Introducing Jaylen Bannerman-Oden, our Scouting Assistant!
Tell us a little bit about what you do at the Chargers.
So, I work pretty extensively with both our Pro & College Scouting Departments. My main overarching task is to be the sort of connector between everything inside and outside of the building and try to fill in wherever extra hands and/or eyes are needed. Some of the things I am responsible for here include the Scouting Combine, upkeep and revisions of our scouting systems, all-star games, free agent workouts, pro days, our local day, prospect visits, and then writing reports on NFL, NCAA, XFL, & USFL players. In the past, I've also had to do a significant amount of driving for airport pickups & doctors' visits, filmed at practice, and sometimes lined up on the scout team if they needed an extra body. This most recent season, I was fortunate enough that everyone here trusted me to start going on school visits by myself across 5 states on the East Coast, as well as continuing to travel to do pro scouting advances for upcoming opponents.
How did you get started?
I came into Ohio University as a Templeton Scholar. As a part of this scholarship, I was required to uphold a certain GPA, complete community outreach/service projects, as well as meet a semesterly threshold for community involvement. Being a Sport Management major and knowing I always wanted to work in football, I was able to marry my requirements and interests as a student assistant coach all four years of my undergrad. Through a friend, Adam Klepek, that I made in school, I was able to get connected with a part-time video internship with the Cleveland Browns during the 2020 COVID season. Through my time working there, I was fortunate enough to meet some great people on the scouting side of the building, who were gracious enough to allow me more part-time work charting college games for them. Over the next few months, I sent out a number of emails to different personnel from different teams, looking for advice, mentorship, opportunities, etc. hoping to get a correspondence going and build a relationship going forward. I am blessed and fortunate enough that Dennis Abraham responded to one of my emails, which led to us talking, then setting up a zoom interview, and I have been here ever since.
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
As I am currently positioned, I have the unique pleasure of seeing the scouting process go from farm-to-table from the initial introduction of draft-eligible players in the summer, to the season, to the pre-draft cycle, to the three-day sprint in April, to their first day in the building. I can then continue on with them into the fold on our current team, trying to identify more players that could potentially help us; seeing players that everyone pushed to get onto the team helping us succeed on Sundays is truly a special feeling. Lastly, but maybe most of all, going in everyday to work in the sport I love with a group of people that I have grown to think of as friends and even family. It always helps with long hours when you're doing it with people you enjoy!
Any advice for those trying to get a job in sports?
Not to sound cliche, but really the hardest part is getting in the door and making connections, because once you are in and people know who you are, your work ethic and the work you put out will hopefully speak for itself and continue to open doors down the line.
Dead or alive, which important figures in Black History would you want to have dinner with?
We all stand on the shoulders of so many giants on a daily basis, but to name a few: President Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., LeBron James, Jim Brown, Malcolm X, Nat Turner, Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, Madame C.J. Walker, and Maya Angelou. I can only imagine the stories and perspectives they could all share over a few seafood towers!
Tell us about a person who has inspired you and/or impacted your career today.
I have a long way to go, but I would not have been able to make the progress I have without leaders and mentors who opened doors for me along the way. I would start that with my father, Tony Oden, who's been a coach my whole life, showing me the hard work and sacrifice it takes to be in this industry as well as the reward of pouring into others, seeing them succeed, and how that can help equate to overall team success. To name a few that have helped me on my professional journey: Rob Pavlas, Ricky Palmer, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, and Mike Cetta from my time with the Browns, and then Louis Clark, Dennis Abraham, and JoJo Wooden truly changed my life with all the opportunities they've afforded me to expand my horizons and experiences here with the Bolts.
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