Paying for it or getting it on your own

February 22, 2009 |

When it comes to getting information on the former college players who will be eligible for the upcoming NFL Draft, some teams rely on the services of a company, while others like the Ravens, prefer to do the work on their own.

BLESTO is one of the services that provide information for teams when it comes to potential draftees. BLESTO is a scouting service founded in 1964. The name partly stands for the teams that originally used the service: Bears, Lions, Eagles and Steelers (BLES + Talent Organization). As of 2008, BLESTO’s services are used by the Bills, Lions, Jaguars, Dolphins, Vikings, Giants and Steelers.

The other company is called The National. The company was originally called the CEPO (Central Eastern Personnel Organization) and was a joint endeavor between the Baltimore Colts, Browns, Packers and St. Louis Cardinals at the time. After several name changes, The National is now used by the Cardinals, Falcons, Panthers, Bengals, Cowboys, Broncos, Packers, Texans, Chiefs, Saints, Jets, Eagles, Rams, Chargers, 49ers, Seahawks, Buccaneers and Titans.

What these services provide for a fee, are the collection of background information on players prior to their senior season and providing a league scouting grade on the players to the teams who subscribe to the particular company. In the fall, The National follows up on those players, and the service gives the subscribing clubs an updated grade with any additional information on the players.

This can be a cost-effective move, but some teams prefer to do all of that work on their own and not rely on someone else’s opinion. The Ravens are one of seven teams, including the Bears, Browns, Colts, Patriots, Raiders and Redskins, that let their scouts go out and do the same type of work and see the potential future players up close and personal.

Regardless of whether teams use a service or do the work on their own, the inexact science of scouting is big business for the clubs before it’s big business for the drafted players they select.