Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Open Access Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Eric Helland

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© 2017 Trey Smith


Over the years there have been a lot of undrafted free agents that have had successful careers in the NFL. The monopsony structure for rookies entering the NFL and the fact that undrafted free agents get to pick what team they play for suggests that there is an advantage in not getting picked in the draft. To explore this possibility, this paper compares the probabilities of remaining in the NFL for undrafted free agents and seventh round draft picks through logit regressions and survival analysis. In doing so, this paper describes the processes the NFL takes in order to find the most elite talent and how they distribute the talent throughout the whole league. The results find that undrafted free agents have a higher probability of exiting at the beginning of a career when compared with seventh round draft picks, but there is evidence that those probabilities start to converge later in careers. Additionally, there is evidence that there are NFL teams and position groups that do better and worse in retaining undrafted free agents, suggesting that there is a way to take advantage in going undrafted.