2022 NFL Agent Exam: Our Entire List of Exam Prep Materials

We often get questions about our agent exam prep course, which has been under way in some form or fashion since we debuted our first practice exam in 2012. Actually, it’s not a course, but a series of exam aids; we feel that if we give test-takers, who must have advanced degrees already, the tools they need, they’re smart enough to pass. And most of the time, they do. Agent hopefuls who use our materials pass at a rate about 20 percent higher than the rest.

Here’s a quick rundown of what we offer.

ITL Study Guide: This is where we encourage everyone to start, and it’s the foundation of all we do for exam prep. It’s a 70-page PDF that is emailed to you upon purchase, usually within a half-hour or so. There could be movement on the price point here, so if you’re waffling over whether or not to purchase the study guide, don’t wait too long.  

ITL practice exams: We have two, which must be purchased sequentially. Exam 1 ($200 plus tax for non-ITL clients, $150 plus tax for clients) and Exam 2 ($100/$75) are both 40-question, multiple choice test with the answer key and explanations at the end. We’ll be updating it soon; nothing major, just a few tweaks to make the dates more current. We hope to have that done by the end of the month, maybe sooner. We do not expect to raise prices on our exams this year. 

Monthly Zoom study sessions: This is something that’s new, and that we’re really excited about. We started these very late in the cycle last year, but due to their popularity, we had our second 2022 session last night. It’s led by Chicago-based Ian Greengross of Ultimate Sports Agency. Ian is more than just an accomplished agent (he’s negotiated multiple first-round deals and represents a combine pick this year); he’s encyclopedic in his knowledge of the CBA, and as someone who’s also a sports law professor, he has a teacher’s way of expressing some pretty complicated rules in a clear way. Right now, our plan is to have our next session April 14. We usually have them semi-late at night (9 p.m. ET) to accommodate people with demanding jobs and/or kids that need to be put to bed, and we go about an hour. Contact us for more information.

One-on-one lessons: If you want to dig into the CBA even more and have specific areas that confuse you, I recommend you use Ian. He offers reasonable hourly rates over Zoom or phone, and has been working with agent hopefuls for a couple of years now. Once again, contact us and we’ll be happy to connect you.

ITL membership: If you haven’t passed the exam yet, maybe becoming a member isn’t for you yet. On the other hand, if this business if your passion, you need to start learning about the industry in a way that simply preparing for the exam doesn’t do. Obviously, joining ITL also gets you a discount on both practice exams, so if that’s something you plan to do, you might as well sign up, if only to purchase the exams, then unsubscribe. You’re never obligated more than 30 days at ITL; you can cancel at any time.

Of course, the best way to know when our Zoom sessions are and what changes we are making to our exam prep program is to read our Friday Wrap, which is totally free and comes out at 7:30 p.m. ET. You can register for it here. Here’s last week’s edition.

Why Was 2022 Such a Fast Combine? (Pt. 1)

Today, for the first time ever, we took our deepest dive ever into the individual results of everyone who ran the 40 and did drills at last week’s NFL Combine. We broke out all 324 participants by school and position, agency and training destination, as we’ve done for weeks now, but also much more. 

We also broke out (all behind the pay wall, sorry):

Obviously, what it all told us was that this was a really, really fast combine. One trainer, Brent Callaway of EXOS’ Frisco training facility, said he had six sub-4.4 times in his first 15 years in the business, then had six more (Sam Houston State’s Zyon McCollum, South Dakota State’s Pierre Strong, Iowa State’s Breece Hall, Memphis’ Calvin Austin III, SMU’s Danny Gray and Nebraska’s Cam Taylor-Britt) this year alone. How could this be?

Sure, speed training is getting better at colleges these days; several trainers I spoke to pointed that out. Athletes are better, too. There’s no mistaking that nutrition, time on task (many athletes start training to run the 40 early in high school) and pure raw ability are all better than ever before. If all that were true, we’d see a gradual increase, but not a sudden explosion of sub-4.3 times and nine tackles running a sub-5.0 40. 

