Scouting Notebook

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Here is a list shared with me a few years ago regarding scouting players and what to watch for when watching film or a game.

Quarterbacks

Arm Strength: Ability to throw sideline and deep ball.   Throws with velocity through small window

Delivery: Deliberate fast, slow or windup

Release Quickness: Ability to get the ball out of hand quickly.  Three step quick snap wrist release with velocity.  Keep the ball high.

Anticipation/Timing: Natural feel in the passing game

Touch: Feel for throw. Ability to throw over defense. Time and anticipation.

Accuracy short/medium/long:  Consistent ability to keep receivers on their routes. Completion percentage.  Can hit receivers on routes with fee adjustments.

Poise: Pressure is not a factor, doesn’t get rattled.  Hangs in the pocket. Performance under game and rush pressure.  Pocket awareness.

Decision making:  Decisive under pressure.  Is he a student of the game?

Field Vision: reading the defense, including pre-snap reads.  Can he find the secondary receivers?

Mobility: Natural running ability, ability to avoid the rush

Running ability: athletic with the ball as a runner.  Speed, quickness and agility

Foot Quickness: Ability to keep his feet alive and move feet in rapid succession.

Setup Quickness: Drop back speed to throwing point.  3, 5 and 7 step drops and shotgun.

Ball Handling:  Control center exchange 

Game Management: How well does he control the whole game situation? Is he instinctive and does he play under control?

Leadership: Is he a vocal leader? Is he liked by his teammates?

FBI:  Football Intelligence

College Offensive scheme:  Pro or spread

Running Backs

Initial Quickness: Explosive Start, movement on the snap, quickness to the hole.

Run Instincts: Natural feel for running the ball.  Ability to create. Run skills and overall raw talent.

Vision: Ability to hop cut in the hole. See the crease and burst through it.

Inside Run: Vision. Follows and cuts off blocks.  Aggressive 2 and 3 yard runs. Drives legs on contact.

Power Runner: Leg Drive after initial contact. Low Pad level

Balance: Ability to retain body control.  Lower body strength. Stays on feet

Outside Run: Speed to turn the corner, outrun defender.  Cut back ability versus flow

Burst/Acceleration:  Extra gear. Quickness to reach top speed.

Elusive: Cuts without loss of speed.  Can he make defenders miss?

Fumbler: Does he lack ball security?  Is he careless?

Yards after contact:  Leg drive and the ability to finish runs.  Toughness

Blocker: Effort and willingness to initiate contact

Pass Routes:  Does he have the ability to separate and get open?

Hands: Hand/eye coordination.  Ability to catch all pass routes.

FBI:  Football Intelligence

College Offensive Scheme:  Pro or spread

Wide Receivers

Coverage Recognition:  Reads coverage, zone and man to man

Run After the Catch: Athletic, after the catch. Production with ball in hands.

Patterns: Type of cuts, rounded or sharp.  Body control, drops weight, lateral separation.

Release: Escapes being held up in press coverage.  Quick feet. Strength to fight jams.

Separation:  Ability to come out of break with burst/acceleration.  Creates spaces.  Can he get open?

Receive Long: Can he adjust to the ball in flight? Does he pick up speed down the field? Does he run through the ball?  Vertical threat. Leaping ability and timing.

Ball Reaction: Reactive and assertive in traffic. Reactive to low balls and balls behind him. Ball skills

React to crowd: Courage. Concentration.  Receives the ball on contact over middle.  Catches in a crowd on the move.   Makes plays in a combative environment.

In-Line Blocker: Degree of physical toughness.  Aggressive blocks

Downfield Blocker: Adjusts on the move. Physical and mental toughness

Burst/Acceleration: Amount of time to get to top speed

Speed: Playing speed. Can he carry his pads? Deep burst. Can he run by defenders? Does he eat up the cushion?

Hands: Size (under 8″ is small) Type (soft hand). Extends and plucks the ball away from body. Adjusts to ball in flight. Can he make the overhead catch? Will he lay out? Can he make the tough catch?

Third Down Value: Can he move the chains?

College Offensive Scheme: Pro or spread

Tight Ends

Initial Quickness: Type of stance and movement off ball.  Burst into cuts

Coverage Recognition: Can he read coverages and adjust on run? Instincts?

Run After Catch:  Determined runner who fights for extra yards. Strength to break tackles

Hands: Soft, natural, easy or stiff

Patterns: Type of cuts, sharp or rounded.  Does he gather his feet to cut (not a good trait)? Body control.

