Vetting is huge

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It’s always been important, but now more than ever . . .

Talking about vetting prospects in the draft.

NFL teams spend millions on scouting prospects every year, and that budget goes beyond just sending personnel guys around the country to scout prospects.

It’s also about extensive background checks on players.

Many NFL teams have large security departments, loaded with people who are former police officers, and in some cases, former FBI agents.

The Jets had a former FBI agent Steve Yarnell heading up their security department from 1998 to 2013.

And since then, their security chief has been Robert “Bobby” Mastroddi (pictured on the left side above), who served 20 years with the New York Police Department. In 2002, he was designated security liaison for the governor, where he provided and maintained all personal security functions for Governor George Pataki in New York City.

Guys like Yarnell and Mastroddi, don’t just protect players, coaches and owners at the team facility and on game day, but also are very involved in the pre-draft process, vetting prospects.

If you are going to draft a player, you better not just base that decision on watching game tape, but you better know the kind of person you are adding to your organization.

I’m sure many of you saw the story that broke today about Dallas Cowboys CB Kelvin Joseph.

Dallas police want to interview Joseph, about the death of Cameron Ray, a man who was shot and killed on March 18, in a drive-by shooting.

Police video showed Joseph’s and Ray’s groups of friends in a skirmish outside a Dallas nightclub.

Shortly after that, an SUV drove past Ray and his friends, and fired shots from the vehicle’s windows, killing Ray.

Joseph’s lawyer, Barry Sorrels, said Joseph was a passenger in the suspect vehicle but did not kill Ray.

While Joseph reportedly didn’t pull the trigger, he was in the SUV, and according to Texas law, he could be in a heap of trouble.

Texas Law: “All traditional distinctions between accomplices and principals are abolished and each party to an offense may be charged and convicted without alleging that he acted as a principal or accomplice.”

This is an example of the importance of vetting, Keep in mind Joseph was suspended for an LSU bowl game at the end of 2018 season. He ended up transferring to Kentucky. Also, according to the Dallas Morning News, there were “several failed drug tests” in his past. So there were character concerns prior to the 2021 draft, where Joseph was picked in the second round by Dallas.

This is where you lean on guys like Yarnell and Mastroddi on whether you should take a guy like this off your board.

I once talked to an NFL security guy and was amazed about how much more stuff he had on prospects than the public knew about. They are able to gather a lot more info than you read in the newspaper about players.

So NFL team security guys are huge during the draft process.

As much as the talent of certain mercurial players can be awfully enticing, you need to lean heavily on your security guys, before you decide to turn in a card with the name of a guy with a checkered past.

Sometimes too many headaches could come with the enticing talent, and it’s best to stand clear.

April 15, 2022

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Dan Leberfeld
Dan Leberfeld
Publisher of Jets Confidential Magazine. Call 1-800-932-4557 (M-F, 12-4) to subscribe. Co-host of Press Coverage every Saturday on SiriusXM NFL Radio from 11-2.

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