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Should the NFL Have a Summer League?


Ever since NFL Europe folded seven years ago, there has been no developmental league to get reps for young, raw players. Teams bring in a full roster worth of players into their rookie minicamp with Draft picks, undrafted free agents, and tryout players. Minicamp does not provide much time for evaluation of so many prospects. This makes me wonder whether the NFL might consider taking a page out of the NBA's book.

The NBA has a Summer League. The players who contest it are typically new Draft picks, undrafted free agents, tryout players, young developmental players, and the odd veteran rehabbing from an injury. It has proven to be a nice tool to get young prospects more experience and provide a fuller evaluation of players trying out.

Could the NFL do something similar? How about a four game summer league season from May to June for developmental players? It would give players like Oday Aboushi and William Campbell game reps. It could help rookie Draft picks get comfortable in the defense. It might be a better evaluation tool for tryout players. Plus you could get a coach like Thomas McGauhey some head coaching experience if he ran the team. Obviously teams might not send their prized early picks to such a league, but sixth and seventh round picks might benefit.

There seems to be demand for all kinds of minor NFL activity so this might be a way to fill the one hole in the league's calendar.