesmanship that goes on between NFL teams.
This story from the Denver Post shows just how crazy some NFL teams are in trying to gain a competitive edge.
In 1996, when the Arizona Cardinals had the third pick, one notch up from the Ravens. Newsome was more than content to stay put, but Arizona owner Bill Bidwill was trying to get him to trade places in ex change for an extra pick.
"You know right before it's your turn to pick, when you write the name down?" Newsome said. "Mr. Bidwill told his guy to write Lawrence Phillips' name down on the card. They thought we wanted him. Then, as he was writing the name down, he showed it to one of our guys. I'm like, "Yeah, right, we're not taking him.' Then, when they saw we weren't going for it, they changed it to Simeon Rice. Hey, I don't blame anyone for trying."
I can only imagine what sort of trickery is employed 16 years later in 2012.
All draft-day trades are not created equal.
While some panic-driven trades come together over war-room phones in mere minutes, many more are hand crafted during the long two-and-a-half month layoff after the NFL season concludes and the NFL Draft begins.
The trade that brought Julio Jones to the Atlanta Falcons certainly didn't come together in 10 minutes, let alone overnight.
According to Michael Holley's "War Room", Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff and Browns GM Tom Heckert talked for six weeks prior to the draft, finally agreeing on compensation for the deal.
Dimitroff even had enough time to consult friends and mentors Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick. Pioli told him to do it, but Belichick advised against it.
After one season with Jones, the jury is still out.
Star college football players, often shielded from brutal questioning in and out of the classroom, are subjected to some of the most rigorous tests in their lives while attending the NFL combine.
The Wonderlic Test, 50 questions designed to "assess the aptitude of prospective employees for learning and problem solving in a range of occupations," is well-known among NFL fans.
What many don't see is the battery of questions that go on in the private interviews between NFL teams and draft prospects.
The Giants, for example, have a 400-question personality test. Perhaps it helps coach Tom Coughlin know if they will be able to show up five minutes early for everything.
Other team leaders, such as the Dolphins Jeff Ireland, ask some very odd questions.
"My job is to find out as much information as possible about a player that I'm considering drafting. Sometimes that leads to asking in-depth questions," Ireland told reporters after asking Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant whether his mother "was a prostitute."
While most teams have a little more respect that Ireland showed, I'm sure there are a lot of odd questions that get asked during the combine, trying to throw prospects off their well-rehearsed script.