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By Joseph Santoliquito
Philadelphia, PA (CBS) — Social media seems to be permeating every facet of life. Now, it seems, even the NFL Draft and how teams look at players.
When Eagles general manager Howie Roseman met a gathered group of media Monday morning in an oblong-table press conference, it’s a topic that was broached during the discussion.
Apparently, the Eagles have someone who keeps a vigil of social media and what comes from particular players, players the Eagles may think about drafting, Roseman revealed.
It will go into the Eagles evaluation process in the way they view players.
“We have someone looking over Facebook pages, Twitter accounts—in front of us will come every single person on our draft board, their Twitter accounts and their Facebook accounts,” Roseman admitted. “It’s important how they represent themselves in those settings. I think you see the process they go through, some of these players, they’ll tweet certain things, and then once the draft process starts all of a sudden they’ll shut it down or they’ll say something really positive.
“Those are discussions we want to have. Those are some of the players we want to spend extra time with and understand, get into their mind-set. What’s going to happen when they get drafted and get some money? That is part of the process now. It’s a reflection on our organization, our ownership. We want to be sure we’re bringing the right people into the building.”
Character is a big issue, Roseman said. That sometimes comes out in Tweets and Facebook pages.
“Most of these guys who do questionable things on Facebook or Twitter, they probably have done other questionable things,” Roseman said. “As a scouting staff, we’re watching 600 guys, and we’re narrowing those down, think of it like a funnel. So when the coaches get involved, they’re the guys we’re really excited about, and we’re handing them to the coaches to evaluate and getting their feedback on those guys. It’s an organizational pick. We’re sitting as a scouting staff with our coaches. We’re all on the same page as we go in. For us, it’s very easy. It’s the best available player, no debate, no discussion.”
Teams today do exhaustive studies on players, delving deeply into their backgrounds.
“Think about it like IBM,” said Mike Mayock, the NFL Network’s Draft Analyst. “They’re making a million-dollar investment in someone that they hope works for their company the next 10, 12 years. That’s how in-depth things are today. Teams are hiring investigators to look into guy’s backgrounds. They want to know everything about these guys.”
A classic example is how Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o has spilled down on many team’s draft boards after the girlfriend fiasco.
“We don’t want to take any chances,” Roseman said. “We do a lot of research and background on these guys. We trust our scouts. If we have any Digital Debatesquestion about stuff that’s in our scouting reports or if something comes up, we look at it. We make sure that we spend the time investigating it.”
Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.