The 20 most cliche scouting combine, NFL draft buzz phrases

ARLINGTON, TX – APRIL 26: The Baltimore Ravens logo is seen on a video board during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft at AT&T Stadium on April 26, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images)

Happy Scouting Combine week to all my fellow NFL Draftniks! Now is the time to Make Plays in Space, Set a Violent Edge, Break Outside Contain and Win The 50/50 Balls. Verbally or metaphorically, and not literally, of course. Let’s High Point the Football, Unleash Up Field, with a High Motor and a Quick First Step to Maintain Gap Integrity by reading and discussing the best (ok the worst) in NFL Draft word salad.

Several years ago, I listed out 50 of the weirdest and most overused NFL Draft related buzz words and phrases. However, that list still left out a very high number of scoutspeak platitudes, so today I bring you 20 more.

Without further ado, let’s get the NFL Draft/Scouting Combine cliche party started.

1-3. “Blue Collar,” “Lunch Pail” and “Hard Hat”

Basically all the same thing, so we grouped them all together. We also would have accepted “punch/time card guy.” The phrase “work ethic” soon follows in any usage of these cliches.

4-5. “Grinder” or “Gritty”

Related to numbers 1-3, these all will be used when discussing any team from a Rust Belt city.

6.  “He’s a freak/physical freak/freak of nature”

With apologies to Rick James: “superfreak, superfreak, superfreaky!”

7. “Can be gap sound”

Hey, you got to maintain your gaps!

8. “Fox hole guy”

He’s someone who “stands up at the point of attack,” and a true “in the trenches guy.” This one is closely related to “a hand in the ground guy,” who, contrary to how it sounds, is not doing any gardening.

9. “Phone booth guy,” “You put ’em in a phone booth,” “He plays in a phone booth.”

If you’re Gen Z or younger, you have no idea what this is supposed to mean.

10. “Plays to/through the whistle”

I also would have also accepted “gets after it on every play” for this one.

11. “Passes the eye test”

Yes, but what was the cutoff for a passing grade?

12. “Eye discipline”

This one really didn’t exist until a few years ago, but now that it is here, it got very overused quite quickly. Now whenever I hear this concept it turns my brain into oatmeal.

13. “Physical Specimen”

This one is related to “measurables monster” and the very outdated, and thankfully almost-extinct “Looks like Tarzan, plays like Jane.” It is a good thing that the latter cliche (which is uttered by Kevin Costner’s character in the movie Draft Day) is disappearing, as it’s blatantly sexist.

14. “Football IQ”

This one is a cousin to “a quick study,” and sometimes it comes in the incredibly trite form of “he’s just a football player!”

15. “Can make all the throws”

This one didn’t exist until about 10-15 years ago, but it has become, arguably, the most shopworn phrase in all forms of football broadcasting.

16. “Plug n play”

So he’s not a “legacy device” then?

17. “Day one starter”

This is to the NFL Draft talking season what “a first down and more” is to live game broadcasts.

18. “Mortgage the future”

Well, this guy better be very good then!

19. “Heat seeking missile”

This one, which sometimes appears as a more digestible “nose for the ball,” evokes the late, great George Carlin, and his legendary football vs. baseball bit:

“In football the object is for the quarterback, also known as the field general, to be on target with his aerial assault, riddling the defense by hitting his receivers with deadly accuracy in spite of the blitz, even if he has to use shotgun. With short bullet passes and long bombs, he marches his troops into enemy territory, balancing this aerial assault with a sustained ground attack that punches holes in the forward wall of the enemy’s defensive line.”

20. “those big paws”

A colorful way to describe a guy with huge hands.

By the way, if you love NFL mock drafts as much as we do here, then please check out the Ravens Wire 2024 NFL mock draft, as well as the mock created by this post’s author.


Story originally appeared on Ravens Wire