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Four days at the Senior Bowl

Taking care of business and keeping an eye on clients. Jack Bechta

Print This January 28, 2010, 02:25 PM EST

I believe this year’s Senior Bowl makes it about 20 and counting for me. I’ve been on the road now for 14 consecutive days, and I’m finally headed home.

Each year I go to Mobile, Ala., I learn something new about the industry, make more contacts, strengthen my current relationships, appreciate the city more and come away a better agent.

I have one client this year who’s playing in the game, linebacker A.J. Edds from Iowa. A.J. is having a good week and definitely is helping his draft value. He’s clearly the biggest linebacker there at 6-3½ and 248 pounds. In addition, he can long snap. After each practice, there was a line of at least four teams that wanted to learn more about him. His evenings were filled with long, in-depth meetings with head coaches and general managers. Teams were impressed with his knowledge, charisma and versatility.

Defensive players from Iowa historically don’t get much hype because they play a very conservative defense in which every player has disciplined responsibilities and few liberties. As a result, many get more attention as pros (Jon Babineaux, Bob Sanders, Aaron Kampman) than as collegiate players. A.J. will be a starting NFL linebacker, and the Senior Bowl is helping to confirm it.

One question I kept hearing while down there, especially from scouts who covered the Big Ten, was: “Where is your other client, TE Tony Moeaki?” Many, including myself, were baffled why Tony was overlooked for an invite. Not taking anything away from the guys who were there, especially Ed Dickson of Oregon, who is clearly the best of the North squad, Tony is rated higher by scouts and is the full package when it comes to an every-down TE skill set.

To give you an idea what an agent’s time in Mobile might look like, here’s a snapshot of my week.

-- Dinner with A.J. at Wintzell’s Oyster House. The oyster sampler and the sweet-taters were incredible.

-- Lunch with a few of my coaching clients.

-- Had beers with four GMs and two salary cap managers. During one of these evenings, we got a chance to debate the labor issues. I found that no one believes anything will be done any time soon.

-- While sitting in the stands watching practice, I make it a point to visit with different scouts and/or directors to get some feedback on my 2010 draft class.

-- I seek out GMs and head coaches on teams where I have players and get some feedback and updates on their status and/or contract issues.

-- I speak to other agents and compare notes and recruiting stories. I get their opinions on labor issues and contract trends.

-- I started promoting my 2010 free agents by planting seeds now so I can follow up at the combine in late February.

-- I spent the rest of my time on the phone in hotel lobbies or my room doing usual client maintenance.

The weather this week was spectacular, so scouts and players got a lot out of it. By Thursday, nearly all agents, coaches and scouts take off as practices are toned down to just helmets and walk-throughs.

Finally home, I’ll watch the game in the comfort of my home or office on Saturday.

Follow me on Twitter: jackbechta

For more on the Senior Bowl, check out this article from Bleacher Report.

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