March 29, 2019

This email is directed at anyone in the pro and college football business. Already a client? Here's a review of the week. Not a client? We'd love to have you aboard.
The Week in Football: March 23-29
Jaguars scout Tim Mingey (third from left) earned praise from a fellow scout on the way he runs a pro day. Mingey is shown here at North Alabama's pro day in 2010.

When it comes to the NFL Draft, March means pro days. As we roll toward the last couple weeks of prospect workouts, we were curious which schools scouts look forward to and which ones scouts would rather avoid altogether. 
We asked several NFL scouts this simple question: "Who puts on the best pro day? Any schools stick out in your mind? Have any improved lately?" Here are the responses we received: 
  • "Roll Tide! Auburn too. Heard FSU and Florida have gotten worse with the new staffs, obviously. Oregon is great too."
  • "Notre Dame tops for me."
  • "Texas A&M is really good now that (Jerry Schmidt), the strength coach, is there, just like Oklahoma was when he wasthere. LSU is really good. Any school who allows us to run it is usually good cause things go smoothly. When the strength coaches get involved it could drag on all day. Baylor has improved."  
  • "Good question. Depends on the criteria. Some schools with the fewest prospects have efficient pro days. Some schools with the most or best prospects do a real nice job with the whole production, but they aren't always as efficient. Not enough coaches to work out players sometimes means workouts are glossed over; too many coaches and they drag on too long. Some schools put out the best spreads; some just try to get you in and out. Some college coaches address the group, some are available to talk during workouts, and some don't show up at all."
  • "Alabama does a great job. So do Texas and Oklahoma. Clemson also has a great one. Iowa is one that makes things tougher and takes too long. Get what we need, but they make everything slower, having to ask every little thing of the pro liaison. Iowa State is real good. Iowa is good, just takes longer. Also, UNC always does a good job. I haven't seen anyone who is really bad. Being slower is the only complaint for any, honestly."
  • "Anywhere (Jaguars Assistant Director of Personnel) Tim Mingeyis running the show, to be honest. He does a great job organizing things and making sure that behind-the-scenes stuff is done in advance. Any time Tim is there, you know it's going to be an efficient day."
  •  "I thought Oregon did a good job. Great communication up front and allowed the freedom to work while there.  They stick out in my mind a little bit! 
As always, though scouts are considered to be silent professionals who work diligently in the background, their observational skills begin before weigh-ins and don't end when the last player finishes his drills. As pro days become more visible and the media's focus becomes sharper, we expect even more diversity of opinion on which schools do it right and which ones don't. 
In the meantime, here's a look at what else we saw, heard, read and said in the business of college and pro football over the past week.
Kickoff: Today, players report to Austin, Texas, for Year 3 of  The Spring League. We extend congratulations to its CEO,  Brian Woods, on the new season. Like almost every other league in existence, however, rosters are still a bit thin at offensive line. If you're a contract advisor with a free agent lineman, the Spring League staff would love to hear from you. You can email Woods and his team here.
Rep Rumblings: We didn't expect to be able to deliver four editions of our Rumblings this week, but it turned out that way.  On Monday, we had big news of an agency on the move to bigger and better resources, plus we had a termination by a first-round talent in the '19 draft class, new local pro days and more.  Tuesday, we had a new agency for the first-round prospect; looked at another confirmed NFL local workout date; and passed along the players, by position, that seem to be least forgiving when it comes time to consider changing agents. On Wednesday, we considered  the big news out of the Alliance of American Football this week and what it all means. Is the AAF really on the ropes? Or are its officials just trying to engineer a major talent jump by all means necessary? Finally, on Thursday, we had a warts-and-all look at the rookie agent class of 2018 and how they've done recruiting and signing players as we move to within a month of the '19 draft. How many rookie agents have even signed players? What kinds of players have rookie agents signed? What kind of success are independent, unaffiliated contract advisors having? And are their clients even getting pro days?  It turned out to be a pretty hot topic on Twitter this morning, so make sure to check it out if you're interested in being a contract advisor (or if you are already are one). It was a big week with lots of good info, and there's more where that came from. Click  here to get a look at all the reports we've done since the start of 2019. 
