Task of an NFL Agent pre-Draft

nfl-agent-role1By 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.

Breakdown of what NFL Draft Grades are made up of

NFLDraftGrade

Film – Your level of competition and how you played against the best level of competition you faced that year.  Each teams will view around 3 full games of your current season. This also includes if you played in an all-star game.

Athletic Numbers – Height, Weight, Speed

Injury History/Off Field/Football IQ –  Any major injuries, anything major off the field, love of the game, film study

Medical and Character part of NFL Prospect draft grade

By Justin VanFulpen

Player’s NFL Draft grade is much more then what a player does on the field or how fast he runs at the NFL Combine. Two of things most over looked when fans are watching the NFL draft and wondering why a certain player hasn’t been picked is medical and character. We saw this play out in the 2015 NFL Draft.

RB Jay Ajayi of Boise State had a 2nd round grade on him by most people as a football player but had to wait to be drafted until the 5th round by the Miami Dolphins because of a concern about his knee which he tore his ACL back in 2011 but hadn’t missed a game since coming back from the injury. There were reports that he flunked some physicals and that there is bone-on-bone according to some of the doctors, and people question how long he will last in the NFL. GM’s and personal people with the NFL club look to their team doctors to make final say on if a prospect can be keep on the draft board or taken off based on the medical information. We have seen what he has done this season that he has been one of the more productive running backs in the NFL.

On the flip side there were some character concerns involving drugs that cost a few NFL prospects including Randy Gregory, Nebraska who most thought was a top 10 NFL Draft prospect who had a failed drug test at the NFL combine and also reports that teams were concerned that he wasn’t as mature as they would like. Gregory was drafted in the 2nd round 60th overall by the Dallas Cowboys.  Some NFL clubs will take a player off their team draft board completely because of character concerns. Gregory was suspended for the first four games of the 2016 season due to violating the league’s drug policy. A few months later, Gregory failed a second drug test, and received an additional 10-game suspension.

With medical issues there is not much a player can do to alleviate the concerns of a NFL team. But the character grade the NFL teams give a NFL prospect that is something that a prospect can have an influence on, true everyone makes mistakes but some mistakes cost players more than others.

What goes into a prospects NFL grade? Well here is a quick list of what makes up a NFL grade on a prospect.

1. Film – Mostly from prospect final year in college
2. Athleticism – Each team has certain things they are looking at from the testing numbers (Height, Weight, 40, Vertical, etc.)
3. Medical
4. Character
5. Football IQ – This would include personality testing as well as ability to process information (Wonderlic)
6. Scheme Fit – Each team is looking at a prospect based on how they fit what their offense or defense likes to do. (Example 3-4 vs. 4-3 defense, how does the Defensive linemen fit their scheme)

 

Declaring early for NFL Draft – Is it worth the risk?

By Justin VanFulpen

This time of the year in college football, the mock drafts start coming out and people start talking about what players will declare early.  But just because some on the internet is saying that this player should declare early or someone close to the player telling him that he should leave school early might not know all the facts.

