It’s a long shot to make a team in the NFL if you’re not a top draft pick. It’s even harder if you’re a late-round to undrafted free agent. Let me explain what I think will give these individuals the best mentality going towards making an NFL roster.
Consider the situation of these players. You are drafted late or are an undrafted free agent (UDFA). From this you can infer that the team has less invested in you than other players. You are more expendable. There is less margin for error, for you. This is the harsh reality of the NFL, of jobs everywhere. Worried day-to-day that you’ll be cut and off looking for work elsewhere. This can drive anyone up the wall: constantly looking over your shoulder waiting for the bottom to drop. It’s tough, unfair, and can be mentally draining.
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For every success, there are many more failures than anyone would like to admit. That’s why it’s great for the Miami Dolphins to have the personification of perseverance. A 5x Pro Bowler, 1st-team All-Pro, 3x 2nd-team All-Pro in the NFL, Cameron Wake. What I think separates Wake from the countless players that unfortunately don’t make it, his mentality. His approach to the game of football. Wake trains almost year round. He has a diet that is so unprocessed and healthy that it should have its own Instagram #2raw2process. Here is a quote from Cameron Wake written by Alain Poupart on Wake’s sacrifices to succeed,
"Because it could be that one thing that you notice from your studies and your playbook or that one extra rep or that salad that gives you that one inch that creates that sack or that interception or that touchdown, (and) in this game you know that one inch, that one foot that you can gain can make a difference in the game and the difference in a season."
Football is an unforgiving sport physically and mentally. We’ve heard the stories of the toll physically taken by these players, less is made of the mental toll. You can study the playbook inside and out. Train day after day, eat all the right foods, have the best equipment, and still lose. Still fail to separate from the DB, to cover the receiver, to block the DT, to throw an accurate pass, to read the offense, to kick the ball right, to execute the game plan. This is for those players that have made a roster.
If you need to spend hours more studying game film like Zach Thomas, train all year round like Jerry Rice, diet like Cameron Wake, do it. Give yourself the best opportunity to succeed.
This is the mentality needed to succeed on the Miami Dolphins, especially the rookies and UDFA. The commitment to grind. To endure failure after failure with no guarantee of making the team. That is what will give you the biggest margin for error, to make a roster….to make this Miami Dolphins roster.