Q&A: With Scott Studwell

Vikings director of college scouting Scott Studwell has been working the draft and player personnel since 1992 and is now the team's top draft man. We asked him about trade talk, the Maurice Clarett saga, younger players entering the draft, the kicking situation and his attitude toward the draft. Get Studwell's insights in the first of a two-part interview.

Q: Has there been a lot of interest already — either with the Vikings or other teams — in trading for top draft picks?

A: There is always some conversation and it all depends upon the top four or five teams and who they feel the best players are. And if they're willing to give up the right things to get him, they should take him. But it all depends upon their philosophy — do they think they can improve with just a handful of players?

Q: The entire Maurice Clarett fiasco has created turmoil between the NFL and college ranks. How will the potential for younger college players to declare for the draft affect the Vikings' college scouting department?

A: We're taking a wait-and-see attitude. We're hopeful that it doesn't send out the wrong message to a lot of players who aren't ready to play at our level. We have our hands full just evaluating seniors. Every year, there are between 30 and 40 juniors that decided to come out and that waters down the draft for next year. But next year's juniors — if they're good enough — will opt for the draft.

Q: What about players younger than juniors?

A: If you put sophomores and junior college players, and even high school players, in the mix, I think they have to realize that they're not ready. If you look at the track record of the juniors that have come out early — as opposed to the juniors that stay in school — there is a learning curve that these guys have to adjust to.

Q: Does the media and potential sponsors — Nike with LeBron James, for example — play a role in rushing players.

A: I think the media does have their role in it. The agents have their role in it. There is just so much information out there that there are very few secrets anymore. It's good for the kids and the players to have that kind of access and exposure, but it can be damaging, too.


Q: Will the Vikings look hard for a kicker in the draft?

A: I don't know. We're going into this thing wide open. We went through some growing pains with a couple of young kickers last year. We drafted Eddie (Johnson) in the (sixth) round and he struggled and we've brought a veteran (Darren Bennett) in. (Aaron) Elling had his moments. But the staff is confident that he's going to continue to improve as a pro kicker. We'll have competition for them. Absolutely. If there is a kicker we feel strongly about …

Q: You played linebacker for the Vikings for 14 seasons. Obviously it isn't the same, but after so much preparation for the draft, is draft weekend similar to game day?

A: There are jitters and there is anxiety. It's a very emotional two days and it's a very competitive two days. It's not like a game day when you're playing, but it has a feel for game day. There is a lot of pressure. But once you get into it and once you get started, you have to stay focused and concentrate on what you're doing.



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