As we head toward the 2019 Personnel Symposium in Nashville Monday and Tuesday, we’ve already told you about the people who’ll be on stage Monday afternoon and we’ve given you a profile of the people who got hired as NFL scouting assistants this year. Next up, it probably makes sense to talk to some of the young scouts already in the game to get their insights.

We spoke to about a half-dozen young people who are area scouts or seasoned scouting assistants over the past week, and their responses were excellent. Obviously, they talked about the value of hard work, of proving yourself to the right people, and of how their passion gave them a persistence others didn’t possess. However, some made points I hadn’t thought of, and these are the ones I wanted to focus on today. Here are a few selected quotes.

  • “Always be available. I was given opportunities early on simple because I was always around and always in the building. I was able to build a rapport with my bosses quicker than my counterparts.” The importance of being a ‘gym rat’ kinda gets lost sometimes, and I feel there’s a temptation to exhale once you get to a certain level. For those people who are willing to make their job their hobby, as well, there are certain rewards.
  • “It is vitally important to have mentors and champions in the field.  It could be a GM, a director, or an area scout and most likely it will be a combination of all the above. Being able to trust and bounce things off people is vitally important to keep you moving forward!” The idea of having a mentor is something that seems old-school, almost passe’, to a lot of people these days, but I still think it’s essential. At ITL, we have been humbled to serve in a semi-mentor capacity with plenty of people in the game. I’ve also benefited from being a mentee, which I’ve discussed in this space. It’s a valuable relationship.
  • “You’d be surprised stories you hear about people that say they desperately want to get in, and have had chances, but then when their name gets brought up you hear that they’re lazy or they didn’t put in the extra work to stand out when they got their shot.” In such an intensely competitive environment where everyone is watching, you’d expect that there would be few people slacking off, but it happens. So many in this game think they’ve made it when they secure a college personnel job, an internship or a scouting assistant position, but that’s not true. You can never take your foot off the gas in this game.

There’s a lot more to tell, and a lot more to talk about. We’ll have more details about Monday and Tuesday in Nashville in our Friday Wrap, which comes out tomorrow afternoon (you can register for it here). We’ll also have final details about our post-presentation plans Monday night; we’re still working everything out and nailing down a few final details. Stay tuned!