Does a player’s speech predict how he’ll perform in the NFL?

Slate has a fascinating article on the subject:

Could it really be true that these innocuous statements can help assess Cam Newton’s pro potential? That’s the assertion, mission, and business plan of an Ohio-based company called Achievement Metrics. It analyzes the speech of star college players, looking for traits such as “conceptual complexity,” “need for power,” and “deliberativeness.” It compares similar players and correlates these traits with future performance. College wide receivers whose speech shows low levels of distrust, for example, have a greater probability of becoming Pro Bowlers than their less-trusting counterparts.

And:

Risk Comparison Report.

Players whose language displays both a lack of self-confidence and a high degree of self-centeredness presented a greater risk of being arrested or suspended. For players in the upper-right quadrant, the risk was estimated at 30 percent. Again, this chart deals in probabilities. But if a team is making a $20 million investment in a player, it’s useful to know if he shares common traits with players who have a tendency to get in trouble.

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