The Life of an NFL Rookie

(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

Life isn’t easy for NFL rookies. Blogging Dirty writer Everett Glaze pulls back the curtain and explains just how hard the jump players make from college to rookie year.

Being a rookie in the NFL may just be the toughest task NFL players will have to do all their life. 

NFL life starts at the end of the college season, yet it’s just the beginning of a crazy, hectic first year. Combine appearances, private workouts with multiple teams, and team interviews consume most of a rookie’s time in this long, arduous process. It is at this stage that players begin realizing that their favorite sport has now become their job.

The life of a college athlete is pretty straightforward. In addition to games, players have spring practice and camp. When the regular season rolls around, players then have classes to attend. After making sure academic requirements are met, athletes have weight room time and practice on the football field. Last but certainly not least, we can’t forget Gameday Saturday.

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So basically, although football is part of a player’s life, it isn’t the biggest focus. Also, in most cases, when a player is a superior athlete, he doesn’t tend to work as hard as others because his athleticism carries him throughout his college career.

Once a college player finally goes through the rigors of workouts, interviews and many other interactions with NFL teams, he finally gets drafted.

Now, this is the fun part! That player attends rookie camp, and he then realizes there is plenty of talent there. Even more challenging is when that player attends OTAs and minicamp. At that point, he keeps getting reminded that although he’s talented, this is now a job and the veterans have a much higher level of commitment to their craft.

Then there are the rigors of an NFL season. All rookies have to get used to playing a 16 game regular season. Another thing to get used to is the speed of the game. Because of so many factors, almost all rookies will deal with fatigue, especially if their respective team makes it to the playoffs. This is, in most cases, that rookies learn that taking care of their bodies and really getting into a routine will benefit them greatly.

Most rookies that come into the NFL have a reality check that it takes a different level of focus to succeed in the league.

Long gone are the days where their athleticism carries them through their career. They know now that if they want to be successful, they have to have a level of focus, work ethic, and an actual routine to stay competitive. This is why such a large percentage of rookies, and a fair amount of 1st and 2nd round picks, fail in the NFL. All the talent in the world means nothing if you’re unwilling to put the effort forward to be great.

Will this current draft class by the Falcons answer the bell?