Just how well will you fare at the NFL job fair? | VailDaily.com
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Just how well will you fare at the NFL job fair?

Ian Cropp
Vail, CO Colorado

Welcome to this month’s college job fair, also known as the National Football League Draft.

Come one, come all ” well, actually you need to be invited.

Leave your resume at home, and don’t worry about knowing the inner workings of the companies, as they are the ones who have done their homework on you.

The time to impress has already passed ” it was the regular season and the combine. Now is the time to worry, but not too much.

So you don’t actually have a college degree? No problem. Two or three years of college is plenty. Oh, you have a criminal record? You may not get the job with your No. 1 choice, but somebody (Dallas? Denver?) will take a chance on you, even if you have a felony, and you’ll be forgetting your college woes in no time.

While your classmates spend their final college days sending out resumes, begging for interviews and wondering how in God’s name they’ll pay off those college loans, you’ll get a job offer live on TV.

If you’re a bit concerned that you kind of messed up on the application, don’t worry. Vince Young didn’t do so well with that whole Wonderlic Test, and he’s just fine.

We may be in a bit of a recession, or at least a slowdown as our President calls it, but if you are in the top 32 of this job fair, you’ll be OK. For now. Last year, the top 32 signed for an average guaranteed salary of $10.86 million, which is up about 67 percent from 2003. Don’t feel bad if you are No. 32, really. In 2005, the No. 32 pick, Logan Mankins, inked a contract that give him a guaranteed $4.23 million. He’s getting by. Me? Oh yeah, I graduated that year, too, and my signing bonus at the Vail Daily, well, my agent told me not to discuss it. More on you, though.

OK, let’s talk about doomsday scenarios. So your name isn’t called today, and you wait all day Sunday, until the final pick comes, and then they call you up. Maybe you’ll feel like that dorky kid with tape on his glasses who always was the last guy chosen during kickball at recess. Dry your eye, there’s hope.

In 1976, former NFL player Paul Salata founded “Irrelevant Week,” which honors Mr. Irrelevant, the final pick in the draft. Salata will bring your unfortunate soul and your despondent family to Newport Beach, Cailf., where upon arrival, you’ll be greeted with a news conference and a “shower of gifts.” Then, as if you’ve won the Super Bowl, you’ll get to be a VIP guest at Disneyland (no more sniffles, Junior) and have your own banquet where you are named the All-Star Lowsman (Who needs the Heisman?).

Before I address the unthinkable, hide your eyes, freshmen. So say they don’t call your name at all. Fret not, there is hope. No, not the unemployment line, but training camp. Rookies can try out for the squad, and if you make the team, you’ll be compensated with a paltry $295,000 ” the minimum rookie salary for next year. And if that fails, well, like Rudy did, work your tail off and see if you can make the practice squad. You may need to find a second job, as the weekly stipend of $4,700 doesn’t work out to more than $80,000. Gosh, was it even worth going to college? Count your blessings that this isn’t 1969, when the league minimum was $13,500, which is equivalent to about $80,000 in today’s dollars.

If your fellow classmates complain that liberal-arts graduates can expect an average starting salary of only $33,258 (according to a recent survey by the National Association of Colleges and Employers), just tell them to shut their yappers ” it’s nine percent better than last year. Need some sympathy? Tell them how dire you situation is compared with the next big job fair” the NBA Draft ” where rookies will make a minimum $442,114. And if that doesn’t work, grab them a few free pens and keychains.

Sports Writer Ian Cropp is still eligible and can be reached at 970-748-2935 or icropp@vaildaily.com.


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