Tuesday night, a longtime friend, Matt Boockmeier, joined me as we hosted a dozen aspiring NFL scouts on a Zoom call (check it out here). The participants had different backgrounds. Some have college recruiting and personnel jobs; some are from the analytics world; some are mainly putting their takes out on social media. Ultimately, they all have one goal, and that is to become NFL evaluators.
Matt and I tried to dispense our wisdom on how to get a shot, and our main push coalesced around a few main points. However, upon reflection, there are a few more I wish I’d made during the nearly 90-minute session. I decided to share them here.
- Twitter is your instrument. Use it wisely: I can’t tell you how many people I’ve muted whose takes on the 2021 draft class I’d love to be reading regularly. I don’t know if I’ll even vote in a month — it would be the first time I haven’t voted since I was legally able to — but one thing I don’t need is a bunch of condescending Twitter takes, no matter what side you’re on. Still not convinced? Well, believe this: unless your last name is Kraft, Jones, Rooney, etc., how much someone likes you is gonna be a big part of whether or not you get a chance to work in the NFL. The first step in hiring ANYONE these days is reviewing their social media accounts. There’s no reason in the world why you should cut your already-slim chances in half just so you can indulge selfish urges and get a fleeting dopamine shot.
- Look for the win-win: This is a corollary to one of the principles we discussed last night, which is, be willing to volunteer and give your work away, at least for a while. Having professional rivals makes you better, no doubt, but if you can figure out a way to find detente with your competition, do so. Last night, I spoke to about a dozen aspiring scouts. More than half of them have banded together to assemble a manuscript that they are submitting to NFL teams later this year. I think that’s a fabulous idea, especially given that they share a common background. They all get to be part of something that will be incomparably better due to the shared workload, and now they all get to go out and sell themselves on the strength of a more polished, comprehensive work. If you make this a theme of your work life, you’ll find you give and get more good vibes.
- Look for alternate paths: Like everyone on the call last night, I once wanted to be a scout. However, ultimately, I realized my real goal was to work in football. You may find you hit a continual brick wall in trying to work in the league, but you might find another path. If you do, run, don’t walk, down that road. You might have found a different way in, and you better get through it before the door closes.
We’ll talk about scouting and lots more in our Friday Wrap, which comes out (surprise) on Friday. If scouting intrigues you, you’ll dig it. Register for it here. Also, make sure to check out Up Close in Personnel, the awesome podcast hosted by my friend Alex Brown, the Director of Football Recruiting at Rice University. I guested on the show this week, and it comes out Saturday.