2017 NFL Draft Underclassmen



A list of officially declared underclassmen for the 2017 NFL Draft. I also offer my opinion on whether or not each prospect made a wise move by leaving school early. I will not factor financial considerations in my analysis because most players need the money.

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Click here for a list of prospects returning to school
Click here for underclassmen prospect rumors




Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 18:

Isaiah Golden, NT, McNeese State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 325.
Projected 40 Time: 5.25.
Projected Round (2017): FA.

Isaiah Golden was once talented enough to start several games for Texas A&M as a freshman. However, he wasted a golden opportunity and was kicked out of school for three counts of robbery. Golden is unlikely to get drafted, so his decision to go pro is meaningless.

The Verdict: Irrelevant






Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 17:

Marlon Mack, RB, South Florida
Height: 6-0. Weight: 210.
Projected 40 Time: 4.59.
Projected Round (2017): 3-5.

Thanks to Facebook friend Aaron S., who informed me that I missed this early declaration. Marlon Mack has been a highly productive runner for South Florida during his three years at the school, gaining 1,000-plus yards in each season. Mack has a shot of making it into the second day of the draft, but will probably be chosen early on Saturday because of how deep this running back class is. Still, Mack had very little left to prove at South Florida, as he only risked injury by returning for his senior campaign.

The Verdict: Good move






Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 16:

Adoree' Jackson, CB, USC
Height: 5-11. Weight: 185.
Projected 40 Time: 4.42.
Projected Round (2017): 1.

Adoree Jackson shut down Calvin Ridley in the 2016 opener, and that set the tone for his great season. It wasn't clear if Jackson would declare for the NFL Draft because of an injury he suffered in the Rose Bowl, but he just made his announcement to go pro. As long as Jackson can work out for teams prior to the draft, I like this move. Jackson is a very likely first-rounder who has the potential to be a top-20 pick. Thus, there wasn't much of a reason to return to school.

The Verdict: Good move





Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 15:

Zach Cunningham, ILB, Vanderbilt
Height: 6-4. Weight: 230.
Projected 40 Time: 4.75.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

While the Ishmael Zamora decision was both shocking and stupid, Zach Cunningham's decision to declare for the NFL Draft is very logical. Cunningham has a very slight chance of slipping into Day 2, but it's more likely that he'll be chosen in the top 20. Cunningham is very instinctive and plays the run extremely well. He can also remain on the field for all three downs, as he's decent in pass coverage. There was no reason for him to return to school, as he had nothing more to prove coming off a great season.

The Verdict: Good move

Ishmael Zamora, WR, Baylor
Height: 6-3. Weight: 220.
Projected 40 Time: 4.57.
Projected Round (2017): FA.

Ishmael Zamora is making a huge mistake, and it's not his first one. He's just a redshirt sophomore with one season of contribution at Baylor; he caught 63 passes for 809 yards and eight touchdowns. If his projected inability to separate from NFL cornerbacks wasn't bad enough, there's a video of him abusing his dog that got him suspended for only three games (Baylor's ethics aren't the greatest). Zamora should've remained in school and showed contrition over the next couple of years. Instead, he's highly unlikely to be drafted.

The Verdict: Dumb move






Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 13:

Marlon Humphrey, CB, Alabama
Height: 6-1. Weight: 198.
Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
Projected Round (2017): Top-20 Pick.

Marlon Humphrey is definitely making the right decision despite being a redshirt sophomore. Humphrey has been great for Alabama over the past two seasons. NFL personnel will undoubtedly be enamored with his blend of size, speed and athleticism, and Humphrey, as a result, could be the first cornerback chosen in the 2017 NFL Draft. It would be very shocking if he were to fall out of the top 20.

The Verdict: Good move




Cam Robinson, OT, Alabama
Height: 6-6. Weight: 326.
Projected 40 Time: 5.20.
Projected Round (2017): Top-20.

There are mixed opinions on Cam Robinson, but one thing everyone agrees on is that this is a weak offensive tackle class. Some are down on Robinson, but he'll probably be a top-15 pick because of his upside, as well as the position he plays. Besides, all it takes is one team to envision him as their new franchise left tackle, so Robinson is definitely making the right decision by going pro.

The Verdict: Good move

ArDarius Stewart, WR, Alabama
Height: 6-0. Weight: 204.
Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

ArDarius Stewart served as Alabama's deep threat the past couple of years and also helped in the run game by blocking well. I'm sure NFL teams will appreciate the latter ability. Despite this, I had Stewart pegged as a Round 3-4 prospect, but the NFL Draft Advisory Committee gave him a second-round grade, which does make his decision better. I still think Stewart would've been better off returning to school for another year, but if he thinks he's going in the second frame, I can't blame him for declaring.

The Verdict: Neutral move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 12:

Travis Rudolph, WR, Florida State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 187.
Projected 40 Time: 4.56.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

The smart thing for prospects to do is to declare following a great year. When the opposite occurs, they should go back to school. Apparently, Travis Rudolph didn't get the memo.

Rudolph has lots of athletic potential, but hasn't lived up to it. Had he done that, he could've been a first-round prospect. He runs good routes and doesn't drop too many passes, but the production just isn't there. Rudolph will likely be a third-round pick this April. He should've returned to school to improve his stock, so he's making a mistake.

The Verdict: Bad move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 11:

Marshon Lattimore, CB, Ohio State
Height: 6-0. Weight: 192.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2017): Top-20 Pick.

Marshon Lattimore, a redshirt sophomore, was initially thinking about returning to Ohio State, but as with Malik Hooker, he changed his mind. He's making the right choice. Lattimore is an excellent prospect, and it's not out of the question that he could beat out Marlon Humphrey and Quincy Wilson as the first cornerback to be chosen in the 2017 NFL Draft. It would be a huge upset if Lattimore wasn't chosen in the first half of the opening round, and he's avoiding injury risk by not returning to school, so he definitely did well to declare.

The Verdict: Good move

Shelton Gibson, WR, Virginia
Height: 5-11. Weight: 195.
Projected 40 Time: 4.42.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

Shelton Gibson is a raw receiver, but has great speed. He's been mentioned as a strong candidate to be chosen on Day 2 because of his upside, but NFL decision-makers told Charlie Campbell that they thought Gibson should return to school to work on his game. I'd agree with that, but I can understand why Gibson would go pro, given that this receiving class isn't very strong. It'll be much better next year (check out my 2018 NFL Mock Draft for more.)

The Verdict: Neutral move

Artavis Scott, WR, Clemson
Height: 5-11. Weight: 190.
Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

Artavis Scott projects as a slot receiver in the NFL, and he could go as high as the second round. However, he could slip to Day 3, making this choice a bit more dubious. There is something else to consider though, and that would be Deshaun Watson's decision to enter the NFL. With Watson gone, Scott's stock could decline with worse play at quarterback, so I can't exactly blame him for going pro.

The Verdict: Neutral move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 10:

Jabrill Peppers, S, Michigan
Height: 6-1. Weight: 208.
Projected 40 Time: 4.40.
Projected Round (2017): 1.

Jabrill Peppers has been one of the most overhyped players in the country this year. He had a good year for the Wolverines, but as a draft prospect, Peppers has been underwhelming to NFL decision-makers. Charlie Campbell said it best in his 2017 NFL Draft Safety Prospect Rankings: "[NFL evaluators] think Peppers is a great athlete who has some deficiencies in pass coverage. That is evidenced by his one interception during his entire career. Sources say they are projecting Peppers to be a hybrid dime linebacker and safety, similar to Arizona's Deone Bucannon."

