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Scout: Penn St was worst place in country for us

Posted on: November 16, 2011 1:54 pm
A few days ago my CBS colleague Mike Freeman pointed out that many NFL scouts wouldn't miss Joe Paterno at Penn State due to his dictorial control of the program and the complications his control made in evaluating prospects.

Freeman quoted an anonymous scout as saying Penn State was "one of the worst places in the country to try and do your job."

I spoke to a high level scout, myself, who echoed that sentiment and provided even more specifics.

"The comment doesn't surprise me at all. Penn State has been the worst place in the country for scouts," he said. "Most schools and their [coaches, trainers] are pretty damn good to us. They're willing to work around our schedules and answer our questions because they realize the relationship they have with the league. If their players get drafted, it is only going to help them recruit more talent."

The scout didn't want to mention other schools that make scouts' jobs difficult, but did point out that USC under Pete Carroll and that Alabama under Nick Saban have been particularly welcoming to scouts.

"You could go into their facilities most days and as long as you were respectful of their time and preparation for their next opponent, they'd help us do our job. At Penn State, you literally only had two or three days a year where you could go in and scout players. It got to the point where a lot of guys didn't even take the trouble of going there. We'd do a lot of the scouting and interviews of Penn State players during all-star games and in individual workouts."

The scout didn't seem to think that the lack of access contributed significantly to the fact that Penn State has produced some of the more memorable busts in NFL draft history, but was willing to acknowledge the possibility.

"No team drafts a player that they haven't done their complete homework on, so I don't think [the limited access] played a critical role. Still, the more information you have about a player, the better... and Penn State made things more difficult."
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