Chalk Talk with Zebra's Adam Petrus and Hale Hentges
By Adam Petrus | April 20, 2023

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.

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:

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Adam Petrus
Adam Petrus

Adam Petrus is currently the Business Development and Sales Lead for Sports & Entertainment at Zebra Technologies where he is responsible for growing Zebra’s hardware and software solutions across the world of sports and the entertainment industry.   Prior to joining the sales team Adam co-managed Zebra’s game day operation of the NFL’s Next Gen Stats program and served as the project lead for the NFL’s Equipment Tracking Program, Virtual Locker.  Adam has more than 15 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, served within the United States Intelligence Community supporting special operations to include two and a half years in Iraq and was a licensed and certified sports agent.  Adam holds a bachelor’s degree from Baldwin Wallace University out of Berea, Ohio and attended the International Institute for Management & Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland where he earned a certificate in Business Management and Leadership.

As an active member of the community, Adam serves on the Baldwin Wallace University Carmel-Boyer School of Business Advisory Council, served on the Board of the Ponte Vedra Beach Rotary International Club and is a member of the Jacksonville JAXSports Council - a non-profit established to enhance and positively impact the quality of life and community pride, along with generating economic impact and growth through professional and amateur sports. An outdoor enthusiast, Adam enjoys running, paddle boarding, golfing and being an active parent alongside his wife Jenn to their daughters Olivia (7) & Peyton (5) and Cavalier King Charles Spaniels Gunner and Nash.  

Fun Fact: 

"My first job in the NFL was at age 16 when I was hired by the Cleveland Browns Groundcrew.  This position then led to a promotion into the front office when I was in college and a full-time role upon graduation." 

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