I’m working with the family of a QB who’ll be part of the ’16 draft class, and I had a long conversation with his father today. I thought his perspectives on the coming draft, and what concerns he has for his son, were interesting, and I thought they shed a lot of light on the decision-making process. Without providing specifics that would give the young man away, here are a few observations on our discussion.
- Marketing is a major concern: We talked at length about the marketing situation that faces his son. As we recounted in last week’s blog post, quarterbacks, receivers and running backs are really the only three positions where a player can make considerable off-the-field money. For this reason, the father is seriously weighing the value of splitting off his son’s marketing work to a firm that specializes in it (normally it’s something that the contract advisor is left to do).
- What can an agent do?: There’s a perception, especially among lower-rated players, that an agent can get a player drafted much higher than he would without a good agent. Is that true? Yes and no. However, one thing that a good agent can do is get his client to the highest-rated all-star game available, and if the Senior Bowl is attainable, that’s big. That’s a major issue for my friend.
- Coaches are a major influence: I already beat this drum pretty hard already in this space, but when it comes to the major draft prospects, it’s rare that there’s not some coach offering (usually unsolicited) advice. Some of the coaches have the player’s best interests in mind, but some are getting some form of compensation from interested parties. The hard part is figuring out who’s up to something and who’s trying to help.
- Training decisions are tricky: When it comes to quarterbacks, release and footwork are critical, and the wrong trainer can come in and try to rework things, just to put their own spin on things. That’s why finding a QB coach who is willing to yield on some things but be forceful and stern on others is pretty important.