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    Business Week

    • Average NFL player salary: $1.9 million
    • Median NFL player salary: $770,000
    • Average NFL career length: 3.5 years
    Odds of becoming an NFL Player at all.
    The exact number of players who are eligible to be drafted every year is not readily available, but with some basic math skills, we should be able to come up with a rough estimate. There are 115 colleges with NCAA Division I football programs, give or take half a dozen in any given year. These colleges can offer up to 85 scholarships per year, but every team has some non-scholarship players, so let’s estimate that there are an average of 110 players on a Division I team. A quick check of the rosters shows that each team has between 10 and 20 seniors. So let’s say that each team has an average of 15 seniors. That makes for a total of 12,650 players, with 1,725 seniors. But that doesn’t count Division II, which has roughly the same number of teams, so double those numbers to 25,300 players and 3,450 seniors. So the first lesson that our foray into math offers is that not every college football player makes it to his senior year, and being offered a scholarship out of high school is no guarantee of eventually entering the NFL draft.

    So, including the 50 or so underclassmen who leave college and declare themselves eligible for the NFL draft, that’s a pool of 3,500 players who could be drafted. Now consider the number of players that were drafted by NFL teams in 2011: 254. In other words, only approximately 7% of eligible players get drafted. Those players then have to compete with everyone else on the roster, plus any undrafted college free agents (that is, players who weren’t drafted but are still offered the chance to try to make the roster), plus any other veterans or players from other leagues the team might want to check out, just to make it onto the Week 1 roster.

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