NFL YouTube Audition: Clever Ploy or Wave of the Future?

Brian DiTullioSenior Writer IMay 10, 2010

Yahoo! Sports recently did a post about undrafted free agent Joel Reinders, who signed with the Cleveland Browns after one of the scouts reportedly saw his YouTube audition.


You can see the video here .


The video is very entertaining, and to be fair, Reinders is a big guy who obviously can manhandle defensive lineman.


But, to be completely fair, this tape is a highlight film of Reinders “greatest hits” against low-level collegiate talent, and obviously doesn’t show the times he may have missed his assignment, jumped offsides, or made some other kind of mistake.


However, the fact of the matter is Reinders now has an opportunity with the Cleveland Browns, and it’s mainly because Reinders, or his agent, was savvy enough to put together something easily accessible on the Internet.


So this begs the question, are YouTube videos the wave of the future for lesser known draft picks?


Conversely, it’s worth asking, are the Cleveland Browns so desperate for talent they’ve resorted to YouTube scouting?


Reinders is an imposing physical specimen, standing 6’7”, and weighing in at 320 pounds. He’s tall and lean, and was able to throw lineman around at the collegiate level.


Reinders played only eight games of collegiate football, having been a basketball player previously. That kind of transition usually is reserved for tight ends, but Reinders chose to stay on the line.


As an undrafted free agent, Reinders chance of making the team are slim, but he need look no further than Joshua Cribbs for inspiration. Cribbs joined the Browns in 2007 as an undrafted free agent and has become nothing less than one of the best players in the history of the franchise.


If Reinders makes the team, expect an onslaught of YouTube audition videos just prior to next year’s 2011 NFL Draft. If it worked for one guy, the rest of the hopefuls (rightfully) will figure they’ve got nothing to lose.

Reinders will have to learn a lot in a very short amount of time, and will discover NFL lineman are more difficult to throw around than the guys he faced up in Canada.

While making the roster this year is a longshot, there's a good chance that if Reinders shows he has talent and can be taught, he'll be assigned to the practice squad.

You have to start somewhere, and YouTube may be the new starting point for those not on Mel Kiper's Big Board on draft day.


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