On Monday, the ITL team will be speaking to hundreds of college football personnel professionals at the 2019 Personnel Symposium. We’ll be talking about how to climb the ladder in the football personnel business, and specifically, how to get a scouting job in the NFL, for a half-hour, starting at 4:45 p.m. CT.

On Tuesday in this space, we wrote about the experts we’ll bring to the J.W. Marriott. I’m confident they’ll make points, tell stories and bring experiences that any aspiring NFL scout will find beneficial. Still, before a person begins seeking out a new job, it’s important to know what people are getting those jobs. That’s why we looked at the nine scouting assistants who were hired by NFL teams this summer, pulled from our list of all the scouting changes this spring and summer, to get a sense of what and who teams are seeking. Here’s what we found.

Do teams want former NFL players?: Not necessarily, or at least, it’s not a deal-breaker if a candidate hasn’t been a pro player. We counted four of the nine that had played NFL football, and most of them were strictly camp invitees. Based on our research, NFL playing experience was strictly a bonus.

Do teams want former college players?: The answer sure does appear to be ‘yes.’ Eight out of nine scouting assistants hired this term played in college, though it’s certainly not mandatory that it be at the Power 5 level. I’d estimate that at least half of those who played came out of FCS football or lower.

Do teams want people with college personnel experience?: Surprisingly, the answer is no. Though the growing college personnel departments seem like the perfect “farm team” for hires, two-thirds of this year’s hires had never worked in personnel at either the college or pro level. Maybe that’s just a one-year blip, maybe it’s a trend.

Do teams want people with NFL personnel experience?: Again, the answer is no. Six of the nine hires has never worked for an NFL team before.

Based on what we found out, it seems like who a candidate knows is more valuable than what he’s done in his career. Though that might not make much sense to the casual observer, it jibes with what we’ve always believed, and it’s one reason that we’ll talk about networking, relationship-building, and turning an acquaintance into a contact Monday night in Nashville.

I hope you can join us and hear our speakers. You can register here. However, if you can’t, maybe you can join us afterward for a drink. More details on that Thursday.