Jim Nagy was named to the position June 1, 2018, by Mobile Arts & Sports Association Chairman Mr. Angus Cooper II. In his role, he is responsible for both the football and business operations of the nation’s premiere college all-star game.
While the Senior Bowl has long been regarded as the preeminent event on the NFL scouting calendar, the game has reached new heights over Nagy’s first three years, both on and off the field. Since taking over for former Cleveland Browns General Manager Phil Savage four years ago, Nagy’s overarching vision for game was to position it as the unofficial start of the NFL pre-draft process, which led to the organization’s trademarked mantra “The Draft Starts in Mobile”.
On the football side, Nagy is primarily responsible for the identification, evaluation, and selection of the top NFL prospects to be invited to the game, as well as serving as a liaison to the agent community representing those players. Under Nagy’s leadership, the Senior Bowl team is coming off a year in which it strategically and skillfully pulled off the event despite the extreme challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, something no other pre-draft event accomplished, including the NFL Combine.
The past three games have produced a three-year record 292 drafted players, including 20 first round picks and an all-time high 106 total prospects a year ago. In each of the three years prior to his arrival, the Senior Bowl’s total number of drafted players represented 32% of the that year’s total draft class. That figure has climbed from 36% in each of Nagy’s first two years to an all-time high 41% last year. Moreover, Nagy’s classes have enjoyed incredible staying power once they get to the NFL. From his first two Senior Bowl classes (2019 and 2020), 90% of the players (218 out of 243) wound up making an active 53-man NFL roster at some point during their rookie season. Some future NFL stars who played in the Senior Bowl the past three years include: Los Angeles Chargers QB Justin Herbert, San Francisco 49ers WR Deebo Samuel, Washington Football Team WR Terry McLaurin, and New England Patriots QB Mac Jones.
One of Nagy’s first moves was to build the game’s first-ever personnel department composed exclusively of former NFL scouts, which in 2021 included seven scouts with a collective 120 years of league experience. The Senior Bowl’s year-round evaluation process begins each February with extensive tape study on college prospects, continues through the summer with recruiting visits to events like the Manning Passing Academy, and concludes each year in the fall after more than a hundred live game exposures on campuses around the country. Before invites are sent, Nagy relies on his over 20 years of relationships in the NFL to get input from the league’s top decision-makers to ensure the Senior Bowl is bringing the best draft eligible talent to Mobile each year.
An integral part in the Senior Bowl’s success during Nagy’s tenure has been the use of social media to connect with potential players and expand the reach of the Senior Bowl brand. Since August 2018, Senior Bowl Twitter accounts (@seniorbowl and @JimNagy_SB) have grown exponentially every year, increasing total impressions from 40 million in 2018 to a staggering 350 million in 2021. Embracing the power of social media has helped the Senior Bowl maintain a consistent year-round presence and greatly enhanced the game’s overall visibility.
Another significant growth area over the past four years has been the acquisition of several prominent national partners. With new additions like Nike (on-field) and Swet Tailor (off-field) as the official apparel sponsors, Panini America as the official trading card/NFT partner, and Walk-On’s Sports Bistreaux as the official practice partner, Senior Bowl sponsorship revenues have nearly doubled since 2018. In addition, prominent local businesses such as Regions Bank and Alabama Power have made significant commitments to the growth of the game over the past three years and Wind Creek Casinos recently did the same by signing on as the official sponsor of the Senior Bowl Street Party.
Away from the field, Nagy and his staff have added three exciting new January events—the Senior Bowl Summit, Player’s Mardi Gras Parade, and Downtown Concert—that have quickly transformed Senior Bowl week into more than just a game. Star-studded events like the Summit, which has featured guests like ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit, Alabama Head Coach Nick Saban, and celeb entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuck, and free concerts by groups like The Revivalists and Grammy-winners Portugal The Man have helped drive tens of thousands of visitors to downtown Mobile over the past few years.
The Senior Bowl remains an active community partner throughout the year with its youth NFL Flag league, charitable events such as the Senior Bowl Charities Celebrity Golf Classic, which raised $20,000 for Big Brothers/Big Sisters in its inaugural year last June, and the Turkey Bowl that helped feed 1,000 underprivileged families at Thanksgiving. Additionally, through the Mobile/Baldwin Athletic Partnership (MBAP), the Senior Bowl awarded over $50,000 in grant money for team equipment needs and donated Nike uniforms to several local public high school programs in the city of Mobile.
In addition to his duties at the Senior Bowl, Nagy has worked as a draft analyst for ESPN, covering both the NFL Combine live from Indianapolis and the NFL Draft live in Nashville. He also does extensive work across various football media platforms, including regular appearances on NFL Network and NFL Sirius Radio, and he was named one of the “Top 50 NFL Twitter Accounts” by The Athletic in 2020.
Nagy, a native of Traverse City, Mich., graduated from the University of Michigan in 1996 and was honored with a career achievement award from the school in 2019. He broke into the NFL as an intern for the Green Bay Packers during their Super Bowl XXXI winning season and held various scouting roles over his 18 years in NFL personnel departments, elevating to national scout with the Kansas City Chiefs from 2009-2012. Prior to coming to the Senior Bowl, he spent five years as the southeast area scout for the Seattle Seahawks. Nagy was a part of six teams that reached the Super Bowl and four Lombardi Trophy Champions (Packers XXXI, New England Patriots XXXVIII and XXXIX, and Seattle Seahawks XLVII).
Nagy and his wife, Lindsay, have two children, son Hayden (16) and daughter Lillian (13) and they have lived in Mobile since 2007.