- The physical- the part which is most obvious. It’s the eye test. Do they make plays? Do they show physical strength, speed, agility, etc.? That’s the physical side. You can‘t even get noticed without it.
- The mental– just as important as the physical but much less obvious. Is the player mentally sharp while playing? Is he mentally tough, as in being able to forget about mistakes? Is he prepared for his assignments, and prepared for every opponent?
Successful NFL players must be good at both physical and mental performance.
Too many of us fans think being a great football player is all physical. But it’s way more than that. It’s why some really gifted athletes can’t play pro football. Examples- Mo Claiborne, Rico Gathers, Carson Wentz and JaMarcus Russell are just a few examples. All those guys were great athletes- in fact, off the charts in physical skill. But they were not strong in their mental game. It‘s proof why physical talent alone is not enough.
Sometimes, really talented players get down on themselves mentally and it translates to poor play on the field. The mental side of the game is often underestimated in how much it plays a role in any player’s performance.
Occasionally, a really gifted athlete gets so down mentally and find it hard to get out of that rut. I’m encouraged to hear that Jalen Tolbert may have regained some mental confidence. He still has to prove it when it counts. But I’m glad to hear early reports this off-season that he’s seemingly turned a corner mentally. The physical skills were always there.
Bottom line- Drafting a physically talented player is only step one in obtaining talent for a good roster. The mental as well as physical development is all part of building a great roster. Guys like Jalen Tolbert need that mental confidence to maximize their physical talent. Here’s hoping all our young players can maximize both sides of their talent.