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Draftmageddon 2016: The Return of the Drunk Hooker

Welcome to Draftmageddon 2016: The Return of the Drunk Hooker, a new weekly series on CSC set to run from now through the 2016 NFL Draft.

Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Inspired by Matt Mosley's Carolina Draft Fanpost from a few weeks back, this series takes root in ideas from that comment section to cultivate what I hope to be an extended and deep, educating and entertaining look at the New Orleans Saints' roster-building through free agency and the draft in the Payloo Era.

This series hopes to present the facts and truth (when known) and history in width and breadth and detail so as to debunk incorrect assumptions and correct misperceptions about what the team has done or not done well in building a roster over the past 10 years. But at the same time it's important to acknowledge what we don't actually know and raise good questions about these things we don't know.

There are three lenses through which the roster-building process will be filtered for this series, in the following order:

1) College and pro scouting structure and staff.
2) Free agent acquisitions: history and analysis.
3) In-depth past draft analysis, with particular focus on draft day decision-making, aka Drunk Hooker/Shiny Object Syndrome.

Each week's installment will present a sizeable chunk of information, analysis and lots and lots of questions, followed by a brief round up of the rumors and reports of "roster interest" shown by the Saints in both college and professional players, as well as any actual roster moves made.

With that in mind, let's shoot some light through that first lens - the scouting department of the New Orleans Saints - so we can find out who's who and who does what. Information was gathered directly from the New Orleans Saints 2015 Media Guide.

To give you a big picture of the overall structure, here's a handy-dandy chart of the various positions and an educated guess at a loose hierarchy:

Pro Scouting

College Scouting


Assistant GM/Director

Pro Scouts (2)


Northern Regional Scout

Area Scouts (6)

Combine Scout

Scouting Assistants (2) and Scouting Intern, shared by both departments

And now, let's look at the individuals in these positions, along with their duties and a bit on their scouting-related backgrounds:

Pro Scouting Department

Director of Pro Scouting - Terry Fontenot (13 years with Saints, three as DPS) - manages the pro personnel department by recommending player acquisition through evaluating players in all professional leagues and the Saints roster, monitoring the waiver wire, and supervising the advance scouting of upcoming opponents. Fontenot also has served as a Pro Scout for seven years and was a Scouting Assistant prior to that.

Pro Scouts - Ryan Powell and Michael Parenton - duties include evaluating free agents from the NFL and other professional leagues, monitoring the waiver wire, and advance scouting of upcoming opponents, as well as assisting with annual draft preparations. Powell has been with the Saints for 11 years, serving as Pro Scout for the last nine, and the first two years as Combine Scout. Parenton is in his fourth year with Saints, and second as a Pro Scout. He previously served as a Scouting Assistant.

College Scouting Department

Assistant GM/College Scouting Director - Jeff Ireland - Oversaw the 2015 NFL Draft in his first year with the Saints. He has previously served as GM of the Miami Dolphins for six seasons (2008-2013), VP of College and Pro Scouting for the Dallas Cowboys (2005-2007), as well as a National Scout for the Cowboys, an Area Scout for the Kansas City Chiefs, and an Area Scout for the National Football Scouting Combine. As a youngster in the late 1980s/early 1990s, Ireland was a record-setting placekicker for Baylor and coached special teams at the University of North Texas.

College Scouting Coordinator - Paul Zimmer - (nine years with Saints, 3rd year as scouting coordinator, previously served as video assistant and ticket and suite sales account executive) Oversees day-to-day operations of college scouting department, including scouts' scheduling, processing and organizing information gathered on draft-eligible players, and maintaining a database of scouting reports.

Northern Regional Scout - Dwaune Jones - (He has been with the Saints for 11 seasons, and is in his fourth as NRS. Has also been the team's Midwest Area Scout.) No description of his duties. He has been a wide receiver with the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans and also in NFL Europe, served as a wide receivers coach in NFL Europe, and has interned as a scout and a coach in his career.

Area Scouts (responsible for evaluating college prospects from geographic regions):

Mike Baugh - Covers the central region of the country, been in this role with the Saints since 2008, and was a Pro Scout for the team from 2000-2004. Worked as Miami's Assistant Director of Player Personnel from 2005-2007. He got started with the Seattle Seahawks in 1992, and has been a PR intern, administrative assistant to coaches, scouting assistant, manager of football administration, and assistant director of pro scouting.

Terry Wooden - Covers the western region of the country, and has been an Area Scout with the Saints since 2007. He was a College Scout for the Buffalo Bills from 2003-2006, and played linebacker in the NFL for 10 years with the Seahawks, Chiefs, and Raiders.

Brendan Prophett - No geographic area listed. 2015 was his first year with Saints. Served as New York Jets' Director of Pro Personnel, Assistant Director of Pro Scouting, Pro Scout, Northeastern Regional Scout, and College Scouting Assistant from 2001-2015. He played wide receiver in college, and professionally in Germany. He also played some arena football.

