Go Long
Go Long Podcast
Go Long Show: Uncut 'Smoke' Dixon on '18 draft drama, Josh Allen, an all-time '24 class & the art of scouting QBs

Go Long Show: Uncut 'Smoke' Dixon on '18 draft drama, Josh Allen, an all-time '24 class & the art of scouting QBs

The former Buffalo Bills scout takes you into the pre-draft meetings and dinners.

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Gerald “Smoke” Dixon brings the goods this episode. There is a 100-percent chance we bring him back on the Go Long Show soon.

From 2014 to 2020, Dixon was a pro scout for the Buffalo Bills. As a result, he has many stories — and a ton of insight — to share. Especially at the quarterback position.

For nearly two hours, Dixon dishes on everything:

  • Who pounded the table for Josh Allen inside the Buffalo Bills’ pre-draft meetings? Three individuals specifically made their strong opinions known.

  • 2018 draft drama. How did the Bills rank this class as a whole? The entire front office was sweating as picks began.

  • Lamar Jackson slipped through the NFL cracks… how? It pays to trust your eyes. Dixon also recalls a pre-draft conversation with GM Brandon Beane on the Louisville quarterback.

  • Allen was not living in the film room early in his career. His backyard style was always unique — in every sense. Dixon can still hear Allen’s fastball “whistle” and his mettle in the pocket was rare.

  • Art of scouting quarterbacks. Everyone can watch the same film of the same player and come away with completely different opinions. One rule of thumb Dixon follows? If a QB gets “a cinder block” thrown in his face, in the pocket, how does he respond?

  • Why he’s high on Michigan quarterback J.J. McCarthy and Washington’s Michael Penix Jr.

  • Dixon loves the 2024 class of QB prospects even more than the 2020 group of Joe Burrow, Justin Herbert, Tua Tagovailoa, Jordan Love and Jalen Hurts.

  • Will Caleb Williams play for the Chicago Bears? Dixon says no. He sees the USC star somehow getting to the Washington Commanders. To him, a century of quarterback butchery in Chicago is to blame.

  • Larry Fitzgerald or DeAndre Hopkins?

  • A needed Hall of Fame rant.

  • One Pepper Johnson story that explains Bill Belichick’s greatness — the Patriots coach was constantly taking notes. (An innocent conversation with Sean McVay isn’t so innocent.)

  • Dixon’s thoughts on the first 48 hours of free agency. Who reached?

  • Pre-draft dinners. Dixon and the Bills learned so much about the incoming class of Ohio State Buckeyes at Giancarlo’s Sicilian Steakhouse in 2016. Especially, cornerback Eli Apple. His teammates were ruthless and relentless and Apple didn’t stick up for himself. Having a loose conversation with prospects — as opposed to a strict, formal interview — can tell a team a lot about mental make-up.

  • Why Dixon is not surprised one bit that DeMeco Ryans, his former ‘Bama teammate, has the Houston Texans on the cusp of contention.

  • How did college football players get cash in his day? By working certain, uh, “jobs.”

  • Dixon was around Stefon Diggs at One Bills Drive. He repeats what Isaiah McKenzie once said on our podcast: You’ve got to let the wide receiver get his emotions out.

You can listen to the Go Long Show right here at GoLongTD.com or wherever you listen to podcasts, including Apple, Spotify and YouTube.

Today, Dixon is an analyst for 24/7 Sports. A four-year starter at cornerback for Alabama (1999- ‘02) — winning the SEC title in ‘99 — Dixon coached at The Citadel (2008- ‘13) before scouting for the Bills. He also served as the director of operations for the XFL’s DC Defenders (2020), Director of Scouting for Vanderbilt (2021- ‘22) and the General Manager for Maryland (2022- ‘23).

You can follow “Smoke” on X @CoachGVDixon.

Thanks for watching/listening, everyone. Video is above.



Go Long
Go Long Podcast
Tyler Dunne co-hosts the "Go Long Show" with Jim Monos, the "Ty & Bob Pod" with Bob McGinn and occasional 1-on-1 conversations with players from around the NFL. Go Long covers pro football through a humanizing lens. Our aim? Show you how this sport really works. Subscribe to GoLongTD.com to access everything, including Happy Hours with players around the league.