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The Draft How do you evaluate talent?

Every year the Super Bowl is played to determine the NFL champion, and for these two teams and their fan bases, it's the biggest day of the year. As for the other 30 teams, the biggest day of their year comes some three months later, at the NFL Draft. The event has continuously gained popularity throughout the years and for good reason. While there are hundreds of factors that go into running a successful franchise, there is one element that few analysts will dispute. The good teams draft well.


While this hiring practice is unique to professional sports, the criteria by which teams evaluate talent can be applied to almost any organization looking to grow their talent base. The list of qualified prospects varies but can be a limited one, which is why the organizations that are the best at identifying potential and maximizing output are regular participants in the postseason.

Position Need: Whether it is for a vacancy or need of an upgrade, the most common reason for hiring or drafting a prospect is position need. When an organization is in a specific need of personnel, the responsibilities of the role are easily defined, and multiple candidates can be compared on their individual ability to execute them. Unfortunately, the strengths of talent pools fluctuate so if you are in need of a Senior Executive at a time when the market senior level talent is low, you may be stuck with a difficult decision. Either wait, reach or broaden your search for the best overall value.

Value: A CBSNews survey recently found that 32% of college graduates never worked in a field related to their college major. Either the economy is in serious trouble or perhaps there is more value to someone than the title placed on them following graduation or previous employment. The fact is very few people are exceptionally talented at one thing, and the majority of people are capable of being very good at a number of things. An exceptional problem solver is more likely to excel at new challenges by nature of their problem solving ability, rather than their knowledge of the challenge. When a perfect fit seems nowhere to be found, evaluate talent on value as a whole, rather than a position specific skillset. (Or in the Patriots case, as a trade asset.)

Versatility: Potential value can be a difficult thing to evaluate with unique work cultures and unpredictable futures, which is why some have found more success selecting and managing versatile talent. Drafting a prospect with a high ceiling but bust potential, versus an average player able to play two or three positions is an easy decision for a coach or management not willing to take unnecessary risk. Roles change, injuries happen and someone able to wear multiple hats is valuable to a team. Chances are they will benefit multiple areas of the organization, and eventually find their niche.

Sleeper: Okay, so it's the 7th round of the draft or you're company has filled all essential roles and still has room to grow. Any selection is a toss-up at this point. These are the low risk, high reward; hope for a jack pot, and maybe they'll make a movie about it one day type decisions. Key word is low risk. The long shots get a short leash but also a chip on their shoulder. Given the right guidance they may just make you look like a genius one day.

However you fair in your talent acquisition, it is important to remember that the overall success of the individuals will be determined by their ability to operate within the 'team' which 'drafts' them. Ask Russell Wilson, who was drafted in the third round of the NFL draft, had an average Quarterback Rating, and just won the Super Bowl.

NFL Draft AKC Marketing Sleepers! Sports talent

At AKC Marketing we honestly assess the perception of your company. We push to market you above your competition. We do this by igniting your inner brand - focusing on what your true value to the marketplace is. To make it impossible to be ignored in your industry.
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