2019 CGS Scouting Workshop: A Recap

If you weren’t among the crowd at the second annual 2019 College Gridiron Showcase Scouting Workshop Presented by Inside the League, I’m really sorry you. It was a chance to not only meet a real-live NFL evaluator — Cowboys Assistant Director of College Scouting Chris Hall — but it was a chance to truly learn about the business.

When I asked Chris to speak at our event, I hoped for two things: he’d say “yes,” and he’d give us a half-hour. However, when he agreed to come, I never dreamed he’d far exceed 30 minutes. In fact, Chris went almost two hours in discussing his path from intern in the team’s scouting department to key member of the team’s braintrust almost 30 years later.

If you weren’t there (or even if you were), you can review his impressive discussion, in its entirety, here. If you don’t want to wade through it all, here are a few points Chris made that really resonated with me.

  • Trades remembered and forgotten: In his 29 years, Chris has worked with Jimmy Johnson, Barry Switzer and Bill Parcells, and has seen the depths as well as Super Bowl victories. He was also on the team for the Herschel Walker deal, which was historic. He pointed out, however, that the Steve Walsh trade was almost as much of a bounty, while the Cowboys also struck out on trades, citing the Stan Smagala trade. I think his point was that no one bats 1.000 when it comes to wheeling and dealing.
  • College coaches used to make the best scouts: In the old days, you hired ex-coaches to scout for you because they knew the players and the schools. Today, it’s less important because film has become so much more available and the Internet makes the country so much smaller.
  • Everyone considers quitting: Chris came very close to leaving the Cowboys to pursue a masters in advertising at SMU. He made it clear that everyone has their time of disappointment and burnout. A fortuitous staff change inspired Chris to stay. For you, it might be different. The key is to figure out how to press on.
  • It’s a game of space now: It’s important to keep up with the changes dictated by the game. Though Dallas is seen as a power-running team, its scouts have focused on speed and athleticism on defense to match up with modern trends on offense.
  • Don’t miss kids in your backyard: Chris said the Cowboys really focus on Texas schools because the team takes pride in the state and doesn’t want to be beaten by local players.
  • Write thank you notes: During the portion of his discussion aimed at aspiring scouts, he said it’s incredibly important to thank people in the business by writing actual thank you notes (yes, pen and paper). Chris is the second person I’ve heard say that exactly. As you build your network, don’t forget to do this.
  • Draft pundits can tell you what the league thinks about a player: I’ve never thought about it this way, but Chris said he believes the bigger names in the media (McShay, Kiper, Mayock) talk to enough people to give a general summation of who’s hot and who’s not.
  • Character is subjective: You have to know the position group on your team before you know if a player will fit in, and before you know if you should draft him. That’s also a theme in Michael Holley’s book, War Room, which I highly recommend.

If you weren’t there, there’s always next year, and we hope to see you then.

In the meantime, if you want to learn more about the College Gridiron Showcase or the business of pro and college football in general, make sure you register for the Friday Wrap. It comes out this evening, and it’s must-read info for thousands of people  in the game. You can register for it here. Here’s last week’s edition.




The ITL Scouting Dept. Looks at a Few Early-Entry NFL Draft Prospects

At Inside the League, we work with people across the football spectrum and provide a number of services. One of them is providing reports written by former NFL scouts to agents, parents, wealth managers, schools and others interested in finding out what professionals really think about draft prospects.

This year, we used Blake Beddingfield (Titans), Ryan Hollern (Bills, Saints), Matt Jansen (Texans, Ravens), Bob Morris (Browns, 49ers) and Josh Washburn (Titans) to write our reports. Now that college football is all but over and dozens of underclassmen are declaring for the draft by the day, we wanted to take a look at which players are making good decisions and which ones maybe aren’t.

Here are eight players that have already thrown their hat in the ’19 ring, or who are expected to, and what they might expect in late April, based on what our scouts saw.

