The NFL has nearly 2,000 players on 53-man rosters and injured reserve or suspended lists. Where do they all come from?
The easy answer is the FBS level of college football. The vast majority of NFL players (87.2 percent) come from FBS schools, and if you follow the links above you can get a better idea of the breakdown of FBS schools.
(Note: rosters used for this exercise include all 53-man rosters plus the injured reserve and suspended lists, but not practice squads. Because rosters are fluid and change daily, these numbers will fluctuate)
But you already knew what that graph would look like. Let's continue, knowing that the FBS is the vast majority of NFL players, and look at the non-FBS players in the NFL.
Here's what the remaining 13 percent of the NFL looks like:
The FCS level makes up more than half of the remaining players in the NFL, 148 total payers (59.9 percent of non-FBS players) as of the survey of NFL rosters.
Division 2 is next with 77 players (31.2 percent of non-FBS players). That's the only other level that produced more than 10 players.
Now it gets interesting. Here are the remaining players:
- 7 Division 3 players
- 7 players from Canada
- 3 NAIA players
- 3 players from basketball-only schools
- 1 player who didn't go to college (Delvin Breaux, who had a scholarship at LSU but never played because of injuries, and eventually went straight to a developmental league in Louisiana and the Arena League)
As you can see, yes, the FBS is the vast majority of NFL players. But the remaining makeup of the league is a bit more diverse than you probably imagined.