As we wrap up November and people across America hit retailers and the Web seeking Christmas bargains, the people in the football world are doing a different kind of shopping. They're looking for
the best trainers
and the best training deals for their prospective clients. And for the first time ever, we're moving aggressively to help bridge the gap between trainer and agent. For the next four-plus weeks, we're declaring it
Trainer Month at ITL.
So what does that mean? It means that for the next four weeks, we'll be spotlighting at least
one trainer in the ITL family
every day, discussing their time in the business, their clients past and present, and highlighting their clients as they sack, score and pass their way to victory each Sunday. It also means we're kicking off a new feature called ITL Trainer Talk.
In Trainer Talk, we've recorded segments of 10-15 minutes with
||Saints RB Mark Ingram is among dedicated clients of XPE Sports' Tony Villani.
dozens of our combine prep partners. Each segment captures our conversations with top trainers, and in them, we ask questions about the business, the science of training, their clients, and other topics. We also put them on the spot by asking who their favorite clients have been. The answers have been interesting, and we've enjoyed watching them squirm a bit, too.
Among the training services and people we're already featuring on
the ITL YouTube channel
Adam Farrand of Exos,
which trained 15 first-rounders last year and is the annual leader in
Trainers by Draft Value Points
by a wide margin;
Tony Villani of XPE Sports
, which has hosted Chiefs TE
, Saints RB
, Bucs LB
, Falcons DE
and Falcons RB
during combine prep over the last few years and regularly sends multiple players into the first round;
Elias Karras of EFT Sports Performance
, one of the finest training faciliites not located in Florida, Arizona or California;
Pete Bommarito of Bommarito Performance Systems
, the home of several of the fastest players at the NFL combine virtually every year; and
Paul Beckwith of Columbia, SC-based Apex Athletic Performance
Colin Quay of Baltimore-based Elite Athlete Training Services
, two fast-rising training services with growing reputations.
We'll have plenty more trainers as we move forward into the draft cycle, and we'll be featuring them
on our Twitter account,
in the pages of
Inside the League
and here. We'll also be launching a new website we'll use solely to promote our training partners. While it's still in beta phase this weekend, we'll roll it out next week. You can check it out
We believe Trainers Month is an exciting new way to tell the stories of the people whose stories are so often not told - the experts who spend two months getting the best prospects ready for the NFL, then untold weeks and months keeping them there. Interested in finding out more, or joining the ITL family to get your story told?
Operators are standing by.
In the meantime, here's a look at what else we saw, heard, read and said in the business of football this Thanksgiving week.
The ITL Scouting Department:
This time of year, we're snowed under with agents and agencies asking us for reports on specific players to make sure they're all they're cracked up to be. Many of them are seeking info on juniors who need critical information before making a decision about their college eligibility, or even parents who want to know what their sons' true NFL potential is. But did you know this? Every time we write a report on a senior finishing up his eligibility, we give the agent the option of sharing it with the personnel staff of the
College Gridiron Showcase
, the Fort Worth, Texas-based game we partner with. Already we've made an all-star connection for two players who are headed to the Metroplex in just over a month, and there are still plenty of spaces to fill. Do you have clients that are still needing a platform to perform for scouts? Maybe getting a report written by the ITL Scouting Department is just the boost he needs.
Reach out today and let's get to work.
Put a smile on a draft prospect's face:
Have we mentioned that, just in time for agent selection and trainer decisions, we've published a guide that answers all your questions?
Moving the Chains: A Parent's Guide to the NFL Draft
is hot off the presses, and we promise it will help you dispel all the mystery and answer all your questions as you help your son make the right moves on his path to the NFL. And if you're not a parent, but just someone interested in learning the ins and outs of the NFL draft process, this book is for you. You won't find more information on the draft process anywhere, and certainly not for $12.95.
Check it out today!
The College Gridiron Showcase
, which is slated for Jan. 5-9 in Fort Worth, is the first college all-star event to partner with a major sports analytics firm.
Sports Info Solutions
(SIS), the premier third-party provider of metrics and analysis to professional teams in all three major U.S. sports, has already sent its first deliverable to game officials. That means the personnel team at the CGS has in-depth information on what off-the-radar QBs are the leaders in adjusted next yards per attempt, average throw depth, on-target rate and on-target rate at greater than 10 yards downfield. It also means the CGS is the only game with data telling its staff which receivers average the most yards per target as well as average target depth, and which ones have the greatest success rate vs. man coverage or zone coverage. On the other side of the ball, SIS has data telling the CGS team which defensive tackles have the most TFLs per 1,000 snaps; which edge players pressured the quarterback on the greatest percentage of their rushes; which cornerbacks had the lowest percentage of targets that should have been completed; and alternatively, which inside linebackers have the greatest percentage of missed tackles. The volume and value of Sports Info Solutions' data is really incredible, and we're working on ways to put it on display in Fort Worth. Make sure you check out
the company's website
, the company's
Off the Charts Football Podcast
co-hosted by former NFL scout
of Football Outsiders.
