NFL General Managers are aware players can come from anywhere and everywhere, from small schools as well as from Alabama.
There's also a belief among the league's GMs that whether a player is from a big school or a small one, individual makeup and character matter.
Here's what was said on those subjects when NFC GMs took the podium on Wednesday in Indianapolis:**
Steve Keim of the Arizona Cardinals on what really matters when evaluating a small-school player:** "We've had a lot of success with those players. You start with height, weight and speed. They have to have a certain talent level. Then it goes into, what kind of passion does he have for the game?
"What I've found with a lot of the small-school guys, which has been beneficial for us, is they come in with a chip on their shoulder. They come in with the mindset and attitude that we are going to prove you wrong. They have a natural talent level but they've never been given anything."Jason Licht of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on how important character and a player's makeup are as a part of the evaluation process: "Extremely important. You know, I would say 90 percent of the guys that the public deems or we do as 'busts' in the league, after you draft them it all has to do with what goes on above the neck. Whether it's a character issue or a mental issue or football intelligence or just being passionate about football, those are things we put a lot of resources in to find out about a player."Trent Baalke of the San Francisco 49ers on the small-school background of North Dakota State QB Carson Wentz: "I used to coach there. They've put out a lot of good football players for a small, lower-level play; that conference has. Certainly there's a learning curve they all go through but I don't think it's as drastic as some may (think).
"They play at a high level. They've won five national championships in a row and Carson was a part of four of those. He's a good football player. He's got the stature you're looking for. He's got the intelligence you're looking for. There are so many positives to draw from.
"Now, how ready is he going to be when he gets to the league? I think there will be a learning curve but there is for everybody at that position."
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