What happens if you don't get drafted in the NFL? Exploring options for undrafted college athletes

NFL: NFL Draft
What happens if you don't get drafted in the NFL?

The 2024 NFL Draft came to an end on Saturday, after 32 clubs had picked 257 former college athletes over the course of three days and seven rounds. The Chicago Bears made the first selection during the event, picking USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the first overall pick. The New York Jets then selected Alabama Crimson Tide safety Jaylen Key with the final pick to complete the draft two days later.

For countless college football players throughout the country, hearing their name called during the NFL Draft is almost always their ultimate goal. However, not every one of those players is selected by an NFL team. What then happens, in your opinion, to collegiate athletes who declare for the draft but aren't selected?

What happens to players not selected in the NFL Draft?

A player may still pursue a career in professional football even if they were not chosen in the draft. In fact, many players who are not selected in the draft are still given the chance of trying out as undrafted free agents (UDFAs) by NFL teams.

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These undrafted free agents are invited to rookie mini-camps, which is where they can demonstrate their abilities and possibly win a place on the active roster. However, it should be noted that very few undrafted free agents wind up on an NFL team's active roster.

UDFAs typically have to compete fiercely for spots during training camps and the preseason before they can join a team's 53-man roster. Even if they don't make the final cut, players may still be able to make it into a team's practice squad.

To put it simply, players who did not have their names called in the NFL draft can still become successful players in the league. Several of the most well-known players in the league were undrafted when they first joined.

Several recognized undrafted players from previous NFL seasons include Kurt Warner, Tony Romo, Adam Vinatieri, John Randle, Warren Moon, and Antonio Gates. Undrafted free agents must begin their ascent to the top in training camp and maintain an elevated standard of performance throughout every phase of their professional advancement to experience the kind of success that players like these did.

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