NFL, NCAA will again use undrafted underclassman as scare tactic

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Every years, college football players who are old enough to vote, smoke, serve in the military, and in many cases legally drink make the adult decision to stop playing football for free and to attempt to play football for money. Even if the NFL and the NCAA would prefer that they continue to play football for no pay and, in many cases, an education they neither want nor take seriously but instead actively work to undermine at the express or implied urging of their coaches in order to devote maximum attention to football.

So when a chunk of those players inevitably aren’t selected in a seven-round draft, the guys who weren’t picked become the cautionary tale for next year’s crop of players who may choose to leave the NFL’s free farm system prematurely.

Here’s the first line from NFL.com’s article regarding the 37 underclassmen who weren’t drafted in 2018: “A record 106 underclassmen who were granted early eligibility for the 2018 NFL Draft entered Thursday hoping to receive the call of a lifetime, but only 69 did.”

Is it really a “call of a lifetime” if it comes in round six or seven? At that point, it’s better to be undrafted, so that the player can pick his next team instead of having his next team pick him. This allows the player, while working with his agent, to find the best place to learn, to develop, and ultimately to win a spot on the 53-man roster, based in large part on the existing depth chart at the player’s position.

The draft has only seven rounds (down from 12 and as many as 30); a roster has 53 spots. Plenty of undrafted players can and will make it in the NFL. As noted last night on Twitter, the drafted quarterbacks in 2003 were Carson Palmer, Byron Leftwich, Kyle Boller, Rex Grossman, Dave Ragone, Chris Simms, Seneca Wallace, Brian St. Pierre, Drew Henson, Brooks Bollinger, Kliff Kingsbury, Gibran Hamdan, and Ken Dorsey. Undrafted that year was a guy named Tony Romo.

So to those 37 players who weren’t drafted: Don’t let the NFL, your college coaches, or anyone else allow you to live in regret. Be optimistic, be determined, and be hopeful to make the most out of your talents at the next level as an undrafted free agent. You’ve already made the decision to not spend another year of playing football for free, so it’s not like you’ll make any less money this year as a result of your decision to try to play in the NFL.

35 responses to “NFL, NCAA will again use undrafted underclassman as scare tactic

  1. Tony Romo won the Walter Payton award in his senior year at college.

    Using him as an example for players that leave early and don’t get drafted is pretty bad reporting. Maybe this author would of been better served getting a degree in journalism. His muckraking side gig would truly benefit!

  2. Out of those 106 only maybe 50 have the actual current skill set / abilities to get drafted.

    Yes, they have the right to abandon their education, but many listen to their family members / “agents” who convince them they will go in round 1, when in reality they would be better off staying in school and getting an extra year of playing time.

    Using a Tony Romo as an example is misleading. For every Tony Romo there are 5000 guys that nobody has ever heard of or remembers.

    Declaring is a very adult decision and part of being an adult is doing the logical thing-even if it is not what you really want to do.

  3. So there you go kids. Don’t listen to your coaches that put in the time and effort to recruit you, watch out for you, develop you, and care how the rest of your life turns out. Listen to the lawyers and try to grab a little cash at the first possible opportunity.

  4. Yeah, well, you know, that’s just, like, your opinion, man. It is entirely possible and plausible that there are situations where remaining in school is the smarter option.

  5. Damn! And Tony Romo ended leading his team to all those playoff victories compared to those other guys! Oh, wait…

  6. What an absolutely ridiculous take by Florio. First of all, it never ceases to amaze me that somebody who makes his living off the NFL continues to bash everything they do. Now, on to real life. Every year millions of kids drop out of college. Is it a “scare tactic” to tell them they should stay in school in order for better employment opportunities? And these kids aren’t getting scholarships. They take out student loans and leave school with debt and no degree. If you’re told you should stay in school and play another year to gain experience, then declare anyway and don’t get drafted, then that’s your own problem, not the NFL’s. But it’s ok. Now they can go back to school, take out that student loan, and actually study and get a degree. Or, find a job somewhere making a less than ideal living…

  7. “Don’t let the NFL, your college coaches, or anyone else allow you to live in regret. Be optimistic, be determined, and be hopeful to make the most out of your talents at the next level as an undrafted free agent. You’ve already made the decision to not spend another year of playing football for free, so it’s not like you’ll make any less money this year as a result of your decision to try to play in the NFL.”

    —————

    But when the concept of Probability becomes realized for a significant number of these individuals, and you don’t make an NFL roster, you should not feel regret for not taking advantage of a college education and degree, because “it’s not like you’ll make any less money” for the rest of your life “as a result of your decision to try to play in the NFL,” walking away from a free or heavily subsidized college education and degree [sarcasm].

  8. Maybe if the draft was only 5 rounds that would be better. Oh wait, then Florio would say the 4th and 5th round picks would be better off not being drafted. Me thinks Florio has spent too much time in front of the bright lights and has forgotten what real life is like. I’m not able to muster up much sympathy for people getting a scholarship if they don’t actually work towards their degree. I had student loans, got a degree, and now make a great living. You know, like millions of other people in the U.S.

