Jason LaCanfora of NFL.com recently reported on a new tactic of Mark Dominik and the Bucs' front office: they're actually asking agents for their opinion on their players' stock. Innovative, right? Asking people directly involved with players about the players? Well, it doesn't seem innovative to me. Sure, agents lie and try to artificially get their players' draft stock up, there's no doubt about that. But agents have to remain believable, and the Bucs can build up data on how each of these agents is responding. As long as they know they're not getting truthful information they can adjust and take it into account. If handled properly this is just more information in the evaluation and planning process, and teams should be doing everything they can to uncover all useful information.
This reminds me of a report last year, when the Bucs talked about all the changes they made to the scouting and evaluation process. The one thing they constantly talked about was adding a checkbox for team captains to the evaluation form. How was this not standard? How did the Bucs not record which of the prospects was a team captain in college? Why would they not do this? For that matter, why is this not standard across the NFL? All those interviews did was convince me of the fact that the scouting process is a lot less professional than I thought.
At the same time, though, it's good that Mark Dominik is willing and able to make changes to the process. It's good that he's looking for ways to improve the scouting process, and it's likely that the best changes are being kept secret as a way to protect them. That's understandable as no one wants to give his secret advantage away, although this hampers the overall improvement throughout the league. These examples aren't really examples of innovation, though, they're just examples of implementing very simple, common sense ideas. The fact that that needed doing is surprising, but the fact that it's being done is good. We've already seen that this regime is good at drafting in the past 2 years. Let's hope their ways - innovative or not - will continue to lead to good results.