Wednesday night, we had our fourth in-depth question-and-answer session aimed at the members of the 2022 NFL Agent Class. Our guest was Greg “Tripp” Linton of HOF Player Representatives, a return guest from last year, when we first launched our Rookie Agent Zoom series. I had to bring him back after he spit straight fire at the ITL members of last year’s class. He didn’t disappoint Wednesday night.

Here are a few highlights.

Quid pro quo: “Nothing is for free in this game,” Tripp said. To illustrate this, he described getting calls from scouts touting under-the-radar prospects (he got four calls from scouts just during the 90 minutes we were on Zoom Wednesday night). When scouts call, they aren’t doing it out of altruism. Their hope is that Tripp signs the player and he goes undrafted, in which case Tripp brings the player to the scout’s team as a UDFA. Does it happen? You bet it does. Not every time, of course, but probably more times than not. Relationships matter in this game.

Relationships with trainers are as important, or more important, than scouts: Tripp must have listed four or five times that he gets a break from his trainers — on payment schedule, on training offered, on services offered, etc. — due to his relationship with them. This doesn’t happen overnight, obviously, but it’s important to cultivate bonds with workout professionals just as you do with scouts, marketing professionals, wealth managers or anyone else.

Balance your conversation when building relationships: You can’t rush a developing relationship in the game, especially when it comes to scouts. You’ll need to engage in other stuff – family, his team’s success, birthdays/holiday greetings, whatever — rather than just pumping NFL evaluators for whatever kind of player info you can get. If you treat these as all take and no give, you won’t get anywhere.

Traits over stats: Most rookie agents won’t represent draftable players. Instead, they’ll have to hope teams see something special that warrants a signing post-draft (or, maybe, selection in the sixth or seventh round). The NFL is all about winning matchups, and more often than not, a team will try to catch lightning in a bottle late in the draft rather than making a solid-but-not-sexy pick. Teams don’t value Day 3 picks the same way they do Days 1 and 2, so often, it becomes dart-throwing time. If you have the chance to sign a player with limited snaps and awards, but off-the-charts triangle numbers, choose the latter. At least in your first year or two as an agent.

There was more, obviously. Here are some of the comments I got after Tripp’s Zoom:

  • “Finding so much value from these zoom calls man. Honored to be a part of the ITL fam and I can’t wait to send your platform to every agent I speak to that follows in my footsteps.”
  • “I have a healthy list of questions to ask (trainers) after last night’s session with Tripp. Damn good stuff as always.”
  • “Tripp is hilarious. I was dying last night. No one keeps it realer.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself. If you’re missing these sessions, wow, you’re missing so much. Two more are ahead in December: a deep dive into choosing a trainer and a look at all sides of all-star games. To join us, join ITL.

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