Case Number 06771: Small Claims Court


4th and Goal Films // 2005 // 80 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Chief Counsel Rob Lineberger (Retired) // May 10th, 2005

The Charge

Bringing the draft to life

The Case

4th & Goal Films' 2005 Draft Preview is a unique DVD experience. There is no preamble or BS, just a straightforward analysis of college football players. Its unparalleled presentation makes intuitive sense, which may cause you to wonder why this has never been done before.

2005 Draft Preview is nothing more or less than a thorough evaluation of 54 football players who participated in the 2005 NFL draft. The website says it best: "The video analysis in 4th & Goal Films' DVD Draft Preview is primarily coaches' film -- low-angle video with lots of isolation shots so talent evaluators can get the best perspectives from which to rate a player's performance." While these coaches' film clips play, narrator Steve Alic summarizes 4th & Goal Films' take on each player, including comparisons to other NFL players, physical characteristics, notable records, stats, and most important, an analysis of the player's character, personality, and mental approach to the game.

The above paragraph should define whether this DVD is of interest to you. If gaining concise insight into the NFL draft hopefuls sounds intriguing, then you will probably want to have this and future Draft Preview DVDs. If you read that and went "huh?" then this may not be must-see material.

Allow me to interject some notes about timing. I received the 2005 Draft Preview screener on the evening before the April 23 draft. This DVD is obviously slanted toward a preview of the NFL draft, which is now over. Does that make this DVD or this review invalid? Far from it.

If you had this DVD in your hands prior to April 23, what would you gain? If you are an NFL coach, or a talent scout, or other NFL professional, this DVD would have given you clear, concise, well-researched notes about players that might not be on your radar. If you were betting on the NFL draft (does that happen?) then the benefit is also obvious. Finally, if you run in a circle of diehard football fans, this DVD gives you a crash course in sounding like a football genius.

But seriously, for the regular NFL fan, what is the point of 2005 Draft Preview? Let me counter that question with another: Do you play Fantasy Football?

Fantasy Football players will find much to like on this DVD. First, in a draft that went much differently than most pundits expected, 4th & Goal Films were remarkably accurate. A few of their top picks (which I will not reveal, out of deference to the work they put into the analysis) went within two or three spots of the predicted order. Over two thirds of their top 32 players were indeed selected in the first round. Two of the discrepancies were selected from 4th & Goal's "Hidden Gems." All in all, the Draft Preview moniker doesn't seem like hype. These guys put solid predictions down in video for the world to see. The analysts who wrote the copy for this disc spent several months talking about players with college coaches, gaining insights into character and mental makeup that go beyond stats.

As a diehard Fantasy Football player, I was impressed with the collections of footage assembled for each player. A fantasy draft is often made or broken by gambles on rookies, particularly running backs. Five running backs went very early in this year's draft. You just know that the desperate Miami Dolphins are going to run Ronnie Brown, especially after Miami coach Nick Saban sat frustrated while Brown ran all over him during their college matchups. Cedric Benson goes to a Bears team in desperate need of a spark. Which one do you pick come draft day? This DVD has enough footage to help with that decision.

This year gives us some tempting WR rookie gambles as well. Baltimore Raven Mark Clayton is enough of a playmaker to push the mediocre wide receiver talent opposite Derrick Mason in the WR2 slot. The Browns have been building a stellar pass offense, and with Kellen Winslow there to take some heat, Braylon Edwards could see productive time in his rookie year. Detroit has nasty questions, but lucrative payoff, at the offensive skill positions, and Mike Williams might well be in the mix if Charlie Rogers is out of shape. Jacksonville made a strong statement to their existing receiver corps by taking Matt Jones with their first pick (sadly, Jones has already become injured). Are these gambles worth taking on your draft day?

The information is good, but the presentation is a bit sparse. The main menu gives you the choices of "The Top 32 prospects," "Promising, But...," and "Hidden Gems." It isn't immediately obvious what distinction separates the last two categories. Are the promising players better than the hidden gems? You have to look closely at their rankings. The "Play All" feature launches us right into footage of their top player, without an introductory "Hey, I'm Steve Alic and I'll be talking you through analysis of 54 promising draft prospects."

The footage is a bit odd to those accustomed to broadcast TV. It is not as clean as polished broadcast footage, and the angles are difficult to absorb quickly. Nonetheless, there are no glaring defects to keep us from witnessing the monster tackles and circus catches that run rampant in this DVD.

Despite the great analysis and awesome footage assembled for this DVD, the original question stands: Why has this never been done before? The bottom line is that this is a niche title, and 4th & Goal Films is taking a big risk. Is anyone going to care about a preview of the NFL draft? I hope so, because I'm itching to see 4th & Goal repurpose this footage and commentary into a rookie Fantasy Football report in a few months.

Review content copyright © 2005 Rob Lineberger; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile
Studio: 4th and Goal Films
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 1.0 Mono (English)

* None

Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* Analysis of the Senior Bowl

* Hard Knock University (2004 Champs: The Swarm)