Damage control: Instead of fine-tuning the draft boards in April, some scouting directors go through some last minute damage control. It usually comes when the head coach’s opinion varies greatly from the scouting staff. The HC may have watched just one game where he saw something that turned him off, or on about a player. And as Bill Parcells said to me once, “Sometimes it can just take one play to form an everlasting opinion, but coaches are more short term focused because of their desire to win now, emotional, and more influenced by what they’re eyes tell them.” A former GM told me that it’s not uncommon to spend a few days on damage control because of a last minute opinion change by a Head Coach or even an owner.
Here are some interesting comments from some personnel men I spoke with recently:
NFC South GM: “The draft is the area scouts’ Super Bowl, it’s their chance to shine and be heard. You have to let them play! To lock them out of the draft room and meetings is ludicrous!”
NFC East GM: “We make sure that every one gets to voice their opinion, everyone!”
NFC South GM: “We educate our coaches on how our scouts evaluate. We educate our scouts on the type of players we need to fit our system and our coaches’ style of teaching. We make sure everybody understands the other guys job.”
Former NFC North Director of Scouting: “We tried to hit on four of seven players in the draft. If in three years we don’t have four starters from that class, we failed.”
Former scout with the Eagles: “Andy Reid does a great job of including everyone (coaches, scouts, directors) in the entire process to make a collective decision.”
NFC South GM: “I think every team does a great job on selecting talent (athletic ability) in the first three rounds. However, where we miss in those rounds are on the mental, discipline, instincts, intelligence, and the character.”
Scouting is and always will be the lifeblood of an organization. Those who get it right will continuously prosper and win. Those who get wrong and don’t run an efficient department and leverage the hard work of the area scouts will dwell in the loss column for years to come.
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