This week, we thought it would be timely to post some facts about the 2018 NFL Draft class on Twitter. We looked at three positions: QB, RB and DE. The number of players drafted, signed post-draft, invited to try out, and that actually made a roster were apparently eye-opening to many people. In all, the three Tweets earned 87 likes and 33 retweets.
We were mildly surprised by the reaction. I think there’s still a perception that, for most players who come out of FBS football, there’s a happy ending, or at least a brief place in the league. This definitely isn’t so, and it’s important for players to understand that. Seemingly every day in December, I am contacted by a well-meaning player or parent who is seeking help hiring an agent despite not starting regularly for his college team.
Here are a few more numbers, trends and totals for players in the last three draft classes in their pursuit of NFL playing careers. If you are a player in the ’19 draft class, or know someone who is, please take heed.
- Quarterbacks: Draft-eligible passers get a lot of hype around draft time, though you typically only hear about the top 12-15 quarterbacks in any draft class. However, the average number per draft class signed by agents over the last four years is about 80 (78.75). The bad news is that the majority don’t even make it into camps (about two-thirds each in ’17 and ’18 were passed over) and the overwhelming majority don’t make a 53 or practice squad (20 percent in 2018, 25.6 percent in 2017).
- Wide receivers: Every year, there are more receivers signed by agents than any other class (305 in 2018 and a whopping 313 in 2016). However, they have the longest odds of making a roster as, last year, 44.9 percent didn’t get so much as a tryout offer. And that’s no fluke. Except for the ’17 draft, when only 32.9 percent were snubbed by teams, about 45 percent of all wide receivers in each of the ’18, ’16 and ’15 draft classes never got so far as a tryout. More bad news: only about 11 percent of each wide receiver class is actually drafted (9.6 percent in 2016!). By comparison, last year, 23 percent of offensive tackles — about one in four — were drafted.
- Cornerbacks: Corners are the second-most popular players to sign by agents, and why not? They play an impact position and they are plentiful. Still, they are far from a lock to get any attention on draft weekend, probably because their draft status is so heavily dependent on 40 time. Last year, 227 cornerbacks were signed by agents, but only about 40 percent were either drafted or signed as UDFAs and only about a quarter (27.8 percent) actually made a 53 or practice squad.
Interested in diving further into the numbers? You can start by registering for our Friday Wrap. This week, we’ll have more scoop on who gets drafted and where the scarcity lies in the draft most seasons. You can register for it here, and you can check out last week’s edition here.
Of course, if you’re a real information junkie — and if you aspire to work in the football world, you should be — click here to check out every position over the last four years and how each has done in the draft. Spoiler alert: you’ll have to subscribe to the site, but if you do, you won’t be disappointed.