Peppers is not an elite safety prospect, as he's not on the same level as Malik Hooker and Jamal Adams. That said, Peppers still figures to be a first-round pick. He might be chosen in the late teens or early-mid 20s, which is slightly earlier when Bucannon was chosen. Given that he's a likely opening-rounder, Peppers can't be criticized for declaring, though I think the better decision would've been returning to Michigan and working on his pass-coverage problems.

The Verdict: Neutral move



Roderick Johnson, OT, Florida State
Height: 6-7. Weight: 312.
Projected 40 Time: 5.15.
Projected Round (2017): 3-5.

When teams that are desperate for an offensive tackle don't want anything to do with Roderick Johnson, you know that he's a pretty underwhelming prospect. Johnson came into this past season with first-round hype, and many in the media are still projecting him to be chosen in the first two frames. However, Johnson was absolutely abused in numerous games this year, and team sources have pegged him to be chosen anywhere between Rounds 3 and 5. Johnson had an awful 2016 campaign, and he should have returned to Florida State to revitalized his capsizing draft stock.

The Verdict: Bad move

Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
Height: 6-1. Weight: 205.
Projected 40 Time: 4.54.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

Wayne Gallman was reportedly told that he was graded as a second-day prospect, and I think that sounds about right. Gallman missed some time with a concussion this year, but going to the national championship, he averaged 5.9 yards per carry. Power is a question with Gallman, but he has great athleticism, so he'll intrigue some teams with his upside. I like his decision to declare, as running backs are very prone to injury.

The Verdict: Good move

Ryan Ramcyzk, OT, Wisconsin
Height: 6-6. Weight: 297.
Projected 40 Time: 5.00.
Projected Round (2017): 1.

Ryan Ramcyzk's decision is a bit surprising, considering that he just underwent hip surgery. It's unclear how that'll impact his pre-draft process. If he can't work out at the combine, or for teams during various visits and his pro day, I'd have to really question his thought process, since he'd possibly risk falling out of the first round. However, if he can recover by the beginning of April so that he can work out for teams, the decision will probably be worth it.

Either way, it's more likely than not that Ramcyzk will be a first-round pick, so I'm not going to criticize him for going pro. He could've returned to school, got over his hip injury and become a top-10 selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, but he would've risked injury in the process. In this class, he could be the second tackle selected in a weak positional group.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Deshaun Watson, QB, Clemson
Height: 6-2. Weight: 205.
Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

Deshaun Watson has seen his stock plummet in 2016. Charlie Campbell has heard that Watson has been graded out as a second- or third-round prospect. I reached out to a high-ranking personnel man with a playoff team that doesn't need a quarterback, and he told me he has Watson in the third round. Watson was downgraded for first read, eyes and deep accuracy. You can read more in our NFL Draft Rumor Mill, where we list what seven teams think about Watson.

That said, quarterbacks do get pushed up, so perhaps Watson could sneak into the first round, especially given how many teams are desperate for signal-callers. Some team in the middle of the first frame could even pull the trigger if it's panicking. I'd like to have seen Watson return to school to work on his flaws. However, by declaring, he's avoiding injury and selling his draft stock at an all-time high. I can't criticize him for that.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 9:

Curtis Samuel, WR/RB, Ohio State
Height: 5-11. Weight: 197.
Projected 40 Time: 4.44.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

Curtis Samuel has drawn comparisons to Percy Harvin, and there's a decent chance he'll be chosen in the first round. Thus, I can't exactly criticize him for declaring; on the contrary, he's making the right decision. Due to the nature of his playing style, he's pretty prone to injury, so returning to school could've been detrimental to his draft stock, and I don't know how much he could've improved his standing in the NFL Draft with another year at Ohio State.

The Verdict: Good move

Mitch Trubisky, QB, North Carolina
Height: 6-3. Weight: 220.
Projected 40 Time: 4.77.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

This grade is counter-intuitive because Mitch Trubisky is not ready for the NFL, and he'd be better off with another year at North Carolina. He's just a 1-year starter, and he's just such a raw product. Teams we've spoke to agree; Charlie Campbell noted in his 2017 NFL Draft Quarterback Prospect Rankings that several teams gave Trubisky second-round grades, but expected him to be chosen in the first round because of his upside and position. The NFL Draft Advisory Committee agreed.

With that in mind, I can't give Trubisky a bad grade for his decision. I have him going in the top six of my 2017 NFL Mock Draft, after all. Had Trubisky returned to school, he could've become a more-polished product, but he also could've presented scouts with some flaws, and they may have downgraded him in the process. Thus, I can't blame Trubisky for playing it safe.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 8:

JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR, USC
Height: 6-2. Weight: 215.
Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

JuJu Smith-Schuster has seen his stock drop this year. He was shut down by some talented cornerbacks, and questions have arisen about his ability to separate from NFL cornerbacks. Smith-Schuster was once considered a likely first-round selection, but now it's more probable that he'll be chosen on Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft. Smith-Schuster should've returned to school, as he would've had a major opportunity to revitalize his stock with Sam Darnold throwing the ball to him. I won't call this a bad move because Smith-Schuster is avoiding injury, and he's still likely to be a second-round pick, but this doesn't seem to be a very smart decision on his part.

The Verdict: Neutral move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 7:

Noah Brown, WR, Ohio State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 218.
Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

Noah Brown should part ways with whomever is advising him. Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft is incredibly shortsighted on his part. Brown had a chance to be a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, but as a redshirt sophomore, he's considered a Round 2-3 prospect because he's not ready to contribute right away. Brown has tons of upside, but caught only 32 passes in 2016. He would've gained a lot by returning to Ohio State. Instead, he's in danger of falling into the third round this April.

The Verdict: Bad move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 6:

Elijah Lee, LB, Kansas
Height: 6-3. Weight: 220.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
Projected Round (2017): 4-6.

Elijah Lee is an undersized linebacker who seems destined to be chosen on Day 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft. He could maybe, possibly sneak into the third round, but he'll likely be taken as a reserve and special-teamer. There was no reason for him to declare so soon.

The Verdict: Bad move

Damien Mama, G, USC
Height: 6-4. Weight: 355.
Projected 40 Time: 5.42.
Projected Round (2017): 4-6.

Mama mia, what is this guy doing declaring for the NFL Draft!? Damien Mama has endured weight issues during his time at USC. He's a great run-blocker, but his pass-protection skills are very shaky, at best, and there's no guarantee he'll be able to keep his weight under control in the pros; Mama was 400 pounds at one point. He should've gone back to school.

The Verdict: Bad move

Howard Wilson, CB, Houston
Height: 6-0. Weight: 185.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2017): 3-5.

Howard Wilson isn't making a very good decision. There are major question marks surrounding the redshirt sophomore. He hasn't been very durable in his collegiate career, and he doesn't appear to be ready for the pros. He's talented, so he'll garner some third-round consideration, but he'll likely be a Saturday selection. He could've gone earlier with another season at Houston.

The Verdict: Bad move

Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina
Height: 5-11. Weight: 220.
Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
Projected Round (2017): 3-4.

Elijah Hood had a down year in 2016, rushing for 100-plus yards in only two games, but he did show improvement as a receiver out of the backfield. Ultimately though, Hood is a running back, and players at that position tend to get injured easily. Hood even sat out his postseason exhibition game because of some sort of malady. Hood could've gone back to school to revitalize his draft stock, but I can also understand him wanting to play it safe. Hood will have a shot at sneaking into Day 2.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Caleb Brantley, DT, Florida
Height: 6-2. Weight: 314.
Projected 40 Time: 4.98.
Projected Round (2017): 1.

