# What percentage of NCAA football players go on to the NFL?

Asked by

MrItty (

17366)
November 30th, 2009

For the purposes of this question, I’m only talking about the Division 1A NCAA players. Division 2 or 3 players, I assume, don’t often make it to the NFL.

That being said, it seems to me there are drastically more 1A schools than there are NFL teams. So how many of those that play football in college actually make it to the pros? And how many go on to another career when they graduate?

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## 3 Answers

Let’s see, there are roughly 1696 NFL players at a given time and 8470 NCAA Division 1A players (making some assumptions, including the assumption that all teams carry the maximum number of players). That would be 20%. But that’s not the right answer. We have to know how many players leave college in a given year, and how many new players enter the NFL in a given year. There are 384 draft picks in a given year. If a playing career in the NCAA is 5 years, then we can assume that 1/5 of NCAA players leave in a given year, so that’s 1694 players available. Assuming all of the NFL draft picks are new college “graduates”, then we’re still at about 20%. I think that’s still a high estimate. It doesn’t take into account the number of players drafted who will be cut and not signed by another team. Also, I think my number of NCAA Division 1A players per team may actually be low, depending on your definition of being a Division 1A player.

OK, I did my best, I think we need more expertise here.

Todd M. Kays, Ph.D.

Sport Psychologist

“Chances of Playing Football in the NFL

5.6% of high school seniors play football at an NCAA college

2% of college seniors are drafted by NFL

.09% of high school seniors are drafted by NFL”

@Snarp, I like your approach. To come up with an estimate, you would use the equation, (average number of NFL players) = (number of new players per year) * (average career length). Estimate the average career length and solve for (number of new players per year) and then divide that into the number of graduating NCAA players per year, which we can estimate as a quarter of the total number of NCAA players.

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