Agent Exam Study Materials: Speaking of new agents, we're just 112 days - less than four months - away from the 2019 CBA exam slated for July 18-19 in Washington, D.C. That means it's still early, but not too early, to start studying for the exam. We're proud of  our practice exam, which has been around since 2012, as well as  our study guide - the best, most comprehensive tool for getting ready or the test - as well as  our second practice exam, which we introduced last year. Though there is another service out there, there's no one else with our history (eight years' worth of satisfied customers and dozens of certified contract advisors still in the business) or record of success (our passing rate is 70 percent as compared to 45 percent for the agent class at large), and our costs are  less than half of what you'll pay to other services. If you're getting ready for D.C., you need what we have, and we're happy to provide it. Make sure to act now before we raise prices later this spring. All our clients will also be added to our popular newsletter series for aspiring agents, giving you tips on how to pass the exam as well as how to succeed in the business. Click  here for more information on our materials, and if you have further questions, don't hesitate to email us. 
One more note: For all ITL clients that subscribe to our practice exams, remember: you can take them as many times as you want, so there's no reason to wait until July. Also, it's web-based, so as soon as you pay and we activate you, you're ready to rock. No need to wait for the mail or provide an email address. And finally, though our practice exam is linked to the ITL site, all login info is linked to a separate database, so though you can sign up with the same username and password you use for your regular ITL login, you'll have to enter it in separately. OK, that's it.  Here's where you can sign up.  Come on aboard!
Coaches clinic: Last month in Indianapolis, we hosted  our first-ever seminar aimed at agents interested in working more with coaches and helping them lead their own respective teams. The interest was overwhelming and it was a smashing success. But what about the coaches themselves? No one's out there helping teach them what they need to know to get a job, to keep the job, and to excel at it, both on the NFL and college level. Maybe that's because no one is available to teach them. Or maybe there is. If you represent college coaches - or want to show a coach you hope to represent how you can provide value - you'll want to know more about what we're planning for this summer. Stay tuned. In the meantime, if you can't wait for more information, reach out to usand we'll let you in on our ideas so far. We're confident we can make good coaches great and help contract advisors beat the odds to get their clients to the top of the profession.
Next week: We've reached the end of the first quarter of 2019. We're very close to the time of year where NFL teams have essentially completed their process of elimination and they're ready to stock their boards solely with players that might make the team. We're also about a month from when teams start hiring and firing scouts, which we chronicle in our  Scouting Changes Grid. In other words, teams have cleared the decks and they've got only one priority, and that's the draft. That's kind of where we are, as well, though we've got more work to do before we can fully move on to the second quarter. We are still down two  Agent Changes reports (January to February and February to March). We're still running a bit behind on preparing our  Profile Reports for 2020, so there's work to do there that might delay us a bit next week, when we're scheduled to kick things off. We've got a little more background to do and we're hoping to add a few more features and having trouble making it happen. Still, we'll keep working. Also in our future for April: alma maters for NFL coaches and scouts; dates for rookie mini-camps (either May 3-6 or May 10-13 this year; and whatever else our clients need. We've also got a few more gaps to fill in on our  NFL Local Pro Day Grid (specifically, will the  Redskins, Jaguars, Seahawks, 49ers, Steelers, Packers and  Patriots have a local workout, and if so, when?). Also, counting today, we're tracking 19 remaining pro days for the '19 draft cycle, including eight completed today. We'll be folding as many of them as possible into our  2019 Pro Day Grid. Though it's far from a comprehensive list, and we aren't breaking any news on who's stood out and which teams like which players, we see it as a one-stop shop for everything (credible) reported on the Web regarding totals and teams. We're also trying to clear out space to complete a  Clients by Agency report, which we do twice a year. Maybe this is the week. We're also toying with completing a look at contract advisors and their client totals this year vs. their totals five years ago; last year, it was a useful way to look at how the landscape has changed, from those  whose totals decreased to  those that had increased. Also on deck: as the competition for today's hottest college and pro coaches increase and the transition from grad assistant to head coach gets shorter and shorter, we're working on ways to spotlight the most talented coaches in the nation. We'd love to hear your feedbackon what you need and what you'd like to see regarding coaches and representation. In the meantime, we'll have all our normal features, including our blog,  Succeed in Football; our signature reports,  Rep Rumblings; our Monday-through-Thursday series for new agents, the  ITL Rising Contract Advisors Newsletter; and maybe even a few surprises.  Join us as we provide the news, buzz and information you need to win, every day.  

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 2015.

Sincerely, Neil Stratton
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