Release: Can he escape being held up at the line of scrimmage? Foot quickness and strength.  Type of release; speed  or arm over.

Separation: Burst and body movement to create space from defenders and get open. Horizontal and vertical separation.

Receive Short: Can he split Cover 2 coverage? Vertical threat. Burst to separate. Leaping ability and timing.

Ball Reactions: Can he see and adjust to the ball in flight? Can he make the tough catch?

React to Crowd: Courage and concentration on the ball in the crowd. Use of body to shield defender. Is he a big target?d

In-line blocker: Upper and lower body strength, good base and balance.   Does he dominate with block strength?

Sustain/Finish: Use of physical play strength.  How effective and functional is he?

Downfield Blocker: Adjust on the run.  Effort and angles. Stays on feet

Pass Protection: Can he quick set? Change direction and redirect? Stays square to pass rusher. Sudden to react and recover to blitz pickup.

Game Management: How well does he control the whole game situation?  Is he instinctive and does he play under control?

FBI:  Football Intelligence

Third Down Value:  Is he a reliable option? The abi

College Offensive Scheme:  Pro or spread?

Offensive Tackles

Initial Quickness: Quickness on start. Movement off the ball to gain an advantage

Knee Bend: Natural or forced.  Ability to bend and play in a leverage position.

Explosion: Knee bender not a waist bender.  Leg drive, rolls hips, strength can stun defenders.  Fire, fit follow through.

Use of Hands: Placement, punch, stab, quickness, 6 inch punch, controls defender

Body Control/Recovery: Can he redirect and shift weight quickly to defeat opponent? Quick pivot and turn.reacts 

Pass Protection:  The ability to quick set with body quickness, change of direction and redirect with natural body control.  Does he demonstrate attitude and aggression to engage initial contact with base, balance and knee bend?  Can he stay square with the ability to mirror rusher? Quickly reacts and recovers to blitz pickup.  Easy light feet.

Run Block: Ability to quickly position defender with base leverage to run feet on contact.  Functional play strength.

Block Downfield: Ability to adjust and sustain in space.  Effort and desire to make a second block.

Pull/Trap: Initial movement , adjust on the run, depth and approach, body control, kick out or log block, follow through and finish

Reach and Seal: Suddenness to gain an advantage.  Quickness to cut off and pin defender.

Finish and Sustain: Base, balance, feet.  Body control.  Goes to whistle

Anchor:  Size, strength, balance, base. punch and ability to drop his weight.  Solid lower body, flexibility, and power.  Can he post up with the inside leg and stop charge?

Lateral Range: Initial quick set and lateral feet slide/adjust to block speed rusher.  Can block the edge (a definite requirement for the left offensive tackle).

Arm Length/Hand Size:  Prefer arms longer than 33′ hands over 10.

FBI:  Football Intelligence

College Blocking Scheme:  Zone or Man

Offensive Guards

Initial Quickness: Quickness on start.  Movement off the ball to gain an advantage.

Knee Bend: Natural or forced.  Ability to bend and play football in a leverage position.

Explosion: Knee bender not a waist bender.  Leg Drive. Roll hips. Strength. Ability to stun defenders.  Fire, fit and follow through.

Use of Hands:  Placemen. Punch, stab quickness.  6 inch punch.  Controls defender.

Body control/recovery:   Can he redirect and shift weight quickly to defeat opponent?   Quick pivot and turn.  Ability to regain body control and balance.

Pass Protection:  Ability to quick set with body quickness.  Change of direction and redirect with natural body control.  Does he demonstrate attitude and aggression to engage initial contact with base, balance and knee bend?  Can he stay square with the ability to mirror/rusher? Quick react and recover to blitz pickup.  Easy and light feet

Block Downfield:  Ability to adjust and sustain in space.  Effort and desire to make the second block.

Full/Trap:  Initial movement. Adjust on the run.   Depth and approach.  Body control.  Kick out or log block.  Follow through and finish.

Reach and seal: Suddenness to gain an advantage. Quickness to cut off and pin defender

Finish/Sustain:  Base. Balance. Feet.  Ability to retain body control and go to the whistle.

Anchor: Does he have the size, strength, balance, base, punch, and ability to drop his weight? Solid lower body.  Flexibility and power.

Lateral Range: Initial quick set and lateral feet to slide/adjust to block speed rusher.

