NFL Scouting: Balancing the Journey and the Destination

This week, the mother of a young man I used to coach several years ago reached out, hoping I could help put his film in the hands of a few college personnel friends. I was happy to do it. However, when I texted his Hudl link to a half-dozen of my contacts in personnel departments across the country, it reinforced the volatility of the game.

One friend called me back promptly, indicating that he’d moved into a Chief of Staff position at a mid-major school. Having reached his 50s, he was not ashamed to tell me his zeal for chasing a job in NFL scouting was waning. Keep in mind that my friend had served at number P5 schools and even interned in the NFL, but had never quite gotten over the hump. His wife had a good job, so he wanted to be very smart about the jobs he pursued, and the lengths he could (or would) go to pursue his dreams.

Another reached out to tell me he’d moved into one of the top NIL-related companies in the game. This caught me off guard; he had been as locked-in and highly regarded as anyone in the industry, and having known him for years, I just knew he’d land in the NFL promptly. He was cordial and kind, but obviously, helping the young man find a school would not be possible.

Two more of my friends were still in the fight, still chasing their goals, though I sensed their focus was more on college success than pursuit of the NFL. Neither of them asked about possible league opportunities. They just complimented the young man’s film and gave tips on next steps.

Then, around mid-week, I was contacted by another recruiting specialist who had had stops at a number of P5 programs. Having reached his 30s and married, he was coming to the conclusion that the NFL would probably not be his final destination. He was looking for answers, and maybe wondering if he’d gone too far to turn back.

Each of them provided a sharp contrast to the dozens of young men I encounter this time of year, when talented young personnel specialists are looking for every lead on an interview with a pro team. It got me thinking, what words of wisdom could I provide to people desperate to work in NFL player evaluation? How could I encourage them without selling them on an unattainable dream? This is what I came up with.

  • You have to have the most up-to-date info on openings at all time. Follow every social media source that covers NFL hiring and firing. Also, if you’re serious about this, subscribe to ITL, as well. No one covers the construction of NFL scouting staffs like we do. 
  • Recognize that getting an NFL job is dependent almost solely on your network. Who you know is maybe as important in landing an NFL post as in any other industry. I respect people that want to be excellent at their jobs, but you better be excellent at networking, too. That’s probably the regret I hear most often from friends in scouting and coaching who are trying to get back in.
  • NFL teams most often hire people in their 20s who don’t have a lot of strings attached. For this reason, give yourself till the age of 30 to pursue the NFL. If it doesn’t happen, don’t postpone key relationships or family plans. Instead, shift your sights to success on the college level.
  • Understand that football has moved from the “sports” domain to the entertainment world. That means the people attracted to it are sometimes less driven by love of the game, competition, and the idea of “team,” and more driven by naked personal ambition. It also means the people around you — the fans, the players, their parents, the head coaches, the assistant coaches, and the administrators — are more likely to take a “win at all costs” approach than previous generations might have. In all honesty, they are less prone to think of you as a human being. Forgive them, but accept this.
  • This is the most important point. Long before I launched ITL, I thought that only the most talented, smartest, hardest-working people made it into the league. No disrespect to the people in the league, but that’s not at all the case. It’s mostly about contacts and luck just to get that opportunity. Then, once you do get it, that’s when the intelligence and work ethic and everything else come in. Bottom line, if you never make it to the league, you’re not a failure. The ball just didn’t bounce your way.

If you’ve made it this far, I hope you are encouraged. On the other hand, maybe you’re discouraged, or maybe you completely reject my thoughts. Any result is understandable. However, I hope you trust that I’m just a guy who’s seen lots of capable people travel this road, and my thoughts come from what I’ve seen of those few who made it where they wanted to and the many, many who did not. 


Interested in Scouting? Here’s How to Use ITL

Here’s something I’m told pretty frequently: “Hey Neil, you post a lot of good stuff about scouting on your Twitter account, but I don’t know if your site would benefit me.” Fair enough. We’re at the height of scout hiring-and-firing season, so I thought this would be a good time to explain why I think our site is especially useful for people hoping to start a career in NFL player evaluation.

