We’re about six weeks from the 2018 NFLPA Contract Advisor exam, which means everyone headed to D.C. in July is (or should be) studying like a busy bee and doing everything possible to learn the CBA. And they should be. Many of them are already using the ITL practice agent exam to get ready; by the way, in about 10 days, we’ll have a second exam for aspiring agents to use.

Anyway, once we get past the test, there are a few things to know. For example, scouts are a big part of the game and always play a role in an agent’s success.

With that in mind, we reached out to several active NFL scouts (18, to be exact) and asked them this question: With a new agent class getting ready to take the exam next month, what’s one thing about new agents that makes your job harder? Is it a belief that their client is entitled to a workout/place on an NFL team? Is it the bombarding emails? Is it continually having to explain basic aspects of the draft process? Is it handling their intrusions at pro days? Is it their general lack of understanding of your job?

We got 15 responses, an incredibly high return on such a question. Obviously, we touched a nerve, though not all scouts had a negative reaction. Here are a few of their responses:

  • “The toughest aspects are (that) guys not adjusting to the fact we have access to much more information, much earlier than in times past (so, yes, emails with fabricated or exaggerated 40 times, shuttles, etc. are annoying); integrity (and) doing what you say you’re going to in all areas (this ties in with their lack of ability to educate and manage their clients’ careers); and transparency (this likely can be an issue on the personnel side as well). Just being upfront about one, what the client wants or needs, and two, divulging information on the front end before things get out of hand, (is important).”
  • “Surprisingly, the new agents are easier to work with than the old agents. The old agents think they know everything and they tend to push boundaries. The new agents generally are nervous and tend to ask more questions about the process and are willing to listen when they ask about one of their clients. They tend to be a little more passive at first so they can build relationships. . . that has been my experience with them.”
  • “It would be the emails and the inability to understand that sometimes their guy just isn’t good and there’s no place on the roster for him. Sometimes they pound the table for the same guys for months and they’ll lose the scout.”
  • “I deal with agents on the pro side. The guys I like dealing with the most are the ones who don’t bombard you with emails (I actually got an email from an agent the other day with a follow-up email stating he used the wrong template on the previous email and sent the wrong info on the wrong player). Accessibility and quick responses to phone calls are always appreciated, but don’t blow me up with texts and emails. I know they are working on behalf of their guys but I think there is a fine line between providing info and going too far and becoming annoying.  I respect what they do but I don’t need to be on an auto email list that sends me your available clients every day!”

This is just the tip of the iceberg. Besides their general unhappiness with the volume of emails new (really, most) agents send, there are other good points scouts made about what to do and not do to in dealing with teams, especially if you’re a new agent. Some even had positive things to say about new contract advisors, which I found refreshing.

You can check it out in our Friday Wrap, which comes out in about three hours. It’s totally free, and you can register for it here. If you’re getting ready for this summer’s big exam, it’s must reading. But really, if you are in any part of the football business, we recommend you register for our weekly newsletter. We don’t think you’ll be sorry.