There were a lot of good observations made by the trainers we spoke to this week, and we pass along their thoughts today in our Friday Wrap, that comes out this evening (you can register for it here). However, there was one theme I heard from trainers that had nothing to do with track backgrounds, new surfaces, skipping the bench press or other factors. Instead, it had to do with the value the league places on the entertainment that comes from today’s combine. The NFL was planning on a lot of would-be draft gurus glued to their televisions, and they sought to give them a show.

“It’s made for TV now,” said one elite speed specialist. “(The league needs) you to run. If you don’t run, they will have to start paying (the players) to run, which they don’t want to do. If they start putting up bad times, it shuts down their TV show.

“(Agents, trainers and combine invitees) were about to shut down their TV show because of the Covid rule, so (the league) changed that in 12 hours. If they run slow on that official time, kids will stop running. It will ruin their show.”

It’s a valid point. The NFL — much to the chagrin of everyone I know, from agent to scout to trainer — moved all the workouts to primetime. That was done for one reason: ratings. There are a lot of good reasons that times were better this year, which we’ll discuss in today’s Wrap, but it’s impossible to discount the league’s desire to juice its show with splashy times as one factor.

This year’s speed times are something many have celebrated but few have questioned, at least as far as I’ve seen. There’s more to come tonight. I hope you check out the Wrap.

Ask the Scouts: A Look at 2022 Salaries and Compensation

Wednesday, we held our 13th annual ITL Combine Seminar, this year presented by TEST Football Academy and Agent Live 360 (congrats, Broncos!). As part of our program, we provided an overview of our annual scouting salary survey.

We promised we’d put our findings in this week’s blog, however, for those who couldn’t make it. Here’s a look at the results.

  • 0-5 years in scouting: There’s good news for younger scouts: starting salaries are improving. Our 2020 results had most scouts in this experience tier in the $50,000-$65,000 range. That’s true for 2021 and 2022 as well, but we’ve seen the percentage of scouts at this experience tier who are making less than $50,000 almost been erased. At the same time, we’ve seen a growing number of scouts with five years or less in the league making north of $125,000. That’s good pay for a tough-but-highly-pursued job.
  • 6-10 years in scouting: There’s good news for scouts at this tier, as well. In 2020 and 2021, we saw about a fifth of the industry at this strata making less than $80,000/yr. According to our respondents, today, everyone at this experience level is making north of $80,000! That’s real progress. We’ve also seen a steady progression of scouts getting paid at the top level we measure ($125,000+). From about a fifth of scouts (2020) to about a third (2021) to now more than half are getting paid more than $125,000 annually. These results probably mean we will adjust our number upward after we get our results in ‘23. We hope so.
  • 11-15 years in scouting: This is the level where we struggle most to gather information, probably because a lot of evaluators don’t make it this far unless they are headed to being directors and VPs. Based on our numbers, it’s very simple: if you make it past a decade in the game, you need to be at or near $125,000 annually. We saw some scouts get paid in the $80,000-$99,999 range at this level last year, but this year, most are back to the $125,000 level. Maybe it’s because we’re past the financial restrictions associated with the Covid slowdown.
  • 16-plus years in scouting: We’ve seen about five percent of respondents in this range report making less than $125K/year, but the overwhelming majority are north of that. How far north? This is national scout/director/VP territory, so the upper range could be quite high. Bottom line, if you are at this level of experience, $125,000 should be your floor. We need to retool our survey to being measuring what scouts at this level are really getting paid. Maybe next year, we can figure that out.

There were some other interesting trends. We actually saw an uptick in the number of respondents who said their teams have pensions (about a 50-50 split); we think that’s due to our limited sample size. Also: a plurality are getting a 5 percent match on their 401(k), about 25 percent of respondents. Standard per diems are plus/minus $60 for teams. Finally, if you’re scout who’s buying gas, you’re getting reimbursed for your receipts (49 percent); you’re probably not getting a crack at buying Super Bowl tickets (55 percent); and you’re getting a 25 percent playoff share (39 percent).

