Ask the Scout: Highlights from our Zoom Call with former NFL Exec Will Lewis

This week, dozens of NFL agents and a handful of people taking the exam this summer (hopefully) joined me on a Zoom call with Will Lewis, who is the former Director of Pro Scouting for the Chiefs. Will has a wealth of experience, having played in the league as well as serving on both the college and pro side with the Packers and Seahawks.

Most recently, Will was the Assistant Director of Personnel with Houston’s XFL franchise. The Roughnecks were regarded as the league’s finest team before operations were suspended this spring. He even spent time as the GM of the Memphis Express in the Alliance of American Football, and is the father of third-year NFL  cornerback Ryan Lewis, who’s with the Giants after stints with the Bills and Dolphins.

Will talked extensively about how a pro director decides who’s getting the call when injuries strike. It’s an especially poignant topic given the difficulties associated with the quarantines and the reactions to the virus. Here are a few of his best insights.

On agents calling too much: “Sometimes, maybe you think, ‘I think I’ve worn (the pro director) out,’ but I think that’s part of the deal. Sometimes I don’t want to talk to (an agent), I’ve heard from him twice this week, but in reality, (I have) to hear from (him). Now you have a chance to set the record straight. That personal touch, the phone call, is big. Some guys aren’t comfortable with the phone call, but you have the option of emailing the pro director every week, and saying, ‘these are my practice squad-eligible guys, these are my street guys, these are my guys on other teams that have potential for trade.’ You’re just updating anybody you want to update.”

On how to develop a relationship with an NFL executive: “I’d say the main thing, and it’s probably not length of time, it’s number of interactions. For me, it was easy talking to certain agents when the packages they were selling me were not what I was looking for, but it was exactly what they said it was. If you brought in a guy and it didn’t pan out, and he was not what the team thought he was, and you’ve presented him to the GM/HC as someone else, it doesn’t bode well for you.”

On the ebbs and flows of roster replacement: “First 2-3 weeks of the season, teams lose players, and it always seems like there’s a run on one position, and then you go from one DB hurt to three others hurt. For the most part, you try to encourage guys, whether street free agent or whether they’re in camp with you, to make sure they’re ready to go. Lot of things will happen and there will be big changes. And then a lull during the second or third week in October, then closer to Week 10, they happen again, partly because it’s been a long season, and some guys are fatigued and get hurt because of that. Then the other time to tell guys is toward the end of the season when teams start signing futures deals.”

If you’re an agent, or if you plan to be someday, I highly recommend you listen to Will’s full 90 minutes with us. Just register here and we’ll send the link. Will had lots of insights and thoughts on the game that you just don’t get in the general media.

For more on the business of the game and where it’s headed, make sure to register for the Friday Wrap, which comes out Friday afternoon at 7:30 p.m. EST every week.

 

2021 NFL Draft: What’s the Market Package for a Player Opting Out?

I’m getting a lot of questions about how much to spend on players who choose to opt out of the 2020 fall football season. Rather than answer every question individually, I thought I’d break it all out in a blog post.

Understand that these are best guesses based on what I’ve heard of the packages so far. These numbers are liable to move as more and more opt out and the market comes to balance.

First half of first round (1-20): Based on what scouts have told me, these are the players that probably can safely opt out. That means their market probably doesn’t slide much.

  • Estimated stipend/marketing guarantee and per diem: Depending on how close they are to No. 1, you’re looking at $7,000-$8,000 per month through the draft and a marketing guarantee that’s in the $150,000-$300,000 range.
  • Also: Training of player’s choice (probably about $30,000 all in, maybe $10,000 higher if he starts training now), rental car, housing, etc.

Late first to early second (21-50): These are the names you’re seeing populate multiple mock drafts in the 15-32 range. Some of these players will slide, but they seem safe to fall no farther than the end of Day 2.

  • Estimated stipend/marketing guarantee and per diem: I’ve heard of some hefty marketing guarantees for players in this range already, but it’s risky. I’d say you’re safest in the $50,000-$30,000 range. As far as stipend, probably around $5,000/month through the draft should get it done.
  • Also: Same as above on training and other amenities.

Late second to end of third: This is a tricky area, because players will think they can opt out and maybe slide into first-round territory, when really they’re in danger of sliding into Day 3. If you’re an agent, that’s not an easy message to convey.

