As for knowing what to look for, for someone like me that did not play football in HS or pee wee, the internet has been a great resource over the years in educating me about the game of football. There hundreds if not thousands of instructional coaching videos you can find on YouTube and stuff that show you various techniques. This particularly has been helpful with teaching me what to look for with offensive and defensive linemen.
Also experience is important. I've been a wannabe scout since 2001, and I've learned so much since then. Every year you get smarter because you see players that you like that wound up doing nothing int he pros, and players you didn't like become all-pros. And so you get smarter as you work out how that came to be.
As for figuring out what games to watch, my process consists of going to CBS Sports.com's Draft season (formerly NFLDraftScout.com), copying their Top 500 or so senior prospects and Top 100 or so draft-elgible underclassman databases into an Excel spreadsheet. Then I break them down by team and conference to see which schools have the most/best players.
Then early each week during the season (usually Tuesday and Wednesday), I go onto a site like TVGuide.com's tv listings to see which games are going to be aired in my area, and then based off that Excel spreadsheet figure out which games feature the most pro prospects and then set up my DVR. On a typical Saturday, I'll tape between 4-6 games. Usually I'll also tape the games that air on ESPN during the weeknights. I'll usually watch the night games on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday live, and during the day on Saturday if Pitt is playing I'll watch that game live.
And then in the subsequent weeks I'll try and watch those taped games to clear additional space on my DVR as the season goes on. Which usually results in me seeing games 2 or 3 weeks after the fact. As I watch the games, I take copious notes on the prospect I'm scouting so that at the end of the year, I can look back over those notes and write up a profile despite the fact that much of that information will have been long forgotten by that point. I'm writing something down if not for every play, at least every series that player is in the game for. It's hard to do on TV, particularly when it comes to watching DBs, but you make the best of it.
My experience tells me that it's best to see at least 3 games per prospect. Because if you only see 2, then you sometimes run into the problem of seeing that prospect play well in one, but poorly in the other. And that 3rd game usually tells you which of those two performances is typical. Ideally, you'll see 4 or 5. But it's been my experience that you rarely need to see more than that because it's rare that you're seeing anything drastically new that you didn't already see in the first 3 or 4 games.
And by the end of the year, I'll pretty much see every team in one of the Big 6 conferences play. I think last year, Duke and Vanderbilt were the only teams that I didn't see play. And usually I'll see about half of the teams in the lesser conferences like the MAC, Mountain West, etc. play typically the ones that have legit NFL prospects.
This year because I'm going to focus more on the upper prospects, I'll probably watch less of the MAC or Mountain West schools.
But the beauty of having access to ESPN3.com is that I can always go back at the end of the year and watch some of the lesser schools if need be.
"Vincere scis, Hannibal, victoria uti nescis" -- Maharbal, 216 B.C.E.