The most important aids are our Rep Rumblings posts. Most of the year, we’re talking about the agent world, all-star game developments, rookie mini-camp dates, NFL pro day dates, NIL stuff, etc. However, from the end of April pretty much until the end of June, we’re talking about how NFL teams are staffing their front offices. For example, last week, we posted information on the teams that have had scouting assistants for at least two years; most SA terms last two years, so it’s likely those teams will have turnover. If you’re looking to break into the game, this kind of info is vital.

On the other hand, if you’re a little further along in your journey and have made a few contacts, you need to know where key people are headed. We predicted two moves the day after the draft that came true (or, at least, mostly true) by the end of the week. 

So, anyway, our Rep Rumblings are positively vital. But there’s more that’s pretty much equally helpful.

  • Our Know Your Scouts series is where you need to start unless your plan for employment is simply casting resumes aimlessly at every team’s general email address. Getting hired is always about personal connections and your network, and you can’t build a network until you know which people have a similar story to yours, or an alma mater, a fraternity, etc. We break down year hired, years in the league, alma mater, official title and more for every member of every NFL scouting department.
  • Don’t know how to contact a scout? Start with our email frames, which give you the email structure for all 32 teams.
  • For the last 12 years, we’ve tracked every move — hires, dismissals, reassignments, retirements, etc. — in every NFL front office in our Scouting Changes Grid. If you want to study how teams build their staffs, this is need-to-know information.
  • If you’re really aggressive, knowing when NFL teams hold their rookie mini-camps is important. Most teams wait until after camp to start pruning their staff and making changes. We always post our list before anyone else; this year, we had it up the Monday of draft week. It’s the kind of thing that can make a difference if you know how to take advantage of it.

Still not sold? Maybe an unsolicited testimonial from a current NFL scout is in order.

“I think the scouting movement was extremely valuable for me trying to get in. . . I saw your (tweet) on (an NFL scout) leaving (his team) last year. I got a hold of (their GM) and the rest was history. Wouldn’t be in this position if it wasn’t for you work and it’s greatly appreciated!”

We provide free trials and we have a special rate for people hoping to be in the Next Wave of NFL scout hires. Hit us up if you’d like to know more. DMs are always open. If you want to be the next Howie Roseman, John Lynch, John Schneider or Brandon Beane, we want to help.


Mark Gorscak: A Good Man Calls It A Career

May is about new commencement exercises and big life changes, so when my friend Mark Gorscak texted me Thursday telling me, “I’m going to graduate tomorrow from the Steelers,” it was perfect for a man who has been so influential, even a teacher, for so many people.

If you’re a fan of the game, you know Mark as the guy sitting at the start of the 40 on timing day at the NFL Combine. He’s been doing that for as long as I remember, and definitely for as long as the NFL Network has broadcast the 40. At the same time, if you work for a school’s personnel department and you aspired to work in the league, you know him a different way. I can’t tell you how many budding evaluators I know on the college side who talk about how much time Mark was willing to give them, the tips he provided, or the doors he opened.

In February of 2022, I was lucky enough to present Mark with the C.O. Brocato Memorial Award for Lifetime Service to NFL Scouting. I have to admit that of all the awards we hand out at our annual ITL Combine Seminar, the Brocato Award is my favorite, mainly because it gives me a chance to give some good, humble men a little recognition. Mark certainly fits that description. I remember when he accepted the award a little over a year ago. It was touching to see the whole Steelers scouting department show up, mobbing him shortly before the seminar as they took pictures in the hallway. Even GM Kevin Colbert, in one of his last acts with the team, showed up for Mark. Once the ceremony was under way and I’d presented Mark with his plaque, his remarks were just perfect. He talked about how scouting, and so much of football, is not about the game itself but about people. I mean, chef’s kiss. If there’s anyone in this game who’s constantly selfless, it’s Mark. Of course, I could say that about all the Brocato Award winners so far (Chicago’s Jeff Shiver, Miami Hurricanes executive Alonzo Highsmith and the Giants’ Jeremiah Davis), but Mark has always been that kind of person.

