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

By Justin VanFulpen

Many players were 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 this past April, 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.

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.

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.

Basic NFL Business 101

By Justin VanFulpen

This might not be any new information but here is some of the basic’s when it comes to the NFL business.

Roster size:  90 man roster in the off-season and start of training camp.  Rosters will get cut down to 53 man roster and of that only 46 players dress for each week.  If a player doesn’t dress he will still get paid the same if he did dress for the game.

Benefits of being on 53 man roster:  After you play 2 regular season games you will be automatic enrolled in the 401K in which the NFL has a match.  There is an NFL pension, tuition reimbursement, and other benefits.  Also each player on the 53 man roster does receive 2 game tickets per home game.

2019 Rookie Base Salary:  $495,000 per year or $29,118 per week.

Performance Based Pool:  If a player plays one down in a regular season game he is eligible. This is a lump sum of money paid out after the season based on each player playtime percentage.

Playoffs:  Will get additional weekly checks if team is in the playoffs.

Practice Squad: The maximum players allowed on a NFL teams practice squad is 10.  A practice squad player can sign with any teams 53 man roster at any time and if signs with another team then its own the player is guaranteed 3 regular season game checks (Assuming there is 3 regular season games left).

2019 Practice Squad Pay: $8,000 a week or $136,000 a year.

Training Camp/Pre-Season Games: Weekly pay in 2019 is $1,150 for rookies.

Taxes: Will need to pay state income taxes in each state that a player plays in, so at the end of the season possible 9 state tax returns will need to be filled.  Each state has a different state income tax rate and some states like Texas, Tennessee, Florida, Washington have no state income tax.

Tuesday During the NFL Season:  Most teams Tuesday is the players off day, but also it is the day teams will bring in “street free-agents” to work out because of injuries the past week or to get a look at for the teams emergency list for future injuries.

Future Contracts:  When people talk about future contract it an NFL team signing a player after the season so that the player can participate in OTA’s, Mini-Camps and then go to training camp with the team.

Agents:  Agents can charge a maximum of 3%, on base salary as well as signing bonus, work out bonus, and roster bonus.  But only get paid after the player gets paid.  Also does not get a commission on practice squad weekly pay.

How do College Football All-Star Game Invites work?

By Justin VanFulpen

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 to give them an idea of who as a whole the NFL likes as seniors when they speak with scouts.  One of the big reasons that spring grades as so important when it comes to all-star games and 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 BowlEast West ShrineNFLPA, 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 other will send the invite to the school and have the coaches give it to the players.

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.

2018 NFL Draft: NFL Scouting Combine Results

By Justin VanFulpen

In the football business one of the closely guarded secrets before the official list is released is who is getting invited to the NFL Combine.  The NFL Combine is run by National Scouting and has become a televised event by the NFL Network.  For more information about how the NFL Combine invites work you can check out my article from a year ago: NFL Draft: NFL Combine just part of the process.

Now that the 2017 NFL Draft is in the books we can look at the results.  This year there were 336 players invited to the NFL Combineand their where 38 players that were drafted that did NOT go to the NFL Combine.  Break down as far as rounds go:

2nd round – 1 player
3rd round – 1 player
4th round – 1 player
5th round – 4 players
6th round – 12 players
7th round – 19 players

So 118 players that were invited to this year’s NFL Combine were not drafted.  So the percentage of players that were drafted that were invited to the NFL Combine was 64%, so it is far from a guarantee if you are invited that you will get selected in the NFL Draft.  Last year it was 68% of the players that were at the NFL Combine where drafted.

NFL Draft: 5 Year Draft Averages by Position (2018-2014)

By Justin VanFulpen

With the 2018 NFL Draft in the books here is the average amount of players drafted at each position over the past 5 years (2014-2018) and the highs and lows.

QB – Average amount drafted – 11.8 – High amount drafted 15 (2016) Low amount drafted 7 (2015)

RB– Average amount drafted – 21.0 – High amount drafted 26 (2017) Low amount drafted 19 (2014)

FB – Average amount drafted – 2.4 – High amount drafted 3 (2016,2015) Low amount drafted 2 (2018, 2017, 2014)

WR – Average amount drafted – 33.2 – High amount drafted 34 (2014,2015) Low amount drafted 32 (2017)

TE – Average amount drafted – 13.0 – High amount drafted 18 (2015) Low amount drafted 9 (2016)

OT – Average amount drafted – 20.6 – High amount drafted 26 (2015) Low amount drafted 16 (2017)

OG – Average amount drafted – 13.0 – High amount drafted 16 (2015) Low amount drafted 10 (2018)

C – Average amount drafted – 7.2 – High amount drafted 10 (2014) Low amount drafted 5 (2015,2017)