Arm Length:  Prefer over 33″ Hand size over 10′

FBI:  Football Intelligence

College Blocking Scheme:  Zone or man

Centers

Initial Quickness: Quickness on start.  Movement off the ball to gain advantage

Knee Bend: Natural or forced? Can bend and play in a leverage position.

Explosion: Knee bender, not a waist.  Leg drive. Rolls hips. Strength.  Ability to stun defenders.  Fire, fit and follow through.

Use of hands: Placement.  Punch, Stab, quickness.  6 inch punch.  Controls defender.

Body Control/Recovery: Can he redirect and shift weight quickly to defeat opponent?  Quick pivot and turn.  Ability to regain body control and balance.

Pass Protection:  The ability to quick set with body quickness.  Change of direction and redirect with natural body control.  Attitude and aggression to engage initial contact.  Can he stay square with the ability to mirror rusher?  Quickly reacts and recovers to blitz pickup.   Easy light feet.

Run Block:  Ability to quickly position defender with base leverage to run feet on contact.  Functional play strength.

Block Downfield: Ability to adjust and sustain in space.   Effort and desire to make the second block.

Full/Trap:  Initial movement. Adjust on the run.   Depth and approach.  Body control.  Kick out or log block.  Follow through and finish.

Reach and seal: Suddenness to gain an advantage. Quickness to cut off and pin defender

Finish/Sustain:  Base. Balance. Feet.  Ability to retain body control and go to the whistle.

Anchor:  Size, strength, balance, base, punch and ability to drop his weight

Lateral Range: Initial quick set and lateral feet to slide/adjust to block speed rusher.

Long or Short Snap: What are his snap times?

Arm Length:  Prefer over 33″ Hand size over 10′

FBI:  Football Intelligence

College Blocking Scheme:  Zone or man

Defensive Ends

Instincts: Feels pressure and reacts on the move.  Diagnoses play after controlling the opponent. Quick reactions.

Key and Diagnose:  Reads and reacts to keys.  Right place at the right time.

Explosive/Leverage: Low and sudden movement when delivering a blow.  Ability to unlock hips with force.

Lateral Movement/Athletic Ability: Can he bend and turn the corner? Dowling pursuit.  Quickness in stunts and slant moves.  Hand use

Tackling:  Is he explosive , a hard hitter?  Can he stop the ball carrier without losing ground? Better in a closed area.

Ward Off/Shield/Separation: Use of hands and strength to separate.  Pull and jerk.

Aggressiveness:  Face-up wrap tackler.  Intense and relentless.

Burst/Acceleration:  Amount of time it takes to get to top speed

Initial Quickness:  Initial suddenness to get penetration and gain an advantage upfield.  Type of stance.  Movement off the ball.

Hold the Point/Play Strength:  Neutralize block.  Has power to hold ground and stack.

Pursuit/Play Speed:  Movement to ball from snap to completion play.  Effort. Angle.  Long and short quickness.  Gets through traffic. Urgency, intensity and closing speed.

Pass Rush Ability:  Stance and takeoff. Quickness. Strength.  Effort.  Tenacious. Excels at stunts. Vertical push outside speed.  Deflects blocker. Leverage. Acceleration off of blocks. Ability to adjust and burst on the QB. Discipline to stay in the rush lane.  Motor.

Power Rush: Bull rush. Press the pocket. Leverage player

Double Team: Reaction. Strength, technique to hold ground. Does he have two gap ability? Is he a one-gap movement guy?

Trap: Quick recognition to close down hole. Spill technique.  Take on the outside shoulder to flatten.

Speed Rush: Can he turn speed to power? Use of feet and hands.

Arm Length: Prefer over 33″, hand size 10″ or better

Versatility: 4-3 end, 3-4 end, 4-3 tackle and nose tackle.

College Defensive Scheme: Position — Base alignment

Defensive Tackles

Instincts: Feels pressure and reacts on the move.  Diagnoses play after controlling opponent. Quick reactions.

Key and Diagnose:  Football intelligence. Reads and reacts to keys.  Right place at the right time.

Explosive/Leverage: Low and sudden movement when delivering a blow.  Ability to unlock hips with force.

Lateral Movement/Athletic Ability: Can he bend and turn the corner? Dowling pursuit.  Quickness in stunts and slant moves. 

Tackling:  Is he explosive, a hard hitter

Ward Off/Shield/Separation: Use of hands and strength to separate.  Pull and jerk.

