View Full Version : Need help evaluating talent? Ask Packers, Ravens

10-17-2011, 07:56 AM
and Jags? Wasn't expecting that one. Perhaps the most critical element to success in the NFL is communication between the scouting department and the coaching staff. By understanding precisely the physical and mental characteristics coaches are looking for, scouts are able to find the top-rated prospects for their clubs' unique schemes, rather than simply taking the man widely viewed as the best available player.

To assess just which scouting departments are the best in the league, NFLDraftScout.com asked the only people who would really know -- the scouts, themselves.

A panel of five individual talent evaluators ranging from area scouts to general managers agreed to identify the five best scouting departments in the NFL. They were asked to largely ignore the team's overall record or thoughts on the coaching staff in their assessment, and instead focus on reliability, longevity and consistency of the scouting department. The scouts, whose identities are protected, were not allowed to choose the teams in which they are currently employed.

Their answers may surprise you...

The Top Five Scouting Departments:

5. Jacksonville Jaguars

Two of the five scouts asked listed the Jaguars' scouting department among the top five groups in the league. Another did not list Jacksonville among his top five. He did peg Jacksonville as the NFL's most underrated unit.

Asked to explain the selection, one high level scout summarized: "[General manager] Gene Smith worked his way up through the organization. He can make his own opinions but respects the work done by his staff. [The Jaguars] aren't afraid to go after the small school players, which requires guts and an eye for talent. They've also got one of the better scouts in the business in Tim Mingey, who won the C.O. Brocato award last year as the Hall of Fame's Scout of the Year."

Prior to 2009, when Smith was hired, the Jaguars had developed a reputation for gambling on athletic upside. This led to busts with defensive ends Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves, as well as 2008 first-round pick safety Reggie Nelson.

Since then, the Jaguars seem to have hit on their first round picks, though quarterback Blaine Gabbert, offensive lineman Eben Britton and certainly defensive end Tyson Alualu were panned by some. The Jaguars have also been extraordinarily successful in the middle rounds, finding starters DT Terrance Knighton, WR Mike Thomas, DE Derek Cox and OG Will Rackley in the third round or later since 2009. http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/story/15736612/need-help-evaluating-talent-ask-packers-ravens