NFL News: League Looks to Curb Underclassmen in Draft
Looking to reduce the number of underclassmen who declare for the draft, the NFL will now limit the number of players from a single school to five. However, there will be some exceptions to this new standard, but they will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.
Last season a record 107 underclassmen applied for the draft with 37 of them being left undrafted. With such a high number, the NFL’s College Advisory Committee is rolling out new guidelines for players considering giving up their final years of NCAA eligibility. If a player receives a 3rd through 5th round grade, they may want to consider staying in school in another year.
In the 2014 Draft, only two schools, LSU and California, had over 5 underclassmen declare for the draft. Of the two institutions, LSU fared better, with 6 of their 7 players getting drafted, but only 2 of Cal’s 6 players were drafted.
Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive of football operations says that the league is not looking to prohibit underclassmen, but rather help them make an informed decision on whether they should enter the NFL Draft.
Vincent also, said that the NFL would not be able to adopt a similar system to the NBA, where a player can enter the draft and then withdraw if they did not hire an agent. Vincent fears “everybody would test the water every year” for players whose high school graduation class has completed its third year of college.
Even Alabama head coach Nick Saban is concerned about the numerous players going undrafted. At SEC Media Day he said that “it’s getting overwhelming” for the NFL’s evaluation committee. The Crimson Tide had 11 players ask for evaluations after last season.
“A guy is going to get a first-round grade, a second-round grade or a stay-in-school grade,” Saban said. “Look, all these players that went out for the draft, that went out for the draft late, or didn’t get drafted, they were potential draft picks next year. They’re not in the draft next year. They’re not playing college football, either.”
With this most recent move, it would appear that the league is putting the best interest of the players first. This new limit on underclassman should go a long way in boosting the NFL’s public image, which has taken a hit as of late with the ongoing concussion issue.