With the draft completed, teams are looking beyond traditional pathways for talent, scouring the globe for developmental prospects who may not have experience but possess the traits desired to succeed. In recent news, the New York Jets have been looking long and hard at Terrell Beckham, cousin to Odell Beckham Jr. He is being touted in some fields as being a genuine prospect for RB, although most outlets have him down for practice squad at best. With what can only be described as prolific stats on the standing high jump, and the 40 yard dash, people have been claiming that he could easily play in the NFL. The question is this – Is Athletic ability enough to get you into the NFL, or do they want something a little more? Terrell Beckham has apparently managed to go off the scale on a standing high jump, and recorded a 4.47 second 40 yard dash. This hype, and the fact that he has a famous cousin, has the Jets looking at him as a genuine option. Athletic capability in isolated drills aside, Terrell hasn’t played football since leaving High school, and since leaving College, has been working as a personal trainer, and fitness model. He missed out on the draft, due to him not declaring for the draft in 2015, and the rule on not being allowed in two drafts therefore eliminating him from future drafts. Let’s compare him with two examples of outsiders in this year’s draft. Rico Gathers was picked up in the Sixth round of the Draft by the Cowboys. Hailing from Baylor University, which has a reputation for creating monsters, this tall and heavy TE fits the bill perfectly. His ball handling skill have been proven thoroughly after three years on the basketball team. You heard me correctly, he played exactly 0 downs in the 3 years he was at Baylor, and got drafted to the NFL based on his input into some pro-days and some heavy commitment to training. He isn’t the first NFL player to manage this. Antonio Gates transferred to the NFL from College B-Ball, and has had a hugely successful career since then. Moritz Boehringer came from Germany, having never even attended College in the US, and having trained with exactly none of the coaches this side of the Atlantic. He started playing football in Europe back in 2011 for the nearest under 19s team he could find, and played right into the 2015 season for two successive teams, going all the way to Euro-Bowl. He has impressive skills and stats, and was successful in getting drafted based on the strong links remaining between the German football organisations and the NFL coaching staff. These two players are classic examples of the two cards that Terrell Beckham appears to be holding. Physical skills being valued over actual experience, and having the right access to the right people, at the right time. This season will determine exactly how well Gathers and Boerhinger translate into the NFL. Both players stand to open the floodgates to a whole new flow of players from different sports and different countries gaining access to the NFL, or shut those doors completely by being a massive bust. Terron Beckham might not realise it, but he has an even bigger mountain to climb. Posting high Combine scores, and having connections is clearly enough to get you the nod, but he’s going to have to be an absolute beast on the field in a very short period of time, otherwise he’ll fade into insignificance very quickly. Having a relative that is considered to be one of the best players in the league will be another massive millstone for him too. As each year passes, it seems like the press and the coaches’ idea of ability drift further apart. With the press focusing on Combine stats, and arbitrary numbers, and the coaches looking at footage, and previous seasons’ stats. It looks like Athletic ability alone isn’t enough, you need to have the right connections, and the right agents too. What is undoubtable, is that it appears time in College football is no longer the exclusive requirement for an NFL player, as more and more players walk through based on an impressive pro-day performance. The League is evolving, as are the players, and therefore the requirements.