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"After being in the college side for so long, I really tried this year to focus on diving into the pro side, getting to know the league as well as I could, getting to know our team as best as I could," Douglas said.The Eagles' vice president of player personnel can articulate his scouting philosophy and the type of players he's looking for - smart, tough, and passionate about football - but he truly shines when he discusses individual prospects.Fed a name, Douglas will go into great detail about size, statistics, skills, and background."You're just trying to get good players that fit the Philadelphia Eagles." Douglas said there are prototypes for each position in terms of measurables, but he said "the most important job our scouts have is to go deeper than that." At cornerback, Douglas wants "an elite-level athlete," someone who can "shrug off negative plays." At receiver, he said, "there's a lot of different ways to skin that cat," noting that you can find greatness in prospects who check off every prerequisite (Julio Jones, Calvin Johnson) or may not but can impose their will (Hines Ward, Anquan Boldin).Douglas' experience is almost strictly in college scouting, but in his new role he will also set the free-agency board.The Eagles hired Douglas to be Howie Roseman's second-in-command and to head the personnel department, but what they need more than anything is an evaluator who can pick the right players.
Douglas doesn't come off sounding as if he's reciting from the "How To Talk Like a Scout" playbook, but if he can't identify NFL talent it doesn't matter what or how he says it.
"That starts at a young age." The 40-year-old has been scouting the NFL for 17 years.
Hired by former Browns general manager Phil Savage in Baltimore, mentored by Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, Douglas worked his way up the hierarchy until he became director of college scouting with the Bears two years ago.
Douglas said he first met with his staff in December after four months on the road.
There will be another round of meetings before the scouting combine next month, and again in April after pro and colleges days and right before the draft. he said that [positional assistants] had a lot of work to do as coaches on scheme," Roseman said, "and that they would have a lot of time to catch up as we kind of narrow the process down." Whether this is a change in philosophy or not, it does suggest a lessening of coaching input on the draft.
"Getting great relationships at the different schools that each scout's assigned to, whether it's a coach, whether it's a trainer, whether it's a custodian, anybody that will give you great, consistent and reliable information." Most of the Eagles scouts predate Douglas' arrival, but he did bring Andy Weidl with him from Baltimore to be his lieutenant.