Inside the Draft: Ralph Cindrich

Ralph Cindrich provides a unique perspective on the NFL Draft, having faced it as a player and an agent for more than 30 years.

The Draft Daze interview tour continued with Ralph Cindrich, a former standout player who has had a very successful career as an agent. Cindrich has negotiated the NFL’s Draft for more than 30 years with a list of clients that has included Jeff Saturday, Mark May, Gary Clark, and Al Toon among others.  This year, things come full circle as Cindrich serves as a co-representative for Al’s son, Nick, a wide receiver from Wisconsin. He also wins bonus points for having the best draft day story of any interview subject so far (which is so good I’m saving most of it for the book) and being one of the most entertaining people on my Twitter feed.

Here are a few highlights of the interview that I’m not hoarding for later use. The first one focuses on Cindrich’s own frustrating experience as a draft prospect. After being an All-American in both wrestling and football at the University of Pittsburgh, injuries pushed Cindrich all the way into the fifth round.

What’s it like to slide into the later rounds on draft day?
You have so many emotions flowing, you see guys getting picked that you absolutely know you’re better than. Each round, each time someone else is picked, it keeps going and going. When it happened with the Atlanta Falcons, it was great. It was one of those things, once it was all over, it was great.

What do you think has helped you be so successful as an agent?

I was very fortunate that I grabbed onto – at a very early age – extremely rugged individuals mentally who would listen to about anything I would say. With guys like that, you can do about anything. You can actually manipulate the draft.

What’s draft day like as an agent?

Generally speaking where it happens (where someone is picked),  is not as important for most as long as it happens. Getting the call is a tremendous relief. After the first day, you have to get on the phone (and talk to players who went undrafted), even if the guy had no chance of being drafted. A lot of times they won’t have the chance of going where they think they want to go.
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Many thanks to Ralph for the interview time amidst the busy dealings of free agency and the approaching draft. Follow him on Twitter (@RalphCindrich) and visit his website here
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