During the draft process, there is always a lot of focus and talk about the players with off-the-field issues. Unfortunately, we don't give the same attention to the prospects that are handling things the right way.
In draft meetings, when two players carry the same grade, the difference in character is often the issue that determines which player ends up higher on the board. With that in mind, I reached out to five NFL personnel executives and posed this question: Which 2014 NFL Draft prospect has the most impressive intangibles? Here are the results:
Executive No. 1: UCLA LB Anthony Barr
"He's a team captain and he's an off-the-charts worker. He's all football, all the time. He works his butt off in the weight room. He's very bright and you never have to worry about him off the field."
Executive No. 2: Clemson QB Tajh Boyd
"He's the team leader and he has an excellent work ethic. He's the tempo-setter for the Clemson program. He has a lot of charisma and his teammates follow him. He's the face of the team, and he's very responsible off the field."
Executive No. 3: Fresno State QB Derek Carr
"He's a two-time elected captain at Fresno State. He has done a ton of community work, he's a man of faith and his family is very important to him. He has always shown resilience in crunch time on the football field. He's everything you want from your quarterback from a character standpoint."
Executive No. 4: Wisconsin LB Chris Borland
"He has outstanding intangibles. He's a two-year captain, he's great in the community and he loves football. He is a 24-7 worker and his football instincts are excellent. His intangibles remind me a lot of Zach Thomas, but Zach was a better player coming out of college."
Executive No. 5: Miami QB Stephen Morris
"He's the face of the program. He is very bright. He already has his degree. He's a big-time leader. He's not a great player, but I wouldn't bet against him because of his intangibles."
Verdict: Each executive chose a different player. Barr, Boyd, Carr, Borland and Morris each received one vote.
Conclusion: I thought it was very interesting that three different quarterbacks were mentioned. In draft meetings, the quarterback position always drew the most attention in regards to character and intangibles. The other two players are high-motor linebackers with outstanding production. Borland is a player that seems to be gaining steam in personnel circles, and Barr looks like a rock-solid top-10 pick.