INDIANAPOLIS -- Every year NFL scouting departments and coaching staffs swarm to Indianapolis for the NFL Scouting Combine to see who might be the best fit for their team come draft day. It's one of the most important weeks during the offseason where scouts and coaches work together to decide what their team will look like the following season.
The week is packed with meetings, prospect interviews, evaluating drills, late nights and more. It doesn't come together without extensive planning done months prior. Bills player personnel coordinator Andrea Gosper was the go-to person this year when it came to organizing combine plans for Bills scouts and coaches.
"All week I need to make sure the scouts, ownership, Sean (McDermott), Brandon (Beane), the coordinators and coaches are okay," Gosper said. "Everybody comes together and I'm kind of like the glue, the one that links everybody together. It's basically me running around, answering phone calls and making sure that everything is put together."
Managing a group of more than 30 is not an task but Gosper wouldn't want it any other way.
"I tell people this is the environment that I thrive in because I love people," Gosper shared. "I love talking to people. Anything that's hectic and involves me running around, sign me up."
Gosper is in the right business because being a part of the scouting department for an NFL team involves a lot of communication and 15-hour days as they approach free agency and the NFL Draft. When she's not at the combine, Gosper has a hand in college scouting, pro scouting and administrative work.
"A lot of my college work is going to All-Star games, being that contact with scouts, anything they need with schools and all that, I'm their go to person," Gosper said. "This year, I've had the opportunity to go out on the road. I shadowed one of our scouts this year, so I went on a three-day road trip down to Virginia and also went to some Buffalo games. On the pro side, it's kind of as (Brandon) Beane and Malik Boyd put it, being the GM of your teams."
Gosper has two NFL teams she's in charge of scouting. Five years ago, Gosper would have never imagined working for the Buffalo Bills but a University of New England teacher helped spark her interest in what would later become her dream job.
"I had a minor in coaching and had to do an internship, so my professor suggested football because I had written about coaching philosophies within the NFL," Gosper shared. "So I started to work with the University of New England football team and got to do everything. I got to learn about equipment, scouting, recruiting, on-field stuff and more."
The former UNE softball player was sold on football after getting her foot in the door and learning about the business from UNE head coach Mike Lichten. At that time, Gosper was getting ready to start grad school for sports nutrition and was hoping to land a job in the NFL after graduating. Little did she know a trip to the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine would change all those plans.
Gosper ended up meeting Bills general manager Brandon Beane and former Bills assistant general manager Joe Schoen in Indianapolis. She let them in on her interest in working for an NFL team. After the conversation, Schoen shared some internships they had available and said he would be in touch.
"I was in the outfield and my watch goes off and I was like, 'Oh my God,'" Gosper said as she looked down at her watch and realized Schoen was calling during her softball game. "So then I called him back and he told me he wanted me in scouting and it was a full year. I was like okay let's do this."
Gosper decided to take a leap of faith and withdraw from grad school to take advantage of what she thought was a once in a lifetime opportunity. She thought she was putting sports nutrition on a brief hold, but what really happened was she found her perfect fit.
"I didn't come in thinking I would do scouting, but I knew that I wanted to have a direct impact on the team," Gosper said. "My personality does not allow me to be away from something. I need to be involved in it. And I realized scouting really fit my personality and everything I wanted to do. I just grinded, learned all about it and absolutely fell in love with it."
Scroll through to learn about many of the talented women of the Bills and Pegula Sports & Entertainment.
Now approaching her fourth season in Buffalo and her second year in a full-time role, Gosper can't believe how much she has grown since her first day at One Bills Drive. That growth has been possible due to a scouting department that is open to teaching and valuing everyone's opinions.
"Everybody is so approachable, you can ask them anything and they want to know what you're thinking, what your ideas are, how you see things, what your thoughts are," Gosper shared. "Even as an intern, my opinion and everything mattered. That's what leaders should do is value everybody's opinion, no matter what and the Bills do a great job of that."
One leader she truly admires is Beane.
"I am the scout I am today because of him," Gosper said of her general manager. "And just watching him and how he runs stuff, he's a class act. He does everything the right way. He has relationships with people throughout the league and in the building that I want one day."
Scroll through to view photos of the top prospects that draft analysts have projected the Bills to take with the 25th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Gosper isn't exactly certain where scouting will take her within the NFL just yet. Right now, she's focused on refining her craft with the hope of taking on more responsibilities each season. At the young age of 24, she still has several years ahead of her.
"I'm still growing and building my foundation, which could take me in so many directions," Gosper said. "I'm just looking a couple days ahead right now. Five years down the road, that's not even in mind yet."
Her mind is full of making sure she's ready for free agency in March and the NFL Draft in April. It's tough to be in the moment with such a demanding job, but sometimes Gosper catches herself soaking it all in. As she looked around the NFL combine this week and saw head coaches, general managers, hall of famers and people who are celebrities to many, Gosper couldn't help but remember where she started.
"I think what I'm most proud of is that I started watching this game with my dad on the couch," Gosper shared. "Now I'm working for a team that I started off watching on the couch. It's so surreal. I'll talk to my dad and he will be like, 'Can you really believe that you're there?' It's insane. My childhood dreams are being lived out.
"I may not be doing the exact job that I thought I would be doing, but it's just wild to know that you really can do it if you work hard."