Early Declaration List

Contrary to the way my blog may appear, I don’t dislike the NFL. I watch some of the games just like most any other sports fan and I keep up with most of what’s going on. I just prefer the college game. But, I like to follow the former college players and see how they do on the next level. I enjoy the better NFL games as much as the next guy.

With that out of the way, I have been known to oppose certain players leaving early for the NFL and I have my reasons.

Sure, if a player like Leonard Williams of USC wants to come out early I am fine with that. I would love to see him stay at the college level and help his team win something. But, he is almost a sure fire top 5 or top 10 pick. That kind of money is hard to walk away from and I would leave early, too, if I were in his shoes.

There is also no problem for me if a player has already graduated from college. Yes, a player can always go back and get his degree. But, how many actually do that? Since last year’s early declarations had over 100 players on it and nearly 40 percent did not get drafted how many of those actually came back to school? If they did, the expense is all on them at that point.

I can produce many, many points for the advantages of staying in school.

But, if you are a sure thing to be picked in the 1st or even 2nd round the money is just too good to pass up these days.

Quarterback:

Jameis Winston – Florida State: First Quarterback to be chosen and possibly top pick in the entire draft. I wouldn’t touch him with a 10 foot pole. Too many off field issues.

Marcus Mariota – Oregon: Great Quarterback and athlete, but is on the raw side. Will go in 1st round.

Brett Hundley – UCLA: Hundley went from a top prospect to thought of as overrated. Still, NFL teams are desperate for Quarterbacks. Hundley has already graduated, so he should leave.

Running Back: 

Melvin Gordon – Wisconsin:  Explosive Back and should be first of the Running Backs picked.

Todd Gurley – Georgia: Gurley has battled through injury problems and if he’s OK he should go pretty early.

Tevin Coleman – Indiana: Great Running Back and should go late 1st or early 2nd.

Jay Ajayi – Boise State: I really like this guy and so do NFL scouts. Should go right after top backs or could surprise.

Javorius “Buck” Allen – USC: Mid round pick, more than likely. Should make a roster.

BJ Catalon – TCU: I would be surprised if he is drafted. He has the versatility to make a roster as a free agent, possibly. Shouldn’t a RB at least be a starter in college? On the plus side, he is a good return man. He should have stayed in school, in my humble opinion.

Mike Davis – South Carolina: Davis was sensational as a sophomore, but battled injuries last season. An NFL team might take a chance on him, but maybe not. People always look at the negative when saying he might be injured if he stays in school, but what if he had another sensational season and improved his draft stock. Difference between 1st round money and free agency is astounding. I’m just not convinced this is the right move for him.

Braylon Heard – Kentucky: He’s quick, but lacks size and strength. He’s not going to be an every down back. Seriously doubt he is drafted and Kentucky is a team on the rise and he should have stuck around.

Duke Johnson – Miami: The Duke has an explosive speed that not many others possess. Duke Johnson struggles with pass protection, plus he’s been injured a bit. Should be picked later.

Matt Jones – Florida: Big back with potential. May be a mid to late round pick.

Josh Robinson – Mississippi State: Robinson was homeless at times in high school which is why it’s hard to blame him for declaring. I enjoyed watching him play at MSU and he could be drafted in a later round.

Trey Williams – Texas A%M: Talented guy that never got the ball much in college. Needs to test well to move into a better draft position.

TJ Yeldon – Alabama: Probably will be the 3rd or 4th RB taken.

Dee Hart – Colorado State: Graduated already. Hard to fault a guy for trying to succeed in life. Transferred to Colorado State from Alabama. ACL tears may make him a risk for NFL teams but could make it as a free agent.

Wide Receivers:

Nelson Agholor – USC: Excellent return man. Needs to test well at combine.

Amari Cooper – Alabama:  Should go in the top 5. Cooper was probably the best player in college football this past season. This is a player that I totally agree should come out.

DaVaris Daniels – Notre Dame: Expelled from Notre Dame. Free Agent most likely.

Stefon Diggs – Maryland: This is a guy that I would have liked to have seen stay in school. Good player, but is not going to go high in the draft and it’s a good year for Wide Receivers which may drop him even more. Former 5 star recruit.

George Farmer – USC: I don’t get it. The Trojans had true freshmen better than Farmer and he thinks he is getting drafted. On his plus side, he is a sturdy and well built receiver and if he tests well he could make some money from some NFL team.

Devin Funchess – Michigan: Huge player with speed as he supposedly runs a 4.4 at 6-5, 230. Hands are a huge question mark for Funchess. Michigan’s offense held him back in 2014. He might should have come back to school and played under Harbaugh and improved his draft status. Needs to blow scouts away at combine.