  • Clifton Duck, DC, Appalachian St.: Writing about him before the season, our scout wrote that he’s a “late-round draft choice or PFA if he decides to enter the draft” after 2018. 
  • Joe Giles-Harris, OB, Duke: A solid player who should be a blue-collar NFL player who contributes in sub packages and on special teams. “Lots to like but I don’t see a high ceiling athletically, which caps his draft value,” our report reads. He has third-round possibilities but probably figures more in the fifth round.
  • Trysten Hill, DT, Central Florida: Though we see him as a fifth-rounder, there is something strange going on here. “This kid started 26 games prior to the 2018 season, but is a non-starter and rotational player now?,” asked our scout. “Possibly correlates with new staff, but he clearly is better than starters and the players he rotates with. (Teams) must know the reason” before they draft him.
  • Elijah Holyfield, OH, Georgia: Holyfield has submitted his name to the draft review board, but he’s not likely to get good news. “I view him as more of a two-down back, with upside in the inside run game whether zone or gap scheme, but not a three-down RB,” wrote our scout. “I wouldn’t recommend him leaving early.” If he does, he’s probably a fifth-rounder.
  • Josh Jacobs, OH, Alabama: Jacobs doesn’t get the big headlines because he’s part of a job-share in the ‘Bama backfield, so maybe he blossoms into something special on the next level. On the other hand, our scout wrote “I view him as well-rounded and a really good all-three-down depth player and serviceable starter, but not an elite-type player.” He’s probably a fourth-rounder.
  • Dax Raymond, TE, Utah St.: This is another player who’s mostly unknown, but who could win fans over the next four months. “Needs to get stronger, and needs work on some lower-body strength to help with contested balls,” wrote our scout, but “I like his upside.” Fourth round maybe, fifth round probably.
  • Saivion Smith, DC, Alabama: If he chooses to come out — we’re hearing that Smith’s leaning toward staying — he could be a second-rounder. “Will be a backup and special teams player in Year 1, but can be a starter in Year 2,” our scout wrote.
  • Preston Williams, WO, Colorado St.: Our scout wrote that he sees him “as a solid possession-type WR with size/length who can operate in the slot” and who is reminiscent of former Saints great Marques Colston. We see him as a third- or fourth-rounder.

Want a few more looks at juniors as evaluated by former NFL scouts? We’ve got forecasts for seven more players — Iowa St. WO Hakeem Butler, Stanford OG Nate Herbig, Duke QB Daniel Jones, Mississippi TE Dawson Knox, Oregon WO Dillon Mitchell, Alabama TE Irv Smith Jr. and Vanderbilt DC Joejuan Williams — in our Friday Wrap (here’s last week’s). Thousands of people across the football business read it every week. You should, too! Register here.


A Further Look Inside the Draft Numbers for Three Positions

This week, we thought it would be timely to post some facts about the 2018 NFL Draft class on Twitter. We looked at three positions: QB, RB and DE. The number of players drafted, signed post-draft, invited to try out, and that actually made a roster were apparently eye-opening to many people. In all, the three Tweets earned 87 likes and 33 retweets.

We were mildly surprised by the reaction. I think there’s still a perception that, for most players who come out of FBS football, there’s a happy ending, or at least a brief place in the league. This definitely isn’t so, and it’s important for players to understand that. Seemingly every day in December, I am contacted by a well-meaning player or parent who is seeking help hiring an agent despite not starting regularly for his college team.

Here are a few more numbers, trends and totals for players in the last three draft classes in their pursuit of NFL playing careers. If you are a player in the ’19 draft class, or know someone who is, please take heed.

  • Quarterbacks: Draft-eligible passers get a lot of hype around draft time, though you typically only hear about the top 12-15 quarterbacks in any draft class. However, the average number per draft class signed by agents over the last four years is about 80 (78.75). The bad news is that the majority don’t even make it into camps (about two-thirds each in ’17 and ’18 were passed over) and the overwhelming majority don’t make a 53 or practice squad (20 percent in 2018, 25.6 percent in 2017).
  • Wide receivers: Every year, there are more receivers signed by agents than any other class (305 in 2018 and a whopping 313 in 2016). However, they have the longest odds of making a roster as, last year, 44.9 percent didn’t get so much as a tryout offer. And that’s no fluke. Except for the ’17 draft, when only 32.9 percent were snubbed by teams, about 45 percent of all wide receivers in each of the ’18, ’16 and ’15 draft classes never got so far as a tryout. More bad news: only about 11 percent of each wide receiver class is actually drafted (9.6 percent in 2016!). By comparison, last year, 23 percent of offensive tackles — about one in four — were drafted.
  • Cornerbacks: Corners are the second-most popular players to sign by agents, and why not? They play an impact position and they are plentiful. Still, they are far from a lock to get any attention on draft weekend, probably because their draft status is so heavily dependent on 40 time. Last year, 227 cornerbacks were signed by agents, but only about 40 percent were either drafted or signed as UDFAs and only about a quarter (27.8 percent) actually made a 53 or practice squad.

