Tuesday night, we had our first Zoom meet-up for aspiring NFL scouts. I hosted it with guest Bob Morris, a longtime friend who’s spent time in the Alliance of American Football and XFL as well as 15 years in the league with the Browns and 49ers. You might also have seen him on our Twitter feed, as he led several ITL-assisted pro days over the last three weeks (like this one).

Bob spent an hour with five members of the college personnel community (Austin Schaffer of Cincinnati, Price Burton of Toledo, Drew Hixson of Kansas, Connor Anderson of Texas State and Zach Gold of Temple). Here are a few takeaways.

  • One question we got was, how do you make your case to a coach when the analytics fit but the coach rejects the player, or vice versa? Bob said it’s best to sit with the coach and calmly make your case. If you can point to a previous player that fits your mold and turned out to be a success, that’s the best way. Examples always trump theory, obviously.
  • Bob was also asked how old is too old when it comes to pursuing a scouting career. He didn’t put a number on things, instead referring to family and relationships to make that decision. With that said, teams are hiring younger and younger evaluators; it’s as simple as that. Bob also observed that, more and more, the job vacated by a veteran scout as he moves from Team A to Team B is usually filled from within by a scouting assistant at Team A.
  • Bob also guarded against spending too much time in self-promotion. He said longtime college head coach Bill Mallory (Indiana, Colorado, Miami of Ohio, Northern Illinois), who served as a mentor of sorts for Bob, always told him to let his work be his sales pitch.
  • One way to do that, Bob said, is to be totally prepared when a scout is in the building. Anticipate what he’ll need, what questions he’ll ask, and where he’ll need to go when he’s making his rounds, whether or not you’re the NFL liaison. I know that’s common sense, but it’s still true.
  • He also said that, while in San Francisco, GM Trent Baalke would ask all the scouts if there was someone they’d met on the road who had what it took to work for the 49ers. Bob mentioned Niners area scout Steve Rubio, formerly the director of player personnel at Tennessee, as one scout who made his way up that way.
  • Also common sense: if you’re at a school with more talent, you’ll have a better chance of getting recognized. Personnel directors and NFL liaisons at Alabama, Ohio State and Texas stand a better chance of becoming scouts because they’re just going to get more face time with NFL evaluators.

This won’t be our last meet-up, and I look forward to connecting other former members of the NFL scouting world with aspiring scouts from the college evaluation community. Interested in joining us? Hit us up on Twitter or contact us here.