Nov. 28, 2019

This email is directed at any NFLPA-certified contract advisor interested in how the NFL draft works as well as the months leading up to the draft. Note: We are not endorsed, sponsored, or otherwise affiliated with the NFLPA.
Here's How All-Star Games Work
As I've made my way around the college football landscape the last two months, I've gained  a very high opinion of the people who work in recruiting, personnel, ops and analytics. I know they have very few free minutes, which has made me understand why very few understand how the all-star invitation process works. Today, I want to give a very brief overview of how the invitation process works for all those people looking to help their players get a leg up on the NFL.
The Big Three:  As you probably know, the Senior Bowl is very aggressive about getting the names of their invitees out there, and they can - no one is going to snag their invitees. The Shrine Game  has gotten more transparent about their process, as well; they tend to wait until the Senior Bowl is done, then take players at the next level (typically Rounds 4-7). Then there's the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl . The organizers of that game have decided to wait until after the college season (but before bowl play) to announce their rosters. At the end of the day, we're gonna know pretty much what Roster 1.0 looks like for all three games before the second week of December. How did players in these games get selected? One of the ways all-star games have changed is that they have their own scouting staffs who make their own assessments. However, those aren't the only games that will be attended by NFL scouts.
The Next Two:  The College Gridiron Showcase (the game I work with) and the Tropical Bowl  (I'm not affiliated with it, but I'm great friends with the guys who run it) aren't the same as The Big Three, but they're every bit as good an opportunity for players. Last year, we had scouts from 31 of 32 teams in Fort Worth, including 70+ NFL scouts. I'd say the Trop (played in Daytona Beach, Fla.) was very similar in its scout showing. Both are professionally run with good hotels, professional-level fields, plentiful food and buses that run on time. The bad news is that (a) neither games cover travel to and from the game, and (b) both games require a small fee (around $600 for each game) that covers food and lodging. Now, here's the thing you need to know: no one is getting rich off these games. Quite the contrary: the organizers of these games are just trying to give players a legitimate chance to show their stuff without losing their respective houses. All the all-star game organizers are my friends, and I know they are all good people who aren't rich.
A few more random points:  Do agents play a role in who gets invites to these games? Oh yes, but you can, too. Is there much transition in these rosters? More than you can imagine, and bowl play, training, agent choice and other factors regularly mean that players back out of games after they are invited. Are there other games besides these five? Yes, but it's important that a player attend a game that has legitimate NFL scout coverage, and these five are really the only ones that have a proven track record of NFL participation. 
Who to contact?:  If you have a candidate for the CGS, just reply to this email or email me at nstratton@ and I'll route you to our personnel people, Mike and Jose. For the Tropical Bowl, reach out to Michael Quartey at Meanwhile, if you'd like a comprehensive rundown of the entire pre-draft process (including the all-star landscape), consider my book, Moving the Chains, which you can find on Amazon.

Inside The League is the consulting service for the football industry. We work with the contract advisors for about two-thirds of active NFL players as well as the combine trainers, financial planners, scouts, coaches and other pro league organizers that make up the game. Cost is $29.95/month, and you can cancel at any time. To register, click here. Also check out our new free blog, Succeed in Football. Copyright Neil Stratton and ITL.

Sincerely, Neil Stratton
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