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Is it time to get rid of regional scouting?

Discussion in 'Miami Dolphins Forum' started by Fin D, Dec 4, 2017.

  1. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    Since the dawn of sports leagues, teams have had scouts set up throughout the land in regions that made sense travel wise. These scouts, would have to be learned in as many positions as possible. They had to develop relationships with coaches, sports writers, etc. on that region so they could get first crack at the next unknown prospect. At the time there was no other way to do this but have a man on the ground, pounding the pavement and sleeping in motels.

    The problem, as I see it, is that it is virtually impossible to be well versed enough in every position group to properly identify the best prospects from the chaff. There is a very different set of standards for a lineman and a WR. Sure, like a dog show judge, you can have the desired measurables memorized for the breed (read: positional group) you're looking at, but picking the right player is more than measurables. If it wasn't, you wouldn't even need scouts, just a spreadsheet with everyone's info.

    I think there's a romanticism linked to the old regional scout way of doing things. The weary scout, decades long into his career, finally hits upon the cornfed slab of meat LB in the middle of East Butthole, Indiana, with off the charts athleticism and "aw shucks" charm, who never even played football, then lights the NFL on fire, hits the HoF and thanks the scout that found him all those years ago...fade to black, cue credits. Its a great story...it just doesn't exist or happen enough to merit doing it this way.

    Nowadays though, we have vast amounts of information in our pockets. Leagues are spending more money than they've ever had. There's pro days, combines, special games for scouting players, etc....so why the hell not have scouts who specialize in position groups? Let's make our scouts experts in the actual positions and not experts of a region. If the best lineman coming out in a given year and the scout in that area is great at LBs and QBs and weak at linemen, then is that best use of resources?

    I say, screw the undiscovered gem, it is time this team finds the gems from groups everyone already knows about. Get specialists and to hell with regions.
     
  2. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    Given the amount of money that NFL teams bring in these days, I don't see why teams should have to choose. Employ an army of guys. They aren't paid more than regular people most of the time, as far as I can tell. Have scouts that go to games, and others that watch a ton of college film looking for certain positions.

    Other than just being cheap and containing costs, why most NFL teams only employ about a dozen scouts is really weird to me, given that its a multi billion dollar industry.
     
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  3. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    Toying with your stance, I think the guys who should be regional should be the interviewers. Guys who specialize in behavior. I think you can learn plenty with tape. If a guys tape is good and his interview is good, then send the positional group specialist to watch him live.
     
  4. hitman8

    hitman8 Well-Known Member

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    Yes, I agree that scouting needs a definite overhawl and modernization. With the amount of busts and failed drafts teams have these days you would think they would figure out a better way to do things. Seems it's just old conservative thinking getting in the way of progress.
     
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  5. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I've always thought to myself, "I bet there's dozens of QB's out there sitting on their couch on Sundays that could blow Cutler/RT/whoever out of the water." If you just look at the sheer volume of Division I, II, and III schools, plus all the HS quarterbacks that don't go to college because of bad grades, family businesses, knocking up their girlfriends...whatever...you're talking thousands of prospects at QB and tens of thousands at other positions. It's impossible for a room full of scouts to look at them all using conventional methods.

    These days though, you can look at 30 prospects an hour if you're compiling highlight reels online and embracing technology. That means when a scout if flying from San Fran to Texas, he could look at 100+ kids on the flight and find more diamonds in the rough. But the system isn't setup that way on any level....which means you're hitting YouTube and randomly searching instead of visiting a school's website. That's really on the lower level football programs as much as it is the scouts.

    I think everything needs an overhaul to fit the modern world.
     
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  6. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    Its like the story of the cake with a cut top.

    A young lady is baking her first cake. Before she pops it in the oven, she cuts off an inch from the top. Her friend is watching her do this and asks her, "Why did you cut the top off?". She says, that's the way my mom always did and she taught me and it tastes better. So the young lady think about it and decided to call her mom. "Why do we cut the top off the cake before we bake it?" Her mom replies, "because that's how you're grandmother did it and she taught me, plus it tastes better." So now she calls grandma. 'Grandma, how come you taught mom to cut the top off the cake?" Grandma says, "I had a small oven. Cake wouldn't fit and your mother was bugging me with stupid questions so i told her it tastes better that way."
     
