Many football players aspire to get into NFL teams and play like professionals. However, it is not that easy to become an adept player, and that too, on NFL teams. It requires a substantial amount of practice and command of the game, even if you are perfect at it. You need to meet some criteria to become a player in one of the world’s most exciting games. Read more to know how to get a job at the NFL.
So, we’ll see in this article the eligibility to become an NFL player, the procedure of selection, the pay that a player can get after being selected as an NFL player, and what happens if you don’t get selected as an NFL player?
The most common and main way to get into the NFL is to first get selected in college football and then apply for the NFL draft. After getting selected in the NFL draft, there are some stages before getting selected by an NFL team. First things first, let’s see how one can enter college football.
The first step:
For someone who is in high school, it is a good chance to get exposure and experience on the football field. It’s easy to get noticed by college football coaches if you are particularly good at the game. Getting on an NFL team is a long way to stay consistent and become a disciplined athlete. It’ll motivate you to practice hard for your goal.
Take guidance from your school football coach about colleges where you should play college football.
According to Leagueside.com, only 1.2 percent of high school football players selected by college football teams make it to the NFL. During the 2018 draft, out of 16,000 college football players, only 255 players made their way to NFL teams and one player was a professional rugby player in Australia.
Becoming a college football player
To become a college football player, you need to enroll in a good college with a football field and team. Make strong networks so that you can get guidance and help from coaches. College coaches are NFL recruiters, so making an impression as a good player will help you.
Try to stand out – you can create a play-by-play highlight video of your game, where you can show college coaches your best qualities as a player. The coach will remember you and your efforts.
Registering with the NCAA – It is mandatory to register with the NACC to play in Division I or II schools. The NCAA eligibility center validates your status as an amateur athlete. An NCAA eligibility center certificate is necessary to play in Division I or II schools. Take advice from your coach about whether this will be good.
Networking is best – your junior year is the best time to practice and sharpen your athletic abilities. During this time, keep an eye on making networks with college coaches, senior football players, etc., so they can help you get into college football. Personal calls to coaches and showing them your interest and ability to play football in the future is also a good choice.
Become a decision-maker – When you reach your senior college years, if you are good at playing football, you will get offers in your senior years. You can now select which division schools you want to play for.
What’s the difference? Division I schools have the largest budgets, and they travel nationwide for games, while Division II schools are low on budgets and travel regionally for games.
Follow a practice schedule
The importance of practice is impossible to put into words. Someone who gets selected for the college football team has to practice for matches to give their best performance. For someone who is practicing individually, it becomes more important to maintain a schedule of daily practice and follow it consistently.
Work on your abilities and shortcomings during the NFL draft. You have to show different athletic abilities. Practice different aerobic, anaerobic, and kickboxing exercises.
In a way, playing college football is your last chance to improve your skills and work on your shortcomings. You can build an athletic resume while practicing in college.
NFL draft eligibility.
The criteria for performing in the NFL are simple. You can apply to play in the NFL draft if at least three years have passed since you graduated from high school.
Someone who is not playing college football can also apply for a draft in their senior year. If you remain in contact with coaches and ask for their advice about becoming a walk-on during the NFL draft, then they might help you.
Checkpoints before the NFL draft
Before the NFL final draft, the NFL conducts a regional combine and a national combine, respectively. You first register for the NFL regional combine, where the best athletes will be selected. Some selected players could be college football players, and some of them might practice football independently.
After athletes are selected at the regional level, comes the national combine. Here, the best players compete. Athletes have to perform a 40-yard dash, bench press, and a vertical lap.
Out of thousands of college footballers, about 355 get to try out in the national combine draft, among which around 250 to 255 get selected for the NFL draft.
The selected players undergo a medical examination for their health check-ups.
The final checkpoint to enter the NFL: the NFL draft.
The NFL draft is one of the biggest live television events, with the highest viewership. Before the final draft, many coaches, scouts, and managers try to do many mock drafts to decide which players would be a good fit for the NFL teams.
