For area scout Christian Sarkisian, the timeline hasn’t changed one bit.
One of the few scouts on staff for Cincinnati, Sarkisian is about to complete his fourth draft cycle with the organization founded by the man who traded his grandfather’s draft rights over 70 years ago.
That’s right. Paul Brown drafted Sarkisian’s grandfather, Alex, back in 1948. Now, Christian works under and conducts draft prospect meetings with Mike Brown.
The last of said visits were conducted earlier this week. Hours of preparation and research go into these meetings, and they mean the world to Sarkisian.
“It’s not Christmas,” Sarkisian said of the pre-draft meetings to Bengals.com’s Geoff Hobson. “Christmas is rookie minicamp when you see all the guys that we drafted out there on the field. The meetings are where you get a chance to show what you know. This is why you’re paying me. This is why you’re paying me to go on the road. This is why you’re paying me to interview guys. This is why you’re paying me to watch tape. I love the meetings. It’s a culmination of 18 months of work.”
The Bengals and 31 other teams get 30 of these meetings every year. It’s impossible for every one of them to feature a player the team will draft or sign after the Draft, but they are crucial to the process. Whether the player is expected to go in the first round, or is off the radar for most other clubs, information gathering is the name of the game for scouts like Sarkisian.
And for the team President.
“Mr. Brown can make so many different connection points,” Sarkisian says. “He’s able to make those guys feel a lot more comfortable very quickly. He might have known a guy that went to his high school or nearby or some other connection. I don’t know how many owners these guys meet, but he can put them at ease.”
The Bengals operate like a close-knit family. No one seems to be too big to handle any task, and Sarkisian and his fellow scouts have immense responsibility to cover a lot of ground. This time of year is when it all gets put to the test.