You’ve probably seen video this morning of the Boston Dynamics robot named Atlas showing off by running in an open field and jumping over a log. It’s equal parts impressive and scary.
But let’s turn to the real experts — NFL scouts and executives — to break down Atlas as a prospect. Here’s what they had to say. The experts are unnamed because, well, the reason should be obvious.
“He does look like he was created in a lab,” one scout said admiringly, adding “he has all the measurables.” Others weren’t so complimentary. One was concerned that the speed they saw on tape wouldn’t translate to the field. “Yeah, he dazzled in a controlled environment,” said another, “but what happens in bad weather in Buffalo?”
A prominent NFC executive called him “a high-motor guy” but didn’t mean it in a complimentary way. “Is he a plug-and-play player? I don’t know. I’m not even sure what power source is required for that thing.”
Other scouts praised his straight-line speed but noted his stiff hips and skinny legs as a concern. A long-time AFC scout worried that his head wasn’t on a swivel and he could have issues with seeing the whole field.
One area, surprisingly, that didn’t seem to concern scouts was his lack of productivity in college. “Did you see the other robots he had to play with? That dog thing just shies away from contact, has no hands.”
But those critiques of his performance on the field paled in comparison to comments about his fit in the NFL. Several experts were worried that he comes from an affluent background and has lived his life in a bubble. Others worried that his focus wouldn’t be entirely on football. “Where is he going to be in five years?” One AFC GM asked, “focusing on football or world domination?”
“The game’s not about 1’s and 0’s, it’s about goats and heroes,” added a recently hired AFC coach. “This guy, he’s not a grinder.”
Atlas was also described as standoffish and not a locker room guy.
One team official also reportedly asked Atlas during the interview process if his mom was a processor and if he was into other robots. The NFLPA has already come out with a statement that “the question was inappropriate, and we, for one, welcome our robot overlords.”