Look, I know you wanna play in “The League,” but it’s no secret that the odds are against you, so you need every edge you can get.
Let me ask you a question: Who are the most influencial people in grading your football talent?
That’s right, scouts. So knowing that, doesn’t it make sense to get inside the mind of a scout to understand what they’re looking for when they’re evaluation you?
Of course, it does. That way, you can consciously work on getting better at those things, and ultimately increase your chances of being an attractive player to them.
The other day, I came across an article called “The NFL scout: Constantly on the prowl for the next big talent” from USA Today that talks about the life of Bob Morris, back when he was a scout with the Cleveland Browns.
Today, I’ll be sharing some of the things that stuck out to me as being important information to know from that article.
Let’s get to it.
What Are Scouts Looking For?
The first thing that stuck out to me, was the article’s revelation of what scouts look for in-general, when they’re scouting players:
(Bob Morris) is searching for that rare combination of size, strength, quickness, acceleration and speed that will give a college star a shot to make a difference in the NFL. Poise, drive, confidence, intelligence, selflessness and overall good character in a young man can help him be less affected by fame and fortune and be single-minded in his desire to improve the Browns.
If I wanted to play pro, I’d take that information, do some research, and do my best to improve in all of those areas.
Let’s say you’re a safety. You could scroll through a list of all the players drafted in the latest draft (you should be able to find this at NFL.com). As you go through it, find all of the safeties that were drafted.
Every time you found a safety on the list, you could just click on the player’s name to look at their Combine numbers to get a feel for the kind of size, strength, quickness, acceleration, and speed scouts want to see in players at that specific position.
(Note: If you play a position other than safety, just type in your position in the search box in the upper right hand corner, and the post with information for your position should show up somewhere in the results.)
Scouts are Watching When You Least Expect
In the USA Today article, they talked about about how Bob stood at the 35-yard line watching the LSU players warm up before a game.
He even observed how the players left the field as part of his evaluation:
Unsuspecting Alabama and LSU players continued to be scrutinized when they came off the field. Did they cheer for teammates? Were they part of the group, or did they stand apart? How did they react to adversity?
The moral of the story is always be on your p’s and q’s if you’re somewhere where a scout could be watching you. As I’m sure you know, character concerns can help or hurt your draft stock; sometimes dramatically, depending on the team.
So I know it ain’t easy, but it’s smart do your best to always conduct yourself with the “poise, drive, confidence, intelligence, selflessness and overall good character.”
Hey, that’s what the scouts are lookin’ for, not me. They’re the ones with your NFL future in their hands and laptops. You might wanna give them what they wanna see, if you really want to play on Sundays.
Look, with all the competition you have to compete with for a shot in the NFL, you need as much going for you as you can.
They Have Inside Information on You
What really hit me was when the article revealed just how much scouts know about your interactions with teammates.
In a nutshell, if you treat your teammates like crap, scouts can and will find out.
So watch how you treat everybody. In the USA Today article, Bob found out about the kind of music a player listened to before games, even.
He even found out about a prospect’s tendency to whine from the kid’s strength and conditioning staff and coaches, for crying out loud.
As you head into winter conditioning, summer training, and fall camp, keep these tips in mind. After all, they came from the mouth of a scout himself.
You never know; the “character” concern card might just be the one that decides your pro football future.
The competition is steep. You need every edge you can get.
Catch me on Twitter! @alvingrier
Do you have any additional advice for players when it comes to impressing scouts? Leave a comment below.