Draft season is here, with the first stage of the process complete now that the college football regular season is over and the first 20 picks of the NFL draft set. But let's not forget this is a long, arduous process, and it's just getting started.
The process of evaluating players for the NFL draft begins immediately after the last draft ends. For the 2015 class, I started in mid-May 2014 working on the top returning players. The general idea is to focus on the top seniors, but players like Marcus Mariota (QB, Oregon) and Jameis Winston (QB, FSU) meant also looking at the top underclassmen quarterbacks.
From mid-May until the games begin in late August, my work focuses purely on those seniors and top-level underclassmen. The process evolves once the college season begins, with more work being done on a team level as the search for NFL-caliber talent becomes more widespread. My goal in-season is to see each team three times and then highlight individually talented players on those teams three times by looking at their individual game film.
Now, once the season ends, is when the job gets crazy. With underclassmen flooding the draft class, that means going back to review those sophomores and juniors who weren't expected to declare in-season and getting a look at their skill set. And that's where I'm at now—trying to finish evaluations of the top seniors while adding in the declaring underclassmen.