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|The Week in Football: May 30-June 5
As we all know, we just completed what was a far-from-typical May, and that's every bit as true in the football world as it was in the world at large.
Though there hasn't been the usual rash of hiring and firing that usually takes place post-draft, we still wanted to take a snapshot of modern scouting departments. We believe it gives us a look at the makeup of front offices and it continues our analysis of where the
industry is going. So that's what we did today.
It's our first look at how departments were built
since we did it in August 2018
, and we think you'll see that the numbers and makeups have changed, as well as the philosophies.
It wasn't easy, and there was a fair amount of guesswork involved. Before we dig into it, here are some of the presumptions we had to make to fit everything into an appropriate box.
- We didn't include teams' general managers in these calculations. It seemed a little redundant.
- We tried to omit everyone with "football administration" in their job titles, i.e., cap experts. We also omitted "player development" types, though in some cases, they might have some personnel role.
- If we judged you to have any kind of pro role (even as a director or vice president), we lumped you under the "pro department" heading. If you were at the VP level, we counted you as a VP, as well.
- Similarly, if we interpreted you as part of the analytics department anywhere below VP, we just counted you under the "analytics" heading.
- In most cases, we classified directors of player personnel alongside vice presidents and assistant general managers. We will see the DPP title as the last rung before GM, at least most often.
Here's what we found.
- First, the profile. The average number of evaluators employed by an NFL team is just over 20 (20.25). Most teams have about six area scouts (5.75 on average) and about three pro scouts, as well as a three-man analytics department. About half the teams employ a combine scout, and most teams have about two scouting assistants. Most teams' upper management (VP of player personnel, director of player personnel, assistant GM, directors and assistant directors or college scouting, national and regional scouts, and any executive or senior scouts) is about five.
- Once again, as they were in 2018, the Browns were the runaway winner in size of staff with 42 scouts involved in college and pro scouting evaluation. The next-closest staffs (the Cardinals and Vikings with 26 each) weren't even close.
- On the other hand (and again, as in 2018), the Browns' cross-state rivals, had the least scouts with eight. We counted things a little differently this year (in 2018, we counted only two Bengals scouts), but the results are mainly the same.
- If you're looking to be a scouting assistant, we couldn't find any listed with the Bengals, Panthers, Seahawks, Patriots, Raiders and Giants. You might try hitting them up first. On the other hand, the Browns have eight, so don't send them a resume.
- Four teams (Raiders, Chiefs, Eagles, Cardinals and, again, the Browns) have either or four or five directors or assistant directors in college scouting, which seems a little heavy.
- The Panthers, 49ers, Giants and Broncos have five members of their pro scouting department, by our count.
- We counted a total of 184 area scouts (or their equivalent) working in the league. We also totaled 50 people holding vice president of player personnel, director of player personnel or assistant GM titles. Meanwhile, we counted 98 scouts on the pro side.
- The Super Bowl champion Chiefs were below-average in area scouts (4), above-average on college directors and assistant directors (4) and right at average in the pro and analytics departments (three each). They've also got the next generation in the building with three total scouting assistants (the average is just under two).
Make sure to check out all our numbers
to see where your team stands. On the other hand, if you're hoping to be a scout someday, make sure you know which teams have needs and which ones don't. In the meantime, here's a look at what else we saw, heard, read and said in the world of college and pro football this week.
Succeed in Football:
We're focused, as always, on trying to help people break into the business, whether you're an aspiring scout or agent, or whether you're a vendor or business owner who wants to bring new services and products to NFL players. That's one reason why we asked longtime Friend of ITL Ric Serritella to put together a sort-of 'sizzle reel' designed to tell our story. It came out really well, and you can check it out
. But there's more. We're also working on a new program that brings former NFL GMs together with the next wave of GMs in a Zoom setting to have a real heart-to-heart discussion on leadership, management, decision-making and all the things they don't tell you before you get to sit in the GM seat. We've got plenty of other exciting things to discuss, as well, and we touch on several of them in this week's blog post at
Succeed in Football
ITL GM Academy: We're more than a week away from kicking off our first-ever program designed specifically for active, director-level scouts and evaluators. We'll bring an intimate group together (via Zoom) with four former NFL GMs:
Doug Whaley (Bills),
Jerry Angelo (Bears),
Tim Ruskell (Seahawks) and
Billy Devaney (Rams). As with all our programs, we'll keep it to a very small group and we won't record anything to encourage candor and truth. We still have room for two more. If you're an NFL evaluator and you're interested in joining us, let us know.
