July 31, 2018

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.
10 Months: An Overview
This may be a little elementary, but we wanted to set the table by providing a quick overview of the schedule for draft hopefuls from summer (in August, when camps start) until April, when the 2019 NFL draft takes place.
August: NFL scouts are in camp with their teams, evaluating their own rosters so they'll know what their needs are. Many established agents among the nearly 800 registered NFLPA agents continue building relationships with top prospects -- most of them first reached out in January or February -- while those who took the exam in July await test results. Some 'street runners' approach top players.
September/October/November: As the college season gains steam, NFL teams send staffs of 4-10 road scouts all over the nation, their better scouts concentrated in the Southeast, Midwest and Southwest, and less seasoned scouts in the Northeast and Northwest. In October, those who took the agent test in July begin to receive their results and pay their dues. Some of the bigger agencies begin recruiting around late October, waiting until as late as possible (November, sometimes even December) to tip their hands. College all-star games start inviting players, and typically have 10-20 invitations accepted by the end of November.
December: NFL scouts return to their teams, compare notes, and begin to assemble their draft boards before fanning out again for bowl season. Non-bowl FCS players and non-playoff FBS players who were recruited by agents start to sign. Those who weren't recruited begin calling agents, hoping to sign with one. The four top college all-star games begin vying for top talent, while the 'self-sponsored' all-star games (i.e., pay to play) are played this month with mostly D2, NAIA and DIII players. Also, invitations begin to the combine. This process, which used to take place over about three weeks, now takes place over about two months as organizers deeply vet character issues and criminal records before extending formal invitations.
January: This is when the 'pre-draft season' really begins in earnest. By the end of this month, about 500 players will have played in major all-star games attended by NFL personnel. Also, by February, about 95 percent of all top NFL prospects will have signed with agents. Also, combine prep facilities welcome players.
February: All-star games are completed by the beginning of this month. Combine prep training continues before the NFL combine takes place at the end of the month for about 350 invitees. Invitations are announced publicly early this month. The first terminations of agents take place. NFL teams assemble their pre-combine draft boards, then descend on Indianapolis.
March:  'Pro days' take place across America, and about 2,500 seniors and declared underclassmen are evaluated in a series of drills 
by scouts on their own campuses. NFL teams finalize their draft boards. This is probably the most critical month for players as most evaluation is completed and 'final grades' are assembled.
April:  The 2019 NFL Draft takes place over three days. For about 72 hours after the draft, NFL teams fill in their 90-man rosters with undrafted free agents and 'tryout' players invited in for consideration as undrafted signees.  

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
Inside the League

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