Interested in diving further into the numbers? You can start by registering for our Friday Wrap. This week, we’ll have more scoop on who gets drafted and where the scarcity lies in the draft most seasons. You can register for it here, and you can check out last week’s edition here.

Of course, if you’re a real information junkie — and if you aspire to work in the football world, you should be — click here to check out every position over the last four years and how each has done in the draft. Spoiler alert: you’ll have to subscribe to the site, but if you do, you won’t be disappointed.

An ‘Invincible’ Prospect Among Those on ’19 CGS Roster

In the summer of 2006, the world was introduced to Vince Papale when the movie Invincible told the story of his improbable transition from 30-year-old bartender to wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles. Twelve years later, the country finally gets to see the sequel. But this sequel isn’t a movie, and it opens only to limited audiences in two weeks.

Delaware WO Vinny Papale, who racked up 36 catches for 618 yards (17.2 ypc) and six touchdowns for the Blue Hens (7-5) this season, will begin his campaign for a slot in the 2019 NFL Draft in Fort Worth next month. While he won’t be drafted ahead of Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry or Mississippi’s A.J. Brown, a good week in the Metroplex could help him climb into the Day 3 conversation or at least establish him as a priority free agent (PFA).

The ITL Scouting Department gave him a PFA grade. Our scouts touted his hands and ability to “snatch it and . . . catch outside his frame and extend for the grab.” They also called him a “good short to intermediate route runner.” On the other hand, his size, length and leaping ability are only “adequate,” according to our evaluators, though they liked his instincts and “ability to get the job done without top-level traits.” In other words, it sounds like he’s a chip off the ol’ block.

Papale is just one of more than 150 players that will attempt to be a crowd-pleaser and build an audience with NFL teams. Here are a few others worth watching with popcorn and Sno-Caps at the ready.

  • Grant Kraemer, QB, Drake: Ryan Hollern of the ITL Scouting Department (now with the AAF’s Salt Lake City franchise) liked Kraemer’s size, touch and release (“gets it out quick”) in an evaluation turned in early this season.
  • Kameron Lewis, WO, St. Francis (PA): Hollern likes Lewis as a possible late-rounder, citing his “frame, well-proportioned and athletic build” and “long arms.” He also liked Lewis’ “ball skills and playmaking ability.”
  • Chad Hovasse, WO, Adams St.: A scout we talked to said Hovasse has the tools to play in the league, though he’s still got plenty of development ahead. He’s a big receiver (6-1/215) who dominated Division II.

We’ve got 18 more names of top players in this year’s CGS, and we’ll be listing them in today’s Friday Wrap (register for it here). The list includes four quarterbacks, four running backs, nine wide receivers and more. In all, we’ll have about 170 players hitting, throwing, rushing, interviewing and whatever else NFL teams want to see from Jan. 5-9.

And don’t forget — if you are interested in scouting and evaluation, we’ll also have Cowboys Assistant Director of College Scouting Chris Hall and others speaking at the CGS Scouting Workshop Presented by Inside the League. We hope to see you there.


Ask the Scouts: Where Does Kyler Murray Go in the NFL Draft?

Last weekend, Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray won the Heisman Trophy. It’s the latest highlight of an incredible season by the first-round pick of the Oakland A’s and former Aggie. Few, if any, people expected Murray to take over so seamlessly from the the top overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, Cleveland’s Baker Mayfield.