For a deeper dive into the scouting and agent communities, as well as a look at our 13th annual seminar, check out our Friday Wrap. Register for it here.

Reviewing Recent Pre-Combine Mock Drafts

As you know, we look at the work of seven established draft services periodically over the year leading to draft weekend, and we’ve done this since the 2018 NFL Draft. Today, we posted our usual pre-combine mock draft snapshot, and I thought it would be fun to see how close the mock drafters got to reality on some of their pre-combine projections over the last three years. Here’s what I found.

  • Unlike many previous drafts, there’s a lot of solidarity on who the first-rounders are this year, especially this early. Twenty players are rated as Day 1 picks by all seven services. By way of comparison, at this stage, there were 17 last year (only Notre Dame OB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah fell to Day 2), just 15 in 2020 (all 15 went in the first 32 picks) and 16 in 2019 (Florida OT Jawaan Taylor, LSU DC Greedy Williams, Florida DE Jachai Polite and Washington DC Byron Murphy all fell to Day 2).
  • At this stage in 2021, all seven draft services correctly predicted that Clemson’s Trevor Lawrence would be the top pick (duh). The same was true in 2020 (LSU’s Joe Burrow), another year when there was a clear blue-chip QB prospect. However, in 2019, the draft services said Ohio State DE Nick Bosa would be the top pick (six of seven services had him at No. 1), and the only outlier, PFN’s Tony Pauline, had Alabama DT Quinnen Williams first overall. As you know, Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray ultimately went first; at the time, however, he was No. 14 on average. Matt Miller, then with Bleacher Report, had him highest at No. 7, while Sports Illustrated was least-sold on Murray at the time, placing him at 27. 
  • The players that narrowly missed being unanimous first-rounders mostly wound up in the first round anyway — in 2021. Last year, Georgia OB Azeez Ojulari, Northwestern OT Rashawn Slater, USC OG Alijah Vera-Tucker and Miami (FL) DE Jaelan Phillips were on just six boards, but only Ojulari got snubbed. However, lack of unanimity was telling in 2020. That year, the just-missed group included LSU DC Kristian Fulton, Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa, Louisville OT Mekhi Becton, Clemson WO Tee Higgins, Alabama WO Henry Ruggs and LSU DE K’Lavon Chaisson. Fulton, Epenesa and Higgins all had to wait ’til Friday to hear their names called.
  • Hats off to ESPN’s Todd McShay and The Draft Scout’s Miller who each had Washington DE Joe Tryon at the end of the first round entering the draft last year; he wound up going No. 32 to Tampa Bay. In 2020, only Pro Football Network’s Tony Pauline had Ohio St. DC Damon Arnette in the first round at this stage; Pauline slotted him at 25, very close to his selection at 19 by the Raiders. Kudos also go out to McShay for being the only prognosticator to have Auburn DC Noah Igbinoghene in the first 32 (he went No. 30 to the Dolphins), and Walter Football for placing TCU WO Jalen Reagor at 22, the only service to have him on Day 1. He went 21 to the Eagles. Walter also nailed Mississippi St. FS Jonathan Abram with a direct hit in the first round in 2019; no other service had Abram on Day 1, but he went 27 to the Raiders. 

We’ve got plenty more to say about what the draft services say about this year’s draft. Join us for today’s Friday Wrap, which comes out at 7:30 p.m. ET, to dig into the first 32 projected picks even more. If you haven’t already, register for the Wrap here. You can also check out the entire grid featuring all seven services and their picks for the first round pre-combine at the mother ship.

Ask the Agents: The Big Issues During a Busy Time

Many people aspire to represent NFL players and live the fast-paced life of an NFL contract advisor. I can tell you that the jobs of NFL agents are not easy, and these days, their jobs are harder than ever.

Last night, we hosted a Zoom with about 30 NFL contract advisors, most of them certified last summer. Hosting the Zoom, along with myself, was Rodrik David of Agent Live 360. Rodrik was an NFL scout with the Falcons until last fall.

