by Jack Bechta
April 24, 02010
As I watch the draft, I always get a good chuckle when I see an agent pick up the phone when the TV camera goes on him. He wants to give the world and his client the impression he’s working the phones and manipulating the draft process. Sorry to break the news, but it’s all window dressing.
A lot of agents like to make people think they’re working hard for their clients throughout draft weekend. It’s all a bunch a bull. Yep, I let the cat out of the bag: Agents are not in control of the draft as we’d like everyone to believe.
There are a few cases where an agent for a high-profile pick baits a team into picking his guy over a similar player because he tells a team he’ll do a fair deal and get it done quickly. I’ll note that I have never represented a top-10 pick so I can’t say I know everything that goes on, but I have never heard of a situation where an agent orchestrated a move that made a GM do something he didn’t want to do.
So what are we doing?
The location: As I watched the first round unfold, I noticed several agents melting into the background of their clients’ homes -- with the exception of Drew Rosenhaus, of course, who was front and center, wisely exposing his brand to next year’s class.
The first thing an agent has to decide is where to be and who to be with on draft day. If you have a client who was invited to New York, you go with him. Many of the big agents/agencies representing multiple high picks tell their other clients that they have to be there. They really don’t, but that’s what they tell the ones who aren’t invited to New York. If an agent decides to spend draft day with his highest-rated client, regardless of where he is on draft day, he risks sending the wrong message to his other prospects. The bottom line is that the draft is controlled by the general managers and head coaches, not the agents. However, that pendulum swings the other way to the agents when contract time rolls around.
Our real job on draft days: To be a clearing house of information for our clients, their families, the media and NFL teams. Sure, we sell the media that our clients are going to go higher than projected in the hope a gullible team might buy it. But we have to set proper expectations and keep our clients constantly informed and relaxed.
Contrary to popular belief, GMs and head coaches don’t call agents during the draft and debate what decisions are being made in their war rooms. As a matter of fact, some GMs steer clear of players with agents who have histories of long holdouts.
Now, we do work hard in getting our guys ready for the combine, pro days, interviews and media interviews. It’s our job to prepare them for their rookie season. But for the most part, we’re watching draft day just like the rest of the world.
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