I wanted to wrap the week with a few last thoughts from former Jets West Coast area scout Joe Bommarito that didn’t fit neatly into one topic.

  • We all know height, weight and 40 are critical for players seeking NFL careers, and of course, production on the field. However, three things (in order) that scouts also look for are “good character people, good work habits, and smart guys who can learn.”

I think not enough is said about a player’s ability to process the volume of information that goes into a modern NFL playbook, but it’s a thing former Dolphins scout Mike Murphy also referenced last week. I remember a SWAC running back that a client represented a couple years ago. This player had led the SWAC, no slouch among FBS conferences, in rushing, and could catch the ball, as well. However, he was snubbed in the draft as well as after the draft, and had to settle for a tryout. Once he arrived with the team, he was immediately intimidated by the playbook and didn’t last long. The ability to turn diagrams and terminology into instant comprehension is critical.

  • Even in today’s hyper-media era, Joe said that doesn’t see the media as having a major impact on the draft process, simply because teams spend so much money and time on evaluation. “Scouts are focused every day on evaluating players at school visits, watching tape, going to practice, talking to coaches and staff, and interviewing players,” he said. “The scout is paid to form his own opinion on players.”

Interesting take. Scouts I’ve talked to are all over the map on this question. Some say their bosses are so sensitive to criticism that media influence creeps into the process. Others, like Joe, claim it’s much easier for decision-makers to focus on what a team’s evaluators have provided.

  • Speaking of the media, Joe said that nothing that happens from January to April has as much impact on a player’s draft value as what he did in-season. “Each game that he plays is like an interview,” Joe said. “He has ten of them, plus any bowl games. The all-star games, combine, and pro days are all additional parts to a puzzle that at the end will show you what a player really is.”

This is something I’ve always wrestled with as draft gurus constantly claim that players have improved their ‘stock’ at an all-star game, the combine or his pro day. Fortunes definitely improve for some in the spring, but probably not as drastically as fans are led to believe.