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Scouting Directors seem to spend way too much time spreading misinformation

The old Bears scouting director Greg Gabriel writes for the National Football Post these days, and he recently wrote an interesting article on what games scouting departments play before the draft. When Gabriel was scouting director, he would never tell journalists the truth, often misleading them on purpose. When talking with other scouts he'd never tell them what he really thought, and only give him information about players he didn't like - and only give the scouts positive information on those prospects, of course. He'd call agents to get a feel for where other teams had their players ranked, but then mislead them on where he had them ranked. He'd schedule visits with players just to put other teams on a different trail, and he'd do that according to different patterns each year.

All of this seems like a gigantic waste of time, not to mention a bit naive. Gabriel talks about misleading everyone he talks to, but he does put stock in what everyone else tells him. If he's going to such lengths to hide his true thoughts, you can be sure that others are too and he's not getting a lot of useful information from them. And the gain to be had from lying is likely minimal, as other teams have to take into account every team in the league when planning their draft strategy.

But the worst part is that he's systematically compromising his ability to properly evaluate players just to make teams think the wrong thing. Each team is only allowed a limited amount of visits, and he'd waste them on players he wasn't interested in. Instead of making sure he knew everything there is to know about a draft prospect, he was more concerned with other teams not knowing his preferences. This isn't just a waste of time, it's counter-productive. It hurts the evaluation process.

The Bucs have done a good job drafting players the past two years, but they have some odd visits of their own scheduled. WR Leonard Hankerson doesn't seem to fit any need for the Bucs, yet the Bucs are 'spending' one of their visits on him. This could just be a visit for completion's sake - if he falls far enough they need to know about the player, and they may be able to pick him up in free agency or a trade in a few years. But if they're bringing him in just to put other teams on the wrong track, then that's just pointless. The Bucs would be better off bringing in prospects they're actually interested in, so they know everything there is to know about those prospects.

Dominik has spoken a number of times about Legarrette Blount thanking the cooks in the cafeteria, and that telling the Bucs a lot about his character. it'd be a shame if the team was to miss on a player just because they failed to get him in for a visit. I can only hope the Bucs see it that way, too.