  • Estimated stipend/marketing guarantee and per diem: You’re in trouble if you overpay on per diem for eight months here. My guess is you want to stay in the same range that you would have paid for four months ($20,000-$25,000), but spread it over eight. You probably want to stay south of $4,000/month here. Marketing guarantee would have to be no more than $10,000-$15,000, depending on how high you have to go on the per diem. You’ll get that back on the trading card deal anyway, presuming he doesn’t have a marketing guy.
  • Also: Same as above on training and other amenities, but maybe you can get away with a slightly smaller package for a player at a non-sexy position (interior o-line, inside linebacker, maybe safety). But probably not.

Bubble Day 3/ to end of fifth round: This is where you’re hoping you can show the player a nice training package and that’s enough. Stipends have to be in the $1,500/month area, no more than $2,000/month through the draft. These are the players that are really in danger of falling out of the draft if they’re not playing.

  • Estimated stipend/marketing guarantee and per diem: You have to have a Day 3 mindset for these players. Stipend/MG has to be $10,000 or less. Per diem can’t be over $1,500/month thru draft or you’re really gambling.
  • Also: This is where you push your trainer who’ll make you a deal, or maybe who is really aching to train a guy who could go Day 2. If you’re lucky, you stash the kid at a trainer who’s not in the Sun Belt, which also saves you money. The problem is that it’s gonna be hard to talk him out of the blue-chip training facilities, and if you have to go $30,000 to train him, you gotta make cuts elsewhere. This is where the middle-class agencies are hitting the rocks these days.

I wouldn’t recommend signing anyone rated below third round who’s opting out. Anyone below here is more likely to fall out of the draft than to “fall upward.” It’s out of sight, out of mind in the NFL.

We’ll discuss this more in this week’s Friday Wrap. You can register for it here.

 

Scout Speak: A Little Help From My Friends

This week, my second book, Scout Speak: Thinking & Talking About Being an NFL Evaluator, was published on Amazon. Given that it’s only been out a week, you won’t find any reviews yet, but I wanted to give you a fair shot at learning more about it. Though you might be interested, even at $12.95, I don’t want you to buy a proverbial ‘pig in a poke.’

Because a lot of friends of mine have helped me talk about the book, I wanted to turn the spotlight back on them and tout their platforms.

The State of Football Show with Ric Serritella: Monday, I was a guest with Ric along with John Murphy, Toronto Argonauts VP of Player Personnel, and Ralph Ventre, the Assistant Commissioner of the Northeast Conference. If you move to the 52nd minute of the broadcast, I discuss how and why I wrote the book, why I think it’s inspiring to anyone who is considering working in football, and what I hope to accomplish with the book. There are also a lot of great insights on football during lockdowns from John and Ralph. By the way — Ric is giving away the book next week, so make sure to tune in (Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. ET) to get your free copy.

The Beer Garden with RebelGrove.com’s Neal McCready: I’ve known Neal since before I launched Inside the League — I actually searched the Internet practically before there was Google to find Neal, who I paid to cover an Ole Miss press conference — so it’s alway a pleasure to get on a podcast with him. The first 10 minutes or so are about how I decided what the book would look like and why, I think, there’s such a fascination with NFL scouting. Added bonus: There is now a recording of my divisional and playoff picks for the 2020 NFL season, so you can easily mock me in January if I brick everything. Spoiler alert: No J.J. Watt hate in this edition.

Twitter love: A number of my friends were kind enough to tweet about their book purchases. My friend Mike Rittelman, who assembles the rosters for the College Gridiron Showcase, was one of the first to read the book (he short-circuited the paperback delay by checking it out on Kindle) and he had some kind things to say. Among others who tweeted their purchases were NYC-based attorney Dan Cassidy, a great friend and a crackerjack NFL contract advisor, and Kyle Morgan, XOS’ southwest regional scout (formerly of Arizona State’s personnel office).

There were also kind words texted from dozens of people across the scouting community which were very much appreciated.

I’ll also be on SiriusXM with Alex Marvez and Zig Fracassi Sunday at 1:35 p.m. ET (channel 88). I’ll be on for one segment, and I’d be honored if you’d join us.

If you’d still like to learn more about the book, I go into detail on several topics we cover (along with page numbers for quick reference) in today’s Friday Wrap. If you aren’t already registered for it, do that here.

 

2020 NFL Agent Exam: Passion Never Ends for Those Who Leave Business

In today’s Friday Wrap, we present the results of a survey of almost 40 former NFLPA-certified contract advisors. We wanted to find out if they still miss the game, if they felt they got a fair shot at success, what the biggest problems they faced were, and if they’d ever consider getting certified again.

