10 Scouting Rules: # 8 Talent Tradeoff

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. This is Part 8, Talent Tradeoff.

Almost all the information a scout uses to evaluate a player is freely available. As Paul Warfield said, it is “right there, on film” for everyone to see. But not everything that is relevant is on film, in news reports, or in coach comments. So while the film is your primary source, it isn’t the only source. As discussed in Part 1, Part 2, Part 3Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, and Part 7 of this series, there are other factors to include in your reports.

Matt Miller’s ’10 Scouting Rules’ tweet captures the process-based approach scouts can mimic to find success. Miller is a transparent evaluator who has laid out the details of his process before, and shines light on many of the philosophies commonly used by the pros. This series aims to provide a starting point for delving into evaluation, showcasing the processes aspiring scouts can use to make reports and opinions as thorough and professional as possible.

A lot of great football players are crappy people. A lot of crappy football players are good people.

There is a great, possibly-apocryphal story about an ex-NFL head coach asking a scout about a player: “Is he talented enough to be an asshole?”

This standard is frequently applied in the NFL, as the win-loss column drives who ends up on the chopping block. There is really not much here to discuss from an evaluation standpoint, because if it is clear that a player is a ‘crappy person’, then it is simply a question of your moral compass and your value system in whether or not you want them on your team.

From Adrian Peterson to Greg Hardy to Charles Haley to Aaron Hernandez, teams have taken chances on players who you would not want to date your daughter, but can perform on the field. Only you can decide how you want to handle these situations.Carolina-Panthers-Greg-Hardy-Arrest-Report-Dallas-Cowboys

Organizations will have different standards ‒ the Dallas Cowboys under Jerry Jones have used many players other teams would ignore. The Oakland-Los Angeles-Oakland Raiders under Al Davis pioneered finding great football players who had been crappy people with other organizations. But in today’s climate, the information needs to be part of the data collected. A scout needs to understand the team’s standard, and needs to include all the details they can can find in the reports so that the coach or general manager can decide if the player is, in fact, talented enough to be an asshole.

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.

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