Innovation At The NFL Combine

I am not a big fan of the NFL combine or the major press coverage that it draws. I personally think that the event over-hypes certain athletes because they basically test well in a fake, determined atmosphere. I liken it to an Ivy League school accepting a student who was middle of the pack throughout high school, but did amazing on her SAT. But until teams stop placing heavy value on the combine and while the NFL Network continues to air every second from Indianapolis in February every year, I will deal with the extended media hype and push my future NFL clients to perform their best at the event.

That being said, there was one story that stuck out among the plethora of combine write-ups. It was published by Nancy Gay in the San Francisco Chronicle. She wrote about a guy named Jason Dillon Dillard, who runs his company Signature Sports Reps, LLC out of SacramentSignature Sports Repso, California. Jason has a beautifully decorated website, but that has not yet translated into him gaining any big name clients. That may soon change once players start to notice his drive and innovative thinking. Instead of just hanging in the background, hoping that a team somehow finds out about his clients who were not invited to this year’s NFL combine, Jason showed up to the RCA dome and handed out shirts that said, “MISSING: Roy Lewis – Univ. of Washington; Mil’von James – UNLV; Damon Jenkins – Fresno St.; Clifton Smith – Fresno St.”, the names of his clients who received no combine love.

Now he has his his clients highlighted in a nationally respected newspaper:

Jenkins is a De La Salle product who had a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown against Boise St. in 2006. Lewis transferred from San Jose State, started 25 consecutive Pac 10 games and became a team captain for the Huskies. Smith was a premier punt returner in the WAC. James is a solid free safety.

If any of the four guys get selected in this year’s draft, it will surely be due to their agent’s push to get them extra publicity. Well done, sir.

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  • Jason

    Darren I am indeed a big fan of this website. I am headed out to Vegas for Mil’Von’s Pro Day and will keep you posted. This is my 1st year in business and my website which I am very happy with was completed just last month. At any rate keep doing what your doing. It helps alot.

    Jason Dillard (My Actual Name hahaha)

  • Jason-

    Sorry about the prior name screw up. It has been fixed. Great job thinking outside of the box at the combine, and best of luck in the draft!

  • Kudos to Jason for working hard to pump up his players, but at the end of the day, to me, it’s just another gimmick. Not that I wouldn’t do the same thing if I were in his shoes.

    If you want to talk to someone who works hard at doing similar things, talk to Ron Todd, a Cleveland-based agent who spends every year in Indianapolis doing essentially the same thing Jason did — handing out copious press releases, shaking everyone’s hand, and generally working VERY hard to get his guys’ stuff out there. Ron has to keep a tight handle on his expenses, and he’s an honest guy, so he’s not spreading a lot of money around (either to pay to players to get them to sign, or to design frilly marketing plans designed to catch the eyes of reporters). He has to hustle, so he works ‘the line’ coming in and out of the RCA Dome each year. The guy’s a fixture there. He’ll never read this post, because he’s not an Internet guy. In that way, he’s different from Jason — he’s out trying to get his guys in front of teams the old-fashioned way, while Jason’s trying to do it at the cutting edge.

    Like you, I think the combine is way over-hyped, but part of that hype comes from the agents who are there. They’re working hard to get their kids’ names in the paper, and so they do different things to market them, which just amplifies the proceedings. I applaud Jason and Ron for doing this, but at the end of the day, I don’t believe it helps the guys, except maybe to convince the kids themselves that their agents are working hard for them.

    My guess is that, if Jason stays with the game and develops his craft and learns more, he’ll do less of this as he begins to build the relationships that REALLY help elevate his players. Again, that takes nothing away from his effort and his hustle, which are the starting point for any successful career.

    I take my hat off to anyone who’s willing to bust his butt to get ahead in his career and Jason and Ron are both doing that. Good show.

  • I know its been a while since this article was written, but thought its still deserved a comment. I’m not an agent but own a business and work with some athletes. Just ran across this article and think that what Jason Dillard did was truly impressive ad innovative. If all professionals did this much for thier clients, the business world would be a very different place. Many agents I’ve met spend alot of time on the same top guys. Getting the clients takes alot of time and money. but a true work of art is making something out of what almost everyone thought was nothing. Great job Jason, hard work and innovation always pays off in some way or another.

    all the best,

    Ron Reuven