Last week, newly signed 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman boasted about how easy his contract negotiations had been and said there was no need for an agent. Even though industry insiders felt he left money on the table and the NFLPA had to step in to restructure his contract for concepts he had missed, it is a player’s prerogative to be happy accepting any contract he wishes.
This week, though, Sherman expanded his crusade against agents in support of Louisville quarterback Lamar Jackson’s decision not to use one in the pre-draft process.
We wanted to know the ways in which a skilled and respected agent, with a track record of guiding players to the top of the draft and a network of relationships with NFL franchises, can be helpful in the scouting process. It’s important to remember that once the collegiate season ends and the bowl games finish, an elaborate second season of scouting begins. There are no rules governing which parts a player participates in. We had a chance to ask Jesse Foreman and get his take on all things NFL.
- Having access to accurate scouting. Before that second season of scouting, teams already have data and ratings on each prospective player. Agents get these and take a non-defensive and clear-headed look at what teams perceive to be the drawbacks and weaknesses of a player. The key is constructing a draft plan that will present a different picture.
- Designing a draft plan. Understanding what things need work — like injuries, strength, speed, physicality, the chalkboard or footwork obstacles — allows a skilled agent to design a day-by-day program through April that utilizes every scouting event to maximize the chance that teams will fall in love with a player.
- Finding the right training environment. Advances in nutrition, weight and speed training can maximize a player’s performance in all of the testing involved in scouting. Agents have relationships and track records with multiple trainers. Certain positions need specialized work. Quarterback training has become an art; offensive and defensive lines involve different skills. These training centers, as well as agents, can carefully prepare a player for interactions with teams at the combines, at campus workouts and on visits to franchises. Agents or training centers prepare a player for intelligence tests, like the Wonderlic test, that are administered by teams.