I think the first time I met Mark was in January 2008, when I was running the Hula Bowl, but I didn’t really befriend him until maybe four or five years later, when I reached out, hoping to expand ITL’s work with scouts. I needed to know more about the job, the life, the goods and bads, so he suggested we had lunch at the combine. I mean, here’s an accomplished NFL evaluator offering to spend an hour with some idiot website guy. I felt like I had arrived — I would have been no more honored to have been invited to lunch by Roger Goodell himself. Mark was totally legit, established, loved and accepted by people across the game, but there we were at Weber Grill that day several years ago, discussing the game. He treated me like an equal, though I’m far from that.

Of course, Mark is more than just a good guy. In his 28 years evaluating for the Steelers, there have been few organizations more successful, and it all goes back to scouts like Mark. I mean, the Steelers enter the 2023 season having won at least as many as it lost for 19 straight years. That’s remarkable, and though Bill Cowher and Mike Tomlin deserve a lot of credit for that (as well as hundreds of great players, of course), Pittsburgh doesn’t go to eight Super Bowls, winning six, without guys like Mark roaming the roads every fall.

There are probably hundreds of people who could write a blog like this, telling stories of what Mark has done for them. Those people, like myself, will miss Mark and the impact he has had on the game. Mark is not unique in being a good scout and a great man, but any time someone like that “graduates,” it creates a vacancy, a void. It’s a noticeable loss.

Mark has made it clear he’s not done with football, and my guess is that he’ll get a little more time to spend checking out blues and jazz acts around the Pittsburgh area and beyond. At least I hope he does. Music has always been a passion for him. At any rate, I hope I can, in some way, help people the way Mark has. 

Why This Could Be A Slow Season for Scouting Changes

As you know, serving the NFL scouting industry is something we take seriously at ITL. This time of year, there’s a lot of change, and though informing the Twitterverse of job changes gets us a lot of exposure, it’s not something we take any joy in. When a scout is dismissed, it’s hard on not just the scout, but his family, as well.

This year, we don’t see as many changes coming. Why is that? There are a few reasons.

  • In the 2020 offseason of Covid, teams pretty much froze their hiring and firing. Scouts, who normally have two-year deals, were either extended for a year or allowed to play out their contracts if they had a year left. Some were even extended two more years. That means that the last two years, many teams were clearing their decks of evaluators they may have released sooner. Last year, we saw a record amount of hiring and firing, at least since we started tracking scout employment in 2012. We counted just under 300 moves, whereas a standard, pre-Covid offseason is around 135-140. That means a lot of evaluators are pretty much in the clear until next year.
  • There’s a kind of ‘spoils system’ when it comes to scouting hires. A new GM wants to bring in people he’s worked with before so the new staff can hit the ground running. Truth be told, there’s a loyalty element to that, as well, but that’s to be expected. At any rate, when there’s a new sheriff in town, there tends to be a ripple effect on the scouting staff. However, this offseason, we didn’t see as many heads rolling in the front office, so there are fewer scouts expected to be displaced.
  • What’s more, the teams that did make GM changes (Arizona and Tennessee) are known as two of the more cost-conscious teams in the league. They’re less likely to want to dismiss scouts who are still under contract. 
  • We’re seeing expansion of scouting departments, but most of it is taking place at the executive level. Over the past two years, we’ve seen growth in the number of teams that have assistant GMs, senior personnel executives and national scouts. Much of this growth has taken place from outside scouting departments, i.e., a GM gets let go somewhere else and comes in as a team’s senior personnel executive. That doesn’t affect the number of road scouts. The only area where we’re seeing low-level scout numbers change is on teams that still have only one national scout (or, in some cases, just two). The Giants, for example, went to three national scouts, promoting Marcus Cooper. That’s just not happening frequently enough to have a big impact for scouts at the lower levels. For example, though the Southeast is vast and deep with talented schools, we’re not seeing co-Southeast scouts named for teams.

