For 253 young men, getting drafted on Thursday, Friday or Saturday will culminate a life dedicated to football. Peewee. High school. College. And now, The Show. For these fortunate few, they will have made it. They will have become professionals.
That is the dream. This is the reality: All that being drafted will assure is that the player has his first job out of college. It will not be his last. Two years from now, only 72 percent of the players drafted this week will remain on an active roster. By 2015, 35 percent will be done.
For the drafted rookie who has made an opening day roster in the last 10 years, the average playing career has been six years. In most cases, by his late 20s, a player's career will be over.