Tyler Wilson, Other Arkansas NFL Prospects Seek Return on Training

by Chris Bahn  on Monday, Apr. 1, 2013 12:00 am  

Knile Davis, former running back for the Arkansas Razorbacks,  has a salary potential of $548,513 to $537,588 if he lands on an NFL roster.  (Photo by Mark Wagner)

Earning potential for players who wind up with a contract and a spot on a 53-man NFL roster varies, but even for an undrafted free agent, payday could mean an average of $480,000 per year.

Former Arkansas cornerback Greg Gatson, according to salary database Spotrac.com, signed a three-year deal worth $1.4 million as a San Diego Chargers free agent. Darren McFadden, a former Razorback running back, signed a six-year deal worth $10 million a year back in 2008.

Pre-draft training helped make those contracts possible. McFadden’s work prior to the draft supplemented what talent evaluators saw on film. Gatson, a little-used player at Arkansas, performed well enough at an on-campus event he was able to get teams interested in individual workouts and meetings.

Gatson opted for training in his hometown of Memphis. He and his agent, Little Rock attorney Judy Henry, evaluated options and considered a number of factors, including the cost, before deciding on a more local approach to training.

Henry said her approach with each client varies. 

Finding a place where a player has a comfort level — with the staff, the facilities and the cost — is part of the process.

Ian Greengross represents former Razorback running back Knile Davis. He, too, likes to leave the decision of where to train up to his clients. Davis, Greengross said, wanted to follow in the footsteps of McFadden and chose the Michael Johnson Performance Center. Johnson, tight end Chris Gragg and safety Ross Rasner joined Davis at the facility near Dallas.

Davis, who had an injury-plagued career at Arkansas, wowed scouts with his bench press and 40-yard dash time at the combine in February. He was able to maximize his training in Dallas, and when scouts evaluate his pre-draft work with tape from the 2010 season, it’s possible he could go from a projected free agent to a late-round draft pick. A strong showing at the combine could have helped him generate an extra $400,000 over the four years he plays under his first NFL contract.

“At the combine you’re running specific drills and you know what the drills are,” Greengross said. “You already have the answers before you even take the test. … Knile went down there with a willingness to work and made the most of it.”

Regardless of where an athlete trains, Greengross hits on an important point. Like anything else in life or business, an opportunity is what a person makes of it.

Agent Tom Condon chose IMG for Tyler Wilson, but said the quarterback’s work ethic was a big reason they chose the all-inclusive training center. Condon, described by USA Today as the most powerful of NFL agents, picked 10 players in 2013 to train at IMG, an option he’s used off and on for the past 15 years.

Condon said the decision to send Wilson to Florida was an easy one. He didn’t have to wonder if the money spent would be worth it. Wilson was capable of going to training and providing a return on the investment.



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