Of course, his success doesn’t matter in NFL circles, right? Having inked a deal with a $4.66 million signing bonus shortly after the MLB Draft this summer, he’s signed, sealed and delivered to play on the diamond, not the gridiron — at least until recently. This week, his baseball agent, Scott Boras, has softened his tone. Maybe, just maybe, he’ll be drafted this spring.

Then again, we’re talking about a one-year wonder who, at 5-9, is 2-3 inches shorter than the “short” quarterbacks who are having success in the NFL these days. He also comes from a college-style spread without a lot of the intricacies of the pro game, behind a superhuman offensive line, and he plays in a conference that’s famed for its lack of defense.

Still — he’s exciting, he’s incredibly athletic, and he’s been wildly productive. So let’s presume baseball was off the table, however that might occur, and he was part of this spring’s draft. Where does he get drafted? We asked several NFL scouts, and the answers surprised us. Here’s a sampling.

  • “He’s an exceptional talent. I normally would never vouch for a 5’9 QB, but he’s possibly the best athlete I saw all fall, and he’s extremely accurate as a thrower. Despite his size, I didn’t see any tips at the LOS, and he can change arm angles. I have no reservations about his arm. I don’t think the risk is his size. It may be his durability; he hasn’t been hurt, but he’s playing behind probably the best OL in college football against a bad conference of defenses, so I just worry about him taking hits from NFL players on a more regular basis. Also, he has only one real year of production. I think if he comes out, he goes in the last half of the first round. He’s that talented. And I know you said he isn’t gonna be in the NFL Draft, don’t be so sure. I know he has the deal with the A’s, but football is his first love and I’d be shocked personally if he at least doesn’t give it a try. His passion is to be an NFL QB.”
  • “(He’s) really 5090. That’s short short. No way you can take him high. Flutie last 5090 QB? Just guessing. Remember a short Georgia Tech a decade or so ago. Joe Hamilton. Worst thing they could allow is for him to get measured. Wonder if any MLB scouts have his height?
  • “He’s gonna hold all the cards. He can wait. Not sure what the baseball rules are. If I were him, I’d go to the combine and get a better sense of where (I’m) gonna go before I decided. But he’s fast, he’s exciting and he can throw on the run.”

We got nine more responses from our friends in the business, and it’s pretty fascinating stuff. For the most part, we’re seeing a change in how scouts see the game, in my opinion. I think it’s fair to say that the rigid constraints of the QB prototype are changing, if not breaking down altogether.

You can read everything scouts told us about Murray’s chances in the draft, and where they think he would/will go, in today’s Friday Wrap (here’s last week’s edition). If you’ve always thought about registering, but never did, now’s the time. We promise. Today’s edition will have plenty of scouting scoop about Murray, but also the usual rundown of what happened in football biz last week from an insider’s perspective. Register here.

Does Character REALLY Matter in the NFL Draft?

The issue of character is one that’s often cited in NFL Draft circles, though no one can exactly put his finger on how, exactly, it impacts a prospect’s draft status.

Most often, when a player slides several rounds when none of the pundits expected it, a commentator will shrug his shoulders and mention “character concerns.” Other times, we hear of “off-the-field concerns” about players, but often don’t have a real smoking gun on why that is.

But here’s what we do know: teams care about more than just what they see on the field. Teams conduct interviews at all-star games, at the combine, and sometimes even after pro day workouts because they want to get to know a player before they decide on drafting him. Knowing how to interview and what to say is an important part of the pre-draft process. That’s why I’m excited about Blake Beddingfield and Jerry Angelo, the two men who will conduct interview prep for ITL clients for the 2019 NFL Draft class. Jerry will handle clients in the Southeast (primarily Florida) and Blake will cover the mid-South.

We’ve been offering interview prep for about five years now, mainly because we know it’s important and we want to provide an affordable service. In the past, we’ve had Jeff Ireland (now with the Saints), Ray Farmer (Rams), Phil Emery (Falcons) and other former scouts work with players. Why is it important? Because “many kids have been dumped after interviews,” Beddingfield said. “Couldn’t grasp their own offense or defense. Lied during interview. Didn’t (admit) felonies, etc.  One kid . . . came in the room wanting T-shirt’s for some (people) outside.”

