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The NFL's top scouts – Part I

A look at some of the league's best evaluators. Greg Gabriel

Print This June 26, 2013, 02:30 PM EST

There are many young guys with a strong passion for football who would like to be NFL Scouts. They think it would be a glamorous job working for an NFL club. What they don’t know is that once they become scouts they get little recognition outside of the people in their own scouting room.

Scouting can be a lonely thankless job; a scout spends weeks on the road away from his family. His report could be the report that ultimately leads a team to draft a certain player, yet when the player turns out to be a top pro he doesn’t get the recognition -- the GM does.

With that said, I have spent a lot of time over the last 30 years on the road with scouts from every club in the league and I thought that this would be a good time to give some of them the recognition they deserve.

Joe Collins – New York Giants

Joe has been scouting since the late 70’s. He started off with Blesto as an area scout then was a regional scout for the Jets. He spent 16 years with the Jets before he went to San Francisco as Coordinator of Pro Personnel in 1995. In 1999 when the “new” Cleveland Browns came about, Joe was named their Director of Player Personnel. He was in Cleveland until 2001 when he became a scout for the Giants.

For the Giants Joe covers much of the SEC, the top conference in college football. I have spent many a day with Joe and he is very thorough in how he goes about his work and his reports. The relationships he has built at the different campuses gives him an edge over many other scouts. Joe is one of the reasons the Giants draft well year after year.

John Wojciechowski – Green Bay Packers

This will be John’s 18th year in scouting. He started his career in 1996 with the Steelers as a scouting assistant. He then spent five years with Jacksonville and nine with the Cowboys. He joined the Packers a year ago. I haven’t been on the road that much with John, but every time I have I have come away impressed. He is a tireless worker who asks the right questions and attacks his job. There are many scouts who “socialize” far too much when they are on a school call. These type of guys are more disruptive (to other scouts) than anything else. Not John. He sticks to the task at hand and always seems fully focused.

I was at a number of Pro Days this past spring with John and he took over the workouts, making sure everything that needed to get done got done. Look for him to be named a College Director in the not too distant future.

Kevin Kelly – San Diego Chargers

Kevin was recently named Director of College Scouting for the San Diego Chargers, which in itself is recognition. But because he is a “rookie” Director I’m including him in this list.

Kevin was the Midwest-area scout this past season for the Jets. Before that he spent a number of years with the Indianapolis Colts. Kevin is a Chicago native who before he got into scouting was the head coach at St. Viator’s in the tough Chicago Suburban Catholic League. Like the other guys on this list, Kevin is a tireless worker. He is the type who is the first scout in the film room and the last one to leave. He barely says a word; he just grinds away and gets his work done. A GM always appreciates this type of scout. I know Bill Polian was quite happy that Kevin was on the Colts staff.

Tim Mingey – Jacksonville Jaguars

Ask any scout in the Southeast who the most respected scout in the area is and most will say Tim Mingey. Tim has been with the Jags since 1994 and has built a solid reputation ever since. In 2011 he was awarded the C.O. Brocato Scout of the Year award by the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That in itself is all we need to know. Not only is Tim highly respected but he is also well liked by his peers. Spend some time with Tim Mingey and you always learn something.

Before he got into scouting, Tim was a successful college coach and recruiting coordinator. Some of his stops were West Point, Tennessee, East Carolina, Miami (Ohio) and Western Michigan.

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