Scouting Linebackers: Read what NFL Scouts want to see

Scouting Linebackers

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group. In the real report I used, there are pictures of the player(s) in various movements, with comments about each. In order to keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used except the ones typed during a game.

When scouting linebackers, not only do they put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, critique them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities.

The reports are in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. These scouting reports gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for. Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge.

Scouting Linebackers

Below were separate categories for different items they were interested in. Photos, hand written notes aren’t included except at the very bottom. What I found most interesting was for all the position groups, how the Linebacker has the least “requirements”.

  • Range
  • Angles
  • Zone coverage
  • Man coverage
  • Blitzer
  • Makes plays through trash
  • Vs inside run
  • Vs outside run

Overruns the Ball?

Tackling

  • Effectiveness
  • Explosion
  • Wrap up
  • Open field
  • Lunger

Pass

  • Coverage concept
  • Receiver awareness
  • Discipline
  • Movement
  • Back Pedal
  • Turns (hips)
  • Route recognition
  • Zone drop depth
  • Plant & close on ball
  • Fluidness in break

Mind/Body

  • Instincts
  • read & react
  • key & diagnose
  • coverage instincts
  • pad level
  • point of attack
  • physical can spill play
  • motor
  • block protection
  • slide off blocks
  • hand use/shed
  • ball skills
  • hands
  • stack & control blocker w hands
  • run with tight end?
  • knee bend
  • lateral movement
  • pursuit/closing speed
  • slide
  • redirect/change of direction
  • burst to close
  • pedal quickness
  • good/bad feet inline
  • clear feet
  • false steps
  • spot drop vs pattern read

Here are the notes I was allowed to share:

  • Player 1: ILB 6’2’’ 230 

Powerful legs.  Physical, tough kid.  Patient LB that reads his keys.  Not a burner and no sideline to sideline.   Good drop in zone coverage.  Could end up playing DE in passing downs.

  • Player 6: RB/ILB 5’11’’ 208 

Big legs, bruiser, and does not turn down a collision.  Lacks total breakaway speed.  Downhill both on O and D.  Good tackler.  Good lateral quicks.

  • Player 7: OLB/TE 6’3’’ 225 

Skinny frame, skinny legs.  I don’t see him putting his hand in the ground in college.  Fast, high motor.  Average athlete, questionable strength.

  • Player 8: ILB 6’3’’ 217 

Thick legs, big but.  Bruiser, good lateral quicks.  Physical and quick with his keys.  Almost beats RB to hole.  N/S runner and a clogger.  Question athleticism/cover ability.

  • Player 9: OLB 6’3’’ 225 

Good closing speed.  Finisher.  Stops momentum.  Gets home with a strong grip.  Good as an OLB in a 50 front.  High IQ.  Need more game film, but like this kid.

  • Player 10: ILB 6’3’’ 220 

Good tackler.  Closers speed.  Between tackles type guy.  Nice job staying home and keeping gap integrity.  Nose for ball.  Not sold on athleticism and functional strength.

  • Player 12: OLB 6’0’’ 205 

Thick legs.  Good lateral movement.  Good in space.  Physical, tough dude.  A little undersized and a step too slow.

  • Player 16: OLB 

Skinny frame.  Is a closer.  Question his hand usage.  Gap shooter who is football smart.  Gets hands up.  Has quickness and is a lanky player.  Question his ability to square up and defeat a block.  Not strong up top.

Hope this gives you insight into what the NFL looks for when scouting linebackers. Any questions, you can comment below.

Blitz identification is crucial to NFL Scouts

NFL Scouting report

In our continuing series, we look at NCAA conference’s team/players blitz identification and when they knew it was a go, when the QB was in shotgun in an Ace formation. This is a crucial piece in drafting several positions.

This report shows who had good blitz identification on both sides of the ball, either to protect against it or know where they could.

First you see the Scout’s notes and then below, the explanation what it all means. I’ve changed this team’s formation name to Rainbow to protect the Scout and team/conference.

The numbers in front of the percentages indicate how many times over the 11 games that were scouted. A percentage without an amount of how many times something was done/attempted has no value. It also gives NCAA/NFL scouts an idea of how a team/player operates and their load.

3 Technique Vs. Rainbow (RB):
To: 41/57 (72%)
Away: 16/57 (28%)

Force Player Vs. Rainbow:
WLB: 42/75 (56%) 
SLB: 22/75 (29%)
WLB/SLB: 11/75 (15%)

Move Calls Given? No

Blitz Side From Gun (1 Back):
DBL Side Pressure: 11/83 (13%) 
Away From Back (From Boundary): 9/83 (10%)
To Back (From Boundary): 16/83 (19%)
Away From Back (From Field): 21/83 (25%)
To Back (From Field): 26/83 (31%)

Turnover Margin: +6

Defensive Stop Rate: 73%


3 Technique Vs. Rainbow (RB):

Is the RB the indicator where the pressure will come from?
Is the boundary the indicator? That’s what you need to know. ‘Hey, forget the RB…72% of their pressure schemes come when we’re on the hash, and they come from the boundary and play coverage to the field. Was their blitz identification good?

