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JWarren14
04-27-2010, 01:56 PM
Link (http://www.houstontexans.com/news/Story.asp?story_id=6136)

The Texans' scouting department put more than nine months of work and countless miles of travel into preparations for the 2010 draft.

Director of college scouting Dale Strahm, college scouting coordinator Mike Maccagnan, national scout Ed Lambert and the Texans' six regional scouts each did reports on an average of 350 players. Strahm slept in a hotel room for 192 nights, a number he estimates was similar for most of the team's scouts.

Those months of preparation boiled down to three days, seven rounds and nine picks last week. Strahm, a 12-year scout who coached college football for 31 years, raved about the chemistry in the Texans' war room and the draft class that the Texans put together as a result.

"It takes a collective effort by everybody to be successful, and I was so impressed this year by the pro department, our college scouts, Gary Kubiak and our football coaches, the leadership and visionary process that we had from Rick Smith, the cooperation from everybody in regards to what our goals were in trying to fill the needs of our team so that we would get better – and that's what we accomplished," Strahm said.

"You usually have about seven draft picks, one per round. We had so many needs when we first got here together that we had to address those needs. This year we had nine picks, and consequently what that allowed us to do was to go out and get a specialty returner, get some guys that can really help our football team on the special teams side, as well as individual position needs.

"It's an outstanding group. Two-thirds of the guys were captains, 80 percent of them have their college degrees. Over 85 percent have been three-year starters. We have a saying that what we're looking for is a ‘Tough, smart, physical player with high character that has the competitiveness and the passion about the game of football.' That's our motto, and that's what we've found. If you can have those attributes coming in here, you've got a chance."

If anyone has more research than these guys, please let me know. Spending more than half of the year in hotel rooms traveling and scouting 350+ is just crazy. The link has a few tidbits on each player.

Jackie Chiles
04-27-2010, 02:07 PM
Info like this is just pure gold. Great read.

Kaiser Toro
04-27-2010, 02:11 PM
Link (http://www.houstontexans.com/news/Story.asp?story_id=6136)



If anyone has more research than these guys, please let me know. Spending more than half of the year in hotel rooms traveling and scouting 350+ is just crazy. The link has a few tidbits on each player.

As a former basketball scout I can tell you that the research and time-in gathering that research is half the battle. The call on scale and fitting into the chemistry and playbook are about 40% of it, and lastly trusting your gut to put your badge on the table for a guy that you have researched.

Sleeping in a hotel room for 192 days, in my professional opinion, is a guy that is extremely inefficient and is working harder not smarter.

Thanks for sharing.

Scooter
04-27-2010, 02:14 PM
Sleeping in a hotel room for 192 days, in my professional opinion, is a guy that is extremely inefficient and is working harder not smarter.

please elaborate.

Hardcore Texan
04-27-2010, 02:19 PM
And let's not lose sight that these guys are paid to do this as a full time job, they should be doing their due dilligence.

It's interesting, I'll have to read the rest later as my day job is calling, but it's obvious we don't have the time to research what they do, so in other words if we have a problem with one single pick we are being told to shut up by the OP since we didn't work as hard as these well paid scouts. Well, we are they paying customer, we can critique what we want to regardlesss of how off base we may be.

All that work and it's still not an exact science, more like a crapshoot. But it has to be done, I do appreciate their hard work and undertand it's not the easiest of professions.

Kaiser Toro
04-27-2010, 02:34 PM
please elaborate.

No problem, a scout could knock out at least 8 prospects in a day to filter prospects from the comfort of his own office/home prior to the prospects' draftable season. In 50 days they could have watched tape on 350 prospects and made the necessary background checks. From there they should be able to whittle down to a manageable list in order to see the prospects live.

It is a nice story, romantic to some, that there is a scout going form hotel to hotel for 192 days, but the only value I see in it, is one of branding. It is inefficient, and where an inefficiency is identified (actually, romanticized in this instance IMO) there is likely to be more.

Line_Producer
04-27-2010, 02:41 PM
No problem, a scout could knock out at least 8 prospects in a day to filter prospects from the comfort of his own office/home prior to the prospects' draftable season. In 50 days they could have watched tape on 350 prospects and made the necessary background checks. From there they should be able to whittle down to a manageable list in order to see the prospects live.