Where's the newsletter?: Normally, the first week of June heralds the return of the
ITL Rising Contract Advisors Newsletter and another year in our series devoted to helping walk first-year agents through a challenging 12 months. However, this hasn't been a typical year, and we still don't have a hard date on when the 2020 NFLPA exam will be held. We've already gathered the success stories of more than a dozen first-year agents who landed players on NFL rosters despite overwhelming odds. However, until we know when the test will be, we're holding off on getting started. Our goal is to kick off the new series later this month. In the meantime, if you're an aspiring contract advisor, we appreciate your patience.
The manuscript is done:
Earlier this week, we turned in a 40,000-word manuscript for our next book (
Earning, Doing & Thinking About the Job of an NFL Evaluator)
to the editor. The next step will be to format it, choose a cover, and otherwise proceed through the steps. We're hoping to have it to the publisher by the middle of the month and on Amazon (like our other book) by late June or early July. By the way, the foreword is written by Saints Assistant GM Jeff Ireland, and he's got some fascinating stories about his days with the Cowboys as well as his work in New Orleans. We can't wait until it's rolling off the presses. Coming soon!
This week, we completed the April-to-May list of players who have moved to a new contract advisor. We counted 17 changes. Some of them were the result of agents leaving agencies, and others were simply due to the usual attrition from small firms to bigger firms. This month's edition of changes is unusual because it features four offensive linemen, a normally very stable position. Make sure to take a look, and if you want more, review all our changes over the past 10 years-plus here.
This week, we had three reports. On Monday, we looked at the developing perception among scouts that they might find closed doors at colleges this fall. What does it mean? How will things change? We also had recruiting buzz and lifted prayers for legendary former college head coach Pat Dye, who passed away at 80 years old this week. On Tuesday, we looked at the pace of scout hiring for one team, a top prospect for '21 and his agent search, and passed along the prospects for another major league. Finally, on Thursday, we checked out a search firm's work at Boston College, the breakdown of this year's draft class, the buzz about the agent search for another top player, and more. Get a look at all our reports this year here.
What's your plan for the next seven days? Probably, like us, you'll be spending some time in prayer and doing what you can to help heal our hurting land. If we're all going to find a way forward, it starts with those of us who have shared the field with others who don't look like us, and win or lose, walked off as brothers in the fraternity of football. In the meantime, let's keep moving forward and building together. Slowly, football is returning and we're learning what the game will look like on both the
fronts this fall. We'll sort out everything we hear and tell you what it means in our
. We'll also use our weekly blog,
Succeed in Football
, to shine a light on the underserved markets or the out-of-the-way pathways into the game. We'll also have five more editions of our
ITL Team Scouting Reports
Kentucky, Liberty, LSU, Louisiana Tech
. We'll also continue to move forward on our book, the
ITL GM Academy
and a few other projects we're considering. In the meantime, it's no less true today than it has been for the past several weeks: we're all in this together. If you are reading this, you are part of the ITL family, and like you, we will do anything for family. Have a blessed weekend, and by all means, be safe.
Inside The League
is the consulting service for the football industry. We work with the contract advisors for about two-thirds of active NFL players as well as the combine trainers, financial planners, scouts, coaches and other pro league organizers that make up the game. Cost is $29.95/month, and you can cancel at any time. To register, click here. Also check out our new free blog, Succeed in Football.
Copyright Neil Stratton and ITL 2015.
Inside the League