DePaola’s Road to the NFL

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The long snapping position is a unique one in the NFL.  The path to success is often a winding one, with many ups and downs.  Last month, I wrote about the journey client Patrick Scales made to earn a late season roster spot with the Ravens after four years.

Andrew DePaola of the Buccaneers had a similar path. This season, DePaola snapped in every game for Tampa Bay, becoming a rookie at age 27.  Joe Kania of wrote a detailed story today about DePaola’s fascinating journey.

DePaola was a quarterback in high school with a single Division One offer from Rutgers.  DePaola eventually became a backup snapper at Rutgers before snapping part of his junior season and all of his senior season.  After his senior season, he earned a tryout with the Saints and another with the Patriots. However, two years removed from college, his big break finally came when his college coach, Greg Schiano called.  Schiano was coaching in Tampa Bay and wanted to bring DePaola in for a workout.

DePaola eventually earned a spot in training camp with Tampa for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, each time falling short of making the final roster.  This year, his big break finally came when the Bucs brought him back in April (ironically after an injury to Scales) and he made the final roster.

Some snappers are very fortunate and earn an NFL roster spot immediately as a rookie.  However, in many cases, snappers must show incredible determination to achieve their dreams.  As the stories this year involving Scales and DePaola show, hard work and perseverance can eventually pay dividends.

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