We’ll run down all the changes we’ve seen so far in Week 1 of Scout Hiring/Firing Season in this week’s Friday Wrap, which comes out at 7:30 p.m. ET every week. If scouting interests you, make sure to register for it here.

A Few Non-Draft Thoughts for Draft Weekend

With the first round wrapped up and Day 2 kicking off Friday, here are a few non-draft items for your reading pleasure.

  • The two scouting departments where I expect the most change the soonest are in Nashville and Pittsburgh. I don’t expect top-to-bottom changes for the Titans, but I do expect new GM Ran Carthon to make some changes at the executive level; I’ve heard team ownership has even mandated it. It would make a lot of sense for him to bring in some future GMs from the Niners, though several sources tell me he’s close to Falcons Director of College Scouting Anthony Robinson and that Robinson could be headed north. As for Pittsburgh, the team is changing its scouting model to be more traditional, and is expected to continue moving in that direction, possibly through the retirements of one or more staffers.
  • Others that could make changes, based on what I’ve heard this week, are the Raiders and the Vikings. Also, the Rams and the Browns have made changes at scouting assistant (though the Browns have already replaced the one they lost). Overall, I don’t expect this to be a very busy year. The 2021 and 2022 offseason were very, very busy, so I expect teams to slow down on releasing scouts who have time left on their contracts. We also saw a lot less turnover at GM this offseason than we have in previous years, so fewer front offices will be overhauled.
  • Speaking of scouts, the week of the draft, we count the alma maters of active NFL evaluators. So which school has produced the most scouts and executives (based on undergrad degrees)? This will probably surprise you, but it’s Indiana. We counted 11 Hoosiers who are out scouring the nation for the best prospects. What’s more, it’s not even close. Three schools are tied for second place with eight grads in scouting each. They are Arizona State, Massachusetts and Temple.  
  • We also count the alma maters of coaches across the league. When it comes to the ones calling the shots on the field, the schools make a lot more sense. Southern Cal comes in first with 12, while Alabama, North Carolina, UCLA and John Carroll University, a tiny school that punches way above its weight when it comes to landing scouts and coaches in the league, each have 10.

If the scouting profession interests you, consider joining us at Inside the League. The next three weeks will be filled with buzz on who’s hiring and who’s firing in NFL front offices. Our Rep Rumblings will be chock-full of good stuff.

If you’re not sure ITL is for you, at least register for our newsletter, the Friday Wrap, where you’ll get highlights from our weekly reports and an overview of the football business. It comes out at 7:30 p.m. ET each Friday.


A Brief Explainer on Training Addenda for NFL Agents

A tweet from my colleague Darren Heitner today got a lot of traction with people interested in NFL player representation, and I feel it bears some explaining, so I thought I’d use this week’s post to break down how combine prep agreements work for the lion’s share of contract advisors and their clients.

Before we go on, I think it might be helpful if you review the evolution of training options NFL agents have offered (and players have commanded) over the past 20 years. When ITL launched in 2002, there was no combine prep to speak of, but year by year, that’s changed, and today, it’s a critical part of the agent-prospect relationship.

At any rate, the standard representation agreement (SRA) that the NFLPA mandates that all agents sign with their clients makes no mention of combine training. It strictly lays out the fee agreement between a player and his representative, how the agent will bill the player and what he can bill him for, etc. Any contract advisor who’s going to offer training — and I preach this, time and again, to new agents that we work with at Inside the League — MUST set forth everything he’s offering in a separate addendum that he requires the player to sign.