Or, they blitz to the side the RB is on, no matter if it’s from the boundary or the field. ‘We’re gonna blitz the LB who is opposite the RB’.

The other stat is something we need to know. Rainbow is that team’s base formation (10 personnel, 2 by 2 WR’s)…so when they’re in gun, where are they going to set their 3T at? To the RB or away? And that will dictate how they protect and where they set up the protection scheme, plus will give them an idea of which way to run their zone scheme runs.

Force Player Vs. Rainbow:

The Force LB is the LB who still has the B Gap responsibilities to his side in the run game. He may not line up over the B gap. He may displace himself out to halfway between the tackle and first receiver, or out even further, but on the snap of the ball, he sneaks a peak to the action at the LOS to see if it’s a run, and he’s gotta get back into a position where he can defend the B gap.

Blitz Side From Gun (1 Back):

A lot of times just based on hash marks, it’s the LB that is lined up into the boundary, because he has a shorter distance between him and his gap as opposed to the LB to the field.

The force LB is often identified with subtle movements. On the snap of the ball, he may take a jab step forward as he needs to get downhill quick to get back to the B Gap. He may end up in coverage, but his first responsibility is the B gap to his side. Did they execute blitz identification?

Move Calls Given?

A move call is something that New England uses in short yardage situations. Their Defensive Lineman will line up normally, then as the QB starts his cadence, you’ll hear a command from the linebackers that tells the defensive lineman to slide down one gap.

The intention is to catch a left guard off-balance and maybe you’ll get a cheap 5 yard false start out of him because he started a count too early because he was watching the defense move like the ball was being snapped, instead of listening to the cadence.

How a player and his team identifies the blitz goes to coaching. The NFL wants players that can do this (and coaches who can teach it well). It’s not just athletes they’re checking out.

Scouting Defense Ends: Read what NFL Scouts want to see

SCOUTING DEFENSIVE BACKS

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group. In the real report I used, there are pictures of the player in various movements, with comments about each. In order to keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used except the ones typed during a game.

When scouting defensive ends, not only do they put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, critique them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities.

The reports are in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. Scouting Defensive Ends gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for. Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge.

Defensive End

Must have Bend, Motor, Strength, Point of Attack, and Hand technique.

TYPES: (showed photo)

  • 4-3 RDE (pass rusher).         Left & Right side of the ball?
  • 4-3 LDE (anchor).                  Strength to anchor?
  • 3-4 DE (5 tech)                       Disruptive? Versatile?
  • Bend.                                       Ankle flexibility

How do they scheme him? (chip, double with TE, etc?

They make Notes on each of the following:

  • Stack & control blocker w/ hands
  • Plays under pads
  • uncoils
  • pursuit/range/chase speed
  • short area burst to close
  • zone blitz pass drop
  • counter technique?
  • drive bys (pocket)?
  • can he play crossface vs the cut
  • can sift through trash to get to ball carrier
  • has to win early? or work to QB?
  • can get washed at POA
  • segmented as a pass rusher
  • can he anchor/hold edge
  • natural/fluid movements to QB
  • can only win inside?
  • leaves a lot of sacks on the field (more of a rusher than sacker)
  • gives up gap integrity
  • tackle in space/tackle power
  • chase/hustle

Power Rush

  • anticipation
  • take off
  • leverage/explosion
  • push the pocket/press pocket
  • inside stunt/loop/twist

Speed Rush

  • edge
  • anticiation
  • burst
  • speed
  • flexibility
  • quickness to bend corner
  • close off blocks
  • outside stunts

Mental/Physical traits

  • snap count anticipation
  • instinct – feel schemes
  • read & react – awareness
  • on field alertness – screens/draws/etc
  • dip shoulder
  • pad level/plays high?
  • exposes chest in run game

Contact Balance

  • can bend and dip
  • short area quickness
  • clear hips
  • hand strength/speed/activity/tight moves
  • hands to shed
  • initial quickness
  • lateral movement/redirect
  • knee bend
  • close speed
  • range outside tackle box
  • slide/skate
  • ankle tightness
  • first step/feet quick
  • clears feet
  • heavy feet

Moves

  • club
  • rip
  • swat
  • spin
  • wins or early or late?
  • play within the scheme vs freelance
  • anchor & hold up vs double team
  • natural bender?
  • can get skinny to split double

The scouting reports also have notes from games watched like these below:

  • 6’4’’ 220 – Fast, long, plays WR in HS.  High motor, and room for upper body growth.  Athletic.  Unsure where to use him, but know hes a player somewhere.  Long striding athlete.
  • 6’6’’ 245 – Finisher.  Plays like hes in a street fight.  Aggressive, plays quick.  Engages and sheds blockers.  High energy.  Athlete first.  Fast twitch player.
  • 6’4’’ 240  – Big head, plays a little high.  Quick off ball.  He’s a bride, not a bridesmaid.  Has a nice bull rush and spike inside.  Needs another move.  High motor, stops run on way to qb.  Questionable competition.  Need more game tape.
  • 6’4’’ 240  – High motor.  Sheds blocker to make solo tackle in space.  Athlete sideline to sideline.  Finisher.  Does not get pushed back at P.O.A.  Needs weight room.
  • (DE/OLB)-Good motor, hes a bride, not a bridesmaid regarding rushing the qb.  Good inside swim/rip.  Cheats inside knowing he can outspeed back to edge.  Has trouble staying low…He would be an OLB in an odd scheme.
  • Love the motor. Long legs, sheds blocks well.  HS has him as a 5 tech in a 50 defense, would love to see him stand up to play OLB.  Good bull rush, and his inside swim overpowers OT. Question his upper body strength. Has frame that could easily put 25 lbs on.
  • Quick off the ball.  Uses his quickness to his advantage as he doesn’t use his hands.  Quick to the ball. Rushes well from a 2 point stance. Not a read/react type player.  Not sure if he likes playing physical.  Needs to add weight to be a serious prospect.

Hope this gives you insight into what the NFL looks for when scouting defensive ends. Any questions, you can comment below.

Front 7 Tips – Football 201 from an NFL Scout

NFL Scout Report on front 7 tips

PART I. We’ve all heard about NFL Scouting, how do they make reports? What is in them? We’re going to give you answers with a real Scout’s data and his input. This installment is on Front 7 Tips.

I’m not going to reveal the NCAA conference or who the Scout made his reports for, but it covered every snap against ten teams and how one team and its players performed. I’m going to use the letter, “P”, as fill in when a team’s name was used or a player’s number.

When I read his first Front 7 Tips report, some of it was like looking at Greek, so I asked him to explain. His answers inspired me to start this series. Below is one page of analysis and then the explanations for each number. This is football 201, so I won’t be explaining as much as in the Football 101 series.
Tips:

  1. G Front team
  2. Will flip front on RB shifts
  3. Rock and roll safeties
  4. Will reduce in a ‘okie 4’ look
  5. Will show a muck-luck line on 3rd down
  6. Will flop fronts to TE motion/shift
  7. #P is a true N, strong, no feet
  8. #P is more athletic than P, more of a gap player.  Wreaked havoc against P in zone game when 4 hands didn’t get on him
  9. N/3T are cross-trained
  10. Will loop blitzers on 3+L
  11. Will run line games while #P is mugged
  12. DE’s are fast, speed rushers, will need help on 2+L, 3+L
  13. Will drop out of dbl mug look, double mug will look like a bear/pinch front
  14. #P will try to come across your face, but doesn’t always bring his hands
  15. LB’s and DE’s can be influenced in the zone game
  16. #P, if plays??, natural bender, disengages well.  P fan protected him when lined up over LG/LT.  When lined up on right, used TE and RB to chip.  Kept sliding protection to him. Also has ability to get his hands up in quick game. Will line him up to weakside as often as possible. Has had a lower leg injury.  Status unknown
  17. P and P went 5 against them and middle of field was open for all crossing routes and QB draw
  18. Against P, ran a lot of bomb/attack/wrap vs. Gold
  19. Will green dog the RB
  20. Showed P some true Okie fronts

After #1’s explanation, is a graphic for readers who are between 101 and 201. Obviously, below is just for you readers, it’s not needed for the pros. Hope you find how above translates into below to be informative.


Front 7

1. G Front teams: In a 4-3 base defense, typically the 2 interior DL are lined up in a 3 Technique (outside shoulder of the Guard) and in a ‘shade’ look (opposite shoulder to where the 3T) is. If they’re a G Team, that ‘shade’ now moves into what we call a ‘1 Tech’. He is now lined up on the inside shoulder of the guard.

Now it may not make a difference on some plays, it certainly has a few effects:

1. Changes the count in pass protection. It frees up the center to go opposite the nose and help clean up on the other side if they choose.

2. It changes the angle at which he gets blocked. If the center is looking to double team him with that guard, it changes how he’s going to approach that block and how it’s all going to time up. The guard needs to get his hands on him sooner because the Center is gonna be a hair late to get there to help.

3. If the nose lines up as a G, there’s more of a chance that he will slant (stunt) across the guards face and get into the B gap. This would mostly happen when there is pressure coming into the A gap from the 2nd level.