After an hour-long session that turned out to be pretty far-reaching, here are the issues on agents’ minds with the USFL draft next week, the combine the week after, and pro days kicking off immediately following the events in Indianapolis.

USFL: Most people last night remained frustrated for a number of reasons with the new league. Frustrations are related to the following:

  • Lack of consistent communication and answers to questions on the league.
  • Lack of transparency on who’s in the player pool and how to get a yes/no on players under consideration.
  • Questions on how to get acknowledgment that a player has been correctly submitted for consideration in the player pool.
  • Lack of clear direction on whether or not players can attend their pro day, an NFL training camp, or an XFL tryout over the next two years if he signs a USFL contract.

Pro Days: Given that so many players took their Covid “bonus” year last year, it’s a crowded draft class this year. That’s one reason why so many FBS schools have gone from requiring two referrals from NFL scouts to gain entry to a pro day to three scouts. I was even told today that one Big Ten school is requiring 10 scout referrals. Obviously, that’s tantamount to saying their pro day is closed.

Combine: The last combine in Indianapolis is setting up as a downer. Though Covid protocols are being loosened across the nation, the NFL is still acting like it’s the latter months of 2020. Players will be restricted in their movements, and while some trainers will still have full access to them, others won’t. Combine that with the NFLPA’s decision to make this year’s agent seminar virtual and the NFL’s decision to have players work out at night, during primetime, and it could be a much quieter and less busy downtown Indianapolis this year. That would be a disappointing end to two-plus decades in Indiana.

We’ll have a lot more answers by the time March rolls around. Make sure you’re following us at the Friday Wrap so you can keep up. Register for it here.

Ask the Scouts: Who is new Raiders GM Dave Ziegler?

A couple weeks ago, three NFL teams hired new general managers, and we talked to scouts and executives across the league to get a sense of who each of the new GMs (Ryan Poles in Chicago, Kwesi Adofo-Mensah in Minnesota and Joe Schoen in New York) really are, behind the scenes.

Shortly before we departed for Mobile last week, the Raiders hired Patriots Director of Player Personnel Dave Ziegler. Now that the Senior Bowl is behind us, we reached out to several friends in the game to get their respective takes on him. Here’s what we were told.

  • “Hardworking, diligent guy who earned the trust of Bill Belichick in New England.”
  • “Genuinely good dude. Not a micromanager. Trusts you to get the job done and offers great constructive criticism (and) feedback. Great evaluator; mind of (Texans GM) Nick Caserio without the ego, and way more personable.”
  • “Extremely intelligent. Excellent communicator/collaborator. Type of guy that brings people together. Very focused and has a plan. He’s very much his own guy and, in spite of his New England experience, he will shape things in Las Vegas from his own personal perspective.”
  • Ziegler is a good guy. Has a good reputation among scouts that know him. Very well-connected within the agent community. Has a really good feel for the pro scouting process and in-season player acquisition/trades. Doesn’t have much experience on the college side. Started to get more involved last year. He has a great working relationship with (new Raiders head coach Josh) McDaniels. They are extremely close.”
  • “Smart. Very relatable guy. Easy to get to know. Gets to know people and acquaints himself with people. Will hit the ground running in Vegas. He’s been with multiple teams so it’s not straight Broncos or straight Patriots with him. He has done a lot of things and has seen a lot of ways to do things. Probably leans more pro than college, so he will have to get a strong college director in there. Overall, good evaluator. I think (Patriots head coach) Bill (Belichick) trusted him pretty quickly once he got to know him. He’s not afraid to go against the grain on a guy, which is always a good thing. He’s good dealing with agents. Confident, but not a cocky (jerk). Good, down-to-earth dude. I think he’ll do a good job there. He also has a very good relationship with (new head coach) Josh (McDaniels), and that’s the most valuable thing he brings. He knows what Josh wants and what Josh doesn’t want, and I think that was probably a big disconnect with the last regime.”
  • “I’ve known Dave since he was with the Broncos, and I always found him, first of all, to be very agent-friendly, very knowledgable, very courteous at all times. One of his great strengths is, he really treats everybody the same, if it’s a 30-year agent or a rookie. I always thought that was a great quality. He always returns calls, and always listened whatever the issues we had, whether it was not enough playing time, a player needed this, whatever. He has tremendous people skills, tremendous scouting skills, and a high level of humility.”

