One thing that is often stated by draft evaluators is that you cannot look at where the player played (or who coached them) to evaluate a prospect. The 'rule' is that you have to watch the tape on a player and see how they played technically to see how they are. It is very true that you must watch the game tape of a player to evaluate their abilities, but I completely believe that the school and coach that they played for provides an intangible way to determine how well the player could succeed.

This is so much more than "Player X faced SEC defenses while Player Y faced Pac-10 Defenses." The competition is an important thing to evaluate, but the team/coach pedigree goes much deeper. It is also important to know that the pedigree almost always is based off of the coach AND team that the player had in conjunction with each other. It would be unfair to say that any QB coming now from Tennessee right now will be good because Peyton Manning went there. At the same time it would be unfair to say that Florida's next QB will be a great prospect because Charlie Weis made two good prospects at the Notre Dame coach.

Here are some examples overall of the coach-team pedigrees in response to NFL prospects. Some are good and some are not, and it wouldn't be logical to ignore it either way.

Athletic Programs

While there are many programs in college that produce very athletic prospects, three come to mind for me.

Maryland (Ralph Friedgen)

As of late Maryland seems to have one or two players every year that are regarded as freak of natures athletically.

2006- Vernon Davis, TE, 6th overall to the 49ers
2009- Derrius Heyward-Bey, WR, 7th overall to the Raiders
2010- Bruce Campbell, OT, 106th overall to Raiders (projected 1st rounder though)
2011- Torrey Smith, WR, listed as a 2-3rd rounder pre-combine

If you look at this batch of players you would notice that they are all freak of nature athletes. The only one who has shown up to his potential was Vernon Davis, and that took a few years. Subsequently though DHB was 10x better in his sophomore year and he could be up for a breakout year in 2011. Bruce Campbell didn't play much but recorded a clean sheet statistically. Overall I think Maryland is an ok program to take from but as of right now it looks like they are projects. Ralph Friedgen also has left the program.

Clemson Tommy Bowden (1999-2008)

This is a strange one because Bowden is gone but

Gaines Adams, DE, 4th overall in 2007 - Finese athlete that never really did it at the next level
CJ Spiller, RB, 9th overall in 2010- A playmaker that showed very little thus far
Da'Quan Bowers, DE- Potential 1st overall pick in 2011, showed little until this season
DeAndre McDaniels, S, Potential 1st safety taken in 2011- great athlete that need technical help

Some will say that the later two are Dabo Sweeney guys but they got their fundamental teaching from Bowden, and Da'Quan looks a lot like Gaines Adams at times.

California (Tedford Era)

Jeff Tedford doesn't get enough respect because he doesn't make it to many great bowls but Tedford is a great developmental coach. He creates athletes but they aren't pure athletes at all.

Aaron Rodgers- Rodgers is an athletic QB that doesn't get respected for his ability to move
Marshawn Lynch- Great athlete that at times is the nastiest RB in the league. Motivation fell off in Buffalo
DeSean Jackson- Michael Vick's playmaking WR for the Eagles
Jahvid Best- When healthy he is Chris Johnson-good.
Shane Vereen- 2nd or 3rd round RB in 2011

Tedford is a great coach. He takes a lot of athletes and turns them into polished talents in the NFL. Tedford has also coached six 1st round QB's in the NFL draft. Tedford's athletes might not be good picks in the top-10 of the draft but they are amazing late 1st round talents.

Quarterback Programs

There are just some schools and coaches that are great at producing NFL quality quarterbacks. Some will hate this topic the most, but it really is relevant

Michigan Lloyd Carr (1980-2007)

Lloyd Carr was amazing. Simple as that. He was a defensive assistant from 1980-86 and DC from 87-94 before becoming head coach, but the more he touched the program the better the QB's.

Jim Harbaugh, drafted in the 1st in 1987
Elvis Grbac, drafted in the 8th in 1993
Todd Collins, drafted in the 2nd in 1995 (somehow still playing)
Scott Dreisbach, undrafted but played pro ball from 1999-2007
Brian Griese, drafted in 3rd round of 1998, played from 1999-2008
Tom Brady, drafted in 6th round of 2000, we all know the rest...
Drew Henson, drafted in 6th in 2003, played until 2008
John Navarre, drafted in 7th in 2004, played until 2007
Chad Henne, drafted in 2nd in 2008, potentially still Dolphin's starter
Matt Gutierrez, undrafted in 2008, transferred from Michigan after a shoulder injury held him out
Ryan Mallett, potential 1st rounder in 2011. Mallett started as a Carr man at Michigan but left to Arkansas after.
Steven Threet, potentially draftable in 2012, final Carr man who transferred to Arizona State

If you look at the pedigree here you will notice a few things. Carr has helped to develop a ton of pro players, but only 3 (maybe 4) players good enough for the first two rounds. You will also notice that Tom Brady so far is the only one to become a star.

Pete Carroll, USC (2001-2009)

Pete Carroll might have been known for creating about 1/20th of the players in the league from USC, but one thing that stood out was his ability to create quarterbacks.

Carson Palmer, 1st overall in 2003, Average at best but still starting
Matt Casell, 7th rounder in 2005, never played at USC but ok starter for the Chiefs
Matt Leinart, 10th pick in 2006, Below Average starter that never really tried to compete, still in the league
John David Booty, 5th rounder in 2008, competing with Leinart as QB3 in Houston
Mark Sanchez, 5th overall in 2009, Stats don't tell the truth, but playoff winner
Aaron Corp, ?, got beat out by Matt Barkley but potential draft pick if he wins with Richmond
Mitch Mustain, potential late rounder in 2011 that couldn't get the starting gig for the team
Matt Barkley, potential 1st rounder in 2012
Others possible too

Overall Pete Carroll created a ton of talented QB's in a short period of time. Three of his men are starters in the league with two being playoff QB's this season.

Auburn, The Exception

There are certain teams with exceptions to the rule, in that they always create stud players at the next level. Auburn has had a number of coaches but have had 15 RB's drafted and currently have 9 in the league including Ronnie Brown, Brandon Jacobs, Ben Tate, Cadilac Williams, and Tony Richardson (FB)