This week, dozens of NFL agents and a handful of people taking the exam this summer (hopefully) joined me on a Zoom call with Will Lewis, who is the former Director of Pro Scouting for the Chiefs. Will has a wealth of experience, having played in the league as well as serving on both the college and pro side with the Packers and Seahawks.
Most recently, Will was the Assistant Director of Personnel with Houston’s XFL franchise. The Roughnecks were regarded as the league’s finest team before operations were suspended this spring. He even spent time as the GM of the Memphis Express in the Alliance of American Football, and is the father of third-year NFL cornerback Ryan Lewis, who’s with the Giants after stints with the Bills and Dolphins.
Will talked extensively about how a pro director decides who’s getting the call when injuries strike. It’s an especially poignant topic given the difficulties associated with the quarantines and the reactions to the virus. Here are a few of his best insights.
On agents calling too much: “Sometimes, maybe you think, ‘I think I’ve worn (the pro director) out,’ but I think that’s part of the deal. Sometimes I don’t want to talk to (an agent), I’ve heard from him twice this week, but in reality, (I have) to hear from (him). Now you have a chance to set the record straight. That personal touch, the phone call, is big. Some guys aren’t comfortable with the phone call, but you have the option of emailing the pro director every week, and saying, ‘these are my practice squad-eligible guys, these are my street guys, these are my guys on other teams that have potential for trade.’ You’re just updating anybody you want to update.”
On how to develop a relationship with an NFL executive: “I’d say the main thing, and it’s probably not length of time, it’s number of interactions. For me, it was easy talking to certain agents when the packages they were selling me were not what I was looking for, but it was exactly what they said it was. If you brought in a guy and it didn’t pan out, and he was not what the team thought he was, and you’ve presented him to the GM/HC as someone else, it doesn’t bode well for you.”
On the ebbs and flows of roster replacement: “First 2-3 weeks of the season, teams lose players, and it always seems like there’s a run on one position, and then you go from one DB hurt to three others hurt. For the most part, you try to encourage guys, whether street free agent or whether they’re in camp with you, to make sure they’re ready to go. Lot of things will happen and there will be big changes. And then a lull during the second or third week in October, then closer to Week 10, they happen again, partly because it’s been a long season, and some guys are fatigued and get hurt because of that. Then the other time to tell guys is toward the end of the season when teams start signing futures deals.”
If you’re an agent, or if you plan to be someday, I highly recommend you listen to Will’s full 90 minutes with us. Just register here and we’ll send the link. Will had lots of insights and thoughts on the game that you just don’t get in the general media.
For more on the business of the game and where it’s headed, make sure to register for the Friday Wrap, which comes out Friday afternoon at 7:30 p.m. EST every week.