As another offseason begins, players must seize the opportunity to become great

Here we are at the NFL Draft and at the end of spring practice for college football. This may be a down time for the fans but not for the players. This is the time of year when several young men will reach a long awaited goal, the NFL, or, for many others, it is the beginning of a long grind as summer workouts and fall camp will determine which players will be on the stage affording them the opportunity to an open door at next year’s draft.

We project which players will contribute the most to an NFL Team next year. We speculate on what college teams will be the best next fall. We analyze who are the best coaches. We discuss who the best athletes are.

Who are the best athletes? What does that mean? Phil Mickelson plays on the PGA Tour. Some may wonder if he is a great athlete. Doubters need to be reminded that he has unbelievable hand-eye coordination. He has endurance; he is mentally disciplined; his hands are strong and quick. There are very few who could beat him in a game of ping pong. Sugar Ray Leonard was a great boxer. How would you grade him as an athlete? Great feet, quick, powerful hands, along with mental focus made him one of the best of all time. Johnny Unitas is considered one of the best quarterbacks ever. What stands out with him, great passer, leader, or desire to win? I think it was his courage. If you watched him play, you would note he was slow running around in those high-top shoes, but to see him stand in the pocket even though being hit and would deliver the ball on target 20 yards down field. Then you would wonder if he would get up after the crushing tackle. On the next play, he would calmly throw the football 30 yards down the field on target while being hit again with a crushing tackle (in those days there were not many rules to protect the QB).

Ted Williams and Michael Jordon with amazing eye sight could see what others could not see. Tony Gonzalez (TE – Falcons) knows how to put his body between the defender and the QB and can catch almost every pass thrown to him. Then there is Big Ben Roethlisberger who can run and throw and evade tacklers even though he is not quick or fast but he is strong and has tremendous balance.Quick release, vision, fast, quick, balance, strength, arm strength, hand-eye coordination, mental toughness, right attitude, work ethic, team player, ability to focus and willingness to learn are some of the characteristics that make up the “it factor” that will determine the NFL Draft and college football championships next year.

Enjoy the draft. Second guess if you desire. But know that NFL Team scouts have been looking at all these factors for a long time. Be excited as you look forward to next season. You can be excited about your team…every 2013 team is undefeated so far.

Just for your information, John Elway was sacked 516 in his NFL career and Frank Filchock holds the record for the longest pass completion in the NFL, a 99 yard pass completion in 1939.

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