Caleb Brantley is slightly hurt by the fact that he's a 4-3 player only, as he just doesn't fit into a 3-4. However, he's still very likely to be chosen in the top 25, as a disruptive three-technique who can place lots of pressure on opposing quarterbacks. There really wasn't any reason for Brantley to return to Florida, especially with so much talent moving on, so his decision is definitely a good one.

The Verdict: Good move

Jamal Adams, S, LSU
Height: 6-1. Weight: 211.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2017): Top-15 Pick.

It would've been shocking had Jamal Adams not declared for the pros. Jamal Adams is currently No. 7 in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft, and he could go as high as fifth overall. Adams was incredible down the stretch in 2016, completely shutting down Evan Engram and then dominating versus Alabama. He has great athleticism and instincts, so it would be surprising if he fell out of the top 10.

The Verdict: Obvious move

Joe Mixon, RB, Oklahoma
Height: 6-1. Weight: 226.
Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
Projected Round (2017): FA.

Joe Mixon has the talent to be chosen in the first round. Unfortunately, the scuttlebutt is that no team is going to draft him because of a video that surfaced where he was seen hitting a woman. Mixon, who was also suspended for domestic violence in 2014, might just be blackballed from the NFL, so I have to question his decision to declare for the pros. He should've remained in school for two more years and showed contrition, hoping that teams would forgive him if he stayed clean off the field for an extended period of time.

The Verdict: Bad move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 5:

Chris Godwin, WR, Penn State
Height: 6-1. Weight: 208.
Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

I've criticized prospects for selling low on their draft stock, so I'd be a hypocrite if I didn't praise Chris Godwin's decision. Godwin had an incredible Rose Bowl performance, as he was unstoppable versus USC's prolific defense. Godwin, who was already considered a strong route-runner, was able to really bolster his draft stock by what he did against the Trojans. He's now in the conversation to be a second-round pick, though his most likely destination is Round 3. Still, Godwin's stock is at an all-time high right now, so he's making the right choice.

The Verdict: Good move

Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
Height: 6-0. Weight: 191.
Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

Jalen Tabor isn't exactly selling his stock high. He was seen as a potential top-10 pick entering the 2016 season, but he certainly didn't play like it. He wasn't bad or anything, but he struggled with deep speed and missed some tackles. Teams may still like Tabor in the second half of the opening round because of his great instincts and ball skills, but working against him are some off-the-field concerns. Tabor probably should've returned to school so that he could reenter top-10 conversation, but given that he still has a decent chance of being a first-round pick, I can't exactly fault him for declaring.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
Height: 6-5. Weight: 295.
Projected 40 Time: 4.95.
Projected Round (2017): Top-25 Pick.

Garett Bolles told the media that he would declare for the 2017 NFL Draft if he received a first-round grade from the NFL Draft Advisory Committee. Apparently he did, so it's hard to argue this decision, especially considering the fact that Bolles turns 25 in May. Bolles has just one year of experience on the 1-A level, but he made it count, dominating the Pac-12 competition. It's not out of the question that Bolles could end up being the first tackle chosen in the 2017 NFL Draft.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Garrett Sickels, DE, Penn State
Height: 6-4. Weight: 260.
Projected 40 Time: 4.73.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

Garrett Sickels is somewhat of a surprise declaration. He had a strong 2016 campaign, logging six sacks, but has just a slim chance to even be chosen in the first half of Day 2. Had Sickels returned to school and had a monster senior campaign, he may have been in the first-round conversation. As it stands now, he'll probably be a third-round pick with a chance to sneak into the second frame. That said, there's something to be said about not risking injury, so while I don't agree with Sickels' decision, I definitely understand it.

The Verdict: Neutral move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 4:

Chad Hansen, WR, California
Height: 6-2. Weight: 205.
Projected 40 Time: 4.57.
Projected Round (2017): 3-5.

It's a bit surprising to see Chad Hansen declare because he's seen extensive action for only one season in 1-A football. Granted, he had a great year, catching 92 passes for 1,249 yards and 11 touchdowns, but the lack of experience will certainly harm his potential. That said, I'm only a "bit" surprised by his decision because he was set to lose his quarterback, Davis Webb, to graduation, so his production could've declined with a new signal-caller. Thus, even though Hansen's ceiling appears to just be the third round, I can understand his thought process.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Alex Anzalone, ILB/OLB, Florida
Height: 6-3. Weight: 241.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
Projected Round (2017): 3-5.

I find it mind-boggling how many underclassmen have made poor decisions today. That includes Alex Anzalone, who announced that he'll be entering the NFL Draft. Anzalone, a mid-round prospect to begin with (third-rounder, at best), has a horrible track record of injuries at Florida. He hasn't been able to stay healthy at all, so what he should've done is returned to school and proved to everyone that he can actually be reliable. Instead, Anzalone is making a reckless decision that he'll eventually regret.

The Verdict: Bad move

Speedy Noil, WR, Texas A&M
Height: 5-11. Weight: 187.
Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
Projected Round (2017): 7-FA.

Someone needs to sit Speedy Noil down and tell him how stupid he is for declaring for the NFL Draft. Noil caught just 21 passes in 2016, so why does he think he stands a good chance of being drafted? Noil does have great speed and potential, as he was one of the top high school recruits a few years ago, but he's been nothing but a disappointment at Texas A&M. He should've returned to school to prove that he's not completely worthless.

The Verdict: Bad move

Carl Lawson, DE, Auburn
Height: 6-2. Weight: 257.
Projected 40 Time: 4.63.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

Carl Lawson isn't selling high on his draft stock, as he had a pretty pedestrian showing in the Sugar Bowl versus Oklahoma. Lawson appears to be a third- or a fourth-round prospect, as he's not very athletic. He might sneak into the second frame, but I have doubts about that. With that in mind, Lawson isn't making a good decision by declaring for the pros.

The Verdict: Bad move

Deon-Tay McManus, WR, Marshall
Height: 6-2. Weight: 225.
Projected 40 Time: 4.59.
Projected Round (2017): FA.

I didn't consider Deon-Tay McManus to be an NFL prospect, so I don't know why he has declared for the pros. He just wasted time filling out paperwork.

The Verdict: Irrelevant

Raekwon McMillan, ILB, Ohio State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 240.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
Projected Round (2017): 3-5.

Raekwon McMillan clearly didn't read Charlie Campbell's NFL Draft Rumor Mill entry, where Charlie reported that McMillan was being graded in the middle rounds by multiple teams because of his struggles in pass coverage. Teams feel like McMillan can't play in the nickel, meaning he'll be on the field for about a third of the snaps. McMillan projects as purely a run-plugging inside linebacker, and players like that typically fall in the NFL Draft. McMillan should've returned to school and worked on getting better in pass coverage.

The Verdict: Bad move

Solomon Thomas, DE/OLB, Stanford
Height: 6-3. Weight: 273.
Projected 40 Time: 4.80.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

Solomon Thomas had a terrific bowl performance in which he was unblockable, so he's leaving for the pros at the exact right time. When prospects decide whether they want to enter the NFL or not, they need to consider whether they're selling high on their stock at the moment. Many unfortunately don't do that, and they learn to regret it, but Thomas certainly is utilizing that strategy. Thomas projects as a potential top-25 pick, so he's making the right choice.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 3:

Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Height: 6-1. Weight: 213.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2017): Top-25 Pick.

