Sidney Jones injury should prompt players, agents to reconsider workouts


Yes, a ruptured Achilles tendon can happen during many types of exercise or activity. But the fact that a ruptured Achilles tendon happened to Washington cornerback Sidney Jones at his Pro Day workout raises legitimate questions about whether unnecessary risks should be taken by players who are weeks away from securing their financial futures.

Players and their agents need to consider, on a player by player basis, whether and to what extent the player should participate in any workouts prior to the draft. The threshold question is whether to attend the Senior Bowl, which consists of multiple practices and one final game for which college football players don’t get paid.

Then comes the Scouting Combine, followed by the Pro Day workout. After that, a series of private workouts for interested teams.

The question of each player, and his agent, is to determine the point at which the hay is in the barn. Currently, it seems like too few players and agents are willing to draw the line and say “enough is enough.”

The best place to start is the private workouts. In theory, a player could do up to 32 of them. The better regarded the player is, however, the less important the private workouts become.

None of it is critically important. As one source explained it, between 70 and 80 percent of the evaluation of a player happens via his college game tape.

So why do teams look for more? Because they can. The players are nothing more than a commodity. If one out of hundreds tears an Achilles tendon or rips apart an ACL during a pre-draft workout, it’s a miniscule price to pay for getting what they all covet — maximum information about as many prospects as possible.

As a result, teams resent the notion of not having all of the data that they think they need before engaging in a process that, in hindsight, looks more like a crapshoot than it does a scientific exercise. Threats have been made in the past not to draft a player who chooses to say no. And, of course, those players still get drafted right about where their talent as demonstrated at the college level suggests they should.

The entire NFL draft complex, both teams and media members who primarily if not exclusively focus covering on the draft, have a vested interest in ensuring that first-round prospects don’t become fully self-aware and choose to protect themselves from unnecessary pre-draft physical risks. In the end, though, teams will draft the best players regardless of whether those players choose to play the pre-draft game, because teams know that if they pass on a highly-talented player, one of their competitors won’t.

42 responses to “Sidney Jones injury should prompt players, agents to reconsider workouts

  1. This didn’t happen at the combine dtp. It was his PRO DAY at his university’s facility.

    He will still get drafted next month. He would have been a mid to late 1st round pick. I’ll say he gets picked in the 3rd or 4th. Unfortunate but that’s life. When you get lemons ………

    He’ll be alright.

  2. These agents should have to purchase a insurance policy for their client as part of the deal to represent them.

    The agents will then he held responsible for the amount they are willing to cover vs the amount of workouts they will have there clients take part in.

  3. You can’t go through life playing the what if card. There was a roll over car accident from a blown tire down the street from me last week, so should everyone stop driving cars now?

  4. We should ban all walk through, practices and everything. Just show up on game day..or they deal with the risks involved. It’s not like this is a huge epidemic for injuries

  5. The agent’s job is to protect and promote what is in the best interest of his client. If the agent didn’t obtain an insurance policy, then he should be fired.

  6. Yes, this one injury should cause a major over correction throughout the whole NFL Combine/Pro Day process.
    A process that’s worked fine for years in allowing NFL personnel to evaluate the athleticism and talents of incoming prospects.

  7. Ridiculous. Someday in the not too distant future, a highly touted draft prospect is going to sit out his bowl game, sit out the combine and sit out his pro day and then whine when he’s drafted bottom of the 2nd round instead of Top 10.

    Would you buy a car without driving it? Would you sign on a house you hadn’t walked through? These GMs are committing multimillions to these kids and you bet they’re going to want to see the goods up close and personal. The combine and pro days are where personnel people fill in the blanks that don’t show up on tape. Does a kid have social skills? Does he take coaching? Can he think on his feet (especially important for QBs)?

    An agent can always choose to hold his client out of these opportunities but a team can always choose not to draft his client, too.

  8. Pro Days show you a prospect can run and jump. They are useless when determining if a player can play football.
    Get rid of them and the stupid private workouts.

  9. stipez says:
    Mar 12, 2017 4:31 PM
    He just finished his 3rd year, still got another if he needs.
    WRONG, He hired an agent. That’s the end of his amateur status.

  10. College football makes a ton of money on these kids. The NCAA should pay the premiums for career ending injuries from freshman spring practice until they sign a pro contract, which includes pro days.
    Maybe the NFL should share in the expense, after all the players are auditioning for the pros.
    At any rate it would be just a drop in the bucket for the schools and the NFL. Also it would be justifiable protection for kids like Sidney Jones.

  11. Two players of seemingly equal talent one of which works out for teams and another adopts the Florio approach and opts for no such workout. I suspect I know which player will be drafted first.

  12. If his agent was smart, he had insurance.

    And, of course, Mike knows that. Don’t you, Mike?

    So the question is not whether there should be Senior Bowl workouts, or combine workouts, or private workouts. The question is who shoulders the cost of insurance.

  13. He just finished his 3rd year, still got another if he needs.

    Nope, once he signs an agent, which I believe he has they lose all remaining eligibility for College.

