Jerry Angelo: How you can run a draft with a board of 75 players

Maybe the NFL draft isn't as complicated as you might think. While it's hard finding the right players, it's not hard finding them on your draft board -- with former Chicago GM Jerry Angelo saying his board never ran longer than 75 players.


(Photos courtesy of the Chicago Bears)

Talk of Fame Network

If you listen to Jerry Angelo, former general manager of the Chicago Bears, you understand that you really don't understand the draft ... and here's why: Most fantasy-football players have draft boards that run longer than what he had with the Bears.

“At the end of the day,” Angelo said on the latest Talk of Fame Network broadcast, “when your board was prepared for Draft Day, (there were) probably 75 players that we felt comfortable drafting and wanted. Normally, that would get you through the whole draft.”

If that sounds low, get in line. That '70s Show is not about draft boards.

Except ... except, according to Angelo, it wasn’t close to what was going on in Washington under the direction of general manager Bobby Beathard. Known for finding great players in faraway places, Beathard was so successful with the draft that he built the Washington Redskins into a giant that went to four Super Bowls within a decade.

“I remember Bobby Beathard when he was in Washington,” Angelo said, “and they would have about a dozen players, and that was it. That sounded a little scary, but you have to understand you knew that these dozen players weren’t all going to go in the first and second rounds. These were players that they liked.

"Bobby was the best I’d ever seen at targeting players, really paring his list down, didn’t over complicate things, didn’t get swallowed up in numbers and drowning in information like a lot of us would do from time to time.

“I remember (former Dallas and Miami coach) Jimmy Johnson making a statement when he was in Dallas. He said that he would have a list … not a big list … of players that he had targeted, and he knew probably within the first four or five rounds where they could get those players.

“So I think it’s a misnomer when you think it’s a big list. You try to pare it down. Seventy-five was the number we always worked off of, and we never had problems getting through the draft (because) we were running out of players.”

And the draft board? Where some persons think it's made at the annual NFL scouting combine, Angelo said his was not. In fact, he said that “70 percent of what the board would look like” was built prior to the combine, with “major tweaking” done in the two months that followed.

“I watched them all,” he said of players on his board. “I wouldn’t put anyone on the board that we were going to be in a position to draft unless I did the tape work. And when I said I did the tape work, I wrote a report on them.

“My report went in just like the scouts because I wanted to be held accountable. I didn’t want to have an opinion without adding my name on a report. So I spent a lot of time doing that. You can make a lot of excuses whey you can’t do it, but, at the end of the day, that’s what they are … excuses. The best way to cross-check your scouts and coaches is to do the tape work yourself. Obviously it creates the accountability you need to have to run a business."