2. Will flip front on RB shifts: in a 4-3 base defense (the Denver Broncos are an odd *okie* 3-4 front team, but we still use the shading system that is used more in 4-3 defenses), there are different ways to designate where the 3Tech is going to line up and where the Nose is going to line up. Sometimes it’s set to where the TE (Y) is lined up.

Sometimes it’s based on hash marks. And sometimes, especially in 11 personnel 3rd down shotgun situations, the RB is the indicator to where the 3T will line up. Sometimes it’s opposite the RB, sometimes it’s to the RB.

Often teams will shift the RB to the other side to see if they can get the front to ‘flip’. Basically, that’s the old, ‘move move move’ thing where the defense either slides over, or the 3T moves real quick over the other guard. If they don’t move, you know you’ve got them locked into a front.

In this case: 1. When you move the RB and they flip the front, you know EXACTLY what front you’ll get, and you can dial up the exact run play that you want. 2. Moving the RB changes how the protection is going to change. If they flip, you can get them into exactly the front you wanna protect against.

3: rock and roll safeties. In basic 3 deep coverages, 1 safety has the middle 3rd of the field and 1 screws down to differing areas of the field depending on what the rest of the defense is called. Having rock and roll safeties just means that both guys can and will do both responsibilities, therefore making the qb’s presnap read even more difficult.

4: okie 4. True odd teams that are playing nickel, be it big nickel or regular nickel, will have a true bulldozer at NG, and 2 5T’s to rush the passer. Okie 4 is now where the NG and one 5T are lined up regularly, but on the other side, that 5 will reduce down into the inside shade of the tackle, and the WLB is walked up on the LOS.

5. Muck luck lines are what a lot of teams do on 3rd and long. They don’t particularly line up. They’re all standing on the LOS and at the snap, some will rush, some will drop. What this does is cause issues with the count for the QB as he can’t declare who the Mike is, therefore the lineman have trouble communicating who has who.

The Kansas City Chiefs run a version of okie 4. The Oakland Raiders used to, I would imagine they’re gonna be more of a Tampa 2 team now because that’s Jon Gruden’s baby. It also has very Belichickian principles to it.

6. TE motion to fronts. Same as shifting RB’s. Same concept.

7-9: true NG’s are road graters…farm strong guys who can battle a double team. They have to be thick on the bottom, and their ass better be massive. It’s a dirty work job. Bring your hard hat and lunch pal. 3 techniques are a slimmed down version of the NG, who are much more athletic. They don’t need to be quite as strong, but they need to be able to move their feet.

Their job is to be more of a disruptive force in the backfield. A lot of teams cross train their guys because college offenses run plays so fast that you can’t ‘flop’ your front.

10. Looping blitzers are self explanatory. Their goal is to not only come, but to get 2 OL blocking 1 blitzer and get the other blitzer a clean run through the backfield.

11. Line games: line games are like blitzes, only they just include D lineman. We see a lot of Tex and exit stunts. On a Tex stunt , the 3T will go across the face of the tackle, and the DE will loop around him hoping to get a free run to the qb. Similar to looping blitzers. (*editor note, I wrote about Jacksonville’s DL and their games=55 sacks.

12. DE’s are fast, speed rushers, will need help on 2+L, 3+L. Self explanatory.

13. Mugged LB’s: a lot of teams mug their backers. All it means is that their MLB will line up over the center on the LOS and he may come or he may back out. But again, in the count, he has to be counted in.

14. Bear front. This is a true 3-4 defense, only instead of a Nose and two 5T’s, now you have a Nose and two 3T’s. This is a fun stopping defense especially interior running games.

15…influenced backside DE’s and LB’s: these are guys who get nosy and try to chase down plays instead of staying home on the zone read stuff, or their backside responsibilities.

16 & 17 are about a player and explained

18Bomb, Attack, and wrap: these are 3 types of blitzes. Bomb is 2 LB’s going through both B gaps. Attack is 2 LB’s going through the A gap. And wrap is either a double A gap stunt or an A and B gap blitz to the same side. The trick is that this is a loop blitz. One guy goes first, and the other comes off his ass into the other gap.

19...Green dog the RB: this is something certain defenses use if the RB stays in on protection. If the RB stays in, the LB who has him, reads that the RB is staying in, so he now has to blitz. But he’s gotta make sure the RB is truly staying in for protection. But if he stays in, the LB picks a lane and attacks.

20True okie is just the old style 52 defense. It’s an odd front with two OLB’s on the LOS. A lot of teams have gotten away from this true front because they’re playing more nickel defense, and that OLB has been replaced by a Nickel Safety/Corner.  This is where okie 4 comes into the mix.

Scouting Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: Traits the NFL looks for

scouting wide receivers and running backs

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group. In the real report I used, there are pictures of the player in various movements, with comments about each. In order to keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used. Scouting wide receivers and tight ends gives you a glimpse into what happens in their world.