Cody Rager - No geographic area listed. 2015 was his first year with the Saints. Served as Miami Dolphins' Scouting Assistant, then West Regional Scout from 2012-2013. He was Indiana University's Director of Recruiting from 2014-2015, and a Player Personnel Assistant for the University of Alabama from 2010-2012.

Jon Sandusky - No geographic area listed. 2015 was his first year with the Saints. Served as Director of Player Personnel and as a Player Personnel Associate with the Cleveland Browns from 2009-2014. With the Philadelphia Eagles from 2001-2009, he went from Intern to Pro Scout to Director of Pro Personnel. He played safety at Penn State from 1996-1999 and was a coaching intern in 2000.

Joey Vitt, Jr. - No geographic area listed. He's been with the team since 2009, and 2015 was his second year as an Area Scout. Has also served as a Scouting Assistant and Combine Scout.

Combine Scout - Casey Talley (Four years with the Saints, 2015 was his second year as Combine Scout, and he previously served as Scouting Assistant.) In this position, he works for both the Saints and the National Scouting Combine, and the reports he writes on college prospects are shared with other teams who are members of the scouting combine.

Scouting Assistants - Bailee Brown and Ben Martinez - Assist the Player Personnel Department in a number of ways, including evaluating both college and professional players, advance scouting of upcoming opponents, in-season tryouts, and attending college pro days.

Scouting Intern - Greg Castillo - no duties or responsibilities listed. I bet he goes out for coffee and beignets and frozen daiquiris a lot.

While reviewing, compiling, transcribing, and organizing all this information to present here, three different themes or points of interest emerged for me that I believe merit further discussion...

Payloo Roster Building Wars Episode II: A New Hope?
There have been recent significant changes in the Saints' scouting department that may be just enough cause for Saints fans to have new hope that the roster is on the road to improvement.

In 2013, things looked very different from the way things are now. Loomis promoted Ryan Pace from Director of Pro Scouting to the newly-created post of Player Personnel Director, and moved Terry Fontenot into Pace's old job. So at that point, the leaders of scouting were: Pace at the top of the pyramid scheme as Player Personnel Director, Fontenot as Director of Pro Scouting and then Rick Reiprish (who had been with the Saints scouting department since 2004) on the other side as Director of College Scouting.

Along came 2015, when the sands around this pyramid shifted considerably. Early in January, Pace left to become the Chicago Bears' GM and he took Area Scout Josh Lucas with him. At that same time, Reiprish was fired and former Miami Dolphins' GM Jeff Ireland was brought in as Assistant GM/Director of College Scouting, and he hired three new Area Scouts for the college scouting department.

Only time will tell if the hope for this crew to help turn things around roster-wise is well placed or not.

(Bad) Experience Preferred, But Not Necessary
In general, the Saints' pro and college scouting department is staffed by folks who started near the bottom and have moved up over time, but there are a trio of Area Scouts who have upper level pro personnel experience.

Mike Baugh served as Assistant Director of Player Personnel for the Dolphins and Assistant Director of Pro Scouting with the Seahawks. When he was with the Jets, Brendan Prophett served as both Director and Assistant (to the) Director of Pro Personnel. Jon Sandusky was Director of Player Personnel for the Browns and Director of Pro Personnel for the Eagles.

This raises a number of questions for me. Is it common in the NFL to have half a team's Area Scouts with this level of player personnel experience? Why are they no longer working at that high level? Did they stink at their jobs or were they fall guys or unjustly dumped as scapegoats? The Browns, Dolphins and Jets haven't exactly been stable and successful franchises in the 2000s, but the Eagles were decent for a while. How much of an impact did they actually have on the success/failure of those teams? How much of an impact can they have on the Saints' future success/failure?

How The Hell Does Scouting Work, Anyway?
I have no idea how the process of scouting works. What is the system for scouting, evaluating, and ranking players? How do they organize and share the information? I know they watch film, interview coaches and players, watch live games, study statstics, etc., but what factors criteria are actually used to grade a player's ability and then rank them? And is it really able to be implemented consistently by the 10+ different individual scouts, assistants and supervisors on the payroll? How do they determine if a player's skill set is a match for the Saints' offensive and defensive schemes?

Roster Round-Up (as of February 7, 2016)

Brandon Browner = Gone Pecan

Saints Sign CFL LB Erik Harris

Saints Sign Gimpy Former Colt RB Vick Ballard

Mock Talk (as of January 27)

Notre Dame LB Jaylon Smith

Eastern Kentucky DE Noah Spence

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There's your first taste of Draftmageddon 2016: The Return of the Drunk Hooker. What do you think? Are you craving more? What questions do you have? What answers do you have? What would be good to explore in future posts through the lenses listed above?