  9. So what? These athletes are NOT “kids” they are adults who made a decision to forego their college eligibility. There are consequences with THEIR choice.
    Do NOT blame the NFL or the NCAA.
    The same media who glorifies the NFL and CFB is the same media who vilifies it because a 20/21/22 year old wants an NFL paycheck but isn’t NFL material and doesn’t get drafted.
    Cry me a river.
    Looks like the left has some potential protestors to make use of now.

  10. The article is unaware of one KEY issue, that I’ve seen firsthand.

    Some guys become academically ineligible by giving up on college. They have no choice once they stop going to class or trying during the Fall. Certainly not all or even most but it’s part of the equation.

  11. Wow. Citing Tony Romo, Jerrah’s Biggest Loser (which says a LOT)… talk about a post-draft blogging hangover…

  12. Shame on the NFL for giving these kids the terrible advice of staying in school!!

    They should be handing them a bottle of booze, a gun and a slap on the back while saying “Welcome to the real world sucker!”.

  13. I can’t believe someone who is college educated is encouraging others to drop from college a year early for a Longshot chance….

  14. They don’t “play football for free”. They don’t have to spend 15-20 years paying off a student loan. We voted out socialism in 2016. Sorry.

  15. I doubt they’ll ever go lower in the number of rounds. Remember, Tom Brady got drafted in the 6th round the same year the Lions used their 2nd round pick on Charlie Batch.

  16. bordner says:
    April 29, 2018 at 10:47 am
    Damn! And Tony Romo ended leading his team to all those playoff victories compared to those other guys! Oh, wait…

    cobrala2 says:
    April 29, 2018 at 11:32 am
    Wow. Citing Tony Romo, Jerrah’s Biggest Loser (which says a LOT)… talk about a post-draft blogging hangover…

    It’s sad that these two are likely only able to cling to their high school football memories, yet mock Tony Romo, who had a solid NFL career, won a lot of games, put up historic numbers for a franchise with QBs named Aikman and Staubach, and cashed a lot of checks that will ensure financial stability for him and his family. Can Kyle Boller or Rex Grossman say the same? Are either currently getting paid a lot of money by CBS to be the top analyst for the game they played? And the point of the article, Romo did this despite being an after thought from that draft. He went to the combine that year to throw to WRs and was sought by multiple teams to sign as an undrafted free agent. He never won a Super Bowl or racked up playoff victories, but if you’re being honest about your evaluation of his performance, he helped the Cowboys win a lot of games, but fell victim to the salary cap and drafting mistakes of his GM, which failed to surround him with talent on both sides of the ball. Like him or not, he was a successful undrafted free agent.

  17. “Every years, college football players who are old enough to vote, smoke, serve in the military, and in many cases legally drink make the adult decision to stop playing football for free and to attempt to play football for money.”

    ===============

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but these guys are on athletic scholarships. Soooooooo, they are NOT playing football for free. They are playing for a college degree.

    Last I checked, college degrees cost money……… therefore, not free.

  18. The NFL.com story should have also mentioned the number of players that completed their years of eligibility and then didn’t get drafted. I’m sure that total would reach into the thousands.

  19. This article is off.

    Isnt it a good thing if the NCAA uses this to remind students that just because they think they should be drafted it doesnt mean they will be drafted?

    I dont get the “adult decision” point. Many adults make bad decisions – young adult make the most bad decisions.
    Reality checks are good.

  20. “Liberalsruineverything says:
    So there you go kids. Don’t listen to your coaches that put in the time and effort to recruit you, watch out for you, develop you, and care how the rest of your life turns out. Listen to the lawyers and try to grab a little cash at the first possible opportunity.”

    Another GOPer with anti-capitalist ideas. Nice job, Mr. Nationalist! Your party line looks more Hugo Chavez’s party line.

  21. Play for free? Ok, let’s assume that is true even though it isn’t. If an underclassman CHOOSES to forego his last year or two of college or fails to actually graduate then he should be saddled with a personal debt for the cost of the education he spit on. These guys are given scholarships to play football. Those scholarships are for an education and would be filled by actual students if not given to an athlete. Tuition, housing, food, books, etc. are not “free”. The author has a nasty habit of ignoring pertinent facts and suppressing competing ideas in order to prop up his arguments and yet somehow still manages to think he is right when he does so.

  22. If you are faulting this article for using the example of Tony Romo, you’re missing the bigger point.

    Whatever Romo did or did not accomplish in his career, he was a hell of lot more successful than thirteen other QBs who were selected in the same Draft. QBs who were scrutinized via film, Pro Days, the Combine, Wonderlich, interviews, private workouts, etc. All the ways the NFL tells us that they know better than anyone just who can make it in the League and who can’t.

  23. Playing for free…That’s rich. What’s their student loan pay off balance upon graduation? More than mine?

    Didn’t think so.

