Tim Mingey was named Assistant Director, Player Personnel for the Jaguars in January of this year. Mingey is one of 12 staff members who have been with the Jaguars since the beginning of the franchise. He served as a college scout for nine years before he was promoted to executive scout in 2003. He has the responsibility of scouting the southeast region for the Jaguars. We caught up with Mingey this week to talk about his schedule for the rest of the year and what goes into finding the right players.
You are one of 12 staff members remaining from the inaugural season. Did you think you would be here 15 seasons later? What has been your best memory with the franchise?
"I was a little younger back then but I never thought I would be here 15 years. At the same time maybe it's what I do. The time goes by so fast. The biggest thrill for me was when we went out to Denver and beat the Broncos in 1996. No one thought we would have a chance and we were just on a roll. We didn't upset them. We outplayed them. That is probably my biggest thrill while I have been with the team."
You just finished with the NFL Draft a little over a month ago. Does the NFL Draft seem to be similar to a Super Bowl for scouts?
"It's a culmination of all your work, putting the draft board together. You put all those man hours, time, money, effort in, and in a span of two days you come away with X amount of players. You're hoping that you can turn those players over to the coaches and they can mold them into a competitive 53-man roster. That is the one thing about the draft, you control who you bring in. Hopefully you are making the right selections that fit your coach's philosophy and organization's. You want to make it really difficult on the coaches and difficult on the personnel department on who is on the 53-man roster. There is a fine line with the talent level where you think, 'man if we cut this guy he is going to be claimed by another NFL club.' That is where you want to be."
*You are responsible for heading the process of signing the undrafted free agents immediately following the draft. The Jaguars have hit on several rookie free agents over the years that have made an impact. How crazy is that process? *
"It's a little chaotic because everybody is jumping on the phone trying to get these kids. We do have a good process and the one thing I like about it is the team effort between the scouts and coaches. Gene (Smith) and Jack (Del Rio) have been very supportive and they understand the importance of free agency. Free agents have made our team and we have a history of their contributions. When the draft is over with it's pure pandemonium. It lasts at least three hours. It's not just us but once signing free agents is over with, then Paul Vance (Sr. Vice President, Football Operations), Tim Walsh (Director of Football Administration), Pam Yonge (Executive Assistant to Sr. Vice President) and the scouts are still calling to solidify the commitment of the free agent. The contracts have to be sent out. The contacts have to be sent to the player and you have to make sure they are faxed back. The contract is also sent to the agent. Pam and Tim are here very late. When we hang up that phone we have agreed to it but you want to get that signature."
*There is no down time for the scouts, but what are the scouts doing this time of year? *
"There's probably two or three things. Number one, we are coming off a combine meeting with BLESTO and getting an idea of players in our area. In March, we go out to the pro days and we do a lot of work on next year's draft class. Now we are making sure we identify the guys in the fall and then go out and evaluate them. We are looking at tape of them now. We are in the process as well as finding out a little more about their background by making calls. You have a ton of work to do so you might not have enough time just with the tape to talk to the coaches or get a hold of the trainer. There's a lot of school restrictions we have, so you have to do a lot of preparation early before you go into the fall to do a thorough job. The most important thing is having your schedule put together, from the time you leave training camp until the December date where you are off the road. You have to know where you are going to be. How much time do you spend at somewhere like Florida? How much time do you spend at a smaller school? What games are you going to see? You put it all together and then you bring it into Gene (Smith) to coordinate the crosschecks. You have to make all your travel arrangements."
*What is in a report? *
"You are building the foundation of the player. You are talking to the trainer, the pro liaison, the position coach; you're trying to see if the head coach endorses him, you're looking at his body, statistics, his best and worst games. You're looking at his whole character and the body of information on his background and then you're writing about him as a player. All that eventually culminates in his final report."
*How many times will you step foot on a campus of a major college? *
"It goes by the number of prospects you are looking at. It's either a two-day, day and a half or half day deal. Gene (Smith) might say he wants three exposures at a top school. What's an exposure? It could be a live game, watching tape, going into a practice, and those are exposures when you go into the school."
*What's an estimate on how many visits in your area? *
"It depends, but it could be anywhere from 45 to 65 visits and crosschecks depending on the area of the country."
*Do you have a prospect that you saw and said this guy is going to be a great NFL player? *
"There have been so many good players. Jonathan Odgen was one, just a great athlete."
*How much better are you now at evaluating than you were in 1994 when you joined the Jaguars? *
"I think you get better every year. You build up a catalog of players that you can say he's kind of like or he reminds me of. Then your contacts and relationships with people are better. We have to research and get human intelligence on the player. The searching of correct character information is key on selecting the right player for your organization."
*What advice do you give to a young person who wants to get started in scouting? *
"Everybody is different. I have great respect for the guys that are married and their wives, how they can raise a family and take care of a lot of things that are going on. They are watching tape and the hot water heater breaks or his son goes out and falls and gets stitches in his head. He's crying on the phone and the guy is trying to do his work. I marvel at that. I have great respect for people that do it. I think you have to have really good self discipline. It's a day by day process."
*How do you relax and get away from the computer, watching tape or practices? *
"I think everybody has hobbies. I like to play golf, run and read. There are times when you have to get away from it or it will grind you up if you don't. I think there are times you get punchy after a while. You have to have a day or two when you come off the road to pay the bills, take a breath and then you go out again. You have to decompress sometime, young guys and old guys."