Tuesday night, dozens of our clients who are in their first year as certified contract advisors assembled for our monthly Zoom session. This time, we were joined by Bob Morris, GM of the USFL’s Houston Gamblers. Here are a few takeaways.

  • I take no joy in saying this, but it’s incredibly hard to get a small-school player into a big-school pro day, and I’d say it’s gotten harder each year over the past decade. It’s gone from “maybe we’ll let you into our pro day if your school is in our state” to “we’re gonna need at least one scout who’s attending the pro day to call and vouch for the player” to “we’re gonna need two scouts to vouch” to “we’re full.” Almost exactly a third of players signed by agents so far are from sub-FBS schools. That’s a lot of players who may not get a chance to work out for scouts.
  • If you do get a player into a pro day, there’s no guarantee he’ll get to do the entire workout. Most schools use the 40 as a weed-out drill. A slow 40 might mean game over for the entire workout.
  • There’s a perception that the USFL (and to some degree, the XFL) are easy backup plans for players who go undrafted. However, Bob made it clear that he’s looking for NFL-caliber players and not just any player who’s every put on pads before. Also, the USFL can’t take players who weren’t in the draft pool until after Week 3 of the season (around the end of April). If there are any positives, it’s that the player doesn’t have to undergo a physical or a tryout to become part of the player pool in May. The player just needs a USFL GM to ask the league’s personnel director, John Peterson, to add him to the pool. That way, all eight teams have a crack at him.
  • In the USFL, players who are brought in for a tryout are responsible for their own travel and lodging. Hey, it’s a new league. They’re trying to be smart about spending money.
  • Bob said he uses all-star appearances as a good indication of whether or not a player has even minimal appeal to an NFL team. He said he wouldn’t even consider recommending a player for a pro day if he didn’t at least participate in an all-star game.
  • There are about 1,400 players signed to standard representation agreements this year. The size of the class should be down this year. Given how many Day 3 types went back to school with tidy NIL deals, the depth in the class isn’t great. That’s good news for first-year agents whose clients are more fringe.

Next month, we’ll have our final Rookie Agent Zoom, and it’s a key session. We’ll talk about draft weekend, how to gauge interest in your client, what to do if your client goes undrafted, how to spark interest and may other topics. Especially if you’re a new agent, I hope you can join us. Sign up for ITL here, or sign up for our free newsletter here.