Draft or bottle?

Got your attention? Question about the NFL draft. Say going into my senior year the experts say I will be the #1 pick in the next draft unless I break a leg or for some other reason, bad season, drugs, law, whatever. Now my dream is to be a Dallas Cowboy but they are picking 32. They won the Super Bowl the last 3 years. First team ever! Any way I don’t want to go anywhere else.
Can I not enter the draft? Can I just say no and be a free agent and sign with who ever I want even if it will cost me $?
I mean just cause I play college ball or not can a team draft me without my permission?
I never really knew how it works. If I don’t join (not sure JOIN is the right word) the draft am I not eligible (maybe the word) to play in the NFL?
How does the draft work?

You would not have to enter the draft. A person has to declare even if they are a senior. You could skip the draft and “walk-on” to a team. But, it would cost you a ton of money.

I know a few things, but not everything about this. I know that if you’re taken in the 3rd round or later (pretty sure 3rd…might be 4th) that you can forego signing with the team and can re-enter the draft the following year. That was how we got Collins as a UDFA, his agent said if anyone drafts him outside of the first/second, that he wouldn’t sign and would re-enter next year. However, I don’t know how the non-declaring works.

Seems like a money hungry top pick could not declare, and auction himself off for potentially more money than the draft would offer.

@Iamtdg, do you know, if he doesn’t declare for the draft, if he has to wait until the following year to sign with a team? Is there any kind of rule there to discourage that kind of thing?

Not that I’m aware of. I don’t think they have ever had to create a rule because he it so rarely happens. I can’t remember it ever happening outside of a player not declaring and going back to college the next year. I have never seen it happen with a senior.

I looked into it deeper and I was wrong. You actually can’t opt out of the draft. You technically are never in the draft until your name is called. You can, however, refuse to sign with the team that drafted you, and sit a year and re-enter the draft. That team hold your rights for that year, so you can’t actually “walk-on” to another team. Bo Jackson went this route, and sat a year in the hopes of being drafted by a different team. So, it looks like you can’t pick your team.

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That is a great question walt. How can someone WHO DOES NOT HAVE A CONTRACT be obligated to anyone? It seems like they could ALL be FAs

P.S. Flask!!!