The NFL has made some changes in an effort to regulate the increasing number of underclassmen declaring for the NFL Draft. As of this point, any player could request an ‘NFL grade’ from the board. Grades in the past have told the players their chances of being drafted. There were five categories: first round, at least second round, at least third round, fourth-sevenths rounds or if they will go undrafted. In 2014 alone there were 250 underclassmen who asked for feedback for the draft.
However, now there will be two changes coming next season according to a memo sent out by NFL Executive Vice President Troy Vincent, including a change as two who can request a grade and the grade system itself.
First, there will be a limit of five underclassmen per school who can ask for their grades. Schools will be able to ask for more than five in special situations and those will be treated case-by-case. Although it is hard to tell who requested their grade, this year only two schools had more than five underclassmen in this year’s draft, LSU and California (surprisingly). LSU had six of their seven underclassmen draftees drafted and California only had two of six drafted.
The second change will be what kind of feedback the players will receive. While players would get feedback for each round previously, the new rules say that there will be only three grades: first round, second round or stay in school.
Since 2005, the number of Underclassmen declarations had hovered around 50 per year. However, that number has increased recently as seen below:
2014 – 98
2013 – 73
2012 – 65
2011 – 56
2010 – 53
2009 – 46
2008 – 53
2007 – 40
2006 – 52
2005 – 51
In 2012, 82 percent of underclassmen who declared went drafted. In 2013 only 70 percent were drafted. In 2014, only 62 percent were drafted. Vincent released a statement on NFL.com which said they are making the changes so that the players can make informed decisions. They also hope the new rules will cut back on the amount of requests the NFL receives.
Right now, this is not a problem at Kentucky, but that will probably change in the near future since Stoops has started to bring in more talented players. It will be interesting to see how schools with a higher number of underclassmen declaring will adjust to the new rules.
Could you imagine if they put stricter restrictions like this in basketball? Coach Cal would have a big problem.