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.