Director of the Scouting Academy and ITP contributor Dan Hatman has written ten short pieces using Matt Miller’s tweet list as inspiration, hoping to illuminate readers on aspects of the scouting and player evaluation business that are misunderstood, glossed over, or ignored. Here are the first eight pieces.
Scouts are looking at the same players, on the same field, against the same competition. But while it is, as Blanton Collier and Paul Warfield would say “right there, on film,” there is much to consider that is not on film. Matt Miller’s ’10 Scouting Rules’ tweet captures the process-based approach scouts need to follow to be successful. Miller provides insight into many of the scouting philosophies that are commonly used or debated in the NFL scouting community. Matt is a transparent evaluator who has laid out the details of his process before.
These philosophies provide an excellent starting point for exploring the evaluation process, and highlight areas aspiring scouts usually find themselves in trouble, but can remedy with an appreciation of context and dedication to better processes.
ITP Podcast with Matt Miller and Dan Hatman – Mark Schofield and Chuck Zodda are joined by Matt Miller and Dan Hatman to discuss the 10 Scouting Rules in a roundtable format.
Rule #1: No Shortcuts ‒ To properly evaluate a player, a scout should watch a player for at least three games before a scouting report can completed. Be sure to watch games that put the player in different situations, including games in which he struggled and excelled.
Rule #2: What Can He Do? ‒ When scouting a player, it is critical to figure out what he can do. It is the scout’s job to inform coaches what situations a player can be depended on to succeed.
Rule #3: Update Your Grades ‒ As a scout receives more information, he should not fear contradicting an earlier observation. Accuracy is the key and players’ skills can improve and deteriorate, so keep an open mind each time you see a player.
Rule #4: Traits Not Scheme ‒ It is crucial for a scout to understand the context in which a player may succeed or fail. Scout a player’s talent, not the results.
Rule #5: College Role Is Not All ‒ College coaches don’t always put players in the scheme that best fits them. Scouts must pay attention to any evidence that suggests a player can succeed in a role that they are not tasked with at the collegiate level.
Rule #6: Film Not Workouts ‒ Football skills and workout skills are two different things. Do not let a good or bad day in shorts negate the game tape that you spent hours watching.
Rule #7: Be Open To Exceptions ‒ Pay attention to the football traits a player has, not the physical skills. Speed and height do not guarantee success, and dismissing short or relatively slow players could mean missing out on a diamond in the rough.
Rule #8: Talent Tradeoff – Scouts should be aware of whether a certain player is “talented enough to be an asshole” by adding relevant details about off the field behavior into their reports. Different teams will have different thresholds for poor behavior but cannot properly assess that risk without a scout’s research and input.
Rule #9: Football Character – As covered in the previous rule, not all prospects are necessarily good people. However, it is important to investigate all players’ football character. Scouts need to supply the front office details on how diligently players work to improve and hone their craft.
Rule #10: We All Make Mistakes – All scouts are wrong from time to time. It is crucial for scouts to be able to self-evaluate and learn from their mistakes.
Follow Dan on Twitter @Dan_Hatman
Dan Hatman is the Director of The Scouting Academy and writes for Inside The Pylon when not teaching future football scouts and coaches how to do their job.
Dan Hatman has been a progressive mind in the football world and NFL Pro Scout. His focus is on the objective analysis of subjectively collected data, the personal and professional development of the next generation of evaluators and is constantly looking to Help Build Champions. To date he has trained seven NFL scouts and earned a Super Bowl XLII ring with the New York Giants. Additionally, Hatman coached at the University of Massachusetts – Amherst focusing on Defensive Line and Special Teams. Hatman graduated with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and two masters; one in Business Administration and one in Sports Administration.
I still remember the encounter vividly. Though I couldn't move and make a sound with my voice, my mind was totally awake and could feel, think etc. That day, I was already asleep suddenly, I opened my eyes and looked to the end of the bed, to the door when it was opening by itself. The corridor was really dark but there was this thing that was even darker than the darkness. It was the deepest darkness I've ever seen and felt. It was also very big. It was filling up the doorway and because it was so much darker than the background I could see the sillouette of the hat and the long coat. He stood there for a while and then began to come towards me. He was gliding or floating. There were no up and downs of his head and body. I couldn't move my body, I was shouting in fear but my mouth didn;t move and my voice didn;t leave my head. Strangely, I could still roll my eyes(not my head!), so looked down to the side and saw his lower part of him, which means the sillouette of the coat and the darkness inside. The coat was not touching the floor and there were no feet. When he was next to my head, he turned, stood there and looked down on me. Then, he slowely bowed himself closer and closer to my face as if he wanted to scrutinize it. I just screamed, still no voice, as the dark shape came over my face and covered my sight.Then I had a black out. When I opened my eyes, it was next morning and the door was closed. I never doubted that it was real. This happened in Germany and almost 20 years later in Korea, I heard the name Hat Man and of other people having this kind of story all of the world.