It’s commonplace to think of this addendum as solely related to traditional training — that the agent will pay for 6-8 weeks of combine prep as well as lodging and food at an agreed-upon facility. However, as players’ expectations have grown to include stipends, per diems, signing bonuses, rental cars, mid-training trips back home, more well-appointed apartments, etc., those addenda (commonly called “training riders”) have expanded significantly. If you don’t have one — and if you don’t, you are really playing with fire — it’s tantamount to gambling thousands of dollars. Just ask the nearly 50 agents who’ve already been fired by their clients with a week to go until draft day.

Now, you might think an agent would be crazy to offer such training options to players who have negligible chances to even make a 90-man roster, much less play several years in the league. Well, that’s the dilemma facing every modern player representative. Do you try to hold the line on the soaring cost of simply helping a player through the draft process, knowing you’ll probably only sign players that have no NFL interest? Or do you risk large sums of money, hoping to contain costs along the way and betting that your client beats the odds and makes a roster? These are the things no one tells you as you pursue the exciting and potentially fulfilling life of an NFL agent, just as so many are these days in the months and weeks leading to July’s NFLPA exam. 

It’s easy to criticize those who are in the arena for the decisions they make. What I can tell you is, most people who get into the agent business do it for the right reasons. Often, they only fail because the economics of the game have become so upside-down. Any honest modern NFL agent — there are more than 900 of them certified by the NFLPA — will tell you it’s gotten out of hand, but there’s no easy way to fix things. 

Ask the Scout: What We Learned From Our Final New Agent Zoom of ’23

Monday night, we welcomed former Titans scouting executive Blake Beddingfield for our final monthly Zoom session aimed at rookie agents fighting to get their first-ever clients onto NFL rosters. Obviously, for the newest contract advisors, every shred of advice from good counsel matters, so Blake’s input was critical. The best part of having a seasoned former NFL exec around means learning, and that goes for me as well as everyone on the call.

This session was different because one thing Blake said was contrary to what I’ve always preached. One participant asked Blake if there was value in reaching out to all 32 NFL teams to remind them of an agent’s clients and their workout numbers, and Blake encouraged him to do so.

My approach has always been that, with the APT Coalition and the cooperation between teams on workout numbers, most scouts would see such communication as unnecessary and maybe even less than trustworthy. Blake’s take was that he’d rather have the chance to sift through all the numbers and make his own decision on what’s valid and what’s not. That makes sense, as long as contract advisors don’t get the impression they can lobby their clients onto NFL rosters. I think that’s a misconception that’s been long-held by some of the lesser prospects in each draft class. At the end of the day, there’s something to be said about making sure your client is front of mind on Saturday.

Here are a few other things we discussed that I found intriguing.

Not all teams are good at developing players, and you need to know which ones are and aren’t before you make a UDFA choice. Blake mentioned the Seahawks as a team that’s very good at making Day 3 players into stars, and that extends to UDFA signees. Indeed, Seattle got a lot of mileage out of two Day 3 cornerbacks, Cincinnati’s Coby Bryant (4/109) and UTSA’s Tariq Woolen (5/153), last year. Remember this if you’re weighing a post-draft offer from the Seahawks and a rival team.

Don’t lose hope if your client doesn’t have a home on Saturday. Rookie mini-camp invitations are not preferred, but they’re better than nothing, and sometimes they aren’t extended until Monday, Tuesday, or even later. It’s even possible a player get a UDFA offer Sunday or later.

There’s value in “accepting” an offer now, especially if it’s a rookie mini-camp invite. No one is going to be angry if your client gets a UDFA deal, but it’s OK to make a gentleman’s agreement on a rookie mini-camp nod before the draft. Of course, this is strictly illegal, so don’t tell anyone, but it happens all the time.

The $3,000 signing bonus mark is a pretty good measure of how invested a team is in your UDFA client. The real graduations, Blake said, are $5,000 or more (highly invested), $3,000 (reasonable investment) and $1,000 or less (these players are strictly a dice roll for the team and not at all expected to make the roster).

There’s a lot more to learn about the industry, and it starts with our weekly newsletter, which comes out in just a few hours. Register for it here.

