Let’s put it this way: There’s only one agency out there that would generate a viral photo to announce its latest client.
Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, perhaps not the first pick in the 2018 NFL draft but clearly the most exciting prospect, was the second-most famous person in the photo posted online announcing his agent. He picked Roc Nation Sports, the company founded by hip-hop mogul Jay-Z.
— Roc Nation (@RocNation) January 3, 2018
Yep, that’s Saquon with Beyonce’s husband. (Why is Jay hanging outside in just socks? Has he reached the point of fame where he can do high-level business deals without shoes? Are his ankles really that skinny? So many questions.)
While you’ll see tweets about which draft prospects chose which agents in the upcoming weeks, I doubt a vast majority of fans will care. But it’s a little different with Roc Nation.
Roc Nation has made a splash. Roc Nation has clients across the major sports like Todd Gurley, Ndamukong Suh, Dez Bryant, JuJu Smith-Schuster, Leonard Fournette, Kevin Durant, Jeremy Lin, Yoenis Cespedes, C.C. Sabathia, Miguel Sano and Robinson Cano. That Jay-Z’s company could build such a strong client base in such relatively little time is a testament to his business acumen, and his charisma helps too.
Not that Roc Nation needed another headlining athlete, but Barkley is a nice get. He’s one of the best running back prospects in many years, a big back with the speed and agility of a much smaller player. He’s uniquely talented, and the rare back in this era who really is worth a top-five pick. Even if the top of the draft is heavy with quarterbacks and pass rushers, it seems hard to believe Barkley will fall out of the top 10. One would assume he wouldn’t pass by the San Francisco 49ers, who should draft ninth or 10th after breaking a tie with the Oakland Raiders with a coin flip. It wouldn’t even be entirely insane if the Cleveland Browns drafted him first overall. He’s that good.
And why not match up the most exciting player in this draft with the agency that even casual fans recognize?
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