Teams Anticipate Less Scouting of Senior Bowl, NFL Scouting Combine
Updated Dec. 9, 2020
By Charlie Campbell. Follow Charlie on Twitter @draftcampbell.
COVID-19 has had a profound impact on the 2020 college football and NFL seasons, and the ramifications of the pandemic are going to have a large impact on the 2021 NFL Draft. The 2020 NFL Draft was held virtually, and the 2021 NFL Draft is already feeling the pain of the pandemic with the cancelation of the East-West Shrine Bowl. In speaking with team sources including multiple general managers, they anticipate NFL teams bringing significantly fewer scouts and coaches to the 2021 Senior Bowl and 2021 NFL Scouting Combine. When teams factor in the medical personnel needed to conduct exams at the combine, they may end up having a signifiant decrease in scouts and coaches. Here are messages from a survey of team sources on plans for the 2021 Senior Bowl and 2021 NFL Scouting Combine.
An NFC General Manager: "I would assume at least 30 percent less staff will be there, with that being a combination of coaches and scouts."
An AFC General Manager: "Yes, no doubt we will have smaller numbers at the Senior Bowl and combine."
An NFC Offensive Coordinator: "We haven't discussed the offseason yet ..., but there are rumors that assistant coaches will not go to Senior Bowl or combine at all."
An NFC National Scout: "Guessing most teams won't bring full staffs to Senior Bowl. May only be a handful allowed to go per team. Not sure about combine; I haven't heard anything concrete."
An NFC Area Scout: "I don't know for sure, but I heard rumors that only like 10 people from each organization will be allowed at the combine, and that's including the doctors, etc. But that's just a rumor right now. We are just assuming not everybody will be going. "
The 2020 season has been of the most challenging years in league history for NFL scouts. Many teams had their scouts do all their reports on small school prospects who weren't playing in 2020 at end of the summer and beginning of the fall. A number of teams, including the New York Giants and Washington, did not have their scouts on the road at all. There were other teams that joined them in not visiting campuses and attending games or practices this fall. With teams anticipating less staff going to the Senior Bowl and NFL Scouting Combine, there will continue to be less in-person scouting for the 2021 NFL Draft.