One season removed from his stint at the University of Miami, Browns coach Butch Davis believes he has an advantage of familiarity with many college prospects who will enter next year's draft. During the team's bye last week, he wanted his staff to get a taste for 2002 college prospects, so he dispatched his coaching assistants to 14 college campuses. It may be an NFL first.
"We saw 47 [prospects]," said Davis. "We tried to localize it. A lot of the guys went to the Ohio schools -- Ohio State, Toledo, Akron, plus we went to Pittsburgh."
||Terry Robiskie [receivers coach] said that in his 20 years of NFL coaching, he had never seen a college prospect in-season. ”
||— Browns coach Butch Davis
Davis also used one of owner Al Lerner's private jets to send four coaches to the Southeast, although he was noncommittal on which schools they scouted (for the sake of convenience, a good guess is they flew to Atlanta, where colleges like Georgia, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Alabama and Clemson are within a two-hour drive).
Davis plans to utilize his staff in the scouting process, much as Jimmy Johnson did with the Dallas Cowboys. Davis was a member of that staff, but this is perhaps the first time that a full NFL staff scouted prospects in-season.
"I think it's invaluable," said Davis. "Terry Robiskie [receivers coach] said that in his 20 years of NFL coaching, he had never seen a college prospect in-season. You can learn more seeing a guy practice in his own environment."