How do agents find new clients?

An agent of 25 years reveals how he and others identify potential clients. Jack Bechta

Print This September 26, 2012, 06:30 PM EST

Do agents rely on draftniks?

Absolutely they do. Not all agents have a conduit to scouts so they rely on the list from guys like Russ Lande, Mel Kiper or Todd McShay. Although these draftniks do a good job in identifying prospects, they don’t always get the details on work ethic, character, intelligence and social skills until after the all-star games and Combine. Agents need this information prior to a player’s junior or senior year.

Where do college coaches come in?

College coaches are a great source of information on players. Agents who also represent coaches, many of them and they are quick to give the agent the good, bad and ugly on their players. A now deceased agent, Gary Wichard, was the master at this. He would represent some college coaches for free if they would recommend and even funnel him players. Of course this was against NCAA rules but was rampant throughout college football. The incident at North Carolina has greatly curbed this practice.

The Combine list

Each and every year the National Football Scouting Combine (NFS) hits every campus in the country to get height, weight, speed and other measurables on all prospective seniors. They watch film and gather medical information about players. They give players a grade based on the impact they can potentially make in the NFL. Each sheet on a player will include both on and off field incidents, background on the parents, progress made, or not made in school, wonderlic scores and even phone numbers. This list used to be like gold to an agent. However, the list is harder to get as the NFS has done everything in their power to limit the access to it now in order to try to prevent personal information about the player hitting the streets, and protect proprietary information. In addition, some head college coaches got wise to this problem years ago and instructed their players not to list their phone numbers on the NFS info data sheet they were asked to fill out. 

Do your current clients help?

Absolutely! They can be a great help as an introducing reference. I use current clients to find out personal things about their former teammates. All agents rely on help from their clients. It’s a good natural referral source.

Matching your personality

I personally do very well with the blue-collar type, mid-west kid whose parents are involved in the process. I stay away from the SEC because its too far away and the area is littered with aggressive agents. I really press scouts for intel on a players’ work ethic, character, intelligence and his football instincts. Of course we all want high draft picks but at times, I will happily pursue a guy who may be a little shorter than the desired height (Pat Angerer, Tim Dwight), or went to a small school and is off the radar (Jermane Mayberry, Al Harris), or who is projected as a mid to late rounder or even a free agent (Mat McBriar, Tyler Sash, Ricky Stanzi) but has the potential to blossom into an all pro player or even a house hold name.

Follow me on Twitter: @Jackbechta

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