The NFL is only a few years old, and there are many debates about who has been the best of the best at finding talent. There have been some amazing finds in recent years with players like Cam Newton going undrafted because he was too skinny for scouts to notice him. Who do you think has contributed most to scouting?
The “best scouting departments nfl” is a list that ranks the best NFL scouts ever. The list includes scouts from every team, including the Cleveland Browns and the Miami Dolphins.
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — The purpose was to locate “Mount Scoutmore.” Make a checklist of the most important and outstanding NFL scouts throughout history. Poll those who know, conduct the research, comb through the archives, and discover four or five people who laid the groundwork for what the profession has become, as well as those who have advanced it through the decades.
On his route to Canton, Bill Polian worked his way up from scout to personnel director to general manager to club president. Or others like Ron Wolf, Bobby Beathard, and George Young, who progressed through the ranks of club management throughout their gold-jacketed careers.
Scouts, on the other hand. On the road, scouts who bag hotel points and drive interstates. Guys like Scott DiStefano of the Denver Broncos’ personnel department, who is currently in his fourth decade with the franchise.
Mount Scoutmore turned out to be a sculptor’s worst nightmare. What began as a kind of homage to scouts turned into an almost unsolvable jigsaw — one that lacked corner pieces and looked different to everyone who was asked for their opinion.
We didn’t identify the profession’s four or five undisputed ancestors, but we did uncover some answers. To build up a career in scouting, which is still kept under wraps by most people who aren’t in it, certain qualities are required.
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“The scouts, they watch these athletes, get to know these individuals, they are the cornerstone of the process,” Broncos general manager George Paton said.
“Scouts on the road? Their influence is nearly incalculable “Bill Polian, the general manager of the Hall of Fame, stated. “Evaluation is a lifeline, and if your company isn’t strong at that level, you won’t prosper. You’re not going to be able to do it.”
To acquire their opinions on scouting, more than 50 persons were approached. We were looking for no-brainers and must-haves, but the names kept rolling in.
The first person I called was a long-serving general manager. When given the desired specifications, he replied it would be “no issue,” and then proceeded to identify 14 people. All of them were labeled “absolutes.”
Later, he returned to offer three more. So it started.
Perhaps a retired scouting director would be more authoritative. At the time, I have no stake in the game. There were 16 names on the list.
A long-serving scouting director stated he wanted a moment to think about it. His list of 11 names came the following day.
As one Western region scout put it, “We’re like players, and the people we’ve been next to, or who were there when we first arrived and helped or pushed us, are significant to us. I believe you may be insulated in your own group since your teammates are your teammates. And the folks you’ll be most acquainted with are those who were in it when you were, or are now.”
In the end, each of those names is critical to the evolution of the profession, yet naming them all may not benefit any of them. Maybe it’s the several aspects of the work that matter: The Imaginative, The Grindstone, the eye, and the instructor.
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Every squad, according to Wolf, “must” have someone like Brocato on its roster.
Other visionaries included Hall of Famer Bill Nunn, who was a vital influence in exposing players from historically black colleges and universities to a predominantly white NFL as a newspaper writer and editor. Nunn’s assessments of those athletes revealed what clubs were lacking. Nunn spent over 50 years with the Steelers after being recruited by Art Rooney.
In one of scouting’s most treasured memories, after receiver John Stallworth ran an unremarkable 40-yard dash time — on a bad field in bad weather — during a pre-draft workout in 1974 for scouts at Alabama A&M, Nunn decided to stay an extra day and had Stallworth run again. The time was much better and Nunn — the only scout who stayed — convinced Steelers coach Chuck Noll to take him, leading to Stallworth’s Hall of Fame career in black and gold.
Nunn’s work had a significant role in the Steelers selecting HBCU players such as Stallworth and fellow Hall of Famers Donnie Shell (South Carolina State) and Mel Blount (Southern), as well as others such as L.C. Greenwood (Arkansas A&M), who played a significant role in the Steelers’ four Super Bowl wins over six seasons.
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Teams typically send their entry-level scouts to make a trip or two with Brocato to learn the business, according to the late Floyd Reese, former general manager of the Oilers/Titans. As they put together a draft-heavy Super Bowl XXXIV roster, Reese always entrusted Brocato with the ultimate say. Seventeen starters were selected or signed as undrafted rookies in the game.
The professors demonstrate how to interact with security officers, receptionists, strength coaches, former roommates, and high school coaches. The professors offer up a world beyond the stopwatch and tape, items that are generally only available to local scouts.
As a result, Mount Scoutmore did not come to be as planned. Maybe it’s a failure to succeed. About a profession that isn’t for everyone, but provides the basis for the NFL draft and its scouting combine, which has become a nationally broadcast spectacle.
And there are visionaries, grinders, excellent eyes, and teachers on that list of names that the general managers frequently peruse after all of the choices have been made, ready to start the process all over again the following day.
The “top 32 picks nfl draft” is a list of the best NFL scouts ever. This includes those who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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