SBJ/May 9-15, 2011/Labor and Agents

CAA Football agents lead in first-rounders, but similarities to past NFL drafts end there

CAA Football agents Tom Condon and Ben Dogra led all agents again this year by representing five players in the first round of the NFL draft, but it is a very different year for the powerful agent tandem, who represent more than 100 players in the NFL.

GETTY IMAGES
A.J. Green, picked at No. 4 by the Bengals, was the first of five CAA clients in
Round 1.
NFL agents typically start planning which college players they will recruit months before the end of the season. But with the possibility of an NFL lockout looming and changes proposed for the rookie pay system, Condon and Dogra said, they pulled back.

“I think you had to consider there was a possibility there would be a system change,” said Condon, who with Dogra has negotiated many of the largest NFL rookie contracts.

Dogra said, “We did not recruit as many players this year as in years past due to the uncertainty. But even in years past we limit the number of players we recruit, and this year we lessened that by another 25 percent.”

“We started really late and we did not cast a wide net,” Condon said. In fact, four of the five players they represented in the first round were “true juniors,” meaning that Condon and Dogra could not talk to them until after Dec. 3, under the former union’s “junior rule.” The one senior that CAA Football represented, Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo, was selected No. 22 by the Indianapolis Colts (see chart).

Other sports agencies also had strong draft classes, notably Athletes First, which represented four of the first 17 players taken, including the No. 2 overall pick, linebacker Von Miller, selected by the Denver Broncos.

As SportsBusiness Journal reported last fall, a number of successful NFL agents concentrated on expanding their roster of veterans and pulled back on college recruiting efforts because of lockout-related uncertainty. CAA was among them. “We decided we were going to make a concerted effort to look at the veteran side of the business, and we did that this year,” Dogra said.

In the last six months, Dogra and Condon have signed Oakland Raiders tight end Zach Miller and Atlanta Falcons cornerback Brent Grimes, both Pro Bowlers. They also signed New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie, Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell and Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Barry Richardson.

Although it was a good draft for CAA Football, it wasn’t their best. In 2009, Condon and Dogra represented nine of the first 19 players selected, including No. 1 and No. 2.

CAA had represented the No. 1 overall pick for six of the last seven years, but did not this year. Cam Newton is represented by Bus Cook of BC Sports and Tony Paige and Chitta Mallik of Perennial Sports.

Dogra, who had represented or co-represented the most picks individually every year since 2004, saw that streak broken this year. He represented four picks but was beaten by partner Condon, who represented five. (Condon is the sole agent for Castonzo.)

“You never want to lose, but if you lose, you want to lose to the best in the business,” Dogra said.


PICK
TEAM PLAYER/SCHOOL AGENT(S)/FIRM
1)
Panthers Cam Newton/QB/Auburn Bus Cook, Tony Paige, Chitta Mallik/B.C. Sports and Perennial Sports
2)
Broncos Von Miller/LB/Texas A&M Joby Branion, David Dunn, Andrew Kessler/Athletes First
3)
Bills Marcell Dareus/DT/Alabama Todd France/France AllPro Athlete Management
4)
Bengals A.J. Green/WR/Georgia Ben Dogra, Tom Condon/CAA
5)
Cardinals Patrick Peterson/CB/LSU Patrick Lawlor/Galaxy Sports
6)
Falcons Julio Jones/WR/Alabama Jimmy Sexton, Pat Dye Jr./SportsTrust Advisors
7)
49ers Aldon Smith/LB/Missouri Ben Dogra, Tom Condon/CAA
8)
Titans Jake Locker/QB/Washington David Dunn, Cameron Hahn/Athletes First
9)
Cowboys Tyron Smith/OT/USC Eric Metz/Lock, Metz & Malinovic
10)
Jaguars Blaine Gabbert/QB/Missouri Ben Dogra, Tom Condon, Jim Steiner/CAA
11)
Texans J.J. Watt/DE/Wisconsin Tom Condon, Ben Dogra/CAA
12)
Vikings Christian Ponder/QB/Florida State Jimmy Sexton/SportsTrust Advisors
13)
Lions Nick Fairley/DT/Auburn Brian Overstreet/E. Overstreet Sports Management
14)
Rams Robert Quinn/DE/North Carolina Carl Carey/Champion Pro Consulting
15)
Dolphins Mike Pouncey/C/Florida Joel Segal, Chafie Fields/Lagardere Unlimited
16)
Redskins Ryan Kerrigan/DE/Purdue David Dunn, Brian Murphy, Andrew Kessler, Cameron Hahn/Athletes First
17)
Patriots Nate Solder/OT/Colorado David Dunn, Mark Humenik/Athletes First
18)
Chargers Corey Liuget/DT/Illinois Tony Fleming/Impact Sports
19)
Giants Prince Amukamara/CB/Nebraska Todd France/France AllPro Athlete Management
20)
Buccaneers Adrian Clayborn/DE/Iowa Blake Baratz/The Institute For Athletes
21)
Browns Phil Taylor/DT/Baylor Peter Schaffer/All Pro Sports & Entertainment
22)
Colts Anthony Castonzo/OT/Boston College Tom Condon/CAA
23)
Eagles Danny Watkins/OT/Baylor Joe Panos/Lock, Metz & Malinovic
24)
Saints Cameron Jordan/DE/California Doug Hendrickson/Octagon
25)
Seahawks James Carpenter/G/Alabama Rick Smith, Deryk Gilmore/Priority Sports & Entertainment
26)
Chiefs Jonathan Baldwin/WR/Pittsburgh Rick Smith/Priority Sports & Entertainment
27)
Ravens Jimmy Smith/CB/Colorado Drew Rosenhaus/Rosenhaus Sports
28)
Saints Mark Ingram/RB/Alabama Joel Segal, Chafie Fields/Lagardere Unlimited
29)
Bears Gabe Carimi/OT/Wisconsin Gary Uberstine/Premier Sports
30)
Jets Muhammad Wilkerson/DT/Temple Chad Wiestling/Integrated Sports Management
31)
Steelers Cameron Heyward/DE/Ohio State Michael Perrett, Pat Dye Jr./SportsTrust Advisors
32)
Packers Derek Sherrod/OT/Mississippi State Bus Cook/BC Sports


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