Quincy Wilson didn't have much experience heading into 2016, but he was highly impressive this past season. He was excellent, leapfrogging teammate Jalen Tabor in the eyes of scouts and teams we've spoken to. Wilson stands a very good chance of being a top-15 selection, and it wouldn't be shocking whatsoever if the Titans selected him at No. 5 overall. Given that Wilson is in the running to be the top cornerback selected in the 2017 NFL Draft, his decision to go pro is obviously a positive one.

The Verdict: Good move

David Sharpe, OT, Florida
Height: 6-6. Weight: 357.
Projected 40 Time: 5.40.
Projected Round (2017): 5-7.

NFL team sources told Charlie Campbell that David Sharpe needed to return to Florida for another year so that he could lose weight and improve his pass blocking. Charlie echoed those sentiments in his 2017 NFL Draft Offensive Tackle Prospect Rankings page. Sharpe, apparently, did not read this because he declared for the 2017 NFL Draft. Sharpe is definitely not ready for the pros. He projects to be a quality run-blocker, but he can't pass protect. His weight will also be a concern for teams. Sharpe could be chosen early on Day 3, but there's a chance he'll go undrafted, making his decision to declare insanely stupid.

The Verdict: Bad move

Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee
Height: 6-3. Weight: 268.
Projected 40 Time: 4.75.
Projected Round (2017): 1.

This decision can't have shocked anyone. Derek Barnett was one of the top pass-rushers in the country this past season, accumulating 13 sacks. He also set the school record for most sacks (33) over a career. He had nothing left to prove at Tennessee, and he's a likely top-10 pick, making his choice a no-brainer. I currently have him No. 8 to the Bengals in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft.

The Verdict: Obvious move

Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Height: 6-0. Weight: 195.
Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

Gareon Conley has improved tremendously each year at Ohio State. He was just OK in 2015, but upgraded his play considerably in 2016. Charlie Campbell noted that teams took a strong liking to Conley while scouting him in training camp practices prior to live game action, and then that was echoed during the regular season, as Conley has reportedly shot up draft boards. Conley, who now has a decent chance to be a first-round pick, is doing the right thing by selling high on his stock, as he could've returned to school next year and regressed a bit, ruining his shot at being chosen on Thursday night.

The Verdict: Good move

Sidney Jones, CB, Washington
Height: 6-0. Weight: 180.
Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

Sidney Jones had a terrific 2016 campaign, and this was no fluke, as he has played on a high level every year at Washington. With tons of experience and great tape, Jones is declaring for the NFL Draft at the right time. While it's possible that Jones will slip into the second round, he's more likely to be a Thursday night selection, making his decision to go pro a very easy one.

The Verdict: Good move

Budda Baker, S, Washington
Height: 5-10. Weight: 192.
Projected 40 Time: 4.65.
Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

Budda Baker is a talented safety, but doesn't seem quite ready for the NFL. He needs to get stronger to perform on a high level in the pros, and he could've done that with another year at Washington. That said, he's avoiding injury by declaring for the NFL Draft, and he could also shore up his greatest weakness in an NFL strength-and-conditioning program. Thus, while I don't agree with Baker's decision, I at least understand it.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Elijah Qualls, DT, Washington
Height: 6-1. Weight: 321.
Projected 40 Time: 5.42.
Projected Round (2017): 3-5.

Elijah Qualls is a run-stuffing nose tackle who is capable of getting a sack once in a while. He's the least-talented of the four Washington players who declared for the NFL Draft on Tuesday afternoon, as he projects as a late-second-, early-third-day pick. Qualls will probably be chosen early on Saturday, so he should have refrained from joining John Ross, Sidney Jones and Budda Baker, and done the smart thing by returning to school.

The Verdict: Bad move

Joe Yearby, RB, Miami
Height: 5-9. Weight: 207.
Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
Projected Round (2017): 6-FA.

I'm in favor of running backs declaring for the draft if they're projected to be chosen in the first four rounds. Joe Yearby will need a miracle for that to happen, as he might not even be selected at all. Yearby didn't even start for Miami.

The Verdict: Terrible move

T.J. Watt, OLB/ILB, Wisconsin
Height: 6-5. Weight: 243.
Projected 40 Time: 4.74.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

The younger brother of J.J. Watt, T.J. Watt had a terrific 2016 campaign, notching 11.5 sacks and defending the run very well. He can play an array of positions, so teams will like his versatility. The younger Watt projects as a late first-round pick, or at the very worst, a high second-round selection, though he could definitely improve his stock with a strong combine performance and ultimately be chosen in the middle of the opening frame.

I have mixed feelings about Watt's decision, however. Watt obviously risked injury by going back to school, and he has a decent chance of being picked on Thursday night. However, with another strong year, Watt could've been a top-15 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. Thus, he'll need to do well in pre-draft workouts to justify this decision.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Samaje Perine, RB, Oklahoma
Height: 5-11. Weight: 237.
Projected 40 Time: 4.58.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

Samaje Perine became Oklahoma's all-time leading rusher in the Sugar Bowl victory over Auburn. With that in mind, Perine really had nothing left to prove in college, making his decision to enter the NFL Draft a good one. Perine was banged up this past season, so it's nice that he's avoiding more wear and tear. He's projected to be chosen around the third frame.

The Verdict: Good move

Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
Height: 6-3. Weight: 219.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

First of all, major credit to Charlie Campbell, who reported that Pat Mahomes would enter the draft on Dec. 22. Mahomes, per the report, will do his pre-draft training in Tampa and will be seeking out experienced NFL quarterback coaches to help him develop.

There has been mixed feedback from our sources regarding Mahomes. Some consider him a second-round prospect. Others think he should go in Round 4. The NFL Draft Advisory committee agrees with the former, slapping Mahomes with a Round 1-2 grade. Thus, Mahomes could be one of the first three quarterbacks chosen in the 2017 NFL Draft.

With that in mind, Mahomes is making a great decision. Going back to school would've allowed scouts to find potential flaws in his game. Mahomes enjoyed a terrific 2016 campaign, so he's selling high on his stock, which is always a good thing. It wouldn't surprise me at all if some team chose Mahomes at the bottom of Round 1. The Texans, in particular, stick out, unless Brock Osweiler suddenly improves in the playoffs. The Browns, 49ers, Jets and Bears could move up into the back end of the first frame as well if they opt to pass on DeShone Kizer and Mitch Trubisky.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Jan. 2:

Brad Kaaya, QB, Miami
Height: 6-4. Weight: 209.
Projected 40 Time: 4.72.
Projected Round (2017): 3-5.

I've had Brad Kaaya high in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft once upon a time. He had a disappointing 2016 campaign, and his stock has plummeted as a result. Teams are way down on Kaaya; one told us that they have him as a fifth-round prospect. Per Charlie Campbell, "They feel he has no mobility, can't throw well while under pressure, and while his arm is decent, he doesn't blow them away." Other teams we've spoken to have Kaaya has a third- or fourth-round prospect.

With that in mind, Kaaya is making a huge mistake. He should return to Miami to improve his game. Perhaps he'd be able to rehab his stock enough to be a second-rounder, or perhaps a late first-round prospect again. Kaaya, as it stands now, would be lucky to avoid Day 3.

The Verdict: Bad move

John Ross, WR, Washington
Height: 5-11. Weight: 190.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

John Ross is a likely first-round selection, so I definitely support his decision to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft. Ross had a great 2016 campaign, and he projects as a dynamic slot receiver in the NFL. Comparisons to Brandin Cooks and Sterling Shepard have been made.

