Football is littered with specialized terminology. From 7-technique to green dog blitz, commentators rarely get to explain everything you need to know before the next play. Inside The Pylon’s glossary was developed to give fans a deeper understanding of the game through clear explanations, as well as image and video examples. Please contact us with any terms or phrases you’d like to know more about.
Pro Personnel Director
Pro Personnel Director or “Pro Director” is a title used by some franchises, along with Pro Personnel Manager (CLE) and Pro Personnel Coordinator (PIT/TB/TEN), for the person who is responsible for the evaluation of players who no longer have college eligibility. They could be on other NFL rosters or practice squads, in other professional leagues (AFL, CFL, etc), or “on the street.” The director will have a staff of one to four pro scouts available to delegate the work to. This role is in the executive tier of the organization, but does not hold sole decision making authority.
During the course of the season, the Pro Director will be responsible for the weekly development of an ‘Advance Scouting Report’, which is a lengthy document that provides the coaching staff with pertinent information regarding the upcoming opponent. Steve Belichick’s book Football Scouting Methods covers the development of such report well. The Pro Director works a week ahead of the coaching staff and presents his staff’s findings to the team on Monday night as they prepare to game plan for the next opponent. This report covers everything from the typical personnel groups and attack strategies of the opponent, to statistical breakdowns, player scouting reports, and special teams analysis to kick start the game planning process.
In addition, the Pro Director and staff will study players who are released and subject to waivers, those on practice squads, and players with NFL experience who are not currently on a roster to keep teams prepared for situations such as injuries, suspensions, or other roster decisions that would require the team to bring in a player from the outside. The staff will have evaluations on hundreds, if not thousands, of potential options and establish a list of no more than 20 players per position that make the “short list” or “emergency list.” In order to keep that current, the Pro Director will head up weekly workouts with these potential players. This generally occurs on Tuesdays while the active roster has the day off.
The next step in the career ladder for a Pro Director is generally the Director of Player Personnel or for some, even the General Manager position. Recently, Pro Directors like Dave Gettleman (CAR) and Bob Quinn (DET) have earned the promotion to the decision making chair. Over the last 15 years, this group is underrepresented as owners have explored cap specialists and College Scouting Directors for the role. The next wave of Pro Directors who have garnered GM attention include Baltimore’s Vince Newsome and former Philadelphia Pro Director Louis Riddick.