After High-Level Titans Scouting Add, What's Happening on the Ground?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In hiring a director of scouting the Titans appear to have created another level in their organizational flow chart between assistant general manager Anthony Robinson and the directors of college scouting and pro scouting though the status of those two positions is not entirely clear.

Per Neil Stratton, the Titans have added AJ Highsmith as director of scouting and he will have both college and pro duties as part of his role.

AJ Highsmith
AJ Highsmith/ Ben Green, Buffalo Bills

Supposing the Titans stick with the current shape of things, the top of their player personnel department with Chad Brinker as president of football operations and Ran Carthon as executive vice president/ general manager looks like this:

  • Assistant general manager Anthony Robinson
  • Scouting director AJ Highsmith
  • Director of college scouting Jon Salge
  • Director of pro scouting Brian Gardner

The status of Salge and Gardner seems uncertain as the Titans have been conducting interviews including of Josh Scobey, formerly Arizona’s director of college scouting, and Max Gruder, who is the Eagles' director of pro scouting.  

That seems like a lot of levels at the top with some redundancy. I had no success Tuesday trying to find out what the need was for Highsmith. A scouting director sounds like a GM or an assistant GM. I’m sure the Titans want to hire as many good people as possible, and Carthon and Highsmith worked together for the 49ers.

But looking at two successful organizations for comparison, maybe it’s not an overload.

The Eagles have:

  • Two assistant GMs
  • Two senior personnel directors/ advisors to the GM
  • A senior director of college scouting
  • A director of scouting
  • Two directors of player personnel
  • A director of college scouting
  • A director of pro scouting
  • A director of personnel operations/pro scout

The 49ers have:

  • A vice president and senior advisor to the GM
  • A football personnel advisor
  • Two directors of player personnel

I doubt the moves for Tennessee are over.

Previously the Titans parted ways with one of their six college scouts, Tom Roth. They've moved Brandon Taylor from pro scout to college scout, a role he's been in before.

The gritty path to late-round success comes from a lot of grunt work, and grunt work comes predominantly from the scouts who are on campuses, watching practice and learning about prospects big and small from all sorts of people on campus, ranging well beyond coaches to janitors and secretaries. 

I'm sure the Titans are conscious of that as they address more than the high levels of their scouting department.