In the midst of trades and with the draft approaching quickly, 1997 Coach of the Year Jim Fassel discussed his tactics in an interview with Gil Whiteley and Mark Jackson on Mile High Sports AM 1340 | FM 104.7. Fassel talked about how drafting can get tricky thanks to differing opinions from coaches and scouts, but as long as there is respect for one another, the process can go much more smoothly.
“So now he’s [then-Giants GM George Young] got faith in me, and I’ve got faith in him, so that’s good, but what I got in there I found out that the scouts and the coaches hated each other. They couldn’t come to agreements, and I talked to George about this and, I said, ‘Here’s the deal. We have to respect each side.’ Now, they had a draft that, I’ll just say a tight end to be drafted the first round. If we get a first-round draft pick as a tight end he’s got to be 6-foot-5, he’s got to weigh over 230, he’s got to run a 4.9. And I said, ‘Those guys are too big. I want a fast guy. I want like a Shannon Sharpe,'” Fassel explained.
Once the coaches and staff could reach a mutual level of respect, it was easier for Fassel to find the types of players he wanted.
“The point being is this: let the coaches tell you what your model fits for each position, you know what we’re looking for, and then let the scouts go find them, and that’s what worked real well. But then in my contract, I had the final say in the final 53, so if I didn’t want the guy I could cut him, and nobody could interfere with it, and that was good,” Fassel said.
Fassel also explained that knowing what your opponents want can make a huge difference. He looked back on 2002, when Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher wanted to make a trade during the draft, but Fassel wanted to remain in their spot — and he had knowledge about who Fisher wanted.
“The one that was really interesting for me was (tight end) Jeremy Shockey. Jeff Fisher called me from Tennessee, and he said, ‘Jim, [my team wants] to make a trade, and get into my spot, and all that stuff.’ So, I do my research and I was ready. I said, ‘Well, you know, that’s OK. If we don’t get him, we don’t get him because I think I want to take that big defensive lineman from Tennessee (defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth).’ … He was an All-American from Tennessee, and I know Jeff wanted him. And so he goes, ‘Oh, let me call you right back.’ So, he got back on the phone and says, ‘Let’s just stay where we are. I’m not going to trade him and move up.” He took the Tennessee lineman and I took Shockey,” Fassel said.
Click here to listen to the full interview with Jim Fassel, including who he thinks are the best draft picks he ever made, listen to the podcast below.
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