Ziegler’s move to Las Vegas isn’t the only one we’re tracking. Not by a long shot, as the Bears, Raiders and Jaguars all made moves today that will change the respective faces of their front office. We’ll discuss all of that and more in tomorrow’s Friday Wrap. You can register for it here.


Senior Bowl 2022: A Few Thoughts

Whew! Just got back from a rainy four days in Mobile, Ala., for the 2022 Senior Bowl. It’s the best week of the year for an old-timer like me whose first one was in 2000. Here are a few thoughts.

  • I know I come across as the old guy shouting at the clouds, but the Senior Bowl has made a lot of changes that I hope aren’t long-lasting. In the old days, the week was the best secret in the business due to its level of access. The second floor of the Renaissance Mobile Riverview Plaza was the place to be all week as players, agents, scouts, media, financial planners, sponsors and football professionals of every stripe swarmed in one massive, homogeneous group. This year, the second floor was restricted to players and NFL personnel alone. The first floor bar and restaurant were still open, but it wasn’t the same. I recognize that this is a nod to Covid, that this is probably all from the league, and that any game is better than no game, but it’s disappointing. I sure hope we see a return to previous policies in the coming years.
  • Hats off to five of the 21 members of the CGSU internship program who came to Mobile to network and connect with as many NFL scouts and executives as possible. Though I might have missed some, Sales Pinckney, Britton Mann, Joe Caulfield, Jack Halperin and Blake Moore all came to town on their own dime and followed up with the teams they worked with in Fort Worth. How do you get a job in scouting? I don’t really know. But I do know that proving you work hard and networking are two key elements, and all five of them are doing both. 
  • I’m really excited for Champ Kelly, the new Assistant GM of the Raiders. Champ has been paying dues for years, and is a worthy and deserving person who’s not only respected for his professional work but for his character off the field (he runs an annual football camp for underprivileged youth in Panama City, Fla.). Though he’s interviewed for the GM job in New York, Denver and Chicago, he has never gotten bitter, lashed out, or blamed others. He’s a strong believer in Christ, which matters to me, and I have been rooting for him for years. It’s good to see him continue his advance, and to me, it’s just a matter of time until he’s not Assistant GM but GM.
  • You won’t read a lot of negative feedback on the new NIL rules, but I didn’t talk to any agents this week who weren’t fed up with this new era. There are very few rules that can’t be gotten around now, as long as you say the dollars you’re spending, the unlicensed members of agencies meeting with players and their parents, etc., are NIL-related. 
  • If you’ve been weighing whether or not to register for this summer’s NFLPA exam, today is the last day to do that. We regularly get questions in May and June about the deadline to register for July’s exam. However, the NFLPA does extensive background checks on all applicants, and that takes time. If you’re in, and you’ve got your $2,500 exam fee ready go go, click here.

By the way, we don’t do a lot of draft prognostication and “who’s rising?” kind of content at ITL, but this week, we asked former Falcons area scout Rodrik David to gather comments from scouts on how the quarterbacks looked at this week’s Senior Bowl. It will be in today’s Friday Wrap, and you can register for it here

Ask the Scouts: A Look at the Three New GMs

At Inside the League, we keep a pretty close eye on what happens in NFL front offices, so January is always a time of great interest as new general managers are hired and we dive into how they do things, why they were hired, and what’s ahead for each of them.

At the same time, we can’t know all of them, but fortunately, we know people who do. We reached out to several people in scouting about the new GMs in Minnesota, New York and Chicago. Here’s what they had to say.