If you don’t receive the Wrap, and want to read about what the numbers told us, make sure to register for it. It comes out at 7:30 p.m. ET every Friday.

One thing I found interesting is that many of those that I reached out to completed the survey, but still had plenty to say (one even remarked that he didn’t see any place for comments, then sent me a lengthy text on the business’ challenges). The passion remains for virtually everyone who gets a taste of the game, even if that taste turned out to be a bitter one.

The responses broke mostly into three groups.

  • What they learned: “The little guy will never wins against the big fish and marketing advances,” said one. “Couple that with training costs, good luck.” Another listed the three main factors that new agents face, going into detail how “capital,” “player contact and communication,” and “understanding the team side of the equation” are all determining factors. “No amount of letter writing, text, email, etc., can persuade a team to bring a guy in for a workout,” he said. “Every team knows the availability of free agents, and the teams call when they call. The players, unfortunately, have trouble understanding that the call may not come for weeks.” Another faulted the Players Association: “To me, the biggest problem is the NFLPA, because they have the power to cure many of the problems/hurdles agents face. But they just choose to stand by and watch.”
  • How and why they miss the game: “I miss the business everyday,” said one former agent. “Wouldn’t have left if it wasn’t for my now-wife threatening due to my travel.” Another said, “I miss the relationships of the business. I met a lot of good people.” Camaraderie is always cited by people who leave the game and miss it.
  • They haven’t lost the itch: “My wife actually encouraged me to return after watching me help my daughter get a basketball scholarship. I need to do something in the game — not sure what it is. I tried to get into personnel, but most guys felt like, because of my age, I’d be a hard sell.” Said another ex-advisor, “Still wish I was in the business sometimes, but apparently it just wasn’t meant to be.

I often say that no one walks out of the game. They only leave ‘on their shields,’ most often due to threat of divorce, litigation, bankruptcy or even all of the above. It’s something to remember for everyone who aspires to work with NFL players.

Taking the NFL Agent Exam? Make Sure You Read This

Every summer since 2012, the NFLPA has held a certification exam for aspiring contract advisors in July. That string (like so many others) was broken this year as the test was postponed earlier this year.

Will there even be an exam this year? Good question. Given that we don’t even know if there will be an NFL combine this year, when the draft will be held, or if we’ll make it through a 17-week season, whether or not an exam will be held is pretty far down the list to most. However, to those people who have waited all their lives to represent NFL players, it’s a most urgent matter.

For the ninth year, we’re offering study materials for everyone taking the exam. For the last five years or so, about 200-250 people sat for the exam. We typically work with about half the test-takers in each class, and we have a passing ratio of around 80-90 percent of our clients passing on the first try. When you figure that since 2015, only about 45 percent of each class actually passes the exam, I’ll let you do the math on our materials’ effectiveness.

Here are a few more facts.

  • There are 128 contract advisors who have at least 10 active NFL clients, and 34 of them have been certified since 2012, when we introduced our first practice exam. Of that 34, 20 (58.8 percent) used our study materials to pass. Of those certified since 2015, nine of the 10 used our exams and study guide.
  • We tabulate the leaders in draft value points each year, by agency. Basically, a firm gets points for each draftee, with a sliding number of points based on

    Since 2007, the active top ten, in order, are CAA, Athletes First, SportFive (formerly Lagardere Sports), Independent Sports & Entertainment, Rep1 Sports, SportStars, Octagon Football, SportsTrust Advisors, Rosenhaus Sports and BC Sports. Of the 10, nine firms have agents who got certified using our materials. Several of them have multiple contract advisors who used them.

  • As of October of last year, there were 276 contract advisors still active from the last three classes (2017-19). Even with the attrition that happens every year, 176 of those still standing (58.3 percent) used our study materials to get certified. They are with agencies large and small and across the country.

If you’re one of those people who are still hoping the NFLPA holds the exam this summer, and you haven’t gotten to know us yet, please check out our study guide and two practice exams. You can read more about our materials, as well as testimonials from the past several classes, here.

Also, for more on our study materials and what we do at ITL, register for our Friday Wrap here.

Three Things for Scouts, Agents and Trainers to Monitor This Fall

Just a few weeks ago in the Friday Wrap, we discussed the potential changes in an uncertain recruiting landscape dramatically affected by coronavirus. Just two weeks later, we are already getting answers to the questions we asked in our July 24 edition. Let’s look at the changes, make a few new points and ask a few more questions.