There are other services that provide interview prep, but we approach it in a different way. The goals are twofold: we teach players how to present themselves in the best way, i.e., sell their own best qualities, and never lie or be dishonest.

“Here’s the biggest thing, and here’s what I’ve evolved to with these interviews: I customize it,” Angelo said. “If I’m doing a one-on-one session, I customize it to the player. First, I go back to his high school years and delve into his family background. If he’s got a solid family background, I bring that out and make that something he’s gotta get out to the teams. Some teams gloss over families, and some get into it. (If it’s a positive,) that’s gotta get out thee. It’s very important to his stability, a foundational stability that all teams can relate to.

“Then I take his football career, starting his junior/senior year in high school, and look at what he accomplished. Was he a captain? Did he play dual sports. I call this his bio. I make him write these things down as we go through it. Im interviewing him in the first 15 minutes ascertaining his facts. Then I go through his career, playing time, durability, accolades he might have achieved, anything I think is important that I know will resonate with teams. That’s where my expertise and experience come in, because I know what teams will glean in interviews. We need to be specific about who we are. What makes (the player) different and drawing that out from the player.

“Then I say, here’s our package. It’s five to six bullet points we need to get out in this interview. They may ask the questions, they control the questions, but (the player) controls the answers. You have to get those answers out.”

Jerry also explains the three things that teams are really looking for in any interview; how to present any “baggage” as a strength; how teams will specifically try to bait a player through interview questions, and how to avoid taking the bait; and how teams use interviews to break ties among players.

Incidentally, if you have a client who doesn’t get an invitation to the combine, don’t rule out interview prep.

“With the 30 visits that teams get, how many kids get drafted that didn’t go to combine? He’s gonna be one of those 30 visits,” Angelo said. “No team is drafting a player without giving him a physical first. When he goes on that 30 visit, he’s going to be interviewed. You want him to do it right and know what to do there.”

Learn more about interview prep, combine prep, scouting and evaluation, and pretty much everything else associated with the game by signing up for our weekly newsletter, the Friday Wrap. Here’s last week’s edition. And if you’re ready to sign up (it’s free, of course), click here. I hope you’ll join us.


Ask The Scouts: Does A QB Prospect’s Height Still Matter?

One of the things that interests me most about NFL scouting and evaluation is that it’s a moving target. There was a time 15 years ago when safeties were essentially devalued, and guards and centers never went in the first round. On the other hand, every team wanted a bell-cow running back, an Eddie George/Earl Campbell type who could take the ball 30 times every Sunday if necessary. Those trends have been turned on their heads in the last 5-10 years.

With that in mind, I was curious about the evaluation of passers going into the ’19 draft. Mobility seems more important today than stature, but I don’t work for an NFL team, so I decided to ask a few friends in scouting about it.

Here’s this week’s question: With Browns QB Baker Mayfield’s success this year, plus the success New Orleans’ Drew Brees and Seattle’s Russell Wilson are having in their careers, as well as the importance of mobility and rise of RPO offenses, do you think scouts are going to start eliminating (or reducing) height as a key requirement for QBs? 

We got several responses. Here’s a look:

  • “We have never eliminated any QB due to height. Just have to note their throwing platforms.”
  • “Yes. Heights for QB, RB, WR, TE are all gone now. Productive players are coming in all shapes and sizes now. The traditional model does not fit in NFL offenses anymore.”
  • “I think scouts already have adjusted evaluations in regards to the more athletic and shorter QBs over the past couple of years. As more of those type of QBs have success in the NFL, the more it opens doors. Although the QB’s height is being looked at differently, the body composition is still important regardless of how tall they are.”
  • “I do believe that height is not something that scouts will anchor on as much as in the past. The thing about a guy like Baker and some of these other guys is, they have found a way through their careers to find throwing lanes and compensate for their lack of height, which is depicted in their low amount of balls being knocked down at the LOS. With pocket awareness/mobility and an ability to find and feel throwing lanes, height becomes more of a non-factor.”

By the way, if you’d like to hear what former NFL QB (and now QB trainer) Alex Brink of Portland, Ore.-based E-Force Sports said about the topic, click here.