Unlike the QB report, this is one page, but there’s less to analyze with this position group than the guys under center. Even so, when scouting wide receivers and tight ends, not only do they put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, analyze them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities.

While there was less to cover, they still went in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. Scouting Halfbacks and Fullbacks gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for. Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge.

They break down film, have them do whiteboard work, talk to coaches, etc. The actual one below is based on, had photos showing:

  • route running
  • sticking defender
  • downfield avoidance
  • homerun ability
  • catch in stride
  • body shield DB at catch point
  • body control at top speed
  • fast twitch
  • threat red zone

When Scouting Wide Receivers and Tight Ends they look for

  • Catch outside the frame ⊃
  • Speed Cut 〉
  • Square Cut ⌈
  • Double Move ζ

Body

  • coverage recognition
  • ball reaction – see & adjust track ball
  • body unravels in stride/cuts
  • crowd catch
  • extend to pluck
  • ball vs body catcher
  • adjust body on the move
  • fluid athlete
  • separation from defender body position
  • release vs man press (body strength, hand strength)
  • hands (soft/hard)
  • excess movement in stride
  • natural ball catcher
  • burst in route stem
  • top end speed
  • burst in/out of cuts
  • jumping ability/timing
  • R.A.C. – burst/acceleration/elude/efficiency/toughness
  • extra gear to separate
  • initial quickness
  • build to speed
  • release vs zone/man
  • lateral elude/make you miss

Mentality

  • interest in run game
  • blocking tenacity
  • crack block
  • settle in voids/spaces underneath in pass game
  • scramble drill
  • make himself available to QB on run
  • work back to ball
  • find holes

Notes

Here are notes used when scouting wide receivers and tight ends. Notice that for most of the TE’s, he cared more about blocking than catching. That’s the #1 job in most scout’s eyes.

  • High points ball well. elusive in screen game. A little sloppy on his routes. Good feet. Question his game speed. Tough, but rough around the edges. Feel like game film would look different.
  • Long, good blocker. Facemask to chest type blocker. Finishes on his feet. Big frame and great bend. Put 30 pounds on him and he’s an athletic tackle. Really explodes through defender. Big legs.
  • Tough. Able to get to 2nd level. A little high on his drive blocks. Questionable hip bend. Hands like a WR. Queen TE. Does not look like he likes blocking.
  • Long legged strider. Runs with ease. Nice route runner. Comes back to ball well with ease. Good hands. Gets to you of his route with ease.
  • Runs through tackles. Elusive, fast and tough. Creative. Don’t know if he has a 4.4 speed, but would play well in the slot. Catches ball with hands. A little sloppy on his 3 cut. Goes and gets the ball. Good player.
  • Whoa tough as nails blocker. Refuses to be tackled solo. Uses body to box out smaller players. Football awareness high. Good bend and sink. Strong upper body. Could add 20 pounds. Good player.
  • Smooth route runner. High points ball. Basketball type player. Fluid movement, soft hands and hard to tackle. Climbs to 2nd level well on doubles Don’t know about brute strength. Skinny legs.

Hope this gives you insight into what the NFL looks for when scouting wide receivers and tight ends. Any questions, you can comment below.

Scouting Quarterbacks: read what the NFL is looking at

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group. The first will be scouting quarterbacks. In the real report I used, there was pictures of the quarterback in various movements, with comments about each. In order to keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos of the QB the below, or the handwritten notes used.

What’s fascinating about about the two page report is how detailed it is. When scouting quarterbacks, not only do they put together these analysts, but visit games, watch film, analyze them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities.

They break down film, have them do whiteboard work, talk to coaches, etc. Choosing a quarterback isn’t usually some whim, it’s a long process based on reports like below. The actual one below is based on, had photos showing:

  • stride
  • hit & throw
  • weight transfer
  • low take-away
  • ball sails position
  • level throw
  • throwing plane
  • ball carry during drop & pocket movement (*compact/2 hands on ball)
  • frame throws: shoulders, hips, lead leg aligned w target
  • slightly flexed front leg
  • high extended over the top release
  • daylight in the grip+adequate hand size
  • compact lead arm
  • hip torque
  • accuracy on the move

There were lines often on the photos showing the above notations.

After the snap how was his:

  • pocket awareness
  • vision
  • locate 2nd WR
  • force into coverage, release quickness
  • arm strength
  • quick/compact vs elongated
  • smooth fluid vs jerky
  • anticipation
  • short stroke
  • change release point
  • technician in mechanics
  • accuracy, short & long
  • touch
  • grip
  • resets quickly
  • balance
  • throws on the run
  • pocket mobility
  • lateral pocket movement
  • weight transfer
  • stride (short =2″-6″)

There’s more that they look at pre-snap.

