Check out the Pod Cast Interview with College2Pro.com Owner & Winnipeg Blue Bombers (CFL) Scout Bo Marchionte to learn more about the NFL Draft process and the CFL Scouting Process.
I have received questions from players on what they can do since the 2021 NFL Draft process was interrupted due to COVID-19. Many senior prospects didn’t have a “Junior Day” because campus where shut down before BLETSO or National Football scouts, the two scouting services the NFL uses, could get on campus.
1. Get your own measurements – As we saw before the 2020 NFL Draft, guys did their own Pro Day testing, so that scouts could get the information. If you are able to do your own height/weight/40, etc, you should do it, and be honest about everything. Even if one scouts get that information, see it on Twitter, You Tube, etc there are advantages. One they might do more research on you as a player and make sure they keep an eye on you. Two they will see you are serious about football and the next level process. Three you will know where you are at and how you can improve before the NFL combine, or your Pro Day in 2021. If you are not on the mock draft projected as a 1st round pick, you can use all the help you can get, especially if you are not from a Power 5 conference school.
2. Check Your Eligibility – With COVID-19 and schools going to online classes, some school grading has been changed from normal grade scales. But if a prospect is not going to be eligible in the fall, he would want to look into the NFL Supplemental Draft process. The NFL has said it will not change the requirements for the Supplemental Draft due to COVID-19, so there isn’t expected to be a higher number of players allowed in it, but something to check out to make sure you know where you are.
3. Thinking about Transferring – There is a possibility that some school will remain online in the fall and because of that the prospect of playing football in the fall would remain unlikely. The California State University system plans to move forward with virtual classes through the fall semester, and we could see other follow the same thought process. Since transferring down a level (FCS, D2, D3) doesn’t require you to sit out even if you haven’t graduated, for your NFL dreams it will be better to play this season and get film that not getting any film at all and hoping for the best.
4. Make Sure To Stay in Shape – When/If you get back to being able to go to the school facility you want to make sure you are ready to go.
Here is the breakdown for the 2020 NFL Draft between Senior and Underclassmen drafted.
Round by Round:
1st round (32 picks) – Seniors: 9 (28.1%) – Underclassmen: 23 (71.8%)
2nd round (32 picks) – Seniors: 15 (46.8%) – Underclassmen: 17 (53.2%)
3rd round (42 picks) – Seniors: 34 (80.9%) – Underclassmen: 8 (19.0%)
4th round (40 picks) – Seniors: 28 (70.0%) – Underclassmen: 12 (30.0%)
5th round (33 picks) – Seniors: 26 (78.7%) – Underclassmen: 7 (21.2%)
6th round (35 picks) – Seniors: 31 (88.5%) – Underclassmen: 4 (11.4%)
7th round (41 picks) – Seniors: 37 (90.2%) – Underclassmen: 4 (9.7%)
Top 25 Picks: Seniors: 6 (28.0%) – Underclassmen: 19 (72.0%)
Top 50 Picks: Seniors: 15 (42.0%) – Underclassmen: 35 (58.0%)
Top 100 Picks: Seniors: 51 (50.0%) – Underclassmen: 49 (50.0%)
Top 150 Picks: Seniors: 94 (62.6%) – Underclassmen: 56 (37.3%)
One thing that goes on in the spring that NFL fans don’t pay to much attention to is NFL scouts from the two NFL scouting services, BLETSO and National Football Scouting go on college campuses and doing what is called “junior days”. “Junior Days” are where scouts will get the players height, weight, some schools will allow guys to run 40s and the scouts will grade the film of the players that will be Seniors in the fall and give them what is called a “Spring Grade”.
Then around Memorial Day the two Scouting Services and all the NFL scouts that subscribed to either of those services will get together for a long weekend normally in Florida and read the spring reports and go over the “Spring Grades”. These grades become the road map of the scouts in the summer and fall to evaluate the next class of NFL prospects for the following spring draft.
Because of what is going on with the COVID-19 pandemic, many “juniors days” won’t happen so scouts won’t have information on those prospects leaving information need to make up “spring grades” unavailable.
Talking with multiple scouts the “Spring Grades” for the 2021 NFL Draft will either just not happen or be delayed and it will affect how the NFL teams do their business this upcoming fall and leading into next years NFL Draft. The reason why “Spring Grades” play such a big role is because of the two scouting services that the NFL uses, National Football Scouting (NFS) is the company that actually runs the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. They take their “spring grades” as the starting point for the invites to the NFL Combine that following January.
Even though “spring grades” are not made public and are suppose to remain proprietary the grades get out and agents, trainers, financial advisors, all-star games all try to get their hands on them to be able to make best decision on who to go after.
Yes the COVID-19 pandemic is going to effect the 2020 NFL Draft with Pro Days, Top-30 Visits and work-outs canceled but is already effecting the 2021 Draft as well.
True, there is much bigger problems with the COVID-19 pandemic but just something else that it is impacting.
This years on-field drills will be televised in prime time so the schedule has been moved around accordingly.