Ross could've gone back to school to improve his draft stock, as he'd still be able to play with his quarterback, Jake Browning. I would've been fine with that as well, as there's a chance Ross could fall to Round 2. However, declaring is the smarter decision; an injury to Ross could've been devastating for his draft stock.

The Verdict: Good move

Marcus Williams, S, Utah
Height: 6-0. Weight: 195.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

Marcus Williams is a talented safety with an extensive history of a high level of production. I have no major issue with him declaring for the NFL, as Williams, who had five interceptions in 2016, thanks to his terrific coverage skills, is likely to be chosen in the second round.

Having said that, the concern with Williams is his frame; he's only listed at 190 pounds. He needs to pack on some weight, so he could've done so with another season at Utah. At just 20 years old, Williams didn't have to rush to leave for the pros.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Isaiah Ford, WR, Virginia Tech
Height: 6-2. Weight: 187.
Projected 40 Time: 4.53.
Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

Something is going on at Virginia Tech, because the Hokies are losing everyone. Isaiah Ford's decision isn't nearly as poor as Jerod Evans', as he has tons of experience and an extensive track record of high production. Some league sources have given him a third-round grade.

I would've been a bit down on Ford declaring for the pros, as he could've improved his stock more with another year in school. However, in the wake of Jerod Evans' decision to bolt for the pros, this seems so much better because Ford could've struggled with the new quarterback.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Jerod Evans, QB, Virginia Tech
Height: 6-2. Weight: 238.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

I don't understand this decision at all. Jerod Evans is a slightly undersized, one-year starter who was expected to play another season at Virginia Tech. Evans was set to lose Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges to the NFL, but that didn't mean that he had to bolt for the pros either.

Evans is not ready for the NFL, and league decision-makers are bound to agree. He has upside, and he's coming off a great year, so he'll be taken around the fourth round at the latest. There's a chance a team could fall in love with him and select him early on Day 2, but that's the best-case scenario. Evans would've done better with another year of experience.

The Verdict: Bad move

Davon Godchaux, DT, LSU
Height: 6-4. Weight: 293.
Projected 40 Time: 5.45.
Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

Davon Godchaux is a talented defensive tackle who put plenty of pressure on opposing quarterbacks this past season. He has the skill set to be chosen late in the first round, but will slide into Day 2, thanks to some off-the-field issues. Godchaux was suspended on charges of domestic abuse battery and child endangerment, but the charges were dropped for some reason. Though the suspension was lifted, this will undoubtedly concern some teams.

Godchaux should have returned to school. He could've stayed clean for a year, proving to teams that this was a one-time incident, and that he could be a model citizen. However, his recent suspension is still fresh in everyone's mind, and it could prompt some teams to completely remove him off their board. Godchaux is still almost certain to be a second-day selection, so I can't completely call this a bad decision, but he could've done better with another year at LSU.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Malik Hooker, S, Ohio State
Height: 6-2. Weight: 205.
Projected 40 Time: 4.47.
Projected Round (2017): Top-10 Pick.

A few weeks ago, Malik Hooker told everyone that he was "100-percent sure" he would be going back to Ohio State next year. Well, whether it was the Buckeyes' blowout loss to Clemson, or the realization that he would be chosen extremely early in the 2017 NFL Draft, something changed since then because Hooker has announced that he will be entering the draft.

Hooker, who has drawn comparisons to Ed Reed, is now one of the top prospects in the 2017 class. He could go as high as No. 5 to the Titans, who are in deseprate need of a safety. He's unlikely to fall out of the top 10 if Tennessee doesn't select him. Thus, Hooker's decision to leave school is a no-brainer.

The Verdict: Obvious move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 31:

Myles Garrett, DE, Texas A&M
Height: 6-5. Weight: 270.
Projected 40 Time: 4.60.
Projected Round (2017): Top-10 Pick.

Myles Garrett would've been locked in an insane asylum had he returned to Texas A&M for another year. Unless the Browns fall in love with one of the quarterbacks, Garrett will be the No. 1 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft (as seen in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft.) Adam Schefter has reported that Cleveland has an "astronomical grade" on Garrett, so even if a signal-caller like DeShone Kizer goes first overall, Garrett will be chosen second, in all likelihood. Thus, his decision is an obvious no-brainer.

The Verdict: Obvious move

Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
Height: 6-7. Weight: 245.
Projected 40 Time: 4.67.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

Bucky Hodges isn't a finished product, as he really needs to work on his blocking. He has been productive as a receiver though, and he could be chosen on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft, especially in the wake of Jake Butt's knee injury. I think Hodges had a chance to be a first-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft - check out my 2018 NFL Mock Draft - but that won't be the case this April. Hodges is entering a loaded tight end class, though Butt's injury will help Hodges be drafted earlier than previously projected. That said, I can't completely criticize Hodges because he could be a second-round pick, and he's also avoiding injury by going pro.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Josh Malone, WR, Tennessee
Height: 6-3. Weight: 198.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2017): 5-7.

Josh Malone made some clutch catches for Tennessee this season, and he finished with 50 receptions for 972 yards and 11 touchdowns. That could be attributed to the struggles at quarterback. Still, Malone isn't considered to be anything more than a third-day prospect. With that in mind, I can't say I support Malone's decision.

The Verdict: Bad move

Boom Williams, RB, Kentucky
Height: 5-9. Weight: 196.
Projected 40 Time: 4.39.
Projected Round (2017): 5-7.

Boom Williams isn't exactly entering the NFL on a high note, rushing for only 35 yards in his bowl game loss to Georgia Tech. Williams' decision to bolt for the NFL is a bit of a head-scratcher. Sure, he's a running back, but he hasn't been very productive at Kentucky, eclipsing 1,000 yards in only one season. Williams is going to need a great combine performance to assure himself of being selected in the 2017 NFL Draft. He could do it, as he's capable of running a 4.3, but if he doesn't, it's possible that he could go undrafted. Williams should've gone back to school.

The Verdict: Bad move

Dalvin Cook, RB, Florida State
Height: 6-0. Weight: 203.
Projected 40 Time: 4.52.
Projected Round (2017): Top-15 Pick.

Dalvin Cook would've been crazy to return to school. Cook is a sure-fire top-15 pick, barring injury, and there's even a chance he could be selected in the top five ahead of Leonard Fournette, as there are some teams and scouts who prefer Cook over Leonard Fournette. Regardless, Cook would've been foolish to risk injury with another year in college, making this decision a no-brainer.

The Verdict: Obvious move

Anthony Walker, ILB/OLB, Northwestern
Height: 6-1. Weight: 245.
Projected 40 Time: 4.69.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

Anthony Walker is coming off a down year, which doesn't make his decision to go pro seem too great. Walker gained 20 pounds last offseason, which decreased his explosiveness. Charlie Campbell spoke to NFL team sources who were disappointed in his 2016 campaign.

That said, Walker could still be chosen in the second round, and it seems unlikely that he'll fall to Day 3. I don't think he's making a bad decision, but he could probably benefit from going back to Northwestern. A strong season next year could've put him back into first-round consideration.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Alvin Kamara, RB, Tennessee
Height: 5-10. Weight: 215.
Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

I wrote earlier that I'm fully behind any running back declaring when he's been projected to be chosen in the first four rounds. Alvin Kamara is much better than that, as he projects as a second-rounder who has a shot to be chosen late Thursday night. This is close to being an obvious move, but either way, there's absolutely no reason for Kamara to go back to Tennessee.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 30:

Isaiah McKenzie, WR, Georgia
Height: 5-8. Weight: 170.
Projected 40 Time: 4.41.
Projected Round (2017): 5-7.

