The varied “persona” of football agents; Drew, Joe and Offensive Linemen

CBS News “60 Minutes” did a piece on football agent Drew Rosenhaus in which it describes him as “the fast-talking, fast-texting man behind the scenes, the NFL super-agent who makes the deals and, he says, keeps the sport alive and thriving.”  Somewhere agent Peter Schaffer is throwing his remote at the TV.

My earlier post, Remind me again why NFL rookies need player representation?, pointed out “There are close to 1600 agents certified for player representation listed in the annual Contract Advisors Directory.  Realistically 12 control the really big money in the industry, well maybe 20.”  Rosenhaus falls into that category.

“A Shark Never Sleeps”

Taken from Wikipedia, Rosenhaus is described as follows;

“In a profession known for generally operating behind the scenes, Rosehaus is distinguished among his peers for his many prominent public appearances.  He serves as an analyst for Sprint Exclusive Entertainment, giving Sprint customers inside information on the wheeling and dealing going on in the NFL.  Rosenhaus is the only agent ever to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated.  He also was featured on HBO’s Real Sports and Inside the NFL.  Rosenhaus is one of the most recognizable agents who deals with professional football athletes.”

I absolutely agree, “a profession known for generally operating behind the scenes”.  Drew found the right combination of “actual” player representation and marketing theatrics to create, well Drew.  My 16 years of dealing with football agents, from Practice Squad contracts to multi-million dollar deals, found them to be somewhat of a “sidebar” industry; around at the necessary times to complete the legal aspects of contractual obligations, but “out of sight, out of mind” after that.

Somewhere there’s a reason

That’s not to say they don’t serve a legitimate purpose in the movement of NFL talent down the pipeline.  I like Drew, I genuinely do.  You know why?  He gets deals done.  As tough a negotiating persona as he’s developed, Rosenhaus was always one you could count on to cut through the proverbial #@%$ and get the player signed.  Drew, like many in the media as well, has made his “BIG $” living by the fabrication of a larger than life character intertwined into the NFL’s basic operating structure.

Necessary to “keep the sport alive and thriving”?  No.  Necessary evil?  Yes.

Fans will see RSR, Inc. representing just about every skilled player out of “The U”, along with the likes of Terrell Owens, Plaxico Burress and Donte’ Stallworth.

“More than one way to skin a cat”

There are football agents that DO operate in relative anonymity and yet still have a respected reputation for talent evaluation and representation.  They work quietly behind the scenes to ensure their clients get the proper recognition they deserve and doggedly pursue each & every opportunity available.  One that comes to mind is Joe Linta.

Linta entered the business roughly the same time as Rosenhaus.  A Yale graduate with his own tough guy negotiating tactics, Joe has represented players across the spectrum.  But it’s his knowledge and understanding of Offensive Linemen that shows me he really gets it.  Over the years, Joe and I discussed this time and again.

  • There will ALWAYS be a heavy need for Offensive Linemen on NFL rosters.  Most clubs carry eight or nine on the active, another one or two on the Practice Squad.
  • Offensive Linemen aren’t always the highest pick in the draft (29% from rounds 1 & 2) but they are the most prevalent pick, somewhere around 55 players on average and roughly a quarter of the entire draft each year.
  • NFL 2-Deep Rosters find offensive linemen consistently across all seven rounds and additional 20% from undrafted free agents.  The majority of other positions come from 1st and 2nd round, undrafted free agents.
  • Studies show that the likelihood of having 56 starts in the first 5 seasons from Offensive Linemen goes deeper in the draft than any other position.  That is you are less likely to bust with an OL than you are other positions.
  • Offensive Linemen generally have the highest “Wonderlic” scores of any position on the field.  The Wonderlic Test is commonly thought of as a reliable indicator of overall intelligence.
  • Offensive Guards have some of the highest scores on the HRT test (Human Resource Technology), a look into overall character makeup, and accordingly contribute sooner than any other offensive position studied.

Linta puts heavy emphasis on finding top OL prospects each year.  He doesn’t focus on just “The U” or “THE Ohio State University”, but scours the country in search of the right people, at what is the right position to draft.  You won’t find him on “60 Minutes” or the cover of Sports Illustrated, but you will find many of his players across offensive fronts throughout the NFL.

Quietly finding the most anonymous players on the field, and “keeping the sport alive & thriving”.


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