Is it possible that those 350 are the ones that they have knocked the list down to. I don't want to guestimate how many players are possibly coming out to the Pros including the ones that are eligible that didn't come out.

Scooter
04-27-2010, 02:49 PM
i can see that in basketball, but with ~100 players per team in football, wouldnt that type of commitment to being at so many games and practices assist in getting a better feel for players not necessarily on the "to do" list?

i know jack squat about the scouting process so this is very interesting.

Kaiser Toro
04-27-2010, 02:51 PM
Is it possible that those 350 are the ones that they have knocked the list down to. I don't want to guestimate how many players are possibly coming out to the Pros including the ones that are eligible that didn't come out.

It certainly is possible. Like I said, just felt that line was thrown in there to romanticize the narrative.

I would be remiss to not state that I like they are identifying captains, winning programs and those that have intellectual horsepower - those were essential traits in the players I scouted and eventually represented. The only one that was missing, from the Texans, was a prospect who had home issues, which I called the survivor trait. Give me those four traits and I will show you a leader of men, or, since this is a Kubiak coached team, kids.

Kaiser Toro
04-27-2010, 03:00 PM
i can see that in basketball, but with ~100 players per team in football, wouldnt that type of commitment to being at so many games and practices assist in getting a better feel for players not necessarily on the "to do" list?

i know jack squat about the scouting process so this is very interesting.

Sure different sports on many levels from a scouting standpoint.

To your point on ~100 players, how many are draftable on the top 50 teams due to age requirement, skill set, need, etc. my point is this can be whittled down quickly. As you go down the list of top programs there are less and less players. Sure there on one-offs.

I am not crying apocalypse here in regards to our scouting, because I realize I am not the target demo for the 192 day hotel guy narrative.

Blake
04-27-2010, 03:07 PM
After that much work I bet they would pull their hair out if we traded away some picks.

I cant imagine what Ditka's scouting dept did when he traded their draft for Ricky.

Line_Producer
04-27-2010, 03:09 PM
I am not crying apocalypse here in regards to our scouting, because I realize I am not the target demo for the 192 day hotel guy narrative.

Haha, I understand that. As a movie producer, I get tweaked when I hear people spouting prose about my day job.

MojoX
04-27-2010, 03:56 PM
Sure different sports on many levels from a scouting standpoint.

To your point on ~100 players, how many are draftable on the top 50 teams due to age requirement, skill set, need, etc. my point is this can be whittled down quickly. As you go down the list of top programs there are less and less players. Sure there on one-offs.

I am not crying apocalypse here in regards to our scouting, because I realize I am not the target demo for the 192 day hotel guy narrative.

Still, you are talking about a number of players much greater than 100. At least 224 players get drafted each year. Ideally, one's scouts have covered those 224 plus whoever you might want to bring in as an UDFA. That is quite a bit of work, covering the nearly 500 draft eligible players.

I found a USA Today article about the life of an NFL Scout. He works for the Browns, though. Would be interesting to see how the efficient and inefficient scouts differ.
*A YEAR IN THE LIFE OF A SCOUT

An NFL scout has little time to rest once the annual draft ends in late April. The evaluation process simply starts anew. A month-by-month look at the schedule of Cleveland Browns scout Bob Morris:

May: Study tape on upcoming seniors at home in Texas in Flower Mound, about 30 miles northwest of Dallas.
June: Attend minicamp to help assess current talent.
July: Vacation early in the month; attend training camp later.
August: Watch practices, note strengths and weaknesses of players through first preseason game. Begin traveling to colleges.
September- November: Travel thousands of miles across the Southwest to evaluate draft-eligible prospects at practices and games.
December: File reports steadily to front office. All paperwork must be completed by midmonth. Submit initial ranking of potential draftees. Work bowl games.
January: Attend all-star games. Good opportunity to note changes in players from when they first were evaluated.
February: Attend meeting in Cleveland before heading to scouting combine in Indianapolis to interview players and gauge their makeup.
March: Conduct individual workouts for players who declined to attend the combine.
April: Attend predraft meeting in Cleveland. GM Phil Savage makes final decisions but says he leans heavily on scouts in developing opinions before team announces draft choices.

http://www.usatoday.com/sports/football/nfl/2006-11-29-scouts-cover_x.htm

Here is one on a Jets scout, still selling the traveling scout narrative. But it points out that scouts are looking to see some things that might not be on game tape:

