The NFL Draft this past spring saw a record number of underclassmen declare to be eligible to be drafted. More often than not, underclassmen were left at the mercy of the undrafted free agent pool. A rising number of underclassmen leaving school early for a shot at the NFL has been a growing concern on both sides of the football world, college and pro, and now the NFL is looking to find a way to discourage underclassmen from making a bad decision.
The NFL will cut down on the number of underclassmen who will receive a draft evaluation for a draft. Under the new guidelines, no more than five underclassmen per school will receive an evaluation. A total of 98 underclassmen declared for the 2014 NFL Draft and 37 of those players went undrafted.
According to the Associated Press, Troy Vincent (a former Wisconsin Badger and the NFL’s head of football operations) says underclassmen will be advised on their potential to be drafted in either of the first two rounds of the upcoming draft. Previously players were given a draft evaluation up to three rounds. Players may also be advised to stay in school. That would be a win-win for the NFL and college football if agents do not interfere with the decision-making. Advising players clearly not worthy of an early draft pick to stay in school allows those players an opportunity to get better while playing a key role in the college program. At the same time those players would theoretically become better NFL prospects, capable of making an impact or finding a role on an NFL roster faster.
It is good for the college football product and in turn makes for a better NFL product.
Navy has seen one of its most productive players on the defensive side of the ball play for perhaps the final time this season.
Kwazel Bertrand sustained a broken ankle in the win over Air Force last Saturday, head coach Ken Niumatalolo confirmed earlier this week. As a result, the defensive back will very likely miss the remainder of the 2015 season.
And, because he is a senior and has no other eligibility avenues to pursue, it would effectively end his collegiate career as well.
“I feel terrible for Kwazel. It’s really unfortunate any time a senior goes down with a season-ending injury,” Niumatalolo said. “Kwazel has been a really good player for us and we’re going to miss his presence out on the field.”
Bertrand started 27 games over the past three-plus seasons, including all four in 2015.
You know how I know we’re gradually creeping up on the end of another regular season? Watch lists are being whittled.
The first major honor to do so is the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award, which is given out annually to the best quarterback who is a college senior or fourth-year junior. The preseason watch list was 30 quarterbacks strong; the newest list has been cut in half to 15.
The most recent list includes one of the top Heisman contenders (TCU’s Trevone Boykin) and the top two nationally in passing yards (Bowling Green’s Matt Johnson, Western Kentucky’s Brandon Doughty), as well as a quarterback who’s closing in on the all-time FBS record for rushing touchdowns (Navy’s Keenan Reynolds).
The Pac-12 leads all conferences with three watch listers, followed by two each from the AAC, ACC and Big Ten. The SEC has as many players (one, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott) as the FCS (North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz).
Last year’s winner was Marcus Mariota of Oregon.
Trevone Boykin, TCU
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
Connor Cook, Michigan State
Brandon Doughty, WKU
Everett Golson, Florida State
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
Matt Johnson, Bowling Green
Cody Kessler, USC
Paxton Lynch, Memphis
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
Keenan Reynolds, Navy
Nate Sudfeld, Indiana
Carson Wentz, N. Dakota State
Marquise Williams, North Carolina
Travis Wilson, Utah