Saints go digital, embrace technology for player evaluation

As Fox Sports reports, the Saints’ talent evaluation for the NFL scouting combine has gone entirely digital.  Micky Loomis and Sean Payton, the Saints’ General Manager and Coach, respectively, use a variety of digital applications to manage the endless stream of empirical data on NFL prospect performance analysis.

STATS LLC, the global sports statistics and information company best known for providing statistical information to virtually every sports league across the planet, has given the Saints what it feels is the most streamlined system possible for identifying the best NFL prospects.  The interactive tool used by the Saints is called ICE, which stands for Interactive Collaboration and Evaluation.

“Teams are always looking to use technology in a way that makes sense in their organization,” Loomis said, “and we’re not unique in that regard. But ICE definitely helps us more efficiently process the mountain of information we have on players.”

Envision an individual player card — digitized with analytics specific to an NFL team’s needs — with an infinite number of backs displaying whatever statistics, salary information, medical reports, even personal information a team desires, available at the touch of a screen or a mouse click.  The Saints were the beta NFL club for the ICE program.

Loomis and the Saints are sold.  Their scouts already are enthusiastically downloading the more user-friendly ICE player information into their smartphones and computers via USB, for instant access on an airplane or during a personnel or draft meeting.

Loomis likes to think his franchise has gone from the Stone Age of draft scouting to the Digital Age.  “We were looking for a more efficient way to process the information we get,” said Loomis, who admits he hasn’t fully explored the potential of ICE’s capabilities.  “We’re just scratching the surface with how we use this.  We haven’t fully integrated ICE into our draft,” Loomis said. “It’s been an ongoing process, and we like it.  As we go forward, we’ll integrate it into our entire scouting function.”

Martin Fischman, a New Orleans-based NFL agent and the Football Division Director at Dynasty Athlete Representation, strongly believes that digital initiatives should be employed by NFL prospects.  “As scouting becomes more digital so too have agent’s marketing strategies,” says Fischman.  Among other things, Fischman creates websites for his clients, loaded with workout footage and personal information, and sends that info to each team interested in his clients.

“The scouting process has become more complex, but the more things change, the more things remain the same.  If a guy has strong character, great film and great workouts, he will make a name for himself in the draft. i don’t know how fancy tools will find a guy like Marques Colston in the 7th round, but hey, if they do, more power to them!”