Willaims_USCAre teams around the league behind schedule scouting college prospects for the 2010 NFL Draft? Is there a danger underclassmen who throw their hat into the April event won’t be comprehensively analyzed? The short answer is yes. We give you the long reason in this TFY Draft exclusive.



Update 12/05:  There’s Still Concern

Earlier today TFY Draft received an update on a situation we’ve been reporting  for almost a month involving NFL scouting departments struggling to get game film from the 2009 season.

A member of the Advisory Committee who is also Vice President of Player Personnel for a franchise in the NFC North Division, has said there is still a danger that underclassmen won’t be properly evaluated because of inadequate film.

Two factors have come into play.  We’ve been told that while the situation between the college conferences and NFL teams regarding game film has been resolved, the advisory committee has less than 100 game tapes on hand from the 2009 season.  The bigger issue is the number of underclassmen who have requested an evaluation from the advisory committee on their potential draft grade for the 2010 draft has already exceeded the number of requests received all of last year- and even more are expected.

According to this VP of Player Presonnel it is a real possibility that some of the underclassmen who request a grade from the advisory committee will not receive one in time to make a decision by the January 15th deadline.

Update 11/17:  Situation Solved??

Since we first published our story last Monday, November 9th, two different sources have told us the situation between the NFL and college conferences regarding the acquisition of college game film has been resolved, at least temporarily.

Earlier today one source told us the league and the conferences agreed on a one year deal late last week.  A separate source told us on Monday that the deal allows NFL teams to start receiving college game film from XOS, the official dubbing center, immediately.  That said, according to the source, the NFL Network cannot use game film for telecasts unless a separate deal is struck.

Both sources emphatically stated NFL teams were concerned as they expect a record number of underclassmen to contact the advisory committee about their potential draft grade if they enter April’s event.  Having to game film on hand meant an inability to grade the underclassmen who inquire about entering the draft or send off their official paperwork to the league offices.

We will continue to update this story as more comes in. 



Monday, November 9th

The scouting process is usually a 12-month affair with area scouts and in-house scouts watching game film almost year round. Yet this year there’s been a major glitch in the entire process and it’s one that could threaten the in-depth analysis of the underclassmen entering the draft as well as put teams in a bind for the general scouting of seniors.

NFL teams receive college game film from the dubbing center in New Jersey, from a company named XSOS. College conferences around the nation send game film to the dubbing center which in turn duplicates it for the league’s 32 teams.

The teams then pass the tape onto scouts, some who watch it at the organizations facilities and others who view game film on the road as they travel to practices and games in their designated areas.

But as of today not a single game film for any college from the 2009 college football season has been sent to an NFL team. As a result NFL franchises are behind schedule in the scouting process.

Why has caused this?

Sources have told us the root cause is conferences now want to be paid by the NFL for the game film. One source we spoke with today told us once the NFL Network started using the college game film sent to the league as part of their draft coverage earlier this year, it set off bells at conference headquarters around the country.

Conference officials informed league offices they wanted to be reimbursed for the game film sent off to the dubbing center- to the tune of between $500,000 and $750,000 per NFL team. The league office immediately said “no” and since then game film from the 2009 college season has remained with the schools.

The league has notified teams that scouts are not allowed to accept film on their own or through any secondary source. The league has said anyone or any team caught doing so will be penalized, possibly with draft picks.

Scouts are allowed to visit schools and view tape on campus, a practice which usually starts in the summer, continues through the season and also takes place during pro-day workouts.

To compensate for the loss of film sources have told us there have been an inordinate amount of scouts on hand to watch college games live this season. Another source told us today that the league and the college conferences are getting closer in their negotiations to solve this matter.

No matter, the consensus around the league is teams are way behind in the scouting process because of the present situation.

Everyone we spoke with admits there’s fear this will negatively impact the underclassmen who decide to enter the 2010 draft. And the general feeling is there will be a record number of underclassmen in next April’s draft in large part due to the pending CBA agreement and possible lockout in the future.

Why will this turn of events effect the underclassmen much more than the seniors?

Entering the season NFL teams and their area scouts have a good foundation on the upperclassmen that will be available in the following April’s draft. The two main scouting sources, BLESTO and National Scouting, prepare comprehensive reports on the seniors which is then released to teams by June and many scouts spend their summers watching game film on the players they are charged to analyze.

None of this is true for the underclassmen.

There’s no background check, measurables and for the most part scouts pay minimal attention to the non-seniors except in passing. It’s not an unusual occurrence at the Senior Bowl for a scout to admit they are not yet familiar with an underclassmen that’s already declared for the draft.

We will follow this story closely and update our viewers with updates.