Isaiah McKenzie needs to cut ties with whomever is advising him right now. McKenzie's decision to declare for the draft is a very poor one. He could be chosen at the beginning of Day 3 as a kick returner, but he doesn't seem like a very good receiving prospect. There's a chance he could go undrafted, so I don't know why McKenzie isn't returning to school.

The Verdict: Bad move

Vincent Taylor, DT, Oklahoma State
Height: 6-3. Weight: 310.
Projected 40 Time: 5.09.
Projected Round (2017): 3-4.

It would be great if Vincent Taylor could go back to school. It's likely that he'll be taken in the third round or so, but there's a chance he could fall into Day 3. However, his decision to bolt for the pros makes sense from an age perspective, as he'll turn 23 in early January. Waiting another season would make him a 24-year-old entering the draft process, which is far from ideal. That's why I'm listing this as a good move, even though it would be a bad one if Taylor were 20-21 instead of 23.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 29:

Ricky Seals-Jones, WR, Texas A&M
Height: 6-5. Weight: 235.
Projected 40 Time: 4.55.
Projected Round (2017): 3-5.

Someone needs to tell Ricky Seals-Jones that he's making a big mistake. Seals-Jones has the prototypical size and athleticism to have upside for the pros, but he hasn't been productive whatsoever. Seals-Jones completed his 2016 campaign with a measly 26 receptions for 333 yards and a touchdown, and he never eclipsed the 600-yard mark in any year at Texas A&M.

There might be a team that falls in love with Seals-Jones' upside and takes him toward the end of Day 2. However, it's more than likely that he'll be a third-day selection. He should've gone back to school and attempted to be productive for a change.

The Verdict: Bad move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 28:

David Njoku, TE, Miami
Height: 6-4. Weight: 245.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

David Njoku just told a reporter that he's declaring for the draft. That may surprise some because he's a redshirt sophomore, but it really shouldn't because Njoku has a very good chance to be a first-round pick. In fact, I have him slotted to the Texans in the opening frame of my 2017 NFL Mock Draft. Njoku had a very productive 2016 campaign and also possesses superior athleticism. Teams will love the idea of having him on their team as a matchup nightmare, so even though there's a chance he'll slip into the second round, it's very likely he'll be chosen on Thursday night. As a result, I like his decision.

The Verdict: Good move

K.D. Cannon, WR, Baylor
Height: 6-0. Weight: 180.
Projected 40 Time: 4.43.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

K.D. Cannon has been a very productive player for Baylor, so it's not a surprise that he made the decision to head for the pros. In an ideal world, it would be nice for Cannon to return to school and cement his second-round status, but his choice is understandable. With a new coach coming into Baylor, Cannon's role on offense could change, so it makes sense that he wouldn't want to risk anything hurting his draft stock. Cannon is also likely to excel at the combine, so he could still be chosen on Day 2.

The Verdict: Neutral move

Carlos Henderson, WR/KR, Louisiana Tech
Height: 5-11. Weight: 191.
Projected 40 Time: 4.44.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

Carlos Henderson was a very productive receiver at Louisiana Tech - 1,406 yards, 17 touchdowns in 2016 - and he also doubled as a dynamic kick returner. However, because Henderson won't be able to participate in the Senior Bowl, or anything, he'll have to impress teams at the combine so that they're comfortable taking a prospect from a smaller school in the second round; otherwise, he could fall to the fourth frame. We'll see what happens at the combine.

If I were Henderson, I probably wouldn't have declared because the combine is so huge. Giving scouts another year of tape would've helped. However, it's possible he could've regressed or gotten hurt, so I don't hate this decision either.

The Verdict: Neutral move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 27:

Jeremy McNichols, RB, Boise State
Height: 5-9. Weight: 212.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

It was believed that Jeremy McNichols would bolt for the NFL, and sure enough, he declared for the draft on Monday. As with most running backs projected to be chosen in the first three rounds, McNichols made the right decision to leave school early.

McNichols is coming off a great 2016 campaign, rushing for 1,663 yards and 23 touchdowns. More importantly, teams will love McNichols' ability to catch the ball, as he'll be able to play all three downs in the NFL. Without needing to learn that aspect of the game, McNichols didn't need to return to Boise State, where he would've just risked injury.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 25:

Brian Hill, RB, Wyoming
Height: 6-0. Weight: 220.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

With Royce Freeman and Nick Chubb returning to school, some second-day spots for running backs have opened up. Brian Hill is seizing the opportunity by declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft.

This is a good choice on Hill's part. Hill is projected to be chosen Friday night - likely in the third round - and probably wouldn't have improved his stock very much with another year at Wyoming. Hill, a larger back who can shoulder an extensive workload, is coming off a big 2016 campaign, so more carries may have resulted in injuries, which would've knocked him into Day 3.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 13:

DeShone Kizer, QB, Notre Dame
Height: 6-4. Weight: 230.
Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
Projected Round (2017): Top-15 Pick.

Numerous teams and other NFL sources we've spoken to consider DeShone Kizer to be the top quarterback prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft. He has a great physical skill set, and as Charlie Campbell wrote in our 2017 NFL Draft Prospect Rankings, "Kizer is capable of making beautiful touch passes with superb accuracy and ball placement while being under fire from the pass rush. His field vision is very good as he moves his eyes through his progressions, even with defenders bearing down on him. Additionally, Kizer has the arm strength to make all the throws and beat good coverage."

It's highly likely that Kizer will be chosen in the top half of the opening round, and he's currently projected in the top five. With the Browns, Bears, Jets and even the Jaguars needing a quarterback, some team will take him early. As a result, Kizer is making the correct decision by declaring early, especially considering the coaching turmoil Notre Dame is currently dealing with.

By returning to school, teams and scouts would've questioned Kizer's competitiveness, and they may have found some flaws in his game. Plus, Kizer would've had to pass Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen and Lamar Jackson in the 2018 NFL Draft, and it's possible he could've been behind all three. Thus, bolting for the pros was a no-brainer.

The Verdict: Obvious move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 10:

James Conner, RB, Pittsburgh
Height: 6-2. Weight: 250.
Projected 40 Time: 4.62.
Projected Round (2017): 4-6.

James Conner's comeback story from cancer, as well as his knee injury, has been amazing. Conner returned to the field this season just one year after being diagnosed with cancer, and he was able to rush for 1,000 yards and catch 20 passes in 2016.

While Conner's comeback story is amazing, it's incomplete. Conner played very well this season, but didn't quite look like the Conner of old. NFL sources we spoke to agreed, opining that Conner should return to school for one more year in an effort to finish his rehabilitation. In that case, had Conner been like his former self, he could've been chosen in the second round of the 2018 NFL Draft.

As it stands now, Conner is projected to be chosen early on Day 3 this April. I don't fault Conner for declaring at all, given his injury history, so I won't mark this down as a bad move. However, I would've preferred him to go back to Pittsburgh for one more year.

The Verdict: Neutral move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 7:

Nazair Jones, DT, North Carolina
Height: 6-5. Weight: 295.
Projected 40 Time: 5.02.
Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

Nazair Jones will intrigue most teams just based on his scheme versatility, as he can play three-technique in the 4-3 and five-technique in a 3-4. Thus, it'll be difficult for Jones to slip very far, given that he can play for pretty much any team.

With that in mind, Jones is making a logical decision by declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft. I don't think he'll be taken in the first round because he's not that potent of a pass-rusher. He can generate some pressure, but that's something he needs to work on. He holds up very well in run support, however, and that could get him taken early on Day 2.

