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NFL Draft

TDN Scouting Roundtable: Inner Workings Of Watching Film

  • The Draft Network
  • June 19, 2020
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It seems like the 2020 NFL Draft just happened, but we move fast here at The Draft Network.

Currently going through summer evaluations for the 2021 NFL Draft class, our scouting team of Kyle Crabbs, Joe Marino, Jordan Reid, and Drae Harris are meeting up every day to discuss prospects, traits, and concepts. New to TDN is a daily scouting roundtable where we go through and identify the most important points of conversation from that day’s meeting.

On Friday, we talked about the inner workings of the scouting process, discussing what type of tape is needed to get a full report on a player.

How Many Games Should Be Watched?

One of the big tasks when it comes to the NFL Draft is trying to find what film to watch. It’s impossible to have enough time to view every single snap of every single player, so which games should be prioritized? Opinions on this differ, but there was a general consensus amongst our staff. 

“You’re taught to watch the best and worst game against the biggest and smallest competition,” Reid said. “A great example of this is Derrick Brown. I watched Derrick against Tulane last year just because I want to see (a player’s) mindset when they’re playing a lesser opponent. Then you turn on the tape of Alabama and he’s still doing the same things.”

Crabbs followed up by reiterating that it’s important to look at a prospect’s top game(s), especially if you seem lower on him than the consensus.

“Sometimes you get through a couple of games and you want to pull up the numbers to see ‘okay where did he shine’ so I can go watch that one and make sure that I’m not missing something.”

As for the quantity of games needed to paint a clear picture of a prospect, the number that seemingly always pops up is 4-6 games, with Reid stating as much during the meeting.

“I try to watch 4-6 games on a guy and I think that gives them a fair assessment of who they are.”

Watch Chronologically

Types and amounts of games are extremely important factors that go into an evaluation, but so are the dates of those same matchups.

“Something I've always been taught is to watch games in order,” Reid pointed out. “I know it’s (particularly) big with QBs, just because you can pick a random game and he sucks in that game and then you watch a game closer to the end of the season and you go ‘oh man he looks like a completely different player.’”

Reid continued by mentioning this is a lot harder when you don’t have access to a ton of film, but that scouts should (and do) try to watch a player sequentially to get a feel for their overall growth.

Treat Quarterbacks Differently

Quarterback is the most important position in football, so it only makes sense that it’s the position that also requires the most viewings from a scouting perspective.

“With QBs, I try to watch every game, just because I like to see the growth,” Reid said. “Did they ascend or decline? (Joe) Burrow was a great example of this. I went back and watched him against UCF in the bowl game (two years ago), and he was good down the backstretch of 2018. We know how well he was able to play in 2019 as a result (of that growth).”

As for other positions and whether or not they need as much detail, Reid didn’t seem to think so.  

“(QB) is really the only one where you need to watch every game if you have access to it, but for every other position 4-6 games is more than an adequate number.”

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