Following the life of a scout as NFL Draft approaches

NFL combine
Scouts line up in the stands at the end of the 40-yard dash to watch players at the NFL Combine.
Credit: Getty Images

After the final pro day is done and all the player visits are completed, the real work begins for an NFL scout.

For a veteran of many NFL drafts like Joe Bommarito, the player evaluation meetings in the weeks and days leading up to the draft are where he states his case for certain players and gives his insight into the hundreds of players he’s evaluated. It is the end of a process that began in August and took him thousands of miles around the country and through hundreds of player evaluations.

Bommarito and his fellow scouts converged in the same room in April for the first time in five months for two weeks of player meetings. In meetings that begin at 7 a.m., everyone from the general manager to the director of college scouting, the director of pro scouting, salary cap personnel and the full coaching staff will be present. Even owner Woody Johnson will pop in. Player evaluations are read and the scores are averaged together to come up with a consensus ranking on the player.

But it isn’t just one or two reports for each player.

“There are a lot of reports on players. For example, a draft [eligible] player would have a report from [the] area scout, the cross-check scout, director, the position coach, the special teams coach,” Bommarito said. “There is a combine report, a bowl game report, a physiological report. Get the picture? I’ve seen some players have 10-plus reports on them.”

After the reports are read, more film is watched and there is more discussion before a final grade is agreed on. The process will repeat itself — first for offensive players, then defense and finally special teams. All told, an NFL team will go through this process for roughly 250 players in meetings that often tap out after 10 p.m. They stop only for lunch and dinner, and when nature calls.

When most eyes are are just beginning to focus on the players who will make their 53-man roster, the NFL scouts are at training camp with an eye toward the next NFL Draft. It is a grueling, seven-days-a-week, 18-hours-a-day process that will take them through April. And if they do their job right, through yet another draft.

When veterans and rookies report to upstate New York for the start of training camp, Bommarito will check into a dorm room in Cortland, New York, specifically to begin scouting the Jets. He will be assigned a position group during training camp and make player evaluations to determine areas of need for next spring’s draft. He’s watching to see where there are depth issues not only this year but perhaps next year.

When training camp breaks, the scout goes to his assigned region to begin attending college two-a-days as the process of evaluating and creating profiles kicks into high gear. He could be checking out just one or two players at a small school or upward of two dozen players at a major powerhouse such as Alabama or Ohio State. Each player will be watched on film and in practice, with every detail noted in an extensive profile.

“The evaluation consists of watching four game tapes on each player, which is done in a film room at school,” Bommarito said. “The scout will also meet with position coaches and the strength coach to get performance numbers. He will also meet with academic people. The scout is building a profile on each player, finding out everything about the player.”

Bommarito remembers driving to the next school, which could be across town or 250 miles away. Very often, he gets to his hotel late in the night and, before he unpacks, has turned on the lamp to begin poring over notes on players he will evaluate the next day.

NFL scouts
NFL scouts from the Bills, Chiefs and others share measurements and times after a pro day session.
Credit: Getty Images

The reports are detailed but also, as Bommarito’s schedule might suggest, voluminous.

In December, the personnel department will convene in North Jersey on the weekend of a Jets home game.

“These meetings were focused on the players’ character,” Bommarito said. “We wanted to make sure we knew what kind of person we were getting.”

A major part of the reports written by the scouting department focused on character issues. Bommarito speaks to coaches about possible personality problems, and he’d watch practice to focus on work ethic. Even the discussions with the strength and conditioning staff deal with weight room demeanor.

If there’s a character flaw, the Jets would want to know about it. Bommarito hasn’t just watched a practice or a game to see whether the prospect has an NFL-ready body or can make plays. He wants to see if a player who might be given a multimillion-dollar contract is going to be a problem off the field.

At some point, calls to high school coaches are made to see if red flags exist.

“If there were players that still needed to be cleaned up, the scout made note and would get answers before the next meetings,” Bommarito said. “If we had a player with bad character we would move him to the side board, which was the ‘do not draft’ board.”

Everything is done with an eye toward the NFL Combine in Indianapolis in March and the subsequent pro days at campuses across the country. At a pro day, Bommarito doesn’t just focus on the big names but the next-tier players who might be good to grab in the later rounds or as undrafted free agents.

According to senior personnel executive Terry Bradway, this past year the Jets made 575 school visits and 3,500 player evaluations. They conducted 635 individual player interviews and attended 115 pro days and 120 college games.

Last week, general manager John Idzik teased that for fun, he might have his war room run through a mock simulation of how the draft might unfold, just to see who is available at No. 18 on Thursday night.

“Leading up to the draft, we would meet with the general manager and play [the] ‘what-if’ game,” Bommarito said. “We would work [the] board like if we’re picking at No. 18 — we would have our top 18 listed — then say if any one [of] these players are there, then we are taking one of them.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.


New Apple iPhone to have 'mobile wallet' function:…

(Reuters) - Apple Inc plans to enable its next iPhone to become a mobile wallet by allowing owners to securely make mobile payments in a…


Second Shift: Balancing school, work and a side…

See how a Brooklynite balances getting her PhD while working two other jobs.


NYPD: Early morning shootings reported along West Indian…

Several shootings were reported in the early morning hours before the West Indian Day Parade, according to the NYPD. A 55-year-old man was shot and…


Investing: Buying low, selling high

Learn how rebalancing can help you be successful in investing.


Where to place the blame in a nude…

When a celebrity's private photos are leaked online, it's easy to jump to the conclusion that they only have themselves to blame, since they took…


Security expert weighs in on 'The Fappening' and…

We speak to Rik Ferguson, vice president of security firm Security Research at Trend Micro, about the hundreds of hacked celebrity photos that leaked.


Who is Ashlee Simpson’s new husband anyway?

Find out five things about Ashlee Simpson's new husband, Evan Ross.


Jennifer Lawrence and more: The big names on…

The names of more than 100 famous actresses, musicians and athletes were included in a list of purported hacking victims, nude photos of whom were…


Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.


3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.


NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.


10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…


How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…


The number of telecommuters is expected to nearly…

Until a few years ago, telecommuting was not considered a realistic option at most companies. But with technological advances like high-speed Internet and smartphones, more…


Your new food ally to ward off type…

For people who may be headed for type 2 diabetes, regularly eating pistachios might help turn the tide, according to a small nutrition trial from…