DE – Average amount drafted – 22.2 – High amount drafted 26 (2017) Low amount drafted 17 (2016)

DT – Average amount drafted – 20.2 – High amount drafted 22 (2016) Low amount drafted 18 (2015)

 LB – Average amount drafted – 34.8 – High amount drafted 39 (2018) Low amount drafted 28 (2017)

CB – Average amount drafted – 32.0 – High amount drafted 34 (2017) Low amount drafted 29 (2018)

S – Average amount drafted – 19.2 – High amount drafted 23 (2017) Low amount drafted 15 (2015)

K – Average amount drafted – 1.6 – High amount drafted 3 (2017) Low amount drafted 0 (2015)

P – Average amount drafted – 1.8 – High amount drafted 4 (2017) Low amount drafted 0 (2017)

 

Breakdown of what NFL Draft Grades are made up of per NFL Scouts

By Justin VanFulpen

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

What can help/hurt a players NFL draft stock that has nothing to do with playing

By Justin VanFulpen

True in the NFL it is all about can you play the game at a high level and it is about the film and as they always say “the eye in the sky can’t tell a lie” but there are other factors that make up a player draft stock that has nothing to do with your skill as a player. There are a lot of things that are out of players control but there are many that it comes down to choices.

Effort/Hustle – Going 100% on every play doesn’t have anything to do skill.  Having a high motor and giving hustle and effort on every play is only a positive and is something that a player can control.  

Football IQ – Film study, knowledge of your opponent, what are his tendencies, knowledge of your scheme and the purpose of each play, knowledge of the rules, all of these things it doesn’t matter how athletically gifted you are as a player.     

Failed Drug Test – As a player you might not thing that this is a big deal but it is something that can hurt you with NFL teams and is something that as player you have control over.

Domestic Violence/ Violence against Women – There are many documented cases that has affected guys draft status including last year with running back Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals).  Even with this happening a few years ago many teams took him off their draft board and he dropped a lot further in the draft then many people had him graded on film.

Association – When NFL teams are doing their due diligence investigating player’s back-grounds they are interested in who the player hangs with off the field and do any of these people present red flags.  They are wondering if by associating with these people will the player be affected to making some bad decisions?

Social Media – Monitoring and reviewing player’s social media has become a big time in the recent years.  Scouts are looking to see what the prospect is posting on these platforms (Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram).  They are looking for is the player posting about football? Some of the red flags they are looking for is the prospect posting about Guns, Violence, Drugs, Alcohol, etc.?

Medical – This is one that a prospect doesn’t have much control over, in football injuries happen, and they do have an effect on prospect draft grade.   What a prospect does have is when the injury does happen how hard to they attack the rehab, also what are you doing as far as injury prevention?

NFL Draft: 5 Year Draft Averages by Position (2017-2013)

By Justin VanFulpen

With the 2018 NFL Draft a month away here is the average amount of players drafted at each position over the past 5 years (2013-2017) and the highs and lows.

QB – Average amount drafted – 11.4 – High amount drafted 15 (2016) Low amount drafted 7 (2015)

RB– Average amount drafted – 21.6 – High amount drafted 26 (2017) Low amount drafted 19 (2014)

FB – Average amount drafted – 2.6 – High amount drafted 3 (2016,2015) Low amount drafted 2 (2014)

WR – Average amount drafted – 32.2 – High amount drafted 34 (2014,2015) Low amount drafted 28 (2013)

TE – Average amount drafted – 13.4 – High amount drafted 18 (2015) Low amount drafted 9 (2016)

OT – Average amount drafted – 20.2 – High amount drafted 26 (2015) Low amount drafted 16 (2017)

OG – Average amount drafted – 14.6 – High amount drafted 18 (2013) Low amount drafted 12 (2017)

C – Average amount drafted – 6.6 – High amount drafted 10 (2014) Low amount drafted 5 (2013,2015,2017)

DE – Average amount drafted – 23.6 – High amount drafted 30 (2013) Low amount drafted 17 (2016)

DT – Average amount drafted – 20.0 – High amount drafted 22 (2016) Low amount drafted 18 (2015)

 LB – Average amount drafted – 32.4 – High amount drafted 37 (2015) Low amount drafted 27 (2013)

CB – Average amount drafted – 32.0 – High amount drafted 34 (2017) Low amount drafted 29 (2013)

S – Average amount drafted – 20.2 – High amount drafted 23 (2013,2017) Low amount drafted 15 (2015)

K – Average amount drafted – 1.6 – High amount drafted 3 (2017) Low amount drafted 0 (2015)

P – Average amount drafted – 1.4 – High amount drafted 3 (2016) Low amount drafted 0 (2017)