An NFL Agent alone can’t get a player drafted or signed

After the NFL Draft is over many players are not drafted as high as they thought they would or were promise and some didn’t get drafted at all in this year’s NFL Draft. First off if any agent promise that you will get drafted, or he or she promises you what round you will get drafted …RUN!

No one knows for sure were a player will get drafted not even the teams –  see Baker Mayfield two years ago, no one thought he would go number one overall even a week before the draft, before the season started and even during the season a lot of teams had him graded as a third round pick. This time last year no one thought Kyler Murray was going to be the first overall pick or even play football at all.

An agent is a facilitator of your talents as a player and what you have put on film. 

An agent can help get you into an All-Star game (Senior Bowl, E-W Shrine, etc.), help you in the pre-draft process, promote your film to NFL scouts, promote you to the media, give you an overview of the NFL landscape in terms of your position with the 32 NFL teams, but if the NFL teams don’t think you can play in the NFL he or she is not going to get you drafted or signed. We have seen players move up draft boards based on all-star game performances or fall down draft boards because they didn’t test like they played.

NFL teams for the most part don’t care who your agent is.  Also NFL teams are going to do what they feel is best for their teams not doing a favor for an agent that they know or like.

An agent has a valuable role to play in the process and they can help move guys up with their guidance and skills about the pre-draft process but an NFL agent alone can’t get a player drafted or signed.  It comes down to does the NFL teams think the player has the skills to play in the NFL. In the end the film doesn’t lie.

What NFL Draft Grades are made up of per NFL Scouts

Film (80%) – Your level of competition and how you played against the best level of competition you faced that year.  Each NFL team will view around 3 full games of your current season normally against who is the best competition. This also includes if a prospect plays in any of the college football all-star games. Scouts are not watching highlight clips to grade they are watching full game and grading every play. They are looking to see if a player plays hard and hustles on every play they are in.

Athletic Numbers (10%) – Height, Weight, Speed.  Teams are looking at the film first and then see if the prospect checks off the box in the athletic numbers per the position.  But still the film comes first. True teams have a range of where they athletic numbers need to be, but if you can’t play that goes out the window.

Injury History/Off Field/Football IQ (10%) –  Any major injuries, anything major off the field, love of the game, film study.  Scouts are check social media, talking to high school coaches, strength coaches, academic advisors, current coaches as they try to find out as much information on the prospect on and off the field. Teams will reject players fully for injury and off the field issues no matter how good a player is on the field.

Why College Football All-Star Games Matter

By Justin VanFulpen

One of the biggest things in the pre-draft process is the different all-star games.  I have had the opportunity to be involved with 6 College Football all-star games.  Five Texas vs. the Nation games and as well as the Player All-Star Classic in 2012, mainly working with the player personnel but also having other duties.

At the NFL Combine in 2016, former NFL GM Ray Farmer said about All-Star Games.

“I put more stock in that then combine stuff, the reason I do that, it’s ball… All-Star Games matter because it is good on good.”  

College football all-star games are about giving players an opportunity to show their skills in front of NFL scouts. In this environment where player come from all levels of competition the NFL scouts are evaluating not only the one-on-one and team practices but how fast can a player picks up the offense or defense that is being installed since everything is done within that game week.

Small school prospects that get into one of the major all-star games have a great ability to help themselves in the draft process because it shows scouts that the level of competition is not too high for them since that will be one of the biggest questions mark for that prospect to answer.

In this years Senior Bowl the game had 10 first round draft picks and 93 overall and saw QB Daniel Jones, Duke who was the game MVP, helped himself be the number overall six pick by the New York Giants.

In the 2018 Senior Bowl QB Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen both played in the game and both helped their stock and both end up in the top 10 in the NFL Draft.

QB Carson Wentz from North Dakota State who end up as the number two pick overall by the Philadelphia Eagles raised his draft stock from his week of practice at the Senior Bowl.  OT Eric Fisher from Central Michigan in 2013 went from a late first round pick to the number one overall pick in the NFL Draft after his week at the Senior Bowl.

Players who are Seniors can get an idea of what the NFL think about them based on what all-star game the get invited to and not getting invited to a game says a lot because the directors of all-star games are talking with scouts to see who they want to see in a game. True going to the Senior Bowl doesn’t mean you are getting drafted in the first round but it can help your draft stock if you have a good week at any of the all-star games.

But it is not just about the Senior Bowl, all the All-Star games matter, the East West Shrine game, the NFLPA Bowl, Tropic Bowl, College Gridiron Show, etc. All-Star games are the second most import thing in the draft evaluation process after the prospects season film evaluation.

2019 NFL Draft: Conference Breakdown

Overall Picks:

SEC: 64
Big Ten: 40
Pac-12: 33
ACC: 28
Big 12: 26
American: 11
Mount West: 10
MAC: 9
Independent FBS: 8
C-USA: 6
CAA: 3
MVFC: 3
MEAC: 2
OVC: 2
SWAC: 2
Sun Belt: 1
Big Sky: 1
GSC: 1
LSC: 1
MEC: 1
MIAA: 1
NSIC: 1

By 1st round picks:

SEC: 9
Big 10: 7
ACC: 7
Pac-12: 3
Big-12: 3
American: 1
Independent: 1
SWAC: 1

Full breakdown:

Conf1234567Total
SEC913671010964
Big Ten727785440
Pac-12353673633
ACC723455228
Big 12335623426
AAC121211311
MW013003310
MAC02110509
Ind. (FBS)11220118
C-USA00400116
CAA01000113
MVFC00101013
MEAC00000022
OVC00100102
SWAC10000012
Sun Belt00000101
Big Sky00000011
GSC00000011
LSC00001001
MEC00010001
MIAA00000101
NSIC00100001

2019 NFL Draft: Senior vs Underclassmen Break-Down

By Justin VanFulpen

Here is the breakdown for the 2019 NFL Draft between Senior and Underclassmen drafted.