Aggressiveness:  Face-up wrap tackler.  Intense and relentless.

Burst/Acceleration:  Amount of time it takes to get to top speed

Initial Quickness:  Initial suddenness.  Type of stance.  Movement off the ball. Does he anticipate and guess? Explodes into blocker?

Hold the Point/Play Strength:  Neutralize block.  Has power to hold ground and stack.

Pursuit/Play Speed: Effort. Angle. Long and short quickness.  Get through traffic.  Urgency.  Intensity. Closing speed.

Pass Rush Ability:  Stance and takeoff. Quickness. Strength.   Use of hands and feet. Effort.  Tenacious.  Types of moves.  Is he a two-move guy? Excels at stunts? Vertical push. Outside speed.  Deflects blocker. Leverage.  acceleration off of blocks. Ability to adjust and burst on the QB.  Discipline to stay in the rush lane. Motor.

Power Rush: Bull rush. Press the pocket. Leverage player

Double Team: Reaction. Strength, technique to hold ground.  Two gap ability? Is he a one-gap movement guy?

Speed Rush: Can he turn speed to power? Use of feet and hands.

Arm Length: Prefer over 33″, hand size 10″ or better

Versatility: 4-3 end, 3-4 end, 4-3 tackle and nose tackle.

College Defensive Scheme: Position — Base alignment

Outside Linebackers

Instincts: Read-and-react quickness, Natural ability to find the ball.  Anticipation.  Playmaker

Key and Diagnose:  Recognition and reaction to run/pass.  Football Intelligence

Explosive/Leverage: Knee bend.  Functional strength.  Ability to dominate

Lateral Movement: Quickness to shuffle. Makes plays parallel to the line of scrimmage.  Plays with good knee bend on balls of feet.

Hand Use: Tough on blockers. Can he stack and control blockers with hands?

Tackling:  Is he a hard hitter or a grab and drag down guy?  Wrap up tackler? Is he good in space? Does he break down and run through the ball carrier?

 Ward Off/Shed:  Hand strength.  USe of hands and forearms.  Pad Under pad.  Does he accelerate off blocks? 

Aggressiveness:  Physically dominant player.  Full contact intensity

Outside Run: Does he protect his legs and get through traffic?  Good Angles.  Range.  Speed.  Lateral quickness

Range/Play/Speed/Pursuit:  Distance covered after the ball is thrown.  Does he take good angles? Sideline to sideline player

Zone Coverage: Route recognition.   Receiver awareness. Depth and discipline.  Hands to catch the ball.

Man-To-Man Coverage: Backpedal. Feet. Turn and level up. Acceleration. Mirror tight end and backs out. Can he run deep?

Blitz/Pas-Rush Ability: Change of direction. Burst to quarterback. Quick take-off. Use of hands. Speed, quickness and strength

Space Player/Athletic Ability: Open-field tackler. Is he better in confined areas?

Ball Reaction: Tendency as the ball gets closer to the receiver. Interceptions, knock downs or interference.

Over Tight End: Ability to create separation and control. Strength and authority.,  Leverage to stand up blocker

College Defensive Scheme:  Position,  Base Alignment

Inside Linebackers

Instincts: Read and react quickly.  Natural ability to find the ball. Anticipation.  Playmaker

Key & Diagnose: Recognition and reaction.  Football intelligence

Explosive/Leverage: Knee bend. Functional strength.  Ability to dominate.

Lateral Movement:  Quickness to shuffle.  Makes plays parallel to the line of scrimmage. Plays with good knee bend on balls of feet. Change-of-direction ability.

Hand Use: Tough on blockers. Can he stack and control blockers

Tackling:  Is he a hard hitter or a grab and drag down guy?  Wrap up tackler? Is he good in space? Does he break down and run through the ball carrier?

Ward Off/Shed/Separation:  Hand strength.  Use of hands and forearms.  Pad Under pad.  Does he accelerate off blocks? 

Aggressiveness:  Physically dominant player.  Full contact intensity

Outside Run: Does he protect his legs and get through traffic?  Good Angles.  Range.  Speed.  Lateral quickness. Pursuit.

Range/Play/Speed/Pursuit:  Distance covered after the ball is thrown.  Does he take good angles? Sideline to sideline player

Zone Coverage: Route recognition.   Receiver awareness. Depth and discipline.  Hands to catch the ball.

Man-To-Man Coverage: Backpedal. Feet. Turn and level up. Acceleration. Mirror tight end backs out. Can he run deep?

