Mark Dominik admits Bucs spied on Justin Blackmon

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Do NFL teams keep tabs on potential draft picks away from the confines of formal interviews, visits, and workouts?  Absolutely.

And they should.  During the 15-minute speed-dating sessions at the Scouting Combine, the team gets a pre-packaged, Eddie Haskellized version of the player.  The challenge, given the magnitude of the investment, is to get to the truth about the prospect.

That’s why someone shadowed quarterback Jameis Winston on a flight in February.  It’s also why, as former Buccaneers G.M. Mark Dominik said Thursday on ESPN Radio, his team surreptitiously studied receiver Justin Blackmon in 2012.

“We found out there was a bar called the Cricket Inn, or the Cricket, which was a popular bar there at Oklahoma State,” Dominik said, via NFL.com.  “And so [the scout] would sit there for a week. He sat there for one week, went in every day at 3 o’clock every day and stayed till 11 o’clock at night.  That was his job.  And we checked:  How many times did Justin Blackmon come in?  And he came in too many times.  And we took him off our board.”

It ultimately didn’t matter, because the Jaguars took Blackmon before the Bucs were on the clock.  And the Jaguars surely wish they would have been hanging out at the Cricket Inn, too.

So where’s the line between monitoring and spying?  Whenever a player is in public, anything he says or does is fair game to be noticed and scrutinized.  Likewise, anything he does in the presence of a team employee — for example, while being driven to and from the airport by a kid roughly the player’s own age — can and should be obtained by the scouting department.

With their guard constantly up throughout the pre-draft process, it’s critical to get a look at players when their guard is down, as long as the team isn’t invading the privacy of the player’s home or hacking his phone or computer.

It would be naive to assume, given the stakes of the draft process, that no one has ever tried to get to the truth about a player in far less public and far more creative ways.

52 responses to “Mark Dominik admits Bucs spied on Justin Blackmon

  1. So a scout’s job for a week was to literally sit in a bar for 8 hours to spy on a college kid. Just how pathetic does that sound? I’m sure that’s exactly the type of thing that scout envisioned when he joined the Bucs scouting team…

  2. I’d like to do that as a freelancer – spend eight hours sitting in a bar, on the clock, to monitor potential draft picks. I wonder if I could play on Twitter while I watched for him.

  3. Would be nice to see Blackmon clean himself up and get back in the league. He’s fun to watch on Sundays when he’s on his game.

  4. “Gee, Mrs. Cleaver, your kitchen is so clean its like you never cook in there.”

  5. i want that job lol BUT fact is the teams are spend a lot of money on these kids if they don’t like it forget football & do something else do something else

  6. There are worse jobs in the world then getting paid to sit in a college bar all week.

  7. Integrity is doing the right thing when no one else is watching. If your doing the right things then you’ll waste the scouts time. Otherwise you’ll be fulfilling his time surely

  8. Gene Smith uh…. uh….

    Gene Smith << Matt Millen

    Got the golden parachute from the ex-owner Mr. Weaver for loyalty.

  9. If I was going to spend millions hiring someone, I would like to know ALL I could about him.
    I’m sure every team has a Njco Careles.

  10. So a scout’s job for a week was to literally sit in a bar for 8 hours to spy on a college kid. Just how pathetic does that sound? I’m sure that’s exactly the type of thing that scout envisioned when he joined the Bucs scouting team…
    =====

    It’s called “a vacation.”

  11. And so [the scout] would sit there for a week. He sat there for one week, went in every day at 3 o’clock every day and stayed till 11 o’clock at night. That was his job.

    Finally I can use my real history and references on my resume.

    Put me in coach!

  12. I’m guessing bar management was in on it. I mean unless you keep ordering food or drink every so often, waiters usually tell you to hit the bricks.

  13. Not surprising. They pay these guys a lot of money, so they want to know they’re not going to get, say, busted for weed a bunch of times and suspended.

    That pic above reminds me of how absurd the new Jags helmets are. Why not have a black helmet and a gold helmet? (which the NFL probably doesn’t allow, but they should. I think they will allow teams to have more 3rd and 4th uniforms eventually, because then they can squeeze more merch money out of fans).

    Either one by itself looks good. The front-to-back airbrush job just looks silly.

  14. If I was a college star I would get a reliable girlfriend, a case of beer, and stay in my apartment every weekend. Being in public can only spell trouble in college towns (huge generalization but best be safe than sorry w/ millions hanging In the balance)

  15. VikesRule says:
    Apr 3, 2015 9:48 AM
    So a scout’s job for a week was to literally sit in a bar for 8 hours to spy on a college kid. Just how pathetic does that sound? I’m sure that’s exactly the type of thing that scout envisioned when he joined the Bucs scouting team…

    ___________________

    From the Buc’s perspective that was a very important assignments, most business including the NFL don’t usually hand out checks for millions of dollars without researching the guy.