Round by Round:

1st round (32 picks) – Seniors: 13 (40.6%) – Underclassmen: 19 (59.4%)

2nd round (32 picks) – Seniors: 15 (46.8%) – Underclassmen: 17 (53.2%)

3rd round (38 picks) – Seniors: 22 (57.8%) – Underclassmen: 16 (42.2%)

4th round (36 picks) – Seniors: 23 (63.8%) – Underclassmen: 13 (36.2%)

5th round (35 picks) – Seniors: 26 (74.2%) – Underclassmen: 9 (25.7%)

6th round (41 picks) – Seniors: 31 (75.6%) – Underclassmen: 10 (24.4%)

7th round (40 picks) – Seniors: 33 (82.5%) – Underclassmen: 7 (17.5%)

Other Notes:

Top 25 Picks:  Seniors: 7 (28.0%) – Underclassmen: 18 (72.0%)

Top 50 Picks: Seniors: 21 (42.0%) – Underclassmen: 29 (58.0%)

Top 100 Picks: Seniors: 50 (50.0%) – Underclassmen: 50 (50.0%)

Top 150 Picks: Seniors: 83 (55.4%) – Underclassmen: 67 (44.6%)

44 Underclassmen that declared for the NFL Draft went undrafted

Why “Spring Grades” are Important to NFL Prospects

By Justin VanFulpen

When NFL scouts from the two scouting services BLETSO and National go into a school to do their junior evaluation they are looking to grade the NFL draft prospects for the next year’s draft but also to eliminate players as guys who can’t play in the NFL.  The scouts give those players “reject” grades so scout in the fall don’t have to spend time on players who are deemed not NFL players.

The scouting services grade over 13,000 senior college football players each year at all levels of football and normally there are around 600 with draft able or free-agent grades.  True do players with “reject” grades get draft? Yes but it is few and far between.

BLETSO and National have their spring meeting to go over grades around Labor Day time in May to be able to help set the scouts schedule for training camps visits in the summer.  Prospects are not told what their spring grade is by the two scouting services, but normally in the summer the grades get out and agents, financial advisors, media members and all-star games get their hands on them.

What goes into a spring grade:

  1. Junior Film
  2. Height/Weight/Speed – The scouts either get that information when on campus when the measure and weigh the prospect as well as get hand size and arm length. Some school will allow the prospects to run the 40 for the scouts but that is very few and mainly smaller schools. Some schools don’t allow scouts to do height/weight so the scout will just have to estimate the prospect height/weight/40 time.
  3. Background – Scouts will try to get information on prospect past both off the field and medical.

Spring grades are important for a number of reasons:

1. It is a road map for NFL scouts in the fall to where they should spend their most time.

2. National Scouting runs the NFL Combine so if a player has a good spring grade he is more likely to get invited then if he doesn’t.

3. All-Star games try to get their hands on these grades and use them when they start to invite players to their games.

True as a Senior what you do on the field is most import to your final NFL draft grade, but it doesn’t hurt to start with a good spring grade going into your Senior season.

Task of an NFL Agent pre-Draft

By Justin VanFulpen

All-Games: Even before an agent signing a prospect he/she is most likely contacting the director of the all-star games but especially after a client has signed with an agent are they contacting the directors to see if they can get their client in a game. With the All-Star games being the last time football is practice or played it is the last time the NFL scouts will have a chance to evaluate the prospect in person, and as we always see players rise and sliding because of all-star game practice and game performances.

Film: Agents should be contacting scouts and coaches to sell and promote their clients best game film against their best level of competition that they played. With the game films agents can sell to scouts and coaches how their prospect fits into the team’s schemes and how they would be an upgrade to their roster.

NFL Scouts:  Scouts make their own judgement and are paid to give their opinion on a prospects ability to play in the NFL.  Agents are contacting scouts to give them information about their prospect and sell their prospects ability to play football.

Promotion of Prospect: An agent is looking to use the media as a form of getting their prospects story out there also to make sure other teams know that there is more than just one team interested in the prospect. Also an agent is looking to see what deals that they can make in with different companies to make their prospect additional money off the field.  Some agent or agency might outsource these two jobs.  Also each prospects ability to make money off the field will be different based on how high they are projected to be drafted as well as what position that they play.

Knowledge of the NFL Landscape:  Each prospect is in competition with every player in their position as well as the current players at their position in the NFL, so an agent needs to have a working knowledge base to properly advise their client. They need to know what they of offense and defense scheme a team runs.  It would be embarrassing if an agent was promoting a 3-4 defense end (5 tech) to a team that runs a 4-3 defense. Also if a prospect is not drafted where he is advising his client to sign is a big deal as if this prospect is just a “camp body” or has an actually shot at making the 53-man roster. What is the agent using to make a determination, what they are offer as a signing bonus or what the team currently has on their roster at their client position and the scheme the team runs? So knowledge of the NFL is an important thing.

These are just some of the tasks that an agent performs per draft there are many additional ones after the draft is over.