NFL Scouting Changes Due To Covid-19

By Angelina Joleen Tayama Reyes-Chavez, Staff Writer

A common feature among professional sports leagues is that they all use scouts to populate their teams. Scouts go to colleges and high schools to watch student-athletes perform and evaluate their skills. Once a scout determines if the athlete is good enough to play on a professional team, the scout will offer the athlete a contract. It can be challenging for a scout to determine the athlete’s professional material, but it is made easier by criteria that every scout follows. Of course, athletes can be better than the requirements, but they are not allowed to be any worse.


Recently, as a result of Covid-19, scouting has been drastically different. This is because games are limited, and the fact that the criteria that scouts have been following for so long have finally been updated. Another drastic change that has taken place is the annual scouting “Combine” event.


If it were a typical year without the pandemic going on, then NFL scouts would be holding an event called the Combine. The Combine would usually take place in Indianapolis, generally in February. NFL executives, physicians, trainers, scouts, and coaches would gather to determine lineups for teams. A group of 330 young athletes was invited to the Combine. These athletes were to be put through a series of challenges pertaining to football, and the best would be chosen for different groups. This made the team building a lot easier for all of the coaches and the players. This event has not changed since 1987, well, that was until now. 


The Combine is not supposed to be for another month or so, but the NFL has stated that they would rather be safe than sorry. They have said that instead of watching the new athletes in action, they will have to conduct virtual meetings and interviews with the athletes and only have a conversation with them. The NFL is very fearful concerning stats because they will not decide the players’ ability, but rather how well they hold a conversation. As of right now, the Covid-19 precautions are going to stay the same, but it is up for reconsideration if there is some miracle that allows a reopening, including the Combine. Unfortunately, the athletes will not be able to perform for scouts and coaches, but the NFL is going to make the best out of it and do as much as they can for the new athletes while being as safe as they possibly can be.