The reason I titled this benchmarks and evaluations is because all of us amateurs sit and talk about recruits like we know what we are talking about with out any sort of benchmark. Fact is, many times we have no clue how these recruits are going to turn out, but it is sure fun to talk about. We are all excited about the Rahmel Dockery signing, as we should be. The question is, what makes a person a professional scout or even an evaluator of talent. How many people have whiffed on NFL draft picks? Even Mayock and Kiper are wrong a lot of the times. (Mayock is the man when it comes to research) I don't think anyone really knows how someone really measures talent, because some are just a natural at finding talent. There are people out there evaluating talent that haven't even played the game. Heck Todd Haley, the Chief's head coach did not even play high school football. So how should a amateur go about evaluating talent? A good start would be to find a benchmark. Who is similar in size and weight to Dockery and has had success? Dockery has been listed any where from 5' 9-1/2" to 5' 11" and from 163 pounds to a 175 pounds. He also runs a 4.40 40. The one player I could find similar in size and is (obviously) successful is DeSean Jackson. Per NFL.com he is 5'10" and 175 pounds. Scout.com listed Jackson at 4.40 in the 40.
Here are also a few things to take into account when doing you own evaluation.
1. Speed: A good 40 time doesn't always translate into game speed. Pads and helmets can really affect a players ability. Game speed is many times what is important, so a lot of college coaches watch game tape and listen to what others are saying. Coaches have people keeping their eye out for talent all over the country. Why do you think we are getting players from Florida? Mark Rypien and Devard Darling have connections there. The 40 does help to measure break away speed.
2. Quickness: This is an area that is hard to measure. Many try and test it with the cone drill, 20 yard shuttle and 60 yard shuttle. Again these are drills done without pads and a 220 pound safety running full speed at you and you have to react. Many times it is an eye test. In videos you can sometimes see a players quickness if a players speed slows down when he makes a cut. Another thing to look at is does he explode out of a cut? How quickly can he start and stop? Many great players do this seamlessly. Bishop Sankey got good reviews about his quickness out of the cut.
3. Field awareness/instincts: Some players just do not have the knack. It is like sense of direction. Some people have it, so people do not and most of the time it can not be taught. I have friends who will admit that they just do not get it when it comes to directions. I have a friend who had to quit being a police officer, because his sense of direction in the city was bad. He is a really smart guy, just not good with directions. He dominated his physical and mental tests. Wulff has talked about how Tana Pritchard gets it. That is why many think he will turn into a heck of a player where ever he plays. I don't think the Wonderlic test really helps in this area.
4. Level of competition: Who is the recruit playing? Is he playing against other college level players? Dockery stepped up his game when he went against Kasen Williams.
The list could go on about evaluating talent, any where from hands to power to family trees. I am just touching a few areas when it comes to looking at Dockery and Jackson. When you watch the two videos, do your own compare and contrast.
DeSean Jackson, Long Beach Poly High School 2004 Highlights
-60 passes for 1,075 yards for Long Beach Poly's CIF Southern Section championship team ... scored 15 touchdowns, eight which measured at least 60 yards or more, including two on punt returns
Rahmel Dockery, Curtis High School Highlights 2009
-He racked up more than 2,600 all-purpose yards in '10, with 73 catches for 1,443 yards and 17 touchdowns as well as 713 rushing yards (14.6 ypc)
There are a couple passes that Dockery goes up high to get that remind me of Jackson. Also, look at how Rahmel just pulls away once he gets past a defender (even when a player has an angle on him). I am not saying Dockery is DeSean Jackson, but he is a benchmark for Dockery's size, speed and position. Do your own evaluating. So, far he looks like he could be exciting. Here are few more videos to watch below, after watching these two.
2010 WSU Scout Team POY - Blair Bomber
Henry Eaddy 2011 recruit