'Smart' NFL Scouts Struck Out with Redskins RB Alfred Morris

'Smart' NFL Scouts Struck Out with Redskins RB Alfred Morris

Howard Schnellenberger, who built the University of Miami football program and put it on the map, coached Redskins rookie running back Alfred Morris in college at Florida Atlantic University and compared him to Jim Brown. NFL scouts, the supposed smart guys who value combine performances and metrics, said he was crazy.

Morris, who finished the season as the NFL’s second-leading rusher, has vindicated Schnellenberger and his old-school way of identifying talent. Morris will help lead the Redskins against the Seattle Seahawks in a first-round NFL playoff matchup on Sunday. 

As Yahoo! Sports reported, Schnellenberger “praised Morris to high heaven to anyone who would listen and many who wouldn’t,” but Morris still fell to the sixth round of the 2012 draft because the supposed smart scouts doubted Morris’s speed.

Schnellenberger believes this mentality is exactly what makes scouting such an inexact science:

Schnellenberger doesn’t quite understand the scouting system. Why do running backs at the combine run without pads, a helmet, or a ball in their hand? Why sprint 40 yards in a straight line when that almost never happens in a game? Morris was never a burner – he ran a 4.67 40 at the NFL scouting combine – but Schnellenberger loved the way he ran at the end of games, when everyone else got tired.

“It’s not how fast the guy is the first time,” Schnellenberger said. “It’s how fast he is the 15th time.”