The relationship between NFL scouts and agents by Neil Stratton

The relationship between SCOUTS AND AGENTS

The relationship between scouts and agents is tricky, and it’s important to understand how information flows around the league.

Connections: Every year, agents and financial planners get certified by the NFLPA expecting some sort of special insights into identifying prospects, or at least a way to build bridges with NFL talent evaluators, but it doesn’t come. Just being a certified contract advisor doesn’t give agents inside information on top players; there’s no secret website they have access to, and they don’t have a password that gets them passage to NFL war rooms. I don’t say this to denigrate agents. It’s just that it’s important to know that just having an agent doesn’t guarantee a player a place on a roster, or any kind of special guidance. An agent’s access to scouts is a function mainly of how long he’s been in the game and what relationships he’s been able to build.

“Scouts are telling me. . .”: In August, there’s very little reason for scouts to be talking to agents. That’s not to say it doesn’t happen, but it’s a lot more rare than many agents let on. The whole reason that most scouts talk to agents is because they represent a player that scouts have interest in. From January until March, there’s a good bit of communication between agents and scouts as NFL teams work to find out details about injuries, workout schedules, all-star appearances, contact info and the like. Come April and May, scouts go back into their shells as they try to keep their interest level in specific players secret. I say all of this because you may get approached by low-level agents, or even runners, who seek to gain favor by claiming that NFL teams are clamoring after you or your son. Be very wary of this. Often, when agents say that they’re “hearing” information, it’s just something they found on the Web, and they’re just trying to curry favor with you.

More on National and BLESTO: Earlier, we mentioned the two organizations that give subscribing teams their initial lists of prospects going into the season. Often, when agents say they have inside info, they’re referring to information off these lists. Even though all information from National Football Scouting and BLESTO is proprietary and only shared illegally, these lists tend to fall to agents and people around the game (especially the BLESTO list). If an agent tells you that you or your son is rated somewhere, this is probably what he means. Don’t get too encouraged or discouraged by these grades. These ratings are not the last word, and have a definite shelf life. The grade that either of these services gives a player the May preceding his senior season often has very little bearing on where the player is drafted a full year later. In fact, there have been years when the top-rated player in May isn’t even drafted the following April. These grades are strictly a starting point, and everyone in the league understands this going in. You should, too.

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 $25/month, and you can cancel at any time.

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