What if fans made the NFL draft picks?

The day might come when you and I make our teams’ draft picks. The popularity of fantasy football, and the opportunity some fans are getting to call plays mid-game on their smart phones, point in that direction. So when the day comes, what’s our draft strategy? Best available athlete? Draft a specialist to fit our most pressing need? Does talent trump character? Or vice versa?

Anyone who runs a business asks versions of these questions whenever we hire or form work groups. We don’t get paid the same as NFL executives. But then our successes and failures don’t appear in the news daily either.

In any case, here’s a good timeless article that shows what I mean about a business owner’s draft mentality, drawn from the Patriot’s sustained success and excerpted as follows:

Round 1: Don’t just collect talent, build a team.

Bill Belichick is always pragmatic. While others worry about public perception and filling stadium seats, his roster maneuvering and complex game planning are driven by a simple goal: to build a winning team.

Round 2: Hire people with a passion for your profession.

They work harder and longer at their craft. If a player doesn’t love and live football, the Patriots will not draft him.

Round 3: Be fearless when hiring talent.

Don’t be afraid to hire talent better than you. They will raise your game and elevate your team. Coaches and general managers who fear losing their jobs eventually panic. They settle for quick fixes based on positional needs over best available talent.

Round 4: Intelligence matters.

Bill Belichick won’t suffer fools gladly, and neither should you. The Patriots prize intelligence as much as athleticism in their players. Doing so enables the coaching staff to play chess while less intelligent teams play checkers.

Round 5: Value depth and flexibility.

The Patriots have a “Next Man Up” mentality and thrive on positional depth and scheme versatility. Knowing the NFL is a game of attrition, they prefer the value of four good players per position versus the expense and risk of a single great one.

Round 6: Leadership skills are essential.

The Patriots prioritize drafting college team captains and other self-motivated locker room leaders. No team has proven more resilient in staging improbable comebacks and overcoming adversity.

Round 7: Every hire is relevant.

The last college player selected in every NFL draft since its birth in 1936 is given the moniker Mr. Irrelevant. Regardless of whether the player is a top draft pick or an undrafted free agent, he’s selected for the team if he outperforms a player on the current roster. Pedigree, reputation and history are all secondary to current performance and potential.

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