By HCR Staff | April 22, 2020
Much of the NFL Draft’s popularity comes from the excitement of watching the infusion of young, talented players into the league. The new talent brings hope for every team.
It takes talent to find the talent. Someone has to find and evaluate the players, determine the “fit”, and much of the time, advocate for the player’s selection and inclusion into the team.
On NFL teams, an owner, head coach or general manager makes the pick based on information provided by a lower level personnel executive or scout. The lower level executive or scout has little to no control over a player’s selection, much less that player’s development. The successful development of a player often depends on a number of factors including but not limited to: luck, scheme, reps, encouragement, and most of all, patience.
There’s a number of personnel people who do a consistently outstanding job that the public might not know about. We thought we’d highlight a number of those talented people here:
Anthony Robinson, Falcons, Director of College Scouting. The recently promoted Robinson is popular among his peers, and a self-made man. He spent years in the “civilian” world gaining valuable work experience as a corporate executive, so he brings a refreshing perspective to player evaluation. He’s paid his dues as a road scout, and now he’ll be ‘inside’ as a director. Robinson has terrific people skills and that makes him a ‘glue’ guy within player personnel departments. It’s for this reason that Robinson will be an NFL GM – and very soon – perhaps by 2021.
Sae Woon Jo, Falcons, Area Scout. Like Robinson, Sae Woon Jo works in a young and dynamic Falcons personnel department. The energetic Sae Woon Jo covers a large Western region for the Falcons. He joined the scouting ranks after coaching Division III football – at Occidental College in the greater Los Angeles area – Barack Obama’s first college stop. He brings a strong work ethic to the job. Like Anthony Robinson, he also worked for years outside of football to support himself and his family. He’s a good listener and relates easily to players. He also has the unique coach perspective. He’s recognized for running Pro Day workouts and not being afraid to get his hands dirty.
Jeff Ireland, Saints, Assistant GM – Director of College Scouting. Ireland is a name that fans know a bit as a result of a prior tenure as Dolphins General Manager. Even though he was dismissed from that position, he’s worked incredibly hard to add to his skills and eliminate negative perceptions about him. The results are undeniable. Ireland has helped transform the New Orleans Saints into perennial Super Bowl contenders. Since joining the Saints in 2015, Ireland has drafted players such as Alvin Kamara, Michael Thomas, Marshon Lattimore, Sheldon Rankins, David Onyemata, Ryan Ramczyck and Marcus Williams. Ireland will get another GM opportunity, possibly in 2021. Ireland’s draft record is just too good to ignore.
Kevin McCabe, Vikings, Area Scout. Popular among his peers, McCabe is a longtime road scout covering the West region for the Vikings. McCabe is exceedingly bright; he has many interests outside of football and can speak on a wide range of topics. Notwithstanding his smarts, McCabe is a humble, down to earth personality. If you’re a Vikings fan, you can see McCabe’s fingerprints here and there on the roster. Anthony Barr? From the West. Eric Kendricks? Same. That’s a lot of production right there.
Monti Ossenfort, Patriots, Director of College Scouting. Ossenfort is another private, behind-the-scenes brain that Bill Belichick has groomed. He hits all the check marks for Belichick: former small college player (QB), economics major, MBA, and possesses great attention to detail. Along with Nick Caserio, Ossenfort leads the Patriots efforts in scouting new talent. Ossenfort works in a buttoned up organization but is viewed as a likeable guy and is considered a future GM. He is someone that could assume that role in 2021.