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Last week, I had the exclusive privilege of interviewing former Cleveland Browns scout, Dax Nollenberger. 

To start things off, I discussed with Nollenberger about the scouting process. We discussed topics regarding the year-round scouting grind and some of the specific details regarding professional scouting for an NFL team. We also dove into the very communicative environment of the Cleveland Browns and how the discussion of interests in players went from the general manager through the scouts and to the coaches.

Nollenberger emphasized the importance of communication in all front offices, and not just with the Cleveland Browns. To add, he dove into the major impact scouting has on a football team, and why Nollenberger himself loves scouting college/pro talent. His response to his favorite part about scouting is a response I have heard from a few other NFL scouts. It is the general idea of being able to help carry the team they work for, to the Super Bowl. Every contribution or decision they make can possibly lead to something great for an organization.

Following this, I dived into what I believe is the most important part of our interview. Here, we discussed what it means to be a scout. This was not only important for me, as I was able to learn from a former scout, but it was also a great way to educate aspiring scouts from all over the country. We talked about the rigors of the scouting process, the year-long grind, and as scouts call it “a 14 month grind”.

While most teens and aspiring scouts may think of all of the privileges and benefits of being a scout, this interview is an important reminder of the work that each and every scout puts in. Nollenberger said that scouting is a job where it is all about your track record, in terms of the prospects you have recommended to the general manager and if these players turned out to be talented or not. So on top of the grind of scouting, it is also crucial that every aspiring scouts remember that they have to be consistent with their prospects and try to always stay on top of the game.

Towards the end of the interview, Nollenberger had a less formal discussion. We talked about the environment on draft day, our favorite times of the NFL season, and some of Nollenberger’s favorite prospects he’s looked at himself, such as Baker Mayfield and Myles Garrett. 

As for Mr. Nollenberger himself, he was a scout with the Browns for four years until he set out and started his very own scouting academy called Elite Scout School. Here, Nollenberger teaches aspiring scouts the formalities and the details needed to be at the top of their game and the keys to eventually becoming a scout in the NFL. I highly recommend this to any draft fanatic who is looking to develop their scouting skills.

All in all, this was an absolutely phenomenal learning experience for me, and hopefully for others as well when we put the interview out on Phenom. I had the privilege of having a great conversation with a scout with loads of background experience in many different areas. I am truly thankful for this experience and the opportunity I had to learn from a true professional.

Image: AP