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Longevity in the NFL

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While researching my column on the new CBA the other day, I took a good, long look at the 2001 NFL draft. I was curious how many draftees were still in the league last season – a decade later. The answer: 49 of 246 (19.9 percent). Roughly, 1 in 5. Here’s how it breaks down:

● Round 1 – 18 active. Redskins: DE Andre Carter (7th overall, by the 49ers), WR Santana Moss (16th, by the Jets).

● Round 2 – 10.

● Round 3 – 8. Redskins: C Casey Rabach (92nd, by the Ravens).

● Round 4 – 9. Notable: Giants QB Sage Rosenfels (109th, by the Redskins).

● Round 5 – 1. (Broncos C Russ Hochstein, originally drafted 151st by the Bucs).

● Round 6 – 1. (Bills TE David Martin, originally drafted 198th by the Packers).

● Round 7 – 2. (Broncos FS Renaldo Hill, originally drafted 202nd by the Cardinals; Ravens WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (originally drafted 204th by the Bengals).

Eye-opening, isn’t it?

For one thing, only four players drafted after the fourth round were still drawing NFL paychecks. (Makes you wonder how much long-term value late picks really have.)

For another, the Redskins had three players from ’01 on their roster – Carter, Moss and Rabach – but didn’t draft any of them. They traded for Santana and signed the other two as free agents.

The only ’01 Redskins selection still in uniform was Sage Rosenfels, their fourth-rounder, who was backing up Eli Manning in New York. Remember, though: Sage was a Marty Schottenheimer pick, not a Vinny Cerrato pick. Cerrato was on sabbatical from Washington that year.

Anyway, thought you might be entertained/amused by this – as I was. Is it any wonder, given the brevity of so many careers, that labor negotiations can get a tad contentious (or, for that matter, that free agents almost always sign with the highest bidder)? Gotta make hay while the sun shines.


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About the Author
Dan Daly

Dan Daly

Dan Daly has been writing about sports for the Washington Times since 1982. He has won numerous national and local awards, appears regularly in NFL Films’ historical features and is the co-author of "The Pro Football Chronicle,” a decade-by-decade history of the game. Follow Dan on Twitter at @dandalyonsports –- or e-mail him at

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