Boston College tackle Anthony Castonzo will hear his name called in the first round of this month's NFL draft. Throughout the week, he'll share his insight with NESN.com about the pre-draft process, from hiring an agent to the work he's done behind the scenes to prepare himself for life in the NFL. The idea is to give the readers an inside look at a player's life in the months before the draft.
The process of hiring an agent is far from simple, but Anthony Castonzo had an ally.
His father, Bill, understood the business from his career in the food industry, working as a liaison for distributors, so he had an idea of how to set everything in motion for his son's preliminary search.
"I'm lucky enough to have my dad, who understands business really well," Castonzo said. "His job is he's basically an agent for food distributors, so he is basically a middle man the same way that an agent is, so he knows how the business should be run. He kind of did all of the preliminary reaches for me, looking up who was a good agent of guys who have talked to me."
Castonzo knew he had a place in the NFL after his junior season at Boston College, and his father set up interviews with eight agencies in the summer of 2010. After meeting with them, Castonzo narrowed it down to a final group of three.
The early work kept the stress to a minimum. Rather than listening to dozens upon dozens of agents, hangers-on, boosters and anyone else with a set of vocal cords — a serious problem for some players in the pre-draft process — Castonzo had it all organized. He didn't have to worry about the business side as he focused on his senior season at BC.
Castonzo met with those last three agencies during some time off between the end of the regular season and BC's appearance in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. After the game, Castonzo called Tom Condon to let him know he chose CAA Sports, a powerhouse agency that has an A-list of clients, headlined by Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, Saints quarterback Drew Brees and Vikings running back Adrian Peterson.
"It basically came down to the track record," Castonzo said. "They've proven they're basically the best in the business in terms of what they've done in the past. You can't argue with that, and I just felt like they had my best interest in mind. I just really got that vibe from them."
Castonzo spoke with former BC teammate and current Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan, as well as Dolphins tackle Jake Long — who is one of six of the last seven No. 1 draft picks represented by CAA — about the agency, and he liked what he heard.
Agents do more than just negotiate contracts, and in the pre-draft process, they're key because they open doors at training facilities that prepare prospects for workouts, interviews, the Senior Bowl and the combine, among other things. Castonzo was set up at IMG Academy in Florida, where Castonzo has spent the majority of his offseason.
Check back Tuesday to hear about Castonzo's experience at the Senior Bowl, and find out why that week was so intense that someone compared him to a car accident victim.
Photo from Flickr.