I interviewed former Titans Pro Scout and current Chiefs National Scout Trey Koziol. We talk about his path to the NFL, his start with the Titans, and specifically the life of a pro scout.
What made you decide to become a scout? How did you acquire the position?
Football has always been something that I’ve loved and grown up with. I was fortunate enough to play collegiately at Boston College and realized that I wanted to pursue a career in football. After graduation I started volunteering in the football office at BC and was eventually able to secure a job as a graduate assistant for recruiting. During my time as a graduate assistant, a former coach of mine suggested that I send my resume to all 32 NFL teams in the hope of possibly getting an internship opportunity. I eventually heard back from the Titans about 8 months later and began scouting as an intern in October of 2008. I spent about 6 months as an intern and was lucky enough to get hired full time as a pro scout in May of 2009. All in all I feel my foot in the door experience was a mixture of hard work and good luck. Sometimes getting your foot in the door is the hardest part but you also have to make the most of the opportunity that you’re given.
What are your job responsibilities?
There are two pro scouts on our staff and they’ll split up our responsibilities by conference (AFC/NFC) and basically need to be familiar with all of the players on all of our 16 teams. During the preseason we will evaluate close to 800 players on camp rosters and once the season starts we handle all the advanced scouting for upcoming opponents, update emergency lists and evaluate practice squad players. During the offseason we will write player reports for free agency and help out with college evaluations as needed.
What were the roadblocks?
It’s a hard business to get into. I started out as an unpaid volunteer and actually lived on my friend’s couch for a couple of months when I wasn’t making money. The hours can be very long when you start off and the pay is very little initially. There aren’t a whole lot of opportunities available so you really have to work hard and be patient the first couple of years.
Scouting on home life?
When you’re single without any kids it really isn’t bad but I can imagine it gets pretty rough for the people with families. I’m on the road about every other weekend during the NFL season but typically leave on Saturday afternoons and get back on Sunday nights. There are definitely things that you miss out on with your friends during the season and around draft time but you get used to it after a while. College scouting is completely different as you’re on the road for almost 6 months out of the year and rarely get time off at home. The plus side to college is that you do get a lot of time (about 3 months) off in the Summer which works out well for the guys with kids. On the pro side we get 3 weeks paid vacation (normally in July) but have to work all year round.
Any time you find a diamond in the rough that can upgrade your roster you always feel pretty good when one of the guys you recommend can come in and upgrade the roster. The one thing (other than being a World Champion) I am personally proud of while with the Titans, was being selected by our team President to represent the Titans at Stanford University’s Executive Leadership Program in June of 2012.
Tricks of the trade?
The more players you watch, the more reports you write, the more confident you’ll feel in your ability. It can be a little difficult at first but once you build up a library of reports you’ll have a much better idea of where guys fit in.
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