It’s a pretty interesting topic, in my opinion. Want to get more feedback on the topic? Sign up for the Friday Wrap. It’s chock-full of information about the finer points of the football business (read last week’s Wrap here), and of course, it’s free. We’ll have more scout responses in today’s edition.

It comes out at 7:30 p.m. CST every Friday, and thousands of people from around the football world read it every week. You should, too.

CGS Scouting Workshop Adds Cowboys Scout Hall to Speaker Lineup

At Inside the League, we’re dedicated to helping budding NFL professionals — aspiring scouts, agents, cap specialists, trainers and others — get better and find opportunities. That’s why when the co-founders of the College Gridiron Showcase, Craig Redd and Jose Jefferson, asked me to help put together a scouting event for last year’s game, I was more than happy to oblige.

We came up with the 2018 CGS Scouting Workshop Presented by Inside the League, which we talked about last week in this space, and it went exceptionally well. We had a lineup of speakers that were, at the time, out of the league, but I knew that wouldn’t last; three of the four are already back in football in some capacity, and the fourth, Rodd Newhouse, has been a successful wealth manager in the Dallas area for about a decade now (in other words, he and isn’t trying to get back in). Here’s a clip from last year’s workshop; if you haven’t watched it yet, stop right now and do so.

Right now, we don’t have the complete lineup for this week’s seminar yet, but we don’t have one key member. Cowboys College Scouting Coordinator Chris Hall will join us Saturday, Jan. 5, at the Fort Worth Convention Center. It’s too early to know when Chris will speak, but we’ll go from 8 a.m.-3 p.m. and the day will be jam-packed with good stuff, especially if you aspire to be an NFL evaluator someday.

Chris won’t be spilling any secrets on the players the team is placing atop its draft board, though he could; in a business that has become about as volatile as they come, Chris has had a phenomenal run in Dallas and has become an integral part of the team’s braintrust. For almost three decades, he’s been with the team, mostly in his current role. And while he’s no stranger to Cowboys football, he’s also no stranger to the Metroplex as he’s an SMU grad.

My hope is that Chris will talk about his job with the club; one thing I’ve learned by working in football for almost two decades is that no two teams do the draft the same way. Often, the ‘college scouting coordinator’ post is given to younger scouts on staff, but the Cowboys obviously hold the title in much higher regard. I’m also eager to hear more about Chris’ journey from SMU to America’s team, and how that transpired.

I also look forward to getting Chris’ opinion on where scouting is going; the value of analytics and how (or if) the Cowboys use metrics; how the team identifies and hires new scouts; how the team conducts its draft-day war room; what other teams Chris admires for their drafting acumen; and/or any other topic Chris would like to address.

Make sure to stay tuned to the Scouting Workshop web page, where we’ll have registration information soon. Also, make sure to keep up to date on the progress of speaker invitations, subject matter and registration by signing up for our weekly Friday Wrap, which comes out this evening. You can register for it here.

The 2019 CGS Scouting Workshop: Here’s Why You Don’t Want to Miss It

Today, I want to give you a preview of what you’ll see and hear at the 2019 College Gridiron Showcase Scouting Workshop Presented by Inside the League  on Saturday, Jan. 5, in Fort Worth, Texas. But rather than just telling you about it, here are three videos from last year that really capture the day. Here goes:

  • In this segment, former Rams area scout Danton Barto (now with the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl) and former 49ers and Browns area scout Bob Morris (now with the AAF’s San Antonio franchise) talk about how they became NFL scouts and how their respective hiring processes worked.
  • In this segment, Morris talks about why he never (or rarely) went to the Shrine Game, the No. 2 all-star game; how schools were color-coded according to the talent on their rosters; why the secretary is the person to get to know at every football office (“she has the keys to the kingdom”); what other scouts used to do in the film room that drove him crazy; and plenty of other good stuff.
  • In this segment, Barto talks about several controversial players he scouted or saw during the draft process (Browns OT Greg Robinson, Dolphins OT Laremy Tunsil, Giants DC Janoris Jenkins, Cowboys DE Randy Gregory and Cowboys OT La’el Collins among them). He’s also very open about drugs and how they impact a player’s character grade (it’s not nearly as much as you might think). I promise you — if you love the NFL Draft and you love scouting, you will watch this segment more than once. You may watch it daily for the next two weeks. Danton is a joy to watch, mainly because he’s such a candid, genuine guy. That’s why everyone loves him. His story about the day he had to cut DE Alonzo Spellman — I won’t spoil it. But you gotta hear it.

