We’re just days from NFL scouts descending on training camps, agent hopefuls taking the NFLPA exam, and college players reporting to school to prep for the 2016 schedule. This means that there are several groups focusing on being their best for the ’16 season.
With that in mind, this week, we’re asking former NFL scouts three common questions we get from fans, aspiring scouts and parents of prospects, three major groups that read this blog. Today, we’ll kick things off with former Browns Vice President of Player Personnel Morocco Brown. Roc, as his friends know him, has plenty of words of advice for almost anyone interested in the game behind the game. Here’s a transcript of his conversation with ITL’s Mark Skol.
- What is the one thing NFL draft fans don’t understand about the evaluation process, and about how NFL teams scout players, that they should know?
“How deep teams dig to find out about the player’s personal character and football character. We really want to know who they are. The tape is one thing because it’s so accessible, and you can watch it from anywhere on the planet as long as you have Wi-Fi on your Ipad. That’s going to be there, and there is plenty of time to watch the tape. But going into the school, talking to them, finding out contacts, going to the guy’s high school and talking to people who grew up with them and talking to his family down the stretch . . . people don’t realize how much goes into that to really figure out who is this guy — not only who we will invest money in, but someone who we will let join our organization. A lot of resources are put into that. Psychologically. Background information. Who is this guy? Does he love football? I don’t think they understand the magnitude of what goes into it.”
- We all know the best advice for a young man hoping to play in the NFL is to play his best football this fall. However, as a former scout, what would you tell a young man’s parents?
“During his senior year, I would tell them not to apply any extra pressure on him. Because then, it turns into what you get out of the game (more than) just playing the game. Your thought process turns and it’s not about going out and doing my best and helping my teammates and university win the game; it’s, ‘where am I getting picked here, and did I do this or do that?,’ rather than just playing the game and doing what you’ve done to get to where you are your whole life. When you start thinking about the monetary part of everything, it can be a dangerous slippery slope.”
- If a young person asked you how to break into the scouting business, what advice would you have for him?
“Seek out contacts and follow up with them. If you do that, the main thing to do is to not quit or get discouraged when you are told no. In my case, I only had one team call back out of the 32 I sent my resume, and I wound up being one guy out of seven auditioning for an intern position. If I would have listened to all of those letters that said “no, no, no,” I would have just quit.”