June 7, 2019

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The Week in Football: June 1-7
Now that NFL teams have (mostly)  rebuilt their scouting departments and evaluators have been primed on the 2020 NFL Draft Class by the two major scouting services, we're turning our attention to  updating our list of the top seniors in the coming draft class
As you know, this is our third year providing a look at the top 250 seniors and top 100 "juniors," i.e., players who will be at least three
Ben DiNucci of James Madison is a new member of the ITL 250.
years out of college after this season. We debuted the  2020 lists in February, and will continually update them throughout the next six months until shortly before National Football Scouting publishes the list of invitees for the 2020 NFL Combine. 
Players added to the updated list are  Cole Chewins, OT, Michigan St.;  Brian  Cole, DC, Mississippi State;  Ben  DiNucci, QB, JMU;  Evin  Ksiezarczyk, OT, Buffalo;  Jaquarius  Landrews, SS, Mississippi State;  Kevin  McGill, DC, Eastern Michigan;   James  Morgan, QB, FIU;  Danny  Pinter, OT, Ball State;   Jason  Strowbridge, DE, North Carolina;  Stantley  Thomas- Oliver  III, FIU;  Adam  Trautman, TE, Dayton; and  Perry  Young, OB, Cincinnati.  
Players removed (for now) include  Tremayne Anchrum, OT, Clemson;  J'Von  Brown, OG, Central Connecticut St.;  Josh  Brown, OB, Florida St.;  Kameron  Brown, WO, Charleston Southern;  Chris  Evans, OH, Michigan;  Victor  Johnson, OT, Appalachian St.;  Nigel  Kirby, TE, Southern Illinois;  Isiah  Swann, DC, Dartmouth;  Jake  Verity, PK, East Carolina; and  Garrett  Williams, FB, Clemson. 
So how did so many players fall out of favor during the summer? There are a variety of reasons. Part of it is input from our in-house team, the  ITL Scouting Department. Some of it is input from our friends in the scouting community; Appalachian State's Johnson is "very raw," while Dartmouth's Swann is "just a camp guy" and Anchrum is "not rated as high as the media thinks," according to our sources. Others have cut themselves either by  leaving the college game or  facing lengthy suspensions. On the other hand, we've seen players added to watch lists,  get love in preseason publications, or otherwise catch the eyes of scouts or raise their profiles. Even the total number of players, 250, is written in pencil as our team falls in and out of love with players in the draft class. That's why we had to add 12 while cutting 10. Bottom line, it's a work in progress.
Stay with us as we continue sorting through the 2020 draft class and focusing on the best the class has to offer. In the meantime, here's a look at what else we saw, heard, read and said in the business of college and pro football this week.
XFL vs. AAF: The upstart XFL gets a dress rehearsal of sorts this weekend as it debuts its Summer Showcases, a series of tryouts, starting today in Dallas and Saturday in Houston. Much like its fallen counterpart, the Alliance of American Football, the league is well-stocked with former college and pro administrators, scouts and coaches, and has a TV deal in hand as well as plenty of positive press. Still, given the way the AAF fell flat after promising early attendance and ratings, is the idea of a new league still viable? We reached out to several of our friends in the business who have worked in both leagues, asking this question:  You have worked for the NFL and other top football organizations. Having watched one of the most credible alternative leagues of recent memory fail before completing its first season, what is it about the XFL that makes you feel it could be different?All three of our respondents were bullish on what's ahead, based on what they've seen so far. "I think Vince McMahon going through this once and knowing what did not work the first time (is the difference)," said one source. "I think it is a lot more about quality football this time around. They have taken their time to make sure good football people are in place, (and) lots of details have been thought through this time. I am sure there still will be things that go wrong, but there are a lot of sharp, good football people who worked in the NFL prior that are making good decisions for the XFL." Another said he likes the emphasis on football, and nothing else. "First impression of XFL is that at this stage in process there is more emphasis on getting the football right and not as many peripheral projects taking away manpower and money. Coaching staffs already in place, personnel staffs already in place on June 1 in XFL. That did not happen until November in AAF. Bill Polian always had to push the importance of the football part; he knew we were behind." The same scout said he's seen agents and players more receptive to the XFL, perhaps because of leftover goodwill from the AAF. "At this stage in process there are players and agents who are more receptive to XFL than they were AAF," he said. "Not sure why. Some sat around a year and got nothing, while guys who played in AAF are on NFL rosters now." A third scout said "better funding and the ability to start earlier should help." Like everyone else in the football world, we're rooting for the league and the many friends in the game who are hoping to make the venture a success. Here's to good weather, great field conditions and generally smooth sailing as Dallas and Houston kick things off this weekend.
