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New Yorker article: "Most Likely To Succeed" - About evaluating talent, and includes an NFL scout's thought process

Before anyone gets too excited, keep in mind that only half of the article talks football. On top of that, it's from 2008, and the football parts talk about scouting a QB that we now know couldn't make the Redskin's roster, is 3rd on New Orlean's depth chart, and has made a total of 14 completions in his entire NFL career. That said, this columns is still an excellent read (HT to CNNSI's Andy Staples for linking it). The piece describes the problems faced in evaluating current talent and predicting future performance of prospects in football (concentrating on New Orleans backup Chase Daniel when he was in college), education (yes, teachers), and financial management. And while the football parts are not particularly revealing - it's not like the NFL scout reveals any trade secrets - it's still an illustrating and fascinating look at what goes through one scout's mind. And while the sections discussing how to evaluate teacher performance is off topic to football, it too is fascinating. It's worth a read, even if just to remind us of the dangers of overvaluing a college prospect during draft time. The scout quoted in the article was VERY high on Chase Daniels. And we can see in retrospect how that's translated to the NFL. Yet, even that scout was aware of the pitfalls of translating college achievements to pro performance, even going so far as to cite Joey Harrington as an illustration. It's amazing to think about how much effort goes into prospect evaluation in any professional field, yet at the same time how so many performance characteristics have yet to have reasonable metrics identified for them. It's why talent evaluation - college scouting, in the context of the NFL - is still as much art as it is science. The article is worth a read.

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