CORRECTION: The Buccaneers have not left the National Football Scouting Organization, Jason Licht told us. Previous article below.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have pulled out of the National Football Scouting Organization, according to draftnik Josh Buchanan, who works with former front office executive Tony Softli, among other things. The National Football Scouting Organization is one of two national scouting organizations (BLESTO being the other), which provide preliminary scouting reports on all NFL prospects to NFL teams.
The Bucs are now one of just six teams who aren't a member of either BLESTO or National Scouting, with the Jacksonville Jaguars pulling out of BLESTO this year. According to a 2008 article on Draft Daddy, the teams who were not aligned at the time were the Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, New England Patriots and Oakland Raiders. The Browns have since re-joined BLESTO. Membership entails annual dues as well as providing one scout to help create produce national scouting reports.
That's fairly solid company for the Bucs, and with Lovie Smith coming over from Chicago and Jason Licht having worked with the Patriots, the move makes some sense. This would also explain why the team's shakeup in the personnel department included appointing two new national scouts, as the Bucs will now have to do a lot of the preliminary scouting themselves.
Of course, in the age of ever-present draftniks, those national scouting organizations may not be all that useful anymore, anyway -- and the lists will leak out, too. Ultimately, this may not matter much -- but it may help the Bucs avoid a bit of group-think on prospects. All of the teams named as independent teams above have a tendency to make a few unexpected decisions every year, for better or worse.