Besides the obvious fact that certain players fit NFL systems better or worse than college systems, I wonder how similar the approach is between the top level NFL execs and college coaches in regards to talent evaluation. A lot has been said about the NFL's love of the combine numbers and how many great players have fallen in the draft because measurables have been weighted heavier than film in recent years. I am wondering if the same issue pops up in college recruiting, especially in the ranking systems. Big and fast must equal good. I read something yesterday (I don't remember exact details, but I think it was about Jake Ryan) along the lines of 'he had a lot of tackles but he only runs in the 4.6 range (very loose paraphrase). How different are the two talent evaluation systems, and which do you think works better?
Recruiting vs. Drafting
One difference may be that the college recruiters look at a kid who is 17-18 years old and see what he could turn into in a few years. A 17-18 year old is not fully physically mature (in most cases) and a coach must be able to project the finished product.
NFL talent evaluators see the finished product at the combine. A 22-23 year old is usually close to their physical peak. Their "measurables" most likely will not improve drastically once they enter the NFL. The improvement at the next level comes mostly from the mental aspect of the game. That is why the combine numbers are so important to NFL talent evaluators.
In college you recruit kids that you can "mold" into your system.
In the NFL you draft men that "fit" into your system.
College coaches can't rely on forty times. For one thing, the ways in which they're timed are completely haphazard.
Also, anyone who thinks a 4.6 time for a 6'3", 225 lb. LB/DE doesn't know what they're talking about in the first place.