Dallas Cowboys

Gil Brandt, the Godfather of scouting, is right at home with draft at AT&T Stadium

Gil Brandt, left, is the ultimate authority on the NFL Draft and the league overall.
Gil Brandt, left, is the ultimate authority on the NFL Draft and the league overall. chill@star-telegram.com

Outside of the prospective draft picks, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell are headliners at 2018 NFL Draft, which begins Thursday and runs through Saturday at AT&T Stadium in Arlington.

But there is arguably no one more satisfied, pleased and appreciative of the process taking place in North Texas for the first time than former Cowboys chief scout Gil Brandt.

For 29 years, Brandt ran the Cowboys department under general manager Tex Schramm and coach Tom Landry, where he pioneered many of the scouting techniques used by NFL teams today.

He was the first one to use computers for scouting and talent evaluations, the first one to use psychological tests to evaluate the mental makeup. Brandt and the Cowboys were the first to scout other sports for talent and the first to look outside of the United States for players.

After the leaving the Cowboys when Jones bought the team in 1989, he soon joined the NFL as a personnel consultant for the NFL Scouting Combine and the draft. He has done it all while still residing in his same home in Dallas from his days with the Cowboys.

The draft being here has brought Brandt full circle regarding the league’s college player acquisition process and his continued love for the Cowboys.

It just hasn’t resulted in much more free time.

He said he’s saved six hours of sleep compared when its held in other cities but he’s loving every minute.

Preview of the 2018 NFL Draft Theater, which is being built on the field of AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX. This is the first time, the Draft is taking place at an NFL stadium.

“It means everything to me,” Brandt said. “I am very proud of the Cowboys. I am very proud of the city of Dallas and the Metroplex. What (Cowboys vice president) Charlotte (Jones Anderson) has done is make this an extravaganza that I don’t think will ever be duplicated. No one will upstage this.”

And just as Brandt praises Charlotte Jones Anderson and the Jones family, it’s not lost on the Cowboys owner what this week means to Brandt or what he has accomplished as the Godfather of Scouting.

“The old adage that familiarity breeds contempt, it’s been just the opposite with Gil Brandt,” Jerry Jones said. “The more over the years that you look back and see what he did and his initial years with the franchise and then you see how he sustained it and, frankly, evolved later, and the way that his career has matriculated and the fact that he’s a respected and very competent personnel guru, it’s Hall of Fame stuff. And while he hasn’t spent these last 29 years with the team, which lends itself to that, the years he did spend with the team and what he’s done for the game and with the game since that time, he’s a very uniquely notable career.

“I’m more impressed today than I was 29 years ago. I have forgiven him many times when he walked out of the meeting when I told him we were going to be making a change, right after I got here, and he walked out with the media and said, ‘That young man is in over his head.’ I have forgiven him many times, because he was right.”

When he Brandt talks about the spectacle the Cowboys are putting on with the draft this week, believe him.

Brandt would know because he has seen them all and been to them since 1960 when the draft was held in a hotel ballroom in Philadelphia with just six media people in attendance and about 15 spectators.

“There will be over 2,000 media at this year’s draft and over 100,000 fans,” Brandt said. “It’s off the chart. For me, it’s like watching your child grow up. This is special and it means a lot.”

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