Since 1977, Pro Scout Inc. has been functioning as one of the NFL’s most respected and yet seemingly under-the-radar services. A third-party scouting service that has evaluated every player on every team each year, Pro Scout Inc. has worked with 33 Super Bowl winners and directly for 18 Hall of Fame coaches, general managers, and owners.
Mike Giddings Jr., the current owner and president of Pro Scout who inherited the business from his legendary father, Mike Sr., has long been called upon by NFL decision makers to give an unbiased opinion.
Part of Mike’s service to teams includes identifying the top 20 needs of each NFL team heading into the year and pinpointing each team’s top 8 needs. Pro Scout continuously assesses how well each NFL team has filled those needs throughout the season and grades how each team filled their needs as either low, medium, or high. A team’s ability to fill each need strongly correlates with their ability to be a playoff team.
Before this season, Giddings and Pro Scout knew that the New England Patriots and Cincinnati would be playoff bound, based on the fact that both teams significantly addressed every one of their eight greatest needs.
The Patriots, who finished third in the AFC East last season at 7-9, are now currently 10-6 and have the makings of a Super Bowl contender despite having a rookie quarterback under center.
New England’s top eight needs heading into the season were as follows:
- DL Wave (Having waves of strong Defensive Linemen is a mantra of Pro Scout)
Of those eight needs, the only one that did not at least receive a minimum grade of Medium was No. 5 (LT), graded as Medium/Low.
New England’s free agent spending spree filled several needs, including bolstering the DL Wave, and a significant overhaul at WR and TE.
Meanwhile, the draft picks of Mac Jones and Christian Barmore were both simultaneously cases of drafting the best player available and filling a need.
Giddings graded four of New England’s needs as Highly filled, the most of any team in the AFC, making it clear that they were expected to be one of the league’s most improved teams.
While it may have been somewhat foreseen that New England could bounce back after spending significant money in free agency and acquiring a new franchise quarterback in the draft, almost nobody would have expected the Cincinnati Bengals to go from 4-11-1 to winning the AFC North. Nobody except for Giddings and Pro Scout of course.
Fresh off a thrilling 34-31 win against the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night, the Bengals are perhaps the most surprising division winner, let alone playoff team.
The Bengals eight needs heading into the season according to Pro Scout Inc. were as follows:
- QB (Burrow’s health was the No. 1 need after significant injury in 2020)
- WR Top 20
The Bengals filled each need at a Medium level at minimum, per Pro Scout Inc., and in turn saw their fortunes change from one of the NFL’s worst teams to a contending unit in just one year.
The Bengals added free agent Larry Ogunjobi and traded for BJ Hill to significantly bolster their DT rotation. They also added Riley Reiff to sure up the Right Tackle spot. While Reiff may be out for the season with an ankle injury, his performance this season has been crucial for an offensive line that must protect Joe Burrow at all costs.
The Bengals addressed their No. 4 need by making one of the league’s best free agent signings in Trey Hendrickson. They rounded out their No. 5 need with the potential rookie of the year in Ja’Marr Chase, and brought in one of the league’s most improved defensive backs to help out their No. 6 need in Chidobe Awuzie.
In continuously scouting every player on every team, assessing the needs of each team, and grading how every team fills their needs, Pro Scout provides their NFL clients with the most consistently up-to-date understanding of every team’s strengths and weaknesses.
One can only hope that their favorite team is one of Pro Scout’s NFL clients.