CONTACT: Neil Stratton
Inside the League
EMBARGOED: Until Wednesday, Feb. 24, 7 p.m. EST
ITL Announces NFL Awards for Annual Seminar
This is the first year the event is not held at the NFL Scouting Combine, which has been canceled by the league.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reached the top of the NFL this month by winning Super Bowl LV. Just over two weeks later, the team was voted the winner of the Best Draft Award for 2020 by NFL scouts and executives. The Bucs were a landslide victor over the other four finalists with 48 percent of the vote; none of the other finalists, which included Washington, Cleveland, Jacksonville and Indianapolis, polled more than 17 percent. Powered by the selection of Iowa OT Tristan Wirfs (1/13), Minnesota SS Antoine Winfield (2/45) and several others who played key roles, the Bucs’ scouting staff helped spur the team from a 6-10 finish in 2019 to 11-5 in 2020, followed by a march to the NFL title. The Saints, winners of the ’17 award, were represented by Assistant GM Jeff Ireland, with the Colts, winners of the ’18 award, were represented by GM Chris Ballard. Last year, 49ers GM John Lynch accepted the award for the team. The Bucs will be represented by Director of Player Personnel John Spytek.
Seahawks Personnel Executive Alonzo Highsmith is the second winner of the C.O. Brocato Memorial Award for Distinguished Service to Scouting. Following a six-year playing career, Highsmith has spent more than 20 years with three teams (Packers, Browns and Seahawks), with all three teams achieving the playoffs with key players drafted during Highsmith’s term with the team. Highsmith’s son, A.J., is also an area scout with the Bills. Last year, Bears Executive Scout Jeff Shiver was the inaugural winner of the award, which will be presented by C.O.’s daughter, Becky.
Former head of Octagon Football Mike Sullivan will receive the Eugene E. Parker Award for Lifetime Service to the agent industry. Sullivan negotiated the contract of the top pick in the draft in consecutive years, Falcons QB Michael Vick in 2001 and Texans QB David Carr in 2002. He also served as Director of Football Administration for the Denver Broncos from 2012-20. Last year’s winner was Arizona State Director of Athletics Ray Anderson, while the inaugural winner was author and former NFL player and agent Ralph Cindrich.
Since 2010, Inside the League has hosted an annual seminar in Indianapolis. Among past guest speakers have been former NFL GMs Phil Emery and Ray Farmer; former agent and author Josh Luchs; former NFL Network personality Rand Getlin; several current and former NFL scouts and others. Inside the League also hosted the Pro Football Agent Association’s landmark summit in 2019.
Wednesday’s seminar will be broadcast on NFL Draft Bible’s Twitch channel at https://www.twitch.tv/nfldraftbible. The event begins at 8 p.m. ET and will last about an hour. After the presentation of awards, Denver-based Peter Schaffer of Authentic Athletix will give remarks on the state of the agent industry. Following Schaffer’s presentation, ITL’s Neil Stratton will discuss the results of his service’s recent NFL Scout Salary Survey as well as how Covid will affect hiring practices in the near term.
About Inside the League
Founded in 2002, Inside the League (ITL) publishes a daily password-protected blog on the football industry and multiple newsletter series targeted at various levels of the industry. The consulting service also offers a study guide and two practice exams for NFL agent hopefuls and hosts various football-related events. Neil Stratton, founder of ITL, speaks on the football industry at seminars and conferences across the country and serves as an advisor to the Fort Worth, Texas-based College Gridiron Showcase, which enters its seventh season in 2021.
Inside the League owner Neil Stratton presents awards to several industry luminaries for their dedicated hard work inside the NFL industry in this 12th Annual Inside The League Scouting Seminar. Find out what NFL team wins 'Best Draft Award' and what agent wins the prestigious 'Eugene E. Parker Lifetime Achievement Award' on this live seminar and visit InsideTheLeague.com today.
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