  1. NFL Scouts aren’t allowed to scout underclassmen. True this rule will change next year with the new agreement with the AFCA and NFL takes effect.  Scouts do look at the guys that they know for sure will be coming out early, but their main focus is the senior prospects.  The underclassmen that aren’t general accepted as a 1st round pick there is rarely any work done on them during the season.
  1. Underclassmen aren’t allowed at post season all-star games. 5 years ago with the NFLPA started the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl they were going to challenge the NFL rule and did allow one underclassmen in the game.  That caused the NFL teams not to send a single scout to that all-star game.  Because of that the NFLPA has only allowed seniors in their all-star game for then on.  As we saw in the 2013 NFL Draft All-Star games are a big part of the process where OT Eric Fisher, Central Michigan went from a late first rounder all the way up to the number one overall pick because of his play at the Senior Bowl.
  1. NFL Combine – First official time NFL scouts can talk to underclassmen. Just because a prospect has declared early doesn’t automatically get him an invite to the NFL combine. So if a prospect is not invited then really the first time a scout get to talk with a prospect is at his school Pro Day.
  1. NFL Draft Advisory Board – The board is composed of general managers and personnel directors from a number of NFL teams, along with the directors of the NFL’s two scouting combines, BLESTO and National. A prospect can ask for their assessment on where he is projected to get drafted.  The board will return their assessment of the prospect with three possible grades – first round, second round, or neither, which means that the board advises the player to stay in school. The school can get a hold of the NFL Draft Advisory Board or the prospect can contact the NFL Player Personnel Department directly.
  1. Last year there was a record of 107 underclassmen declaring early for the NFL Draft of that 30 players didn’t get drafted. Which was a little over 28% of the players that declared didn’t get drafted that was the same percentage in 2015 and in 2014 it was all the way up to 39.2% of the players that declared didn’t get drafted.

Every prospects situation is different when thinking about declaring early for the NFL Draft but each prospect should get as much information as possible in regards to leaving school early for the NFL Draft.

Undrafted: Doesn’t mean a player won’t make it in the NFL

When the NFL Draft comes around every April every college football player that is eligible is hoping that they will get drafted somewhere in the 7 round draft.  With over 1,500 eligible players and only 256 draft slots that can’t happen.  After the NFL Draft teams will sign undrafted rookie free-agents and it gives them an opportunity to make the teams 53 man roster, some other teams 53 man roster or a practice squad. With the NFL season about to kickoff let look at the impact that undrafted rookie free-agents have on NFL rosters.

As of September 7, 2016 there is 478 players on a 53 man roster that where not drafted.  So 28% of the 32 NFL teams 53 man rosters are made of undrafted free-agents.  61 of these players are rookies.

There are 240 undrafted players that are on practice squads. Teams are allowed a max of 10 players on a practice squad, so 75% of the NFL’s practice squads are made up of undrafted players.

NFL teams spend millions of dollars on scouting players for the draft but they are unable to be prefect in their selection of players. When the draft comes everyone has an opinion on what players will get drafted and who will make the 53 man roster but the NFL business is unpredictable and that is one reason why people love it.

A full breakdown of all 32 NFL teams and undrafted players:

UndraftedPlayers9-7-16

NFL Draft: “All-Star Games” and why they 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 games and as well as the Player All-Star Classic in 2012, mainly working with the player personnel but also having other duties.

This past February at the NFL Combine, 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 pick 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.

We saw this past year at the Senior Bowl QB Carson Wentz from North Dakota State who end up as the number two pick overall by the Philadelphia Eagles raise his draft stock from his week of practice at the Senior Bowl.

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 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.  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.

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.

2016 NFL Draft: Testing Averages per Position

By Justin VanFulpen

With the 2016 NFL Draft in the books here is a look at the average height, weight, 40, Vertical Jump, Short shuttle, and 3 cone drill by position of players that were drafted.

QBs: 6037 226 – 4.84 (40) – 30.9’’ (Vertical) – 4.31 (20 yard shuttle) – 7.15 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.78 (Hackenburg & Hogan)
Highest Vertical – 36’’ (Lynch & Jones)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.15 (Wentz)
3 Cone – 6.86 (Wentz)

RBs: 5112 214 – 4.49 (40) – 35.2’’ (Vertical) – 4.28 (20 yard shuttle) – 7.04 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.31 (Drake)
Highest Vertical – 41.5’’ (Lasco)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.20 (Taylor & DeAndre Washington)
3 Cone – 6.83 (Smallwood)

FBs: 6008 233 – 4.73 (40) – 35.3’’ (Vertical) – 4.25 (20 yard shuttle) – 7.20 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.60 (Vitale)
Highest Vertical – 38.5’’ (Vitale)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.12 (Vitale)
3 Cone – 7.12 (Vitale)

