If you follow me on Twitter, and you’re new, welcome! I’m glad you’re here.
Anyway, you might have started following ITL due to the scouting news we’ve posted over the past week, and there’s more where that came from. At the same time, there are a few things you need to know that might make the next few weeks a little smoother, especially if your favorite team pops up in one of my tweets.
Changes announced this week have been in the works for weeks, maybe months: I bumped into one of the scouts released this week last fall, at a college football game. He told me then he would probably be out right after the draft. It had nothing to do with his performance, by the way. It was something else entirely, which brings me to my next point.
Scout terminations, more often than not, are related to relationships, not performance: Partly because scouting is so subjective, it’s very hard to measure a scout’s effectiveness. That leads to scouts and executives being hired and fired primarily due to their relationships with the GM or others in leadership positions.
Scouts usually work on two-year contracts: That’s why, sometimes, a new GM will come in and not make many (or any) changes. If all or most of his scouts have a year left on their deals, they might as well spend the year and see who’s good and not so good, then release them with no further obligations.
It takes a while for a scouting department to come together: Scouting departments are a little like an offensive line. They take a little while to mesh, especially if they are working for a first-time GM. This time next year, you might be really, really excited about the players your favorite team has picked. On the other hand, maybe you won’t. If you aren’t, be patient. Things will probably improve.
A good QB can really cover for a struggling scouting staff (and a bad one can mask a good scouting staff): Going back the last 10 years, the Patriots didn’t pick in the first round four seasons (2013, 2016, 2017 and 2020), and none of their six picks have gone to the Pro Bowl (according to Wikipedia). It’s been a bit of a rough patch, but because their QBs have been Brady and Jones, they’ve remained a pretty successful franchise. Bottom line, your team’s scouts are probably not as bad (or as good) as you think they are.
At the end of the day, getting to understand why some teams draft well and others don’t takes time. If you’d rather learn more, I recommend my book, Scout Speak, which is loaded with war stories, insights and weighty quotes from dozens of scouts, active and former. It’s a quick read and, I think, a fun one, too. It’s also under $13. Check it out. If you’re not a big reader, it’s also available on Audible.
Still not sold? Register for our newsletter, the Friday Wrap. It’s free, and chock full of information on scouts, agents and the business of football. I think you’ll like it.