Jeremy Trueblood is a lineman from Boston College. He's 6' 9" and 330 pounds — enormous by most standards. But with the NFL's push for bigger and bigger players, agents say even Trueblood could soon be undersized.
"I think we'll see some 400-pound offensive tackles," says Tom Condon, one of the top agents at International Management Group. Each year, IMG brings its newest clients to a sports complex in Bradenton, Fla., in preparation for what they hope is an NFL career. If those clients can add a few more pounds, shave a tenth of a second off their 40-yard dash time and add an inch to their high jump, the theory goes, then the higher they go in the draft ... and the more money for IMG.
"Last year we had (University of Utah quarterback) Alex Smith at the first pick (by San Francisco)," says Condon. "It was a $24 million guarantee and he was averaging $8.5 million a year."
That's why IMG's camp is anything but a charm school; Condon calls it more like a "Show Me The Money" school. "We did this for a reason," he says of the reason for establishing the school.
For Trueblood and former Boston College teammate Mathias Kiwanuka, moving up just a few spots in the draft would be huge.
"It means dollars," says Kiwanuka. "It means a lot of dollars. The difference between being a Top 5 pick and being a Top 20 pick — you're talking millions of dollars there."
But the NFL doesn't just want big guys … it wants big fast guys. That's why they need to be in the best shape of their lives — and IMG spares no expense to get it done. Want to teach a 330-pound linemen to run faster? Who better to show him than Michael Johnson, a former Olympic champion who was once regarded as the fastest man in the world?
"A long time ago the thought was, 'well if you get too big you can't run as fast,'" says Johnson. "We've proven that we can make some fairly big guys run fairly quickly."
This year's NFL Draft takes place on April 29 and 30. But IMG already has its eyes on the next generation of players — one that includes 14 high school prep stars, all of whom are over the 300-pound mark.