Jordan Reid over at Inside the Pylon has a very interesting, inside look at the life of an NFL scout.
Some of it is stuff you knew. The Combine is important. Scouts are on the road a lot, spend a lot of time in motels, and watch a lot of film. I wasn’t aware just how extreme the travel gets — one anonymous scout said he doesn’t see his wife and family for 2 to 3 months at a time. (Presumably that’s during the college football season.)
The article, based on the accounts of two unnamed scouts, emphasizes how much this is turning into a year round activity, though right now (May to mid-July) is the one slow time where vacations are possible.
I didn’t realize that scouts all convene at training camp to scrutinize the 90 guys fighting for roster spots. I guess I figured position coaches would take over then and scouts would head back out on the road to scan new college prospects, Instead, the scouts are working with the GM and front office to evaluate what the team has and make sure they’re on the same page about the team’s needs going forward.
There is interesting detail about the increasing importance of pro days and the all star games (the East West Shrine game and the Senior Bowl), setting the board, etc. John Lynch gets mentioned, for revealing that the 49ers had 200 prospects on their draft board this year. And he links to video of the only Combine interview ever released (Philadelphia’s meeting with Carson Wentz).
Another interesting point is that every NFL team uses one or both of the two national databases of NFL-conceivable prospects (National and Blesto), These cover every prospect in Canada and the U.S., character as well as measurables. The databases serve as a critical opportunity to quickly rule out players that will clearly not fit what you want to do.
“I have a lot of schools and prospects to get to within a short time period. I’m not going to waste my time scouting an offensive lineman that’s better in a man blocking scheme, than a zone one and my team runs strictly zone concepts. By doing that, I just took minutes away from finding another prospect that can help my team win. Time is very precious with this job, so the databases are extremely helpful when it comes to things of this nature.”
The whole thing is worth a read. Check it out.