Michael Lance Trope, the 25-year-old player agent in Los Angeles, may make the biggest news in the National Football League's college draft Tuesday and Wednesday. Or maybe it will be Cincinnati, which has three selections in the first round.
Trope has as clients Tony Dorsett of the University of Pittsburgh, Ricky Bell and Marvin Powell of Southern California, and Warren Bryant of Kentucky, among others.
Since former USC coach John McKay's Tampa Bay Buccaneers have first pick, and have committed themselves to choose Bell, the big question is where Heisman Trophy winner Dorsett will play.
Seattle has the second draft selection. Trope predicts the Seahawks will take defensive tackle Mike Butler of Kansas or trade their first-round choice to the New York Jets, Dallas Cowboys or New Orleans Saints.
Trope says the Jets already have contacted him about Dorsett's attitude toward playing in New York and adds, "They've got a shot."
But Trope may make bigger news than a trade would for his client. As he reads the new collective bargaining agreement between the club owners and the NFL Players Association, it might be advantageous for Dorsett to take a fling first in the Canadian Football League.
"If an NFL club that drafts Dorsett is penurious in its offer," Trope says, "he might sign to play for Toronto on a one-year contract with an option year.
"By then, there would be the residual benefits of coming back and shopping all 28 NFL clubs. I have talked to Toronto and know they would pay a decent dollar from past dealings in Canada."
Trope negotiated the contracts of Johnny Rodgers of Nebraska with Montreal and Anthony Davis of USC with Toronto Rodgers is now with the San Diego Chargers and Davis with Tampa Bay.
Trope interprets the new labor pact to mean that Dorsett would be free to shop the NFL if he snubs the draft for two years.
Jan Van Duser, director of personnel for the NFL, says it is not quite that way.
Let us suppose that the Jets trade for the right to draft Dorsett on Tuesday. If they could not agree on terms and Dorsett played with Toronto for two seasons and then wanted to come back to the NFL, here is what would occur:
The Jets would retain the right to match any other club's bid for Dorsett by making him an offer within 30 days of his request to join the NFL.
Trope concedes that Tampa Bay will take Bell. He predicts that if the Jets or Cowboys trade for Seattle's pick they will take Dorsett, but if the Saints do they will go for an offensive tackle, preferably Marv Powell.
Trope says that even if Dorsett were still available, Cincinnati, which picks third, would choose a defensive lineman, because they are committed to Archie Griffin as their key running back.
The Jets want Powell or another offensive tackle with their fourth pick, if they do not trade it for Dorsett.
The New York Giants pick fifth and Trope says they would prefer to land offensive tackle Bryant.
Atlanta picks sixth and wants an offensive lineman, Trope insists, preferably guard Ted Albrecht of California. The Saints pick seventh and would be happy with Albrecht, Bryant, or Powell.
As usual, draft day will be pretty much an open date for Washington fans. The Redskins have only four picks in the new 12-round draft.
Besides the Redskins, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Oakland have traded away their first-round selections.