As we close in on the 2015 NFL Draft, I wanted to pass along a few interesting thoughts I got by interviewing Friend of ITL Mike Murphy last week. Mike has been with the Seahawks, Cowboys and Dolphins, giving him insights on the way the Packers (Ted Thompson), Saints (Jeff Ireland), Redskins (Scott McCloughan) and Cowboys (Jerry Jones) will be doing things this week, given the executives he worked with during his NFL days.

Mike was recently hired as the Director of Player Personnel at the University of Colorado, where he evaluates players in the recruiting process. I’ll pass along his thoughts and then provide my own thoughts and feedback.

  • Mike on signing and paying undrafted free agents: “(Senior Personnel Executive) Scot McCloughan and (Vice President of Football Operations) Ted Thompson ran the process then, and you were allowed to offer up to $5,000 and if you wanted to go over that, you had to go to Ted. I was on the phone with a kid and (GM Mike) Holmgren said, ‘Come on, Murphy, let’s get let’s get this thing done.’ I had an agent who wouldn’t budge, so he said, ‘Give me the phone.’ And Holmgren said, ‘how much is it gonna take to get this kid? $15,000? Done.’ Then he said, ‘See? This is how it’s done,’ and I said, ‘Give me $15,000 and I’ll get it done.’”
  • My takeaway here is that much of the money for undrafted players is pretty cut and dried. If you read my post last week discussing the player who lost out on a roster space because his agent passed on an initial offer from a team, you know you don’t want that to happen to you. Be very careful if you want to negotiate and ‘play agent’ during those 2-3 hours after the draft.
  • Mike on teams’ draft boards: “Some teams have 600 guys on their draft board. . . We only had 120-125 guys on the board in Miami, and more guys in Seattle, but some of it was window dressing. It’s all going through the same Ron Wolf theory. You have to have a formula you use. If you’re drafting in the top ten, you need 10 guys on the board, and as you go later, you have to have 80-85 percent of the guys possibly drafted at that pick in that round entering the draft. You have a tall running back on the board, he’s a good player but who maybe doesn’t fit your parameters. It’s window dressing.”
  • I used to think NFL teams had every draftable player on their boards, just in case, so they could have a full picture of the draft class. That’s not the case at all. Once you get down to it, there are only so many players that a team feels can make its roster in any given draft class. Once again, the NFL is not for good players, it’s for great players, or at least those that project as possibly great.
  • Mike on the influence of the media: “I think the media put the pressure on NFL owners and executives and they need to satisfy the media. You got to be strong and not listen to it, and do what you feel is right for the team, and the media isn’t in your draft room. They don’t know.
  • To me, this means if I have a player that has gotten plenty of media attention — maybe he was a try-hard QB on a great college team, or maybe he’s had drug or legal issues that the press doesn’t know about — I sell him hard to the teams with GMs or head coaches in tenuous positions. I put the media and its expectations to work for me.

If you’re interested in reading more from Mike — and I highly recommend it, especially if you’re a first- or second-year agent — click here.