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How elevator rides can help and hurt an NFL prospect's stock originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The scouting process for the NFL Draft is more often an art than an exact science, relying on scouts’ and coaches’ evaluations that often vary from person to person. Factor in the limitations incurred by the coronavirus pandemic and every drill, highlight and interaction is as important as ever.
Panthers head coach Matt Rhule explained as much Tuesday when he told the story of how a highly regarded prospect ruined his chances of being taken by Carolina with one elevator ride.
“There was a player last year, and I won't say who, but was supposed to be drafted pretty highly,” Rhule said, as quoted by the Panthers’ website. “And I got in the elevator with him at the Combine, and I was like, by the end of that elevator ride, I was like, ‘There's no way that guy will be a fit with us.’”
It’s not the first time a quick elevator interaction impacted draft stock. Former JMU quarterback Ben DiNucci first met Dallas Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy while in Texas for the 2019-20 FCS National Championship game. DiNucci played basketball for McCarthy’s brother in middle school, so he decided to introduce himself.
McCarthy already knew who DiNucci was, but that interaction stuck out in his mind and ultimately played a factor in the Cowboys’ decision to select the Dukes’ QB in the seventh round of the following draft. DiNucci later started for Dallas on Sunday Night Football, filling in under center with Dak Prescott and Andy Dalton both unavailable.
With NFL Draft season just ramping up, prospects can’t let their guard down when it comes to trying to make a good impression — even in an elevator.