NFL players are, individually at least, a specialized bunch. Opponents in similar roles typically look more alike than the rest of the players on their own teams. Football is possibly the sport with the most diversity of size and shape; indeed, it’s probably the only athletic home for a few of humanity’s body types.

A lot of these people are physiological ‘freaks’. It’s uncommon enough to find a guy that can run a 4.4 second 40-yard dash, but a guy that’s 6’6 and 250 pounds? Witness the prototypical Defensive End.

People love the narrative of the outlier, of course: the little guy that works hard, the fat guy that gets thin, the tall guy that’s surprisingly graceful. The fact is, they’re the lonely few who have risen above their peers in the giant majority just not built to be professional athletes.

Consider someone like Antwaan Randle El (good catches at the superbowl notwithstanding).

He’s not a freak, he’s a ‘tweener’. Been a quarterback,t been a receiver, defensive back, running back, all sorts of things. I imagine if you took a survey of coaches, asking about any of the measurable characteristics of an outstanding football player, he’d rank well.

Put him on a football team and you start scratching your head. What to do with the guy?

There are two possible interpretations, I suppose:

1.       Randle El has skills, but he doesn’t have the right mix of skills.

2.       Maybe what looks like talent isn’t talent and this guy’s a good looking dud. After all results matter and he ain’t producing results.

Randle El problems pop up all over the place. He’s probably in the wrong sport!

What’s the equivalent in the workplace?