  • These opt-outs are a test: No matter how you feel about the merits of their decisions, players who are opting out are an experiment. Will they preserve their draft status despite not playing? When we asked active NFL scouts a few weeks back in this space, the number most came up was about 20 players who can pull this off (here are the players we’d guess can do it). We already know that top players skip the Senior Bowl by the bushel, and in recent seasons, players like Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette have skipped their teams’ bowl games without a draft penalty. Will the next generation skip their last year of eligibility without effect? We’ll know in about 10 months.
  • This is another blow to the agent middle class: Based on our conversations with people in the business, the players who’ve opted out already (and the ones we’ve heard are strongly considering it) will receive full stipends through the draft. Normally, you’re looking at anywhere from $5,000-$10,000/month for four months, depending on the player and the agency. That adds $30,000-$40,000 to the pre-draft tab before you figure in training (about $20,000 conservatively, including food, residence and rental car). Agencies used to get that back in fees over the life of the first contract, but in the days of the one-percent deal (or zero) and slotted salaries post-2011 CBA, it’s all on getting to the second deal and charging three percent. There are no guarantees. It’s been a tough landscape for middle-class firms for a while now. This year — coming off a year when fewer UDFAs were signed and there were no tryout players — could be a real death blow to those who make unwise financial decisions.
  • Some combine prep facilities, as well as agencies, won’t make it to 2022: Today, the success of a combine prep facility is predicated on four things: geographical location (you pretty much better be in the Sun Belt); ability to find reasonably priced lodging (incredibly hard on short-term leases, especially in splashy settings like Miami, Phoenix and Los Angeles); what you do the other nine months of the year; and your ability to recruit and win over the top prospects, obviously. Many solid combine prep facilities have been forced to close down during the lockdowns, and that takes a huge toll when you have thin margins (and yes, most of these facilities have thin margins, despite beliefs to the contrary). The lion’s share of the players who’ll train from now until the draft will go to the top facilities, so the smaller sites won’t benefit from that. It’s going to be another tough year.

In today’s Friday Wrap, we’ll talk about what’s ahead for the scouting profession, based on hiring practices this summer. Give it a look this evening. If you still need to register, click here.

2020 ITL Agent Week 2: Speaker Quotes and Notes

This week, we wrapped up July with our second ITL Agent Week. Our star-studded lineup included one of the most powerful agents in the business (Lagardere Sports’ Joel Segal), a former NFL cap chief (ex-Browns and Chiefs exec Trip MacCracken), an ex-GM (Mark Dominik, formerly of the Bucs) and a former pro scouting director (Dane Van der Nat, previously with the Raiders).

The week was very well-received. “All were awesome and provided info that you typically have to learn by trial and error,” said one participant. Said another: “The week has been amazing . . . and I’m looking forward to future seminars!!”

At the risk of being immodest, I’d agree, but it has nothing to do with me. It’s exciting that, this month, I’ve been able to bring together friends who are interested in giving back to the industry for a very small fee, and to find ITL clients who were willing to come out of pocket to listen to and interact with experts in the field. Kudos to everyone involved.

Here’s a bit of what you heard if you were on the Zoom sessions this week.

Van der Nat on developing players from other sports: “Coaches can be short on patience. If you’re getting (these players) early in the offseason, you could have an opportunity. We would bring those guys in for a tryout, maybe a CFL guy or a basketball player. . . . Can this big WR play TE? Can the tackle play tight end? Can the basketball player play tight end? Those are great situations to see. Can he learn it? Is he speaking the same language? After two days, a coach will have an opinion on a player to know if he wants to keep him or move on.”

Dominik on player attrition this year: “I think corner depth is hard to get. You can find three to four cornerbacks, but especially this year, there’s gonna be a lot of soft tissue injuries that usually hit corners hard, and if you have corners that can run a little bit, that’s a spot where teams will get hit quick.”

MacCracken on the value of relationships: “It was my job to take interest, to the best of my ability in whoever I’m working with. There’s no such thing as an agent you can disregard. . .  Every person has a different personality. It’s almost like you have to bend your personality to fit theirs. . .  And as an agent, you will deal with coaches, scouts, GMs, owners, negotiators, and they all come at this from a different skillset and standpoint. And you have to connect with all of them. You have to be able to touch each of them individually and make a connection. I always felt it was incumbent on me to make the best contact with agents. I would encourage agents to do the same with their contacts.”

