This weekend marks the realization of your dream. Congratulations. For the guys that get drafted, the procedure is simple: sit and wait until a team picks you. But for those guys projected to be 7th round guys, or Undrafted Free Agents (UFA), the experience can be way more stressful. So today, I’ll be sharing 6 tips that can help things go a little smoother for the guys that will be entering the NFL Undrafted this weekend.
1. Be patient. I know that putting on an NFL helmet is something that you’ve always wanted to do, and you’re anxious, but trust in your agent, and let him do his job. When, and if, the calls start coming-in after the draft, trust the plan that your agent has in-place regarding how to choose between offers.
Try not to panic and put unnecessary pressure on your agent by urging him to jump on any specific offer… unless the phones aren’t ringing much. If that’s the case, you need to take what you can get..
2. Don’t be swayed by signing bonus amounts. One of the biggest mistake guys that are headed into the NFL undrafted make is pick an offer based on who offers the highest signing bonus.
Your agent’s plan should include a detailed list of the roster depth at your position for every team in the NFL, or at least for the team’s that have shown interest up to this point. If you’re a player getting multiple offers, your decision should be based on which team gives you the best chance to make the roster, not on how much signing bonus money they’re offering.
Think about it: would you rather get $15,000 and get cut during training camp, or get $5,000, and make the team?
Most players watch the draft from home instead of Radio City Music Hall.
3. Urge your agent to be firm with teams. When NFL teams are trying to fill a specific position with Undrafted Free Agents after the draft, they normally have a first, second, and a third choice player that they’re pursuing.
If you’re a second or third choice, they’ll try to keep you wrapped around their finger until they find out whether or not they’re going to be able to get their number one guy. Now this is important, because if you like this team, and think you’re going to definitely be signing with them, you might turn-down other offers, only to find out later that their offer is no longer valid, if they were able to sign their number one choice.
When you get a call, remind your agent to ask them flat-out if you’re not a team’s number one guy or not. Yes, they can and will lie, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. If they say yes, your agent can try to call their bluff by asking them to tell him about you. If you’re truly their number one choice, they know about you.
4. Avoid talking to the head coach. Think about it: You, an impressionable, eager, 23-year-old young man, on the phone with a Bill Belichick. Do you really think you’re going to be able to tell him no? Probably not. Do you think he knows that? Absolutely.
If you get a call from a head coach, as exciting as it is, it’s in your best interest to kindly and politely tell him that he’s going to have to speak to your agent. You don’t want to let your emotions persuade you into a decision that you may regret later, when the emotions have worn-off.
5. Don’t believe promises. Things change minute-by-minute during the draft for NFL teams; players that were expected to be off the board are still available, and quite often, teams just flat-out change their minds on a whim.
To begin with, even if a team did tell your agent that they were going to take you in a certain spot, it’s not in his best interest to relay that information to you, because when it doesn’t happen, guess who you’re going to be mad at?
6. Give strong consideration to teams with new coaches. Historically, new coaches are more likely to want to “clean house” and give new players more of a shot. I’m not saying to definitely pick a team for this reason only, but it should certainly be part of the equation, if you’re a guy with multiple offers.
Entering the NFL undrafted as an Undrafted Free Agent may be your only shot at playing in the NFL. It’s vital to choose wisely.
The odds are against you getting another shot.
What do you think is the most important factor to consider when choosing an offer? If you’re a current or former player that came-into the NFL Undrafted what was the deciding factor for you when it came to choosing an offer? Leave your comments!