The deadline for underclassmen to declare for the 2015 NFL Draft has passed. A total of 86 players will leave school early in hopes of pursuing a career in the NFL. That number is down from last season’s record 102 players leaving early. Has the momentum of players leaving early for the league slowed, or will this be a one-year blip on the radar?
According to Mike Florio over at Pro Football Talk,
According to the source, there were six official first-round evaluations this year, and all six players declared. Of 20 second-round evaluations, 14 entered the draft.
Of the 149 underclassmen who were evaluated, 123 of them were advised to stay in school (which apparently is the advice given to players not pegged for rounds one or two). Thirty-three of them ignored the advice.
It should be noted that players actually have until tonight to change their minds and return to school to retain their final year of eligibility. How many do that remains unknown, but the numbers this year will be down from last season.
The past couple f years saw more and more players leaving early, which was thought to be a product of the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement in place making it more lucrative to get in the NFL as early as possible in order for players to maximize their earning potential as quickly as possible. But with many more players declaring for the NFL, fewer roster spots were becoming available, let alone draft picks.
Some players leaving early are sure to be first round selections, like Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota and Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston. While there were a number of players still leaving for the NFL, some of the bigger headlines tin recent weeks has focused on the players returning, including Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones, LSU avoiding its annual mass departure of a handful of juniors, Alabama holding on to a couple defensive standouts and Stanford retaining some key players.
As a selfish college football fan I wish they would all stay, but no player should be scolded for attempting to make it at the next level when they feel the time is right.