The Dictionary meaning and the NFL Scouting meaning

It’s that time of year when we all look for the true meaning in things.  Searching for the definitions of some football terms can be like trying to find the latest and greatest gadgets on “Black Friday” for your favorite family member.

Imagine if you weren’t from around these parts and had limited time and resources to find what you wanted.  On top of that you didn’t speak the language but were just familiar enough with the lay of the land to point you in the right direction.

The key would be to know “what to ask” and “who to ask it to”.  But with football terms you can’t just open up your ENCARTA Dictionary and hope for the best when explaining your plight.  Let The Football Educator be your Rosetta Stone to some of these commonly used descriptors by NFL scouts in their football player evaluations.   Here’s a look at a few for quarterbacks and fullbacks.


  • Good hard count
    • ENCARTA -firm, stiff, or rigid, and not easily cut, pierced, or bent/to say numbers in order, usually starting at one
    • SCOUTING MEANING – The ability to use voice inflection on the snap count to draw the defense offsides or put them on their heels at the snap.
  • Happy feet
    • ENCARTA– feeling or showing pleasure, contentment, or joy/plural of foot
    • SCOUTING MEANING – No, not dancing penguins.  The inability to set your feet in the pocket and throw the football due to fear of pressure (getting hit) by the pass rush and or the inability to release the ball due to the secondary’s coverage of the receivers.
  • Hangs guys out to dry
    • ENCARTA – to suspend or fasten something so that it is held up from above and not supported from below, or be suspended or fastened in this way/not wet, or no longer wet
    • SCOUTING MEANING – The inability to put the ball in the receiver’s body frame to catch, rather forcing the receiver to extend and expose himself to a big hit by the secondary.
  • Dart Thrower
    • ENCARTA– a short weighted arrow with a long slender point, a tapered tubular body, and plastic or metal fins/to propel something through the air by swinging the arm and releasing the object from the hand
    • SCOUTING MEANING – A QB with a compact throwing motion and quick release from his hand.  Ball is accurately on the target, travels in tight spiral/straight line and is within the body frame of the receiver.
  •  Nickel-dime passer
    • ENCARTA – a coin worth five cents – a U.S. or Canadian coin worth ten cents/to move past or through a place or past a person
    • SCOUTING MEANING – A QB that is apt to throw to the short route receivers in the 5 to 10 yard range from the line of scrimmage.  Not going to risk or have the physical ability to throw the ball to the deeper routes downfield.


  • Face up on edge
    • ENCARTA – the front of the human head, where the eyes, nose, mouth, chin, cheeks, and forehead are/in, at, or to a higher level or position/a line or area that is the outermost part or the part farthest away from the center of something
    • SCOUTING MEANING – Willing to pickup pass rushers outside the Offensive Tackle and square his body up on theirs.  Will not pick a side (left or right), but more apt to put his helmet in the middle of the defender’s body to engage the block.
  • Eats up ground quickly
    • ENCARTA – to take something into the mouth as food and swallow it/the surface of the land/moving or doing something fast
    • SCOUTING MEANING – Quickly covers a short distance from his pre-snap stance to his blocking responsibility or has the acceleration and short yardage burst to carry the football for positive yardage.
  • Carries pads well
    • ENCARTA – to take somebody or something that you are holding or supporting to another place/a piece of soft material used to protect something or give it shape, to clean or polish articles, or to absorb moisture/a hole or shaft that is dug or drilled into the ground in order to obtain water, brine, petroleum, or natural gas
    • SCOUTING MEANING – Looks natural and plays with smooth body movement, whether running or change of direction, for a bigger skilled position player.  Doesn’t appear awkward or stiff in getting from point A to point B in his assignments.
  • Cut on a dime
    • ENCARTA – to divide something into pieces using a knife, scissors, or a similar sharp-edged tool/used to indicate a position above and in contact with the surface of something else/ a U.S. or Canadian coin worth ten cents
    • SCOUTING MEANING – Can make the mental decision to change direction and has the physical tools to quickly do so, whether 45 or 90 degrees.  No wasted body movement with change of direction.  Feet are quick and precise in their movement.
  • Hedges some on blocks
    • ENCARTA – a close-set row of bushes, usually with their branches intermingled, forming a barrier or boundary in a garden, lawn, or field/ used to indicate an unspecified number, quantity, or proportion of a total, generally a fairly small to average or reasonable one/ a large solid piece of a hard substance, usually with flat sides
    • SCOUTING MEANING – Will at times be less than willing to engage a defender to execute a block.  Body will tense up, cringe or slow down at the point of contact.  Doesn’t use strength and acceleration upon contact to move the defender from his position.
It’s a little confusing at first, but with your own “secret decoder ring” – The Football Educator, you can cut straight to the football scouting meaning of just about anything.  See you next with Running Backs and Tight Ends.
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