Brandon Thomas injury could make agents think twice about pre-draft private workouts

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The news that Clemson offensive lineman Brandon Thomas tore an ACL while working out for the Saints could have a very real consequence on the future of such workouts.

Specifically, more and more players may choose, at the behest of their agents, to no longer engage in private workouts.

As one league source explained it, teams already have hours of game films and postseason practices and all-star games, along with workout data from the Scouting Combine and/or the Pro Day workouts.  Additional private workouts aren’t necessary.  Prospects who won’t realize a major financial gain (especially with the value of the contracts at the very top of the draft not what they used to be) and who could lose plenty by suffering a serious injury when the hay was otherwise in the barn may decide to start saying “no” to invitations to work out once again.

Yes, the Thomas injury constitutes a rarity.  But it can happen to anyone.  The only way to eliminate the risk is to eliminate the private workouts.  More and more players could end up doing just that in the aftermath of the Thomas injury.

25 responses to “Brandon Thomas injury could make agents think twice about pre-draft private workouts

  1. You are probably right. But how about having the teams be medically & financially responsible for guys doing private workouts? Are the Saints already on the hook, here?

    They should be.

  2. Related question: Does anyone know if the players are somehow covered against injury at the Scouting Combine and Pro Day workouts?

  3. They also lose out on playing the first year towards qualifying for the next big FA contract.

    The combine workouts and all the tape should be suffice. Private workouts for the bubble players makes sense, but not for those that already know they are very likely to be drafted.

  4. It is a tragic way to potentially end a career before it even starts.

    Does he at least qualify for a bounty by taking himself out?

  5. The workout was at the request of the team, he was invited to the facility to perform this workout, and it happened during the workout on their property. There is some exposure.

  6. You’re probably right that some players have something to lose but there are many players who are not necessarily top picks who have a lot to gain from these private workouts. Teams can script these things and see how a player fits their particular scheme or team philosophy. However, what could be done is limit the intensity of these workouts to prevent future injuries like this one.

  7. Next year, the prospects will be compensated for their workouts and insured against catastrophe, like they should have been all along. There’s enough money in the kitty for this.

  8. Yeah it would make sense to decline the workouts unless there is some unique kind of situation where showcasing oneself in the workout has potential to make a significant difference in the decision. A lot of these teams might just be playing games and you don’t know what’s going on in their minds when they choose to spend time with you or make you jump through hoops. If you are going to risk your career over it, then just make sure you have a darn good reason why you want to participate in the workout. Don’t just do it because anybody asks.

    Besides some GMs like players who aren’t automatic yes-men and can show the capacity to give an unpopular yet smart answer to a tough challenging question.

  9. I’ve always wondered what the point of the workouts were when teams openly admit it really has no affect on how they have the player graded.

  10. This ties directly to college players’ unionization issue now in the headlines.

    Who is responsible and who will pay for the medical repair and the rehab for this prospect?

  11. Oh sorry I should have mentioned that my above advice is only good if you want to play for a non-Cowboys franchise, aka the unpopular teams.

    And to the question above, yeah they are protected it’s called buying insurance. The trouble is most of these prospects don’t have the cash flow to set up a proper sized policy prior to earning money for their football services, at least the services that get recognized as counting in exchange for monetary remuneration. That’s a fancy phrase that you won’t be able to appreciate until you pass the time test that the NFL says that you are like a normal adult that is ready for the big scary world out there where money changes hands fast. Better leave that stuff to the more fully grown professional adults who have used their first-mover presence advantage to be in a much better position than you to make decisions about high level money matters.

  12. The NFL should not allow the private workouts. There is more than enough information on these draft-eligible players to make private workouts totally unneccessary.
    I think some of these NFL teams would have guys working out for them up until the day before the draft if they could…

  13. There must be some insurance compensation somewhere with these private workouts. Not that it would compensate for a lost career. We have become an extremely litigious society. I say reverse roles. Have the lawyers become the gladiators. I’d certainly pay to watch that.

  14. The injury happened when the defensive quality control coach hit him high at the same time as an assistant offensive line coach hit him low. They wanted to see if he was willing to play with pain.

  15. Sounds like a good idea. Most NFL defenses have already adopted the next step to preventing player injury – they don’t tackle. LOL

  16. The Saints should have to draft this guy in the 2nd Round where he was projected to be drafted. Now this guy is going to lose a lot of money due to unnecessary workout!

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