This week, I hope you’ll allow me to brag a little on my friends Craig Redd and Jose Jefferson and the event they founded that enters its ninth year next month, the College Gridiron Showcase in Fort Worth, Texas. It’s different from your normal all-star game, and since I always get questions about it, I thought I’d use this space to explain how it’s different.
There is no “game,” per se. Instead, game organizers have multiple events for participants at all strata of the game. All of our events “work” because NFL scouts are on site for the full schedule, so participants get seen more than they would at your typical one-off event. Here’s a quick rundown.
- Pro Free agent event: This workout is aimed at “street” free agents from previous draft classes. This event is usually held the Friday that CGS week kicks off.
- Specialists Showcase: This is held closer to the end of the week, and is aimed at draft-eligible kickers, punters and long-snappers.
- Small College Showcase: This runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and once it’s completed, NFL scouts vote to determine which players advance to the main rosters, the Wranglers and Desperadoes.
- Two full rosters of all-stars: The Wranglers and Desperadoes work out as part of our more traditional format. The difference is that because we don’t have a game, we don’t have coaches cramming in a playbook or running through endless special teams drills that show little about a player’s abilities. Everything we do at the CGS is geared toward allowing players to show what they have.
All of this is why the CGS has a well-earned positive reputation among NFL teams. There are other facets to the showcase that make it stand out from other evaluation events.
For example, 2023 will be the second year of CGS University (CGSU), a program designed to help aspiring scouts get practical experience with NFL scouts and executives. Much of this comes from CGSU members’ activities on interview day, the nine-hour period we set aside to allow scouts to interview as many players that they’d like. Participants also spend the week hearing from scouts on how they got into the business and what they look for in scouting hires. I really feel there’s no other opportunity like it.
It makes for a satisfying and professionally run five days for everyone involved, from the players to the scouts to CGS officials and others. However, this year, we have two new items we’re especially proud of.
One is the interview-only invite. This allows players who cannot participate due to injuries to come to Fort Worth and take part in the weekend’s sit-downs with NFL scouts. Obviously, we can’t mandate that an NFL team interview a player. However, we can make players available if they take part in this program. Interviews and background checks are such an underrated part of the draft process, and often their value is misunderstood by agent and prospect alike. This program allows players to get to know NFL teams before crucial pre-combine meetings when scouts and executives do a lot of their sorting out of the draft class. Cost is $250 and players are responsible for their own travel. For more information, contact Craig at email@example.com.
Also this year, there’s one more enticement: Agent Live 360 will host a mixer for NFLPA-licensed contract advisors on Monday, Jan. 9, from 5-6 p.m. at Chef’s Table Bar in the Sheraton. This will be a great chance not only to meet a former NFL scout (Rodrik David, formerly of the Falcons) and to learn about a really incredible product like AL360, but also to do a little networking with other members of the football business community.
At the end of the day, the CGS offers opportunities for almost anyone trying to make his way in football. I look forward to getting started along with my friends in Fort Worth in six days. If you’re in town, I hope you can stop by.