If you should ask every college athlete who is getting ready to enter the draft if he had a childhood dream of playing professional football, his answer would be yes. And after all, a college athlete getting ready to enter the NFL Draft has partially realized half of his childhood dreams. Whether he is a Heisman Trophy candidate or slated to go in the 7th round, every draft prospect has his idea of how it will be after the draft and during the season.
It has well been documented that the road to the NFL draft is one filled with hope and expectations. And most times, what happens in between the draft and the season is what we have never really addressed with athletes looking to us as their agents for advice.
First of all many dreams sometimes come up short, while others are fulfilled. First round draft prospects fall to the sixth rounds and fifth round athletes get drafted in the second round. So how does an athlete overcome the obstacles and continue towards their childhood dream, if the draft does not measure up to their expectation? One word – PREPARATION.
They say when preparation meets opportunity success is realized, but I would go even further to encourage any prospective client to put these five Ps to work – “Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance”. These five words should be the basis by which every athlete should exist. From the moment the athlete decides to enter the draft, he should have decided upon a reputable agent, who will advice him on his options going into the draft. The athlete should also decide how he will prepare for the combines and his college pro day.
The agent can be very instrumental and resourceful with pre-draft preparation and should be available to the athlete during this process. Of course, every athlete wants the best agent, but having the best agent who is not available to you can be the difference between success and failure. The agent you choose sometimes is the foundation for your success, as the relationship between the pro team and your prospective agent can also make the difference. Since your reputation and your skills are the two biggest selling points, your agent is expected to have the same.
So you are equipped with your agent, your training for the combines and prop day is in progress. Your next matter of business should be discussing your draft options with your agent…what if you did not get drafted? What would be your next move? You should always be exploring your other options, if for some unforeseen reason draft day passes by.
The job of a professional athlete is a professional one and should be treated like a nine-five. You have to spend time as an athlete researching about the general managers and coaching staff of the teams that are showing interest in you. Do not leave everything up to your agent, as some of these teams might fly you in for a visit and interact with you without your agent being present.
Your reputation on and off the field can be critical to where you are positioned on draft day, so it would be in your best interest as a draft prospect to keep your nose clean. You still have to show that you have more than just playing skills and great physical talent. Be careful of the advice you listen as some might be good and some could prove detrimental. Work with your family and your agent to see what is right for you and what best fits your situation.
Professional football is hard work and should not be taken as a walk in the park. Athlete should employ patience in all their everyday activities, because you always one pick away from being number, one pick away from the last, one pick away from being an undrafted free agent and the next guy who has to take the long way in through the CFL or AFL. Whichever way you go, make and leave a lasting impression. Be Patient, be punctual, be humble, choose the right people in your corner, create and maintain a great relationship with your agent and make sure that agent does the same for you.