Today, ITL’s Mark Skol talks to Matt Lindsey, who until February was the Eagles’ Scouting Coordinator. Matt worked his way up, starting as an intern in Philly after first working for Nick Saban in personnel at Alabama. Though he worked for the top program in college football, then rose pretty quickly up the ranks for the Eagles, he was the victim of a regime change, as so often happens in the NFL.
Here’s the second edition in our series.
- What is the one thing NFL draft fans don’t understand about the evaluation process, and about how NFL teams scout players, that they should know?
“I think the biggest thing is how much time goes into it and the amount of work leading up to the draft. It goes back a year, two years, and sometimes even three years. An area scout is going to go into a school three times. There’s going to be another guy who goes in there twice, and there’s probably going to be another person who goes to a game. There are hundreds of hours dedicated to a single player taken in the draft regardless if it’s first round, fifth round or undrafted. They are putting in the work, not only to figure out who the player is on the field, but also off the field. I think fans see a 6-foot-5 player who is 250 pounds and had 10 sacks and automatically think he should be a first-round pick. Well, maybe he shouldn’t be. Maybe he doesn’t have the instincts, or the strength, or the explosion that we look for. Maybe he’s bad off of the field. I don’t think your average NFL fan has a full scope of understanding what all goes in to projecting a player in the NFL.”
- We all know the best advice for a young man hoping to play in the NFL is to play his best football this fall. However, as a former scout, what would you tell a young man’s parents?
“The most important thing they can do for their son is to be supportive. Going into their senior year, there is a lot of pressure on them, and they feel like they need to perform. Whether it comes from their coaches, player or parents, there is a lot of pressure on them. After their senior season, they go into all-star games, combines, pro days, and working out for teams, and it’s a very stressful process for the players. The last thing the parents should do is add stress to that. We see that a lot of times when a family is more of a drain on the player than actually helping the player. The most important thing for the parents is to be supportive, to be the rock for the player and not add stress to what’s already a stressful process for them.”
- If a young person asked you how to break into the scouting business, what advice would you have for him?
“The most important thing is to be involved. Find a way to be involved. Your resume should show you have a passion for football, whether it’s coaching high school football or helping out at the college level or finding a way to work for an arena team or whatever it may be. The door is not always open as far as NFL scouting jobs go, but every single person who works at that level did something before that. If you can get involved in some way, then that’s going to go a long way as far as getting your foot in the door somewhere else. For me, I didn’t play college football. I got my foot in the door in the weight room. From there, I worked at football operations and recruiting at a big college, and then I met people and got a chance to go to the NFL at an entry-level job. I think you just have to find a way to get involved and stay involved. It speaks to the person’s passion if you see them being involved with it.”