WRs: 6004 199 – 4.48 (40) – 35.2’’ (Vertical) – 4.24 (20 yard shuttle) – 6.92 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.29 (Hill)
Highest Vertical – 41’’ (Doctson & Shepard)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.06 (Hill)
3 Cone – 6.53 (Hill)

TEs: 6045 252 – 4.75 (40) – 32.9’’ (Vertical) – 4.27 (20 yard shuttle) – 7.00 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.64 (Adams)
Highest Vertical – 40’’ (DeValve)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.15 (DeValve)
3 Cone – 6.88 (Adams)

OTs: 6055 310 – 5.17 (40) – 28.2’’ (Vertical) – 4.73 (20 yard shuttle) – 7.90 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.94 (Spriggs)
Highest Vertical – 32.5’’ (Ifedi)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.44 (Spriggs)
3 Cone – 7.63 (Conklin)

OGs: 6043 304 – 5.19 (40) – 27.3’’ (Vertical) – 4.72 (20 yard shuttle) – 7.72 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.95 (Thuney)
Highest Vertical – 33’’ (McGovern)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.54 (Thuney)
3 Cone – 7.32 (Whitehair)

Cs: 6037 301 – 5.19 (40) – 27.5’’ (Vertical) – 4.64 (20 yard shuttle) – 7.54 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 5.13 (Glasgow)
Highest Vertical – 30’’ (Kelly)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.52 (Seumalo)
3 Cone – 7.40 (Seumalo)

DEs: 6044 273 – 4.83 (40) – 32.7’’ (Vertical) – 4.37 (20 yard shuttle) – 7.29 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.59 (Tapper)
Highest Vertical – 37.5’’ (Holmes)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.00 (McCalister)
3 Cone – 6.89 (Bosa)

DTs: 6028 304 – 5.07 (40) – 28.5’’ (Vertical) – 4.65 (20 yard shuttle) – 7.29 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.69 (Ridgeway)
Highest Vertical – 35’’ (Nkemdiche)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.50 (Day)
3 Cone – 7.25 (Onyemata)

OLBs: 6020 241 – 4.66 (40) – 34.1’’ (Vertical) – 4.36 (20 yard shuttle) – 7.18 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.42 (Weatherly)
Highest Vertical – 41’’ (Nicolas)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.20 (Lee & Correa)
3 Cone – 6.65 (James)

ILBs: 6010 240 – 4.72 (40) – 32.4’’ (Vertical) – 4.33 (20 yard shuttle) – 7.08 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.57 (Walker)
Highest Vertical – 37.5’’ (Walker)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.00 (Vigil)
3 Cone – 6.73 (Vigil)

CBs: 5114 194 – 4.47 (40) – 35.8’’ (Vertical) – 4.21 (20 yard shuttle) – 7.00 (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.33 (Brown)
Highest Vertical – 41.5’’ (Ramsey & Reed)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 3.98 (Hargreaves)
3 Cone – 6.60 (Caldwell)

Ss: 6004 204 – 4.56 (40) – 36.1’’ (Vertical) – 4.21 (20 yard shuttle) –  (3-Cone)
Fastest 40 – 4.42 (Grugier-Hill)
Highest Vertical – 40.5’’ (Nicolas)
Fastest Short Shuttle – 4.20 (Frazier & Fejedelem)
3 Cone – 6.58 (Simmons)

2016 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 2016 NFL Draft is in the books we can look at the results.  This year there were 332 players invited to the NFL Combine and their where 37 players that were drafted that did NOT go to the NFL Combine.  Break down as far as rounds go:

3rd round – 1 player
4th round – 2 players
5th round – 5 players
6th round – 17 players
7th round – 12 players

So 116 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 65%, so it is far from a guarantee if you are invited that you will get selected in the NFL Draft.  Last year it was 66.7% of the players that were at the NFL Combine where drafted.