  • leadership
  • poise
  • judgement
  • defense recognition
  • pre-snap reads
  • primary/secondary WRs
  • blitz recognition
  • audibles
  • who call pro?
  • redirect protections
  • respect for the football

In the pocket:

  • feel for rush
  • pocket use
  • slide/step up
  • strength in pocket
  • make 1st rusher miss
  • temperament
  • squirrelly in the pocket

We’re not done yet on scouting quarterbacks. More items they look for:

  • catchable ball
  • make WR adjust
  • throw away from coverage
  • drive ball into tight coverage
  • hit WR in stride
  • trajectory
  • TOUCH: throwing angles
  • velocity
  • improvisation
  • finds passing lanes
  • trusts his arm
  • leadership-ability to command
  • voice inflection
  • knowledge of the game
  • game manager
  • clock management

Grades on these types of throws:

  • go
  • seam
  • shallow cross
  • dig
  • out
  • deep out
  • comeback
  • quick slant
  • bubble screen
  • check down

Here are the types of notes that can be made when scouting quarterback:

  • Touch, but power on his 8 cut through traffic. Elusive, quick, nice touch on the run. Eyes downfield on scramble. Power runner, looks for contact. Tough kid that’s quick. Very accurate on the run. Don’t know about pocket awareness. Gets to 2nd level well. Tough player. Needs to get stronger. Eyes downfield on scramble.
  • Steps up nicely in the pocket. Elusive. Big arm. Puts ball where only his guys can catch it. Gets away with some high school dare balls.
  • Bullet for arm. A little too reliant on arm strength. Throws off back foot sometimes. Confident. His highlights are based most off of 4 vert concepts. Quick feet. Can buy time on the move. Ball comes out high. Nice 3 ball. Stands tall and delivers strikes. Uses frame well. Drops ball well into coverage.
  • Long motion. Electric. Nice job looking off safeties. Would like to see more reads/routes, but system doesn’t seem to allow for it. Further evaluation needed. Athletic enough to play in both a pro and spread offense.

There you have it, what scouts look at, the type of items they look for and some notes they’ll make. Obviously, the bulleted items above will have numbers or notes and on their QB eval sheet will have many hand scribbled notes.

Scouting Halfbacks and Fullbacks: read what the NFL is looking for

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group. The first was quarterbacks. In the real report I used, there are pictures of the backs in various movements, with comments about each. In order to keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used.

Scouting halfbacks and fullbacks gives you a glimpse into what happens in their world.

Unlike the QB report, this is one page, but there’s less to analyze with this position group than the guys under center. Even so, when scouting backs, not only do they put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, analyze them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities.

While there was less to cover, they still went in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. Scouting Halfbacks and Fullbacks gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for.

Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge. They break down film, have them do whiteboard work, talk to coaches, etc. The actual one below is based on, had photos showing:

Style

  • one cut
  • slasher
  • compact
  • upright/erect
  • pick & slide
  • screen type
  • slippery

Overall Size

  • bruiser
  • diminutive
  • lengthy
  • high cut

Inside run

  • acceleration in hole
  • strength
  • balance
  • effort
  • burst

Outside run

  • stride
  • speed to corner
  • cutting ability
  • elude

Elusive run

  • make defender miss
  • vision
  • darter vs weaver
  • iline & open field

Routes

  • precise cuts vs round off
  • gather body
  • separation quickness
  • body stiffness to adjust on move
  • flexibility to adjust

Run after catch

  • acceleration
  • elude
  • toughness

Fumbler? Reason

  • carriage
  • carelessness
  • extra effort
  • physical make-up

Pass Pro

  • willing? effective?
  • adjust
  • vision/blitz recognition
  • inside power
  • outside lateral adjust
  • chip
  • cut block

This is an important list scouting halfbacks and fullbacks

  • instincts
  • vision (cutback), hole/block read
  • pad level
  • durability
  • stamina
  • workload limitations
  • center of gravity
  • ball security
  • suddenness
  • best in open space
  • hands? extends to pluck vs gather
  • balance after contact
  • elude (in open field)
  • balance
  • make defender miss
  • bender?
  • explosive speed
  • burst through hole
  • initial quickness
  • lateral bounce
  • leg/fee management on contact
  • short strider

All the lists above will have remarks, numbers, grades. In addition, after watching games and film, the scout could make notes like these, which were after a game. Each paragraph is a different player.

