Over the course of the last few weeks, in the wake of the draft, Washington has continued to churn its scouting department, with some staff moving on to other organizations, and others receiving promotions. In addition, several scouts with prior connections to the current front office have been brought into the organization from the outside.
Each of the moves is discussed below, as are the potential implications for the team.
More changes to the Washington Football Team's scouting department: Matt Evans, its Southeast region college scout, is leaving. And earlier, the team promoted former scouting assistants Connor Barringer and Tyler Claytor to pro scouts.— Nicki Jhabvala (@NickiJhabvala) May 3, 2021
Matt Evans (former Southeast Region Scout)
Evans was promoted to “Southeast College Scout” in June of 2019, and had been with the team 8 years when he left for New England in early May.
Apparently, Evans had been a long-time Patriots fan, actually trying out for the team in 2013 as a linebacker prospect, so one wonders if this might not have been a “dream opportunity” for him.
As Southeast Region Scout, Evans covered the portion of the country widely considered the most important from a draft prospecting perspective. The region includes the SEC, much of the ACC, and several smaller conference teams. Over the last 2 drafts, players taken from the region by Washington include:
- Antonio Gibson (Memphis) (2020)
- Saahdiq Charles (LSU) (2020)
- Antonio Gandy-Golden (Liberty) (2020)
- James Smith-Williams (NC State) (2020)
- Jamin Davis (Kentucky) (2021)
- Dyami Brown (UNC) (2021)
What hand Evans had in those selections, I don’t know. For instance, Chris Cooley recently revealed that Charles was a pick that former Director of Player Personnel, Kyle Smith, pushed for aggressively.
In any case, filling the scouting void left by Evans departure with a top talent was one of the most important internal moves the front office could make this offseason. For that, the team went with a legacy hire with great bloodlines.
More movement in Panthers' scouting department: Jeff Beathard headed to Washington, per sources.— Joe Person (@josephperson) May 6, 2021
That's two openings on the college side (Mike Martin to DET). One of those will be filled by veteran Patriots scout Jon Howard, source confirms. (@InsideTheLeague 1st on Howard).
Jeff Beathard (Southeast Region Scout)
Jeff Beathard is the son of legendary Redskins’ General Manager and Hall of Famer, Bobby Beathard (and the uncle of 49ers QB CJ Beathard). He had been the Carolina Panthers Southeast Region Scout for 13 years. His links to Washington are numerous and fascinating.
Bobby Beathard was actually the person who hired Marty Hurney away from sportswriting in 1988, to work for the Redskins, and eventually the Chargers. Of course, Jeff Beathard worked with both Hurney (twice) and Rivera during their time together in Carolina. Jeff Beathard had also worked in both the Chargers and Rams scouting departments prior to coming to Carolina.
Recent Panthers’ drafts have drawn significantly from Southeast Region schools. The 2019 draft, in fact, appears to have been entirely from that region:
- Brian Burns (FSU) (2019)
- Greg Little (Mississippi) (2019)
- Will Grier (WVU) (2019)
- Christian Miller (Alabama) (2019)
- Jordan Scarlett (Florida) (2019)
- Dennis Daley (South Carolina) (2019)
- Terry Godwin (Georgia) (2019)
- Derrick Brown (Auburn) (2020)
- Kenny Robinson Jr (WVU) (2020)
- Stantley Thomas-Oliver (Florida Intl) (2020)
- Jaycee Horn (South Carolina) (2021)
- Terrace Marshall (LSU) (2021)
- Deonte Brown (Alabama) (2021)
- Shi Smith (South Carolina) (2021)
- Thomas Fletcher (Alabama) (2021)
- Phil Hoskins (Kentucky) (2021)
Fun fact: Back before the Panthers drafted him, Josh Norman caught the eye of a Panthers area scout named Beathard (Jeff, son of Bobby)— T M (@reshmanuel) April 22, 2016
And Beathard has a reputation for leaving no stone unturned, helping to find guys like 2017 6th rounder, fullback Alex Armah from Division 2 West Georgia.
Armah visited Minnesota, Seattle, Indianapolis, the New York Giants and the New York Jets. But the Panthers were the only team to go to West Georgia and put Armah through a private workout, thanks to Beathard’s recommendation in late February.
Armah isn’t a star, but he did play 57 games for Panthers during his first 4 years, and he received a second contract from the Saints. For a 6th rounder, that’s great value.
Needless to say, the Panthers, both under Hurney and Scott Fitterer, must have had massive trust in Beathard to have mined his region so heavily. I take that as a good sign, and look forward to digging into picks he might have helped guide in future drafts.
Connor Barringer (Pro Scout)
Barringer was hired as a “Football Strategy Analyst” in June of 2019, in a move that was hailed by some as the beginning of the analytics era in DC.
#Redskins just announced several personnel-department changes. Nothing earth-shattering, but one thing was very encouraging: they’ve hired Connor Barringer from @PFF as “football strategy analyst.” Indication of #Skins embracing analytics or at least being open to them. Bravo!— Al Galdi (@AlGaldi) June 13, 2019
The full impact of that move, however, was cast into doubt when, five months later, the interim head coach offered that, “the team doesn’t have an analytics department, but it might be a good idea.”
Barringer was actually a defensive end at UNC before working at Pro Football Focus, and eventually coming to Washington. I couldn’t find much about him online, though I did find this re-tweet of his on the topic of analytics, which I found interesting. My hope is, he’s keeping the analytics fires burning in Ashburn, even as a scout.
We've gone from "analytics never says to kick field goals" (wrong) to "analytics made the Packers kick a field goal" (also wrong) https://t.co/eZzWdGrjjj— Computer Cowboy (@benbbaldwin) January 27, 2021
Tyler Claytor (Pro Scout)
Claytor was hired at the same time as Barringer, brought on initially as a “Scouting Assistant.” Prior to coming to Washington, he was a linebackers’ coach for a small university football team, and before that, did a short stint with the Chicago Bears as a defensive lineman in 2016.
He played defensive tackle at William & Mary before making a go of it in the pros.
Sheldon White, who served as interim Lions GM at the end of the 2015 season and played for the team and spent 19 years in the Lions' front office, has joined Washington as a college scout.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) May 7, 2021
White originally played cornerback for the Giants, Lions, and Bengals in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Hired by the Lions as a scout in 1997, and eventually promoted Vice President of Pro Personnel, he actually served as the Lions’ Interim GM after the firing of Martin Mayhew in 2015. He was subsequently fired a few months later. Since that time, he’s been the Executive Director of Player Personnel and Recruiting at Michigan State.
White appears to be yet another example, in a front office packed full of them, of a relatively successful football executive likely promoted beyond his competence level. That’s not intended as an insult, but as more of an observation.
Ron Rivera has now taken individuals both in the personnel and coaching ranks, who were successful at one point, but eventually failed at higher management levels, and has found roles for them in their competence zones. And, it appears to be working so far on both sides of the house. It’s going to be very interesting to see how the model continues to fare in the coming years.
Which of these front office additions/moves are you most excited about?
This poll is closed
Hiring of Jeff Beathard
Promotion of Connor Barringer
Promotion of Tyler Claytor
Hiring of Sheldon White