Scouts give a closer look as the season winds down

As the calendar flips to the month of November, scouts across the NFL are beginning the arduous task of cross-checking the country's top prospects.

The process, which involves area scouts leaving their respective regions to evaluate top prospects in another area, is essential to proper scouting because it allows the team to get another set of eyes on the country's best players.

With most front office comprising of four to six area scouts, a national scout, a college director, and possibly a high-ranking personnel executive responsible for evaluating college talent, a team may have as many as five to six reports on a player by draft day.

Given that more eyes on a player often leads to a better overall evaluation, you can't underestimate the importance of cross-checking top prospects during the fall.

In looking at our last Sweet Sixteen rankings, it is important to note that some of the prospects previously on the board have risen or fallen based on injuries or performance through the first three quarters of the season. While players undoubtedly go through hot and cold spells, scouts are placing a premium on consistent performance and we have done the same in listing the top seniors available in this year's draft.

Russell Okung and Ndamukong Suh have routinely dominated their opponents and they have retained their spots at the top of the charts based on their exceptional performances. On the other hand, Colt McCoy, Brandon LaFell and Greg Hardy have slid down the rankings due to spotty performances or injury issues. Although each continues to rank as one of the best at their respective positions, they no longer deserve to rank above others performing exceptionally well.

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