  • Squirter. Elusive, low to ground runner. Does not take a hit square. Good vision that belongs between tackles. Strong legs, keeps them driving. Runs through, not around you. Power game runner, question his vision. 1 cut and go. Not a HR hitter.
  • Keeps legs pumping. Tough, quick burst back. elusive, but one cut guy. Low center of gravity. Doesn’t get squared up to get t tackled. Little target. Can break away.
  • Nice hands, smooth mover. Breakaway speed, hides behind and sets up blockers well in screen game. Low center of gravity. Hard to hit. N/S runner. Great vision and elusive player. Doesn’t stop legs.
  • Shifty, breakaway speed. electric. Open field=gone. Runs through arm tackles. Low center of gravity. Good hands. Good patience and vision. Really pops off the screen.
  • Like him, more of an outside the tackles RB. does well squaring up his shoulders. Lines up in the slot at times, ran a fairly sloppy 5 cut, but cuts looked fine. Has ability, but for being a speedster, I question his breakaway.
  • Breakaway speed. elusive, but not a dancer. Downhill runner. Big body. Tall, but runs low. does not give a big tackling target. Long legged strider. Tough runner. does not turn down a tackler. Like this kid as both a spread and dot back.

There you have it, what scouting halfbacks and fullbacks look like, the type of items they look for and some notes they’ll make. Obviously, the bulleted items above will have numbers or notes and on their RB/FB eval sheet will have many hand scribbled notes.

Hope this was helpful, you can comment at the bottom of the page or send a direct message to @the_teal_zone on twitter.

NFL Scouts: read what they look for in Offensive Linemen

Nfl scouting offensive linemen

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group, giving you a glimpse into what NFL franchises look for. In the real report I used, there are pictures of the player(s) in various movements, with comments about each. In order to keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used. Scouting offensive linemen gives you a glimpse into what happens in their world.

Unlike the QB report, this is one page, but there’s less to analyze with this position group than the guys under center. Even so, when scouting offensive linemen, not only do they put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, analyze them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities.

While there was less to cover, they still went in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. Scouting offensive linemen gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for. Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge.
They break down film, have them do whiteboard work, talk to coaches, etc. The actual report below is based on a player, had photos showing:

  • punch & let feet work vs grab & let feet recover
  • create/generate movement of LOS
  • uses good angles
  • contact balance/sustainability 
  • technically sound
  • on the ground?
  • can he drop hips/weight & anchor
  • positional leverage
  • sink weight (vs bull)

The report also had notes on all of the following:

Technique

  1. set
  2. punch
  3. mirror
  4. recover

Movement

  • 2nd level adjust
  • 2nd level engage/sustain
  • pull on a track (and adjust)
  • pull & trap
  • pull & lead around corner
  • pull & flip hips to seal short
  • lateral slide
  • response to counter move
  • cut blocker in space
  • linear footspeed
  • initial quickness to get position
  • best in 1st steps?
  • inside redirect
  • adjust when coming off doubles
  • slide adjust
  • short area quickness

Style

  • mauler
  • road grader
  • quick boxer
  • swing player (multiple positions)
  • short area (limited ability in space)
  • wide grabber/clamper
  • positional blocker
  • space athlete
  • drive blocker

How does he handle upfield speed? Can he sink & stop the Bull?
6’7″ or able = shows up in throwing lanes for QB
Get pulled on the edge, short arms?
This list was on a player (yes, in the NFL). There’s a lot of good, but some bad.

  • awareness (stunt/blitz)
  • ducks head
  • pad level good
  • gets overextended
  • top heavy
  • late to extend arms
  • explosion
  • sustain (on 1st contact)
  • short jab/arm extensions in pass pro
  • arms to leverage
  • pump arms in pass pro? (compressing for feet)
  • Hip sink/hip explosion
  • rolls hips on contact
  • hands (discipline)
  • placement/patience/timing/reset
  • works to re-position
  • heavy hands
  • active hands
  • punch
  • wide base/narrow base
  • lower body tightness
  • light in ass
  • knee bender vs waist bender
  • base strength/leverage
  • initial quickness
  • movement off ball
  • ankle bend
  • overset
  • heavy feet
  • linear foot speed

Scouting offensive linemen notes on several players:

OT-Like his punch. Very athletic. Gets to 2nd and 3rd level with ease. Almost too anxious in screen game. Nasty in drive blocks. Stays on his feet decently. Questionable leg strength. He’s beating inferior players.
G-Explosive and gets to 2nd level well. On the ground a lot. Not overly athletic. Stands tall in his pass block and doesn’t use his hands very well.
T-Athletic big man. Gets to second level well. For a big guy, has low center of gravity. Finishes blocks. Needs to work pass pro hand usage. Has some issues blocking in space. Wide body. Question leg strength. Not a road grinder.
G-Punisher on run blocks. Athletic enough on pass sets. Gets to 2nd level pretty well. Needs to lower set. Kinds gives a runway to mediocre pass rushers. Tips the play off with his stance.
What we have in all this is notes from several players, a kind of cheat sheet of what they look for and in the top section, an actual player. Hope this gives you more knowledge in watching training camps so you can see why some guys don’t make your team.

Any questions your can comment way down below. Or send a DM to @the_teal_zone. Thanks for reading.