  24. If they are leaving early, it’s not because they have the right stuff to be a doctor or engineer or scientist.
    They are looking for a alternative lifestyle. At least it’s better than the NBA.

  25. A better article would be to analyze all the underclassmen and see how many MADE an NFL roster. Just because you’re drafted doesn’t mean you’ll make the roster unless you’re a first or second round pick.

  26. If you’re one of the top players and will go in the first round, then sure… come out early. If not, stay in school for one more year and try to get better. You can also get your degree, which statistics say increase your odds of higher future earnings.

  27. I’m not even sure what the point you are trying to make heer is Florio, but there’s always the XFL, pretty sure they’d be happy to take the Tony Romos and Tony Gates of the world. Pretty sure they’d be happy to take the an 18 year old directly out of high school as well.

    As we’ve seen numerous times, the NFL will act, when forced to act. They always seem to find reasonability when it’s at the risk of competition or money. So when the XFL comes and guts collegiate talent with no rules about 2 year’s after high school, I bet the NFL has a different take on players staying in school for 3 or even 4 years.

  28. Football for free? Gee, wonder what the tuition books and food and ,living quarters actually would cost say someone at Harvard, Virginia Tech, Vanderbuilt? 30 k per year at least?
    You stay and play four years and walk away with a degree that costs fellow students who did not get a scholarship several hundred thousand bucks.
    Not to mention and the author failed to, that if you on TV your noticed, and if your good and noticed your actually making money by raising your draft status. Thus, your getting paid big time you just not getting it in cash until your done playing football.

  29. The author seems to think these poor guys are getting totally screwed and should be givin more than just free food, lodging, tuition, books. The truth is these guys are students but they are also products of themselves. Be a top running back on the college stage and your payday will come in spades. You will sign a contract worth more then most men could earn in 40 years of hard work. Your pay checks will be greater than most working stiffs annual wages.
    I personally feel so sorry for these guys being forced to play for free. NOT

  30. TheDotardinChief says:
    April 29, 2018 at 12:34 pm
    “Liberalsruineverything says:
    So there you go kids. Don’t listen to your coaches that put in the time and effort to recruit you, watch out for you, develop you, and care how the rest of your life turns out. Listen to the lawyers and try to grab a little cash at the first possible opportunity.”

    Another GOPer with anti-capitalist ideas. Nice job, Mr. Nationalist! Your party line looks more Hugo Chavez’s party line.
    ———————————————

    That is capitalism genius. Taking advantage of opportunities that hard work has already provided you. Whether it is an athletic or academic scholarship. Finish it and either get drafted higher or have a degree to fall back on. Either way you make more money. More people that make more money is good for capitalism. Funny how people are figuring that out the last few years. Apparently you’re behind the curve on that one.

  31. Why does the media keep pushing this narrative that the college athlete is akin to sweatshop labor or indentured servants?

    Is the point of this article to claim these undrafted kids now have it better than the “suckers” that stayed in school? Let’s compare how the next year will go for these undrafted kids vs thos who stayed in school.

    In school. Getting 3 free meals plus snacks per day, laundry done for free, free training facilities with profesional trainers to help, rent free accomodations, free education, free professional coaches whose own career depends on making you better, free swag, first in line to register for classes, dedicated tutors, and a stipend for some walking around cash. Yes, they do get some walkin around cash.

    Undrafted. Living with mom or some super cheap apartment, getting a job to pay bills, paying for a gym, buying and cooking your own food which is pretty darn expensive if you want to eat like an elite athlete. Getting up at 5 AM so you can hit the gym before work. Working an 8 hour shift at a crappy job, cook your dinner, do laundry, sleep. Fall further behind the professionally trained colleg prospects each day while you try to fit training and a job into the same time.

  32. Yes it is the call of a lifetime to be selected. It is an oppurtunity ownly a few people get.

    As far as declaring, how many of these guys actually declare believing they will be drafted? That’s an article right there. Go back and ask the guys that declared if they actually believed they would be selected.

    Just like everything in life. It is a personal choice (Gamble). We all have those choices to make someone of us are succesful some of us are not. That’s life, suck it up, complete your education the way 98% of us had to.. Not being in the NFL isn’t the end of the world.

  33. To everyone touting the glories of the “free” education these kids are getting – as with everything, it’s not so cut and dry.

    I don’t care if they’re legal adults, they’re still kids and need good advice. If a player is eligible to declare for the NFL then hopefully they get good advice before doing so. What is their potential draft grade? If they go undrafted, what are their realistic chances of making a team? That kind of thing.

    The one aspect of this that people are forgetting – and it’s something that rarely gets talked about – is injuries that happen in college. We hear about draftees and college players who had this surgery or that procedure due to injury. We don’t hear about the guys who get hurt, lose their scholarship and are left with huge medical bills.

    Schools promise the world to these kids but will abandon them in a second when it suits them. It is ultimately the player’s choice, sure, but the NFL and NCAA shouldn’t hang these kids out to dry like they do. If a player goes undrafted, why not let him resume his college career if he wants?

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