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This weekend, Rick Serritella from NFL Draft Bible posted the video from our seventh annual seminar held a couple weeks ago in Indianapolis. It’s here, and of course, it’s totally free.

Today I want to talk about the first half of the presentation ex-Browns GM Ray Farmer gave (Rick broke it into two parts). Here are a few notes and observations after the second listen to the video. Note: These notes are only based on the first 26 minutes of Part 1. I’ll be back with more notes to wrap Part 1 Tuesday.

  • Ray’s a pretty selfless individual and not a ‘me’ guy, and I think that comes through here. He’s a real person, very approachable.
  • Ray mentions that he doesn’t have any real hobbies. He just watches football. That’s pretty cool. I find myself looking for escapes when it comes to my free time, and I think most people in the game are similar, but not Ray. It shows what kind of a passion he has for the game and everything around it.
  • The first question he handles involves game tape. When he’s answering this question, keep in mind that he’s looking at it from the standpoint of a pro scout, not a college scout (Ray got the Browns job because he excelled at running the pro department in KC). Everything he says here involves players who are not draft-eligible; they’re players who are looking for an in-season tryout.
  • He discusses how the pro scouting intern is the first person who looks at film that comes in, be it game film or a YouTube clip. If you’re looking to be an NFL intern, maybe it’s smarter to go the pro scouting route rather than another college scouting assistant. Pro scouting involves fewer people, meaning more opportunities.
  • Ray was the only man in the pro department when Scott Pioli came to Kansas City to take over as GM in January ’09. For two years, he was the only guy in the pro department. If you’re looking to intern with a team, keep that in mind. There are just more opportunities on the pro side.
  • This is pretty basic, but Ray points out that agents who think they’re buddies with a scout or director are only truly connected to them if they have their cell number. “I probably shouldn’t be telling you that secret . . . but that’s the reality,” Ray said.
  • All NFL teams carry emergency lists by position. If you have a client who’s a street free agent, and he’s not at least on a team’s emergency list the September after he was draft-eligible, his NFL chances are nil, at least to me.
  • Ray said that sometimes practice squad players are cut simply to prove a point. They don’t want PS players getting comfortable. He also said it’s important not to look at the practice squad as a developmental position. Show promise or you’re gone.
  • There’s a constant push and pull among a player’s ‘champions’ on the team. There’s always someone who pushed hard to bring in a player, and he hears it from others if that player doesn’t perform. Hey, it’s human nature.
  • Ray pointed out that Steelers OB James Harrison was cut 11 times before he made the team once and for all. This is why a player has to stay in shape and keep charging.