Scott Frantz started 51 games at tackle for Kansas State, but it is increasingly likely he will play in zero games for the NFL.
With the NFL Draft behind him, and most of the pick-ups of undrafted free agents having happened in the 48 hours after the Draft, Frantz is still without a home in the League.
It’s shocking to many of the people who followed his career, and likely a shock to Frantz.
“Think it’s a career,” Frantz told GoPowercat last weekend after the Draft.
Frantz came out publicly in 2017 after a fantastic freshman season. It’s been believed by many, including me, ever since that he would find his way into the NFL.
Yet here we are a week after the Draft and no teams have given him that all important phone call.
“Some of the things that hurt me are out of my control,” told GoPowercat.
He’s not wrong.
There are a lot of ways to take that comment from Frantz. As I wrote last week, two of those issues are his arm length and hand size. NFL teams like tackles with longer arms and big hands. Frantz has neither of those, and that is simply something he cannot control.
Another issue are his numbers from his Pro Day in March. His 5.74 time in the 40, and his 22.5-inch vertical jump, simply were not good. In all likelihood, that 40 time in particular spooked some teams. Frantz’s agent told Outsports he had a hamstring injury, but that’s something NFL teams are used to hearing after a poor Combine or Pro Day. Certainly he could have done a better job at his Pro Day, but there’s nothing he can do about that now.
Third is the coronavirus. If there were rookie camps happening in the NFL, Frantz would have an invitation to one of them. I guarantee it. Unfortunately he’s entering the league the one year those aren’t happening. He’s gotta hope somehow there are effective treatments around the corner and the NFL policy about in-person meetings changes.
The last thing out of Frantz’s control is his sexual orientation and the role homophobia is playing in his now-stalled career.
I have always tried to be honest and fair when assessing the role someone’s sexual orientation might have in his being analyzed by pro teams. I’m not the one who’s going to scream “homophobia” when a gay athlete gets overlooked. But when I see it, I am sure to say so.
I can tell you without a doubt that the first two elements I outlined above — his physical measurables and his Pro Day — unquestionably worked against him.
The gay thing? I just can’t say for sure.
What I can say is that I doubt it helped. There may be some NFL owners who would love to bring an out gay player onto their team — guys like Robert Kraft of the Patriots, Stephen Ross of the Dolphins and Steve Tisch of the Giants — come to mind. But I doubt there are many coaches and player-personnel people in the NFL who feel the same way.
A guy like Scott Pioli likely would have been one of the few, but he left the Atlanta Falcons last year. The rest of them, my guess, either truly don’t care one way or the other, or concern themselves with the over-hyped “distraction” a gay player might bring.
If a coach or general manager is weighing Frantz versus another guy with a girlfriend, he may very well just go with the straight guy — whom he deems a safer bet with the media and in the locker room.
What sucks about that is that, by all accounts, Frantz is an awesome guy, loved by his teammates and easy to get along with.
I can’t tell you for sure that Frantz is the victim of homophobia, and I can’t tell you he isn’t.
One Kansas State tackle did get signed
Here’s the kicker to this whole thing, and what complicates the conversation.
After the Draft, the Miami Dolphins signed another tackle in the same class on the same team as Frantz, a guy named Nick Kaltmayer. His Pro Day numbers were essentially the same as Frantz’s (mostly very slightly better). He’s two inches taller with two extra inches on his arms.
It’s in the actual numbers from their career they differ the most, and Frantz has the edge.
Frantz was second-team all-conference, Kaltmayer was honorable mention.
Frantz started every game of his entire Wildcats career. Kaltmayer wasn’t a full-time starter until his senior season.
What we’re all supposed to believe in this scenario is that a player’s college career doesn’t really matter that much. It’s about his “measurables”: 40 time, height, arm length, etc....
Sound familiar? It’s literally the same exact thing we heard with Michael Sam. Identical. He wasn’t fast enough for this position, wasn’t big enough for that position. Despite Sam being named SEC Defensive Player of the Year, and Frantz starting every game of his career for a team that went to a Bowl Game three of those four seasons... we’re told they just weren’t NFL material.
Every player is a combination of issues. Height, weight, speed, experience, personal history, sexual orientation.... The list is endless. Frantz is no different.
I can’t tell you for sure that Frantz is the victim of homophobia.
And I can’t with 100% certainty tell you he isn’t.
The fact that his teammate Kaltmayer is with an NFL team and Frantz is not certainly raises an eyebrow. We’ve been told it would be harder for rookies who weren’t at the Combine this season because the coronavirus is preventing them from meeting team doctors; Yet Kaltmayer and many other players either Drafted or signed since the Draft weren’t at the Combine.
How could things turn around for Frantz? An injury to a player. Medical advances that allow rookie camps and tryouts. Mutual interest between Frantz and a CFL team.
We’ll all have to wait and see. And Frantz may have to make some tough choices in the days and weeks ahead. Stay in shape for that potential call? Or call it a career and move on.
Either way, Frantz’s impact on the sport of football has been important and powerful. For that, he deserves our respect and support.