Obviously the talent has to be there, but for me it’s a blend of talent, fit, and motivation.
I’ve seen plenty of guys with talent that couldn’t find one of the other two things and failed. Conversely, I’ve seen guys who played beyond their bodies, but couldn’t rise to be an impact for lack of talent.
Fit is dependent on the organization having a plan that suits the talent, not driving square pegs into round holes. We’ve all seen guys who either got ruined or had to resurrect themselves later on by getting drafted to a team that was wrong across the board.
Motivation is probably the most important factor once you’ve cleared the first two hurdles. What makes a twenty something year old, filled with testosterone, cut their good time short because they WANT to be up at 5am, because they WANT to train to kick everyone’s rear end all through the fall? Motivation is different for everyone, but these are the guys you need to lead.
These three things are a trinity blend. Fit and Motivation, if you draft a prima donna, is your organization geared towards encouraging their Motivation? If you are scouting a player with talent and motivation, but isn’t the right fit, will the organization be smart enough to pass, or will they lie to themselves and plunge forward anyway?
Everyone wants Jerry Rice, Tom Brady, Darrell Green, Rod Woodson, John Randle. Anthony Munoz, etc, but what makes those guys? What gave them such ultra competitive longevity? I think that’s really what you want, you want those guys that really love the game and want to be wearing the ring and the gold jacket. They say its hard to get to know these guys with the way their agents coach them how to act and what to say. I think its not so hard to read the pretenders from the contenders if you know anything about cold reading.
That’s my answer though, mainly I’m looking for Motivation wrapped in that blended trinity that provides the greatest odds for success.