If you read this blog, you’re a fan of “inside football.” You may not live near Fort Worth, Texas and you may not want to spend $99, but where else are you going to find people talking about the nuts and bolts of life as an NFL scout? Telling stories about the business? Sharing the positives and negatives of a scout’s life?

We don’t have a confirmed speakers list yet, but we will soon. In the meantime, all you need to know is that we’re going to knock it out of the park. What’s more, if you’re willing to stick around through Wednesday, you’ll get to meet people from across the game and maybe make a contact that gets your foot in the door. We will even plug you in as a volunteer if you’re interested.

We’ll have more as we get closer to the big day, and by next week, we’ll start accepting registration. In the meantime, the best way to keep up with our speakers is by signing up for our Friday Wrap. it’s free, and you can do that here.


Introducing Our New Book, Moving the Chains: A Parent’s Guide to the NFL Draft

Today’s a day that’s been years in the making.

When you get into the business of helping people succeed in football, you get a grass-roots understanding of the problems they face. When I launched Inside the League in 2002, the idea was to root out and expose the bad agents in the business as well as cracking the scouting code and figuring out why some players make it to the NFL and others don’t. We’re pretty much 0-for-2 on those goals, but there’s something we have gotten pretty good at: helping parents and their sons negotiate the obstacles of the NFL Draft process.

The parents of players like Giants DE Connor Barwin (2/46, Texans, 2009), Cardinals WO Christian Kirk (2/47, Cardinals, 2018), Dolphins OC Travis Swanson (3/76, Lions, 2014), Jaguars DT Taven Bryan (1/29, Jaguars, 2018), Redskins OT Morgan Moses (3/66, Redskins, 2014) and many more have read our newsletter during the run-up to their sons’ respective selections in the draft. Many of them have been kind enough to give us testimonials.

I think they’ve found our series helpful because it breaks down what NFL scouts do, how all-star games work, what you should expect from an agent, who gets invited to the NFL Combine, and a number of other topics. You can get an overview of our series here. For five years now, we’ve cold-called the parents of rising seniors and pitched them on our free newsletter. We’ve gotten some interesting responses for sure, but enough people took us up on our offer that we’re still reaching out to parents even today.

However, there’s more to the topic than can be covered in four weeks, so we expanded our newsletter into a book, and today, we introduce Moving the Chains: A Parent’s Guide to the NFL Draft. If you’ve read our newsletter, the first quarter of the book will look very familiar to you. However, in the rest of the book, we develop all the things we touch on and really tell stories, provide numbers, and share nuggets that we just can’t provide within the bounds of a newsletter series.

Maybe you’re the parent of a young man who will be eligible in this or a coming draft cycle. Maybe you’re an aspiring NFL player who’s still a few years away, or you’re close to someone who is. Maybe you hope to be an agent someday, or you’re a college student majoring in sport management and thinking hard about being a contract advisor or scout. My book is something you should read. We go inside the process in a way that I always sought before I launched my site. And believe me, all of this matters. You can learn it the hard way, but why would you?

Here’s the best part. It’s just $12.95. It’s about the cost of a burger and fries at your favorite fast-food joint, or a piece of pie at one of those fancy dessert places.

Here’s the next-best part. It’s only 150 pages. You can read it in a couple hours. I mean, come on, it’s football. Our idea of a big word is “substantial” or “Indianapolis.” You can handle it. If your wacko uncle starts going off about politics at the Thanksgiving table, you can excuse yourself, read our book, and by the time you’re done, he’ll be sleeping off the turkey. You’ll be all set.

Want to learn more? We’ll talk about it more in today’s Friday Wrap, which comes out at 7:30 p.m. EST. It’s free, and you can register for it here.