Blitz/Pas-Rush Ability: Change of direction. Burst to quarterback. Quick take-off. Use of hands. Speed, quickness and strength. Can he adjust on the move? Timing.

Burst/Acceleration: Sticks his foot in the ground and drives on the ball carrier.  Body control in plant.

Ball Reaction: Tendency as ball gets closer to the receiver. Interceptions, knock downs or interference.

Over Tight End: Ability to create separation and control. Strength and authority.,  Leverage to stand up blocker

College Defensive Scheme:  Position,  Base Alignment

Cornerbacks

Instincts: Ability to anticipate and analyze offensive set tendencies and react quickly.  Suddenness to read and react and pattern read.

Key and Diagnose/Football Intelligence: Recognition and reaction to run/pass.  Thinks on feet.  Makes quick adjustments

 Explosive/Leverage: Quick movement out of transition to break on ball

Lateral Movement: Plays square to receivers.  Demonstrates change of direction and lateral quickness

Hands/Balls Skills: Soft or stiff. Is he a hands or body catcher? Can he adjust to intercept a poorly thrown ball? Does he knock down catchable balls? How does he use his hands to shed a blocker?

Tackling: Effectiveness.  Break down and wrap up.  Physical or drag down

Ward off/shed: Can he play off in the open field and make a tackle?

 Aggressiveness: In press coverage. Is he nose to nose? Good stance, balance, and strength.  Physical striker?

Closing Quickness: Close on receiver after he makes his first move.  Takes a direct line to the point of the ball.  Plant and drive.

Range/Play Speed/Pursuit:   Distance covered when ball is in air.  Takes good angles

Zone Coverage:  Disciplined. Ball Awareness. Pattern Reads

Man to man coverage: Backpedal.  Quick feet.  Ability to stay in pedal as long as possible to route breakpoints.  Transition out of pedal to all route angles.  Stop and go quickness.  Plant and drive.  Burst to close on ball.  Loose hip for smooth turn with acceleration and catch up speed.  Leaping ability.  Battle for ball.  Does he play man or off man?

Blitz: Timing to stunt off the edge or run through gaps.

Burst/Recovery:  Does he have a receiver burst and speed? Speed to turn and close.  Deep catch top speed on long ball.

Confidence: Attitude. Daring Smart. Positive cockiness

Run Support: Willingness to force and contain.  Tough, aggressive hitter.  Strength. Play off blocks.  Take good angles.

Safeties

Instincts:  Ability to anticipate with quick reaction and analyze offensive set tendencies and react quickly.  Suddenness.  

Key & Diagnoze/Football Intelligence/Run the Defense:  Recognition and reaction to run/pass.  Instincts

Explosive/Leverage: Quick movement out of transition to break on the ball.

Lateral Movement: Plays square to receivers. Demonstrates change of direction and lateral quickness

Hands/Ball Skills:  Soft or stiff.   Is he a hand or body catcher? Can he adjust to intercept a poorly thrown ball? Does he knock down catchable balls?  Sheds blockers.

Tackling:  Effectiveness.  Break down and wrap up.  Physical or drag down.  Ward off/shed

Aggressiveness: In press coverage, is he nose to nose?  Good stance, balance and strength.  Physical striker?

Closing Quickness:  Closes on receiver after he makes his final move.  Takes a direct line to the point of the ball.  Plant and drive

Range/Play Speed/Pursuit:  Distance covered when ball is in the air.  Physical or run support.  Takes good angles

Zone Coverage: Disciplined.  Ball awareness.  Pattern reads.

Man to Man Coverage: Backpedal.  Base.  

Quick feet.  Ability to stay in pedal as long as possible to route breakpoints.  Transition out of pedal to all route angles.  

Stop and go quick..  Plant and drive.  Burst to close on ball.  No false steps.  Loose hipped for smooth turn with acceleration and catch up speed.   Position on receiver.  Timing.  Leaping ability.  Battle for ball.  Does he play tight man or off man? Will he compete?

Blitz: Timing to stunt off the edge or run through gaps.

Burst/Recovery: Does he have recover burst and speed?  Speed to turn and close.   Deep catch up speed or long ball.

Confidence:  Attitude.  Daring. Smart. Competitive. Ability to bounce back after being beaten.  Positive cockiness

Run Support: Willingness to force and contain.  Tough aggressive hitter.  STrength.  Play off blocks.  Take good angles.