NFL training camps are back in session, and while that means it's back to work for everyone in the NFL, it means fans across the nation are setting aside sales, reports and meetings to get a better feel for their favorite teams' rookies. Will the newest draft picks be immediate difference-makers? Will they be busts? The faithful want to know.
Unfortunately, some NFL scouts say it's fruitless to expect such answers so soon. Others, however, say you can get a pretty good idea rather quickly. We got a very mixed response when we asked scouts across the league this question:
Can you get a good idea of how good your draft was from training camp? By the time you get a few weeks in, do you already know who your hits and misses are?
We got about a dozen responses, and they were split pretty much down the middle.
The 'no crowd said the sample size isn't sufficient to make any forecasts.
"You can get a feel for the players, sure, but I think it takes time to evaluate it as a whole," said one. "A small training camp look isn't the full picture in my opinion. After Year 1, you should know."
"I think you start leaning towards hit and misses for sure, but it's very early in the development process and some guys do take more time than others," said another. "Athletic traits stick out early in
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camp, which can create some knee-jerk reactions, but at some point, scheme/FBI and how guys respond to live bullets (preseason games) comes into play, which starts to determine hits and misses as well."
Others said you could measure some things, but not really football acumen: "Just can tell if they came in out of shape more than anything." Still others said that limited contact meant limited ability to evaluate: "Don't really know until it gets real." Otherwise, "it's not the end of the world" if they start off slowly.
On the other hand, some scouts said that though the sample size is small, the ability to see a player up against professionals, in your own system, gives you a pretty good idea of who can play and who can't. While they were measured in their responses, they were sure they could see things that count.
- "You will have a pretty good idea who can contribute and who will need some time to develop."
- "Obviously, some guys are late bloomers, and so it's not always easy to make that determination on guys that look meh. But busts usually stand out right away."
- "It doesn't take long to an experienced eye. Now, personnel people who are stubborn and don't want to admit or see their own mistakes can't make that distinction. But it shows up quickly when they integrate with the veterans. Some plays can surprise in a positive way and outperform their initial grade."
- "Yes, especially with skills players. You can tell early on through drills whether the players have the speed and athleticism you thought they had when you drafted them. Lineman may take a while. Need to see them in live game action. I think teams get an early indication of who can help them this year, which players are talented, but may take a while, practice squad candidates, and if they are honest with themselves, the ones they missed on."
At the end of the day, it's probably a matter of degrees, as one scout pointed out.
"The 'for sure' ones - yes!," he said. "The rest, ask me after the season! Late draft choices have to prove that they can play special teams to have a helmet on game day! 46 helmets on Sunday ball."
Here's a look at what else we saw, heard, read and said in a busy week of getting back to business in the football world.
The ITL Scouting Department:
This week alone, we'll deliver more than 10 reports on '19 draft prospects, all delivered four days or less and at prices of $50 for short reports (best to give an agent a quick look at a player's pro potential) and $100 for long reports (written as if it was to be presented to a team, and more suitable for showing to players and their parents). We'll be losing members of our team to the AAF soon, so time's a-wasting if you're looking to get an insider's look at the players you are considering recruiting this fall.
Hit us up
and we'll get started putting together a fair package for you.
2019 Contact List:
This week, we reached out to more than 100 members of the 2020 draft class, true juniors and redshirt sophomores who are candidates for the '19 draft, if all goes well. We gathered contacts for the parents of 20 more players, and this weekend, we'll be sorting them into our Contact List and shipping it out to those trainers, financial professionals, agent and others who have already purchased our list. With more confirmed contacts than ever, and an expanded look at underclassmen who are probably entering their respective 'senior years,' it's our best one yet in the three years we've offered it. Want in? Got questions?
Let us know.
We had three reports this week, with most of our focus on the email sent out last week introducing the Pro Football Agents Association and its attempts to address issues facing contract advisors and how the NFLPA can address them.
Monday, we had an overview of the email
Tuesday, we focused more on the benefits of the changes
proposed by the PFAA.
Wednesday, we were back to our regular 'programming'
as we passed along the latest agency getting out of the football business, looked at an interesting redshirt junior who could be leaving early (and what person will be part of the vetting process), another college coach-agent relationship and recruiting buzz. We'll have more of the same next week. Our 2018 Rep Rumblings are all
Agents by Total Clients - July:
Oh, about the list. This month, we identified 133 contract advisors with at least 10 clients on active rosters. Of that 133, 50 have 20 or more and just 16 have 30 or more. The median number is 10 clients; 14 contract advisors have that many, while 12 others have 15 and 10 have 11. By the way, only 120 agents had 10 or more clients last year, so the numbers are moving in the right direction if you're a young professional trying to move up in the business. Check out this month's report
(and if you want to look at last year's July report, click
We'd hoped to bounce back from our sluggish July with an extra five reports this week. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. We took a look at five schools - Missouri and N.C. State on Tuesday, Nebraska on Wednesday, Nevada on Thursday and UNLV today - but we weren't able to catch up. We'll try again next week, as we have nine weeks to get in 56 schools. We're gonna have to roll up our sleeves. Next up are New Mexico, New Mexico State, North Carolina, North Texas and Northern Illinois, at the least. Here's hoping we'll be able to quicken the pace from here on out. As always, click
for a look at all our reports so far this year.
Succeed in Football:
Today, we looked back at Agent Week 2018. Our post included a look at our survey and the results we got back on test-takers' satisfaction with our
agent prep materials
, as well as presenting info gathered on this year's seminar and exam, and what they'd like to see changed. All in all, the news was good and there were few surprises. Though the PA didn't get straight A's, most of the people we talked to said there were few curveballs and that they were tested fairly. Have a look at our blog post
, and for all our posts
since June 2014, click here
The ITL Newsletter on the NFL Draft Process:
Our series for parents of NFL draft prospects returns next week. It's our second trip through our four-week series aimed at preparing parents to prepare their sons for the next step. We'll introduce Inside the League, look at the eight months leading up to the draft, and have two editions on where NFL scouts come from and what they do. It's a time-tested and proven series that has left many parents more informed and ready to help their sons (
). And best of all, it's free! Want in? Just
let us know
and we'll add you.
We're almost into August, so there are things we need to get done before the summer's out. Let's start with the
2019 Contact List
. We'll fine-tune it this weekend and have our updated list done on Monday. Want in? Good idea.
Let us know
. We've also fallen way behind on our
. It's probably too much for us to catch up completely next week, but we'll try to get at least one under our belt. We'll try. The other glaring area where we're lagging is on our
. With 13 weeks to go, we're about 11 schools (more than two weeks) behind. We won't catch up completely, but hopefully, we'll catch up some this week. We're getting closer to updating our
Scouts Grid by Team
, as well, so we'll be reaching out to our contacts at schools around the nation soon to verify who's going where with what team. You pretty much know the rest. We'll have something for the people who hope to be in the game someday in our
Succeed in Football blog
, and we'll have more news from around the industry that you can only find through us in our
ITL Scouting Department
will be watching film and filling out reports, and we'll kick off another round of the
ITL Newsletter on the NFL Draft Process
on Monday. Like you, we'll be working hard next week. Like us, we hope you'll be
part of ITL.