Hannah Burnett is an accomplished student-athlete. A 2018 graduate from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst, Burnett still holds a school record for most points scored in a women's lacrosse game (10). She graduated with a double major in sports management and marketing. Before her Division 1 career, she was named a US Lacrosse Academic All American and a three-time all-county player in both lacrosse and soccer at Huntington (NY) High School.
But Burnett's impressive achievements extend far beyond the field. As the first female full-time scout on Giants staff, she is a trailblazer.
Burnett recently joined the “Her Playbook" podcast to shed light on her journey from student-athlete to scout. Burnett's story began like many others – as an intern. Between her junior and senior years of college, Burnett worked in event operations during the Buffalo Bills' training camp. Her diligence enabled her to progress quickly and landed her a role in the NFL office after applying to many internships.
Burnett appreciated her placement in New York City for several reasons.
"Being from New York, it was awesome," Burnett said. "I got to be home for a little bit after college, commuting in and out from Long Island to New York City everyday, doing the grind. I was there for seven months as a player personnel assistant. While I was there, I tried to network. I went out to the Jets and out to the Giants. I met some people and learned about scouting and figured out that's what I wanted to do."
Her success in New York built a strong foundation for the rest of her career, which then continued with the Atlanta Falcons as a scouting assistant and coordinator.
"One thing led to another, and I'm lucky enough to be here and have the opportunity to be a college scout," Burnett said. "Once I had that foundation and figured out which way I wanted to go, that was the dream job."
Working in a traditionally male-dominated space, Burnett understands the potential criticism she faces from fans and armchair quarterbacks alike. With that in mind, Burnett's outlook is positive. She urged, "Gender doesn't define your knowledge of football. If you work hard, and if I'm working just as hard or harder than somebody else, why can't I get the knowledge they have? Even though I didn't play the game, if I continue to work harder than the person next to me, then I can gain the knowledge that they have and maybe gain a bit more."
Her mindset speaks for itself.
Burnett takes advantage of sitting alongside people who have been scouting for decades, and she uses every opportunity to learn from those individuals. Over time, she's been able to apply her strong understanding to different scouting manuals.
"With regime changes and all that stuff, it's speaking a different language but it's the same foundation," Burnett said. "We know what we're looking for – smart, instinctive, fast players. Everyone wants that. We have critical factors. It's the same for every position. We base everything off what those critical factors are. And we want guys that represent that. Every team does it differently, and I wouldn't say there's one correct way of doing it; it's how our boss wants us to do it."
Burnett expressed that the aptitude for evaluating player instinct, especially on the defensive side of the ball, is key in her role. Speaking with players and coaches helps her to discern a player's responsibility on the field, and those interactions generally involve a hearty amount of travel.
"We're going in, and we're visiting with the coaches," Burnett said. "We're watching practices and film while we're at the school. That's where we try to gather the information. We talk to all the different sources out there at colleges, and on Saturday we hit a game and do it again throughout the week."
Flexibility is integral, too. With a schedule that is constantly evolving, Burnett often has to think on her feet and go with the flow.
Burnett attributes her success to her early professional career in and around sports. When asked to provide advice for aspiring young sports professionals, she offered, "I'm not saying you have to play sports, but be involved in it in some way."
Ultimately, it's about maximizing your opportunities.
"Once you get your foot in the door, make the most of it," Burnett said. "You have to be the first in and the last out. You have to make a good impression. You have to walk away from the internship and have them say, 'Hey, that was the best intern we've ever had."
For more information visit Giants.com/podcasts.
View photos of the veterans arriving at the Quest Diagnostics Training Center for training camp.