Premier League NFL-Style Draft Primer: Skills Coaches Would Look for in Round 1

Sam Tighe@@stighefootballWorld Football Tactics Lead WriterApril 25, 2013

Premier League NFL-Style Draft Primer: Skills Coaches Would Look for in Round 1

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    With the NFL draft just around the corner, we continue to wonder how things would pan out should the English Premier League do something similar.

    Here, B/R previews the qualities a coach would look for in a first-round pick, detailing the likes of consistency, natural fitness and which positions would be targeted.

    Enjoy the slideshow, and be sure to add who you'd draft first overall, given the chance.


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    The first-round pick is worth an awful lot, and that brings great responsibility to the player who must put in consistently excellent performances.

    Your prime selection needs to put in an 8/10 performance week-in, week-out—it's no good selecting a player who only turns up to play every three games.

    Take Gareth Barry during his Aston Villa days as an example—he was a mainstay in many people's fantasy teams due to his consistent output and playmaker role on the team. He was, without doubt, their most valuable player for a good five seasons, and it's easy to see why.

    To build a team around a player, he has to be a go-to guy.


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    Your first pick is, for obvious reasons, your best shot at getting the best possible player available.

    The coach will want him on the pitch whenever fit, and fitness concerns have stunted the careers of many very promising individuals.

    High levels of durability will see your first-round pick shake off challenges, consistently put in the hard yards and average 35 games a season on a consistent basis.

    Frank Lampard has unbelievable natural fitness levels and, despite reaching the age of 34, still looks able to play on a weekly basis at the highest level. He's been doing it for years, so it's no surprise when he puts yet another 20-goal season under his belt from midfield.

    His physical durability is a coach's dream.


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    The last thing you need is for your No. 1 pick to cause untold amounts of trouble.

    Well-documented "character concerns" will have coaches and scouts doubting the value of a player who mouths off on the pitch, attracts trouble and serves a lot of suspensions.

    Your first choice in the draft is going to form a large part of the face of your organisation whether you like it or not, and a gracious media man whose reputation is solid becomes an attractive facet.

    Vincent Kompany, captain of Manchester City, is the perfect gentleman: humble in interviews, honest in his answers and generous in his praise to other sides.

    On the pitch he's an absolute demon, but never gets red cards for petulance. The perfect blend.

Top-of-the-Range Talent

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    OK, so your pick needs to be level-headed, gracious and a good symbol for your club, but let's not forget the most important part: He needs to be a pretty sensational player.

    As stated, this is your choice to draft the best possible player, and some small red flags with regard to professionalism can be disregarded if the upside is high enough.

    Who is the most talented player in the English Premier League? Yaya Toure, Gareth Bale, Sergio Aguero, Juan Mata, Robin van Persie, Wayne Rooney? Somebody else?

    Deciding between the top 10 or top 15 players is tough, but at the very least you're going to get a supremely talented one.


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    Further parameters make it easier: If you're drafting to restart your club and build around a central figure, that player needs to be around for a little while.

    Youth is a huge factor here, and that would likely rule someone such as Yaya Toure out of the running for the first five selections—he'll be 30 this time next year, and freak of nature he may be, a younger version would have a lot of ground on the Ivorian.

    Jack Wilshere, though, may look a very attractive choice for teams who are looking to build around a professional, workaholic young figure. Arsene Wenger is certainly looking to build around the young central midfielder, placing pieces around him to form a strong red nucleus.


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    Much like in the NFL, you're not going to spend your top pick on a peripheral position.

    While it's not as much of an issue when you consider the amount of players on the field, drafting a full-back first-overall would still be a little like taking a guard.

    Yes, Leighton Baines and Ashley Cole are excellent players, but when selecting your first player, you need to ensure you're filling a key position.

    That position varies from coach to coach, but it will generally revolve around the spine of a team—centre-back, central midfield or centre-forward.

    It's dealer's choice from there, but Vincent Kompany, Wayne Rooney and Jack Wilshere will be first-choice for some, while not fancied by others. Perhaps Rooney, who can play in midfield and up front, has an edge here?

    Take these factors in to consideration, and also view the draft as a long-term project that doesn't just count for one year: Who would you take first overall in the EPL draft?