Last night, former Falcons area scout Rodrik David (if you don’t know his story, read this) joined ITL clients in an online Zoom session. Here are a few highlights:
On whether he could see big backs coming back into popularity on the NFL level: “I absolutely believe it’s it’s a cyclical game, and there is a growing place for that big back as you get more safeties playing down in the box and schemes change. . . Then you start bringing all the other factors of those guys, and they’re talking now about 18 games in a year and those guys take a beating. You know, the war of attrition comes in.”
On dwindling scout access at schools during the Covid era: “There are schools . . . where you are living on the phone with anybody you can find from that school that you can talk to, when you almost hope that you have some coaches get hired there that you’ve met along the way because they can be your resource.”
On how schools that bar scouts from practice penalize the the Day 3 prospects: “You’re focused on those top-round guys in game warmups. Some of those guys that you really like late, it’s harder to watch those guys (in pre-game). Those are the guys that are, a lot of times, you just kind of (see) reps in practice because they’re workers, they’re dudes that are just doing everything right, giving themselves a chance. . . And so those types of guys, that was where after the 2021 draft, that is where it felt like it was hard to really pound the table for any of those guys.”
On how to parse through the info you get from friendly sources when evaluating a prospect: “So you probably won’t get the warts, but it is with anybody you talk to, what you want to hear is is really what I would call a consistency of message. You know, (Bears QB) Justin Fields, I was just speaking specifically about Justin. I mean, if I hear one thing, like he was a leader from when he came in, had a voice from Day 1, and then somebody else talked about, it took him time to get going, then all of a sudden, I’ve got to reconcile that, and that’s where the phone calls keep going. Now if I get the high school coach, maybe a coach that was with him early . . . and he says it took him time to compete . . . like, OK, like this is who this kid is. He’s going to to take time, but when he takes a room, he takes a room. That consistency of message for me was always really, really important. You get that same message, and it’s probably going to tell you that’s a that’s a pretty good indicator that this is this is all lining up.”
On how technology is changing the way scouts and college personnel directors talk: “Most big colleges, Power Fives, I know a number of the MACs, will (use Catapult). It’s basically your tracer. It’s tracking steps, yardage and then it’s going to measure that top speed and then top speed for how long. . . This is part of the normal strength and conditioning cycle. . . Now it’s got to match (what we see with our own eyes). If we’re getting stuff that says things at 22 and he looks like he’s about a 20.5 Catapult . . . you may get those guys that may have a little bit of an asterisk or something like, hey, we just got to go back double-check this. But it is absolutely accepted and colleges are really leaning on that because they understand. I mean they want to put their best information on their players out. . . And it is absolutely something that’s in reports, it’s talked about, it is leaned on, especially as we don’t have some of that good testing data that’s kind of always been part of your spring process that guys have gotten used to.”
We’ve got a pretty robust Zoom schedule ahead over the next couple months. Some sessions will be no cost, some are free to subscribers, and some are priced reasonably. Some deal with scouting/evaluation, some are aimed at new agents and learning the game, and some at NIL. For more details and to keep up, make sure you’re reading the Friday Wrap. You can register for it here.