Kyler Murray Takes Top Spot In The 2019 NFL Marketability Mock Draft
With the 2019 NFL Draft beginning on April 25, NFL Scouts and General Managers are conducting their last round of due diligence before hopefully settling on their team’s next franchise player. Hundreds of mock drafts have been released, with multiple iterations and updates to account for last minute trades and updates. However, this one isn’t for the teams, but for the companies and marketers looking to associate their brand, goods and services with next class of NFL endorsement superstars.
Because incoming NFL players are subject to a rookie wage scale under the current NFL collective bargaining agreement, sponsorship and endorsement deals are where rookies may flex some bargaining power and agents are able to prove their worth. This “Mock Draft” serves as guide for the rookies most likely to commercially exploit their talents off the field.
- Kyler Murray (Twitter: @TheKylerMurray – 151k followers / Instagram: @kyler1murray – 460k followers)
As the projected No. 1 overall pick, the Heisman Winner will have a bevy of marketing opportunities to choose from. Not only does his electric playmaking make him a fan favorite, but also his path to the NFL, including, sidestepping the MLB, makes for a tempting marketing subplot. Kyler Murray’s switch from baseball to football provides him with greater ability to maximize his off-field earning potential and he has already secured a number of deals, including serving as lead brand ambassador for Mizzen+Main and an autograph / endorsement deal with Panini.
- Marquise “Hollywood” Brown (Twitter: @Primetime_jet – 46.1k followers / Instagram: @primetime_jet – 184k followers)
While injury may result in a draft day slide, with a nickname like “Hollywood,” Marquise Brown will attract a number of endorsement and sponsorship opportunities no matter where he ends up. Brown’s off the field charisma has already earned him an endorsement deal with Adidas.
- Greedy Williams (Twitter: @G_Will29 – 24.4k followers / Instagram: @a_will2 – 69.5k followers)
Another beneficiary of early branding efforts, Greedy Williams is an attractive brand ambassador / influencer for a number of companies. Greedy Williams understands the importance of protecting his brand, as his Twitter and Instagram handles include the trademark symbol – ™ – letting companies know he’s open for business. With an established tagline in #BeGreedy, Williams has the potential to develop his own personal brand that may outlast his fellow draft mates. Williams currently serves as an endorser for Adidas.
- DK Metcalf (Twitter: @dkmetcalf14 – 32.4k followers / Instagram: @dk_metcalf14 – 344k followers)
An outstanding collegiate athlete, DK Metcalf gained prominence through viral photos of his offseason workouts showcasing the wide receiver with a linebacker’s body that reportedly carried only 1.6% body fat. Though that figure seems unbelievably low, Metcalf’s social media presence soared. Jostling with Marquise “Hollywood” Brown to be No. 1 WR selected April 25, Metcalf has agreed to endorsement deals with BOSE and Under Armour.
- Dwayne Haskins (Twitter: @dh_simba7 – 111k followers / Instagram: @dh_simba7 – 217k followers)
Dwayne Haskins used his one season as starter for Ohio State University to make his case as a potential franchise quarterback. Many believe Haskins will be selected by the New York Giants; if so, while he may spend his first year behind Eli Manning, his future off the field earning potential will skyrocket should he take over starting duties and lead the team to another Super Bowl. Notwithstanding, no matter where he lands, Haskins – who currently serves as a brand ambassador for BOSE, JC Penney, and Old Spice – has the talent and presence that should make him appealing to a number of companies.
- Joshua Allen (Twitter: @JoshAllen41_ – 21.7k followers / Instagram: @joshallen41 – 46.1k followers)
A former two-star recruit, Joshua Allen’s has worked his way in to being a potential top-5 pick. While linebackers aren’t typically known for their marketing potential, Allen has been on a tear with obtaining endorsements, having secured engagements with Hyundai, BOSE, and JC Penney, while also representing EXOS Sports. Allen’s marketing potential receives a boost due to sharing a name with Buffalo Bills’ starting quarterback, Josh Allen. Should both obtain on-field success, it is hard to see the two players not being featured in dueling positions in a prominent advertisement at some point in their future.
- Josh Jacobs (Twitter: @iAM_JoshJacobs – 55.7k followers / Instagram: @iam_joshjacobs – 81.7k followers)
Success at Alabama is an attractive selling point, and Josh Jacobs’ story – from living in his car to being the projected top running back of the 2019 Draft – makes a compelling storyline for brands associated with overcoming adversity and sharing positive tales with consumers. Currently, Jacobs has endorsement deals with Nike and Sleep Number.
- Bryce Love (Twitter: @Blovee_20 – 9,994 followers / Instagram: @_blovee20 – 34k followers)
The 2017 Heisman Runner Up, an ACL injury cost Bryce Love the remainder of his senior season and significant draft position. Focusing on rehab and reclaiming the explosiveness that made him one of the best running backs in the country, Love does not appear to be actively promoting any brands. However, a comeback story makes for a prime marketing opportunity, and brands will be competing for his services should Love regain his pre-injury form.
- Devin White (Twitter: @DevinWhite__40 – 37.4k followers / Instagram: @devinwhite_40 – 107k followers)
The second linebacker on this list, Devin White has agreed to an endorsement deal with Nike. Similarly to his LSU counterpart, White has also developed his own personal tag line – #GetLive40 – that he uses for licensing opportunities, such as his limited edition #GetLive40 clothing line offered at https://represent.com/. While White has yet to apply for federal trademark protection for the mark, it appears LSU players have grasped the importance of in order to boost marketing potential.
- Nick Bosa (Twitter: @nbsmallerbear – 82k followers / Instagram: @nbsmallerbear – 140k followers)
Nick Bosa’s successful career at Ohio State University should place him higher on this list, but reports of him liking racist and homophobic slurs on Instagram and scrubbing his Twitter account of controversial conservative tweets due to the likelihood of him being drafted by the San Francisco 49ers have caused his personal image to take a hit. While Bosa’s unapologetic and straightforward nature may be enticing to some, brands may choose to refrain from engagement until sufficient time has passed allowing the negative reports to subside and/or be overtaken by his play on the field. Nonetheless, it appears Bosa has secured deals with BOSE, JC Penney, and Tropicana.
256. Michael Jordan (Twitter: @BigMikeJ73 – 10.2k followers) Unfortunately for Michael Jordan, despite being a top player at his position, in addition to being an offensive lineman – a position that rarely receives public exposure – he shares his name with the greatest basketball player, and one of the most successful endorsers, of all time. Hopefully, a company can develop a campaign focused on “Ground Jordan,” and he becomes the Tom Brady of this list.