Defensive Tackles – Read what an NFL Scouting report looks like.

defensive tackles

In this NFL Scouting series, we will cover each position group, giving you insight into what NFL franchises look for. The real report I based this on, had pictures of the player(s) in various movements, with comments about each. You may want to read the companion piece on the Offensive Line to see their counterparts.

To keep anonymity for the Scout, I’m only using the words, no photos, or the handwritten notes used. Scouting defensive tackles does give you a glimpse into what happens in their world.

When scouting defensive tackles, not only do scouts put together these analyses, but visit games, watch film, analyze them at the combine, any bowls and often host them at their facilities. DTs include nose guard/tackles, basically (but not always) anyone who plays the techniques between 0-5.

Scouts go in-depth and beyond what the average fan would consider. Scouting defensive tackles gives the reader a chance to see inside the minds of what NFL general managers are looking for. Hopefully, this will help you watch the game with more detail and talk with knowledge.

Players break down film, do whiteboard work, talk to coaches, etc. The actual report below is based on a player, it had notes and photos showing:

Defensive Tackles TYPES

  • 4-3 1 Tech
  • 4-3 3 Tech (versatility?)
  • 3-4 Tech (versatility?)
  • 3-4 NT

Movement

  • Bend
  • Ankle flexibility
  • 2 gap (lockout & press) vs 1 gap
  • strength to anchor?
  • left & right side of the ball?
  • disruptive?
  • motor
  • strength & POA hand tech

How do they scheme him? (Chip, Double W/TE, etc?)

When it comes to defensive tackles, the amount of data they want on them is impressive. For most fans, the “big uglies” just stand there pushing. (POA=Point of Attack) There’s far more to it. For each bullet below, will be notes on each. Scouts looks for:

  • Stack & control blocker w hands
  • plays under pads
  • uncoils
  • pursuit/range/chase speed
  • short area burst to close
  • zone blitz pass drop
  • counter technique
  • drive-bys(pocket)
  • can he play crossfire vs the cut?
  • can sift through trash (to get to ball carrier?)
  • has to win early? Or work to QB?
  • can get washed at POA
  • segmented as a pass rusher
  • can he anchor/hold edge
  • natural/fluid movements to QB
  • can only win inside
  • leaves a lot of sacks the filed
  • more a rusher than a sacker
  • gives up gap integrity
  • tackle in space/tackle power
  • chase/hustle

Power Rush

  • anticipation
  • take off
  • leverage/explosion
  • push the pocket/press
  • inside stunt/loop/twist

Speed Rush

  • edge
  • anticipation
  • burst
  • speed
  • flexibility
  • quickness to bend corner
  • close off blocks
  • outside stunts

Moves

  • club
  • rip
  • swat
  • spin

Mental/Body

  • snap count anticipation
  • instinct – feel schemes
  • read & react – awarness
  • on field alertness – screens/draws/etc
  • dip shoulder
  • pad level/plays high
  • exposes chest in run
  • contact balance
  • can bend and dip
  • short area quickness
  • clear hips
  • hand strength/speed/activity/tight moves
  • hands to shed
  • initial quickness
  • lateral movement/redirect
  • strength to constrict the block – tm
  • knee bend
  • close speed
  • range outside tackle box
  • slide/skate
  • ankle tightness
  • first step/feet quickness
  • clears feet
  • heavy feet

Does he:

  • win early or late or both
  • play within the scheme vs free lance
  • anchor hold vs double team
  • natural bender
  • can get skinny to split double

Below are notes from a scout concerning several players.

  • explosive, high motor. Hits like brick shithouse. Low center of gravity, but plays high. Uses upper body strength. Is a closer in pass rush.
  • Strong grip, but doesn’t hand fight at all. Plays pretty low. Very quick in the box. Can take on a double. Needs a fair amount of technical work done.
  • Sheds blockers, low at point of attack. Stout, and fairly quick. Against a pulling guard, he’s a truck. Good awareness. Not quite sure on his hand strength and strike. Can play a little high. Not in love with his game/frame.
  • Strong bull rush. Sheds blocks, ok. Explosive off ball. Decent COD (*editor note-change of direction). Very agile and nimble. Need to see more games. He wasn’t blocked against much.
  • Explosive hips, off the ball and very quick laterally. Finisher. Strong. Knows how to use hands. Nice COD. Splits doubles, disruptive player.
  • Raw, athletic, strong motor. Tendency to play high and can’t really tell his level of physicality. Definitely a 1 gap DL.
  • Quick off the ball. Strong bull rush. Goes through OL to get in backfield. Sheds blocks well. Not a fancy player. Failry quick in the box. Skinny, needs to add weight. Powerful lower half. Flexible legs (was a HS kicker). No pass rush moves shown. Kid is a thumper.

Hope the above helped you look at the big uglies with more appreciation than being bulls in a china shop. As always, you can comment below or send a twitter DM to @DenverBroncosZ for any questions.
Thanks for reading!