  7. danmarino

    danmarino Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I've always believed this, Key. For every one NFL player there are 50 other kids who just didn't get the breaks, but are just as talented.
     
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  8. texanphinatic

    texanphinatic Senior Member

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    THIS!

    This seems like overkill to me. Even if we identified players, there is only so much room to actually bring them in and do camp evals. I am not sure burning tape of some high school QB that knocked up his girlfriend is really a good resource use. I do think the cream generally does rise to the top. There will certainly be hidden gems, but is it worth it to dig for them over focusing on the main talent? Plus, can you really draw a comparison between said HS kid and, say, Josh Rosen this year?
     
  9. Dolphin North

    Dolphin North Well-Known Member

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    Or do both. There's no shortage of money. Have position specialists moving all over the place hitting the hot prospects and really figuring out if they would fit with our schemes, check technique, etc. and have regional "hidden gem hunters" as well. The only pitfall might be information overload, but a good GM should be able to pull it all together with the help of his chief of scouting operations.
     
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  10. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    Yeah, I guess, I just think that would be a waste of money. How often is that gem hidden vs how good would a team be if they hit on 20% of their prospects?
     
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  11. Mike8272

    Mike8272 Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    Regional scouting does make sense from a logistical point of view, but I see no reason why a team cannot employ more specialised scouts. At the very least you could have someone that looks offense and another defense, or if the money is available and the region is rich have positional scouts.

    In someways I don’t think specialists are a major requirement. If people watch enough tape and know what they are looking for they’ll at least be able to highlight prospects that fit the bill. For example if you want really athletic O-Linemen your regional scouts should be able to identify them and put them on the list for further investigation, perhaps by someone more specialised in the position.

    For me, I think the existing framework works, but with the money in the game and teams wanting to get an edge, I think teams should be open to new ways in identifying players to find those diamonds in the rough.
     
  12. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    Does it work though? I doubt the track record in the top 3 rounds of any GM is over 50%.
     
  13. Mike8272

    Mike8272 Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    True, but it is unlikely that any person will hit on every pick even if they are provided with lots of extra data beyond what they currently have. If every region was supported by an individual scout for each position there is still going to be hits and misses come draft time, perhaps more scouts providing more extensive and specialised reports would help improve the hit percentage, but there’s no guarantee that it would be markedly different than right now.

    With that said, any edge or improvement in hit percentage would be worthwhile to any team.
     
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  14. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    Yeah, but I'm not suggesting they'll be close to a 100%, but what if it was 60 or 75? I mean perennial powerhouse.
     
  15. Unlucky 13

    Unlucky 13 Just a Guy Club Member

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    There will always be misses as long as the league is so highly dependent on the colleges to select which HS get a chance to play college football, see the field, and get developed from 18-22 years old. They're outscourcing a huge amount of that work, essentially.

    Its why I'm highly in favor of a NFL academy, where they offer a smaller number of players (100-200 perhaps) the chance to basically go to NFL school straight out of HS, to be under the constant eye of the league, and to have their development molded from the moment they graduate 12th grade. You still can't ever get to a 100% hit rate, but if you add 50-100 of those young men at age 21 into the draft pool every year, you're first three rounds are going to be gold compared to now.

    AND you're much more likely to have players who are dedicated to the game of football, who take it seriously, and who know WTF they're doing in a NFL scheme before they get to a pro locker room.
     
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  16. Dolphin North

    Dolphin North Well-Known Member

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    Someone would have to see what percentage they think would hit and to what degree. Finding a solid swing backup lineman vs finding Cam Wake are 2 very different things. Then they'd need to estimate the money they think that would bring in returns based on hitting every X number of years. I have no idea, but there is certainly enough money. There is also an echo effect even if you only hit once in a while because making the team better makes fans more loyal even after those players have finished their careers. Probably hard to even estimate the true dollar value, but a team that is struggling to find a winning formula that has money at the top, like the Dolphins, might want to consider it.
     