Jones could've returned to school to improve his pass-rushing ability, but he may have worsened his stock as well, so I can see why he'd want to bolt for the NFL.

The Verdict: Neutral move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 7:

Malik McDowell, DT, Michigan State
Height: 6-6. Weight: 280.
Projected 40 Time: 5.35.
Projected Round (2017): Top-20 Pick.

It'll be an upset if Malik McDowell isn't chosen in the first 20 picks; if not the top 10. McDowell is a very talented player with tons of upside, and he projects as a better player than Arik Armstead, who was the 16th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. McDowell, who can put plenty of heat on quarterbacks, is expected by some teams to be chosen in the top 20 picks, according to Charlie Campbell. As a result, McDowell is making the right choice by declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft. He had nothing to gain from another year at Michigan State, as he only risked injury.

The Verdict: Good move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 6:

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford
Height: 6-1. Weight: 200.
Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

A draft reporter who tends to steal other people's stories is attempting to take credit for this, but Charlie Campbell reported five days ago that Christian McCaffrey was entering the 2017 NFL Draft. Congrats to Charlie for nailing this one, and shame on those with no morals who thrive on pilfering other people's work.

This is obviously a great decision on McCaffrey's part. I know I sound like a broken record at this point, but any running back who projects to be chosen in the first four rounds should almost always declare. McCaffrey could be chosen as early as the end of the first round, but he'll almost certainly be picked in the first two frames. McCaffrey really had nothing to gain by going back to Stanford, outside of potentially winning the Heisman, but that wasn't worth slipping in the 2018 NFL Draft because of an injury. Thus, McCaffrey made the right choice. I have McCaffrey going to the Raiders in my 2017 NFL Mock Draft.

The Verdict: Good move

Damore'ea Stringefellow, WR, Ole Miss
Height: 6-2. Weight: 219.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

Damore'ea Stringefellow might be somewhat of a surprise declaration to some, but his decision does make sense. Chad Kelly is graduating and heading for the pros, so Stringefellow may have been without a proven quarterback had he returned to Ole Miss for another season. Thus, it's logical for him to declare, though it's possible that he could fall to Day 3 of the 2017 NFL Draft. I don't think it'll happen, but the possibility can't be discounted. Stringefellow, a massive receiver coming off a big year, is expected to be chosen on Friday night at some point.

The Verdict: Neutral move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 5:

Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU
Height: 6-1. Weight: 230.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2017): Top-10 Pick.

Leonard Fournette is one of the top running back prospects to declare for the draft in the past decade, widely drawing comparisons to Herschel Walker. Fournette hasn't enjoyed his best season, but only because he has dealt with an injury. When healthy, he's a destructive force who can dominate games.

There was no reason for Fournette to return to school. He had nothing else to prove, and waiting for another year would've just put him at further risk of injury. He's almost certain to be chosen in the top 10 - I have him fifth to the Jets in my current 2017 NFL Mock Draft - so going back to LSU would've been a huge mistake.

The Verdict: Obvious move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Dec. 2:

Charles Harris, DE/OLB, Missouri
Height: 6-3. Weight: 260.
Projected 40 Time: 4.77.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

Charles Harris has gone through an up-and-down 2016 campaign, looking brilliant at times and being underwhelming in other games. I'm not sure if he's ready for the NFL, but it's very possible that he'll be chosen late in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft regardless, so I can't criticize him for his decision to declare early.

The Verdict: Good move

Jerome Lane, WR, Akron
Height: 6-2. Weight: 212.
Projected 40 Time: 4.57.
Projected Round (2017): 3-5.

This is a surprise. Jerome Lane has physical talent, but I'm not so sure he'll be able to separate from NFL cornerbacks, and thus he could slip in the 2017 NFL Draft. Lane might be able to sneak into Day 2, but he's likely an early third-day selection. Considering that Lane is just 20, there's no real reason for him to declare for the pros.

The Verdict: Bad move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Nov. 30:

D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas
Height: 6-1. Weight: 249.
Projected 40 Time: 4.57.
Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

It was initially announced that D'Onta Foreman would declare for the draft, but his father denied those rumors. Well, it's official now, as Foreman will enter the 2017 NFL Draft. This is a good move, as Foreman is widely projected to be a second-day selection, and any running back who is expected to go that early should declare. It's also worth noting that Foreman will have had to learn a new playbook at Texas in the wake of the Charlie Strong firing, so why risk being a bad fit in the next scheme? Returning to Texas could've gone poorly for Foreman, so he's making the right decision.

The Verdict: Good move

Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA
Height: 6-4. Weight: 310.
Projected 40 Time: 5.11.
Projected Round (2017): 3-5.

Eddie Vanderdoes has a chance to sneak into the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft, but he will probably be chosen early on Day 3. The reason is that Vanderdoes doesn't provide much in terms of a pass rush. He projects to be excellent in run support, but in a passing league, defensive linemen who can't get to the quarterback often slip in the draft. Vanderdoes should return to school to work on his pass-rushing skills.

The Verdict: Bad move



Underclassmen Declaring for the 2017 NFL Draft - Nov. 27 or earlier:

Wayne Gallman, RB, Clemson
Height: 6-1. Weight: 205.
Projected 40 Time: 4.54.
Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

Wayne Gallman figures to be chosen on Day 2 of the 2017 NFL Draft. I'll never blame a running back for declaring if he happens to be projected in the first four rounds, given how fragile players at the position are. Thus, I can't criticize Gallman for declaring.

The Verdict: Good move

Jermaine Grace, S, Miami
Height: 6-1. Weight: 205.
Projected 40 Time: 4.58.
Projected Round (2017): FA.

Jermaine Grace was dismissed by Miami for his role in a car-rental case. Grace is 23 and will be graduating, but is unlikely to be drafted.

The Verdict: Irrelevant

Jalen Tabor, CB, Florida
Height: 6-0. Weight: 191.
Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
Projected Round (2017): Top-20 Pick.

Jalen Tabor has seen his stock slip this season. He's still projected as a first-round prospect, however, so it's hard to criticize this decision. Tabor is making the right choice to go pro. Though he could potentially rebound in 2017, he could also slip further, so he shouldn't risk it.

The Verdict: Good move

Charles Walker, DT, Oklahoma
Height: 6-2. Weight: 299.
Projected 40 Time: 5.14.
Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

Charles Walker has been enjoying a solid 2016 campaign. He's likely to be chosen on the second day of the 2017 NFL Draft as a result. I don't think he could've entered first-round territory with another season, so he could've risked falling had he returned to school, with either declining play or injury. Thus, Walker is making the right move.

The Verdict: Good move

Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
Height: 6-3. Weight: 205.
Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

Mike Williams' decision to declare for the 2017 NFL Draft seems so much better after his dominant performance in the regular-season finale against South Carolina. Of course, it was always a good choice, as Williams could be the first receiver chosen in this upcoming class. Williams is too talented to go back to school, as he'd only risk injury by doing so. He'd have nothing to gain.

The Verdict: Good move

Quincy Wilson, CB, Florida
Height: 6-1. Weight: 213.
Projected 40 Time: 4.50.
Projected Round (2017): Top-20 Pick.

Sources have told Charlie Campbell that they view Quincy Wilson as a better prospect than Jalen Tabor. I didn't think Wilson would declare because of his inexperience, and another great year could've allowed him to be a top-10 near-lock. However, he's still a likely top-20 selection, so it's hard to hate this decision.

