JIM GARRETT: What did Jason Garrett’s Dad Write in His Scouting Report of Troy Aikman?

by | Feb 12, 2018 | Articles, The Team

Jim Garrett, the father of head coach Jason Garrett, passed away last week at the age of 87. Jim Garrett originally joined the Cowboys in 1968 as a scout. He spent 36 of the next 38 years coaching or scouting in the NFL including coaching stints with the Giants (1969-73), Saints (1976-77), and Browns (1978-84). In 1987 he re-joined the Cowboys’ scouting department. 

Garrett’s most famous scouting report was on a quarterback from UCLA who would become the overall #1 pick of the 1989 NFL Draft: Troy Aikman.

Here’s what Garrett wrote about Aikman in his scouting report dated October 7, 1988 and based on game film from UCLA contests versus Nebraska, Washington, and Long Beach State as well as observations from UCLA practice:

*CHARACTER: He very clearly fits the character requirements for the important position of QB in an “almost perfect” fashion! His practice and game performance character could serve as a model for all future highly rated QBs entering the NFL! Nothing is more important to him that “TEAM PERFORMANCE!” He has absolutely no deep interest in his personal statistics. He is a “small town” young man capable of adjusting easily in the NFL. (Grade: 8)

*QUICKNESS & BODY CONTROL: He has a flawless control of his body when setting up to pass, when throwing on the run and when he executes his passing technique motion. He has an “effortless” throwing motion. It is as perfect as Sam Snead’s golf swing. He does not “rely on a quickness game”, he is more aware than he is quick. He plays so perfectly that “quickness” never becomes a factor. However, he has excellent quickness and body control! (Grade: 7)

*COMPETITIVENESS: He will compete after he “is not successful!” So much is always expected of him that if he does not play outstanding everyone things he has failed! When he has moments of performance “below perfection”, he will rise up to the highest degree of competitiveness. No matter what situation he is facing or he will face, he will never fail to surpass the level of competition! He is a “Brian Sipe” when faced with total competition! (Grade: 8)

*MENTAL ALERTNESS: He is a natural student of the game. His mind registers actually what it must register as he is confronted with each “mental game situation.” His mental alertness is natural; therefore, he does not have to think about the situation, he merely executes mentally because he is “naturally programmed that way!” He is totally capable of making all the mental adjustments to play in the NFL. He will be a “Smart NFL QB!” (Grade: 7)

*STRENGTH & EXPLOSION: He surpasses any strength and explosion rating you might set as a standard for future NFL QBs or for QBs presently operating in the NFL! He will be very difficult to “sack” unless you get a real good “frontal hit” on him! Everything he does as a QB has a “power strength and explosion” highly rated base! If you can concentrate on the last segment of his throwing motion (prior to ball release) you will see extreme power. (Grade: 7)

*SPEED: He “has game QB speed” to rate as fast as you need for him to perform every “fast QB position technique!” He would not lack “speed” in any condition a QB might be faced with during a game or would he not qualify as a speed factor any “offense or game plan” QB position technique you would like to incorporate as an integral part of the proposed play of the QB! He is a fine athlete who very easily controls his own speed needs!  (Grade: 7)

STRONG POINTS: He has the easiest throwing motion I have ever seen! He throws very naturally and has little or no difficulty adjusting this outstanding arm action to make any “game duress” throws! He has great pass judgement, he will not attempt to made “any bad passes!” He “will control” the (mph) speed of his passes based upon the need!

WEAK POINTS: This will never happen, but, he might fall victim to his own ideals for perfection! He might just feel he has to be “better than the actual successful throw he just made!” He has a very special arm and players with this great gift simply have higher standards of success than the average players that play their specific positions!

SUMMARY: He is an OUTSTANDING PLAYER who plays the premier position in football. The position demands are so very difficult that he will miss some passes and make some incorrect reads. However, he will play as a regular in the NFL from the first day he reports to his draft team. He is very special, but he is not “Clark Kent.” He comes into the league better prepared for success than any QB I have ever seen! You do not need a “timetable of specific years” to determine when he can play as an NFL QB regular. He is ready “right now” to play and star in the NFL!

The Cowboys followed Garrett’s advice and selected Aikman with the first pick of the 1989 NFL Draft. It was the first selection of the Jerry Jones/Jimmy Johnson era. Garrett’s prediction about Aikman’s future success came true. Aikman guided the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles, was the winningest NFL QB of the 1990s, and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Dallas Cowboys Ring of Honor.

Three years after Aikman joined the Cowboys, the team signed a young quarterback to be his third-string backup: Jason Garrett, son of the man who scouted Aikman. 

Jason Garrett is now head coach of the Dallas Cowboys. Another of Jim Garrett’s sons, Judd, followed his father’s footsteps into the scouting department. Judd is currently the Cowboys’ Director of Advance Scouting and Special Projects. Another of Jim’s sons, John, was the Cowboys’ tight ends coach from 2007-2012.

Jim Garrett’s scouting report of Troy Aikman has been on display at various times outside the Scouting Department at the Dallas Cowboys’ team headquarters at The Star in Frisco.