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  17. djphinfan

    djphinfan Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    A good scout can evaluate all the positions..
     
  18. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    Then we should just call the good scout store and order one for each region.
     
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  19. Rickysabeast

    Rickysabeast Royale With Cheese

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    Shouldn't this be a general NFL thread?
     
  20. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    "I say, screw the undiscovered gem, it is time this team finds the gems from groups everyone already knows about. Get specialists and to hell with regions."

    Reading...it's whats for dinner....
     
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  21. djphinfan

    djphinfan Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I definitely can see specialists making their way in the industry..
     
  22. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    i just think it is time for an honest assessment of the whole system. It is going to be rare for a scout to know the right everything about every position group. Are there some? Sure. Is there enough of them to go around that the whole system should be built on that rarity? Obviously not. Just look at the success rates.
     
  23. djphinfan

    djphinfan Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    I mean there're more and more resources being put in towards the scouting aspect..so maybe there is some room for some specialists...

    I don't see the system being the problem, I think its just hard to find the right people..

    I actually think its gotten so big there should be a school devoted to it, and the the top students could move on to teams..

    usually when you have a craft, and it gets somewhat popular, a school or program of some sort follows.
     
  24. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    I think it would be easier to get people if they became specialists.
     
  25. Puka-head

    Puka-head My2nd Fav team:___vs Jets

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    I'm looking for a job. I'll take Washington Alaska and the Pacific Islands.

    But I want to scout for the cheerleader team too.
     
  26. Puka-head

    Puka-head My2nd Fav team:___vs Jets

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    OK, that was funny. But how do you cut the top off the cake BEFORE you bake it?
     
  27. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    Which parallel dimension do you live in that cakes only have tops after they've been baked.
     
  28. Puka-head

    Puka-head My2nd Fav team:___vs Jets

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  29. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    When you made the post before this one, I realized I screwed up (I'm obviously not a baker). I tried to salvage it by making a joke that you were objecting to it not having a top, instead of it being a wet batter. That apparently failed too.

    Lol, I suck.
     
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  30. Puka-head

    Puka-head My2nd Fav team:___vs Jets

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    Change oven to refrigerator in the first story and you'll be good to go. And now you know how to bake a cake so alls well that ends well.

    And we know you suck. What I need to know is if you swallow, cuz mean people suck, nice people swallow.
     
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  31. Fin D

    Fin D Derp Sherpa Club Member

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    Gargle?
     
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  32. Puka-head

    Puka-head My2nd Fav team:___vs Jets

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    That's just showing off!
     
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  33. KeyFin

    KeyFin Season Ticket Holder Club Member

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    One thing that stands out to me is that scouts are often distanced from the organization to some degree in order to objectively evaluate talent. In other words, they don't usually say, "Go look at this kid in Tampa since he looks like the next Manning." It is the scout putting the guy on the team's radar in the first place and he/she has their own evaluation process. For instance, our tax guy back when I was a kid also recruited for FSU. He spent thousands of hours on the road back in the 80's and could talk football all day long....very smart guy. Side note- he also killed himself in his 50's over the stress that came with the job.

    I'm sure the recruiting system has modernized a lot in the past 30+ years, but you still have to let your scouts have enough freedom to independently evaluate talent. So I think the next big thing in recruiting is predictive analytics to identify talent earlier so you're looking at the right people. And the way technology has evolved, you can view a lot lot of candidates at a low level these days without leaving your living room.

    I'm not sure if I've shared this here before, but my youngest kid received a recruiting letter from Duke University when she was in 6th grade. They wanted to bring her in for advanced standardized testing to possibly qualify for a scholarship, and I thought that it was absolutely insane that they're tracking kids that young. But I think that's the direction football is headed since you want to build relationships as early as possible in the process.
     
  34. Fin-O

    Fin-O Initiated Club Member

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    The fact they do not breakdown scouting in a more thorough fashion sounds puzzling.

    But this is a billion dollar industry, if it were better to scout in a different manner, they likely would have by now.
     

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