This time of year, I get a handful of members of the current NFL Draft Class who are referred to me, and they have questions about the entire process. It’s for this reason that I wrote my first book, but most want bullet points.
Well, today, I have six. If you or your son have questions about the process, maybe the following will help.
- Regarding NFL Combine selection, the short story is, NFS (National Football Scouting) conducts a player-by-player vote of about 1,000-2,000 players, and the top 350-odd players by vote get an invite. They are disproportionately from FBS, obviously. If a player has a record-setting bowl game, it might tilt things in his way a bit. However, for the most part, the odds of getting an invite are equal parts raw athleticism, college production, and measurables. For example, if you are a four-year 1,000-yard receiver at an FBS school, but you’re 5-8/180/4.6, the odds will be against you. To a great degree, the NFL Draft is a beauty pageant. For the most part, NFL teams are looking for difference-makers, not good football players. They are seeking freakish athletic talents they can craft into stars (perhaps). This is why so many good college football players without eye-popping athletic skills go undrafted.
- As far as all-star play, the organizers of these bowls select the players, though agents can have a major impact on who gets invited. After the Senior Bowl and, to some degree, the Shrine Bowl, the remaining games are excellent platforms which will be populated largely by fringe draft prospects who will be late-rounders or UDFAs (or who won’t go to camps). As far as how these games are populated, there is a “domino” process among the games whereby a player at the top game (SR) declines an invitation, and that player is replaced by a lower game, and that continues on down the line. In my opinion, there is a limited difference between the first player drafted in the fourth round and most UDFAs, and a good all-star game can move a player up in that Day 3 crop. At the same time, an all-star game won’t get a player from the seventh to the first round. No way, no how.
- When it comes to selecting an agent, the most important factor should be (a) a player’s personal relationship with the agent and (b) the agent’s experience level. During the vetting process, players should ask in-depth questions about how the agent has handled players, when he was fired and why, how he can make a difference for the player, what the agent’s plan is for the next four months, etc. The player should ask if he’s ever represented anyone like himself and how that player turned out. The player should ask the agent why he wants to represent him. Money should be a low-level consideration, though if a player asks his agent to cover training, etc., he should pay three percent. Fee cuts are for first-rounders. Also, Day 3 prospects (especially) should forget about marketing. They need someone who will clear away all obstacles for them to make a 53-man roster.
- When choosing a trainer, players should make sure they choose a place that cares about them and that will comprehensively train them for speed, but also drills.
- The post-pro day period will be the longest time of a draft prospect’s life. Players should discuss the post-draft plan with their agents as part of your selection process.
- I know draft prospects are desperate to hear what scouts think about them, and I know it’s hard to resist the pull of the Internet, but a player only knows how all 32 teams feel about him if he goes undrafted. If a player is drafted, he really only knows how the team that drafted him thinks. Unless you continually see your name in first-round mock drafts, it’s best to presume that you are somewhere in that Day 3 mix, and every day you train, you’re trying to move up that list just a little bit.
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