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah, Vikings (former VP of Football Operations, Browns)

  • “He’s an exceptionally humble, hard-working and passionate person who just happens to be gifted with a brilliant mind. He won’t be perfect but, when it’s all said and done, I’n not betting against him.”
  • “Extremely bright and impressive individual. May not have a traditional scouting upbringing, but he knows football and his blindspots. Should do a great job melding traditional and analytic viewpoints to find a consensus. Will force the staff to have strong reasoning for why they think a certain way, which should only improve their own process. Don’t have a bad word to say about him. Looking forward to watching him thrive.”
  • “Kwesi’s curious by nature. Brilliant with (research and development). Always asking, ‘why?’ A humble leader and good human being who’s tremendously respected by those around him! He will be missed.”
  • “Bright, articulate and surrounds people with his energy. He knows every employee. He (will be) genuinely missed by the support staff because they felt valued. Football-wise, he knows his strengths. He shares his football opinions. He knows what he doesn’t know. He (probably) got the job because he made the food servers, office staff, janitors, the suits and the billionaires feel his genuine warmth. They connect with him and they know that he is smart and that he listens. Kwesi will make the owner feel he has a voice. He will surround himself with smart people. He is a better judge of character than people realize.”

Joe Schoen, Giants (former Assistant GM, Bills)

  • “Prepared. Hard worker. Good evaluator. Has media savvy. Can work well with others. Has a plan. Great family man.”
  • “Family man with good sense of humor. Good evaluator; works well with others. Understands the game, understands the talent and how to get pieces to fit in a scheme as well as special teams. Understands the importance of what value a player brings to the team if he isn’t a starter.” 
  • “Highly competitive and efficient in everything he does. Has a healthy intensity to how he approaches scouting. Understands the big picture of roster-building and the types of players that are successful in the league. No surprise he’s ascended into the GM role. Very deserving.”

Ryan Poles, Bears (former Executive Director of Player Personnel, Chiefs)

  • “Ryan Poles is an extremely deserving new hire. I always thought he was the best under-the-radar candidate I’d ever met! He has learned the scouting business from the bottom to the top, as he’s worked for Scott Pioli, John Dorsey, Chris Ballard and Brett Veach! He’s extremely well-organized; has an eye for talent evaluation on the pro and college level; he’s well-versed in analytics as well as subjective talent evaluation; and he is up to date on all technology and computer analysis.”
  • “Organized and mapped out. Thorough and detailed in his approach. Personable, responsive and easy to work with.”
  • He is very detailed with his process. Great person who knows football and players. Will come in and treat everyone with respect and allow people to do their jobs without micromanaging.”

We look forward to tracking the ups and downs of all three of them, as well as the next GM hired in Las Vegas. We know you will, too.

Make sure you’re reading our weekly newsletter, the Friday Wrap, if what happens in NFL front offices interests you. You can register for it here.

Exploring the GM as Accountant Idea: Six Points

This week, my friend Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports had an interesting tweet which sparked comments from some of the bigger names in the industry such as Josh Norris, Matt Waldman and Dane Vandernat. Eric posited that, with four GM vacancies (Bears, Raiders, Vikings and Giants) and another coming after the draft in Pittsburgh, one trend to watch might be teams hiring “accountant type(s)” and stocking the staff with “strong talent evaluators.” I thought it was an interesting take.

A few thoughts:

  • Since we launched the award four years ago, the teams that have won the Best Draft Award as voted on by NFL scouts and executives have been the Saints (2017), Colts (2018), 49ers (2019) and Bucs (2020). It’s a limited sample size, obviously, but two of those teams (Saints and 49ers) have a head coach who more or less sets the direction for the franchise. Then you’ve got a couple of teams that are more tradition-minded with GMs that hired the head coaches and seem to have most of the power in the franchise.
  • If you look at the head coaches and GMs hired in the last few years, I’d say that putting the head coach — a solid, traditional football guy — ahead of the GM is the most pronounced hiring trend. I would argue the Raiders, Rams, Bills and Washington have all hired head coaches who largely set the culture and direction of the team, and the GM tries to find players who fit that direction. Having that person in place would, theoretically, open the GM slot up to an analytics, math-oriented person.
  • However, with regard to analytics and accounting-style GMs, I would argue that most of these teams have general managers who came up through the ranks. Strong football people. Lynch in SF, Snead in LA and Mayhew in Washington especially fit this model. 
  • I guess the teams with that “accountant”-style GM in place would be the Saints, Bills, Cowboys (maybe — I think of Jones as more owner than classic GM) and Eagles (though Roseman kinda straddles the football/business divide). Yes, all of those teams made the playoffs, or at least had a winning record this season. However, I’d argue that every one of those teams had a de facto “football” GM close by (Ireland in New Orleans, Schoen in Buffalo, McClay in Dallas and Weidl in Philly). What’s more, two of those four will probably emerge from this hiring cycle as GMs themselves, and McClay likely doesn’t leave because he’s got such broad powers in Dallas and seems to be very loyal (he signed an extension to stay with the Cowboys just this month). 
  • I could see where maybe the accountant-as-GM model argument is gaining ground because the GMs who got sacked this round (Spielman, Pace, Gettleman and even Mayock, who came to Vegas from the booth) are all football guys. I still disagree with Eric’s thesis (respectfully, of course).
  • I guess my argument is that if you don’t have a GM heavily grounded in player evaluation, you better have someone very, very close to him that is. To me, that’s a validation of the GM-as-football-guy hire, even if the head coach is the person who’s the main driver of decisions, etc. I don’t see this as a dismissal of the role of analytics. I just think you’d better know the nuts and bolts of the game first.

If this is the kind of thing that interests you, you should try out our newsletter, the Friday Wrap. We talk to a retired or former scout every week, and we talk about the things scouts think about and do. You can register for it here.



CGS 2022: Three Stories About Taking Risks as a Scout

The week spent by our 20 CGSU interns was remarkable in many ways, but one was was in the stories they got to hear. One theme was taking risks. All who shared their stories had left nothing to chance, including taking risks that could backfire on them in order to get the job.

Among our speakers were former Browns and 49ers scout Bob Morris (now with the USFL), former Chiefs scout John Bonaventura (now with Winnipeg in the CFL) and Marc Lillibridge (who coaches and runs a training facility in St. Louis). Here are a few stories from the week.

  • Winnipeg Blue Bombers Western Regional Scout John Bonaventura said he was teaching at a middle school and helping out wherever he could when he got an opportunity to work with a member of the Chiefs scouting staff at a combine in California. After helping out over several days and proving himself, he was offered a job with the team — if he could do organizational and administrative tasks to include extensive work with Power Point. When he was asked specifically if he had experience with the program, he made it clear: “Yeah, I know Power Point.” He then drove directly back to his high school job, found the audio/visual guy, and told him, “I need a favor. You got a week to teach me Power Point.” It must have worked because he was hired and spent four-and-a-half years with the Chiefs.
  • Former NFL linebacker and agent Marc Lillibridge spent six years with the Packers and Chiefs, but it almost didn’t happen. He was given a chance to interview with the Packers, and though he had a lucrative offer to join a media franchise and head its draft coverage, the allure of working for Green Bay was strong. After meeting with team officials and making a good impression, he was offered the job — at about half of what he would have made providing draft content. “Let me go outside and talk to my wife about it,” he said, but he’d already made up his mind he was going to take it (he didn’t even call his wife).
  • Bob Morris was a lifelong defensive backs coach when he was approached to join the Cleveland Browns under new head coach Butch Davis in the Spring of 2002. Had he opted to play it safe and stay on the coaching side, he might have wound up out of the game, but instead, he decided to give it a try. It led to two decades in NFL scouting (eight with the Browns and almost 12 with the 49ers) as well as jobs in the AAF, XFL and, now, the USFL.

There’s so much more to say about our inaugural CGSU intern class, and we say plenty in this week’s Friday Wrap, which comes out later today. You can register for it here.