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From college to the NFL: How a player’s journey begins

(© Sergey Nivens –

Professional football players don’t appear out of thin air, ready to join the NFL. By the time most players are drafted, they have been training in the sport for well over a decade.

In this article, we are going to show you what the typical journey of a professional footballer looks like. There are of course exceptions, but the average NFL player’s journey will look something like this.

If you are wondering whether a rookie is worth betting on, having a look at their journey to the NFL, will give you a good idea. NFL betting is a great way to feel more involved with the sport you love.

High school football and scouting

Most NFL players’ journeys start in High School. Where they are picked to play for the school team.

This is where many of them get their first formal training in the sport and play competitively for the first time. Most states will have local, regional, and national tournaments for high school teams to play in. The better a high school football team does, the better chance its players have of catching the attention of college scouts.

Colleges will send scouts around the country to look for seniors about to head off to college. They will often offer talented sports players a scholarship to the school, in exchange for them playing on the college team. Football is no exception to this system.

Many of the NFL players that you know, were offered a Football scholarship so that they could play in a college football team. Once they graduate they will head of the college.

College football (scholarships, AANC Division 1 football)

College football includes players from college, university, and military academies. 130 of these institutions play in a league together. There are also similar systems in Germany and Canada.

Colleges that seriously participate in college football, will have a full training program in place for their teams. Students that have been brought into the college on a football scholarship will also play alongside students who have been recruited once they have arrived at the school.

Most colleges have an A, B, and C team. The first team is usually made up of seniors who are looking to make the NFL draft when they graduate.

The freshmen and other younger players will train with the first team, but will most likely get their game time in with the B or C team. When the seniors graduate they may be moved up into the first team.

So freshmen can earn their spot in the first team if they are talented enough.

At the end of each year, the colleges will put together a list of eligible seniors and submit them to the NFL for that year’s draft.

Most NFL teams will send scouts around to watch any players they are planning to draft that year.

The Draft

The NFL Draft was designed to promote fairness in the NFL. It does two things, it prevents the best teams from taking the best players, and it prevents the richest teams from taking all the good players.

The NFL Draft consists of 7 rounds where the teams are allowed to pick players from the draft list. The team that did the worst in the NFL overall each year gets to pick first, the team that won the Superbowl picks last.

Theoretically, this means that the best players get picked first by the teams that are struggling the most. Although, there are sometimes exceptions – Tom Brady was picked 199th in his year.

If a team is punished during a season for repeatedly breaking rules, then they may be banned from the first round of the Draft.

Once a player has been drafted by a team, they will join them at its pre-season training camp.


Most players end up staying with the team that drafted them for a long time. Brady stayed with his team for 20 years, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis have stayed with the Ravens for even longer.

Players will try to perform well in their training camps and when they are brought into the match as a substitute. By doing this they can hope to capture the attention of the coaches and earn themselves a starting position on the team.

Even if they do not get much game time in their first few years, football players will still get paid to be part of the team.