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Today we thought we’d wrap up the week with a few more notes on NFL scouts, and where they come from.

  • One of my AFL friends, Scott Bailey with the Los Angeles Kiss, let me know that Colts GM Ryan Grigson was Director of Player Personnel for the AFL’s Buffalo Destroyers just 15 years ago (1999). So, that’s one more recent connection between arena football and high-level people in the game.
  • Though the UFL never turned out to be the pipeline to the pros its founders hoped it would be, the league did help a few budding personnel types hone their skills. Though the Redskins’ Bret Munsey is the only NFL scout who was also a scout for the UFL, Eagles area scout Trey Brown (UCLA) played in the UFL, while Jets scout Rick Courtright coached in the UFL and Rams scout Brian Shields was a personnel intern in the league.
  • One might expect that people in the scouting world got their jobs by playing or coaching at powerhouse college programs that send players to the NFL by the bucketful. Not true. For example, as of last fall, there were three NFL area scouts from Florida State, but also three from Heidelberg and North Carolina A&T; four from DePauw, UMass and Richmond; and even five from that powerhouse of powerhouses, Princeton!
  • If Miami (Ohio) is the ‘cradle of coaches,’ the University of Tennessee is the Cradle of Scouts. As of last fall, there were eight former Vols at the area or regional scout level in the NFL, including Jeremy Breit (Giants), Reggie Cobb (49ers), C.J. Leak (Bills), Mickey Marvin (Raiders), Raleigh McKenzie (Raiders), Kevin Simon (Cowboys), Jon Salge (Titans) and Mike Yowarsky (Titans). That doesn’t even count Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie or Raiders Director of Player Personnel Joey Clinkscales, also UT grads.
  • Being an area scout — the person who goes on the road 11 months out of the year and often lives out of hotels while driving thousands of miles annually — is, no surprise, a young man’s game. Out of 286 scouts from the Director of College Scouting level down to area scout, we found only one (Oakland’s Mickey Marvin) who’s been on the road, in his current position, since 1977. The only other man with similar tenure was former Vikings Director of College Scouting Scott Studwell, who retired this year.
  • Expanding on that, there are six road scouts who started in the 80s; 29 who’ve been on the road since the 90s; 151 who started between 2000-2009; and 98 who got their start in 2010 or later.
  • Youth served again: 198 of the 286 have been on the job for 10 years or less, indicating that (a) there’s a high burnout factor and (b) area scouts are often seen as disposable, especially when a team is looking to tighten its belt.