Dorial Green-Beckham – Oklahoma: Missouri’s best player in 2013, but booted from school. One of the most talented Wide Receivers in draft. But, again, off field issues may drop him down in the rankings. No doubt he would have been a super star at Missouri this past season, but credit goes to Gary Pinkel for doing the right thing with Green-Beckham.

Deontay Greenberry – Houston: Just not happening. Has some ability, but not enough to make up for suspect hands. Should have stayed in school and played for new coach Tom Herman.

Chris Harper – California: Productive and fast, but on the smaller side. Might be late pick or free agent.

Breshad Perriman – Central Florida: Big guy at 6-3, 215 and he can really run.  Drops a few passes, but he’s also super athletic and makes the tough catch. His speed and size should merit a pick in the draft.

Jaquel Pitts – Trinity International: Long shot at best. He did not finish his last season in college.

Jaelen Strong – Arizona State: Excellent player with size and speed. Should go fast.

Sammie Coates – Auburn: Already graduated. Great player, but never got much respect due to offense. He will impress at combine and improve his stock with NFL scouts.

Zach D’Orazio – Akron: Graduated. He has graduated so it’s hard to knock what he is doing and he was a really good college receiver. Has good size and hands. I doubt he is drafted, but at least he has his degree and I wish him the best.

Nigel King – Kansas: Graduated. King has the size that scouts love. He was not productive at Kansas, but the team was awful. If he is at the combine, he must show very well to have a shot.

Tacoi Sumler – Appalachian State: Graduated. Oregon transfer that once ran a 4.24 40 yard dash at a Nike camp. Too small and has knee problems. I doubt he gets drafted but some team may take a chance and sign him to a free agent contract.

Tight End:

Jesse James – Penn State: Huge guy at 6-7, 255 and has room for more muscle and growth. Average run blocker for his size and not a super pass catching threat. I feel he should have stayed another year in college and worked on his game. Possibly a late round pick.

Tyler Kroft – Rutgers: Kroft is actually pretty good. He’s 6’6″ and pretty athletic, plus he’s a good blocker. He did very well going against Michigan State’s Shilique Calhoun as a blocker.

Jean Sifrin – Massachusetts: 27 year old originally from the Bahamas that has played football only one season. He is big and athletic at 6-7, 250, but is very raw. Probably should come out because of his age and he has a 7 year old son.

Maxx Williams – Minnesota: Williams is a talented athlete with good size, speed and hands. He should be a late 1st or early 2nd.

Offensive Tackle:

DJ Humphries – Florida: Offensive Tackles are well loved by the NFL and Humphries has some skills and should get picked.

Ereck Flowers – Miami: Size is there at 6-6, 325 but he is a raw prospect at this time. Still, talented Offensive Tackles are always going to be popular with NFL scouts and Flowers should go in the mid rounds. But, what if Flowers had a break out season in 2015 at Miami? Maybe he could have worked his way into the 1st round where the big bucks are.

Patrick Miller – Auburn: In the what is he thinking category. He’s not even a starter in college.

Andrus Peat – Stanford: Possibly the most NFL ready Offensive Tackle in the draft. He should be picked among the top 3 tackles.

Jeremiah Poutasi – Utah: Huge Tackle at 6-6, 330, but should move inside to Guard in the NFL. He’s a bit of a project and should have stayed in school, but might get picked in the later rounds.

Donovan Smith – Penn State: Graduated. Excellent size at 6-5, 335, but probably not athletic enough for NFL tackle. Might move to Guard and be drafted late.

Offensive Guard or Center:

Tyler Moore – Florida: Bet the farm this guy is not drafted. He said that college football was a grind. Are you kidding me? The NFL is a business and everyone that ever played both says that college was fun and the NFL was work.

Defensive End:

Arik Armstead – Oregon: Armstead did improve during his junior season, but I will always say he would be All World at Offensive Tackle. Still, should go pretty early just on his 6-8, 290 size alone.

Mario Edwards – Florida State: I look forward to seeing test results. The talent is there but the results are disappointing and scouts question his desire. Can play End or Tackle and will go fairly high, probably.

Dante Fowler – Florida: Lacks length, but very good player and should be a 1st rounder. At times, Fowler takes over a game. Scouts indicate he should be even better long term if he takes coaching well.

Randy Gregory – Nebraska: Could go in top 5, supposedly runs a 4.4 but very skinny. His potential is unlimited.

Eli Harold – Virginia: 6-4, 250. Probably will be drafted and will play Outside Linebacker in the NFL. Pretty quick and aggressive.