When it comes to the business of coaching there is a lot more then just X’s and O’s and having someone on your team that can provide assistant in many different ways can be invaluable. Here are just 7 different things an agent can help their coaching client with.
Social Media Consulting: An agent can review coach’s social media accounts to make sure they are presenting the best image possible and if they aren’t on a social media platform help them get on it and use it to its best ability possible.
Interview Preparation: An agent can help get coaches prepared for their job interview from everything such as sample interview questions to reviewing their overall plan.
Media & Public Relations: An agent can help coaches utilize the media and public relations as the ability to get their message out there and help increase their visibility and showcase their skills.
Career Counsel: An agent can be a sounding board with proven-expertise to assist coaches in their all aspects of their career.
Marketing: An agent can help our coaches identifying potential outside income opportunities that may be available to them, such as public appearances, paid media opportunities, golf outings and more.
Job Placement Support: An agent can work to put their coach in the best position to obtain their desired position through anticipating openings, gathering information, and strategizing in all areas of the search process.
Contract Negotiation: An agent can focus on maximizing their coaches earning potential and professional protection, while the coach can just focus on being the best coach he can be.
The question always comes up from coaches, players, parents, agents, etc. – How does a player get invited to play in a game? I had an opportunity to be in charge of the personnel for all-star games and like all the other people in the all-star game business we are looking for the best player that will have an opportunity to get drafted. All-Star Games are talking to NFL scouts to see who they want to see in an all-star game, also they are hearing from agents, coaches who are recommending players both early and late in the invite process.
All-Star games are also looking at the spring grades from BLETSO and National Football Scouting (NFS) to give them an idea of who the prospects that the NFL likes. Then they will see what players have played well in there senior year. All-Star games will speak with scouts to get their opinion on who they would like to see or who they think is worthy of being invited to the game.
One of the big reasons that spring grades are so important is they are the starting point when it comes to all-star games and the NFL combine. National Football Scouting runs the NFL Combine so knowing and inviting who they had graded higher in the spring the more likely the prospect will be invited to the NFL Combine.
Since the life blood of an all-star game is sponsorship and most sponsors are looking to get close to NFL players or be able to say that they are involved with NFL prospects without having to spend the top dollars to be an official NFL sponsor.
But what I always tell people asking that question that communication is key with the personnel directors of the game or their staff. Sometimes players will miss out on an opportunity to play in an all-star game because they don’t get back with an all-star game to let them know they are interested in playing in the game because they are waiting to get an invite to a “bigger” game.
Communicate with all the all-star games (Senior Bowl, East West Shrine, NFLPA, etc) and it doesn’t hurt to reach out to them via social media, email, phone, etc to get in front of them if you are not on their radar or even if you are it will strength your chance for an invite.
Since the Senior Bowl is by the far the number one all-star game they have the lead when it comes to what prospects go where. If a player gets invited to the Senior Bowl most of the time they are pulling out of whatever all-star game they are in and going to that game. Since that is the case and invites are kept close to the vest it causes all the other all-star games to continuously change their roster.
All-Star games start sending out invites in mid to late October and each game does it different as far as inviting players. Some email the player directly the invite to their game, other games will send the invite to the school and have the coaches give the invite to the player.
My advice to players is accept the invite when you get it and get it back to the game if then you get invited to a “bigger” game, just communicate with the game you had already accepted and just let them know in a timely manner so they can invite someone else.
In the College Football season and the NFL Draft process we are coming up on the midway point. NFL Scouts have been to training camp to look at the prospects that had spring grades from National or BLETSO and they have watched film on prospects from the first couple of weeks, seen players live both in practice and games and will keep doing that as we get to the end of the season. If you are a college football player what is going on now is the following:
If you were not graded in the spring as a draftable or free-agent prospect by the two scouting services (BLETSO & National) you need to dominate or keep dominating so you can get on the scouts radar because scouts aren’t looking to add guys they are looking to eliminate them as a prospect for their team.
All-Star Games (Senior Bowl, East West Shrine, NFLPA) – Their first round of invites will go out this month. Some coaches keep them and don’t give them to their players until later in the season but if you didn’t get an invite yet you still can but that tells you what they NFL thinks of you right now. Meaning they don’t see you as a draftable prospect at this time.
Scouting – Right now the area scout from all 32 teams has been to your school or seen you on film. They aren’t the decision maker for their team if they are going to draft you or sign you their job in the gather information and have an opinion for their boss the General Manager or Director of College Scouting. But if they don’t think you can play at the next level less likely that any of the higher up will do any work on your film.
Scheme Fit – Teams are looking for players that fit the scheme that they are running on offense and defense so you could be a good player but if you don’t fit the scheme or have the size that they are looking for in that scheme you most likely will be eliminated for their draft board.
Background Checks – Scouts are looking to find out all the information they can for anyone that knows you from the strength coaches to people on campus to see if there is any trouble in your pass or if you are a good person.
Coaches – If the NFL thinks there is an NFL prospect at the school it has talked to at least one of the coaches on the staff and most likely the head coach to see if the coach or coaches would recommend their player or just their overall thoughts on the player.
The season is not over the process is still going but it is closer to the end then the beginning.
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.
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.