Tag:CBS Sports
Posted on: November 16, 2011 1:54 pm

Scout: Penn St was worst place in country for us

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."
Posted on: November 2, 2011 4:09 pm

Phil Simms not alone in calling Luck overrated

Former Super Bowl MVP and CBS' analyst Phil Simms made waves yesterday with his proclamation that Andrew Luck was being "hype[d] a little too much" and that he didn't see "big time NFL throws" from the Stanford redshirt junior quarterback.

By ranking Luck as the top prospect I've seen in 12 years of scouting, obviously I disagree.

Simms isn't the only one who has concerns about Luck, however.

During the Stanford-Southern Cal game I spent about 45 minutes talking to a high level scout who also had reservations about the Stanford quarterback.

The scout began the conversation about Luck by asking my assessment of Luck's arm strength. I told him that I did not believe that arm strength was Luck's greatest asset, but that having scouted Luck in person and off of video I believed him to have plenty of zip on the ball to make every NFL throw. I also pointed out that Luck's anticipation and accuracy -- arguably his two best features -- more than made up for a lack of a howitzer for a right arm.

The scout agreed that Luck's anticipation and accuracy "were what make him special" but used April's No. 1 overall pick Cam Newton as a comparison to drive a point home about how much Luck has been over-hyped thus far.

"I'm not so sure that after scouting each of these guys closely that some scouts wouldn't favor Newton over Luck," the scout said. "Newton is so much more of a physical specimen. He's bigger, stronger, faster and has a gun. Luck, for all of the things he does have, doesn't have an arm like that. I think the perception is that Carolina would have taken Luck in a heart beat over Newton. Maybe they would have. But I think it would be a closer call than most people think based on the hype."

Newton's instant and continued success in the NFL has taken many of us by surprise, so I asked the scout if perhaps this fact wasn't clouding his comments. He chuckled and acknowledged the quality work that the Carolina Panthers (specifically offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski) had done in adapting his offense to tailor to Newton's strengths, but also pointed out that "talent is talent and when you've got a lot of it, a little coaching can go a long way."

"The reality is, Luck is a pretty special talent, but he's not Superman. I don't know that anyone could be as good as the hype he's getting right now." 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com