Segal on getting started: “I went to law school at George Washington with the idea of being a product liability lawyer. Back then, being a sports agent was very different from what it is today. I didn’t know what an agent was. So I went to law school and got a good job at a great law firm, but it was kinda boring. So after a year, I quit and moved into my mom’s house. While I decided what to do, I parked cars for a while, made some money, and then printed up some business cards. One day, I read an article on Bob Woolf, an agent at the time, and it sounded cool, and that was it. I started cold-calling around, and I got hung up on a million times. Finally, I met Brad Baxter, because he was training next to my law school, and we hung out, and when he graduated, he signed with me. He was an 11th round choice out of Alabama State.

ITL College Week: Highlights from Our Three Speakers

This summer has been a weird one, for sure, but at Inside the League, we’ve tried to turn lemons into lemonade. One way we’ve done that is by holding weekly Zoom sessions with different segments of the football world.

In June, we held the ITL GM Academy and hosted several scouts and executives with four ex-GMs giving presentations. Earlier this month, we held ITL Agent Week, and had four other league authorities serving up gold to dozens of NFLPA contract advisors. Finally, this week, we held ITL College Week.

Three speakers held court on Zoom for 90 minutes each on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and the returns were very positive. “I just wanted to say that was one of the most unique and impactful experiences I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of,” wrote one participant in an unsolicited email. “I wanted to make a point to thank you for the opportunity to take in this knowledge. It means more than you know.”

Here are a few quotes from our speakers this week that I thought were particularly interesting.

Former Bucs GM Mark Dominik on getting lucky: “So anyway, (Tampa Bay) wound up hiring our (fourth) choice as head coach. We thought we were gonna get Bill Parcells, then he turned us down, and then we thought we’d get Steve Spurrier and that didn’t work out, and then Jimmy Johnson, so we got stuck with Tony Dungy. He’s everything you can imagine. He’s exactly who you would want him to be. I probably haven’t been in touch with him for four months, but if I texted him, he would text me right back tonight. That’s what kind of guy he is.”

Former Titans Director of College Scouting Blake Beddingfield on evaluating pass rushers: “Does he have a pass rush plan? Is he doing the same thing over and over? (Former Titans DE) Kyle Vanden Bosch was going 100 mph every play. He was the most intense player I knew, but he always set up his sacks. He was setting up the tackle the whole game to work his favorite (move), a chop on the outside, and he did that for a number of years and to make the critical play in the red zone. He was only 8-9 sacks per year, but they were big sacks.”

Former Rams GM Billy Devaney on passion: “It’s a pet peeve of mine, and especially with ex-players, they’ll say, ‘this coaching stuff is getting old,’ and the ex-player would say, ‘I don’t know what I want to do. I know I don’t want to coach. Maybe I’ll get into scouting.’ I’d think, you screwed yourself. ‘Maybe I’ll just do scouting.’ That would always burn my ass. I’m extremely partial to guys that want to make this a career. In an interview, I’ll ask, ‘what do you see yourself doing 10 years from now? Five years from now?’ And if they say, ‘maybe analytics, maybe coaching,’ I’m not gonna hire that guy. I’m gonna hire the guys that says, ‘I’m gonna be the best scout, then maybe work in the office as the director, then eventually be the GM.’ I want someone who wants to make this a career.”

There’s plenty more to talk about. Join us this evening for our Friday Wrap when we discuss this week, as well as what we have planned for the coming weeks. You can register for it here.

How Many NFL Draft Prospects Could Skip ’20 With No Ill Effects?

As thunder clouds gather on the college football horizon, the fall season seems to be in growing jeopardy. One option seems to be moving play into the spring, when presumably players, coaches and schools would find a safer playing field. If it happens,  it’s almost a certainty a large number of top players will choose not to play and to move straight to the NFL Draft, presuming it remains an April 2021 affair.

All of which begs this question: how many elite prospects, from seniors to redshirt sophomores, could reasonably skip their last seasons of play without damaging their respective draft statuses? 

We asked scouts, agents and all-star game directors that we respect across the game. These are the answers we got.