Scouts are sent out for a reason, they have been hired to judge talent, to evaluate it over a period of months. Coaches have a habit of judging it over a period of weeks. Scouts are the guys that turn up early to see how players warm up, speak with coaches, fans, secretaries, anyone they can get a hold of that may offer a glimpse into the player they are interested in. Are the players taking warm up seriously, are they listening when the coach is speaking, during the game are they with the team mates working on the sideline. After the game do they celebrate with the team, do they keep themselves to themselves.

http://www.ganggreennation.com/2010/2/9/1302700/trusting-the-system-the-nfl-scout

Kaiser Toro
04-27-2010, 05:57 PM
Still, you are talking about a number of players much greater than 100. At least 224 players get drafted each year. Ideally, one's scouts have covered those 224 plus whoever you might want to bring in as an UDFA. That is quite a bit of work, covering the nearly 500 draft eligible players.

The 100 number is in regards to my response to another member's post, of a team having 100 players, not about the draft.

Fox
04-27-2010, 09:17 PM
Very interesting read on each player, but I was especially intrigued by what he had to say about Sharpton.

Darryl Sharpton, LB, Miami (Fla.)
Fourth round (102nd overall)

Strahm: "Two-year starter from Coral Gables (Fla.) High School. Inside linebacker, 5-11½, 230 pounds. What we like about this guy, he's got a quick trigger. He's a quick reactor to what he sees. He's got great what we call FBIs – football instincts. He's got great keys. He attacks downhill. We love his motor. He puts his hat on the ball carrier. He's an every-down player. Very aggressive in his style of play. Has his degree. Very bright, has a GPA of 3.0. Nephew of Rev. Al Sharpton – I think he was praying for us, because we were praying for this kid. But what he has is what we call body shock. It's like a prize fighter. I mean, when he hits you, boom – you feel it. He's got body shock on contact. We think he's really going to help us on special teams and be a role player for us with a chance to start."

It's going to be interesting to see how soon his name is being thrown into the ring as top competition for Diles. He didn't seem to garner much attention from the draftnik's in the media or around here, but it sure sounds like our F.O. has plans for him.

MojoX
04-27-2010, 09:55 PM
The 100 number is in regards to my response to another member's post, of a team having 100 players, not about the draft.

I know. What I meant to convey is that a football scout may have to scout a high multiple of however many players you efficiently scout for basketball. On top of that, apart form the top 50 schools, some scouts might visit lesser programs looking for diamonds in the rough. I don't know the business and won't pretend to, but the sheer volume of work is a pretty popular narrative when it comes to reporting on scouts. Without insightful evidence on football scouting I don't buy that the Texans are selling BS, though they obviously have good reason to do so, or that this scout just doesn't know how to do his job efficiently.

thunderkyss
04-28-2010, 08:51 AM
Check out what Shram said about Interior Line:
Shelley Smith, G, Colorado State
Sixth round (187th overall)

Strahm: "We tried to address this issue in the draft early, but there were very few interior linemen. It was very thin in the position, and we were very fortunate in our sixth round pick to get him. 6-3, 300 pounds, from Westview High School in Phoenix. Three-year starter. Captain. Has got a degree. He's got great toughness. He's athletic. He's got good lateral range with good C.O.D. (change of direction). He can strike and sustain his run blocks. He's got good mobility for a big interior kind of lineman, good in-line strength. He's got power to gain what we call movement off the line, so he'll come out and do that. We see this guy having a chance to soak at that position and eventually help us interiorly."

gtexan02
04-28-2010, 09:08 AM
If they spend so much time evaluating, why is a draft with 2 or 3 starters out of 9 picks considered a success?

WolverineFan
04-28-2010, 09:13 AM
If they spend so much time evaluating, why is a draft with 2 or 3 starters out of 9 picks considered a success?

Because if you get 9 starters out of a draft then your team probably sucks. I mean seriously, who could we have gotten in the 3rd or 4th rounds that would have started?

If you can get 2 or 3 starters then you have done a good job upgrading your talent and the rest of the guys are contributors, depth, or special teams.

gtexan02
04-28-2010, 09:16 AM
Because if you get 9 starters out of a draft then your team probably sucks. I mean seriously, who could we have gotten in the 3rd or 4th rounds that would have started?

