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Coffee & Cigarettes: Educational links for Thursday

Andy Lyons

While I'm away from the blog for a couple of weeks, I've set up some posts that point you in the direction of some interesting or educational links about football. Today's expert analysis comes from Matt Waldman, creator of the Rookie Scouting Porfolio and writer at

Player-Coach: Questioning Process vs. Questioning Authority | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
It’s not often discussed, but the quality of coaching and leadership adds another layer of complexity to evaluating prospects.

Embracing The Craft of Player Evaluation | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
Player evaluation is an imperfect endeavor. Understanding one’s limitations is a huge step towards getting better at it.

Sr. Bowl WR Technique Roundtable | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
Five Senior Bowl wide receivers talked with Matt Waldman and provided helpful tips behind the techniques of playing their position.

“One Good Year” And Other Asinine Thoughts on QB Evaluation | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
One good year. It’s a cautionary refrain from the chorus of skeptics not sold on Central Florida junior Blake Bortles as a top-flight quarterback prospect (see my evaluation of Bortles vs. South Carolina). In the wee hours of the morning in a video-lit room evaluating quarterbacks, this three-word phrase will strike the fear in the hearts of most veteran scouts.

“The Degradation of a Young Stud – Part I” Starring Robert Griffin | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
Sounds like an adult film, right? It is and it isn't. What I witnessed from Washington's passing offense against Denver this weekend was so nasty it will compel viewers take a long shower afterwards. Equally disturbing is that this film possesses a lot of elements of an exploitation flick. I had a difficult time watching an…

On Scouting Wide Receivers | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
I believe analytics have value, but the grading of wide receivers based heavily on speed, vertical skill, and production is an ambitious, but misguided idea. Further the application is the torturing of data to fit it into a preconceived idea and making it sound objective and scientific due to the use of quantitative data. Unless…

Eddie Lacy and Why I Prefer Talent Over Situation | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
Eddie Lacy was my top back in the 2013 class before the NFL Draft. After the draft, I dropped him to fourth in behind Giovani Bernard, Le'Veon Bell, and Marcus Lattimore. Why? The three factors that we learned that caused NFL teams to drop him on their draft boards: Lacy was so out of shape…

Walk on The Wildside: Hernandez, Deen, Paulette, and Orcas | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
Author's Note: This is not safe for work. I'm not a preacher, a politician, or an executive. I don't say all the right things. It definitely applies here. Let's start with Aaron Hernandez's arrest on first-degree murder chargers? Do you really need to read a Hallmark card from a people-pleasing columnist who dresses in a…

No-Huddle Series: WR/KR Bruce Ellington | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
Bruce Ellington is like a Swiss Army knife equipped with a butane lighter that doubles as a jet pack. A couple weeks ago, I was a guest on Elise Woodward's show on 950 KJR Seattle talking Seattle wide receivers and the NFL Draft. Woodward asked me which receivers I think the Seahawks might take in…

Scouting QBs: Separating the Dark From the Dark | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
After spending an insane amount of time during the last decade studying players, talking with scouts, and paying attention to history, I have learned three things about evaluating football talent: Scouting and quarterbacking are about detail and nuance. Experience matters, but not like you think. Quarterback remains the untamed wilderness of football evaluation. These are…

Six Plays That Make Me A Fan Of WR Odell Beckham’s Game | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
Some schools are known for producing good athletes whose games don't translate to the NFL. LSU's Beckham doesn't fit that pattern. Craig "Buster" Davis. Devery Henderson. Early Doucet. Brandon LaFell. Terrence Tolliver. These five receivers were good college players at LSU who failed to develop into productive starters that an NFL team feels it's "set"…

Boiler Room: Arizona State RB Marion Grice | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
One of my favorite players in this draft thus far is this 6-0, 204-lb. Sun Devils running back with the vision, balance, and grit to get the most from every play.

Aspire For The Catch, Settle For The Trap | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
Marqise Lee, Gator Hoskins, and, provide good examples why extending the arms to catch the ball is important.

Boiler Room: Penn State WR Allen Robinson | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
Most believe Allen Robinson is a good prospect, so why show a positive play in the Boiler Room?

Isaiah Crowell | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
Based on talent only, Alabama State’s Isaiah Crowell is the best RB in this 2014 draft class. Talent isn’t everything.

No Huddle Series: Missouri WR L’Damien Washington | The Rookie Scouting Portfolio
The 2014 installment of this series begins with a rough around the edges receiver with the physical talents of A.J. Green and Justin Hunter.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Futures: Wake Forest WR Michael Campanaro
The depth of the wide receiver class is one of the headlines of the 2014 NFL Draft. The subtext of this storyline that deserves more attention is how the volume of talent at the position generates a massive variation of player grades from team to team across the league.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Futures: BYU OLB Kyle Van Noy
When my friend Ryan Riddle, Cal's all-time sack leader, says outside linebacker Kyle Van Noy has great instincts, that’s a player I want to watch.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Futures: The 2014 Speed Score Leaders
Indulge me in a bit of fantasy. Imagine an old football field. It’s a practice field at the rear of an abandoned high school with woods surrounding it on three sides. Behind the north goal post is an equipment building no bigger than a backyard storage shed with a green tin roof, white cinderblock, and a steel blue door held three-quarters shut with a rusted chain and pad lock.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Futures: Louisville S Calvin Pryor
One of my favorite football players of the past 15 years began his college career as a corner, but finished it playing both safety positions and earned a first-team All-America selection. The 39th overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft, he started all 16 games a rookie. Although he lost the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award to teammate Brian Urlacher, the linebacker often said that it was Mike Brown who was the true leader of the Bears’ vaunted defense.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Futures: WR Brandin Cooks vs. CB Ifo Ekpre-Olumu
On most Saturdays where he treads his feet, Oregon State junior Brandin Cooks is the most dangerous athlete on any college football field. The 2013 Biletnikoff Award winner has earned comparisons to a slightly bigger, slightly slower, Tavon Austin. His playmaking ability even has some comparing Cooks to Steve Smith.

FOOTBALL OUTSIDERS: Innovative Statistics, Intelligent Analysis | Futures: Florida State DB Lamarcus Joyner
In 1998, Peter King penned a feature for Sports Illustrated where he crowned the position of NFL quarterback as “The Toughest Job In Sports”. King delivered a convincing assessment that served as the media’s coronation of the quarterback as sports royalty. Anyone who watched pro football between 1960 and 1999 will have little argument that King was right. But times have changed.