2014 NFL Draft

New draft evaluation guidelines may see NFL advise underclassmen to stay in school


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.

Starting LB C.J. Johnson reveals surgery on social media, Ole Miss confirms

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Ole Miss will be without a starting piece of its defensive puzzle for an extended period of time, both the player and the school revealed Tuesday.

With rumors swirling about his condition, C.J. Johnson confirmed on his personal Twitter account late this morning that he will be undergoing surgery at some point in the not-too-distant future.  The linebacker sustained an injury to his left knee in last Saturday’s loss to Florida and did not return to the contest.

Subsequent to that posting, Ole Miss confirmed that Johnson underwent surgery earlier in the day to repair a torn meniscus in his knee.  The procedure and rehab will sideline Johnson for a period of 4-6 weeks.

At the low-end of the prognosis, Johnson would miss the next four games — New Mexico State, Memphis, Texas A&M, Auburn — and return for the Nov. 7 game against Arkansas.  The high-end would have him sidelined until the regular-season finale against Mississippi State.

Johnson had started all five games at middle linebacker for the Rebels.  He started 26 games at defensive end the past three years before moving to linebacker.

Butch Jones labels rumor of ‘physical altercation’ with Vols player ‘absolutely ridiculous’

ATHENS, GA - SEPTEMBER 27:  Head coach Butch Jones of the Tennessee Volunteers yells at Marquez North #8 during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on September 27, 2014 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Already in the crosshairs for his 2-3 team’s late-game failures, Butch Jones now finds himself under increasing scrutiny for something that allegedly happened a couple of months ago.

The website Gridiron.com, which features such respected journalists Tony Barnhart and Mike Huguenin among others, reported earlier today that the Tennessee head coach was involved in what was described as a “physical altercation” with senior offensive lineman Mack Crowder during summer camp this past August.  The source close to the program added that practice film that day captured the alleged incident, although it’s unclear if that tapes still exists.

From the site’s report:

The incident occurred during fall camp, about the time that news started to come out about a few offensive linemen who were considering stepping away from the program. Crowder walked off the practice field one day and missed a day or two of practice, and Brett Kendrick and Dylan Wiesman were said to be contemplating their futures. Sources say the players’ actions stemmed from an incident between Jones and Crowder.

The website also made a Freedom of Information request seeking any correspondence between the university and the Crowder family be turned over, but writes that UT “administrators said any sort of letter or correspondence that may or may not have happened was covered under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.”

Monday, Jones labeled what began as message-board speculation that he had struck one of his Vols players as “absolutely ridiculous.” The Knoxville News Sentinel contacted Crowder’s father, with the paper writing that “he had no comment and did not want to give validation to message boards.”

At least publicly, the university has yet to address the allegations.  Jones will get yet another chance to address the speculation with the media in the very near future.