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  • Writer's pictureAlex Brown

Listen Now to Episode 24 - Featuring Neil Stratton

Neil Stratton, President of Inside The League, joined Up Close In Personnel to break down the NFL Scouting industry and discuss his new book called "Scout Speak"!

Neil's book, "Scout Speak", is an easy $9.99 purchase that can be found on Amazon (link provided below) and touches on all things related to the scouting process, the draft room and how to carve a career out in the industry!

Current and former NFL scouts weigh in on the various topics covered in the book, all adding their own flavor and unique draft room or road trip stories for you to read through.

Getting to my conversation with Neil, we got deep in the weeds on what the best scouts have in common, the difficulty in "evaluating the evaluators" and how to break into the game for the young, aspiring NFL scout out there listening to the show.

Here are my notes and main takeaways from this week's episode:

Commonalities Among the Best Scouts

- Courage to develop their own opinions and be wrong, while learning from mistakes

- Awareness that this is a people driven industry and the ability to connect with people

- Consistency in always showing up

Evaluating the Evaluators

This question is ultimately a tough ask for anyone to answer, but Neil does a great job of breaking down exactly why this question is rarely answered:

- It's an "Ole Boy Network" and most scouts don't want to fire their buddies

- There's a distinct difference between information gatherers and talent evaluators, so that adds a layer of complication in assigning "blame" for "busts"

- Ultimately, success is a function of the area the scout oversees, team needs and the development process once that player reaches your building

*In my mind, the only way to get an accurate assessment of your process as an evaluator is to implement and execute a system of case studies -I.E. reviewing previously acquired players, re-grading them off the film, assessing how they performed in your program, identifying what went right (or wrong), and identifying how those positive or negative traits may have been overlooked or glossed over.

Breaking Into the Scouting Industry

Asking this one is also a difficult question for Neil, but he nailed it on this podcast:

The human element. Nothing is more important than connecting with scouts and decision makers that can vouch for your character, ability but most of all, your personality. Don't take the easy way out with a text or email. Make the effort to write a handwritten letter or take the time to call and create a dialogue. People want to hire other people they like. It's a pretty simple fact.

There's an old saying that it's not what you know, but who you know. That may be true, however the real quote should read "It's not what you know, but who knows you. Build your reputation one day at a time, master the area you are in currently and invest in relationships.

You can follow Neil on Twitter at @InsideTheLeague, visit his website Inside The League and check out his latest book on scouting, "Scout Speak" on Amazon!

Listen along on your favorite podcasting platform, and be sure to subscribe, rate and share the show!

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