Danielle Hunter – LSU: Physically, Hunter is like Randy Gregory at 6-6, 240. Plays hard, but for some reason is disappointing as a pass rusher. With his measurements, he will be drafted but he could use some work. This is another guy I will be watching at the combine closely.

Shane Ray – Missouri: Ray should be one of the top guys taken because of his explosiveness.

Leonard Williams – USC:  Top 5 pick, for sure. This guy needed to come out.

Deion Barnes – Penn State: Graduated. Good pass rusher in college as a Defensive End, but probably will need to play Outside Linebacker at the next level. I’m not sure he gets drafted, but he has a chance to make a roster, for sure.

Defensive Tackle:

Malcom Brown – Texas: Talented guy with a lot of upside. If not a 1st rounder, early 2nd more than likely. Very productive Defensive Tackle.

Xavier Cooper – Washington State: Good athlete and former basketball player. Great size, and could draw some interest from an NFL team.

Christian Covington – Rice: Injured knee  and clearly should have stayed in school. As of now, he could be a late round pick if his knee checks out.

Eddie Goldman – Florida State: Good Defensive Tackles are hard to find and he should be drafted. He will need to impress scouts at combine. Scouts question his pass rushing ability.

David Irving – Iowa State: Suspended from team for assault. Doesn’t look too promising for his future.

Ellis McCarthy – UCLA: Fought through injuries and weight problems at UCLA. Free Agent

Rakeem Nunez-Roches – Southern Mississippi: Solid player projected as mid round pick.

Jordan Phillips – Oklahoma: Huge Nose Tackle could be good mid round pick or even better.

Darius Philon – Arkansas: Good Tackle but slightly undersized. Could be late round pick.

Linebacker:

Kwon Alexander – LSU: Excellent athlete with great speed. I’m thinking Alexander goes in a mid round and contributes immediately at least on special teams.

Max Flores – Northern Colorado: Slim chances. Undersized and not particularly fast.

Bernardrick McKinney – Mississippi State: Should go in 1st round.Tough guy.

Darien Rankin – North Carolina: Super fast and athletic but really small for NFL LB. Needs to stay in school.

Shaq Thompson – Washington: Play maker could be one of the top Linebackers picked.

Max Valles – Virginia: Huge LB and productive. Should go mid round or sooner.

Cornerback:

Alex Carter – Stanford: Carter might be better off as a safety. Could be a late round pick.

Jalen Collins – LSU: 6’2″ Corners are very much loved by NFL scouts. He has the size and speed to make a great NFL CB some day. Should go fairly high.

Ronald Darby – Florida State: He’s been a good player the last 3 years, should go mid round.

Lorenzo Doss – Tulane: Good smaller school player. He should be drafted.

Jacoby Glenn – Central Florida: I have a good feeling about this guy because he is very aggressive and plays hard while being a ball hawk. Glenn picked off 7 passes in 2014. Mid to late round guy, probably.

Marcus Peters – Washington: Might be 1st Corner picked.

Trae Waynes – Michigan State: Tall Cornerbacks like Waynes should go pretty high in the draft. Waynes is one of the top Corners in the country and shouldn’t last long.

PJ Williams – Florida State: I’ve seen him projected as a late 1st to 2nd rounder.

Defensive Back/Safety:

Landon Collins – Alabama: Easy 1st round pick. Collins is off the charts good.

Durell Eskridge – Syracuse: Projected as a mid round pick. He’s been a good player for Syracuse, one of tops all time in tackles.

Chris Hackett – TCU: Hackett was TCU’s second leading tackler last season. Should go in 2nd or 3rd round.

Gerod Holliman – Louisville: Big safety that picked off 14 passes in one season to tie Interception record. Only started one year and probably should have returned to prove it was not a fluke. He will be drafted but probably not nearly as high as he expects.

James Sample – Louisville: Projected late round pick. Should have stayed in school and improved standing.

Charles Gaines – Louisville: Gaines should go in the late rounds, if drafted.

Long Snapper: 

Easton Wahlstrom – Arizona State: I have no recollection of a deep snapper ever being drafted. Why not stay in school and get the degree when there is only a slight chance you will make an NFL roster.

Punter:

Bradley Pinion – Clemson: The NFL might draft a punter at times and Pinion is a good one and has a shot.

After last season, there were 103 college players that declare for the NFL Draft. This season, there were 74. Maybe we learned something of a lesson last season, but there are still some guys on the above list that would have benefited from staying in school.

Maybe some will never learn the lesson that playing college ball doesn’t automatically guarantee the big bucks of the professional ranks.

Football, as much as we all love it, is just a small part of your life.

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