The final NFL draft takes place in February every year. It consists of seven rounds of selection, held over three days, where scouts evaluate players based on different criteria. In this draft, all 32 professional NFL teams take part and choose their new rookies.
According to the lists, prepared by various managers, scouts, and coaches over the months, different players were selected. The first round is held on the first day, the second and third-round picks are made on the second day, and the next four rounds are held on the third day.
Teams bid for the players and the team who bids highest gets the player. The teams with the worst record pick first, and then the team with the winning record gets to choose the players. Players can also network during the draft. It will help them to get noticed by coaches and the NFL selecting staff.
How much can you earn as an NFL player?
There are differences in the salaries of players who are selected in the first round and the seventh round. In the 2018 NFL draft, the first pick signed a $32 million contract for four years. While the 256th chosen player signed a $2 million contract for the same four years, you will earn more if you get selected first.
There’s a difference between the salaries of first-round players. Each player has a draft stock, which is an unofficial ranking, and the players’ wages are dependent on that.
The draft stock is not a mere reflection of how the players play but also of their conduct. Laremy Tunsil’s example can help us here. He was considered as one of the top five picks during the 2016 NFL draft. Someone hacked his Twitter and uploaded a pot-smoking video of him. Because of that, his draft stock fell. The Miami Dwalfins picked him at number 13. Although he was still picked in the first round, he lost millions because of that video.
Rookies can’t negotiate the terms of their contracts as veteran players can. The wages are estimated based on total rookie compensation pools. For example, during 2019, the average wage cap for NFL teams was 188.2 million. That means the total they can spend on both veteran and young players can’t exceed 188.2 million.
Undrafted free agents.
Undrafted free agents are players who are eligible for the draft but didn’t get picked by any of the teams. These agents can earn a similar amount to the players picked in the seventh round. Their contracts last for three years. Here, undrafted free agents have the freedom to join any team that they want.
There’s no limit to the number of undrafted roasters a team can sign, but they can’t exceed 90. You may feel a little disappointed about becoming an undrafted free agent, but sometimes undrafted rookies also make their way to an NFL team. Take the case of Tony Romo, who was undrafted during the 2003 draft but recently signed a $119 million, seven-year contract with the Dallas Cowboys.
The Denver Broncos, Houston, Texas, and Wes Welker are some of the examples that can encourage you to become an NFL undrafted free agent. The key is to remain at the top during each training program.
Becoming an NFL player is not a cakewalk. It takes a substantial amount of practice and commitment for years. But it becomes easy to reach a destination when you know the route, and we tried to show you the same in our article.
The educational qualification for the NFL is only to pass high school, and then three years of football training (in college or independently).
You can earn a good sum by playing soccer as an NFL player. However, your playing skills will also determine your salary. One who is passionate about playing and making a career in football has many ways of getting into the NFL. If you do not get into the NFL as a player, you can get there as a scout, coach, or referee. Becoming an undrafted free agent is not a bad option, and after becoming one, you can also try your luck at getting into the NFL with your practice
Frequently asked questions (FAQs)
Q.1 What if you don’t get selected for a college football team?
You can become a walk-on during the NFL draft. Just practice your skills. If you don’t get any offers during college, then you can try to become a walk-on. College walk-ons are those who either don’t get many offers for college football or attend colleges that don’t offer athletic scholarships.
Q.2 What if I don’t get selected during the NFL draft?
The NFL conducts a supplemental draft in July. Here, those players whose strength and playing abilities have changed since the final draft can apply.
Q.3: Can I get into the NFL without performing well in the draft?
Yes, but there are rare chances of getting into the NFL without performing well in the draft.
Q.4: Which is the best NFL team?
The Lines have estimated that, out of 32 NFL teams, the KC Chiefs, TB Buccaneers, and BUF Bills are the top 3 teams.
Q.5: Who is the best NFL player?
Some top NFL players are Lamar Jackson, Russell Wilson, Aaron Donald, Patrick Mahomes, and Michael Thomas.
Q.6: How can I get into the NFL without being a player?
If you don’t want to play, then you can be an NFL referee, a scout, a sports manager, a water boy, etc.