Humbled: ITL's Neil Stratton has collaborated with  Matt Manocherian of Sports Info Solutions many times ( he was the keynote speaker at our 2017 ITL Combine Seminar and was  a panelist at the '18 seminar), so it was no big deal when Matt reached out and asked Neil to be a guest on the  Off the Charts Podcast he co-hosts. On Wednesday, Matt and Neil had a lengthy, conversation about NFL front offices, the importance of the preseason, the NFL's blind spots when hiring scouts and administrators, and plenty of other deep insider topics. It wasn't a lot different from the kind of conversation they'd have while waiting for a flight to arrive or over a beer in Indianapolis, but this time, they taped it,  publishing it Thursday afternoon. Thanks to  a timely and incredibly kind endorsement from Rotoworld's  Evan Silva, the podcast caught fire (and produced 200 new followers to  the ITL Twitter account in about 12 hours). If you're interested in how teams fill their vacancies, line up their scouting staffs, value and apprise GM candidates, and other topics,  check it out. And oh, by the way, if you're more into words, check out our blog post that prompted the conversation in  Succeed in Football.
Scouting Changes Grid: "If you were to say, give me a guy that won't get fired, he would be in my top five names of guys that wouldn't get fired." That text summed up the shock of people across the football community after the news broke this afternoon that the Texans had fired  Brian Gaine, who had been on the job less than two years and was generally considered to be personally selected by head coach  Bill O'Brien. What did Gaine do wrong? Who's next in Houston? We don't know on both counts. As far as what went wrong, the Texans put out  a rather sanitized, bland and meaningless statement. We've heard there were problems between Gaine and O'Brien, and that Gaine was also estranged from others in the front office. As far as who's next,  we've got a few ideas, but at this point, we don't have any insights to truly hang our hats on. In the meantime, we've made reflected the change in our  Scouting Changes Grid. It's a move we never could have envisioned, and we eagerly wait to hear who the next captain of Houston's front office will be. 
In other scouting news: Though scouting changes are winding down, we still chronicled breaking hires this week on our Twitter feed. On Wednesday, we had the news that  Quentus Cumby had returned to the Bay Area as a pro scoutfor the Raiders; he previously spent more than a decade on the pro side with the 49ers. We also discussed  how the dominoes fellthat created an opening for ex-Raiders college director  Shaun Herockto land in Cleveland. We also had  the latest hire in Dallasand  two promotions in Philadelphia's scouting department. We'll keep our ears to the ground as the scouting world continues to turn, especially after the latest spin out of the Bayou City.
NCAA Head Coaches with Agents: This week, about a month earlier than we normally publish it, we had a complete listing of all college head coaches with their agents. Or at least we tried: we still have 11 blanks that we're working on filling, while also looking to make sure we don't have any names in the wrong places. In the meantime, check out our first stab at the 2019 lineup  here.
Rep Rumblings: This week's news was mostly dominated by scouting developments, with a dash of XFL news.  On Monday, we tied up a few loose ends in Dallas, as well as scouting assistant movement in Atlanta and Oakland as well as a few other moves. We also had a pending XFL scouting hire and other buzz.  On Wednesday, we broke the news that the Dallas-based Ballengee Group had merged with Hattiesburg, Miss.-based BC Sports. It's one of the biggest mergers on the NFL agency front in recent memory, and creates an agency with almost 50 active NFL clients. We also looked at scouting hires in Oakland and Dallas; an exit in Minnesota plus speculation on who's moving up for the Vikings; a departure from Michigan by a former NFL evaluator; and another XFL hire.  On Thursday,we had unexpected good news for all NFLPA-licensed contract advisors: the controversial continue education exam looks like it might have been a one-and-done proposition, at least based on the information we've gathered from sources across the game. We also looked at a handful of agencies that are expanding as well as more scouting moves in Philadelphia (see above) and New York. If you want to keep up with the game, make sure you're reading our signature reports. You can do that by clicking  here
Next week: By now, we had expected things to have cooled down on the scouting front. On the contrary, looks like that's one of the topics we'll be looking at next week in our  Rep Rumblings. We'll also look at the players invited to the XFL's showcase tryouts, the latest hires in Washington, D.C., and Houston for the new league, and whatever else is buzz-worthy. In addition, there's recruiting news, all-star directors to hire, and more. We'll be on the case. In newsletter action, we're coaching the parents of the 2020 draft class in the  ITL Newsletter on the NFL Draft Process, and we're schooling (and encouraging) the next agent class with the  ITL Rising Contract Advisor Newsletter. This week, after profiling Eric Shane last Thursday, we'll talk to Anthony Larubbio, Jumaane Ford and Chad Berger. All four of them landed a player on a 90-man roster in their first year certified, and as members of #TeamITL, we're pretty proud of them. We'll also look at five more schools ( Fresno State, Georgia, Georgia State, Georgia Southern and Georgia Tech) in our  Profile Reports, and we'll be back with another edition of our blog for people aspiring to work in the industry,  Succeed in Football.We're also offering  a study guide and two examsfor people getting ready for the NFLPA exam, as well as a book that tells parents all they need to know about the draft process. Headed to the pool? Getting ready to enjoy a nice beverage? We aren't either. The football business never stops, not even in the summer.  Let's work together

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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