We just finished examining the entire 2015 draft class, and we’re starting a breakdown of the players who were eligible to be selected two weekends ago. I find it a lot more illuminating to look at every single player who was hoping to hear his name called that week, rather than strictly the ones the media was touting. It just gives you a clearer, bigger picture of the entire draft. Here are a few thoughts.
- We identified 1,989 players who signed with agents this year. We arrived at that number by taking the 2060 players the NFLPA listed as being draft-eligible and signed to a standard representation agreement, then eliminating all the repeat listings, veterans sorted in with draft prospects, misspellings that created incorrect listings, etc.
- Also, I would estimate that the actual number of players who signed such deals is at least five percent, and maybe 10 percent, higher than 1,989. We had to go through and add 105 names to the list that had been omitted, and this was based solely on the tryout and UDFA players we know were part of this draft class. At any rate, almost 2,000 players is a big number when you consider that most teams only have around 100-150 on their boards as draftable.
- Counting the number of players signed to undrafted free agent deals, as well as those invited in for tryouts, is notoriously hard because (a) some teams like to hide this from the media and (b) there are still six teams that will hold camp this weekend and don’t yet have their rosters and invitations set.
- With that said, we’ve counted 489 tryout players and another 437 signed as undrafted free agents. The number will be slightly higher by the time the six teams wrap things up this weekend, and we hope to gather those names to add to our totals. Still, statistically speaking, only about five percent of those invitees will actually be offered contracts. Of those who are offered contracts, only about eight percent (one in 12) will actually make it to the 53 or a practice squad.
- Figure that every one of these players that made it to a tryout, as well as those who signed as undrafted free agents, went into the draft as at least a solid bet to go in the seventh round. Having spoken to agents this spring, the cost of doing business for a player with a draftable grade is about $10,000 per player (counting training, food, lodging, etc.). That means that agents spent, all told, about $1 million training players that have, at best, an eight percent chance of making even a practice squad.
- And for those that don’t know, the NFL doesn’t allow contract advisors to bill players on practice squads, so those fees are eaten, as well, unless the kid gets elevated onto the 53.
- Of course, more than half the players that signed standard representation agreements didn’t even make it to a tryout, and we all know many of those players got paid training, as well. So determining the amount of money that went up in smoke at the end of the draft is really pure guesswork. I’d estimate that number to reach at least $1.3 million to $1.4 million.
I’m just getting started on these numbers. There’s still a lot of polishing that will go into them, and we’ll divide them up by position, school size, and a number of other factors next week over at Inside the League. This has been a wildly popular breakdown when I’ve done it in the past.
At any rate, I’ve provided today’s analysis just to give a little perspective, a peak behind the curtain. I think it provides a snapshot of the draft class and the odds players face in making the league.