First of all, as a Seahawks fan, I live at Seahawksdraftblog.com. If you feel likewise about the Seahawks, I recommend you visit there as well. But, to a rant, granted, I'm taking a lot of this from something I wrote a while ago, but I think it still serves its point.
The more I read about the draft or peoples views on football in general, the more I realize that the vast majority of football fans, don't actually understand the game that they love so dearly. Do I look down upon them for this? Only if they propogate these ideas as the truth, rather than a fairly uneducated opinion. I am by no means a football expert, so hopefully you don't dub my opinion as arrogance, when its merely a call to not be ignorant.
Just like in baseball, there has been a flailing attempt at a statistical revolution in football. These statisticians use their "advanced metrics" to compare players across decades as well as current players, eschewing the changes in the game and its philosophy in the sake of "comparison". These analysts, I believe, use numbers in place of football understanding. I am not saying that fans should know the wide varieties of play calls coverages and scheme, but they should understand, if nothing else, technique.
Technique, in order to understand technique, you must first understand correct technique and the fact that certain physical attributes enable better technique than others. You want a stout center with quick hands and tremendous natural strength. You want a defensive end with strong hands. You want a tackle with long arms, thin ankles, big hands and a fat ass. Why? Because he needs to be light on his feet, good balance, have long arms to hold at bay pass rushers and strong hands to control their opponent in run blocking.
40 times are irrelevant. Acceleration is far more important. How often during the course of the game does a player run forty yards unimpeded in a straight line?
If your watching game tape on a potential prospect, ask yourself questions, "How well does the tackle move his feet?" "How often does a defensive linemen drop his arms?" On the flip side, "How well does he use his hands?" "What angles does a linebacker take to the ball? "How is his gap containment?"
Look at a quarterback, look at his release, how does it vary depending on the throw. Watch his feet. Where does he release the ball? How tight is the throwing motion?
It is one thing to know that something happened, it is an entirely different thing to know why it happened? Why are most of Drew Brees interceptions off deflections? Why is Marshawn Lynch such a stud? What makes James Harrison such a great pass rusher? (great balance, acceleration and hand technique) Why does Matt Hasslebeck struggle throwing the deep ball(It goes beyond arm strength). Figure out the answer to these questions, and talent assessment is much easier.
If you don't honestly care about why Tavaris Jackson sails seam routes, I don't blame you. But whatever your passion may be, look closer.