Other teams already are picking brains of fired Browns scouts

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The Browns arguably fired safety Donte Whitner too late. And they’ve arguably fired six scouts too early.

Per a league source, other teams already have begun to try to pick the brains of the six former scouts in an effort to learn more about Cleveland’s plans for the draft. According to multiple league sources, the six former scouts are Bobby DePaul, Mike Hagen, Matt Holland, Scott Aligo, Harrison Ritcher, and James Kirkland.

DePaul, the Bears former director of pro personnel, Hagen, Kirkland, and Aligo arrived two years ago, along with Charles Bailey and Ron Hill. Bailey and Hill remain with the Browns.

It’s not known whether the six former scouts are telling other teams anything about Cleveland’s plans, whether they are permitted to do so given the terms of their contracts, or whether they even know anything about the team’s plans. It’s possible that the current regime thinks so dimly of their work that the front office has no concerns about anything they may say to another team.

Regardless, it’s also possible they had (and still have) access to certain research and other information; two years ago, former Browns G.M. Mike Lombardi was spotted at the Scouting Combine with documents containing prominent Browns logos while working with the Patriots.

The easier course for the Browns would have been to keep the scouts on the payroll but give them little or nothing to do for the next three weeks, perhaps even telling them to stay home with pay.

Which, in fairness to the Browns, may be as a practical matter what they’ve done. From Cleveland’s perspective, the organization had a large staff of scouts, the team wanted to streamline the operations going forward, and the Browns wanted to be candid and honest with the departing scouts and give scouts whose contracts were expiring after the draft a chance to pursue new jobs. (Whitner may wonder why that mindset didn’t apply to him a month ago.)

Still, it’s the kind of unconventional approach that will make it even more clear that, until the Browns start winning, the jokes won’t stop happening. The overriding goal of the organization remains to start winning.

UPDATE 2:17 p.m. ET: In response to the observation that Whitner may wonder why that mindset didn’t apply to him a month ago, Whitner said on Twitter, “Yes I am wondering.”

25 responses to “Other teams already are picking brains of fired Browns scouts

  1. The Browns had the largest scouting department in football last year. I’m not surprised they released some of them. The timing does seem odd however.

  2. One phone call to these guys and ask who the Brown’s are drafting.

    That creates your own, internal Do Not Draft list.

    Simple. But genius.

  3. These scouts have the closely guarded secrets of how to put together a dominant organization. I’m sure only the smartest teams are interested in what these scouts have to say.

  4. The overriding goal remains to start winning, a goal that club has successfully undermined since 1965.

  5. I’d be amazed if any NFL team employee with access to confidential team info has not been required to sign a confidentiality agreement a condition of employment. Then again, I guess this is the Browns. . . .

  6. If the hiring of scouts from other teams created such an imbalance then they would be worth millions of dollars a year and not the low six figures they make. Scouts are simply highly trained eyes and ears.

  7. The words “Browns” and “brain”s don’t often collide in the same sentence. Unless the words “lack of” are also in it that is…

  8. They probably are picking their brains, but not in the way we think. It’s probably more a morbid curiosity. Hell, if the fired scounts need money, they could charge five bucks at the fair.

    “Step right up and see the man who convinced an NFL owner to draft both Brady Quinn and Johnny Manziel in the first round. Keep your distance or he may convince you to do something just as stupid!”

  9. The Browns are always a day late and two dollars short. This 17 year old franchise just seems to never understand thought before they act. It is wonder why they have gone through 2 1st rd picks in 4/5 years. If you count this year too. The 32nd pick is basically a 1st rounder. I am already counting on them to have boneheaded picks.

    I tell you it has to be hard to be a fan when you want to root for the best for your team but have little control over what management is doing. They have the wrong guy running this program. He has no football acumen and his tendency to constantly let people go doesn’t work in the is league. The best teams are the ones that hire the right people first and allow them to make the decisions and live with it.

    When you look at the teams that are playoff bound each year or make Super Bowls are consistent winners and have very little turnover and it shows all the way around their organization. T is a copy cat league and some teams follow suit and this rogue team we call the Browns seem to believe they have their own beat but to no drum. Good luck brownies 3 weeks till you draft Nkrmdiche or Cardale Jones either and two years from now you are still drafting 1,2 or 3 again.

  10. Learning who NOT to look at, courtesy of the Factory of Sadness? LOL!!!!

  11. dukeblue12 says:
    Apr 10, 2016 2:50 PM
    Non-disclosure/Confidentiality agreements were surely in the contracts of these scouts, nothing to see here..


    Well that is probably the norm for most NFL clubs. But, this is the Browns we’re talking about here. If there’s a way to screw something up, the Browns seem to be able to find it.

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