Simon earning mileage as off-season scouting hits peak
January 30, 2017
Article by Matt Baker | BCLions.com
Photos Courtesy of BC Lions
Podcast Courtesy of CFL.ca
As the calendar inches towards February, the CFL is slowly coming out of its winter hibernation. But for those around-the-clock football junkies like Geroy Simon, it has felt like the midway point of the season for quite some time.
Superman’s cape has already earned lots of mileage in 2017:
The Lions’ Director of Canadian Scouting has set up shop in Mobile, Alabama for this week’s Senior Bowl practices. This comes after he spent a week in Los Angeles for the NFL Player’s Association camp.
Both provide plenty of opportunities for Simon and the Lions to evaluate prime young talent.
“It’s an all-star game that the NFLPA puts on for guys who will potentially be in the (NFL) draft,” said Simon of the Los Angeles excursion.
“It gives guys the opportunity to show their talents. They’re not the calibre of the Senior Bowl or East-West Shrine Game, but they’re going to be mid to late round draft picks and priority free agent type of guys.”
Finding those “diamonds in the rough” is what can potentially determine how good your depth is compared to any other CFL clubs. Simon acknowledged you have to use all of the information you have at your disposal and that is where the value of the NFLPA game comes in.
“The players are going to get a shot, but they might not be high-round picks. They would most likely come to the CFL sooner or later.”
The Senior Bowl is like Disneyland for players and personnel types across North America. It features the top NFL Draft-eligible players in the United States, with many of those also on the radar of CFL clubs looking to add talent and fill our their own training camp rosters. Along with finding those guys who may not stick in the NFL, it provides scouts like Superman the chance to do something just as important: network.
“Every scout in the NFL and most from the CFL are here,” Simon explained. “This is a big game because as far as talent in the draft, it’s the guys who are at the top of the senior class. It’s also good because this is a huge networking place. Me being a scout in the Northwest I might meet someone in the Northeast or Southeast. Once we’ve met and established a relationship, I can then call him and say ‘hey, do you have someone in your area that fits this mould and would be good in the CFL?’ If they do, I can then do the research on them.”
SIMON TALKS SCOUTING ON ‘THE WAGGLE’ PODCAST
Simon joined James Cybulski and Davis Sanchez a few weeks back to talk about his time scouting and how is making the transition when interviewed for ‘The Waggle’ Podcast (below):
The Senior Bowl also includes a pair of Canadians in Mississippi State offensive lineman Justin Senior, the top ranked 2017 CFL draft prospect, and Simon Fraser linebacker Jordan Herdman. With Simon serving as the club’s chief evaluator of Canadian talent, you can bet he will keep a close eye on the pair of Canucks.
“Those are two guys that are going to have a chance to play in the CFL that are in this game. That’s good because it gives us a real reason to go to practice and scout instead of just going to network. We can do the networking and also have a chance to scout.”
Networking has also helped Simon gain some new football relationships. He has become close with Seattle Seahawks GM John Schnieder and re-established a friendship with Ray Farmer, the former Cleveland Browns GM whom he played against in college. These relationships may also play a role in helping Simon take the next step in his football operations journey. Whatever that may be.
“It’s good to sit down with others who have been successful in this business, pick their brains and get information and advice on the next phase of your career,” Simon explained.
“I do love scouting, but I don’t think I want to be one for the rest of my life. These are the things that you have to do to move up in this world and make those relationships.”
For now, the focus remains on building off a 12-6 season and figuring out how to take the next step toward the CFL penthouse at the end of November. And there will be plenty of more evaluating to do after this week’s activities in Mobile.
“I’ll be back in the office on Thursday and from there it is prepping for free agency and continuing to get ready for the draft, regional combines and national combine in March,” Simon said of his upcoming itinerary.
“There is a lot going on in the next couple of weeks. A of film watching and a lot of note taking.”
The Super Scout and self-proclaimed football junky would not have it any other way.