We here at Bucs Central, recently had the chance to catch up with Matt Miller, of Newerascouting.com. Miller has been scouting college prospects since 1997 – has several published articles describing in great detail the finer points on scouting different positions and goes to great length to give draftniks an inside look into what scouts are looking for when breaking down film.
How did you get started in scouting college players and what was the draw for you? How long have you been actively grading college prospects?
After playing high school football and not getting a scholarship to play in college, I had to find a way to stay close to the game. I had been involved in journalism classes in high school and early on in college, and I knew that writing was a possibility for me. I sent out resumes to my favorite websites and newspapers and was hired to cover the San Francsico 49ers for NFLDraftBlitz.com, which at the time was the most popular NFL Draft website. From there I moved up the ranks as a writer, all the while scouting players on my own. Eventually I became the Vice President of NFLDraftBlitz and Director of Scouting. From there I branched out and created New Era Scouting- a site dedicated to scouting and NFL Draft grading.
During this time I coached three years of High School football and two seasons of minor league football, where our team won the League Championship. In total I have been scouting players since 1997.
Based on the current schemes that the Bucs run and the porous defense through five games in your opinion where would you start to fix the Bucs woeful production?
There are so many holes on the Bucs roster right now, I honestly believe you start with the best player available. Should they decide to draft for need, I would target the defensive line, wide receiver and outside linebacker. With that being said, it is my opinion that teams are best built when they draft the best available players despite of need.
Who are some of the lesser known players at defensive tackle, corner back and defensive ends fans should be keeping a close eye on that fit with what the Bucs are doing on defense?
Defensive End: My favorite end in the draft is Greg Hardy (Ole Miss), but Tampa might be gun-shy about drafting an end so high after the Gaines Adams experiment. George Selvie is a smaller, quick end in the Raheem Brock mold. He would be an ideal target at the opening of round two. Lindsey Witten from UConn is an intriguing pass rush specialist who would garner some interest in round four. A late round sleeper is Auston English from Oklahoma. He has battled injuries in his career, but he’s definitely a player to watch.
Defensive Tackle: Obviously the player to watch and know is Ndamukong Suh from Nebraska. He has a chance to go #1 overall. Lesser known talents: Lamarr Houston (Texas), Jared Odrick (Penn State), Boo Robinson (Wake Forest) and Tyson Alualu (Cal).
Cornerback: The cornerback class is weak in 2010. The Tampa defense requires a physical corner who can excel bump and run, which defines Brandon Ghee from Wake Forest. Jerome Murphy from South Florida is another potential Cover guy, as is Myron Lewis from Vanderbilt.
What are some of the main attributes you look for when breaking down film of prospects?
For each position we have a list of “Positional Traits” that we breakdown. Some websites like to talk about character and try to identify the personality of a player, but we realize you cannot do this by watching film and without interviewing the player and his coaches. Instead we focus on what the film tells us.
The main attributes that we can look for at any position are agility, speed, strength, game IQ and toughness. Beyond that we are focusing purely on positional traits (i.e. accuracy, arm strength, footwork, vision, etc.)
Is there a can’t miss prospect in this years draft?
The 2010 Draft is being billed as a very talented class, but there are few “can’t miss” players. If there is one it would be Ndamukong Suh, a defensive tackle from Nebraska. He is by far the most dominant defensive player in college football right now. You also have to consider that few defensive tackles become busts, which makes the selection of Suh a low-risk, high-reward pick early in the first round.
At this point in the draft process who is that diamond in the rough player from a small school that in a few years could have a similar impact to that of DE Jared Allen?
It’s hard to look for the next Jared Allen, or Tom Brady, but every scout tries. Here is my early list of some late round steals:
WR Kerry Meier (Kansas- UDFA projection)
DE Alex Carrington (Arkansas State- 7th round projection)
DT Lamarr Houston (Texas- 5th round projection)
LB Patrick Lavine (Oklahoma State- 7th round projection)
CB Devin Ross (Arizona- 7th round projection)
SS TJ Ward (Oregon- 7th round projection)