    Also no one should think a scout just reviews game/practice tape and measurables and makes a opinion there is much much more that goes into it. It is a whole vetting process. And I have no problem of sending a scout to a bar to vet a potential employee that will require a a hefty salary.

  16. These teams are looking at investing millions of dollars into 21-year old kids. Not to mention the opportunity cost of blowing your 1st round pick on a bust and then seeing someone else you could have taken with that pick turn into an All-Pro. It’s the teams drafting in the Top 3 who AREN’T doing P.I. on the top prospects that should be called out – not the teams who are.

  17. I think Gene Smith made some gaffes as GM but I’d like to point out that everyone in this town wanted Blackmon.

    Of course they all wanted Tebow too.

  18. The NFLPA should probably try to get a rule passed making that illegal, however hard it would be to enforce. I know it’s hard to ask for some decency from teams that employ murderers and domestic abusers, but give the kids some privacy before they have to follow your every order for the next 8 months, would you please?

  19. Multi-million dollar investment in a high Draft pick. The team needs to know what it’s getting. This sort of low key spying is probably mainstream activity for every NFL team with questions.

  20. Imagine if the Browns had done this with Johny Football.

    Haslam still would forced the Browns to draft him anyways lol.

  21. I don’t see anything wrong with watching how a prospective employee acts away from the cameras and handlers. Crossing the line would be going through his trashcan, breaking into his house, tapping his phone line, hacking into the phone/computer, calling his mom a prostitute, etc.

    The Bucs did a great job catching the red flags, but failed miserably in picking players in other draft picks.

  22. This was probably Mark Dominik’s best move as a GM in his short crap filled career…

    Only Matt Miller was a worse GM…

  23. I guess the Bucs scouts are spending a lot of time hanging out in Publix parking lots.

  24. damonpsu says:
    Apr 3, 2015 10:19 AM

    If I was a college star I would get a reliable girlfriend, a case of beer, and stay in my apartment every weekend. Being in public can only spell trouble in college towns (huge generalization but best be safe than sorry w/ millions hanging In the balance)
    =====================================

    You hit the nail on the head. First, you’re not a college star so you have no idea what goes on in their heads. They crave the attention and don’t think about how it may not be a good idea.

    I would look for this to be more of the norm rather than the exception and I just figured out a new business opportunity. I could open my own private investigation company to spy on these potential draftees with questionable behaviors and sell that information to teams. Just kidding. The point is, as someone else mentioned, the amount of money spent on these kids and the value of a draft pick means they should do their due diligence before picking someone. Think of how much Blackmon has set Jacksonville back along with several other receivers they drafted early which didn’t work out.
    Most corporations do background checks and the like before hiring so why shouldn’t an NFL team. It’s not a crime to keep an eye on these kids and as long as it’s not an intrusion then I don’t see anything wrong with it. If more teams did this maybe these kids would finally get it. I doubt it though.

  25. The guy is an alcoholic, ok we get it. Didn’t seem to affect him on Sundays.

    Let the Jags have their best player.

    Oh, I forgot… you want to ship this team to Europe.

  26. And so [the scout] would sit there for a week. He sat there for one week, went in every day at 3 o’clock every day and stayed till 11 o’clock at night. That was his job.

    The scout must be in worse shape than Justin as an alcoholic. WOW!!

  27. Kudos to you, Mark Dominic.. What’s the point of this dribble? Are you trying to make yourself look better or try to convince the fan base of your competence? I’m not sure either one is working.

  28. Good for Tampa Bay, this trade brought them Mark Barron -who now plays for the Rams. It also helped the trade up to the bottom of round one for Doug Martin. So they got Martin and two low round picks compared to hoping Blackmon gets re-instated. Toss up to me.

  29. Dominiks irrelevant…he put crap on the field with his picks and should have been fired long before he was…now hes on the dark side blabbing about all his tricks…..

  30. I would like to know what the scout’s cover story was to be in a college bar from 3 to 11. I presume he wasn’t tossing them down, so non-alky drinks would rule. Wonder if any of the staff came by to ask, or if they thought about calling the cops. Some older guy, in a college bar. Maybe he’s a stalker.

  31. I am surprised that in a local bar where people know each other, a strange person sitting for 8 hours on an everyday daily basis would not get noticed and questioned.

  32. Probably installed one of those big ol’ portraits hanging on the wall with the eyehole cutouts like in those Kevin Spacey E-Trade commercials?

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