Adrian Hubbard opted to leave the University of Alabama with a year of eligibility remaining, having been advised he would go between the second and fourth rounds of the NFL Draft.
But a combination of events pushed Hubbard all the way off the draft board and his was not one of the 256 names announced in New York May 8-10.
Hubbard’s quickness and pass rushing ability was questioned by the draft experts. Those weren’t the only parts of his game to come under criticism. Also scrutinized was Hubbard’s coachability and attitude.
He was also diagnosed with a heart abnormality at the NFL scouting combine. Hubbard told the Green Bay Press-Gazette he believes that was the biggest factor in his slide down—and off—the draft board.
“I’m not worried about it,” Hubbard said. “(It had) a little bit to do with it, but at the end of the day I come here to compete just like everyone else here.”
Hubbard was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Green Bay Packers on May 13 and is another face in the facility trying to earn one of those coveted 53 spots on the active roster at the end of the exhibition season in August.
Hubbard was one of a record 102 players who opted to forego their remaining eligibility and enter the draft in 2014. Of that group, a whopping 38—including Hubbard—were undrafted.
There are a couple of pieces to the puzzle. The media reports often don’t match up to what the evaluators working for the NFL teams think about players.
Some players fall into the trap of reading their own press clippings, to use an old metaphor. They listen to the media reports, their friends, their families and their agents, all of whom want to reassure the player how great he is.
That was one of the knocks on Hubbard. Draft analyst Nolan Nawrocki reported that Hubbard “has a quirky personality, inflated opinion of his ability and carries a sense of entitlement that could be difficult to manage and require a patient positional coach.”
That lined up, unfortunately for Hubbard, with the opinions of some of the professional evaluators.
“He beats to his own drum,” one scout said.
In a sport that preaches teamwork, togetherness, unity and discipline the way football does? That sort of evaluation is the draft version of a death sentence.
Agents are also part of the problem. Since the NFL negotiated its new collective bargaining agreement in 2011, the days of first-round picks getting $50 million or $60 million in their first contracts is a thing of the past.
The big money now lies in a player’s second contract and that is what agents are selling to a lot of underclassmen, this manufactured need to start the clock, as it were, on their second contract by getting into the draft and getting their first one.
There are a number of flaws to that logic, not the least of them being this: Since the new CBA took effect in 2011, there are exactly zero NFL players who have completed their first four-year rookie deals under it.
So there is literally no evidence of what a player’s second contract will actually look like, since the draft class of 2011 is just now entering its fourth year.
As long as there are so many out there selling the promise of riches beyond the dreams of avarice to these kids, there will be dozens of them who discover what they bought was a bottle of snake oil and an uphill climb to even get a first NFL contract, much less a second one.