Your Questions for Scott Campbell, Part 1

Over the course of this week, I’ve had the chance to watch practice with Scott Campbell, Director of Player Personnel, and I’ve talked to him about some of the team’s rookie players. I had put out a call for your questions, and you guys came through with enough that I’m splitting the results into two separate posts. All of the initial questions here are yours, although in some cases I’ve added my own follow-ups.

What at the time unknown player have you scouted and seen become a star?

Brett Favre. I was an area scout with the Falcons —

The team that drafted him.

Right, took him in the second round. We had Chris Miller as our starter and we were looking for a young QB to groom to be the next guy. Chris was a good QB — went to the Pro Bowl, in fact. So we were looking at young guys, and in the second round we were between Brett and Browning Nagle from Louisville. We ended up going with Brett.

What made him stand out?

His arm strength was phenomenal. His toughness. That year he had been in a car wreck and ended up playing just several weeks later after having surgery on his abdomen. It was a test of how tough the guy was to be able to play after surgery like that. That year, playing for Southern Miss, you could see he was a guy that really elevated his game when they played and beat some SEC schools that year.

Browning Nagle was drafted by the Jets, right?

Yeah, the pick right after.

So it’s come full circle, almost 20 years later.

Heh. Right.

****

Do you envision yourself as a GM one day?

Yes, definitely. That’s definitely one of my career aspirations.

And this is the path for it.

Definitely.

All right, and then the question specifies, “Taking over for Vinny Cerrato?”

(laughs) Not necessarily, no.

****

What is the scouting report on Darrell Green’s son at UVA? Does something like family line play into a report?

First of all, we don’t evaluate underclassmen. We wait until they’re seniors. When they’re juniors, they declare for the draft in the winter. We don’t evaluate freshmen and sophomores or really even juniors. Obviously you become aware of them because they may become really good players and you’re watching games and seeing them play. But in terms of investigating them, like we do the seniors… we won’t do that until they declare.

Is that NCAA rules?

NFL rules. And family lines do play a part in it because you know that they’ve been around the game. They understand the game. Like Peyton Manning, with his father. It plays a part. Not, “We’ve GOTTA draft this guy because his father played pro football,” but it gives a little better glimpse into his background.

****

What did (or didn’t) you see in Josh Johnson (QB out of San Diego University) that you didn’t draft him in the later rounds? The questioner asks “because he had better numbers than Colt Brennan and is much faster.”

We liked Josh Johnson a lot and brought him in before the draft as a visit. He played in a West Coast type offense coached by Jim Harbaugh in San Diego. He’s a guy we had a lot of interest in, and we did a lot of work on him.

He got taken in the fifth round [by the Buccaneers], and we didn’t have a fifth round pick. We filled some other needs in the third and fourth rounds. If he had been there in the sixth round when we took Colt, he would’ve been a consideration. But that’s part of the draft. You sit there and wait, you target certain guys, and you have needs in other areas. So the way it played out, he wasn’t available for us to consider, but he was a guy we definitely liked a lot.

****

In your opinion, what’s the best way to build a successful team? Through the draft, or through free agency?

I think the best way to build is by whatever means necessary at the time. And one thing that we’re aggressive about here since I’ve been here is whenever we had a need, we filled it by trade, free agency, or the draft.

In today’s age, with the cap and free agency, you can turn around your fortunes very quickly. So I like being aggressive in all three ways.

Was it deliberate to lean toward the draft this year, or was it just the way things played out?

More the way things played out. But when we analyzed what was available in free agency and what you’d have to pay to acquire some of that, we decided it asn’t in the best interest of the club to pursue those guys. In the past, there’s been guys like Randy Thomas. We needed a guard, and we went out and got him.

The market is shrinking, with teams taking care of their own guys. A few years ago, there were more players available in free agency. The last few years, it doesn’t seem like that’s been the case.

****

Why did the Redskins pass on Calais Campbell, defensive end out of Miami?

Just in our evaluation, there were other players more valuable than him that could help us more. You get into trouble sometimes if you start reaching for a position that you need and push the player up the board more than he deserves. I would say we had the advantage in that we had a coach that coached him in college, John Palermo, his position coach in Miami. So we had the advantage of knowing more about him than the other 31 teams in the league. We just went with other people.

****

Part 2 of the Q&A will be up later today.

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2 Responses

  1. […] Terl Your questions, continued. This is where you all got a little feistier. And be sure to read Part 1 as […]

  2. […] September 3, 2008 by Matt Terl I’ve spoken to Scott Campbell, director of player personnel, before. His position means that he’s essentially responsible for preparing the team for all aspects […]

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