June 2017, Dallas, TX – It was 102 degrees in and the humidity was no match for what the next two years would bring my life as a young producer. I had just got off a conference call with Jose Jefferson and Craig Redd, co-directors of the College Gridiron Showcase, a training group dedicated to the development of NFL Draft hopefuls. Jose and Craig had spent the past 4 years growing their showcase event to new heights and they had a story to tell the world. As fate would have it I would be the lucky one to tell that story, and with pride. Kim, a good friend of mine and PR agent I have worked with forever set up the conference with the CGS. Two weeks and numerous calls later, we finalized the deal and we began the journey that would span for the next 20 months bringing us where we are now.
BACKGROUND ON THE NFL DRAFT
Each year 3,000 College athletes are eligible for the upcoming NFL draft either by having completed their college football eligibility or in some cases requested to enter the draft early by submission. For those that follow American Football, the NFL Draft can be one of the most exciting times of the year, that is outside of the Superbowl of course. 32 Teams fight to fill their rosters by the draft spots they have been given that year. When it’s all said and done those teams will fill 254 draft spots for their respective rosters. This accounts for only 7% of draftee’s eligible to play professional football. With so many young men going after the same dream, a dream that very few will realize, how do they prepare to face these odd’s? You’ve probably heard of the Combine, the NFL Scouting Combine held each year in February In Indianapolis. What you don’t know is that the combine is simply one determining factor scouts and teams use to determine prospective players for the upcoming draft.
DRAFT PREPARATION – THE GOOD, THE BAD, THE IRRELEVANT
Draft preparatory camps have been in existence since 1977 but it was Tex Schram, General Manager of the Dallas Cowboys, who proposed a formalized training session to the NFL in 1982. Like many Texans in history, from his initiative to act, a standard was set. The ‘Combine’, as most of us know it, serves as an effective way for scouts and teams to analyze a player based on preset metrics of athletic ability. For even for the most seasoned of NFL scouts, tackling prospective player analysis for the upcoming roster selection is a task that seems daunting at best. This approach to athletic data helps teams and scouts judge prospects more effectively and sift through the masses of eligible players to determine their teams wants and needs. However, there is still the time tested adage that says “what looks good on paper will not always play out the same in real life”. An athlete’s true potential can only be measured by confidence in their abilities. Time and time again we have seen scripted stars, who by all measures of achievement, are destined for greatness. Yet come 1st season they fall short of glory, some even are never heard of again. Scouts need to see a player go beyond the drill and face off in an unscripted environment with new opponents and unrehearsed surroundings to see how a player performs in real life situations.
From the players perspective, their last season of football ends in December and for most, their future as a professional athlete will be decided in the next 6 months. Fill or kill, the moment of intensity begins to peak, will they continue or be forced to hang up their cleats? The question remains ‘What can a player do, outside of the combine, to give him the competitive advantage in the Draft selection? Until 2014, the options for added exposure we’re few and far between, three to be exact; The NFLPA Bowl, The Senior Bowl and The East/West Shriner Bowl. All three are post-season collegiate bowl games that bring the best college players from around the country to face off in a pre-draft style game that benefits a cause or charity. These efforts are commendable and don’t go unnoticed. However, it is unrealistic to assume that three bowl games can help all 3,000 draftees get additional draft exposure.
WHO WILL BRING CHANGE?
The reality is, only 2% of players that come out of the NCAA actually even get a chance to become professional – CRAIG REDD
DIG DEEP MOVIE FACTS – DEVELOPMENT
DIG DEEP: The Pathway Beyond the NFL Draft was originally entitledUNSUNG HEROES: The Pathway to the CGS. In December 2017, one month before shooting, I was sitting in a Starbucks doing work while listening to Spotify. I kept hearing an audio ad for Coca-Cola saying “Here comes our Holiday Unsung Heroes…” until finally, I said, “shit, I can’t have my movie remind people of a soda, we gotta change the name”. Hence, weeks later DIG DEEP was born. This proved to be a smart choice, seeing that In the coming months 7 other companies began using ads with the phrase Unsung Heroes…I think Mike Myers used the phrase ‘Village Bicycle’…everybody had a ride.
Discover more about DIG DEEP: The Pathway Beyond the NFL Draft at www.digdeepmovie.com