If you can get 2 or 3 starters then you have done a good job upgrading your talent and the rest of the guys are contributors, depth, or special teams.

I guess the point I was trying to get at is that there are usually about 50 "1st round" grade players every year. Scouts spend the most time studying the best prospects. Youve got a whole team of people watching someone, watching your own team, speaking with coaches, etc. And yet, probably half or more of 1st rounders are disappointments.

It just seems unlikely that with the amount of work being described, that there could be surprises to the degree we've seen through history from these guys

WolverineFan
04-28-2010, 09:23 AM
I guess the point I was trying to get at is that there are usually about 50 "1st round" grade players every year. Scouts spend the most time studying the best prospects. Youve got a whole team of people watching someone, watching your own team, speaking with coaches, etc. And yet, probably half or more of 1st rounders are disappointments.

It just seems unlikely that with the amount of work being described, that there could be surprises to the degree we've seen through history from these guys

This is because, for some reason unbeknownst to me, coaches end up talking themselves into taking players that have better numbers off the field than on it. These "workout warriors" don't have great film or gametape but then they put up great numbers at the combine and scouts are like "hey, this kid is pretty good". It's gotten to the point where you shouldn't worry what you did on the field, but what you do at the combine.

EX. I'm a Michigan fan and I'll tell you that Donovan Warren was easily our best CB since Leon Hall and Stevie Brown was a terrible Safety. He was so bad that he got moved to LB. Warren was graded as a 1st-2nd round pick based solely on game tape and Brown as considered an UDFA. Then Warren ran a high 4.6 at the combine and a low 4.7 at his pro day while Brown didn't get invited to the combine, but ran a 4.42 at his pro day. Brown got drafted in the 7th round and Warren went undrafted. Nobody should have any doubts about who the better NFL player will be but because of what they both did off the field one got drafted and the other did not. That's whats wrong with the system these days. I honestly feel that I could be an NFL scout tomorrow and do a better job and make better decisions.

ChampionTexan
04-28-2010, 09:30 AM
I guess the point I was trying to get at is that there are usually about 50 "1st round" grade players every year. Scouts spend the most time studying the best prospects. Youve got a whole team of people watching someone, watching your own team, speaking with coaches, etc. And yet, probably half or more of 1st rounders are disappointments.

It just seems unlikely that with the amount of work being described, that there could be surprises to the degree we've seen through history from these guys

A. I don't think it's fair or accurate to say there are 50 first round grades each year. First, I'm almost certain that I've seen years where the draft has been characterized as thin, and there may have been significantly less than 32 "1st rounders" deep. Secondly, if what you say were to be true, then inherently, the grading for a "1st rounder" would adjust upward. That is to say that if there are only 32 spots, you're grading scale is flawed if there are "usually" 50 people who grade out that high.

B. As to 2 or 3 starters out of 9 being a success, a couple more points. I think it's more fair to say 2 or 3 out of 7 rounds. If you have 9 picks, by definition, you have more than one pick in at least one round. If you have extra picks in rounds 1 & 2, then the criteria changes. Similarly, if you have no picks in rounds 1-3, but 9 picks in rounds 4-7, than the criteria changes in the other direction. Finally, while the career of an average NFL player is notoriously short, the career of an NFL starter has to be longer than the average NFL player. If a players career lasts 5 years (which I'm guessing is low for a starting player), and you have 3 picks per year, you have 15 of 22 starters taken care of through the last five drafts. Throw in a trade or two, a FA or two, and the occasional undrafted FA who makes it as a starter, and it's simply the law of supply and demand. If you had an average of 5 starters from every draft, you'd have almost a full starting 22 every four years, and that just doesn't jive with the fact that there's tons of really good players who last well over that long in this league.

Hooston Texan
04-28-2010, 09:56 AM
If they spend so much time evaluating, why is a draft with 2 or 3 starters out of 9 picks considered a success?

In addition to Wolverine's point, there is also the fact that this is not our only crack at these players. The team will keep the information they've collected, so if somebody comes available a few years from now, they'll have a start in evaluating the player then. Assuming the Texans aren't idiots, they are storing all this information so that if, say, the Cardinals suddenly make Daryl Washington available, we'll have the background work on him.

