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Is Kwesi’s Player Evaluation Process Inherently Flawed?

Should emotion be a key factor in player evaluation?

NFL: Combine Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Recently, I watched an interview that Minnesota Vikings reporter Gabe Henderson did with Kwesi Adofo-Mensah at the NFL annual league meeting and there was something he said that made me question his judgment. Gabe asked Kwesi: "How do you get to the point of balancing complex systems versus your gut feeling?"

For clarification, complex systems refers to the use of objective data/analytics, while an example of Kwesi going with his gut occurred last year when he revealed Akayleb Evans was essentially his draft crush that he just had to have after sitting in a dark room with him for hours. I'm paraphrasing here, but I think you get the idea.

Here's Kwesi's response:

"I think complex systems is how I think through things and rationalize things, but at the end of the day it's a feeling thing. When we talk about draft meetings, we ask specific questions of our scouts. I simply ask them, how do you feel if this guy was going to be on our team in this situation? Based on the plays you just watched, based on the evidence you have, how does it make you feel? Are you excited or are you not excited? People use the word gut, but it's instincts, it's experience, it's emotion, and it's captured into an evaluation.

Personally, I think evaluations should be based purely on objective information. When you factor in something like emotion, which cannot be quantified into your evaluation process, it can lead to uninformed decisions. Reading between the lines, it sounds like Akayleb Evans passed the vibe check which weighed heavily into Kwesi’s decision to trade up in the draft to select him. Granted, it’s too early to call Evans a bust and his athletic testing was also a big reason why he was drafted, so I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt there.

Then again, how does Kwesi go about quantifying what is essentially a glorified vibe check? Hypothetically speaking, if I were to take 10 players who are identical athletic performers and have Kwesi interview each of them, how would he go about ranking them? At that point, the evaluation process becomes completely subjective and does not adequately reflect how well that player will perform in the future. I understand that scouting is far from an exact science. but there has to be a better way of objectively evaluating a person’s character.

What are your thoughts?


Is Kwesi Adofo-Mensah right to use emotion as a key factor in player evaluation?

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