Emory Hunt, FBGP Analyst
There are a lot of similarities between the NFL and the college game. One of the unique differences between the two is the acquisition of talent. In college you have National Signing Day and in the NFL you have the NFL Draft. Maybe Free Agency and transfers are similar, but for the most part, the way teams go about acquiring new talent is vastly different.
One of the major difference within that process is the involvement of the Head Coach. In college, the Head Coach is constantly evaluating talent. It’s called recruiting. The head coach is constantly eyeing the latest high school prospect that comes across his desk while preparing for Big State U on Saturday. So, when the season is over, coach has a pretty good idea and grasp on the guys that he wants to bring in, or will bring into the fold. The college football head coach is heavily involved in the process.
On the NFL side, the head coach is deeply entrenched in game planning for the upcoming opponent to worry about what Pauly Prospect at Big State U. is doing this weekend or whether or not he can be an asset to their team. That’s why the scouting department is in place to take ‘that’ pressure off of the coach, to eliminate that responsibility. And that’s not to say that coach may or may not check out a college game in his free time, but there is complete trust in the scouting department and pro personnel department.
Listening to coaches speak at the NFL Scouting Combine, it became evident that the head coach doesn’t enter the scouting process until this point of the year. It seems as if the coaches at the NFL level, and maybe this is because of how the league schedule is set up, are more concerned/involved in the Free Agency process than the draft. New Oakland Raiders Head Coach Jon Gruden spoke about his process of evaluating his team first before then moving on to evaluating free agents:
Los Angeles Rams Head Coach Sean McVay spoke about how their process works and where he fits in as a coach
Both coaches explained how they go about their process and where their role within it lies. It speaks to the amount of trust they have in the college scouting and pro personnel department. Now, head coaches aren’t completely absolved from the process and no input or idea of the players being looked at, and or brought into the organization. Miami Dolphins Head Coach Adam Gase spoke about how that part of the process works for them in Miami.
Houston Texans GM Brian Gaine spoke on how his experience as a player gives him a bit of insight in knowing the hows and whats to look for in a player, which is how he hopes to obtain that trust between the coaching staff and the scouting department.
Trust is big in any relationship, football or otherwise. It’s really interesting to hear and see how both of the processes of acquiring talent differ between the NFL and College Football. However, we’ve seen coaches that are a bit more hands on in the scouting process, but it is not the norm.
Maybe it should.