And, as loath as I am to challenge our resident scout in his area of expertise, I don't think this effort is necessarily superfluous (or ineffecient) given the Texans' obvious concern about character. Even if the skill analysis could be done more quickly, the kind of character checks the Texans do requires time. Someone close to a prospect is probably not going to give up the dirt on him with just an out-of-the-blue phone call. That kind of information requires some face-to-face time to build trust and incentivize the source to speak candidly. This is where building long-term relationships really come into play, and, in that regard, there is no substitute for being there.

Whether the Texans should be putting such an emphasis on character is a matter of debate; however, the fact that they do means that their scouts are going to have to do much more than just watch film, clock 40 times, observe practice reps and attend games. Especially considering the number of prospects they are examining.

That having been said, I have no opinion on what an optimal amount of road-time for an NFL scout should be.

Texanmike02
04-28-2010, 09:57 AM
If they spend so much time evaluating, why is a draft with 2 or 3 starters out of 9 picks considered a success?

If baseball players take so much batting practice, why is batting .290 considered a success?

Mike

barrett
04-28-2010, 10:02 AM
They actually have a moto:

We have a saying that what we're looking for is a ‘Tough, smart, physical player with high character that has the competitiveness and the passion about the game of football.' That's our motto

The scouting director for the Texans breaks down each pick.
Kudo's to TC for her blog work on the type of player that the Texans are looking for. Sounds like she nailed it once again.

Another awesome quote from Dale Strahm the scouting director. "It's an outstanding group. Two-thirds of the guys were captains, 80 percent of them have their college degrees. Over 85 percent have been three-year starters.

Section516
04-28-2010, 10:11 AM
http://www.texanstalk.com/forums/showthread.php?t=71547

Someone beat ya to it.

barrett
04-28-2010, 10:15 AM
just saw that. Merge me baby!

The Pencil Neck
04-28-2010, 10:50 AM
What I took away from this is that we're not just looking for character guys, we're looking for smart, dedicated, athletic guys who are character guys.

I think this alone explains a lot about who we look at and who we don't and how much we offer someone when we do look at them. We're not necessarily looking for boy scouts but boy scouts just happen to fit most of our criteria.

We've got a checklist:
Has this kid graduated?
Is his GPA 3.0+?
Was he a team captain?
How long has he been starting?
Can he play multiple positions?

I think our checklist has changed over the years. I think that they were more open to small school prospects the first couple of years. And I think the GPA/Graduation criteria is relatively new, too. And I think Jacoby Jones and his maturity issues added some of these criteria.

ObsiWan
04-28-2010, 11:05 AM
I guess the point I was trying to get at is that there are usually about 50 "1st round" grade players every year. Scouts spend the most time studying the best prospects. Youve got a whole team of people watching someone, watching your own team, speaking with coaches, etc. And yet, probably half or more of 1st rounders are disappointments.

It just seems unlikely that with the amount of work being described, that there could be surprises to the degree we've seen through history from these guys

well there are 1st rds and there are FIRST ROUNDS. How many guys from this draft class could crack the first round of the 2006 class?? Suh, McCoy, Spiller, Haden... anyone else?

badboy
04-28-2010, 11:16 AM
When Beerlover pm'd me this article I focused more on the following statement.

"It takes a collective effort by everybody to be successful, and I was so impressed this year by the pro department, our college scouts, Gary Kubiak and our football coaches, the leadership and visionary process that we had from Rick Smith, the cooperation from everybody in regards to what our goals were in trying to fill the needs of our team so that we would get better – and that's what we accomplished," Strahm said.

Why did he feel the need to say that? Came across as a rookie scout trying to kiss up. Or maybe trying to smooth the fans.

steelbtexan
04-28-2010, 11:25 AM
Because if you get 9 starters out of a draft then your team probably sucks. I mean seriously, who could we have gotten in the 3rd or 4th rounds that would have started?

If you can get 2 or 3 starters then you have done a good job upgrading your talent and the rest of the guys are contributors, depth, or special teams.

This is why I would've traded up to the top of the 3rd rd and taken Burnett or Wright.

Sharpton/Graham or McMannis wont make the the impact that these 2 S will make.

I was all for trading up into the 3rd rd. That way the Texans could've added an extra immediate starter. They chose to go the depth route. I hope their right.