  • “I would expect 10-20 guys. I think there will absolutely be some of the top guys. I think agents are going to get in their ear too. . . I think some will absolutely opt out, but there is still going to be pressure from teammates to play the season and rep the program. It’ll be interesting.”
  • “Probably 40 or so. Damn good players, locks to go no later than Round 2 if they’ve already played their last down. They’ve already played their last game.”
  • “15-20.”
  • “Maybe 20-30. But there will be hundreds who believe that they’ll be impacted and decide to jump.” 
  • “Heading into the season, I would think it would be closer to 30 kids who have done enough to solidify their draft position off their body of work, but the vast majority of guys need additional verification or opportunity to rise. The preseason lists are full of hyped seniors who go on to become low free agents after being exposed, as a warning.”
  • “Too many unanswerable questions right now. SEC is a mess and not even going to visit on protocol again until (July 28), I hear. Too many “hot spots” around the country to make general rules, and regular kids not even back on campus yet, if they’ll be allowed at all!”

The consensus seems to be 20-30 players, i.e., most of the first round. Of course, trying to guess how many players in total will opt out is almost impossible, and could easily range into the hundreds.

Give us your best guess on Twitter, and later today, find out who we think the 20-30 players are that might be able to go from the 2019 season to the 2021 draft with no ill effects. It will be in today’s Friday Wrap, and you can register for it here.

 

2020 ITL Agent Week: Highlights from Our Speakers

As you may know, this week was ITL Agent Week, and we had four speakers talk to 30-plus agents on the nuances of how to build a scouting network, how to look at players, how to survive in the business without a bottomless bank account and plenty more. It wasn’t a good week — it was a great week. Here’s a tiny taste of what our participants heard this week.

Priority Sports’ Mike McCartney on why he became an agent: “In 1998, I got hired by the Eagles as the director of pro personnel, and I was basically Tom Modrak’s right-hand man. We went from 3-13 to two games from the Super Bowl while I was there. Anyway, we got beat by the Giants in 2001, and as I drove across New Jersey after that game, I took inventory of my life. I would never recommend taking inventory of your life after a tough loss, and it hit me like a ton of bricks that in 20 years I’d be asking who raised my boys. I prayed long and hard after that, and I had one of 32 jobs director jobs in world, and I was on target to be GM, but wanted to find balance in my life and be there for my children. So I decided to be an agent. I knew every agent, and I knew who the guys were that worked for their players and those who wouldn’t. I pursued Priority Sports. I never wanted to compromise my integrity, and I wanted someone with an excellent reputation, and someone with resources. It takes a lot (of money) to get guys ready for the draft. Anyway, I pursued Priority, and now I’m going into my 20th year, and my 29th in the NFL. I wouldn’t trade my experience. I mean, I’ve been able to raise my kids.”

Former Bears GM Jerry Angelo on finding sleepers hiding in plain sight: “There are a lot of prospects at those big schools that fall through the cracks because the scout is spending his time on high-profile players. When at Ohio State, that’s 15-16 players, and scouts are doing juniors and seniors, and it’s impossible to do it A-Z. I used to use this example with my scouts. When Ricky Williams was at Texas, and he won the Heisman, they had another running back who fell into undrafted free agency, Priest Holmes. Texas was a really good team then, but there had to be a time when they rested Ricky, and Priest must have had game tape, but when he was out of the game, the scouts quit looking at running backs. Priest Holmes was an outstanding back, and I told my scouts, at some point, there was film. You’re going to find players at those big schools. That’s’ where our sleepers come from today.”

Former Titans scout Blake Beddingfield on the changing parameters for quarterbacks: “At quarterback, the size traits are going away. You have Kyler Murray, Baker Mayfield, obviously Drew Brees are around 6-feet tall, so height is not as important as it used to be. Decision-making and accuracy are, and we’re talking about accuracy, not just completion percentage. Anything from plus-1 under, anything in the flats, they take that out and readjust their completion percentages, because they should be able to make those passes. It’s the other passes that are important, so when you’re looking at a player who throws a lot in the horizontal game, you take those stats away and look at plus-2 and better. He has to be smart, and has to be able to process all the info when the ball is snapped. These are important traits. Arm strength is important, but not the sole indicator of a QB. Accuracy and decision-making are the keys.”

HOF Player Representatives’ Greg Linton on what he told players during his early days when he still had a 9-to-5 job: “You have to know the player. I tell them, ‘you’re a grown-ass man. Do you need your hand held 24 hours a day? My job is to help you. I don’t need to hold your hand 24 hours per day. When you get to the team, you’re going to have a lot of free time, and no one is going to hold your hand. I’m gonna teach you to be a grown man.”

If you’re in the agent business, and you have any questions about how to succeed, I hope you’ll join us next year. It was a special week. We’ll discuss it more in today’s Friday Wrap. You can register for it here.