The Verdict: Good move



2017 NFL Draft Underclassmen Rumors:
  • Brad Kaaya will reportedly declare for the draft.

  • Jabrill Peppers' mother has begun vetting NFL agents by having them complete a 41-question document.

  • JuJu Smith-Schuster is leaning toward signing with Roc Nation.



    Major Prospects Going Back to School:
    Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
    Height: 6-5. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.70.
    Projected Round (2017): 1-3.

    I was actually hoping Josh Allen would declare because it would've been intriguing where he'd land. Allen is a big quarterback with a huge arm, and he also has plus mobility. However, he's been a starter for just one year and managed to complete just 56 percent of his passes in 2016. Allen's upside may have gotten him into the first round, but he probably would've been a second-day selection. Thus, Allen is making the right decision by returning to Wyoming. With another year of experience, Allen could make himself a viable first-round prospect. I have him being chosen in my 2018 NFL Mock Draft.

    The Verdict: Good move

    Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia
    Height: 5-10. Weight: 220.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.54.
    Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

    Nick Chubb was once considered a possible first-round prospect. That's no longer the case. Chubb has dealt with a knee injury and hasn't been the same since his return. He has lost his explosion, and as a result, he's entered the third round of my 2017 NFL Mock Draft.

    I don't blame Chubb for going back to school, as he can rehabilitate his draft stock and perhaps enter first-round consideration again. On the other hand, what if Chubb gets hurt once more? Running backs are very fragile, so it could happen. If so, Chubb will fall to Day 3 status, so I think it's risky to return to Georgia. Either way, it didn't seem like Chubb had a great option.

    The Verdict: Neutral move

    Mason Cole, C, Michigan
    Height: 6-5. Weight: 305.
    Projected 40 Time: 5.09.
    Projected Round (2017): 2-4.

    Mason Cole has been a very good run blocker for Michigan, but he can stand to add some more power. He'll be able to do that as a senior next year. If Cole ends up doing so and becomes a better blocker, he could cement his second-round status, so I like his decision.

    The Verdict: Good move

    Luke Falk, QB, Washington State
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 205.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.79.
    Projected Round (2018): 2-4.

    A known NFL Draft who thrives on stealing other people's content reported that Luke Falk would declare for the NFL Draft, but that didn't turn out to be the case. I'm sure he won't be copying from that "source" anymore. Falk is making the right choice, as he projected as a likely third-round pick who could've fallen to Day 3. Mike Leach's quarterbacks don't exactly have a great NFL track record, to put it nicely.

    The Verdict: Good move

    Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 230.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.56.
    Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

    It's possible that Royce Freeman could have a terrific 2017 season. Sure. Freeman is a dynamic running back who will be playing for a new coach he's excited for. That could help him have a big year for sure.

    However, it's also very possible that Freeman could sustain an injury, as running backs frequenly do, and he could harm his draft stock as a result. Freeman would've been a second-day selection in the 2017 NFL Draft, and that'll probably be the case for 2018 if he remains healthy. However, he could fall into Day 3 with a significant injury. Considering how fragile running backs are, Freeman is making a huge mistake by going back to Oregon.

    The Verdict: Bad move

    Mike McGlinchey, OT, Notre Dame
    Height: 6-7. Weight: 310.
    Projected 40 Time: 5.30.
    Projected Round (2017): Top-20.

    Mike McGlinchey's decision to go back to school is mystifying. Why he would want to play for the horrible Brian Kelly for another year makes absolutely no sense, especially when considering that he would likely be chosen in the top 15 of the 2017 NFL Draft. McGlinchey should just change his mind and move on to the pros. There's nothing to gain from another year at Notre Dame.

    The Verdict: Bad move

    Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 212.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
    Projected Round (2017): 3-4.

    Sony Michel must have been distraught when he learned that Nick Chubb would be returning to school. In fact, it wouldn't have surprised me had Chubb's decision prompted Michel to bolt for the pros.

    That, apparently, has not happened, as Michel will also be returning to Georgia. I think arguments can be made for and against this. Michel had a chance to be chosen in the third round, but probably would've been chose early on Day 3. However, Michel won't be able to prove himself with Chubb on the roster. Plus, Michel is putting himself at risk for injury, which is something that happens far too often for running backs.

    The Verdict: Neutral move

    Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
    Height: 6-5. Weight: 325.
    Projected 40 Time: 5.15.
    Projected Round (2017): 1.

    Quenton Nelson was the consensus No. 1 guard prospect in the 2017 NFL Draft. Multiple teams we spoke to gave him first-round grades, and as Charlie Campbell reported, one national scout predicted that Nelson would be a future Pro Bowler. With that in mind, Nelson's decision to return to school and play for the horrible Brian Kelly is a very poor one. Nelson now risks injury and possible regression. He could still be a first-round selection in the 2018 NFL Draft, but he shouldn't have risked damaging his draft stock.

    The Verdict: Bad move

    Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State
    Height: 6-5. Weight: 235.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.85.
    Projected Round (2017): 3-5.

    Mason Rudolph had a slim chance to be chosen in the second day of the draft, but was probably going to be taken early on Day 3. Rudolph is making the right choice in going back to school; by doing so, he can improve his draft stock and perhaps cement his second-day status in the 2018 NFL Draft, despite being part of a better draft class.

    The Verdict: Good move

    Courtland Sutton, WR, SMU
    Height: 6-3. Weight: 205.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.48.
    Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

    This decision is pretty surprising. There's been talk about Courtland Sutton having a decent chance of being chosen in the first round. At the very least, he wasn't going to fall out of the opening half of the second frame. Yet, Sutton has decided to risk injury and battle a better receiving class next April. I don't get it. Hopefully he doesn't get hurt.

    The Verdict: Bad move

    Azeem Victor, ILB, Washington
    Height: 6-4. Weight: 232.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.78.
    Projected Round (2017): 3-4.

    Azeem Victor was enjoying a quality 2016 campaign, but unfortunately broke his leg against USC. Entering the draft would've been a mistake, as Victor's stock would've dropped, and he wouldn't have been able to work out at the Combine. He can now concentrate on recovering and bouncing back with a strong 2017 season.

    The Verdict: Good move

    Armani Watts, S, Texas A&M
    Height: 5-11. Weight: 200.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.57.
    Projected Round (2017): 2-3.

    Armandi Watts is a very instictive safety who had a great year for Texas A&M. He was widely projected to be a second-day selection. It's a bit surprising that he's returning to school, as he risks hurting his draft stock. However, Watts could also strengthen it with another great season. Perhaps Watts will be on the edge of first-day consideration with a terrific 2017 campaign. I think a strong argument could be made for or against Watts entering the draft.

    The Verdict: Neutral move

    James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State
    Height: 6-0. Weight: 205.
    Projected 40 Time: 4.49.
    Projected Round (2017): 1-2.

    James Washington has informed everyone that he's returning to school for another year along with quarterback Mason Rudolph. Washington had a chance to be chosen in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, so his decision is mildly surprising.

    I don't think it's a bad choice, however. Washington can improve his draft stock next year and cement himself as a first-round prospect, especially with Rudolph once again throwing to him. On the other hand though, next year's receiving class is much stronger than this one, so Washington will face some difficulty in that regard. I'd probably declare if I were Washington, but I can understand why he'd want to go back to school.

    The Verdict: Neutral move

    LOADING COMMENTS...



    2017 NFL Mock Draft - March 29


    2018 NFL Mock Draft - Feb. 17


    NFL Picks - Feb. 7


    Fantasy Football Rankings - Sept. 7


    2017 NBA Mock Draft - June 23


    NFL Free Agents




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