With the trade up their draft would've looked like this.

Rd.1 Jackson
Rd.2 Tate
Rd.3 Burnett
Rd.3 Mitchell
Rd.6 Holliday
Rd.6 Smith
Rd.7 Dickerson

This way you get 3 day 1 starters and a potential starter in Mitchell and still add depth to the ST and OL's

Texanmike02
04-28-2010, 11:28 AM
When Beerlover pm'd me this article I focused more on the following statement.

"It takes a collective effort by everybody to be successful, and I was so impressed this year by the pro department, our college scouts, Gary Kubiak and our football coaches, the leadership and visionary process that we had from Rick Smith, the cooperation from everybody in regards to what our goals were in trying to fill the needs of our team so that we would get better – and that's what we accomplished," Strahm said.

Why did he feel the need to say that? Came across as a rookie scout trying to kiss up. Or maybe trying to smooth the fans.

Well I've got no doubt there is something to smooth over with the fans. To an average fan, this draft was I'm sure kind of ho-hum. Then again, look at basically every draft since Kubiak has been here. How many picks have you been excited with going into training camp? We've had very solid drafts even though ESPN et al have continuously graded us as average.

Mike

ObsiWan
04-28-2010, 12:04 PM
This is why I would've traded up to the top of the 3rd rd and taken Burnett or Wright.

Sharpton/Graham or McMannis wont make the the impact that these 2 S will make.

I was all for trading up into the 3rd rd. That way the Texans could've added an extra immediate starter. They chose to go the depth route. I hope their right.

With the trade up their draft would've looked like this.

Rd.1 Jackson
Rd.2 Tate
Rd.3 Burnett
Rd.3 Mitchell
Rd.6 Holliday
Rd.6 Smith
Rd.7 Dickerson

This way you get 3 day 1 starters and a potential starter in Mitchell and still add depth to the ST and OL's

You're sure either of these guys would have been worth sacrificing an additional pick (or picks) to acquire.

Which is more efficient, "not filling a "need" but taking the BPA that will provide quality depth and maybe push your starters
OR
using additional picks to fill said need with a guy that is ranked lower than the BPA that will provide quality depth at another position?

WolverineFan
04-28-2010, 03:29 PM
This is why I would've traded up to the top of the 3rd rd and taken Burnett or Wright.

Sharpton/Graham or McMannis wont make the the impact that these 2 S will make.

I was all for trading up into the 3rd rd. That way the Texans could've added an extra immediate starter. They chose to go the depth route. I hope their right.

With the trade up their draft would've looked like this.

Rd.1 Jackson
Rd.2 Tate
Rd.3 Burnett
Rd.3 Mitchell
Rd.6 Holliday
Rd.6 Smith
Rd.7 Dickerson

This way you get 3 day 1 starters and a potential starter in Mitchell and still add depth to the ST and OL's

And who's to say they will be effective than either Graham, Sharpton, or McManis? They would be behind Eugene Wilson on the depth chart just like those other guys aren't starters as well. There's no such thing as a "sure thing" in the 3rd round.

barrett
04-30-2010, 01:09 AM
Just found out from Nick Scurfield that the Texans make their draft selections by what would appear to be a democratic "show of hands (http://www.houstontexans.com/blog/index.asp?post_id=1080)" process.

Little details for any of you that are as disgustingly obsessed as I am with the "little things".

buddyboy
04-30-2010, 02:16 AM
And who's to say they will be effective than either Graham, Sharpton, or McManis? They would be behind Eugene Wilson on the depth chart just like those other guys aren't starters as well. There's no such thing as a "sure thing" in the 3rd round.

Very true. In fact, there is no such thing as a "sure thing" in ANY round. Except for the once a decade prospect, second coming of Gale Sayers, number two overall draft pick Reggie Bush, of course. He was as close as a "sure thing" as there came in the draft.

ObsiWan
04-30-2010, 02:59 AM
Just found out from Nick Scurfield that the Texans make their draft selections by what would appear to be a democratic "show of hands (http://www.houstontexans.com/blog/index.asp?post_id=1080)" process.

Little details for any of you that are as disgustingly obsessed as I am with the "little things".

but I'd bet you that all "votes" are not of equal value

barrett
04-30-2010, 03:43 AM
hee hee! Just like in the "god blessed" USA!