If you’ve followed me on Twitter or read our content at Inside the League, you know I’ve been painting this coronavirus situation as especially dour for late-rounders. For those of you who don’t fully understand, let me explain myself.
Scouts are not going to have the access they usually have: One of the big benefits of pro days is that NFL teams gather reliable contact and agent information for literally thousands of players they might consider as undrafted free agents. The game plan to to fix this, as I wrote about here, is to call the colleges and ask them. This is a problem, however, because (a) a lot of NFL liaisons aren’t in the office these days and (b) most of them couldn’t tell you who represents their draft prospects. In all candor, most don’t seem to care and/or have other things they’d rather focus on. I can see lots of otherwise capable players falling through the cracks. But that’s not all the bad news.
Closing gyms is gonna have consequences: What if you were an agent? You spent around $10,000 per player to get him ready for his pro day, then just as he’s ready to go, half of the workouts are wiped out. Going on a three-mile run around the neighborhood does nothing to keep your starts crisp and your jumps explosive. If pro days do return, they won’t be back for at least two weeks. By then, some players won’t have trained for around a month. It’s almost like the money is down the drain.
No rookie mini-camps equals no tryout opportunities: Remember when Pete Carroll tried to pass on the goal line instead of giving it to Marshawn? The guy who swooped in for the pick, Malcolm Butler, was an ex-tryout player. In fact, we’ve told his story in this space. Dozens of players that go on to become reliable special-teamers, and sometimes even starters, began as guys who went to camp without a contract. Here are a few other names of ex-tryout players. Unless things change drastically (and quickly), rookie mini-camps will be a casualty of the coronavirus. If you’re a person who reads this space regularly, you know how that impacts the hopes of hundreds of NFL hopefuls this spring.
In the grand scheme of things, this is probably nothing, I know. But we don’t write about the grand scheme of things here at Inside the League. We focus on the business of the game, and there’s just no way to candycoat the obstacles so many players will face this year.
Read more about the strangest NFL draft season ever in this week’s Friday Wrap, which comes out at 6:30 p.m. CT. You can register for it here.