How to read scoutspeak

Mike Tanier knows a thing or two about the nitty-gritty details that make the NFL so intriguing. This time of year we get inundated by draftniks, many without any credentials whatsoever. Tanier tells us to look for those with scouting experience and listen carefully:

Every Scoutspeak term does correspond with some real physical attribute, and true experts like Mayock can pepper their explanations with jargon without delving into non-Newtonian football minutiae. Others use Scoutspeak to conceal ignorance. The Paradox of Draft Analysis states that the more detailed the observations about a prospect’s kinesiology, the less likely the writer-speaker is to have ever seen the prospect play football.

To acquire an ear for Scoutspeak, read draft publications; keep in mind that the grungier the production values, the better the information. Glossy magazines are for the mass market; true draft guides are churned out on blue mimeograph paper and stapled, like the heavy metal newsletters handed out by guys with face tattoos at indie record stores. Russ Lande’s “GM Jr.” is the best guide around; its 400 pages of single-digit fonts make it the Norton Anthology of Backup Linebackers.