As more post-season all-star games have begun to dot the NFL pre-draft landscape, the decision of whether or not to play has taken on much greater significance. In addition to long-time standbys such as the Senior Bowl and Shrine Game, fledgling games such as the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Medal of Honor Bowl and College Gridiron Showcase have offered an even greater number of draft-eligible players a prized platform to showcase their skills to NFL teams. While receiving an invitation to an all-star game is a tremendous honor, it may or may not be conducive to furthering a player’s NFL prospects.
When determining the overall value to your client of playing in an all-star game or not, an agent must always remember that there are three possible outcomes of participating in an all-star game…and two are bad. Your client could simply have a bad week of practice and hurt his draft stock. Or, your client could get hurt which would limit his training or altogether prevent him from participating in his pre-draft workouts at the Combine or his pro day. The best case scenario is that your client has a stellar week of practice and improves his draft stock, but even then, the ultimate effect on his draft grade must be tempered by the level of competition at the game. That is why it is imperative to examine the roster of your client’s team before committing to play in an all-star game.
A premium is placed on practices at post-season all-star games so it behooves an agent to make sure that the level of competition on the opposite side of the ball on his client’s own team is good enough to justify the risk of playing in the game. For instance, if you are representing a cornerback, you want to make sure the receivers on your client’s team are good enough to legitimize a strong week of all-star game practices. The same analysis holds true for other positions, including defensive ends and offensive tackles, outside linebackers and tight ends and defensive tackles and interior offensive linemen. Now, if you are a Division II player who receives an invite to an all-star game, then it makes sense to participate because you’ll be playing up to a higher level of competition than was shown on tape from your senior season. Conversely, if you are a highly productive multi-year starter for a big-time program from the SEC, Big Ten, ACC, Pac 12 and Big 12 (the “Big 5”), other than the Senior Bowl and possibly the Shrine Game, participating in any of the newer all-star games is a decision that must be painstakingly evaluated with the level of competition scrutinized with a fine-toothed comb, because you will likely be playing to an equal or even inferior level of competition from the competition you faced all season long. If tape from your senior season against Big 5 conference competition jumps off the screen, then the risk of playing in a newer all-star game outweighs any possible benefit that could be gained.
An excerpt from the book “My Brother’s Keeper: Above and Beyond The Dotted Line with the NFL’s Most Ethical Agent” by Eugene Lee on sale now at Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and iBooks.