There are so many questions surrounding the upcoming football season in wake of the Big Ten and the PAC-12 canceling their football seasons, with hopes of “picking up in the Spring.” While there is an entire argument on whether football should happen or not, not to mention the rise of the #WeWantToPlay movement, it’s still clear that prospects looking to enter the NFL after this season don’t have a clear choice ahead of them.
A public conversation with Mark Bailey, the head of the 1st Down Sports Agency, on Twitter revealed that agents are leaning toward telling players not to play in the spring.
Draft grade and canceled season… start training.— Mark Bailey (@markbailey302) August 12, 2020
Draft grade and season still on…. play!
PFA or FA grade, be patient, stay enrolled and working out and plan to play or reevaluate once we know what spring looks like.
Bailey’s comments are pretty much in line with NFL scouts, as Angry Scout on Twitter discussed previously. He thinks that spring football, regardless of who you are, is a horrible idea.
My advice to all players right now. Sit out if your school plays in spring and return for fall 2021 or sit out and train for draft. NFL needs to make a decision this month on draft so players can plan. Playing in spring will be brutal. Trust me. Refuse spring football. Too risky— AngryNFLScoutVet (@AngryScoutVet) August 12, 2020
After hearing what these two had to say, I went around the league and reached out to several agents, asking for what advice that they would have to give to players.
There are really and truly two different levels of advice to give. An agent is going to give a high-level prospect different advice than what he is giving Undrafted John Dear. That’s just common sense.
Higher Level Prospects
The advice for higher-level prospects seems to be pretty consensus: skip the spring. Let’s break this down quickly.
It’s not worth the risk of getting injured on the field to play this spring before the NFL Draft. An injury takes time to rehab and an injury could force you to miss the 2021 season. That can (and will) knock you down a few rounds in the NFL Draft, and that’s a lot of money that we are talking about losing.
For most of these higher-level prospects, it’s not worth it to play football even this fall – if your conference is still on to play. With all of the uncertainty around the season and it’s safety, it will be (in most cases) better for prospects to skip out on the season. Six had already declared for the 2021 NFL Draft and opted-out of the 2020 college football season before the Big Ten and the PAC-12 canceled their seasons.
Late round/Free Agent prospects
Later round prospects, this situation becomes much more difficult. You see, later round guys need every break that they can get. Every game is valuable and provides the NFL a glimpse of what can be brought to their team. If you are a prospect in one of the conferences who have canceled fall football (Big Ten, PAC-12, Mountain West, MAC, Ivy League), do you play in the spring?
You see, there are risk factors associated with playing in the spring. As Angry Scout said, the spring is too risky because of injury, and trying to cram two seasons into one year is brutal on the body. Yes, this goes in two ways – as a returning football player and as a prospect entering the Draft. As Angry Scout said, “Refuse spring football.”
This will have to be something that the conferences, whether they want to acknowledge this or not, will have to consider. Moving football to the spring severely limits the length and duration of the season. Coaches still have to have time to prepare athletes for the upcoming season and give their current players time to rest.
That is why the decision for senior players trying to figure out what to do with their career while facing spring football is so difficult. These school presidents, who’s main priority should be to create the best opportunities for students to advance their lives, have bowed to the hands of the mainstream “Coronabros” media and given their students an impossible situation.
What’s you can expect to happen
All-Star Games, assuming that they happen, are going to have another level of intensity and necessity to them, especially if many senior players opt to pursue their NFL dreams. Potentially, there can be an overflow of talent at these games due to underclassmen who can be made eligible to participate in these events due to a shutdown season. Senior Bowl director and former NFL scout, Jim Nagy, told me publicly that it’s not the event staff’s decision to make.
Not our call.— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) August 12, 2020
Presumably, that decision is on the NFL and what they want to see at the game. Hopefully, the NFL will start making these types of decisions within the month. Think about how much better the All-Star games outside of the Senior Bowl would be, between the Shrine Bowl, the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, and the Hula Bowl.
As Angry Scout pointed out a few days ago, there are so many decisions that have to be made and they all hinge around the NFL and their decisions, who have thus far been silent.
I’m about to make some real comments that would get me fired for speaking up but it’s time. Goodell and our owners need to do their damn jobs and make decisions on the draft, combine, etc right now!!! Players need to know schedule to decide if they would play in spring or not.— AngryNFLScoutVet (@AngryScoutVet) August 9, 2020
So should prospects skip the Spring? If I am listening to these experts, I think that choice is very clear.