Draft Day: An inside look at agents and the NFL Draft

The NFL draft is a pivotal moment for hundreds of prospects – a launching pad for their professional careers. Hearing their name called, even as a 7th-round pick, is often the culmination of years of hard work and preparation. 

This year, there are 257 picks in the draft.

At just the NFL Combine alone, 321 players participated, with hundreds more still hoping to play in the NFL.

In reality, not everyone who could be drafted will be drafted. 

So what happens if they go undrafted? Players can sign on as an undrafted free agent. 


For BYU running back Christopher Brooks last year, being drafted was a long shot until he signed with an agent. Brooks signed with One West Sports Group and is represented by Zach Zenner. Zenner himself was an undrafted free agent to the Lions in 2015 where he played five seasons before becoming an agent. 

Around January is when players and agents get a sense of whether a prospect has a shot to be drafted. Agents will then start to prepare fringe prospects for both scenarios.

Many prospects with draftable grades may not be drafted which is another thing agents must prepare them for. For these prospects, agents will not know until the draft itself which way it will go for those players. 

“Agents cannot control whether a club has interest in a player, but an agent has a large role in presenting the best version of the client to clubs.  It is often helpful to emphasize a player’s strengths and unique traits and distinguish and or compare them to other professional or draft eligible players in order to increase their draft standing,” said Jim Grogan, an agent for Shark Sports Management.

Another big task for agents is preparing prospects and their families for any scenario – both good and bad. Each agent with create a plan for their clients. They help with their preparations which include training, interview coaching and guidance for their professional careers.

The prospects are helped through all the evaluation steps that exist from January to the draft in April. 

“You put people in their path that can prepare them and give them the highest chance to look good in the NFL evaluator’s eyes,” said Evan Brennan, an agent at UA Sports. Brennan represents Max Tooley, Eddie Heckard and Kamden Garrett this year.

Agents will first send prospects to different facilities across the country so they can train and prepare to perform best at the Combine or Pro-Day. According to Zenner, it took Brooks a little bit to find a place to train, but once he did he flourished. 

During this time, there are also all-star games such as the Senior Bowl, Hula Bowl and the East-West Shrine Bowl. This was the first pre-draft stop where Brooks caught the attention of scouts. 

Brooks rushes at the Hula Bowl. Photo by Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Before the Hula Bowl, there was not much draft interest from NFL teams. On 13 carries, Brooks ran for 84 yards, catching the attention of many scouts with his performance and 6’0 232 pound frame. Brooks was named the offensive MVP for the game.

Next, there is the NFL Combine along with Pro Day, whose format changed this year in the Big 12. Along each stop, there are interviews with scouts from NFL teams happening. 

Brooks did not receive an invite to the NFL Combine but continued his training in preparation for BYU’s annual Pro Day. Brooks continued to capture the eyes of scouts, running a 4.58 40-yard dash with a 37-inch vertical and a 10-foot 2-inch broad jump.

Chris Brooks catches a pass at BYU Pro Day after the 2022 season March 24, 2023 Photo by Matthew Norton/BYU photo.byu.edu

“Before signing with us it was a long shot but with all the work that he put in the pre-draft process and as people got to know him, he ended up in the conversation to be drafted,” Zenner said. 

About two weeks before the draft, agents begin to have targeted conversations with NFL teams about where they might have their client drafted or the possibility of an undrafted contract. The conversations increase in intensity and frequency up until the draft.


The first round of the NFL Draft is on Thursday, Apr. 25. Rounds two and three are the day after and the final four rounds are on Saturday.

The weekend of the draft is a very stressful time, especially for the prospects who hope to be drafted. As only 257 players will hear their name called in the seven-round NFL Draft, hundreds more will still get an opportunity to attend training camp. 

“Clubs will start contacting players and agents during day three of the draft,” Grogan said. 

There are priority-free agents who had draftable grades but went undrafted and will typically get a high signing bonus or a large portion of the contract as guaranteed money. Many teams will compete to sign them. 

Brooks fell into this category. Zenner had to track which teams had shown interest in the Brooks in the pre-draft process. The agents need to be quick and decisive on offers. They have depth charts and schemes evaluated beforehand to determine if a team would be a good fit for their client, which for Brooks was the Miami Dolphins.

“Undrafted deals are formed extremely quickly within the course of a few minutes,” said Brennan.

Other free agents could only have one or two offers and will receive a smaller signing bonus. Agents have to work quickly and be decisive on offers.

Even after all this, some players are left without contracts. They will receive rookie minicamp invites. They are not signed, but teams typically sign a few invitees to contracts. The players can attend up to two rookie minicamps. 

Whether they are draft picks, undrafted free agents or rookie minicamp invitees, BYU has several players hoping to get a shot at the next level.

Those players are Kedon Slovis, Kingsley Suamtaia, Ryan Rehkow, Isaac Rex, Deion Smith, Aiden Robbins, Max Tooley, AJ Vongphachanh, Jackson Cravens, Paul Maile, Kamden Garrett and Eddie Heckard.

“I am excited to see what the future holds for these guys,” said Justin Anderson, BYU football’s Director of Player Personnel and NFL liaison.

All of them have competed and worked hard to be in front of NFL scouts in the pre-draft process.


While being drafted is an ultimate achievement, it is not an absolute achievement.

These rookies now must fight to make an active roster.

Teams bring in about 90 players to training camp. There are 53 players on a week one roster, so 37 of the 90 will not make the team, meaning over 1,200 players brought into training camp do not make the team.

For the agents, they continue their mentorship and guidance on the front end of the players’ careers, but as they transition into the NFL, their focus turns towards helping the players with contracts and marketing.

Chris Brooks vs Texans during the 2023 Preseason. (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
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