NFL's best talent evaluators

Ted Thompson, Ozzie Newsome among the NFL's best judges of talent

Originally Published: April 2, 2013
By Bill Polian | ESPN Insider
Ozzie NewsomeMitchell Layton/Getty ImagesOzzie Newsome is a big reason the Ravens are one of the NFL's best teams every year.

When discussing the qualities associated with the league's best talent evaluators, you might think it starts with an ability to identify potential in draft prospects. On the contrary, what separates the best from the rest is an ability to first understand your own franchise.

As I've written many times before, player value is relative and will vary from team to team. Teams prioritize certain positions over others depending on scheme. Some will prioritize pass-rushers, others will hold shutdown man-to-man cornerbacks in high regard. Some teams will seek an elite tight end, others will treat the position as a highly replaceable part.

Supply and demand may change the price tag on free agents, and raw ability may determine a prospect's overall draft stock, but it's the teams themselves that ultimately determine a player's value.

The names I've identified as the NFL's best talent evaluators may not surprise you. They all represent teams that have been perennial powers in recent years. And at the core of that success is a distinct stylistic blueprint -- the ability to first assess what you have on the roster -- that helps guide the continued building of rosters through the draft.

Here are the top six NFL talent evaluators in my eyes:


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