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On The Rams And Scouting

Included in this Matt Maiocco story on an ex-scout who thinks Alex Smith is no good is the story of why that scout, Dave Razzano, was let go by the Rams in 2006:

"I thought he was way over-drafted and way overrated," Razzano said. "I don't think I've been proven wrong. The guy hasn't done it, and he'll get another opportunity. He's getting a little better with the touchdown throws to Vernon Davis. But, boy, the guy I saw at Utah, I was shocked people had him rated that high."

Razzano said then-Rams general manager Charlie Armey asked him to change his grade on Smith to conform with the higher grades others in the Rams' draft room had assigned Smith. The scene escalated into an ugly shouting match. Razzano said he refused to alter his evaluation of Smith. It was the beginning of the end with the Rams for Razzano, he said. He was fired after the 2006 draft. Razzano quickly landed with the Cardinals. Shortly after the Cardinals' appearance in the Super Bowl, Razzano's contract was not renewed after cuts to the team's scouting department, he said.

Should the Rams have embraced Razzano's outlier opinion? On one hand, it's hard to really discern this without more of Razzano's track record; on the other hand, looking at the Rams' draft record over that timeframe (albeit one with Razzano involved) doesn't lead one to believe that they had any idea what they were doing.

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Comments

8 comments, Last at 06 Jul 2010, 4:17pm

1 Re: On The Rams And Scouting

Interesting piece not so much for the scout but for a look into the Rams front office and why a GM like that will never be able to build a successful team outside of luck. The Rams GM did the right thing for himself given our culture where being wrong with everyone else is better than going out on a limb and being correct. The more conventional wisdom says a player/issue/etc says one thing the more cover there is when that player/issue/etc fails despite all the red flags surrounding that issue.

2 Re: On The Rams And Scouting

There's that, but we should bear in mind that we're hearing one side of the story. The scout's primary reasoning behind not liking Smith seems to be that he didn't have "moxie" that you want from a QB. I could imagine a scenario where the GM tells him to rate him based on his actual performance or measureables, and leave the psychoanalyzing to others, and the scout taking offense, getting into a shouting match, then coming back years later to say the GM asked him to just agree with everyone else.

I'm not saying that happened or anything, I'm just saying you have to be really careful when you hear only one side of the story.

4 Re: On The Rams And Scouting

Yeah, as much as I'm usually game for a good post-Vermeil Rams FO bashing, this just seems odd.

What could a GM, even a bad one, see in employing scouts to give you somebody else's opinion instead of their own? He'd have to be delusional, and I don't have any reason to think Armey was delusional.

3 Re: On The Rams And Scouting

I don't get the story. It's not like the GM wasn't free to disregard Razzano's opinion, so why did it matter if he wouldn't change it (and why would it matter if he did, as he was already on record as not liking Smith)?

And the Ram's grade on Smith didn't matter anyway, they were drafting outside the top 10 that year, and wouldn't be in the running for him anyway.

Sounds fishy to me.

6 Re: On The Rams And Scouting

I whole heartedly agree. Why in the world would a GM ask a scout to change their grade and why wouldn't the article describe it? By the way, the way he blames Smith's lack of a "winning mentality" and "moxie" makes me sick to my stomach.

8 Re: On The Rams And Scouting

Here are Razzano's biggest hits and misses, from a later article, according to him:

--Lobbied Cardinals to take Patrick Willis at No. 5 in 2007 draft if Adrian Peterson weren't available, but club took tackle Levi Brown with Peterson still on the board.
--Defensive end Chris Long, drafted No. 2 overall in 2008, rated in second round.
--Defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey, drafted fifth overall in 2008, rated as late first-round pick.
--Receiver Ted Ginn, selected 10th overall in 2007, rated as fourth-rounder.
--Marshawn Lynch, selected 12th overall in '07, rated late second round.
--Reggie Bush, early one, had mid one
--Safety Michael Huff, selected 7th overall in 2006, rated in third round.
--Quarterback Matt Leinart, selected 10th overall in 2006, rated as late-second-round pick.
--Receiver Troy Williamson, selected seventh overall in 2005, rated in third round.
--Receiver Reggie williams, selected ninth in 2004, rated in fourth round.
--Receiver Wes Welker, undrafted in 2004, rated in third round.
--Running back Priest Holmes, undrafted in 1997, rated as second-round pick.
--Linebacker Brian Urlacher, selected ninth overall in 2000, had rated as top pick in draft over Courtney Brown and LaVar Arrington.
--Receiver Anquan Boldin, selected in second round (54 overall), rated as first-rounder.
--Receiver Donald Driver, selected in seventh round, rated as late first-rounder.
--Quarterback David Klingler, selected sixth overall in 1992, rated in fifth round.
--Linebacker Brian Cushing, selected 15th in 2009, rated top player in the draft.

Razzano told me he does not want to come across as a scout who never misses. But, he added, "I do swing at a high percentage."

Here are what he considers his biggest misses . . .

Quarterback Drew Brees rated in third round.
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew rated in fourth round.
Defensive tackle Kevin Williams rated in third round.
Running back DeAngelo Williams rated in fourth round.
Defensive end Jared Allen rated as a late-rounder.

Link: http://www.csnbayarea.com/07/05/10/Scouts-Viewpoint-is-Relevant-img-srchttp/landing_maiocco_v3.html?blockID=266101&feedID=5936