Each year for most of the last decade, we’ve spent the fall months looking at each of the 32 scouting departments at Inside the League. We call it our Know Your Scouts series. Given that not all teams publicize their hiring and firing, our review always turns up changes we didn’t know about.

What’s more, however, we take a snapshot of every team’s scouts and executives, looking at their length of service with the team, how long they’ve been in scouting, etc. We also include a note about each one’s entry into scouting, relationship to others in the department, or anything else of interest. For people seeking to break into the industry, I think this is invaluable information because it provides context for how others have made it to the NFL.

So far, we’ve profiled 10 teams. Already, we’ve passed along some interesting tidbits on the scouts who evaluate talent and how they got their jobs.

  • I’d say only a third of the scouts and executives we’ve featured so far have NFL playing experience, and that’s down quite a bit from 10 years ago, when we started. The idea that today’s evaluator needs to be an ex-NFL players — or even played the game at all — is definitely changing.
  • Three current or former members of the Chiefs scouting staff (Assistant Director of Player Personnel Ryan Poles, Area Scout Trey Koziol and former NFS scout Rob Francois) played together at Boston College.
  • Current Chiefs NFS scout Cassidy Kaminski really took the road less traveled to Kansas City, serving as a personnel assistant with the Shrine Bowl while simultaneously writing for Ourlad’s, a draft service, from 2015-18. He even worked for an Australian team in 2016.
  • I’d estimate that 20-30 percent of each scouting staff has members who are directly related to someone in the organization. There’s no denying that family is a major consideration when staffing departments.
  • Maybe it’s because of analytics’ rise, but there are a handful of scouts who either played baseball at some level or worked for a Major League Baseball team before crossing over. For example, Bears National Scout Chris Prescott got started working in minor league baseball, while Broncos pro personnel director A.J. Durso played in college and Browns V.P. of Player Personnel Glenn Cook was even drafted by the Cubs. 
  • It’s interesting how many scouts worked for MLB or NBA teams in some role, while others worked for NFL agencies or were agents themselves. It’s just a reminder that relationships are key to breaking in, and you can find those relationships anywhere.
  • There are numerous examples of scouts who started out publishing their own scouting insights. They include Brian Fisher (Bills) as well as Kaminski.
  • Scouts with two teams worked in different capacities for Inside the League before being hired by NFL teams.

If you aspire to be an NFL scout someday, I encourage you to see for yourself where scouts came from by checking out our Know Your Scouts series. I guarantee you’ll gain valuable insights.

Also, make sure you check out today’s Friday Wrap, in which we discuss the backgrounds of today’s general managers. It’s valuable information if you’re interested in climbing the NFL evaluation mountain. You can register for it here