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  • Writer's pictureAlex Brown

Listen Now to Episode 20 - Featuring Dane Brugler

Dane Brugler, NFL Draft Analyst for The Athletic joins us this week to talk shop on scouting and the challenges facing evaluators this fall during COVID-19!

From a content perspective, this show is all about the mindset, approach and traits required to excel as an evaluator in the football industry.

Whether you're working at the collegiate level, pro level or just a fan of the draft, Dane breaks down his process and gives real actionable advice on how to hone the skill of evaluating football talent.

One of the biggest takeaways from this episode is the importance of self evaluation and continually seeking to develop your craft. With the game of football constantly evolving across all levels, "If you're not getting better, you're getting worse."

In our conversation, Dane starts off with breaking down what it takes to be a good evaluator:

  • Self Evaluation: constantly adapting and assessing your own process

  • Understanding the "Why": Uncover motivation(s) of players & untapped ability

  • Attention to Detail: Be observant, pick up on all the little details

  • Simplicity: Don't lose the forest from the trees & have clear objectives

Also covered in the episode is the importance of evaluating culture and chemistry when assessing talent, as that ultimately determines the player's true fit. Not only does a scout need a trained eye for looking at game film, but the separating factor between good and great scouts is the ability to dig up information on a player's background, character and overall makeup.

Knowing Dane from working in the draft media world and continuing to observe his success in the field since I've joined the college ranks, he really is the staple of consistency and someone with a wealth of knowledge on how to network the right way in this business. Early in the episode, he touches on how it's important to be confident in your evaluations while also understanding that you don't have to know it all.

Especially when it comes to attending all star games such as the Senior Bowl or the Combine, sometimes (most of the time) it's better to just shut up, listen and ask great follow up questions. The first two traits Dane listed when it comes to making a good first impression are humility and honesty. Be humble in that you're seeking to learn from established scouts, who do this for a living; and be honest with how you see things or with what you maybe don't know.

Lastly, we also touched on how to "work smarter, not harder" when making school calls virtually. Both scouts and recruiters have been forced to rely on game film, zoom calls, workout footage and regular phone calls when it comes to doing their homework on prospects, so here' a few quick pieces of advice from Dane to evaluators:

  • Ask the right questions by being prepared for the conversation

  • Know what's important for your program and identify translatable traits

  • Ask for a teammate's opinion of the player you're looking at

All in all, this was a fun episode with a good friend and someone who really knows what he's looking for when watching tape. You won't find a more genuine, honest and humble dude, and it was great having him on the final episode of season 1.

Like I do each and every week, here's your listener's guide to the pod:

  • Traits of the Best Evaluators in Football (2:51)

  • NFL Scouting Mentors & Influences (5:05)

  • Information Gathering as a Talent Evaluator (7:33)

  • Maximizing Every Day & Self Improvement (10:15)

  • The Importance of Culture & Chemistry (14:10)

  • Books & Listens Recommended by Dane (18:40)

  • Dane's Path to the Draft & Football Journey (21:39)

  • Putting Family First & Balancing Career Aspirations (26:14)

  • Best Advice for Evaluating Prospects In-Person (32:05)

  • Upcoming Challenges for Scouts this Fall (36:37)

  • Advice for Making School Calls & Scouting Virtually (44:21)

You can follow Dane on Twitter at @dpbrugler and check out his work on The Athletic!

And if you haven't already, be sure to subscribe, rate and share the show!

Thanks for tuning in and see you next month for season 2!

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