As a former NFL player I have inside knowledge as to what coaches are looking for when drafting college players. From my experience, here are the five biggest mistakes college players make that will hurt their chances of getting drafted into the NFL:
1. The biggest mistake by far is when college players think they are ready for the NFL and they enter the draft before they are a senior. The majority of college players are not ready physically or mentally to play in the NFL. By staying in college and getting more years of playing time, a player will be both physically and mentally more prepared for the NFL.
2. The second mistake college players make is not working as hard as they can to learn the strategies of professional football as a sport. College players should be learning everything they can about professional football as if they were studying to be a coach. College players should study the best players in the position they want to play and learn the strategies those players are using to dominate their position. To be the best, study the best.
3. College players do not work nearly as hard as they should to earn good grades in their college courses. The NFL wants to draft smart players. By working hard to get good grades, a college football player increases their odds of attracting the attention of an NFL team. Players who are both great athletes and great students are preferred over players who are just great athletes.
4. A huge mistake college players make is that they party too much, lose focus of their goals, and get into trouble. Teams do not want trouble makers who get drunk and do stupid things or players that get into trouble with the law. If you want to make it to the NFL, stay out of trouble and keep partying to a minimum. If your friends are trouble makers who try to get you to do stupid things, get new friends. I cannot stress this enough. Stay out of trouble!
5. Players need to stay in shape and continue to work out year round. Being a professional football player is a full-time job. Players who dominate the sport are the players who work hardest during the off season to stay in shape and master their football skills. Just like everything else in life, people who work the hardest to master their job are the people who are the most successful.