A short week made for just two of our signature reports.
, we had the first Senior Bowl signing of the '19 draft class plus some interesting details from a recently filed lawsuit that you just gotta see. Meanwhile,
took on a bit of a 'Where's Waldo' tone as we tried to decipher new Kansas head coach
latest move off the field, i.e., agent-wise. We'll have plenty more in the coming week; click
to see what we've had so far this year.
2019 CGS Scouting Workshop:
Speaking of the
College Gridiron Showcase
, the lineup is slowly coming together for our second annual
Scouting Workshop Presented by ITL
. In case you didn't read
today's blog post in Succeed in Football
, Cowboys College Scouting Coordinator
will be part of the speaker lineup at this year's event. Chris will talk about how he became a scout, what he does in his role as a key member of Dallas' front office, and a number of other topics related to the business. If you're interested in scouting and the finer points of the football business, you simply must join us at the Fort Worth Convention Center on Saturday, Jan. 5, for a day of hard-core learning about the business. We'll have more details as we get closer, including confirmation of the rest of our speaker lineup, at
the workshop web page
. Cost is $99, and if you're in town for the week and want more opportunities to be around the industry, we've got you covered and will find you a role that helps you build your network. Want more information?
and we'll be happy to oblige.
Agents by Total Clients (November):
There are 93 contract advisors with at least 10 active NFL clients. Just 37 of them have 20 or more. Just 12 have 30 or more, and just four - per NFLPA rolls - have 50 or more. None have 100, and eight of the 93 have just 10 active clients and barely make the list. Who's on the list?
Find out here.
How do the numbers compare to last month's totals?
Find out here
Know Your Scouts:
Today we completed our seventh straight tour of all 32 NFL scouting departments, taking a look at the men who work on the college side of evaluation (only - no pro scouts). So what did we learn? We found out that the lion's share of teams have 10-11 full-time employees evaluating the players eligible for the coming draft, though there's no correlation between size of scouting department and success (we counted 16 college scouts and evaluators for the Lions, who are 4-7, and Browns, who are 3-6-1, but just 10 for the Patriots, who are 7-3). The Bengals, always one of the most cost-conscious teams, have the least number of college scouts and evaluators with seven, but the Broncos are next with nine. We also learned that the number of players a team drafted that remain in the NFL is not necessarily a good measure of how successful that team is. For example, the Chargers (7-3) have 32 former draftees still knocking around the league, while the 49ers (2-8) have 54 ex-draftees still playing. This week, we had the
, but you can look at all 32 teams' college scouting departments
We're at the end of November. There's so much going on and so much that's coming in December, annually our biggest and busiest month, but we've got to get a few things out of the way first. We'll have
for the October-to-November cycle, and we anticipate a few big names that haven't been reported in other media, so look for that next week. In the meantime, check out our reports going back 10 years
. Also, one way or another, we'll be posting our list of players by agency (not agent). It's a big job but something we believe in, so look for that, too, next week. We'll also be pouring through our rolls to make sure we're up to date on all our billing in the next week to two weeks, so if you've been accessing the site but haven't been paying for it - and it happens sometimes -- we'll be catching up with you soon. You can get back in our good graces, no questions asked, by clicking
, and if you're not sure,
drop us a line
and we'll check. Next week, we'll also debut the
2019 ITL Signings Grid
. We've got a handful of signings, so we'll start slowly, but by the end of January, we'll have agency, all-star game, training destination, and more for 1,000 of the top players in the '19 draft. We'll also have the
2019 ITL All-Star Grid
, which we're probably a little behind on given the number of players the
NFLPA Collegiate Bowl
have already confirmed. We will track players, position by position, that are headed to the Big Three games (
East-West Shrine Game
plus NFLPA and Senior Bowl) plus the College Gridiron Showcase and Tropical Bowl, the leading January games (and by the way, we'll be at all of the games except the NFLPA tilt). We've also got four more reports from the
ITL Rising Contract Advisors Newsletter
; we've already started paring back that list, and it ends this week for everyone who's not part of the ITL family. In the coming week, we'll talk about the people, by percentage, that make up every agent class (i.e., the ones who have players they expect to sign, the ones that don't, etc.), some notes about recruiting, and an initial exposure to how the NFL Combine works. Moving, on, since we're reaching the end of the month, we'll also have a final update on the
(for 2019) and
(for 2020) with a few late risers and the removal of some players that have fallen by the wayside. We're also going to have a big week in
as schools wrap their seasons, final meetings take place and the buzz gets louder and louder surrounding the draft's top players. And oh, by the way: the
ITL Scouting Department
is churning out more reports on players and teams than it has all year, and we're not stopping anytime soon. And finally, we're going to building and adding to our Trainers Board and telling the world about our partners, the finest combine prep specialists in the business. Is that enough? No? Please
join us at ITL
and tell us how else we can help.