  14. Love your slant on this story, written like a true players advocate.

    Greedy teams, they should just spend their millions. And the poor players, they deserve those millions, along with their degrees. Afterall, The Machine is just using them, right ?

    Hell, they should unite, refuse to be exploited for their God given talents, and not play at all.

  15. The combine and the shows over. Private workouts isa a lose/lose for the players. Between tape and the combine if a team doesn’t know weather it wants to draft you or not is not worth going to. This is getting way beyond stupid.

  16. There are approximately 300 people who will be drafted by the NFL this year.

    With a few exceptions, each slot someone can get drafted higher can provide more $$ for the person drafted. And if you can move your self from one round to the next higher round – significant increases in compensation.

    Most players understand the risks – that injuries can come at any time – contact or even in non contact drills.

    Film gives some information – but, sometimes a scheme that a team plays can impact output of players. The more info they can provide teams interested in them, the better chance they have of getting a better draft position.

    I don’t see any changes to the current system coming anytime soon.

  17. All these so called experts test, quiz and evaluate players so much. Yet JaMarcus Russell goes #1 and Tom Brady and Richard Sherman fall to the 5th round of later..Shouldn’t they know who will succeed and who should fail with all that testing. All they need us game tape.

  18. The combine should be for interviews and medical stuff only. Paralysis by analysis now. Look at the tape, interview the player, do a background investigation, give him a physical and make a decision.

  19. Jones has years of video of him playing football. These workouts are a terrible idea for a guy that all the pro teams already know about. But especially for a guy like Jones who was actually a 2nd or 3rd round talent, but was probably going to get drafted in the first round. It would be a good idea for these kids to sign with an agent who’s actually capable of giving them good advice.

  20. How about the kids just skip college, wrap themselves in bubble wrap until they’re three years out of high school, and avoid any and all potential risk or risky behavior?

  21. Here we go again. Let’s pay the college kids 100k/yr, but not play because they may get hurt. Then, when the NFL calls, we need to make sure they don’t try too hard and get hurt during workouts, practice, etc. Definitely don’t want these poor exploited ones to play games when your team can’t win the super bowl, and most certainly avoid any all star games or any other unpaid physical activities.

  22. But Florio has a much better idea: Minor league football. Let all the 18-20 year old aspiring NFL players play in a farm system that will pay them a fraction of the value of their college scholarship.

  23. It’s a fair point. Why are they working out now? They have three years of game tape at least typically. They just worked out at the combine. Is there really going to be any difference in CB drill performance at the combine vs the pro day.

  24. But Mike what would ESPN do to fill all that spare time. The idea of a 24-7-365 sports channel was awesome at first. But like all things it eventually gets out of control, and mutates, and procreates, more and more, and more and more, and ……

    I used to think the combine was cool when it started being televised in 2004.

    I used to think spending my whole weekend watching the NFL draft was cool when it started being televised in 1980.

    By now all teams with every single game on TV somewhere, and technology where it is to time a guy in a game to see what his game speed is, not his track and field speed he spent 3 months with a trainer with were, have shown the whole thing to be a joke. The underwear olympics, need to be stopped, and players and agents need to stand together against them because every year one kid loses his career or a huge chunk of his future earnings showing teams what they already know from tape.

    NFL has peaked. Ratings show it. I feel horrible for this kid. He was a projected first rounder, and now he’s going to go through a grueling ( trust me I know after 4 surgeries in 6 years) recovery, and with a achilles, who knows if he ever comes back.

  25. Stop with the rabble rousing. Pro days have been a staple for years. This was a freak occurrence. What, are you going to eliminate all physical activity between the regular college season and the NFL regular season? Stop it. Crap happens. Thinking like this is the reason that the NFL is starting to become so watered down.

  26. Snap, Crackle, Pop, ACHILLES! All kidding aside though, I hope (but doubt), that the kid had insurance to cover his obvious soon to be big income loss due to the very unfortunate injury. The NFL should rule him ineligible for the draft rather than force him to have to sign for a day 3 type bonus.

  27. But Florio has a much better idea: Minor league football. Let all the 18-20 year old aspiring NFL players play in a farm system that will pay them a fraction of the value of their college scholarship.

    The NFL will never take on the expense of a minor league when they have something in place for free. Under the guise that the “students” get something out of it….

    So the NCAA will continue to exploit these young men while making BILLIONS of dollars.

  28. The good organizations and the smart scouts know how good the players are based on their college tape. Why subject yourself to potential injury for the incompetent teams that will never win, and will pick early every year, even though they get the top picks? These workouts are a joke. Why is everything set up to try to help the worst organizations when they’ll never win anyway? Do you really think someone like Bill Belichick is going to ignore three years of game film, and draft a guy based on a workout? It makes you wonder, is Belichick really that smart, or are the rest of the teams just that dumb?

  29. A minor league system is needed for the NFL, but not for the guys who get drafted but for the guys who have agents convince them they are ready to come out only to see them do so only to not get drafted. NFL careers still average less than 4 years; if you expose the top talent to a minor league system like that in other pro sports, you just cut down their long term earning power and expose them unnecessarily to more injuries due to the inherent violence of the game.

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