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Study the Stats: Why Devin Hester was a scouting spectacle
Our resident scout at Go Long, podcast co-host Jim Monos, relives a pro day he'll never forget. (Yes, you always remember your first time.)
Jim Monos scouted for the Philadelphia Eagles, New Orleans Saints and served as the Buffalo Bills’ director of player personnel before joining the XFL and co-hosting the Go Long Podcast.
In “Study the Stats,” he takes you beyond the numbers.
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Don’t Gamble (Unless responsibly)
Last Saturday in college football was a reason why gambling is so fun (don’t gamble). In what world is somebody following score updates for Bowling Green, Duke and th University at Buffalo. I am never sure if it is hilarious or exhilarating when I am receiving scoring updates on my phone from those respective games. The answer is simple. If they win, it is exhilarating and if they lose it is hilarious. Of course, all three games were at the noon kickoff “have to have action” lineup. All three games hit! Hard to beat that feeling. Follow that up with wins taking North Texas and the under in the Central Florida game and I experienced the ultimate fun and enjoyment gambling can bring in one day. A veteran NFL scout once told me that we only experience two emotions in football: Relief when you win and disgust when you lose. I will gladly choose hilarious and exhilarating over relief and disgust (don’t gamble, unless responsibly).
Do you remember your first time?
That question in the scouting world means when you first clocked a player below 4.4 seconds in the 40-yard dash. It was 2006 and I was 31 years old when I lost my timing virginity.
What better stage for a pro day than Coral Gables. All the former Hurricane stars come back to support the current draft class while they put on a show for the NFL front offices and coaches. However, the one former player in attendance who drew the most attention was not a Cane. It was the former Florida State and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders. “Coach Prime” was the mentor for Miami’s return extraordinaire Devin Hester. The buzz was fun and it’s still laughable to think about how big of a deal a 40-yard dash means in the football world. When it was Hester’s time to shine, I do remember being extra focused before the start. You never want to be that scout who starts his watch early because everyone knows who it is — we are all huddled shoulder-to-shoulder. Looking back, it does not seem very evolved or professional but that’s how it was done pre-NFL Network.
Hester got in his stance, took his three-count pause and was out. It was a clean start and it seemed like he was covering ten yards per stride. Hester crossed the 40-yard line, and I clicked my watch. Looked down, 4.28. You kind of check with the other scouts around you to see the range and everyone had it. It was fulfilling to see Hester know he hit his mark. When it was time to talk about Hester in draft meetings to Saints general managaer Mickey Loomis and head coach Sean Payton, I said I have no idea if he is a receiver or corner but just get the ball in his hands somehow some way. The Bears drafted Hester in the second round of the 2006 draft. All he did was score two touchdowns for the Bears in the NFC Championship that same year to knock the Saints out of the playoffs and out of the Super Bowl.
Scouting tip: Google Devin Hester college highlights.
Monday Night Food Matchup
(1-1 against the spread)
Cincinnati (-3.5) @ Cleveland
Ohio food battle. This is an easy one for me. I’ve had some average and overrated food in Cincy. Go ahead and try the Skyline Chili, but it is not my style. I do recommend making their unique chili that has all spice and ground cloves in it for when you are grilling hot dogs. Cleveland will always hold a special place in my food vault. I was fortunate to be in Cleveland in 2016 for Game 6 when the Cavs won to force Game 7 and win the title. The real highlight of that trip was the next day when my group of friends were moving a little slowly on our walk to Mabel’s BBQ. Normally do not associate Ohio with BBQ, but Mabel’s delivered in every way. (Or maybe we were hungover, and anything would have been good.) Famous Food Network iron chef Michael Symon is the owner of Mabel’s as well as Lola (no longer open) which was another incredible meal I experienced. Breakfast at Big Al’s Diner is another solid choice.
Easy decision for me, Browns +3.5 as the STS pick of the week (don’t gamble, unless responsibly).
As a reminder, we’ll be posted up at Fattey Beer Company in Orchard Park, NY this SUNDAY at 2 p.m. to hang out with readers and listeners. In town for the Packers-Bills game at night? Live in WNY? Come say hi! The address is: 4226 N Buffalo St, Orchard Park, NY 14127.
First beer is on Monos and I’ll be selling/signing copies of “The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football.”