College area scout Todd Brunner checks in for his latest Brunner's Blog, updating you on the three weeks of draft meetings here in Santa Clara.**
So we came in the Tuesday prior to the Super Bowl, January 29 (which I remember because it was the day after my wife's birthday).
Leading up to the Super Bowl that weekend, we spent a few days watching all of the college all-star games – Senior Bowl, Hula Bowl, East West and Cactus Bowl. We each had positions and graded guys on a 1 to 5 scale with 5 being for a great game and 1 being not very good. I had the same position as usual - defensive backs. I actually watched with David McCloughan which is always fun. He keeps the chatter up and it passes the time faster.
On Friday we began our position meetings. We started with the offensive line and within that group we go in alphabetical order. We cover anyone either from an all-star game or who we had a grade on in the fall. If there were guys we thought we maybe needed to watch some more tape on, we'd pull out the tapes and watch and then we'd all give our grades and Scot McCloughan would determine our resting spot for now.
I say for now because when this whole process is done the board will be about 85% complete as some massaging will still take place. Guys will move up or down based on medical information we get from the Combine, interviews, and even some of the team visits. We'll bring guys in after the Combine to maybe get inside their heads a little more or maybe to further evaluate a medical issue.
Also, the juniors tend to be moved up and down as at this point we haven't necessarily had much time to evaluate them. They declare in January and then a few weeks later we are out here starting these meetings, so we'll need to go back and visit them at their schools and then try to talk with them at the Combine as well in order to get a better feel for them.
That Sunday after a half day of meetings, we made our annual trek over to Scot's to watch the Super Bowl. It was a very competitive game. Since I live an hour from New York City, I was rooting for the Giants and I was happy with the outcome. I also in general usually pull for the NFC since that's our conference. We all have scouts we know on every team, but there are a couple of guys with the Giants who I am friendly with so I was happy for them, and admittedly a little envious.
Super Bowl Sunday was my daughter's ninth birthday so this is the third year in a row I've missed it. She forgives me, but I have a feeling she'll never let me forget. I did take her out for a special dinner before leaving, but she never fails to remind me that I'm always there for her brother's birthday and not hers.
Last week, which was week two of our meetings, we got through linebackers, running backs, fullbacks, tight ends and defensive backs. I couldn't tell you what day we did what because it all runs together with meetings 7 to 7 every day, except for maybe Saturday and Sunday when we maybe go 8:30 to 6.
This week we covered the defensive line and quarterbacks and are finishing up with the wide receivers today. For those of you who are trying to see something into the order we go in, don't! That's the same order we've done them in since Scot came here.
There are some positions that we are really happy with and have a lot of depth and there are others that we'd like to see more, but that's pretty much the case every year. It's just that sometimes one year it's heavy in quarterbacks and the next in linebackers.
We have stayed away from the Spark this year and mostly stuck with coffee to keep us going. I've had only one or two Diet Cokes per hour so we've all trimmed back. Our first order of business every morning is of course determining what we want for lunch. We don't break for very long so it's good to get it ordered ahead of time!
There have been some good battles in there, one because we all are a little testy from the long hours, and two, because we are all passionate about what we do and you are not always going to agree on guys. The important thing is that we get it right, and that's worth a few arguments.
I'm looking forward to heading out either tonight or Saturday morning for a few days with my family before heading to the Combine in Indianapolis next week. I'll blog again from there and let everyone know how it's going!