Needed in discussion of NFL draft picks: how well they make “sociological adjustments”?

A columnist suggests a new piece to consider when projecting the career of someone selected in the NFL draft:

Nobody knows how these players will pan out because there are too many variables: Injuries, character, sociological adjustments, growth mentally and physically, determination, etc.

The talk leading up to and during the NFL draft is fairly consistent. There are several things to hash over for weeks: physical measureables (which consists of fawning over those with higher ratings with a few suggestions that these may not matter that much), productivity in college (always fun to compare relative successes across games, conferences, and years), and what need a draftee can fill for a NFL team.

But how might the analysts incorporate the “sociological adjustments” a player needs to make? Perhaps we need something far beyond the Wonderlic test which supposedly measures something; we need some measure of how players adapt to new cities, teammates, coaches, locker rooms, and the better gameplay on the NFL field. There could be several ways to do this: have NFL teams hire sociologists who can assess the social skills and adaptability of players. There could be a sort of Survivor type competition for potential draftees before the draft that would allow observers to see how they adjust to changing situations, their social abilities, and how they can perform in mental competition. Don’t you think the NFL Network would love to have some reality TV involving known players?

My guess is that we are a long way from such scenarios yet some of this surfaces when teams and analysts talk about “character.” What they really mean is something more like whether the player can stop himself from getting into trouble long enough to focus solely on football. Wouldn’t teams like to unlock some sort of formula or predictive ability that would help them know which players can avoid these situations better than others? Or perhaps they would want to quantify or measure the idea of “glue guys” or “positive locker room guys” that would help their teams win?

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