Chalk Talk Episode #13: This is What It Takes to Be a College Football or NFL Scout, According to Jim Nagy

He also shares what scouts are really looking for in recruits at each level and why the Reese’s Senior Bowl has become a top NFL recruiting event.

Chalk Talk with Zebra`s Adam Petrus and Hale Hentges
by Adam Petrus
April 20, 2023

Coaches tend to get most of the credit (and criticism) for football teams’ performance. But at the college and professional levels, scouts are really the lifeblood of each team. Not to take away from the impact a coach’s strategy, energy, or guidance contributes to a team’s success, but if scouts aren’t building the right team, then coaches can only do so much. They have to work with what they’ve got. That’s why I feel people like Jim Nagy deserve more time in the spotlight – and why Hale Hentges and I invited him to be our latest Chalk Talk guest. 

Jim spent many years as an NFL scout with some of the winningest clubs before moving into his current role as the Executive Director of the Reese’s Senior Bowl, where hundreds of NFL scouts and thousands of fans converge to watch the preeminent college football all-star game of the year. Some wonder why he stepped back from scouting given his personal success. But after learning what it’s really like to be a scout – on the road in a different city every day, away from your family for most of the year – I don’t blame him for wanting to plant roots in one place. The impact he has on players’ careers and the influence he has on coaches’ success hasn’t necessarily changed. He’s still a force for good all around the NFL. It’s just that, now, he can help every player find the right team and every team find the right players. 

Hit play on the latest episode now to hear…

  • What all goes into scouting for the NFL. 

  • Why Jim wanted to become an NFL scout and not a coach, how he learned to be a scout (in a pre-internet era) and how he finally got his foot in the door as a scout with the Green Bay Packers in 1996.

  • The interesting way Jim and his team recruit college football players for the Reese’s Senior Bowl (and what they do the rest of the year).

  • How NFL scouts use the data generated by RFID on-field player tracking technology at the Senior Bowl to make recommendations and decisions about recruits. 

  • Why college players have become huge fans of the real-time data generated by the RFID-based on-field player tracking technology at the Senior Bowl and how they’re using it to get scouts’ attention.

  • Which stats Jim thinks should be valued more by players, scouts, GMs and coaches.

  • Why the Senior Bowl should be a bucket list item for anyone who loves football.

  • Who Jim thinks will be the top three picks in the 2023 NFL Draft.


Catch up on past Chalk Talk episodes now:

Adam Petrus
Adam Petrus is currently the Client Services Project Manager within Zebra Sports at Zebra Technologies where he is responsible for co-managing the game day operation of the NFL’s Next Gen Stats program. Adam has more than 10 years of experience within the sports and technology industry and has been working with Next Gen Stats since 2015. Previously, he worked in the front office of an NFL Football Club and then the United States Intelligence Community supporting business operations.
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