If you’re a young agent reading this, just hoping that your client’s name gets called late (or during the UDFA process) in four weeks, you’re probably trying to weigh everything you’re reading and hearing online. Today, let’s give it our best shot and try to make sense of it.
- The best indicator seems to be calls from multiple members of the the same team’s personnel department. “I knew he had serious interest . . . when teams would call multiple times just to see how he was doing,” one agent said. “When . . . they are calling multiple times by multiple personnel people, then you can tell the interest is genuine.”
- For an agent to know his client has moved from undrafted free agent to definite draftee status, the standard seems to be calls from more than half teams and multiple calls from at least a half-dozen teams.
- As for the substance of the calls, when teams are asking who else is calling, that’s interest they aren’t faking.
- We’ve gotten mixed signals on the value of interview requests at all-star games. Some teams are just doing their due diligence, while others are indicating true interest. “I would say this,” said one agent. “At his all-star game, he met with 25 teams, which is a good sign.” Furthermore, in this case, the player met with the team that wound up drafting him three times at the same game, though they kept their interest under wraps until draft day.
- Of course, simple interviews at all-star games aren’t always predictors – the Chiefs are one team that likes to meet with as many all-star participants as possible. In fact, such meetings can be a downright false flag. “At the all-star games, a team’s initial board may not even be set yet,” said one wary agent, “so an area scout may like a kid as a camp-to-PFA guy early on, but after all the reports and pro day times come in, the kid is off the board. So what was once legitimate interest is now gone. But the player and agent may not realize it.”
- On the other hand, obviously, Top 30 visits are for real. “Looking back, when he got five Top-30’s, that’s really the biggest sign,” said the same agent, whose client was drafted in the sixth round after attending a lower-tier all-star game. “If you’re not getting at least a few top-30’s, that’s a bad sign I would say.”
- Another sure bet for a late-round prospect that didn’t attend the combine is when a team brings him in for a physical (a routine part of a Top 30 visit) or requests medical records. One agent told me that there’s no way an NFL team will draft a player unless they’ve conducted their own physical on him or he had an extensive physical done at the combine. When a player is drafted and fails his physical, most GMs and head coaches see that as a black mark against their own scouting and evaluation.
Obviously, this doesn’t give you a set of hard and fast rules, but hopefully, it gives you a little more direction, whether that’s good news or bad news. Good luck next month.