From his living room table-turned war room, Martin Fischman on Saturday afternoon scanned the bottom of NFL Network’s 2014 draft telecast, locating a list of upcoming picks in the fourth round.
Miami at No. 125, then the Saints. New England (No. 140) ends the round.
Surely one of these teams, all with needs at linebacker, will select one of his clients: Lamin Barrow, a product of John Ehret High School and LSU.
While Barrow watches the draft in Baton Rouge, Fischman, his agent, is at his apartment in Lakeview — talking to the television and to his intern, Ryan Feder, a third-year law student at Tulane. Other times, he talks to no one in particular.
Fischman is fielding calls from teams interested in one of his prospects, debating why some of his guys haven’t received calls yet and satisfying his appetite and anticipation with too many chicken fingers.
For months, Fischman, 30, has worn several figurative hats, from publicist and part-time financial counselor to mentor and cheerleader; for some, even friend.
This task, though, might be the hardest: Be patient.
The question is not whether Barrow, a second-team All-SEC performer, is drafted. It’s how soon, with each spot farther down the draft list lowering the amount of money Fischman can help Barrow collect in his rookie contract (Fischman’s fee is no more than 3 percent, per the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement).
Each spot can lessen Barrow’s opportunity to survive training-camp cuts. After all, the more money a team invests in a player, the more opportunities he often receives.
Staring at the television, Fischman rubs his hand through his hair as he thinks talks aloud about Southeastern Louisiana cornerback Todd Washington, who missed the final six games of his college career because of torn tendons in his left big toe.
“Todd would have been drafted right now if he wasn’t hurt,” he said. “This hurts.”
Each pick comes with a double-edged theory: Each cornerback selected ahead of Washington means other teams have to update their draft boards and take a closer look at him. It also means there’s one less pick in the draft, which ends after seven rounds.
Fischman also represents Louisiana-Lafayette receiver Darryl Surgent, whose return skills may help him land a roster spot.
“The Dolphins need ’backers,” Feder said to Fischman, an Uptown native who grew up in Metairie before graduating from Tulane’s law school.
Miami opts for a cornerback. The Saints follow with Khairi Fortt, who will play inside linebacker — a job Barrow could have managed. New England picks an offensive tackle.
“There’s a lot of DBs running 4.5 40s coming off the board,” Feder said, eluding to Washington’s improved chances of being drafted. “That’s good for us.”
“Todd ran it at 85 percent,” Fischman added.
Fischman calls Washington to offer words of encouragement: “Keep that phone by your side, my man. It’s a good day regardless.”
Back to the telecast. Feder switches to ESPN’s coverage.
“Here we go. Come on, Philly ...”
“Here we go. Let’s go, Jacksonville ...”
Another cluster of potential landing spots for Barrow, starting at No. 145 (Minnesota). But a series of trades ends with Barrow still on the board.
“It’s the right move,” Fischman said, shaking his head. “It’s all strategy.”
“All right, Miami...”
The Dolphins select a tight end.
Fischman, staring into a growing list of thoughts on three notepads, has his back turned to the television when Denver’s fifth-round selection is announced: Lamin Barrow.
“Oh, that’s huge!” Feder said.
“Everybody high-fives!” Fischman chimed in. “Oh, life is good. All right, yes. Get him off the board!”
Within seconds, his phone receives about 30 texts.
One down. A handful to go.
By late evening, his other clients — now rookie free agents — find homes around the league. Washington lands with Arizona; Surgent is heading to Kansas City. Cajuns linebacker Justin Anderson signs with the New York Giants. Devan Walker, a 2013 draft prospect out of Southeastern, earns a tryout with Kansas City.
Fischman, who also represents former LSU kicker Josh Jasper (Toronto Argonauts of the CFL) and ex-LSU defensive tackle Josh Downs (New Orleans VooDoo) is still trying to find a home for former Destrehan star Wynrick Smothers.