Our Next New Agent Zoom on the Pre-Draft Process: What’s Ahead

Monday night, I’ll gather with dozens of members of the 2022 NFLPA contract advisor class to discuss the critical next three weeks leading up to this spring’s draft. These sessions are always a lot of fun and, I hope, informative. The questions that get asked are always relevant to every participant. What’s more, we don’t record these sessions, so we get really honest, really candid questions, and I try to respond with similar answers.

This month’s session will be special because we’ll be joined by a special guest. Here are a few topics we’ll be covering and what’s ahead at 9 p.m. ET Monday night.

  • How do I promote my client in the next three weeks? Obviously, this is a popular question, and the answer depends on many particulars. 
  • How do I know if my client is a candidate for the draft? UDFA? How do I know if he’s not really under consideration? Most rookie agents don’t represent players who are locks to be drafted, so we’ll talk about the differing degrees of interest.
  • How do I choose which offer to take in undrafted free agency? This is where having former Titans scouting executive Blake Beddingfield as part of our staff comes in handy. Blake will give his thoughts on how to weigh offers from teams, and what their offers really mean.
  • Which teams are best at developing talent? This will be another key point that Blake will address. Knowing which teams can do more with late-round talent, and which ones are more patient than others, is key information.
  • What does Day 3 really look like? What does undrafted free agency look like? It’s a critical topic for a first-year agent, and we’ll set the scene.
  • My client had a good March and seems to be on the rise. How do I prepare him (and those around him) for worst-case scenarios? This is always a tricky topic. We’ll have tips.
  • Is there a point where it’s clear my client won’t get a camp opportunity? The post-draft singing process could last 2-3 days at times. It’s important to know who to contact (and not to contact) if you’re trying to round up opportunities.
  • What’s the difference between a UDFA signing and being invited to rookie mini-camp? This is another important distinction that we’ll discuss.

If you’re an ITL client, and you’re a first-year contract advisor, we’ll be sending out the Zoom link Monday afternoon. We hope you’ll make time to sit in and learn. However, if you’re not yet an ITL client, and think there is something to gain by joining us, we’d love to have you. All you have to do is sign up for ITL and you’re in business. 

We hope to see you Monday night at 9 p.m. ET. However, if you’re looking to learn more about the business, but you’re short on cash, you can sign up for our free newsletter, the Friday Wrap. Do that here.

A Former Giants Scout Tells His Story

If you’re like me, you love books that tell the stories of the people who work in the game and how they do their work. Books like Illegal Procedure; War Room; The Draft; The Dark Side of the Game; The League; Pros and Cons; Razzano: Secrets of an NFL Scout; Meat Market; Al Davis: Behind the Raiders Shield and many others are all part of my personal library. I even wrote such a book myself.

There’s a new one to add. This one is written by former Giants scout Steve Verderosa, who was part of the construction of two Super Bowl winners; helped build teams for Bill Parcells; and who was in on the selection of Lawrence Taylor, Eli Manning and many others. Any time you do something for 30 years, you’re going to have a few good stories, and though I haven’t had a chance to read the galley copy Steve sent me, I’m positive his new book will be chock full of them.

The book is called So You Wanna Be An NFL Scout, and it’s Steve’s first book about his experiences crossing the country, looking for draft prospects. I asked Steve a few questions about his decision to write it, what it took, what to expect in the pages of the book, and more. Here are my questions and Steve’s answers:

