It turns out NFL teams will do whatever it takes to get all the available information on college players they plan to draft to their organization, even some questionable things.
With the 2015 NFL Draft nearing, teams put players under the microscope. They look at game film, pro-day workouts, combine skill drills and measurables like height, weight and wing span. Players know they are being scrutinized at the combine because that’s what it is for, and the same goes for the pro-day. But what some of them may not know is that some teams are going as far as watching them off the field, without the knowledge of the players.
According to Jameis Winston’s personal quarterback coach, George Whitfield Jr., one team official told him they have been shadowing Winston. During his time at Florida State, Winston was accused of sexual assault, charged for shoplifting and suspended for yelling obscenities at the student union. Teams want to be careful about spending a first-round or first overall pick on a player that has perceived off-field issues. The team is basically spying on Winston and went as far as placing a staff member on the same plane as the player on his way to the combine.
Apparently Winston isn’t the first player to be closely watched off the field. According to former NFL General Manager Mark Dominik, while working with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they were looking to draft Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon but discovered that he visited a local bar frequently, so they had someone sit at the bar from 3 p.m. through 11 p.m. for a whole week. The Jacksonville Jaguars ended up taking Blackmon before the Bucs had a chance, but the team said they wouldn’t have drafted him anyway because he was at the bar quite often.
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It’s understandable NFL teams are spending millions of dollars on these players, and want to be certain of who they are bringing in to their organization, but is spying going too far?
Photo Credit: AP via American News Team