  • Lots of scouts say they’re going to write a book someday, but few do. What made you decide to write this? Is it something you always planned to do? “I never set out to write a book but I was encouraged by 2 published authors as I stated on the back cover I sent you. One was Sal Paolantonio of ESPN.”
  • Did you write down stories and try to take notes along the way in preparation for this? “I didn’t take notes but some of the stories of my travels were so vivid they were easy to recall.”
  • From the start of your career to your retirement, what’s the biggest change you saw in scouting? “For me, the biggest changes in scouting would be, first, the software. When I started, we carried around a 16 mm projector. Now the tape is high definition. Scouts carry around their iPads and the football facilities are posh and plentiful. Sometimes, we would have to watch film in a shower or locker room.
    Free agency is another huge change. 1989 was the advent of free agency; it was Plan B (free agency). Now you have salary cap (and) free agency. Teams change sometimes more than 50 percent from year to year.”
  • What’s the hardest part of scouting? The hardest part of scouting, for me, was the time away from your family. My kids are all grown now 30, 28 and 25, but they were babies then. Growing up, you miss a lot. You can never get that back. That being said, my boys enjoyed training camps as kids, and they went to three Super Bowls. 
  • What did you enjoy least? “I probably liked the combine and the travel the least.”
  • What is the most surprising thing an aspiring NFL scout will learn from this book? “I hope an aspiring young scout can learn to ‘trust his eyes,’ do the work and have a conviction. Also, you will be wrong and will miss on a player, because we all did. Stay humble. Listen and learn from people that have been there and done that.”
  • What players appear in the pages of the book? I talk about a lot of players but highlight (former Giants) LT (Lawrence Taylor), Tiki Barber, David Patten, Eli Manning, etc.”
  • Obviously, this will be of tremendous interest to Giants fans. What appeal is there for fans of other teams? The book is not just about the Giants. I did spend 32 years there, but my first year in the league was with Tampa Bay. I talk about scouting systems, drafts, coaches.”

Steve’s new book is available on Amazon in hardcover and paperback as well as Kindle. Order it here.

An Opportunity for Ex-NFL Players to Stay in the Game

For decades, the Senior Bowl has launched countless top college players it to the highest level of football, the NFL. This year, the game upped the ante by providing a platform for NFL coaches to elevate their respective games, as well. Six coaches who helped out at this year’s game are already climbing the ladder, no doubt in part due to their work in Mobile. However, those aren’t the only people benefiting from the game.

Along with The Scouting Academy’s Dan Hatman, Senior Bowl Executive Director Jim Nagy will host Scout School June 4-7 in Mobile. This year, registration is open solely to former NFL players with at least two years of playing experience in the league. In addition to an effort to give ex-players a chance to stay in the game, Jim and Dan are also helping bring more “football guys” into front offices with this endeavor.

“Jobs in scouting aren’t always easy to come by,” Nagy said. “Our hope is that we can prepare scouting prospects for the game the same way we do with players, and this year, even coaches. An ex-NFL player who’s got a good handle on what it takes to be a scout is someone who’s a great candidate to be hired.”

Jim and Dan take preparation for working in the business seriously. Among the topics they’ll cover are how a modern scouting department is built, what a scout’s lifestyle looks like, how to write a report, how to watch and grade film, even how to make a school visit (Dan and Jim lead a mock visit at nearby South Alabama). Participants also get to hear from speakers who’ve been in their shoes as ex-players seeking to get into player evaluation. Among previous guest speakers have been Lenny McGill, Raiders; Lake Dawson, Bills; Tim Terry, Chiefs; and Jeff King, Bears.

Though Scout School was launched in 2013 under Nagy’s predecessor, Phil Savage, according to this story, this year might be the best time ever to attend. The cost of registration (a $500 value) is covered this year by NFL Football Operations. Costs include coverage of the two-and-a-half-day course, plus meals, but there’s more. Participants will get the chance to be Group Leaders for the 2024 game. Group Leaders walk with the players during the week, making sure they get where they need to be and helping out as necessary. In addition, a few participants will be given a chance to spend the fall shadowing Reese’s Senior Bowl area scouts as they canvas the country. This allows participants to see, up close, what it takes to be a professional NFL evaluator. Both of these opportunities also give participants an invaluable opportunity to build their respective networks and perhaps create relationships that will lead to interviews.

“You can’t be a great player without great training,” Nagy said. “We think Scout School offers a chance to prepare for a career in scouting unlike any ever offered before. We’re excited about what’s ahead in June.”

Slots are filled on a first come, first-served basis. For more information, email and include “Scout School 2023” in the subject line.